Eye patient has to be examined thoroughly for proper diagnosis so that appropriate management can be planned. What is healthy status or niramayata? How is disease generated? Charaka-Samhita, Sushruta-Samhita and Ashtanga-Hrudaya elaborated these points in their compendia. Some important points are discussed here:

3 Dosha, 7 Dhatu and 3 Mala should be maintained in homeostatic equilibrium for attaining healthy status. Their deviation on either side, vruddhi or kshaya, triggers genesis of disease. (Vruddhi means either aggrevation/vitiation or increase in one of the properties and kshaya means decrease in volume or one of the properties. Refer-S.Su.Ch.15, A.H.Su.Ch.1 & 11)

Etiological factors for vruddhi and kshaya of dosha:

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Vata Pitta Kapha
Prana vayu

When it conveys the Chakshurendriya buddhi/ visual impulses to mann and atma, then only images are perceived. Indriyadhruk and poorana/nourishment are its important functions.

2. Udana vayu

Bala and varnakruta are its functions. If vitiated causes chittabhransha and buddhibhransha (drushtibhransha), bluish, blackish discoloration and Urdhva – jatrugata vyadhi. It expresses various emotional feelings like pleasure, sorrow, anger, love, frustration etc on face. (Perhaps this is the reason behind calling eyes as mirror of emotions)

Vyana vayu – opening and closure of eyes, constriction and dilatation of pupil, circulation and propagation of rasa and rakta in all srotas are principle functions of this vayu. In presence of srotodushti it gets obstructed in srotas. It is vitiated by diseases of rasa, rakta, oja, and chetanadhatu; diarrhea, fever, aneamia; mental conditions like fear, sorrow, worry etc.

Samana vayu

Responsible for equilibrium of entire body functions. It gives strength to Jatharagni. It’s deviation from equilibrium causes eye diseases.

Apana vayu

Responsible for excreting the waste products. It has three properties namely yogavahi, vishada and daruna.

‘Vishada’-responsible for absorption of ‘kleda’ i.e. moisture causing dryness. Daruna-responsible for absorption of softness/ snigdhata causing hardness.

Pachaka pitta

Responsible for digestion of food material and segregation of dosha, rasadi dhatu, urine and stool. Disturbance of its equilibrium or it’s vitiation along with samana vayu and kledaka kapha, generates eye and other diseases.

Ranjaka pitta

It generates raktadhatu from rasadhatu. Its deficiency causes anemia resulting in Karana / indriya daurbalya.

Sadhaka pitta

Responsible for vigour i.e. sound physical and mental status; strong, healthy and well-nourished dhatus etc. It fulfills all wishes resulting in mental satisfaction. Its deficiency causes eye diseases due to weak and disturbed mental status as well as undernourished dhatus.

Alochaka pitta

Alochaka pitta/alochaka agni is responsible for visualizing objects. Its vitiation causes visual impairment.  

Digestion, body temperature, vision, hunger, thirst, appetite, luster, intelligence, bravery, patience, softness of body etc. are regulated by Pitta. It’s vrudhi or kshaya will cause disturbance in all these activities.

Kledaka kapha-

Homeostatic kledaka kapha, pachaka pitta and samana vayu are responsible for generating homeostatic Kapha which predominantly possesses madhura rasa.

-Unctuousness, healing, nurturing, nourishing, increasing strength, stability are the functions of this homeostatic kapha. Its deficiency causes faulty nourishment resulting in faulty functioning of various dnyanendriya, karmendriya etc.

-If madhura, amla and lavana rasa are ingested, kapha is nourished well whereas katu, tikta, kashaya rasa oppose genesis of prakruta kapha.

Tarpaka kapha

Shira i.e. brain is the location of tarpaka kapha. Minute centers of various dnyanendriya, karmendriya etc are situated in the shira. When sensory impulses are carried to mann and atma by pranavayu, then only various sensations are perceived. These impulses are again carried to brain / motor centres in brain for executing various activities.

-All these centers are located in majja dhatu in shira. Very unctuous, nourishing and nurturing Tarpaka kapha is essential for stabilizing these excessive vatika activities as well as for its smooth, regular and normal functioning.

-Homeostatic Kapha is essential for generating rasa, mansa, meda, majja and shukra in homeostatic conditions. Its deficiency or vitiation causes faulty generation of these dhatu.       

Marma in relation to Netra:

  1. Apanga marma– a sira marma, situated below the bhrupuchcha i.e. eyebrow, beyond the lateral corner of eye. Drushti gets destroyed in case of injury. It is vaikalyakara marma. (S.Sha. 6.28; A.H.Sha. 4.31,46,47 & 57)
  2. Avarta marma – situated deeply above eyebrows. When injured, dushti gets destroyed. (S.Sha. 6.28)

 

  1. Shrungataka marma

Joining of nourishing dhamanis of nose, ear, eye and tongue is termed as shrungataka marma. They are 4 in number and the ayama i.e. height is equal to ones palm. This is dhamani type of marma and in case of injury person dies on the spot. (C.Sha. 4.34,42,61; S.Sha. 6.28)

4.Sthapani marma – this marma is between two eyebrows. Foreign body in this location should not be extracted. If the place of introduction of foreign body gets inflamed and the body is discharged on its own due to inflammation, patient remains alive. If the foreign body is kept undisturbed, he can stay alive for rest of his life. On the contrary, if the surgeon attempts to extract the body, the patient dies.

 

Netra and dushya:

The effects of vruddhi and kshaya/dushti of various dushya on eye are elaborated in the following table.

Dushya Sara / strength features Vruddhi features Kshaya-dushti features
Rasa Prasanna i.e. satiated netra Gaurava Rukshta, shushkta, gauravata, margavarodha
Rakta Snigdha / glistening, reddish, pleasant eyes and other body parts. Reddish complexion, reddish eye, fullness of veins. Rukshta, sirasheithilya, visarpa (cellulitis), pidaka (furunculosis) , nilika (pigmented naevus), vidradhi, arsha, arbuda, raktapitta,  pittaja diseases.
Mansa Sthira, gauravata, well nourished and  strong         ————- Rouksha, toda, dhamani sheithilya, indriyadourbalya and general muscular weakness, arbuda, arsha, alaji.
Meda Especially snigdhata, bulky / obese. Anga-snigdhata i.e. glistening of body parts. Rouksha, granthi, arbuda
Majja Specifically snigdha / glistening eyes and other body parts; mahanetra / big sized eyes, strong. Netre and anga gauravata Bhrama (vertigo), timira darshana (darkness before eyes), murchcha (fainting),   abhishyanda.
Shukra Snigdha, pleasant kshirapurna-netra (glittering eyes); shweta danta, nails.      ——————          ——————–

 

Rasa, rakta, mansa, meda, majja and shukra along with Oja plays an important role in keeping the eye pleasant, satiated, lustrous, glittering, vigorous, healthy, strong and well nourished (Oja means bala i.e. strength).
Oja is considered as the supreme essence of all the tissues and its presence is necessary for all their vital i.e. anabolic activities. (Ancient Indian Surgery)
The kshaya or dushti of this dhatus and oja will generate various diseases/ disorders. Oja becomes catabolized in expressing various emotions as well as talking or doing various physical activities. Similarly mourning, anger, fear are also responsible for adverse effects on oja.
Note: cases where dosha in ayatana of indriya are vitiated, sense organs tend to be functionless.
References:

         Features of sara – C.V. 8-103 to 110; S.Su. 35-16

         Vruddhi features – S.Su. 15-18; A.H Su.11-7 to 11

         Kshaya features –S.Su.15-13; A.H.Su.11-17

         Dushti features –S.Su.24-8; A.H.Su.11-7 to 11

 

Netra and mala

The white and dense waste product generated through eyes is called as netradushika, which is a mala of mansa dhatu. Majjamala, which is snigdha, is excreted through eyes as well as through sweda, mutra, and purish; as a consequence, any obstruction to these waste products leads to diseases of eyes. Bhru/eyebrows are entitled as Asthimala which protect eyes from sweat from forehead (A.H.Sh. 6-63).
Netra and srotas:
Annavaha – these are 2 in number. The mulasthanaamashaya and annavaha dhamanis; Injury to them leads to total or partial blindness. Vitiation of jatharagni leads to vitiation of dosha. This vitiation of Agni and dosha leads to the generation of various eye diseases, ultimately precipitating total or partial blindness. (S.Sh. 9-12.)
Raktavaha – these are 2 in number. The mulasthanayakrut and pleeha and raktavaha dhamanis; injury to them leads to red eyes ( S.Sh.9-12.)
Padagata srotas – A.H. suggests 2 large siras reach eyes from feet. The virya of oils etc and paste applied to feet reach the eyes. Hence feet should be protected with footwear; should be kept clean and such medicinal applications are made on feet for better health of eyes (A.H. U. 16-65, 66).

 

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External environmental acquaintance with the living body is executed by five sense organs namely netra (eye), karna (ear), nasa (nose), jivha (taste buds), and twak (skin)- S.Sh.1-15.

All dnyanendriyas i.e. sense organs are panchbhautic in composition. In spite of this fact, every indriya or sense organ perceives object/tanmatra of that mahabhuta from which it is originated or one which is predominant. For example, the eye is originated from teja mahabhuta and hence perceives the object of teja mahabhuta only i.e. it is capable of performing ‘rupagrahana’, i.e. visual perception only. An eye is not capable of perceiving senses like audio, tactile etc. Virtual dnyanendriyas or sense organs or centers of perception are minute and are located in brain and organs perceiving them like the eye, ear etc. are the instrumental sense organs or ‘adhishthana’ (Charaka Sh.1-138).

Charaka in Sutrasthana Ch. 8 has explained the functioning of Dnyanendriya. He has laid down panch-panchaka concept for this. It includes pancha dnyanendriya, predominant mahabhoota originating them, adhishthana, artha i.e. sense objects and buddhi i.e. interpreting brain center of that sense organ. It is as follows in case of Netra.

 

Sense organ Chakshurindriya
Mahabhuta Teja mahabhuta
Dnyanendriya adhishthana Netra (Eye)
Artha/ sense object Roopa tanmatra/sight i.e. perception of size, shape, colour etc. of an object.
Indriya buddhi / Visual centres. It is created by togetherness of Chakshurindriya buddhi i.e. visual centres in occipital cortex, mann (mind) and atma (soul)

 

Perception of an image is the function of drushti which is the location of Alochaka pitta. This sensation is conveyed through dhamanis to mann and atma through pranavayu and the sequence is responsible for the perception of an object. In this way the external object is perceived when atma unites/linked with mann; Mann unites with indriyabuddhi; Indriyabuddhi unites with tanmatra; Tanmatra unites with adhishthana; Adhishthana unites with mahabhuta; and Mahabhuta unites with minute virtual dnyanendriya located in the brain. In this process of perception of an object by eye, pranavayu and kapha located in shira play an important role. Healthy status of all sense organs depends upon homeostatic i.e. physiological conditions especially of pranavayu and tarpaka kapha. Once the above sequence is completed, then the image of a particular object is interpreted and perceived.

Role of Dosha-Dhatu-Mala

The living body is sustained by 3 dosha, 7 dhatu, and 3 mala. All body functions are controlled by dnyanendriya, karmendriya, mann, and atma (S.Su 15-3). Dosha-dhatu-mala has to stay in equilibrium, their deviation either from physiology or towards pathology; triggers genesis of diseases. Following passages will explain how homeostatic conditions of dosha-dhatu-mala become responsible for normal functioning of dnyanendriya like Netra.

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Before considering the Samprapti of Netraroga, I would like to highlight the following important points.

Importance of equilibrium of Dosha-
The homeostatic condition of Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala is essential for maintaining the normal functioning of various Dnyanendriya, Karmendriya, Mann (mind) and Atma (soul). Their deviation either from physiology or towards pathology triggers genesis of disease (A.H.Su.1-20).

Six stages of Samprapti / Pathogenesis-
According to Sushruta( S. Su. 21-36), 6 stages are necessary for generating disease of a particular structure. They are Chaya (accumulation), Prakopa (excitation), Prasara (spread), Sthanasanshraya (localization), Vyakta and Bheda (complete manifestation of disease).

Importance of Srotovaigunya i.e. Abnormality-
The spreading vitiated Dosha get localized / settled / lodged wherever Kavaigunya / Srotovaigunya i.e. abnormality is present (S. Su. 24-10).

General Samprapti of Netraroga-
Dosha vitiated by various etiological factors; especially the ones specifically acting on eyes (caused by unwholesome diet and injudicious activities); when passes upwards through sira; occupy different structures like Vartma, Sandhi, Shukla, Krushna, Drushti and Sarva / all parts of eye; and then precipitate diseases of that particular structure only if Srotovaigunya is present there (S.U. 1-20, 21 and A.H.U. 8-1, 2; A.H.Ni.1-12).

In very few diseases Sushruta described some specific Samprapti e.g. Srava, Savrana Shukra, Ajakajata, Timira, etc. Timira, Kacha, and Linganasha are 3 main diseases of Drushtigata Roga causing partial or total blindness if not treated properly and promptly. Hence their specific Samprapti is described here.
Specific Samprapti / Pathogenesis of Timira / Kacha / Linganasha
Dosha, vitiated by various etiological factors / specifically some Timira generating dosha (Dalhana), when enters the Eye through sira and get lodged in the First Patala i.e. Tejojalashrita (due to pre-existing Srotovaigunya); generate pathology there i.e. Timira. If neglected / untreated, these Dosha become more and more intensified / aggravated and invade 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Patala and precipitate Kacha and Linganasha. The mild blurring of vision in the affliction of 1st Patala gradually increases leading to the visual loss in the 4th Patala.

Thus derangement of the environment in the vicinity of Tejojala i.e. aqueous humor is responsible for the development of Timira / Kacha / Linganasha. If the environment remains within the physiological limits, vitiated dosha shall not be able to get settled in the 1st Patala.

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  1. Turbidity/avilata, oedematous look of eye/sasarambhata, frequent watering of eye, itching, profuse secretions/upadeha, heaviness/guruta indicates Kapha vitiation.
  2. Burning sensation indicates Pitta vitiation.
  3. Redness indicates Rakta vitiation.
  4. Pricking sensation/toda, Foreign body sensation/bristle like movements with some pain in fornix indicates Vata vitiation. (S. U. 1-21 to 23)

Being Prodromal features, these are not clearly expressed or visualized. But in such conditions also if there is visual impairment or impaired lid movements, then the wise clinician should understand that the Eye is occupied by various Vitiated Dosha.

Indriya-Aayatan Dosha / Disorders of sense organs

When the sense organs are unable to perceive/interpret or interpret the received sensations in a twisted manner, the condition is called as Indriya-Aayatan Dosha i.e. Disorders of sense organs. (S. Su.24-9)

[Karana daurbalya i.e. weakness of sense organ, mentioned in Charaka Su. 11-8, is also responsible for improper functioning of sense organ.]

Vitiation of Dosha is the main etiological factor for Eye diseases along with some anatomical / structural defects; physiological i.e. functional anomalies; adibala pravrutta, janmabala pravrutta etc. (S. Su. 24-5); Asatmendriyartha sanyoga, Pradnyaparadha and Parinama (C. Su. 11-43). Besides these some specific etiological factors for eye diseases are also mentioned in S. U. 1-26, 27; A.H.U.8-1, 2 and Madhava Nidana Uttarardha-page 690. All these etiological factors are listed in a tabulation form as under- Continue Reading

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Why do you need a good Comprehensive Text Book of Shalakya Tantra?

I, Prof. Dr. Narayan J. Vidwansa, started my career as a teacher in 1977 in SHALYA-SHALAKYA TANTRA Department at Vidarbha Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, AMRAVATI (M.S.). Being a combined department, Shalakya always remained somewhat neglected. From 1980 onwards Shalakya department got separate entity with allocation of separate teaching staff. This pattern definitely helped in development of the subject and the department.

In these circumstances students eagerly searched for a good text book. The literature of Shalakya Tantra is scattered in Sutrasthana, Nidanasthana, Chikitsasthana, besides Uttara-Tantra of Sushruta Samhita; which is the principle and important Samhita as far as Shalya-Shalakya Tantra is concerned. Moreover, description of Etio-Pathology, features of a disease are given in one chapter and it’s management is given in a different chapter, either separately or combinedly with other diseases e. g. Sarvagata Netraroga are described in S.U.Ch.6 whereas management of all Vataja Sarvagata Netraroga is given in S.U.Ch.9. In Ashtanga Hrudaya and Sangraha also; though all Shalakya diseases are included in Uttara Sthana, their description and management is given in separate chapters.

Moreover, many diseases have very brief description with too much similarity in features; this causes more confusion. Students as well as teachers were compelled to search various compendia, commentaries and books / Samhitas; even for a minor reference to fulfil their eager to learn. Without proper guidance, students have to live with brief and vague references. I was also one of them. Over the span of two decades of my teaching career, I found students and teaching fraternity desiring for a book which has all required references and correct interpretation of ancient Ayurvedic text.

Aim of publishing Text Book of Shalakya

All these circumstances compelled me to write a Text Book of Shalakya which includes all the important references from Bhruhatrayi and Laghutrayi with correct interpretation of ancient Ayurvedic text along with all important diseases from Modern Ophthalmology, ENT as well as Dentistry. My dream was fulfilled in the year 2004 i.e. after 27 years of my teaching career.

My Marathi book “NETRAROGA VIDNYANA” was published at the hands of senior most Ophthalmologist Dr. S. M. Sathye Sir, retired H.O.D. Shalakya Tantra department, Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Pune in the auditorium of Amravati University, Amravati. I was overwhelmed with huge popularity of the book in Maharashtra resulting in subsequent 10th editions with more details. Response from the students encouraged me to write second volume on “SHIRO-KARNA-NASA and MUKHA-DANTAROGA VIDNYANA” in Marathi. It was published in 2010 at the hands of senior most Surgeon Dr. R.B. Gogte Sir, retired H.O.D., Shalya Tantra department, at NIMA hall of Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Pune. Presently it’s 6th edition is in circulation. (First 8 and 4 editions were published under “Anand Prakashana” and last 2 editions under “Vimal Vision Publication”.)

Here I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my beloved students throughout MAHARASHTRA for patronising my both books in increasing numbers.

I was fortunate enough to visit many Ayurvedic colleges throughout India as an examiner or as a resource person in seminars, conferences, teacher’s reorientation programmes etc. Interestingly during interactions with students out of Maharashtra, I was always asked about availability of either English or Hindi editions of my books. The response from students, scholars and teachers encouraged me to translate my books in English. With lot of hard work and grace of almighty Lord Dhanvantari, English version of “NETRAROGA VIDNYANA” and “SHIRO-KARNA-NASA and MUKHA-DANTAROGA VIDNYANA” was published in November 2015 and September 2016 at the 1st and 2nd International Conference of TAS (The Association of Shalaki) respectively at Belgavi (Karnataka) and Nadiad (Gujrat).

I am deeply indebted to the students throughout India for their overwhelming response, appreciation and acceptance of 1st Edition of both English Books. This encouragement gives me the strength to publish the 2nd editions of both English Books which are now available on http://drnarayanvidwansa.com/product-category/english-books/

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF BOOKS.

  • Based on syllabus by Central council of Indian Medicine, New Delhi, for Final year B.A.M.S. course.
  • Very elaborative point wise detailed description of all Ophthalmological, E. N. T. & Orodental diseases from Ayurvedic and Modern Science in very simple and clear English.
  • All the important verses from Charaka, Sushruta, Ashtanga Hrudaya / Sangraha, Madhava Nidana, Yoga Ratnakar, Bhavaprakash, Dalhana, Videha, Indu etc.are included which is BENIFICIAL in solving M.C. Q.
  • Self-explanatory diagrams / sketches will definitely help in understanding the basic Anatomy. Similarly, coloured photographs are useful in understanding the conditions in detail.
  • Various complicated / confusing conditions and disorders are elaborately described and explained in detail by comparing them with Modern Science under the heading “AUTHER’S SPECIAL COMMENTS.” It will help in understanding the condition clearly.
  • One of my goals was to have Pharmaceutical preparations with ingredients which are easily and readily available; which are concise and easy to remember. ONLY such formulations are included in this book with some EXCEPTIONS.
  • Many statements, conditions, complications, contraindications described in Charaka, Shushrta and other Samhitas does not stand correct in the present most advanced scientific era. Those conditions could be the possible outcome in the era of Charaka, Sushruta i.e. 2000 to 3000 years back. Specific corrective instructions / procedures / measures are given by the Author in this book at the respective statement.
  • The context of knowledge changes with the changing technology and inventions and one has to keep pace with it. It is followed in this book.
  • At the end of last chapter, BRIEF DESCRIPTION of each disease along with principle of treatment is given in a TABULAR FORM. It is useful for better understanding, memorising and for differential diagnosis.
  • Readers should use this book as a launching pad for improving their knowledge and surgical skills for the benefit of the mankind.
  • Bestselling Text book in MAHARASHTRA.
  • Appreciated by the Teacher fraternity.
  • Beneficial to Post Graduate students also.

 

To Order my all  books online : Click Here

Regards :
Prof. Dr. Narayan Vidwansa

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Ayurveda has slowly gained prominence because it is trusted system of healing that has no side effects at all. It is often used in conjunction with conventional medicine. As ayurveda is a holistic, curative and preventative system of health it has both physical and psychological benefits and improves health by balancing the mind, body and spirit. Read on to know how to improve health through ayurveda.

Determine Your Dosha type: Based on the concept of energy Ayurveda considers that there are three basic energy types called doshas, which are present in every person. All of us have all the three doshas, however only 1or 2 are actually dominant. You can practice ayurvedic principles of living healthy by consulting an ayurvedic practitioner to determine your dosha or constitution or prakriti.

Follow Ayurvedic Diet: To do this you will have to establish your dosha type. This can guide you on the foods that you should consume and the foods that you should avoid. Following the ayurvedic diet usually does not cost more than you would normally spend on groceries. Ayurveda recommends having the largest meal between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and a small breakfast and small dinner. In addition all six tastes should be incorporated in each meal (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent).

Follow Healthy Sleeping Habits: Maintain healthy sleeping habits by sleeping early (before 10 p.m.) and waking early (before 6 a.m).

Have a Healthy Morning: In the morning drink a warm glass of water with lemon juice. Massage yourself with warm oil (especially the limbs, the joints, and abdomen). Indulge in some type of medication every day. Do exercises daily (before 10 a.m.). Avoid doing exercises in the middle of the day, or before bedtime.

Yoga and meditation: Regular practice of yoga and meditation has several benefits. You will surely notice improvement in your awareness, physical health, mental stability and your ability to deal with stress. Yoga is considered good for spiritual growth as well. Meditation also has several benefits. It clears your mind, improves your awareness and leads to a healthier mind and body.

You can learn yoga and meditation by joining classes or from videos, books and web sites.
Ayurveda is not only a type of medical science for the treatment of a disease; it can be considered as a way of life that promotes a happy, healthy and disease free long life. Your active participation is needed for being healthy as most ayurvedic principles require changes in diet, lifestyle, and habits.

 

Follow Ayurvedic Diet: To do this you will have to establish your dosha type. This can guide you on the foods that you should consume and the foods that you should avoid. Following the ayurvedic diet usually does not cost more than you would normally spend on groceries. Ayurveda recommends having the largest meal between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and a small breakfast and small dinner. In addition all six tastes should be incorporated in each meal (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent).

Follow Healthy Sleeping Habits: Maintain healthy sleeping habits by sleeping early (before 10 p.m.) and waking early (before 6 a.m).

Have a Healthy Morning: In the morning drink a warm glass of water with lemon juice. Massage yourself with warm oil (especially the limbs, the joints, and abdomen). Indulge in some type of medication every day. Do exercises daily (before 10 a.m.). Avoid doing exercises in the middle of the day, or before bedtime.

Yoga and meditation: Regular practice of yoga and meditation has several benefits. You will surely notice improvement in your awareness, physical health, mental stability and your ability to deal with stress. Yoga is considered good for spiritual growth as well. Meditation also has several benefits. It clears your mind, improves your awareness and leads to a healthier mind and body.

You can learn yoga and meditation by joining classes or from videos, books and web sites.
Ayurveda is not only a type of medical science for the treatment of a disease; it can be considered as a way of life that promotes a happy, healthy and disease free long life. Your active participation is needed for being healthy as most ayurvedic principles require changes in diet, lifestyle, and habits.

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yurveda is a holistic system of medical science and is the oldest healing science which is almost 5000 years old. Ayurveda contains two Sanskrit words: Ayu which means life or lifespan and Veda meaning knowledge (The Science of Life). This system of medicine was shaped in the ancient lands of India. Hindu Vedas consider Ayurveda as a gift of Gods to mankind which was communicated to the saints and sages of India through deep meditation. Veda Vyasa, one of the greatest sages of India is considered to have written the Vedas for the first time. These Vedas have topics on health and the use of various herbs to cure the diseases.

The four main Vedas are Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva Veda (Ayurveda which means The Science of Life is a subsection of the Atharva Veda). In the beginning only Brahmins learnt the principle of healing and were considered as physicians. However, with time this changed and people from other castes also learned this art of healing and the specific term vaidya was brought into use for these practitioners.

Around 1500 B.C. the use of ayurveda increased for treating various diseases and it was divided into eight specific branches of medicine. In addition Atreya- the school of physicians and Dhanvantri- the school of surgeons originated. The Chinese, Tibetans, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Afghanistanis, and Persians came to India to learn ayurvedic principles of healing and treatment. Ayurvedic texts were translated in Arabic and these were used by physicians such as Avicenna and Razi Sempion, to establish Islamic medicine. Besides this, Ayurveda became popular in Europe as well and it formed the foundation of the European tradition in medicine. Paracelsus, the father of modem Western medicine (1600 AD) has also adopted from ayurveda (in the system of medicine that he practiced).

In the past few centuries ayurveda went through a period of decline in India (specifically during the period of British rule). During this period it became the second option for treatment used mostly by traditional spiritual practitioners and the poor. After independence, ayurveda started to gain importance again and several schools have been established since then.

Ayurveda is based on the fundamental principle that to prevent and treat illness, maintaining a balance in the body, mind, and consciousness through proper drinking, diet, and lifestyle, as well as herbal remedies, is essential. Even today ayurvedic medicine maintains its holistic approach to health and treatment of diseases. The branches of modern ayurveda include:

  • Principles of preventive healthcare for the entire family (kulam svastyam kutumbakam).
  • Treatment of addictions (sangakara chikitsa).
  • Purification and rejuvenation treatments (panchakarma chikitsa).
  • The ayurvedic approach to diet and weight loss (sthaulya chikitsa)
  • Musculoskeletal system treatments (vatavyadhi chikitsa).
  • Promotion of self-healing and resistance to disease (svabhaavoparamavaada).
  • Male and female infertility (vajikarana).
  • Beauty and cosmetic treatments for men and women (saundarya sadhana).

Since the mid 70’s the popularity of ayurveda has steadily increased in the developed nations (USA and Europe). In these countries it is included in the alternative and complementary therapies and is often used along with conventional (prescription) medications for treatment of chronic illness such as joint problems and skin problems. People from these developed countries have been coming to ayurvedic schools to learn its principles of healing and treatment.

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One out of the eight branches of Ayurveda, Shalakya Tantra deals with the etiology, diagnosis, prognosis, prevention and treatment of diseases that are located above the neck region such as the head, ear, nose, eye and throat. It is responsible for all types of problems in and around the head. The name of the branch is so called because of its excessive use of ‘Shalaka’, which means probe. In South India, the branch is also known by the name – Urdhwangchikitsa. The word can be broken into two parts – Urdhwang which means the body parts above the shoulder and Chikitsa which signifies treatment. In Shalakya Tantra, there are different types of probe that are included. Some of them are probe of the eye (netra shalaka), probe of the ear (karna shalaka), probe of the nose (nasa shalaka), of the throat (mukh shalaka) and of the lips (oshta shalaka).

Textual Reference The process of Shalakya Tantra includes different techniques that are applicable for the treatment of all the problems. The main aspects of Shalyakya tantra is described in the ancient ayurvedic texts such as Sushrut Sanhita, Charak Sanhita and Ashtang Hruday. The books mainly deal with treatment of different types of conjunctivitis and glaucoma, along with surgical procedure of the removal of cataract and cosmetic surgery such as rhinoplasty and auroplasty (repair of traumatized nose and ear). Apart from the above mentioned complicated problems and of treatment, the three samhitas – Charaka, Susruta and Astanga Hridaya, recommend simple home remedies for minor problems, such as dryness of eye, wax in ear, migraine and mouth ulcers etc. which are being successfully administered even today.

Diseases Approximately 72 diseases of the eye are discussed by Sushrut Sanhita, including surgical procedures for cataracts, conjunctivitis, pterygium, pre-glaucomatic condition and glaucoma and diseases of the iris/pupil. The branch is not just revolved around the problem and the treatment, but also deals with general aspects. Talking about the eyes, it describes the structure of the eyes in a way that all the intricate things are also dealt with, as in modern science. Surgeries such as hinoplasty and auraplasty have also been mentioned in the texts for cosmetic reasons. The three books, Charak Samhita, Sushurut Samhita and Ashtang Samghrah, also mention the methods regarding the general care of the eye and ENT structures. In addition to this, Shalakya Tantra has listed 25 diseases of the ear, 18 diseases of the nose, 11 diseases of the lips, 1 disease of the lymph glands, 23 diseases of the teeth, 6 diseases of the tongue, 8 diseases of the palate, 18 diseases of the throat-pharynx-larynx and 8 diseases of the oral cavity.Read more at http://ayurveda.iloveindia.com/ayurvedic-treatment/shalakya-chikitsa.html#3LemIrx00F3U0EpZ.99

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