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Ayurveda > Kayachikitsa (treatment)

By Dr. Satish Kulkarni

Kaya means body and chikitsa means treatment in the literal sense. But a complete meaning of the word kayachikitsa is treatment of the body internally and externally, in every possible way, in health and in diseased condition, in all seasons—high and low— so as to maintain and achieve a status of complete health. Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to the treatment of the body. Change in food, change in clothing, change in residence as per seasonal needs, change in lifestyle—ayam and vyayam (exertion and exercise), yogasadhana (yogic exercises for body and mind), gati (movements) and many similar things are included in kayachikitsa. Thus kayachikitsa means total treatment of the body as is necessary. This provides fitness and assures health.

We saw in the article on pathology that Ayurveda follows two ways of treatment: shaman and shodhan. Shaman is soothing. It provides cooling to the irritated body and mind. It gives internal and external peace to both the body and the mind. It is a method aimed at achieving a status of health with some rest and/or mild medicines. Shaman walks by the side of the body on the path of treatment. It does not interfere with the functions of the body aggressively but provides necessary lubrication.

Shodhan is a stronger way of treating the diseased body, especially aggrieved doshas (basic body elements) and dathus (body tissues). It is a group of therapies, which are basically cleansing procedures. They help in cleansing the body in every possible way.

Shaman and Shodhan constitute one way of classification. Shaman includes snehan and swedan. Snehan is oiling of the body internally and/or externally. Swedan is induced sweating, preferably to be done after snehan.

If shaman is not sufficient to tackle the dysfunction of the body, shodhan is considered. Shodhan is used to wash out inflammation in dosha-dhatu-mala and to establish a state of health again. Shodhan includes vaman (artificially induced vomiting), virechan (bowel cleaning with the help of mild/strong herbal laxatives), basti (medicated enema), nasya (administration of medicines through nasal route) and lastly raktamoksha (‘impure’ blood letting).

There is another way of classifying treatments. It divides chikitsa (treatment) into three parts. These are purva-karma (pre-procedures), panch-karma (five main procedures which are executed when thorough cleansing of the body is necessary) and pashchat-karma (follow-up treatment). Snehan and Swedan are said to be purva-karma; vaman, virechan, basti, nasya and raktamoksha come under the heading of panch-karma and treatments like balya or bruhan (strengthening the body), santarpan (nurturing the body), rasayana (rejuvenating therapy) and vajikaran (improving sexual performance) are pashchat-karma.

To summarize, pancha-karma is purification therapy, introduced by Ayurveda. It is done after purva-karma and followed by pashchat-karma. All these are scientific and systemic procedures. They are used when the body is unable to cope up with its situation. These procedures help in bringing aggrieved dosha-dhatu-mala back to normal status. They also help in eradicating accumulated ama (toxins) from the body.

Kaya
Elimination of unwanted or toxic substances is a basic tendency of the body. If the body fails to do this on its own, then milder procedures like shaman can help. If shaman too does not work, then complete cleansing is achieved through one or more procedures of the panch-karma.

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Index
Introduction
Medicines
Ayurvedic Milestones
Ayurvedic Thought
 Vaat, Pitta, Kafa, Dosh
 Dhatu, Mala, Fire
Pathology - Ama
Treatments
 Shaman
 Ashtang Ayurved
 Agad Tantra
 Bhut-vidya
 Kayachikitsa
 Kaumar Bhrutya Tantra
 Purva-karma
 Panch-karma
 Vaman
 Virechan
 Basti
 Nasya
 Rakta-moksha
 Shaman
 Shalya Tantra
 Shalakya tantra
 Rasayana-Chikitsa
 Vajikaran-Chikitsa

Actual Case Notes
 Asthmatic Bronchitis
 Bleeding per anum
 Constipation
 Diarrhea
 Hair Loss
 Infections
 Libido
 Osteoarthritis
 Psychiatry
 Pregnancy Care
 Senile Debility
 Solution To Baldness
 Vaat Related Fever

Academic References
Ayurvedic Herbs
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