“Healthy Individual” What does it take to be one. Is it a perfect physical body with all the parameters in the right range? Arguably more than that. It is not a mere absence of disease either.
Ayurveda provides a definition to health which is specific and clear and can guide us in our daily life to achieve it with ease.
समदोषः समाग्नि श्च समधातुमलक्रि यः |प्रसन्नात्मेंन्द्रि यमनाः स्वस्थ इत्यभि धीयते ||
Acharya Sushruta defines health as a state of equilibrium in the activities of Doshas ( Vata-Pitta-Kapha or the functional components ), Agni ( digestive and metabolic fire), Dhatus (structural components) and Malas ( waste products ). Furthermore he adds that the soul, mind and senses should be at complete ease to be called healthy.
Let us now try and understand what it means little in detail.
The tridoshas form a basic functional component of the body. When in balance they are responsible for health. Since they have the tendency to get vitiated easily, keeping them under check is the basic tenet of health. Daily and seasonal purification will help to bring the excess or vitiated doshas in balance to get to the state of “Samadosha”.
Agni refers not just to digestion, but also to the metabolism and various other transformation processes. With disciplined eating of warm light fresh food keeping in mind the hunger, Agni should be maintained and kept in Samagni state. With duerespect to season, time of the day and body type Agni can be either pacified or stimulated using various preparations.
The elimination of wastes is essential to preventing the accumulation of toxins in the body. Ama(toxins) according to Ayurveda is the root cause for all the ailments. Here the balance to be brought about in the formation and excretion of the wastes leads to a free flow in the channels of the body.
The physical body is also a host to the soul, the mind and the senses. Importance has to be laid on spiritual and mental health too. Hence health should include well-being from the psychological aspect of the body. This can be achieved through daily practices of meditation, yoga and pranayama.
This is a comprehensive outlook to health. The aim is not just to identify and treat disease but also to suggest ways to prevent it.
Now let us take a look at the WHO definition of health; “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”. This would easily match what Acharya Sushruta described as “Swastha” in Ayurveda.
For maintaining the state of health or to remain Swasthya it's essential to understand Tridosha's and know your Prakriti. Ayurveda states that the basic constitution of a human being is determined at the time of conception. This constitution is called Prakriti. Knowing Prakriti helps you to modify Diet and Lifestyle and therefore maintain health.
Distinct properties and functions have been ascribed to each Dosha. For instance, Vata contributes to the manifestation of shape, cell division, signaling, movement, excretion of wastes, cognition and also regulates the activities of Kapha and Pitta. Kapha is responsible for anabolism, growth, and maintenance of the structure, storage, and stability. Pitta is primarily responsible for metabolism, thermoregulation, energy homeostasis, pigmentation, vision, and host surveillance (JAIM, 2012)
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