Ayurveda in Kerala
Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine was developed by ancient sages through keen observation of life and functions. This system of medicine has prevailed for the past 5000 years, visualises the universe as a constant play of energies an imbalance of which induces disease and discomfort in the body. In this system of medicine priority has always been on prescribing an appropriate life-style blended to astrological, climate and geographical conditions. Kerala has a rich tradition in Ayurveda and the people adhere to a strict Ayurvedic life-style. Physicians classify a patients' health based on the degree of imbalance of the three doshas namely Vata, Pitha and Kapha. Vata is that which constitutes bodily movement and activity; Pitha, the entire bio-chemical process operating in a body and Kapha is the entire physical volume in living organisms. A disturbance in any of the three doshas results in a particular disease and the treatment administered accordingly. Treatments vary in duration and intensity. Treatment is either with medicines or with oil baths and massages. Ayurveda recommends Panchakarma processes of Vamana (emesis), Virechana (purgation), Vasti (enema), Raktamoksham (bloodletting) and Naysa (nasal medication) for rejuvenating the body and mind.
Kerala has a special type of Ayurvedic treatment. Though the texts of lessons studied are the same the system of treatment is entirely different and far more effective as well. These special Kerala treatments include Pizhichil (oil bath), Ilakizhi (leaf bundle massage), Navarkizhi (rice bundle massage) etc. which are widely and effectively used in the rheumatic astringent, paralysis, facial palsy, motorneuron disease, ankylosing spondylitis, acute infective polyneuritis, various spinal problems, gastric or peptic ulcers etc.
Healthy mind is seen only in a healthy body - ayurveda believes. Mental aberrations can lead to ill health and vice versa. According to Ayurvedic Theory, no one can cure mental diseases permanently but reassurances, consolation and dietic treatment with the aid of drugs which have got soothing effect and which will restore the mental equilibrium will help in correcting the condition.
Ayurveda is not merely a collection of effective drugs, herbs and remedies, but is essentially knowledge of the art and science of living which man will need as long as there is life on this earth.