Santani Journal

Ayurveda as a Preventive Health Care System for Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs)

The world is changing rapidly and our lifestyle has changed significantly over the years. Everything we do in our day-to-day lives is designed in a way that demands speed and we all actively take part in a race which forces our lives to live in a materialistic world far away from peace and harmony.

Relatively our ancestors led a healthy and peaceful life as they used to practice holistic remedies which suit well with nature.

Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are chronic diseases, that tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors. Cardiovascular diseases, Cancers, Chronic respiratory diseases and Diabetes are the leading diseases that account for over 80% of all premature deaths worldwide. People of all age groups, regions and countries are affected by NCDs. These conditions are often associated with older age groups, but evidence shows that 17 million NCD deaths occur before the age of 70 years.

Factors that contribute to the development of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) typically include ageing, rapid unplanned urbanization, use of tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet pattern, unhealthy lifestyles, lack of physical activity may show up in people as raised blood pressure, increased blood glucose, elevated blood lipids and obesity. These are called metabolic risk factors and can lead to the leading NCDs in terms of premature deaths.

Ayurveda, the “Science of Life”, promotes a lifestyle that is in harmony with nature. Ayurveda always emphasizes preventive care rather than curative care after disease manifestation. Prevention is better than cure.

Ayurveda is not merely a system dealing with healing techniques or curing diseases but is indeed a codified science which provides definite norms for healthy, peaceful and happy living. It provides guidelines for the maintenance and protection of physical and psychological health, with the objective of achieving longevity.

This holistic system of medicine has been primarily developed with two basic aims:

  • Protection and promotion of health and prevention of illness, and
  • Eradication of disease.

The first objective is sought to be achieved by the observance of guidelines related to healthy living and a wholesome diet, enabling the individual to have a long, healthy and happy life. The second objective, which deals with disease and the curative aspect, provides guidelines for physicians regarding the management of different diseases.

Ayurveda describes that the physical and emotional level of the human body is regulated by three fundamental energies or principles which are termed “Tridosha”. These three energies are Vata, Pitta and Kapha and are outlined as the three main pillars of the human body. Each individual has a unique balance of all three of these energies. The inherent balance of these energies within our body and our mind is the individual body constitution or “Prakriti” which defines by what we are naturally attracted to as well as what is against us.

Some people are predominant in one type of energy while others are a mixture of two or more. A perfect balance of three doshas (energies) leads to health whereas “Disease” is a natural end result of living out of harmony with one’s natural constitution. So, what causes the energy imbalance? Less involvement, over-involvement and wrong involvement of time or season, sense organs and actions or functions are the root causes of dosha (energy) imbalance that can manifest as a disease. Seasonal changes and the time period of the day have great potential to influence the variations in the energy levels of the human body. So, a good personal routine harmonized with the natural fluctuation of energy levels is an effective way to overcome the root cause of diseases.

Ayurveda describes the proper way of balancing energy levels by guidelines of daily and seasonal norms. These norms describe food, sleep and self-conduct/behaviour, the three sub-pillars of the human body that support to balance of the main pillars of energies. Proper food restores the physiological constituents, sleep is helpful to relax the mind with optimal functionality of the sensory-motor system and spiritual well-being can be obtained by following a better self-conduct. Ayurveda has given a detailed description of the proper food and its effects on the human body. Foods have been classified into three categories, namely Satvik, Rajasik and Tamasik, each with its own set of qualities and characteristics. Satvik is considered the most nutritious food for your body. Physiologically, Ayurveda has also divided food into six tastes or “Rasas” (sweet, sour, salt, pungent, bitter and astringent). The taste you should eat highly depends on the energy imbalance of your body, and therefore, eating foods according to taste can help pacify the aggravated energies in your body. Taking less or inadequate sleep can aggravate your Vata Dosha and lead to weaker tissues in the body. On the other hand, excessive sleep can vitiate Kapha Dosha and cause lethargy, stagnancy and immobility. Therefore, one must take proper, regular and adequate amounts of sleep. The best way to regulate your sleep cycle is by aligning it with the circadian rhythms.

Some practical Ayurvedic daily lifestyle routines recommendation for good health:

  1. Avoid the Suppression of natural urges and forcibly creating artificial urges when the body does not want to eliminate something
  2. Eliminate the body’s waste products in the morning to avoid illness
  3. Exercise early in the morning and a regular oil massage to delay ageing
  4. Wash your face & eyes with water after wake-up
  5. Do “Detox” according to the season
  6. Try to wake up between the hours of 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., have an early and light dinner between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. and go to sleep early by 10 p.m.
  7. Take therapeutic nutrition (diet based on principles of Ayurveda) and Rejuvenate substances
  8. Work at mind, and body level through psychological, occupational, & medicinal components
  9. Eat breakfast as per food recommendations for your body type
  10. Try to get gainful employment that works for your mind-body type.

An Ayurvedic lifestyle supports physical, mental as well as spiritual health. The healthy living style mentioned in Ayurveda is in the form of daily, and seasonal routines, good food habits and appropriate physical exercise. These lead to the prevention of disease processes, disease symptoms and improvement in the quality of life, helping the longevity of life.

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