3.Rasayana Cikitsa: Rejuvenation Therapy
The main aim of advanced medical treatments and of every action and all the latest discoveries in this world is the welfare of human beings by promoting happiness and amenities in life. In this link, scientists and doctors all over the world are engaged in the discovery of such medicines and other resources which may protect human beings from different types of diseases and also the complete eradication of the diseases they are suffering from. As a result of all these efforts and advancements in modern medical science and by achieving many other health promoting activities, the average life-span of human beings has increased tremendously. With an increase in average life-expectancy, various psychological and social problems have also originated.
A major problem has developed regarding the placement and negligence of aged persons in the society and family. Within this long span of life, several types of changes occur in social and environmental conditions, and often aged people no longer fit in and are unable to adjust accordingly. This generation gap results in a mutual dilemma on psychological grounds. Beside these mental disturbances, there is deterioration in the functioning of sensory and motor organs. Therefore, an older person can become physically incapable and dependent on others. He experiences monotony and loses enthusiasm in life and becomes a burden on society and the family. Along with an increased age-span, it is required to find out the solution for these problems too. In Ayurveda, such problems are treated with ‘rejuvenation therapy.’ Rejuvenation therapy is a medicine or treatment system which keeps away old age and its related infirmities and diseases, as well as other diseases, and results in anti-aging.
- The aim of rejuvenation therapy
The main aim of rejuvenation therapy is to prevent or postpone the diseases and disabilities of old age. Caraka Samhita describes the benefits of rejuvenation therapy as follows. One who undergoes rejuvenation therapy has a long life-span along with enhanced power of retention, increased intellect and improved health. Such persons maintain youthfulness, that is, the ill-effects of old age are not seen in their body. Their complexion becomes better. This helps to maintain the strength of sensory and motor organs. Their vocal strength and facial glow also increases. In brief, it can be said that its main aim is to maintain youthfulness in the body.
It aims to revive the society or to lay down the foundation of such a society where, instead of old, incapable and dependent people, one who is physically and mentally strong (even in old age) may reside.
- Three levels of body stages
According to Ayurveda, normal life-expectancy of a human being is one hundred years. This life-span is divided into three stages, childhood, middle age and old age.
(1) Childhood: From birth up to 16 years, an individual is a child and this stage is called the childhood stage.
(2) Middle age: From age 16 to 65 years is a middle age and this stage is further divided into four phases:
(a) Growth and developmental phase: From 16-20 years is the period of rapid growth and development, corresponding to an increase in dhatus and body organs.
(b) Youth phase: From 21-30 years of age is considered the ‘youth’ or ‘young adult’ phase. It is the phase of achievement, characterized by energy, vitality and full potency of all dhatus, sense and motor organs.
(c) Maturity (maintenance phase): From age 31 -40 years is the phase of maintenance and maturity. During this phase growth and development of dhatus and other body organs decline but stability in energy and strength is maintained.
(d) Reduction phase: After the above stages, the age up to 65 years is the reduction phase. This stage faces slow and steady reduction in the strength of dhatus, sensory and motor organs.
(3) Old age: After 65 to 70 years and up to 100 years is the stage of old age or the geriatric stage. It is the phase of decay and degeneration. A gradual degeneration of all tissue elements sets in, and sensory and motor organs become lax, resulting in development of several diseases, leading towards eventual death. According to the ancient saints the following ten attributes have been considered essential
for an exhilarated and healthy life:
1) Childhood (innocence) is the early age characterized by tenderness, happiness, innocence and unstrained mind and stoicism.
2) Growth means growth and development of the body parts.
3) Image means splendor, brightness and glow of the face. Age affects the body but freshness, energy and vitality are maintained on the face.
4) Intellect means wisdom, power of judgment, patience, memory, retention and generation of ideas.
5) Skin means tenderness, luster, glow and healthy soft skin, the absence of wrinkles, freckles or dryness of the skin.
6) Vision means the power of watching, the power of vision, eyesight and good working capacity.
7) Semen means strength of life or life power. None of the body organs should be deformed, impotent or powerless.
8) Valor or courage means the power to perform brave deeds and the capacity to work accordingly.
9) Brain or senses means knowledge, visualizing, ability for thinking and planning.
10) Motor organs (mobility) means the power to move the motor organs, the hands, feet and other motor organs, and their strength to work.
Deficiency or absence of these factors makes the body vulnerable to diseases. Then the body cannot even perform normal life activities. Hence Ayurveda instructs us to keep the body healthy in all stages of life until there is life (Consciousness) in the body, and it emphasizes the above ten attributes to know whether the body is fit or not.
On the aggravation of disease, one has to take the support of medication. An expert practitioner has to keep in mind the age of the patient before selecting the treatment procedure. When treating a child or an aged person, a physician must focus on not practicing strong medicinal procedures like cauterization, alkali treatment or emesis and purgation therapy. In these stages, mild and light therapies are used. If strong treatment is required, then it must always be used in a mild form and increased in potency and dose slowly and carefully.