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Ayurveda emphasizes preventative and healing therapies along with various methods of purification and rejuvenation. Ayurveda is more than a mere healing system, it is a science and an art of appropriate living which helps to achieve longevity. It can guide every individual in the proper choice of diet, living habits and exercise to restore balance in the body, mind and consciousness, thus preventing disease from gaining a foothold in the system.
According to Ayurveda, every human being is a unique phenomenon (manifested through the five basic elements - ether, air, fire, water and earth) of cosmic consciousness. Vata (ether plus air), pitta (fire plus water) and kapha (water plus earth) are called the tridosha, meaning the three humors or the three organizations of the body, which are also derived from consciousness. Every individual psycho-somatic temperament or constitution is determined by these three doshas at the time of fertilization. When the embryo is formed the constitution is determined. There are seven basic constitutions according to Ayurveda: vata, pitta, kapha, vata-pitta, pitta-kapha, kapha-vata and vata-pitta-kapha. Every individual constitution has its own unique balance of V-P-K according to its own nature. The balance of V-P-K is the natural order, thus when this doshic balance is disturbed, it creates imbalance, which is disorder. Health is order; disease is disorder. Within the body there is a constant interaction between order and disorder, thus once one understands the nature and structure of disorder, one can re-establish order. Ayurveda believes that order lies within disorder.
Order is the state of health, as defined by Ayurveda, which exists when the digestive fire (agni) is in a balanced condition; the bodily humors (vata, pitta and kapha) are in equilibrium, the three waste products (urine, feces and sweat) are produced and eliminated normally, the seven bodily tissues (rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, asthi, majja and shukra) are functioning normally, and the mind, senses and consciousness are working harmoniously together. When the balance of these systems is disturbed the disease (disorder) process begins.
The internal environment is governed by V-P-K, which is constantly reacting to the external environment. The wrong diet, habits, lifestyle, incompatible food combinations (e.g. milk and fish, melons and grain, yogurt and meat or cooked honey etc.), seasonal changes, repressed emotions and stress factors can all act either together or separately to change the balance of V-P-K. According to the nature of the cause, either vata, pitta or kapha undergo aggravation or derangement which affects the agni (gastric fire), and produces ama (toxins). This ama enters the blood stream and is circulated throughout the body, clogging the channels. Retention of toxins in the blood results in toxemia. This accumulated toxicity, once well established, will slowly affect prana (vital life energy), ojas (immunity), and tejas (cell metabolic energy) and result in disease. This can be nature's effort at eliminating the toxicity from the body. Every so-called disease is a crisis of ama toxicity. Ama is the basic internal cause of all disease, due to the aggravated doshas.
Herein lies the key to the prevention of disease: help the body eliminate the toxins. To stop the further production of ama Ayurvedic literature suggests putting the person on a proper diet with appropriate lifestyle, habits and exercise, and administering a proper cleansing program such as panchakarma.
Five Basic Cleansing Methods
1) Vaman: therapeutic
vomiting or emesis
Panchakarma is a very special Ayurvedic operation requiring proper guidance from a highly trained and skillful Ayurvedic practitioner. This should not be undertaken just from information in this article. One should consult with an Ayurvedic physician, not just someone with a modest amount of training. Panchakarma is done individually for each person with their specific constitution and specific disorder in mind, thus it requires close observation and supervision.
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