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  • Svasthavratta

    The means and methods to living a healthy life are called Svastha-Vratta. Many modern authors have tried to explain complete health and healthy person, but none could give the definition so precisely as our ancient Acharyas.
    While explaining health, Susruta says in the definition, in which physical, mental and spiritual health has been explained. Health here does not mean only the absence of disease but it means that mind and spirit should also be Prasanna (happy). Complete psycho-somatic equilibrium is the key to Svasthya (health).

  • Means of Achieving Health

    For achieving sound and perfect health both psyche and physique should be in their normal form and also in condition of equilibrium. For maintaining physical health, Ayurveda has laid stress on proper living during day (Dinacharya), night (Ratricharya) and season (Ritucharya).
    For perfect mental health, Sadachara is to be practiced. Social hygiene occupies an important position in life. The cultivation of civic sense is necessary for the development of the village, city and the whole of the country.

  • Dincharya

    This comprises of the do’s and don’ts during the day time i.e. starting from the time of getting up from bed to the time of going to bed.

  • Time of Getting Up

    It is advisable to get up early in the morning before sunrise in Brahma Muhurta.
    This practice is rewarding as it avoids dreams which generally appear in the morning when a man is in a condition of half awaking and half sleep (Tandra) and the discharge of semen which generally takes place in the morning and it provides the time when mind is clear and body losses repaired.

  • Drinking Water

    A draught of water taken at the time of getting up causes a free passage of motion and urine.

  • Excretion (Mala & Mutra Tyaga)

    It is very necessary to inculcate the habit of easing in the morning. A tendency to suppress the natural urges (Vega Vidharana) is the root cause of many diseases.

  • Cleaning the Teeth and Mouth

    Cleaning the teeth, tongue and the mouth every morning should be ensured. Teeth may be cleaned by Babbula stick or any good powder which is antiseptic and astringent so that the accumulation of dirt, tartar etc. on the teeth could be removed. If there is some disease of the teeth or the gums, an oil massage on the teeth and the gums is necessary.
    Accumulation of Mala on the tongue should be scraped by a washed tongue cleaner whose edges should neither be very sharp or blunt. Before and after cleaning, the cleaner should be properly washed. After cleaning the teeth and the tongue gargle with salt water should be done.

  • Oil Massage

    It is necessary to massage the whole body with oil. For massaging Tila taila (gingelly oil), Sarsapa Taila (mustard oil) or Narikela (coconut) can be used. But generally speaking Sarsapa Tail (Mustard oil) is the best. Medicated oils may also be used.
    Oil massage ensures

    1. Softness and unctuousness of the skin thereby eliminating chances of infection,
    2. Free movement of joints and muscles
    3. Increased circulation
    4. (iv) Speedy movement of metabolic waste products through skin, and
    5. Maintenance of perfect health. In some measures it also serves as an exercise.

  • Exercise

    Regular exercise is essential for perfect health. It brings up stamina and resistance against disease, clears the channels of the body (Srotas), and increases the blood circulation and efficiency of lungs. Indigenous, Yogic and western type of exercises may be undertaken.
    Broadly speaking, an exercise should lead to appearance of sweat on the forehead. However, one should be careful in selection and extent of exercise when he is suffering from a disease like cough (Kasa), tuberculosis (Ksaya), heart disease etc.

  • Bath

    Generally one should take bath with warm water at the place protected from draught. Head should be washed with water having the temperature of the body. Bath increases Jatharagni, clears the pores of the skin and the skin becomes clear.

  • Diet

    Diet should be regulated taking into account the Desa, Kala (season) and habit. Diet should be planned to include all six Rasa (taste) i.e. sweet, saltish, acid, bitter .acrid and astringent. Diet should be balanced and the quantity should be according to one’s digestive capacity.

  • Tips on diet

    1. Fresh ginger should be taken with a small amount of salt 10 to 15 minutes before
    2. food.
    3. The diet especially hard substances should be properly chewed.
    4. Wherever possible the intake of curd and whey should follow food.
    5. The food should be tasty, fresh and good in appearance.
    6. It should neither be hot, nor absolutely cold.
    7. Water should be avoided at least 15 minutes before food. The quantity of water after food should be small. Let it be drunk often.
    8. Heavy (Guru) food should be taken in a limited quantity.
    9. Heavy food should not be taken at night. The proper time of night meal is two to three hours before going to bed. After night food, it is better to go for a short walk, of say hundred steps.
    10. Heavy work or exercise should be avoided after food.
    11. After meals, heavy mental or physical work should be avoided. Some rest is advisable for proper digestion of food.

  • Sleep

    Sleep is most important for maintenance of health and longevity for the human beings. It is appropriately called ‘Jagaddhatri’ because of its mechanism of overcoming wear and tear of the body due to physical work and mental stress and tissue loss.

  • Tips on sleep

    1. One should sleep with head to the east or north.
    2. The bed room should be absolutely clean, well ventilated and away from noise and disturbance.
    3. The bed must be neat, clean and free from bugs.
    4. The bed room should be free from draught.
    5. One should avoid sleep when the brain is excited e.g. after reading, thinking and drinking etc.
    6. The mind should be absolutely free from worldly affairs and worries while going to bed. This may be achieved by praying to God at the time of going to bed.
    7. Sleeping late at night leads to ill health.
    8. A minimum of 7 hours sleep is required in 24 hours to repair the wear and tear of the body.
    9. Sleep during the day should be avoided as far as possible. However if one keeps awake at night, he can take some sleep during day time. Day-sleep is not contraindicated in the summer. But in winter, the day-sleep increases Kapha, thereby causing respiratory and digestive troubles.
    10. It is advisable to massage the head, soles and palm before going to bed. By massage, dreams can be controlled.

  • Sexual Act

    For all creatures, sexual act is a natural urge. Sexual act is also essential for the procreation of the species. Even animals of lower form practice some form of restrictions but human beings are prone to over indulgence or abuse of sexual act. Some regulation on this activity is essential.

  • Tips on sexual behaviour

    1. Over indulgence in sexual act us harmful for the body; it may lead to debilitating diseases even Ksaya (tuberculosis).
    2. Sexual act should be performed during night time, preferably first quarter of the night so that after performance of sexual act, one can take rest for the whole night.
    3. Though different Asanas have been shown in Kama-Sastra, the one in lithotomy position is the best.
    4. Masturbation, sodomy are injurious to health.
    5. Ladies suffering from any venereal diseases should be avoided so that the diseases may not be contacted.
    6. After sexual act, at least one glass i.e. about 250 ml. of milk should be taken to promote health and energy.
    7. During the course of disease or in convalescence sexual act should not be performed otherwise debility will be increased and resistance will be lowered.

  • Adharniya Vega (Non-Suppressible urges)

    There are thirteen natural urges. These urges should never be suppressed because suppression of natural urges leads to many diseases. These urges are desire to pass

    1. Urine,
    2. Stool,
    3. Semen
    4. Flatus
    5. Vomiting,
    6. Sneezing
    7. Thirst,
    8. Eructation,
    9. Yawning,
    10. Hunger,
    11. Tears,
    12. Respiration
    13. Sleep.

    Some of the diseases produced by suppression of these natural urges are given below. Suppression of urine leads to
    1. Difficulty in passing urine,
    2. urinary stone,
    3. atony of bladder and
    4. inflammation of urinary tract.

    Suppression of stool leads to
    1. pain in abdomen,
    2. tympanites
    3. indigestion,
    4. gas in abdomen,
    5. headache and
    6. ulcers.

    Suppression of flatus leads to
    1. pain in the abdomen,
    2. tympanites,
    3. indigestion,
    4. Heart diseases,
    5. constipation or diarrhoea and
    6. gas.

    Suppression of semen:When semen is about to be ejaculated if it is suppressed then it may produce
    1. a stone (spermolith), (
    2. pain in testes
    3. difficulty in intercourse.

    Suppression of vomiting: When food is not digested, the body tries to expel it out. If it is suppressed the undigested matter is circulated in the body , thereby producing different types of ailment like urticaria, giddiness, anaemia, hyperacidity, skin diseases and fever.
    Suppression of sneezing: This phenomenon is meant for getting rid of foreign matter from the nose thereby clearing the nasal passage. If this is suppressed the foreign matter in the nose may produce rhinitis, chronic cold, headache, sinusitis and diseases of respiratory system.
    Suppression of eructation: suppression of eructation leads to hiccough, pain in chest, cough, anorexia and loss of appetite.
    Suppression of yawning: Suppression of yawning leads to diseases of eye, nose, ear and throat.
    Suppression of hunger and thirst: Desire to take food and drink water are suggestive of requirements of nutrition and replenishment of the loss. By suppression i.e. by keeping hungry and thirsty nutritional disorders and debility are produced. The body resistance and immunity against infection are lowered; thereby susceptibility towards diseases is increased. In the same way, hunger pain, dehydration etc are produced.
    Suppression of tears: In emotional condition like pleasure and grief, the tears come down from the eyes and if suppressed, mental disorders, pain in chest, giddiness and digestive disorders are produced.
    Suppression of respiration: Pranayam is an important Yogic exercise and one should gradually practice this breathing exercise. Sudden holding of breath may cause suffocation, respiratory disorders, heart diseases and even death.
    Suppression of sleep: This is also a natural urge. When the brain gets tired, the sense and motor organs get tired, rest is required. The rest is in the form of sleep. By keeping forcefully awaking, the diseases like insomnia, mental disorders, digestive disorders and diseases of sense organs are caused.

  • Sadachara or Good Behaviour

    Tips on Sadachara

    1. Everybody works for his happiness. Happiness should be shared with others. One should strive to bring happiness to all. This attitude is termed as Hitaya, which is characteristic of our cultures.
    2. One should love his neighbors, well wishers and to remain away from enemies, vagabonds and loafers.
    3. One should keep away from sins viz. bodily, speech and mental. Bodily sins are theft, injury to others and Vyabhichara, rape etc. Speech sins are telling lies, harsh words, to open secret of others and irrelevant talk. Mental sins are jealousy, bad thought etc.
    4. One should help the needy, handicapped and crippled as best as possible.
    5. One should respect the intellectuals and the educated, elderly persons, physicians or Vaidya, guests and cows.
    6. One should practice living with humanity.
    7. One should help even the unhelpful enemies in times of their need.
    8. One should help balanced mind. Avoid arrogance when rich, and grief and envy when poor.
    9. One should ponder on the cause and not on the effect.
    10. One should not talk irrelevantly.
    11. Enmity and insult should not be disclosed.
    12. One should exercise control over sense organs.
    13. Actions should be planned in such a way that all the three achievements viz. Dharma (religion), Artha (money) and Karma are achieved.
    14. One should never stick (Asakti) to one thing-be moderate.
    15. One should shave regularly or clean beard daily.
    16. One should take bath regularly and put on clean clothes but never the clothes which should be considered as a loafer’s dress.
    17. One should keep handkerchief around the nostrils and mouth while sneezing or yawning to avoid spread of infection.
    18. One should stop work before one is excessively tired.
    19. One should not sleep under a tree at night.
    20. One should neither drink or sell wine Vyasana (bad habits) are injurious are to health and should be avoided.
    21. One should not serve the low or those with low morals.
    22. One should not take eating, intercourse, sleeping and study etc. in the twilight.
    23. One should consign house refuse to its proper place.
    24. One should keep pace with the time. Wise public opinion is the best preceptor.
    25. One should keep a diary of all that happens during the day and change the patterns of living if existing habits are found harmful.

  • Social hygiene

    Man is a social animal and one has to work in the society in a manner which is conducive to better hygiene and sanitation of his community. This can only be achieved by individual’s own efforts as well as his cooperation with the concerned authorities of the state e.g.

    1. the house refuse should not be thrown at random, it should be consigned to its proper place,
    2. the gutters of drainage system should not be blocked,
    3. latrines and urinals should be kept properly cleaned,
    4. water and water-pots be properly cleaned.

    The most important point to be kept in mind is that as soon as a case of infectious disease is seen, the same should be reported to the proper authorities, so that they can take proper steps to check the spread of the disease and we may take such steps so as to help the authorities in their efforts.

  • Ritu-Charya

    Not only the behaviour of a person is responsible for causation of disease but seasonal changes also bring about disease. Our vast country from Kanya-Kumari to Kashmir and Kutch to Bengal possesses variety of seasons. The seasons are mainly classified by the movement of the sun, i.e. Dakshinayana and Uttarayana, and according to heat, cold and rains.
    But the main classification is that there are six seasons viz. Shishira, Vasanta, Grishma, Varsha, sharada and Hemanta. Hemanta and Shishira are cold seasons, Grishma is hot season, and Varsha is a season of the rains. Sharada and Vasanta are moderate that is to say the days are moderately hot and nights are cold and pleasant.

  • Seasonal variation of the Dosha

    There are three variation of the Dosha viz.

    1. Sanchaya (accumulation),
    2. Prakopa (spread or excitement) and
    3. Prasama (normalcy).

    These variations of Dosha take place in the body by the seasonal variations over which there is no human control. But it is possible to keep the variations of Dosha to the minimum by changing the mode of living. The seasonal variations of Dosha have been shown in Table 1.

    Hemanta is the only season when not a single Dosha is accumulated or spread. While in other seasons the Dosha are in a state of derangement. Hence it can be inferred that Hemanta is the season most suited for building-up of the body and increasing the resistance to diseases. In Grishma due to the scorching heat of the sun, the body becomes weak, the perspiration is excessive leading to fluid loss, impaired digestion and skin diseases also take place.
    Due to humidity in weather, the digestion is impaired in Varsha Rtu. Sharada is very pleasant season but due to sudden climatic changes incidence of many diseases is high i.e. Vishama Jwara, Visucika etc. The Ahara, Vihara and the measure of Pancha Karma to be followed in the seasons has been tabulated below in Table 2.

    The principles laid down in the Svasthavrtta like Dincharya, Rtu Charya etc. have been described here in brief. These measures are for preventing the diseases and for promoting the health. Proper following of these principles leads to the perfect bodily and mental health, and one can live longer without any disease.