Ayurveda has its own views about principles and philosophy of life. Ayurvedic system describes man as a universe within himself which is a child of the cosmic forces. His existence is inextricably intertwined to the total cosmic manifestation. The entire universe, as well as the body is made up of five basic elements. These elements are Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, human body consists of three primary life forces or biological humors, which are Vatha, Pitha and Kapha. These three doshas are called the tridoshas. A balance among these life forces is essential for proper health. Any imbalance among the tridoshas causes a state of unhealthiness or disease.
Ayurvedic system says that this imbalance is the effect of the constant reaction of the internal environment of body to the changes in external environment. It is only required that we bring back normalcy to the balance of these doshas, to bring back the state of healthiness.
Other basic concepts of Ayurvedic system are the Saptha Dhathus (the bodily tissues), Srotas (Channals), Ama (toxins and filthy matter) and the trinity of life - body, mind and spiritual awareness.
The first step in the method of diagnosis in Ayurvedic form of medicine is to determine the constitution of the person. That means it is the patient who is diagnosed first and not the disease.
The same disease might appear in different forms in two persons because their constitution is different. Due to this variation in constitution the medicines and treatment may be different for two people with the same illness. This difference in treatment methods according to the constitution is essential to bring back the natural balance of the biological humors. The constitutional approach is the essence of the Ayurvedic system.
Ayurvedic treatment measures include internal medicine, external medicine, surgical treatment and psychotherapy.
Ayurvedic treatments can be classified under two groups - tonification and reduction.
Reduction therapies decrease excesses in the body while tonification methods nurture insufficiency in the body. Reduction therapy has two parts called pacification and purification.
Pacification is done with herbs, fasting, exercise, sunbathing and exposure to wind. Purification is a special form of therapy for elimination of the disease causing humors. The power of Ayurvedic elimination therapy is its system for guiding the toxins to their sites for elimination.
It consist of five parts - The pancha karmas - cleaning enemas, nasal medication, Purgation, Emesis and blood letting. All these require preliminary Ayurvedic practises of oleation and sweating.
Ayurvedic pharmacology is based upon the concepts of rasa, veerya and vipaka. A vast variety of plants, metals, minerals, animals, birds and even mud and sand are used as medicines in Ayurveda.
Knowledge about Ayurvedic type of medicine is divided into eight branches.
The branches are 1. Kaya chikilsa (general medicine), 2. Shalya (surgery), 3. Shalakya (ENT and Ophthalmology), 4. Graha (Psychotherapy), 5. Damshitra (toxicology), 6. Bala (Pediatrics and Gynecology), 7. Jara (rejuvenation) and 8. Vrishya (Aphrodisiacs).
Of the above the seventh one, that is rejuvenation therapy is a unique method which Ayurveda performs. Until death our body is engaged in a continuous struggle against the aging process. Hence the body is called Shareeram - something that degenerates.
Kerala has many Ayurvedic health centers, with resident doctors, Masseurs, visiting Ayurvedic doctors who are specialists in various fields of Ayurvedic medicine.