Born in India over 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda is the traditional natural healing system.
As it is based on immutable and eternal principles, it can be applied all over the world, in every country. It provides the correct knowledge on how to live naturally in harmony with our inner self and with the external environment.
The word Ayurveda is made up of two suffixes: “Ayu” = life and “Veda” = knowledge. Therefore it means the knowledge of life in all its aspects (physical, physiological, psychological, behavioural, environmental), and more particularly in the knowledge of the lifespan. The World Health Organization has recognized the validity of Ayurveda; as a consequence, its absolute scientific nature has been worldwide acknowledged.
According to Ayurveda, health is not merely the absence of disease, but is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being of our body, including an appropriate lifestyle and behavioural habits, healthy eating in accordance with our body constitution, a correct use of our senses, emotions, intelligence. According to Ayurveda, we cannot merely study the diseases, but we have to study men and know each patient in his/her most intimate and deepest nature in order to really treat them.
Ayurveda allows each of us to reveal our true nature and shows how to keep the harmonious balance between the Man (microcosm) and the Universe (macrocosm). Each of us has a defined physical structure, together with his/her own physiology, eating and behavioural habits, and a mental and emotional activity. They all together constitute a whole one mind-body system whose mode of operation is called PRAKRUTI. It is based on the predominance of the three different energies, physiological principles, called DOSHA: VATA, which governs movement; PITTA, responsible for the digestion; KAPHA, responsible for the structure (weight, cohesion and stability). The word DOSHA literally means ‘impurity’ and is related to any eventual body-mind imbalances and therefore to the onset of diseases.
VATA governs the nervous system’s functionality, together with the circulatory, respiratory, excretory and locomotive disorders.
PITTA governs the digestive, metabolic and endocrine functions.
KAPHA governs the joints lubrication, together with immunity, and promotes growth and strength.
It is important to underline that there is a strong correlation between the Ayurvedic doctrine of the TRIDOSHA and the modern theory of psychoneuroendocrinoimmunology as VATA, PITTA and KAPHA respectively represent the nervous system, the endocrine system and the immune system.
At the bottom of the TRIDOSHA there are the 5 elements (panchamahabhuta): ether, air, fire, water, earth. Vata is mainly constituted by ether and air; Pitta, by fire and water; Kapha, by from land and water.
These 5 elements exist in every living and not living being; due to a physical problem or mental, their energy cannot flow freely, thus creating an imbalance that can lead to diseases in the long run. We must know the logic of the Ayurvedic system in order to fully get an understanding of the diagnostic methods used in Ayurveda.
In order to achieve a sustainable and lifelong balance, the Ayurvedic practitioner assesses the degree of unbalance in the patient’s physiology, compared to the degree of balance, which is still present, and takes advantage of the second one to recover the overall health. Order and disorder, strength and weakness, balance and imbalance are measured by the art of reading of the DOSHA (physiological principles), DHATU (tissues), AGNI (digestive fire), AMA (toxins), Mala (excrements), SROTA (channels).
The examination of the wrist (nadi pariksha) is still the most important method for the diagnostic process and it has been preserved until the modern age, together with a whole set of practical notions. The examination of the wrist consists in listening to the radial wrist and drawing from it all the necessary information on the state of health and physiology, in order to revitalize the inner intelligence, restore the balance and prevent that small imbalance can lead to a manifested disease in the long run. This practice is widespread among Ayurvedic doctors, especially among the traditional practitioners. Therapeutic practices are well structured and based on the Ayurvedic preparations of those medicinal plants, which can awaken and stimulate the natural and intelligent self-healing mechanisms inside our body. Together with these medical plants, we remember physical practices as the Ayurvedic massage, detoxifying practices as panchakarma, behavioural and eating rules on the basis of the specific constitution, yoga, meditation, breathing techniques.