Health in Ayurveda is defined as the state of dhatusamya a, balanced condition of body elements, resulting in sukha-ease and prasannatatmata-sense of well-being. Disease is just opposite i.e. the state of dharuvaisamya-imbalance of body elements, resulting in dukha-discomfort and aprasannata-sense of out of sorts or upset.
He, who observes meticulously the rules of health preservation as given in the text, lives for full span of life-hundred years (long as well as healthy life) without being disturbed by diseases. How to achieve this grand goal.? It is really a serious problem. However, Ayurveda has shown a sure method which is concise yet comprehensive.
How the body elements do not get disturbed and how the balanced condition continues further? With this aim whatever measures are employed, all fall under Svasthavrtta. They are in short-avoidance of factors which cause .imbalance and regular use of factors which maintain balance. By observance of this rule, imbalanced condition of dosas, dhatus does not pursue and balance is restored. But it is not a static or permanent condition. It is liable to fluctuate, dynamic and always influx; requires constant vigilance. Thus health is essentially an individuals personal concern and should be considered with particular regard to his prakrti (constitution), vayah (age). Stri-purusa-samagama (sex), desa (region), Jati ( race) and Kula ( ancestry) etc. factors which constitute the basis of his sahajabala-innate resistance power or immunity. But it is also a matter of equal importance for the society as well. If a purusa (person) fails in preserving his health not -only he himself suffers but society also suffers at the same time. He becomes liability or even a source of danger for his environment loka i. e. his family, employers, and even community at large through communicable diseases. He will require-services of a bhisak-(physician), upasthata or paricaraka and dravya or bhesaja-means of cure. If on the other hand society remain callous in taking precautions and care for protection of its members i. e. measures of community health, the ultimate result will be ill-health of individual members of the community enmass-Janapadodhvmsa. So the question of health is the responsibility of both-the individual and the society which are mutually dependent and inter connected.
Personal health requires attention to and prevention of nija-hetuh (endogenous factors or causes) and care to escape from the onslaught of agantuja-hetuh (exogenous factors or causes) of diseases. Both factors result in producing disturbances in the equilibrium of elements of the sarira and satva-manas (mind). These two are therefore designated as the asraya-adhisthana-(seat or platform) for appearance of duhkha or roga and sukha or arogya (pain and pleasure). Therefore hygeine of individual body and mind occupies foremost position in the section on Ayurveda. Next comes the topic of social hygeine i. e. instructions on amicable social relation and behaviour and maintenance of peace in community. The peace for prevention of communicable diseases i. e. public health and epidemics mainly drawing attention towards the pollution of Vata (Air), Jala(water), Desa ( particular region or locality) affected with unhygeinic conditions and particular Kala (seasonal variations) are conducive to specific diseases and epidemies i. e. abounding in bhuta, visavata, agni, samprahtira as exogenous distructive factors.
Individual health care is given due emphasis by laying down) rules-do's and dont's regarding dinacarya (daily routine including ratricarya) right from rising from bed in the morning upto falling in sleeps at night. It has been summed up under three main heads-observance of which is compared in importance with pillars which support a building (trayahupastambha) for preservation of health and maintenance of life viz. (1) ahara, (2) svapna-nidra (rest-sleep), (3) brahmacarya (judicious fulfilment of sex urge). Quantity and quality of food is advised to be in accordance to ones digestive capacity and counter balancing ones constitutional dosas (hitasi, mitasi and kalabhoji). Sleep and sex too should be within limit or ones physical condition and conducive to health (yuktanidra, and jitendriya). Any transgress would result in immediate or late reaction i. e. acute or chronic disease.
In addition, special care for smooth and efficient function-of the whole body and its cognative (sensory) and con native(motor) organs and for cleaning of the orifices opening on the surface of the body the specific procedures like anjana, karna-purana sirobhyanga, dantadhavana, gandusa, kavala, jihvanile-khana, dantaniskosana, tambulabhaksana, (mukhavasa), dhum-pana, nasya, dehabhyanga, padabhyanga, snana, anulepana, udvartana, kesa-tmasru-nakha kalpana-prasadhana, vastra-malya- dharana, usnisa, upanaha dharana, danda-chatra dharana and vyayama, padaghatana, somvahana etc. have been prescribed in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda believes that the 'Excellence of Health' forms basis for caturvidhi purusartha i.e. dharma (virtuous acts), artha (wealth), kama (means of worldly happiness) and moksa (detachment from bindings or emancipation): these encorporate the entire achievements of human life and on the other hand, the ill-health annihilates all the above said as well as the well- being and life too. The idea of health put forth by Ayurveda is so perfect and comprehensive in itself that it not only surpasses the proverb 'Health is wealth' given by the western thinkers during post Christian era but also establishes an under-standing of positive healthy life as a whole and its worldly achievements. The another slogan of 'Svasthasya svasthya-raksnam' in Ayurveda also propounds an unique objective to make the human life better, longer, more capable and useful, happier-and it is to prolong our days. Its purpose is to make the time in which we live, and the future, a better time for all.
It is obvious that the measures to seek restoration to health are manifestly an essential function of the Science and-Art of medicine, but its primary obligation to mankind, the preservation and promotion of health, must ever be transparently understood, since the ultimate answer to the challenge of ill-health or the greater part of it, is its prevention. It is for this reason that over since the days of human civilization, the measures had been taken to establish the means and methods whereby man be protected from these hazards to his health and happiness.
The dominant concern of this ending twentieth century is deemed to be continue to be the quality of human life, not only based on artificial measures but also through the means of nature endowed resources and their acceptability. One must strive to achieve nature endowed environmental qualities without neglecting the way of life & its concerned essential aspirations. Present modern discipline believes that a schedule for health progress must have a bearing of improvement in the quality of life for all people. This involves in placing human needs above the protection of economic interest in our value system. On the other hand Ayurveda also believes in tackling such problems for maintenance of health and its progress for all men but operates through an individual mode of living and code of conducts having very little national economic involvement. The ascribed schedules command great significance because of its easy adaptability and practicability at individual level. The present book pays more emphasis on these schedules of human life, in greater detail.
Nowadays the social and medical problems have become the main focus of tomorrow's public health programmes. The entire spectrum of "social ailments" such as drug abuse venereal diseases, mental illness, alcoholism, suicide and accidents include problems appropriate to public health activity. Participation in mass screening and medical care programmes, the utilisation of existing health facilities and community support for public health measures are only some or the problems facing public health to-day that require a knowledge of social action. Social action and social change as they affect the health programmes are no doubt the problems of the pre-sent days, but in true sense entire schedule has direct bearing and operates upon through the individual mode of living and habitates.
The greatest potential for improving the health of the people in general is to be found that in what way they live and follow the routines of their life. What they do and don't do for themselves. Individual decision about diet, exercise, stress and injurious smoking are or critical importance and collective decision regarding pollution and other aspects or the environment are also relevant. But, Ayurveda gives more stress on the -individual health problem rather than its social aspects where an increased demand of health services requires careful planning by community agencies, more efficient utilisation of present health professionals, recruitment and training of para-medical -personnels and co-ordination among the health and welfare agencies, all involving major monitory resources and its appropriate utilisation. Poverty, malnutrition, minority health problems, health department re-organisation, necessary legislation and international health are but a few of the complex areas confronting us and challenging the present mode of approach for health problem. These do not find scope towards the advocated health schedules of Ayurveda.
Important ancient and expanded areas covered in the present text include an elaborate and almost all the aspect of Dinacarya (daily routines); Rtucarya (seasonal regimen); Ratri carya (routines of night); Regimen for women covering the health of their own and the new coming offspring, particularly during menses and pregnancy; Lunghana or upatarpana or upavasa (a mechanism of fasting); Rasayanas (rejuvenative measures) and sodavrttas (the right conducts of life). Efforts have been made to critically analyse the ancient thoughts in the light of modern medical advances and health care programmes with a view to establish and propagate its efficacy and perfectness, even to-day.
The present era has shown a significant change in the entire thinking about the problems of health and disease towards its preventive measures. The persons envolved in the planning of health care programme are of the view that maximum effort should be made to prevent almost all catagories of ailments, as it is not humanly possible to treat and cure all the patients, if they happen to get afflicted with illness. Nowadays efforts are being made to work out a comprehensive schedules to get employed towards the specialisation of the entire medical discipline, with the main objectives to keep the society at large healthy, both mentally as well as physically. In order to overcome such problems, newer ways and means are being worked out and employed but with limited success. At this stage, it will be of great help, if the measures ascribed in Ayurveda, in relation to prevention of diseases and induction of positive health are taken into consideration and employed at large in the society. The effort will not only throw light on its historical perspectives but prove the scientific validity of the ancient principles of health care and contribute many new appliances which may result fruitful in further planning of health programme, at both the national and international levels.
Ayurveda is a science of life. It's first and foremost aim is to preserve the good health and to prolong the life, and secondly to combat the diseases;' Dealing with the aims of Ayurveda, it has been further said that the maintenance of homeostasis in the functioning of the body tissues is the main object, of this- science. Susruta has aIso supported this view and said that the principal aim of Ayurveda is to preserve the health of a healthy person and to restore the health of diseased person.' The ideal of health varies from a mere disease free condition to that of positive and perfect health. Ayurveda sets up for itself the very lofty ideal of positive health, perfect to the minutest detail. But it is difficult to find the definition of the word "Health" in any text book on modern medicine. It is no wonder, therefore, that Dr. R. R. Bomford, D.M., F. R. C. P., Physician, London Hospital, in his Bradshaw lecture on the "Changing conceptions of health and disease", before the Royal College of Physicians, stated that the mechanismistic idea of disease, left no room for the concept of health other than in terms of disease. He remarked that good health is something more than no disease." The World Health Organisation (W. H. 0.) has also laid down that Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely absence of disease or infirmity." Even this definition of positive health falls short of the definition of positive health as given in Ayurveda, which includes not only physical, mental and social welfare according to the definition of W. H. O. but also moral and spiritual welfare of these, the later being most important.
In Ayurveda, the positive health has been so extremely appreciated and understood that even in the context of treatment Maharsi Caraka, devides the medicine in two parts-the first part maintains the health and take the healthy man to feel vigorous, that is positive health, and the other part is to destroy sickness. Maharsi Susruta defines the healthy man as "one who has equilibrium of three dosas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), normal functioning of the digestion and metabolism, seven body tissues and excretory organs and finally a clear and bright state of mind, body and Soul". Thus, the condition or positive health should include, in addition to the healthy condition of the body in the material or physical plane, the normal condition in the mental and spiritual planes as well. A person who is physically fit may be blind or deaf, he may be stupid and even insane. If a man is worried by all sorts of intanglements, he can not be said to be healthy. The most important of all is the spiritual health which depends upon the attitude of the man in relation to the society and the universe. The importance of this can not be easily understood by those who do not believe in the existence of soul. Body is not merely an aglomeration of fleshy and bony components but it is an integration of mind, body and soul in one.
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