The Ayurvedic treatment of disease can broadly be classified as:
- Shodhana therapy (Purification Treatment)
- Shamana therapy (Palliative Treatment)
- Pathya Vyavastha (Prescription of diet and activity)
- Nidan Parivarjan (Avoidance of disease causing and aggravating factors)
- Satvavajaya (Psychotherapy)
- Rasayana therapy (use of immunomodulators and rejuvenation medicines)
Shodhana treatment aims at removal of the causative factors of somatic and psychosomatic diseases. The process involves internal and external purification. The usual practices involved are Panchkarma (medically induced Emesis, Purgation, Oil Enema, Decoction enema and Nasal administration of medicines), Pre-panchkarma procedures (external and internal oleation and induced sweating). Panchkarma treatment focuses on metabolic management. It provides needed purificatory effect, besides conferring therapeutic benefits. This treatment is especially helpful in neurological disorders, musculo-skeletal disease conditions, certain vascular or neuro-vascular states, respiratory diseases, metabolic and degenerative disorders.
Shamana therapy involves suppression of vitiated humours (doshas). The process by which disturbed humour subsides or returns to normal without creating imbalance of other humours is known as shamana. This treatment is achieved by use of appetizers, digestives, exercise and exposure to sun, fresh air etc.In this form of treatment, palliatives and sedatives are used.
Pathya Vyavastha comprises indications and contraindications in respect of diet, activity, habits and emotional status. This is done with a view to enhance the effects of therapeutic measures and to impede the pathogenetic processes. Emphasis on do’s and don’ts of diet etc. is laid with the aim to stimulate Agni and optimize digestion and assimilation of food in order to ensure strength of tissues.
Nidan Parivarjan is to avoid the known disease causing factors in diet and lifestyle of the patient. It also encompasses the idea to refrain from precipitating or aggravating factors of the disease.
Satvavajaya concerns mainly with the area of mental disturbances. This includes restraining the mind from desires for unwholesome objects and cultivation of courage, memory and concentration. The study of psychology and psychiatry has been developed extensively in Ayurveda and has wide range of approaches in the treatment of mental disorders.
Rasayana therapy deals with promotion of strength and vitality. The integrity of body matrix, promotion of memory, intelligence, immunity against the disease, the preservation of youth, luster and complexion and maintenance of optimum strength of the body and senses are some of the positive benefits credited to this treatment. Prevention of premature bear and tear of body tissues and promotion of total health content of an individual are the roles that Rasayana therapy plays.