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Naturopathy: Science of Health and Wellness

It has been declared that 18th November will be observed as Naturopathy Day every year.

What is Naturopathy? 

1.        Naturopathy is a traditional Indian science practiced for health and wellness. 

2. It is recognized and promoted as an independent system of healthcare under the ambit of AYUSH.

3. It believes that the entire universe is composed of five basic elements Panchamabhutas- Ether (akasha), Air (vayu), Fire (agni), Water (jala) and Earth (prithvi) and so is the human body.

4. The diseases can be treated by the appropriate use of these elements and such treatments are called Prakritik Chikitsa or Naturopathy.

5.        Naturopathy is a traditional system of healing based upon natural principles that govern life, living and health.

6.        Naturopathy believes the nature as the supreme healer.

7.        These have been a part of ancient Indian culture as well and their references can be found in the scriptures like Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana and Mahabharata.

8.        It covers not only physical but also the mental, moral and spiritual aspects of health.

9.        These are the drugless systems of healthcare. 

10. They are used as a complementary or alternative to conventional healthcare in India as well as in the western countries.

Why is it important? 

1.        Many prevalent disease conditions are outcomes of a faulty lifestyle. 

2.        It is presumed that lifestyle diseases result from an inappropriate relationship between man and his environment. 

3.        Drug based healthcare also brings unwanted new diseases or adversities. 

4.        Therefore, Yoga and Naturopathy have gained significance for their promises of managing the lifestyle induced illness by simple corrections in lifestyle without drugs. 

5.        Naturopathy is affordable and simple to follow due to which it is acceptable globally.

Which are the measures recommended? 

Yoga- widely practiced Yoga measures are:

1. Yama (Self-restraints);

2. Niyama (Observance);

3. Asana (Psycho-physical postures);

4. Pranayama (Control of vital energy breath);

5. Pratyahara (Withdrawal of senses);

6. Dharana (Concentration);

7. Dhyana (Meditation);

8. Samadhi (Absorption or State of liberation);

9. Bandhas and Mudras;

10. Satkarmas;

11. Yukthara;

12. Mantra-japa;

13. Yukt-karma etc.

2. Yoga comprises of several techniques and postural exercises to be performed with objectives of bringing a control on body and mind.

3. Each step enlightens the soul and also increases physical strength, endurance, enhances the power of mind and establishes emotional stability.

Naturopathy recommends:

1.fresh air and sunshine;

2. deep breathing exercise;

3. correct posture;

4. rest;

5. recreation;

6. relaxation;

7. sleep;

8. right mental attitude;

9. internal cleanliness;

10. proper elimination.

How is Naturopathy employed?

They are employed for preventive, promotive and curative purposes:

1. Upwas Chikitsa (Fasting Therapy)- Complete rest of physical, physiological, sensory and mental acts including voluntary abstinence of food demanding digestion though water is purposefully allowed.

2. Aahar Chikitsa (Diet Therapy)- Naturopathy recommends the food to be consumed keeping its natural condition intact and without processing it too much. It also gives more emphasis on eating less to minimize the burden on the system.

3. Mitti Chikitsa (Mud Therapy)- This represents Prithvi. It is externally used in the form of mud.

4. Jala Chikitsa (Hydrotherapy)- It treats body with the application of water in all its forms (ice, liquid and vapour) internally and externally. For example- cold compress, heating compress, spinal bath etc.

5. Malish Chikitsa (Massage Therapy)- This influences nervous systems, improves the blood circulation, reduces body pain and aches etc.

6. Surya Kiran Chikitsa (Helio Therapy)- Seven colours of sun rays have different therapeutic effects and work very effectively in the treatment of different disease conditions. Water and oil exposed to sun rays in coloured bottles and colored glasses for specified hours are used as tools for this therapy.

7. Vayu Chikitsa (Air Therapy)- Emphasis is given on air bath by practicing Pranayama, Surya Namaskar etc.

8. Yoga Chikitsa (Yoga Therapy)-  Various Yogasanas, Pranayama and Dhyana is prescribed for treatments.