The objectives of Ayurveda are
mainly two, the first being the maintenance of positive health, and the other
treatment of diseases. These clearly defined objectives are achieved through
logically developed means in a classical way. On the basis of objectives
defined, the sum and substance of Ayurveda can be classified into two parts -
Healthy man’s regimen - the science of positive
Patient’s regimen (aturavrittam)
Healthy man’s regimen
The emphasis on the concept of positive health is a unique feature of Ayurveda.
The radical shift occurred in defining health encourages the medical fraternity
of modern times to look deeply into empirically evolved ayurvedic techniques
for the maintenance of positive health. The recommendations that Ayurveda
puts forth in this regard include the observance of systematized daily routine
(dinacharya), life in accordance with seasons (ritucharya) and well planned
schedules of diet and exercise. Ayurveda stresses on the need of maintaining
personal, social and civic hygiene for the orderly upkeep of positive health.
Ayurveda recognizes that mind is very powerful both in the causation and cure
of diseases. So, strict mental discipline and adherence to moral values are
considered a pre-requisite for health. Therefore, ethical basis of life
(sadvrttam) is described as an important health support system.
The innate strength of an individual to resist the affliction of disease -
vyadhikshamatvam - is well considered and its positive and negative influence
on health understood. The techniques evolved in this regard are the boosters of
human immune system.
Experts view the recommendations suggested for maintenance of positive health
as protective measures against endogenous - eg. ageing - and exogenous - eg.
environmental pollution - afflictions and point out their efficacy in
strengthening the cellular function in human body. These observations are
comparable with modern concept of Prohost Therapy and use of Cyto-protective
Agents of contemporary medicine.
Obviously regular or periodic use of rejuvenative therapy (rasayanachikitsa)
also finds a place in the maintenance of positive health because of its
therapeutic potentials to delay the process of ageing and also to improve
quality of life.
In a nutshell, Ayurveda recommends socio-economic adjustments, modification of
personal habits, protection against trauma, control of infection, control of
pollution, and prophylatic medication for the maintenance of positive health.
Patient’s regimen (aturavrttam) deals with the curative and palliative measures
employed for the medical and emotional care of the patient. It includes
definition of the disease, etiology, clinical picture, patho-physiology,
prognosis and line of treatment consisting of drugs, diet and life style.
In patient's regimen
A condition of disease is caused by either internal (bodily) or
external (environmental) factors. Diseases can have somatic or psychic cause
factors. Ayurveda insists that more often than not every ailment will have a
psychosomatic etiology. More importantly, the therapeutic approach is focussed
not exclusively at the ailment as such, but it is directed at the patient as a
human being. Thus, the Ayurvedic approach to a patient and his cure is often
termed as holistic.
The Ayurvedic therapy is either palliative (samanam) or purificatory (sodhanam).
The palliative approach stresses on the use of medicaments. The famous
Panchakarma therapies and the supportive Kerala special therapies belong to the
purificatory approach. In both cases, proper control of food and behavioural
habits is a necessary component for achieving perfect cure.
The human constitution and the condition of his ailment are ensconced in a
three-factorial humoural (tridosha) frame-work which itself is a derivation
from the five-factorial (panchabhautic) macrocosmic frame-work. Medicaments,
the tools for dealing with a condition of ailment, are also perceived to belong
to these two axiomatic frame-works.