For good health and various vital activities of life, body strength (energy) is a very important factor. One needs strength and energy to perform general day-to-day activities in life. Without the required energy, one cannot face the difficult and complicated challenges of life nor can one perform general activities properly. One cannot estimate strength merely on the basis of body structure. Before selecting the proper line of treatment for a patient, a physician should properly examine the intensity of a disease and body strength. Body strength is determined on the basis of body activities or physical work done by the body without fatigue.
What is strength or energy?
The end product or the main essence of all tissue elements in the body is strength or energy. This energy or strength is also known as ‘ojas’ in Ayurveda. This strength nourishes all the muscles – and makes them stable and strong so that one can perform all types of activities energetically and courageously. The quality of voice and the glow of skin are also determined by ojas. All external and internal parts of the body are able to perform their tasks well because of this strength/energy which is produced within the body. Actually the strength of the body is associated with the factors, namely ‘Ojas’ and ‘Tejas’ present in the body.
Tejas is considered to be derived from agni mahabhuta (the element of fire). During metabolism, the liquified fat or vasa is derived from the accumulated fat in the abdomen. This is ‘tejas’. It is found in abundance in females. Due to this factor, tenderness, softness, reduced and soft body hair, cheerfullness, good eyesight, strong digestive and metabolic activities, stability, attraction and beauty are comparatively more in females.
Ojas as has been previously ‘described is a very important vital constituent of the body dominated by the qualities of the water element. When Kapha is at its normal level in the body, i.e. in a balanced state, it builds and strengthens ojas. On the other hand, when there is a drop in the normal level of Kapha, it turns into mala (a waste, toxic product) and gives rise to several disorders. Originally, ojas is a vital essence of all seven dhatus present in the body.
“Ojas is a protective substance that provides immunity to the body. Hence ojas should always be maintained and nourished. It strengthens the immune system. Without it, external medication is of no use. On losing ojas, all treatments lose their efficacy.”
The energy produced by tejas and ojas is divided into three parts – uttama (superior or of high strength), madhyama (average or of medium strength) and adhama (below average or of low strength).
According to another classification, the energy is also categorized as follows:
- Sahaja bala (natural energy): This is the naturally occurring energy iii the body. It is produced by rasa dhatu and is the most superior kind.
- Kalakrta bala (periodic energy): This is age specific energy gained during different stages of growth.
- Yuktikrta bala (acquired energy): This is the energy acquired through external nourishment by proper diet, good conduct, physical exercise, yogasanas and from the essence of medicines.
- Sattva pariksa: Examination of psyche
In a patient, along with body strength, the psyche (mind or mental behavior) also holds importance. It is considered to be of two types: (1) Bhirutva (fearing nature), and (2) Sahisnutva (tolerant nature). Patients with a fearful nature are not able to tolerate a strong penetrating treatment, so the physician needs to select mild treatment for such patients. Such patients need to be counseled and assured before starting the treatment. A physician has to put extra-efforts into their treatment. On the other hand, patients with a tolerant nature do not panic soon and a physician may unhesitatingly use strong penetrating therapies in his treatment, which a patient can easily tolerate. Therefore, their treatment is comparatively easier.
Satmaya pariksa: Examination of compatibility
In Ayurveda, knowledge of compatibility is also important to maintain health and to cure disease. One drug is favorable for one person and unfavorable for another. In brief, the diet, drugs, conduct (physical and mental activities), country, time and other aspects and products which by birth or by experience are beneficial or favorable to the normal healthy state of the body or for maintaining the health of a healthy person and to cure the disease of a patient is called ‘compatible or wholesome.’ Compatibility is of four types:
1) Deha satmaya (compatibility for the body): The diet and lifestyle which suits a person, proves beneficial and are favorable for the body are compatible or wholesome. For example milk, yogurt and alcoholic substances are suitable for some people but for others thin gruel, vegetable soup, rice, wheat and other grains are more suitable.
2) Desa satmaya (compatibility according to a specific area or country): Some particular substances that are suitable in a particular area might not be suitable in others. For example, yogurt, milk and sweet substances are suitable for people in a particular area.;Milk is wholesome for people in the east zone of our country. Fish is beneficial for people of the Sindhu region and rice is compatible for the people of Bengal, Madras, Kashmir and other areas.
3) Rtu satmaya (compatibility as per the season): Some substances are beneficial in a particular season. Oily, hot substances are suitable in early winter. Pungent, bitter and dry substances are favorable in late winter. Cold and sweet substances are useful in summer.
4) Roga satmaya (compatibility according to the disease): A certain diet may be compatible or wholesome for a particular disease. For example, gruel is useful in fever, fomentation therapy is favorable in emesis and vomiting, and errhine and medicated smoking is beneficial in chronic cold. Along with the above-said factors, dose of a drug, nature of a drug, effect of a drag, time, constitution, location and stages of the disease-cycle are also important factors for a physician to choose the appropriate drug or line of treatment.