History of Ayurveda
The Eight Branches of Ayurveda
1. Kaaya Chikitsa: Internal medicine
Via methods of purification, detoxification and rejuvenation, this branch looks at healing the body from the inside-out. It is said that the body knows how to heal itself if we are intuitive enough to give it what it needs. The Shat Kriyas (‘Five Actions’) are often used as treatments here, as a way to cleanse the body.
2. Baala Chikitsa: Pregnancy, birth and children’s medicine
There are many different transitions to be considered when it comes to bringing new life into the world. These therapies advise an expectant mother as to how to care for herself and her baby; treats infant illnesses like colic, teething problems, and gives dietary advice to both mothers and babies.
3. Graha Chikitsa or Bhoot Vidya: Psychology
Ayurvedic psychology is an interesting subject within itself, as Ayurveda reasons that all illness starts in the mind. Yoga, visualisation, breathing and mantra are often prescribed.
4. Shalakya or Urdhyaanga Chikitsa: Disease above the shoulders
Illnesses associated with the eyes, nose, ears and throat are dealt with in these therapies. ‘Udvha’ means ‘upward’ and ‘Anga’ means ‘limb’, so this branch is concerned with diseases that accumulate in the body’s most ‘upward limb’.
5. Shalyaroga Chikitsa: Surgery
This branch of Ayurveda deals with illnesses or trauma caused by things that are outside of the body, such as broken limbs, or an injury due to an accident.
6. Damstra Chikitsa: Toxicology
This division treats illnesses caused by ‘poisons’, this could include plants, insects, minerals and metals.
7. Jara Chikitsa or ‘Rasayana’ Therapy: Patients approaching old age
Revitalisation and rejuvenation of the body is the primary focus, preventing the body from succumbing to the signs of ageing. Natural herbs, medicated Ayurvedic oils and nourishing foods are suggested in order to maintain a natural resilience and youthful ‘glow’.
8. Vrishya Chikitsa or Vajjikarana: Reproductive system and sex
Sex and sexual vigour are seen as an important aspect of a person’s health. In order for healthy children to be born a person’s sexual health must first be optimal. This is also known as ‘Aphrodisiac treatment’, most often using herbs.