Ayurveda Aur Hum

Ayurveda Aur Hum

Treatment in Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda, an ideal treatment is the one which cures the disease without causing any complications.[i] Treating the symptoms of the disease may not always give relief to the patient from the disease. Hence, Ayurveda believes in treating the fundamental cause of any illness to ensure long lasting relief.[ii] The three traditional approaches to treating diseases in Ayurveda are as follows:1,[iii],[iv]

  1. Daivavyapasraya Chikitsa – Spiritual therapy: This is primarily used for treatment and prevention of mental illnesses. It includes use of mantra (a Vedic verse), japa (Vedic whispering), prayer & related religious practices.
  2. Yuktivyapasraya Chikitsa – Rational treatment: This includes two methods named Shodhana (purification) & Shamana (palliation). It is directed towards restoring the balance of the tridoshas and
  3. Sattvavajaya Chikitsa – Mental & Physical therapy: This is used to treat problems of the mind and intellect. For e.g. greed, jealousy, infidelity, forgetfulness etc. Imparting knowledge about the mind and soul, sharpening intellect by reading religious scriptures, diminishing ego & developing forgiveness & morality, are some of the aspects of this therapy.

Ayurvedic treatment methods most commonly practiced are as follows:1

  1. Shodhana – Bio-cleansing or Panchkarma therapy
  2. Shamana – Palliative care
  3. Nidana parivarjana – Avoidance of causative factors

Ayurvedic Panchkarma therapy

There are certain diseases that require a physical treatment to remove toxins from the body. For example; excessive mucus in the chest, bile in the intestines, toxins in the blood, etc. For removing such type of toxins from the body, Ayurveda suggests the Panchkarma or ‘five types of bio-cleansing processes’. These five processes are as follows:1,2

  1. Vamana – Therapeutic vomiting: Congestion in the lungs sometimes causes repeated attacks of cough, cold, asthma, etc. This is relieved by therapeutic vomiting (rubbing the tongue to induce vomiting) to remove the mucus-causing excess
  2. Virecana – Therapeutic purgation (cleansing of bowels): When excessive bile (gastric juice secreted by the liver) gets accumulated in the liver or intestines, it can present in the form of skin rash, pimples or fever. This is relieved by the use of Ayurvedic laxatives.
  3. Nasya – Medication given through the nose: An excess of the tridoshas accumulating in the nose and nasal area, forehead, throat, etc. is relieved by introducing medication through the nose.
  4. Basti – Medication given through the rectum: Introduction of herbal oils or extracts into the rectum. This method is used to relieve all vata disorders like diarrhoea, constipation, kidney stones, chest pain, acidity, backache etc.
  5. Raktamoksana – Blood purification: To remove toxins that circulate inside the body through blood, a small amount of blood is extracted from the veins, which relieves the tension created by toxins in the blood. This method is most useful in treating skin and joint disorders.

These five-fold therapies are aimed at shodhana, i.e. complete removal of the basic cause of the disease by bio-cleansing and progress towards samana i.e. reducing severity of the disease by taking palliative care.1

Palliative Care in Ayurveda – Shamana

Once the toxins are removed through treatment, the process of palliation (shamana) is employed. Palliation involves neutralising the toxins by activating agni and stimulating the digestion through fasting. Toxins may also be neutralized by eating certain hot, spicy Ayurvedic Herbs (aushadhi). Sustained hunger and thirst, exercise, sunbathing and sitting in the fresh air are other means of neutralizing toxins.2

[1] Ayurveda – The Science of Life. CCRAS. New Delhi. 2012.

[2] Lad V. Ayurveda: The science of self-healing: A practical guide. Lotus press; 1984.

[3] Rai AK & Deepshikha. MENTAL HEALTH AND ILLNESS: AN AYURVEDIC PERSPECTIVE. IAMJ: Volume 4; Issue 02; February – 2016. 234-239.

[4] Kajaria D. An introduction to Sattvavajaya: Psychotherapy in ayurveda. Unique J Ayuvedic Herb Med. 2013;1:10-3.