BASIS FOR THE DIAGNOSIS AND SUBSEQUENT AYURVEDIC TREATMENTsIn Ayurvedic medicine, the doctor makes a diagnosis on both the disease level (roga) and the patient level (rogi). This entails a highly individualized process in which the doctor not only diagnoses the ailment but tailors the treatments to suit each patient’s prakriti (constitution).
In Ayurvedic theory, all diseases are due to a doshic imbalance and thus Ayurvedic medicine focuses on rebalancing the doshas.
It is worth noting that, given the holistic nature of Ayurveda, the doctor does not consider solely the affected area and thus, does not seek a treatment to cure the disease. Instead, s/he focuses on an Ayurvedic treatment that helps the body call upon its own energy to heal. While the Ayurvedic treatments and medicine are vital in the healing process, they only aid the body’s self-reparation, not trigger it.
It is a detoxification process which completely rids the body of toxins; thus strenghtening the immune system and restoring balance and well-being. This ayurvedic treatment consists on three stages:
Purvakarma: It is a preparatory step which helps the body discard toxins by removing them from the stomach and tissue and guiding them to the alimentary canal.
Pradhanakarma: It is a highly individualized treatment, baded on the needs of the patient, depending on their Ayurvedic constitutional type, doshic imbalances, age, among others. The specialized Ayurveda Practitioner decides if the patient requires all or only parts of the therapy.
Paschatkarma: Post treatment care, which includes the diet regime and general guidelines to live a healthy life.
Harbors two types of preparatory treatments: Snehana: Eliminates toxins through massaging the skin with herbal oils. These medicated oils can treat specific disorders, such as stress, anxiety or circulation problems. Furthermore, the therapist can massage the patient’s scalp with them, thus palleating mental health problems like depression and insomnia. Snehana can also involve immersion in an oil bath, which allows the patient to absorb the properties of the herbal oils.
Swedana: Entails eliminating toxins by taking steam baths. The vapor opens the pores and together with Snehana, flushes out the toxins.
Vamana: It is a painless, drug-indused emesis.
Virechana: Entails a medicated purgation therapy.
Vasti: Consists in cleaning the patient’s colon with a herbal concotion.
Nasya: It is the administration of medical oils or powders through the nose.
Raktamokshan: Medicated blood-letting
REJUVENATION THERAPYIt follows an the ancient ayurvedic treatment for rejuvenation: Rasayana Chikitsa. This treatment slows down the ageing process and keeps away the decline in strength and intelligence that becomes evident with old age. Its pain purpose is to strengthen the immune system, thus keepingthe body youthful and vigorous.
Rasayana employs mantras during meditation, along with certain rejuvenating herbal remedies and oil massages.
AYURVEDIC TREATMENTs FOR SPECIFIC DISEASESThis ayurvedic treatment is beneficial for diseases such as arthritis, paralplegia and hemiplegia; as well as sexual and nervous weakness, nervous disorders and other Vata dominant ailments.
Phzhicil consist in pouring slightly heated, medicated oil onto the body in continuous streams. This oil is spread and massaged by four therapistas over the patient’s body. This should go on for 45 to 90 minutes every day for a minimum of 7 days.
KativasthiIt reduces low back pain, lumbar spondylosis and sciatica. Further benefits of this ayurvedic treatment encompass alleviation of degenerative vertebral diseases, disc prolapse, and other illnesses.
Kativasthi sessions usually last 30 to 45 minutes. During this time, the therapist pours a warm medicated oil over the lower back of the patient; holding the liquid there with a herbal paste boundary.
Pinda Sweda (Kizhi)This ayurvedic treatment relieves pain and oedema. It is recommended when treating arthritis, spondylosis and low back aches. Kizhi has also proven good results in healing sports injuries.
During Kizhi sessions, the therapist wraps herbal leaves or powder in small boluses and heats them with warm medicated oils. Afterwards, they apply these small balls all over the body. Kizhi sessions last 45 minutes per day and the entire treatment usually spans anywhere from 7 to 14 days.
Shiro Vasthi In general, Shiro Vasthi is highly effective in the treatment of brain afflictions. It has proven good results with facial paralysis, migraine, speech difficulties; as well as insomnia, nervous disorders and loss of tactile sense. Furthermore, Shiro Vasthi alleviates Vata-related diseases, such as severe headaches and dryness of nostrils, mouth and throat.
Shiro Vasthi consists in pouring medicated, warm herbal oil into a cap, which is fitted on the head of the patient.The sessions last 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the patient’s condition.
Shiro DharaThis treatment is effective for diseases of the head and heck, as well as auto immune diseases. It mitigates insomnia, impaired memory, spondylitis, paraplegia and fatigue. Moreover, Shiro Dhara is useful for treating rheumatoid arthritis and reducing stiffness; as well as stimulating the nervous system and palleating the effects of allergic rhinitis and psoriasis.
This ayurvedic treatment acts on the forehead. The therapist pours herbal oils, medicated milk, medicated buttermilk or other liquid for 45 minutes every day.
KarnapuranIt is very effective in healing ear problems and it is considered more of a therapy than a treatment. It considerably mitigates the effects of tinnitus and improves the hearing quality of patients.
Patients who seek Karnapuran therapy first go through a head and neck massage. Afterwards, the therapist pours herbalized oil —or other medicated liquid— into the ears of the patient.
Hrid VasthiIt is helpful in the treatment of various cardiac ailments —such as cardio myopathy; as well as respiratory diseases like asthma.
The therapist builds a reservoir made of black gram dough on the area over the heart. Afterwards, they pour a warm, medicated oil in the receptacleand keep it there for a space of 15-20 minutes. Hrid Vasthi strengthens the heart and contributes to relieving depression.
Merudanda VasthiIt relieves the patient from acute back pain, cervical spondylosis, degenerative vertebral diseases and disc prolapse. It is also beneficial in the treatment of back muscle fatigue, neck pain and spinal disc herniation.
This ayurvedic treatment is similar to Hrid Vasthi. The therapist builds a dam on the spine region and pours medicated oil inside.Afterwards, they remove the dam and the oil, and proceed to perform an intensive massage. This activity focuses on the marma points along the spine region. The Merudanda Vasthi session can span 45 minutes to an hour and a half,during 3 to 14 days. Afterwards,patients are generally advised to engage in yoga exercises (asanas).
Marma MassagesMarma is a Sanskrit word which means “hidden” or “secret”. By definition, the marma points are the junctures on the body where two or more types of dhatu (tissues) meet. Moreover, marma points are the intersections of the prana, or vital life force, hence why they are the vital points of the human body.
Marma massage therapy is an important part of Ayurveda because it helps to clean blocked energy. This happens because marma massages have to power to calm or arouse the doshas, since each marma point is connected to all three of them.
Netra TarpanaIts name comes from two Sanskrit words: Netra (“eye”) and Tarpana (“nourishment”); hence it means “nourishment of the eye”. Netra Tarpana relieves the pacient from many eye ailments, such as blurry vision, ocular cellulitis, glaucoma, conjunctivitis and squint eyes. Furthermore, it helps with the aggravation of Vata and Pitta related illnesses, as well as atrophy of the cranial nerves, inflammation of the cornea among others.
Netra Tarpana is similar to Hrid and Merudanda Vasthi. The therapist puts a black gram dough around the patient’s eyes and fills it with warm, clarified or herbalized ghee. During the 15 to 20 minutes of the session, the patience must keep their eyes in movement. The therapist takes care of keeping the ghee warm by replacing it constantly.
DisclaimerMaa Yoga Ashram provides extensive and special therapies for patients with other chronic ailments. Such is the case of: obesity, heart problems, depression; blocked arteries, impotency, arthritis, psychiatric problems,among others.
Ayurvedic belief states that everyone is biochemically different and unique; hence why the dietary practices of each patient are tailored to them. What is more, Ayurveda heavily relies on good nutrition and digestion as precursos of all good health and thus, both elements are vital components of the Ayurvedic treatment, recovery and disease maangement.
Ayurvedic diet and nutrition has six primary “tastes” which form the basis for the Ayurveda practitioner’s recommendations:
Sweet: promotes strength and nourishes all dhatus
Sour: stimulates good digestion
Salty: maintains water electrolyte balance
Pungent: improve digestion and nutrient absorption
Bitter: stimulates all other tastes
Astringent: aids in nutrient absorption
HERBS AND HERBAL MEDICINEAyurvedic medicine anchors itself in two theories: the Tridoshas and Herbal Energies. The latter classifices herbs based on their therapeutic and biochemical properties, as well as their energies, tastes and the organs and channels affected. Each herb has therapeutic properties, according to its energy.
As a part of the Ayurvedic Treatments, the Ayurveda practitioner will base their patient’s diet and herbal remedies on the properties or energy/quality of different herbs. These are determined based on the twenty attributes, which present themselves in ten pairs of opposites: slow/sharp, oily/dry, cold/hot, slimy/rough, dense/liquid, soft/hard, static/mobile, subtle/gross, cloudy/clear and heavy/light. Herbs are further divided according to six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Everyone needs the six tastes in their daily diet, however, one of them usually predominates.
Finally, it is worth noting that prescribing Ayurvedic herbal remedies is a precise science. As such, it requires deep knowledge of plants and their effect on human physiology, biochemistry and psychology. Consequently, these remedies must not be taken freely, nor sould they be prescribed by anyone other than qualified practitioners.