Ayurvedic Studies and specialization are characterized by The School of Surgeons (Dhanvantari) and School of Physicians (Atreya). Ayurvedic Studies are categorized into eight branches as below:
Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine) – Kaya (Body) is referred to as not just the gross body, but also the subtle body, according to Ayurvedic texts. Kayachikitsa recognizes that human body is a product of psychosomatic interactions, and that diseases are caused due to imbalances of the doshas (Vata, pitta and kapha), or sometimes by the dhatu (body tissues), mala (Toxin deposits) and sometimes by the mind. Hence this branch of alternative medicine, delves deep into finding out the root cause of illness, and then recommending a suitable treatment for balancing the mind and body. Kayachikitsa always provides an opportunity to stop disease at every stage, without its full manifestation. Panchakarma, is one of the significant treatments of Kayachikitsa.
Shalya Tantra (Surgery) – In contrast to modern concepts, surgery was practiced byAyurveda in ancient India, and Shalya Tantra is a significant branch of Ayurveda. Ancient Sage-physician Susruta, in his text, Susruta Samhita, mentions sophisticated surgical methods that were practiced in India. It deals with surgical methods adopted for dealing with tumors, bone fractures, external and internal injuries, pregnancy complications and obstruction in intestinal loop. The instruments adopted included those in wood, stone and other natural materials. Shalya Tantra was well-accepted due to the quick relief, rather than the slow recovery through herbal medicines. Even the best known ancient Ayurvedic physician, Charaka, recommended Shalya Tantra for treating certain diseases such as hemorrhoids.
Shalakya Tantra (Ophtamology, ENT) – This branch of Ayurveda deals with prognosis, diagnosis, prevention, etiology and treatment of ear, nose, throat, eye and head. This branch is so named, due to the excessive use of ‘shalaka’ which refers to a probe or a rod. This branch discusses about seventy two diseases pertaining to the eye. He also refers to various drug therapies such as glaucoma, conjunctivitis, ear diseases, nose, throat, pterygium, auroplasty and rhinoplasty. It also has simple home remedies for minor problems pertaining to mouth ulcers, migraine, eye drynessetc.
Agada Tantra (Toxicology) – Agada Tantra refers to various methods of removing toxins from the body, as well as antidotes for poisons. This branch deals with a various natural toxins resulting from wild lives such as insects, animals or birds, herbs, plants, vegetables, artificial poisons, minerals, and water and air pollution. Agada Tantra describes the disadvantages of bad food habits and drugs that lead to chronic poisoning symptoms. This branch also provides information regarding the accurate dosages of poisons after which they are considered fatal.
Kaumarabhritya (Paediatrics) – This branch provides a comprehensive knowledge about prenatal and postnatal care, and gynecology. Kaumarabhritya takes into consideration the physical and mental state of the mother, which has direct association with the child. It recommends a particular regimen of diet, nutrition and conduct forpregnant woman, and is so advanced that even years ago, the growth and progress of the foetus is described in detail. Apart from dealing with infertility problems, its causes and treatment, this also mentions about the method to deal with various disorders ofchild health, such as teething disorder, rickets or gastrointestinal diseases.
Vajikarana (Science of Aphrodisiac) – This branch of Ayurvedic studies, describes the art of producing a healthy offspring, for betterment of society. Therefore, this branch deals with issues such as infertility, conditions relating to shukra dhathu or crucial reproductive fluids of the body. This branch prescribes effective formulations to provide nutrition, and enhance the quality of body fluids, and emphasizes in leading a disciplined life. This branch of Ayurveda, highlights that celibacy is necessary for good health, as it increases memory, intellect and will power, in addition to maintaining a healthy body. As Shukra datu, is directly associated with body immunity, Vajikarana, prescribes the use of aphrodisiacs and tonics for enhancing reproductive capabilities.
Bhuta Vidya (Psychiatry) – This branch specifically deals with diseases of mind, which is caused by super natural forces. Different explanations are provided for the word “Bhuta”. While some refer to it as ghosts or bad spirits that cause abnormal psychological condition, others say it represents bacteria or viruses. It is also believed that the past karma, is the cause of such diseases, and hence Ayurveda does not have a direct explanation in terms of Tridosha. Bhuta Vidya explains that in most cases, illness is caused by mental disturbance when tarnas (ignorance) and rajas (passion) are the main factors. It refers to use of disinfectant plants ‘graha vidya dravva’ for fumigation, to keep the atmosphere germ free. It also recommends pranayama and meditation to soothe psychological disturbances.
Rasayana (Science of Rejuvenation) – This particular branch of Ayurveda, concentrates on “rasayana therapy”, which helps in increasing the immunity of a person and in enhancing ojas (life force) through regeneration of body cells and tissues. Rasayana is considered a therapeutic process to defer old age. Rasayana refers to augmentation of rasa (the crucial fluid produced during food digestion). Ayurveda considers rasa, as the body fluid which sustains life, and hence considers Rasayana as a method of treatment through which rasa is balanced in the body.
Another suggestion of rasa in Ayurveda is that it is the herbal medicine which retains the health and life of an individual, increasing his body and mental vigor. Hence rasayanas made from herbs and medicinal plants such as haritaki, amalaki etc are used since ancient days in giving disease free, long life to individuals. Another aim of this branch of Ayurvedic studies is to balance tridoshas. Hence this branch mentions thepreparations of herbal oils, meditative practices, Pranayama and meditation to attain mind and body healing.
Vd.Sushant Shashikant Patil
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