Ayurveda proposes two principal modalities of intervention in a pathological state. These are samshamana (recorrection) and samshodhana (elimination) utilized as per the specifications of the disease and also of the sick. Among the two, Samshodana is proposed having an upper edge over samshamana by virtue of its eliminative power causing the eradication of disease producing substances and hence offering a radical cure. Panchakarma is the popular term for samshodhana reflecting five kinds of bio physical procedures customized for eliminative purpose. Vamana, Virechana, Anuvasana and Asthapana Vasti and Nasya are such five procedures which together comprise the Pancha karma.
All procedures enlisted among panchakarma are having their own merits and set of indications and contraindications. Vasti as a component of pancha karma however deserves a special mention. Vasti, by virtue of its versatility and impact is often called as 'Ardha Chikitsa' equating to the half value of net ayurvedic therapies, the rest half could be attributed to all other modalities of ayurveda if put together. This hyperbole about vasti looks reasonable when we find vasti as one most dependable intervention in vata disorders and when we see that actually vata disorders out number all other kind of disease from all other causes even if put together.
After the metaphoric expression of utility of vasti in classical texts of ayurveda, when it comes to clinical practice, we see that in substantial number of clinical conditions, vasti is tried and found effective. There are varieties of vasti on the basis of their pharmacological effects, desired purpose and composition. Vasti is also given for various health promotive reasons and therefore it is utilised in almost every age group.
As it is true for every other intervention of Ayurveda , vasti too requires a scientific revalidation in order to use it more dependably and reproducibly as an intervention in variety of ailments. Being a biophysical procedure, a revalidation of vasti is required at multiple levels. A few foremost things which require an urgent attention are the standard protocol for preparing a vasti ; vasti inoculation techniques in reference to physiological biorhythms; dose, frequency and duration of vasti; and finally a clear demonstration of effects of different vasti in different clinical conditions. This is obvious to understand that although there are descriptions in classical texts about all these points raised, but it all requires an understanding in terms of science so that it could be understood by everyone who has a scientific bent of mind.
A scientific revalidation of ayurvedic principles, tools and techniques would be helpful for many reasons, the foremost is that it will empower the ayurvedic physicians in choosing the right kind of intervention for an indication with a clear idea that what they are supposed to offer to the patients if this intervention is utilized.
In continuation to its previous legacy of enhancing the knowledge of Ayurveda through seamless efforts, this year Rashtriya Ayurveda Vidyapeeth is organizing it 22nd National seminar on 'Vasti Chikitsa: Implications in Health and Disease'. This seminar is supposed to be attended by a good number of clinicians, academicians, research scholars and students of ayurveda from throughout the country. The seminar would comprise of key note addressed by eminent scholars of ayurveda and also the research presentation by various research scholars of ayurveda. This two day seminar is supposed to bring out some new knowledge and understanding about this most coveted intervention of ayurveda, which can certainly be of use to make furtherance towards more replicable clinical practice of ayurveda.
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