Understanding our individual constitution and adopting a corresponding diet & lifestyle is one of the main ways of keeping good health. Diseases, according to Ayurveda are caused by the imbalance in the three doshas. The predominance of a dosha in an individual’s constitution indicates his or her vulnerability to a particular disease. Diseases in Ayurveda are classified according to the origin of their causes.
Diseases which originate from factors within the human body, including psychosomatic diseases, are called adhyatmika. Adhyatmika diseases are further divided into hereditary diseases, congenital diseases and those caused by the aggravation of the doshas. Adhibhautika diseases are those whose origin can be traced to external physical factors such as germs and accidents. Adhidaiveka diseases are caused by the seasons, planetary influential, providential causes and so forth.
The physician diagnoses a disease in an individual by an examination of the patient based on three general methods. These methods are common to understanding any phenomenon in the universe.
Direct Observation or Pratyaksha: This is done through the senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting. A direct contact between the senses and the object of examination is thus established.
Inference or Anumana: Just as one deduces that there is a fire when one sees smoke, one can make deductions in the observation of certain substances under the microscope. For instance, coated tongue of an individual is suggestive of Indigestion.
Authoritative Statement or Shabda: Experts have bequeathed to us a legacy of authoritative statements regarding diseases. The patient is interrogated closely to determine the exact nature of the diseases. The patient’s relatives too are questioned for in this way the patient’s previous history of diseases can be recorded. Fortified with the knowledge from previously recorded cases and the findings of experts, the physician can make a diagnosis.