Comparative Study Of Principles Of Naturopathy And Natural Ayurveda
Ayurveda can be compared to Naturopathy. There are some similarities and dissimilarities between the two holistic approaches of medicine. We will discuss only the principles and approaches of the two systems of natural medicine.
What Is Considered ‘Natural’ In Naturopathy?
Naturopathy utilizes the ingredients of nature – earth or mud, water, sunlight or other forms of heat, fasting, fruits and vegetables. These substances are used because they are found in nature. Naturopathy considers these as ‘natural’ for our body, for healing.
Ayurveda Considers The Balance As The Natural:
Holistic ayurvedic medicine considers the balance of three humors (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), seven tissues and sub tissues, the metabolic and excretory substances as natural for our body. The peace, happiness, knowledge, wisdom, love, service and other good qualities with innate universal appeal are considered natural for our mind.
Here is the main difference in paradigm between the two approaches. Naturopathy emphasizes the natural elements while Ayurveda puts emphasis on balance of various elements of our body and mind.
What could be natural in Naturopathy could be unnatural in Ayurveda. For example, the person with specific constitution or ayurveda body type could very strongly react to some natural element as mud or water or some food or fruit and here Ayurveda considers the phenomenon as natural.
The Individuality And Personalization Of Regime:
So Ayurveda further respects the individuality of the person while advising lifestyle, diet, exercise, herbs or other treatment modalities. This personal approach is a great feature of Indian Ayurveda.
Healing In Natural Ayurveda And Naturopathy:
Both systems appreciate the natural tendency of our body to heal. Outer remedies and procedures help to support our inner core to recover and to jump back to healthy condition. Naturopathy emphasizes the vital force and its ability to heal the body and mind. Ayurveda further assists the inner vital force by actively restoring the imbalances in our tissues and humors and by actively detoxifying the body.
Mind And Psychological Health:
The concept of mind and consciousness and its integration with body is one of the foundational features of ayurvedic medicine. And this is a very rare combination of body-mind-soul medicine. Even in the western world, most people are engaged in body mind medicine. Ayurveda as well as Yoga place the consciousness as the most central aspect of our being that supports and sustains all the other aspects of our life body, senses, mind, society, work and family.
As we have Ayurveda body types based on three humors or doshas, there are different mind types in Ayurveda based on three primary psychological attributes Satva, Rajas and Tamas. Ayurvedic medicine is not limited to the classification but definite measures for the health of mind are devised in the form of herbal remedies, emphasis on character and habits, and the practice of yoga and meditation.
Though most of the alternative or holistic medicine considers our body to be a whole, yet they are rather limited in scope while dealing with the reality of body mind soul medicine. That is why I personally do consider them as a tool of holistic medicine or an approach of holistic medicine. And in this way, we are able to show proper regard for all systems and are able to overcome their limitations.
Concept of Detox:
Our body is constantly detoxified everyday through sweating, breathing, passing urine and stool, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. This detoxification is going on at the cellular level, tissues level, organs level and at the level of whole body.
Naturopathy assists this process of natural detoxification via its different modalities of treatment.
Ayurveda accepts this and has incorporated all such measures as fasting, diet or organic food, sweating, cold and hot treatments, mud therapy, sun bath and massage for correcting the imbalance of humors and restoration of health.
The Ayurvedic Panchakarma therapy goes one step ahead and deals with the stubborn and impacted humors in the deeper levels of various tissues. And I call it Facilitated or Induced Detoxification of Ayurvedic Medicine.
In the preparatory steps of Panchakarma therapy, the humors are aggravated slightly, softened and liquefied so that they are ready to be expelled out. In the main five steps of ayurvedic Panchakarma therapy, these ready-to-be-expelled-out humors are expelled out by natural orifices by induced vomiting, diarrhea, basti (ayurvedic medicinal enema), nasal route and blood letting.
Not all these measures of Ayurvedic Panchakarma are used in every patient; the decision is made after thorough evaluation of the disease as well as the person.
Preventive And Health Enhancing Measures:
Natural Ayurveda as well as Naturopathy can be used even when the person is healthy or to prevent any particular disorder to which a person is susceptible. In ayurvedic medicine, some rejuvenative remedies are described that are used to promote overall health or the health of a particular organ or to correct a particular condition. These measures can be used after partial or thorough detoxification as per the demand of the condition and the availability of time. Many such rejuvenative remedies are known by the name Rasayana (Rasayana means the ability to rejuvenate all the tissues of our body, to infuse youthful energy and stamina, to prevent disorders and aging).
And now some concluding remarks.
I am an Ayurveda doctor that is why it might appear (and it is quite possible) that I might appear to be (a bit!) biased or prejudiced. These concepts have been in my mind for several years, when I participated in one seminar of ayurveda doctors and naturopaths. I call Naturopathy as Basic Detox and Panchakarma as Advanced or Induced or Facilitated Detox.
In the next article, I will try to explain these observations with some case studies of patients and the application and interpretation of principles of both the systems Natural Ayurveda and Naturopathy. I invite with great regards any Naturopathic practitioner to share his view regarding Naturopathy and/or comparative study with Ayurvedic Medicine.