Every healthcare system has as its goal the treatment of disease. To understand its approach to treating disease, one must understand how a given practice views the origination of disease. For example, “Western” or allopathic medicine sees pathogens, bacteria, viruses, and other microbes, as the source of disease, so it has developed drugs and other protocols to “kill germs.” Chiropractic medicine sees the origination of disease as misalignments of the spine interfering with nerve transmissions, negatively impacting metabolic function, so it treats disease via realignment of the spine and bones.
Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, perceives disease as imbalances in dosha. Therefore, the approach of Ayurvedic medicine to the diagnosis and treatment of disease differs significantly from that of traditional medicine. However, that does not make such methodologies any less valuable. In fact, Ayurvedic principles can be very effective in treating many of the so-called “lifestyle conditions” that seem to be on the increase in modern society.
Ayurveda does not deny the existence of pathogens. However, it does not see these microorganisms as the ultimate cause of a given condition. Instead, Ayurvedic science hypothesizes that living out of harmony with our environment creates disharmony within our bodies, which creates a milieu in which such pathogens can gain a foothold, and thrive. Disease as western medicine perceives it, is then the result. But whereas the allopathic physician seeks to only kill the pathogens, the Ayurvedic practitioner aims to change the environment.
Can Such Alternative Practices Cure Disease?
Ayurveda cannot cure all disease states. Ayurvedic medicine divides diseases into two distinct categories, those that can be cured – sadhya, and those that cannot – asadhya. Ayurveda also classifies diseases by their underlying cause. Such as: a disease is classified as Samanyaj vyadhi when any one or two of the doshas are out of balance. It is called Nanatmaj when there is disequilibrium of one particular Dosha. Manas are diseases that are the result of dosha imbalances that interfere with the functioning of the nervous system.
Another Ayurvedic disease classification system breaks down diseases into:
• Adhyatmika Disease: These are the diseases that are caused by physical factors within the body. In the Ayurvedic tradition, congenital or heredity diseases would fall into this category.
• Adhibhautika Diseases: Are diseases that are caused by known external environmental factors, injuries, exposure to pathogens or toxins in food, water, or the air etc.
• Aadhidaivika Diseases: Are those conditions caused by unknown external factors, or the influences of Karma, “The Gods”, or other metaphysical forces.
In fact, there are dozens of other disease classifications in Traditional Indian Medicine. No matter what category a condition falls into, the techniques of Ayurvedic Medicine have proven to be beneficial in the treatment of many diseases such as:
• Chronic Pain
• Digestive Disorders
One aspect that is so unique to Ayurveda as a medical system is the way it looks at the origination of disease. In the science of Ayurveda, disease does not just happen to us. We are actively involved in the acquisition of disease – and actively involved in its cure.
Few other healing traditions are so empowering. In Traditional Indian Medicine, disease management is not a spectator sport. In Ayurvedic thinking, you are just as responsible in causing the disharmony that made you sick by the way you live your life – as you are in returning the balance that can get you well!