Ayurveda - Its Branches
Ayurveda is a science of health and healthy living. It is a very scientifically designed pathy that is meant for relieving people from there misery. It is more than 5000 years old science but even then it had separate specialized branches according to the need of the patient. It is divided into eight parts. These are:
1. Kaya chikitsa (general medicine)
2. Bal roga or kumar bhritya (pediatrics)
3. Shalakya tantra (eye, ear, nose and throat related science)
4. Shalya (surgery)
5. Agad tantra (toxicology)
6. Rasayan (science of rejuvenation)
7. Bajikaran (science of aphrodisiac)
8. grah or bhoot vidya (pyschotherapy)
Kaya chikitsa (General Medicine) It is the main branch of ayurveda and it is. It deals with the general medicine. Kaya in literal terms means body. Hence it is related to the methods by which body is relived by miseries. But is the myth that it only deals with the physical body. It also helps in combating with the subtle body also. Hence it is more of a psycho-somatic way of treatment. When the tridosha (vata, pitta and kapha) of the body gets vitiated, it interferes with the sapt dhatus (seven tissues) of the body to disrupt the normal bodily function. Kaya chikitsa is s holistic way of curing a disease by reaching the root cause the problem and then rectifying it with the medicines and food supplements. Various methods have been devised to examine the patient so as the cause of his misery and ailments are detected. Accordingly he is supplied with the remedy. There has been inclusion of various methods of performing treatments. One of the most common and the effective way of treating a disease is panchkarma. This is the series of five procedures or operations through which body is purified and cleansed from the vitiated dosha to achieve the state of homogenizes and happiness. In lay man term we can define panchkarma as the method by which there is the reversal of the pathway of the entry of the disease by detoxifying the body.
Charak samhita is the most appreciated book for practicing Kaya chikitsa. Charak samhita contains eight sthana which have a specific knowledge regarding subjects like anatomy, pathology medicine etc.
Bal Roga or Kumar Bhritya (Pediatrics)
This branch of ayurveda deals with the care and remedies related to children. It tells us every thing about parental care right from the birth of the child to the teens. Every aspect is covered in this subject regarding the stages of growth. Many methods have been discussed for improving the immunity and maintaing the proper growth of the child. All the sequence of the pattern and stages growth of the child to judge weather his growth is normal or not.
Kumar bhritya stare that the mental and physical condition of mother has a great impact on the health of the child. It also has recommended aahar (food) and vihar (life style) so as the mother could deliver healthy baby. It also deals with the treatment of various disorders like diarrhoea, constipation, fever, measles etc. other topic that are included in it are how to conceive, choosing gender of the child, improving intelligence of the child and midwifery. The major references of bal roga are found in kashyap samhita
Shalakya Tantra (eye, ear, nose and throat related science)
It deals with the cause, diagnosis, prognosis, prevention and remedies related to eyes, ears, nose and throat disorders.. As mentioned by sushurut there are about seventy two disease that is related to eyes. The name also signifies Shalakya tantra as “shallaka” in Sanskrit means a probe and all the procedures and examination regarding ENT and ophthalmology disorders are done via help of probe. Sushurut samhita has given even minute details of the Shalakya tantra which are very similar to that of the modern day detailing. Even the structure of eyes is defined in such a way that it is more minutely detailed as the modem sciences. There has also been mentioning of surgeries like rihnoplasty and auraplasty for cosmetic reasons. Various other methods regarding the general care of the eye and ENT structures has been mentioned in the text like charak samhita, sushurut samhita and ashtang samghrah.
Shalya tantra (General Surgery)
Ayurveda has mentioned surgery which is more advanced than that of the present era. Surgery belongs to the Dhanwantry School. Sushurut samhita is considered as the pioneer in giving procedures in surgeries. Sushurut the composer of sushurut samhita has very nice described every thing regarding surgery. It is a fact that for performing surgeries we must have a greater knowledge of anatomy. If compare anatomy as mentioned in sushurut, you will find it more superior and more descriptive the modern day anatomy. Knowledge of muscle, bones and tendons and ligaments was very much known to the ancient ayurvedic physician and surgeons.
Sushurut has mentioned complete and step by step details of various procedures that are related to the disorders like tumors, hemorrhages, injuries, fractures and deliveries. Good references of complicated procedures like intestinal obstructions and renal calculus have also been found. Cosmetic surgery was very advanced in that era. His surgery of trichiasis (eye related disorder) can be related to the techniques followed in modern day surgeries. Sushurut samhita also carries full description of the instruments used in performing surgeries. These instruments were made from stones, wood, metals and animal bones etc. a proper care like sterilization of those instruments were also taken into consideration. Usage of jaloka (leech) in skin related disorders and other ailments was also in use which modern science has now started practicing. Usage of kshar sutra (medicated thread) was used in excising the part which was to be operated which was the best technique to avoid any king of infection and recovery was very fast.
Agad tantra (toxicology)
It basically deals with the toxins. It mentions the way of getting rid of positioning in the body. There is mentioning of wide range of poisons which are either of animal or plant origin. There is also the mentioning of poisons derived from minerals like arsenic etc and artificial poisoning substances. Charak samhita, sushurut samhita and ashtang samghrah also mentions about the importance of Agad tantra in our lifestyle. It has also mentioned about the combination of the food stuffs that is to be avoided as they can become poison after coming in contact with each other. It also mentions about the antidotes of the poisons.
Rasayan (science of rejuvenation)
This branch of ayurveda deals with the promotion of longitivity and maintaining the health of the people. With the aid of rasayan we can increase the ojo (life force) of the body and also increase the immune system of an individual. In a lay man term rasayan can be said as the procedure or a substance by which aging process is retarded.
This method of beating our age has been time tested and was very much in practice in ancient India. Rishi by practicing therapy was able to attain youth for very long time. When taken as the literal meaning of the term rasayan, it means enhancing the effect of rasa (a vital fluid responsible for creating energy in our body.). You can yourself think of the importance of rasayan as it is mentioned in first chapter of chikitsa sthana of charak samhita. There are several rasayan mentioned in ayurveda. Major one are: amlaki (Indian goose berry), shilajit, ashwagandha, bhringraj, triphala etc.
There are two methods of application of rasayans. These are kutipraveshika rasayan and vatatpika rasayan.
Kutipraveshika is a set up in which there is the construction of a structure where a person willing of having rasayan is kept for prescribed amount of time. In vatatpika there is consumption of various types of herbs that serves the purpose of rasayan
Bajikaran (science of aphrodisiac)
This branch of ayurveda deals with the two application. One is to cover the infertility aspect and other is to cover the enhancement of sexual powers. Ayurveda has always stressed on producing a healthy progeny so as our society can develop. Hence to fulfill these criteria good qualities of sperms are to be produced. Bajikaran coves this aspect. It also helps in resolving the sexual related problems like infertility, impotence, decreased sperm count etc.
Grah or bhoot vidya or psychotherapy
It is another very important branch of ayurveda that deals with the mental disorders. In addition to the medicinal therapy to improve the condition, certain therapy like yoga and meditation are also included to cure a patient. This branch of ayurveda has some controversies attached to it as some of the experts believe that this branch deals with the supernatural forces that occupy the mind and the body. The other groups of experts believe it as a bacterial and viral infection in the body and give the explanation by defining the term bhoot that is synonyms to ghost , the invisible force that cause trouble to mankind. Bhoot vidya lays stress on the use of plants for disinfectant purposes so as to get rid of invisible bad forces (bacteria and virus) to infect the body and make the environment pure and disease free. These are mentioned under the name “graham vidya dravya”. Along with this other remedies like diet and various yoga procedures are also mentioned.