Let’s start by considering a scenario. One day a person visits the doctor and says there is something wrong with him. Doctor does all the physical check up and also blood tests, but nothing was wrong with the patient. So what could be the probable reason for the patient to not feel well?
Later when the patient visited the doctor again in 6 months he was detected with type II diabetes.
This is common experience while the usage of conventional medicine, and disease cannot be diagnosed until a patient has specific symptoms or any lab test demonstrates specific findings. By that time it’s mostly late and the patient manifests the disease. At this stage prevention is not possible, but rather cure.
Here, Ayurveda plays a very important role by detecting the disease in its initial stage before the disease actually manifests. This may allow the Ayurvedic practitioner to take a remedial action and reverse the cycle of disease at an earlier stage of development, and thus, by preventing the emergence of a full-blown disease.
The major goal of Ayurveda is prevention of any disease. As per the text by Maharshi there are six stages in which the development of disease takes place. The development of any disease in the body is known as pathogenesis. The main focus of these six stages is to identify the disease in its initial stage and prevent it from manifesting the body.
The six stages of disease are:
Stage 1: Accumulation of Doshas:
The disease begins with the accumulation of one or more Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These Doshas are the regulatory authority of the body. When doses are in harmony the person enjoys good health. However when these doshas are imbalanced due to an imbalance in diet, lifestyle, and exposure to stress and environmental factors, the person experiences an imbalance in Doshas. Doshas accumulate in their natural seat, and initiate the process of disease.
Stage 2 : Aggravation:
After the accumulation of Doshas, they start to spread themselves beyond their normal seat. This change in internal body due to doshas creates imbalance in body function. The body functions vitiated or becomes abnormal.
Stage 3 : Dissemination:
Now as the doses are out of their seats, they start to circulate within the body. In this the patient shows vague, low grade and non specific symptoms like headaches, pain or fatigue.
Stage 4 : Localisation:
In this stage the Dosha accumulates in certain tissue outside it’s seat and begins to disrupt the function of that tissue. Most likely, they settle down in channels via which they flow in the tissue like blood vessels or lymph channels, thereby disrupting the functionality of the tissue. The Dosha carrying ama may get stuck in the channels, thus creating a breeding ground for the disease in that area.
Stage 5 : Manifestation:
In this stage the disease can be identified clearly. The functions of tissues are disrupted due to accumulation of Ama with the imbalanced Dosha. For instance, if Kapha and ama get accumulated in the neck region, it starts causing throat congestion, sore throat, sinusitis or an allergy attack.
Stage 6 : Disruption :
At this stage, the disease becomes attached with the tissue such that the body’s mechanism to reverse the effect is not possible. Thus, the disruption becomes permanent.
Furthermore, there are three main causes of diseases:
1.Prajnaparadha i.e. misuse of intellect:
“Prajna” means “wisdom” and “Apradha” means “offense”. Thus, its literal meaning becomes “offense against wisdom”. It also means doing something which may be favorable or unfavorable to an individual, which may harm the individual mentally or physically. Due to this, the Rajas and Tamas gunas aggravate and allow a disease to establish. Doing excessive mental or physical work, undergoing work, working incorrectly which includes gossip, lying, violence, illogical or harsh speech; all leads to a room for disease.
2.Asatmendriyartha samyoga i.e. misuse of senses:
“Astmaya” means ” improper”, “Indriya” means “senses” , “Artha” means “the object of senses” and “Samyoga” means “to link”. This means, improper contact of sensors with their objects and results in an over stimulation or deficiency of sensory activity. This may harm both body and mind by disturbing their harmony internally and externally and also disturbing their healthy functioning.
3.Kala i.e. seasonal variations:
The external environment creates an imbalance in the body like variation in temperature due to rainfall or wind. Doing excessive work or less may also enter the body with respect to climatic changes. It also refers to the effect of time and natural transformation that occur over a period of time.
Thus, there are various reasons for disturbance of mental and physical stage. Every imbalance starts with the initial stage of accumulation and later becomes chronic if not treated on time. Ayurveda mainly focuses on the initial 3 stages in which the disease can be reversed before becoming chronic. While, other advanced medicines treatment starts from stage 4 i.e. checking patients body, performing tests and then coming to a conclusion. Thus, Ayurveda proves to be a powerful tool for reversal of a disease.