Branches of Ayurveda
The practical tenets of Ayurveda are divided into eight sections or branches. These eight sections are called "Astanga Ayurveda".
These sections include:
This is related to the soul, mind, and body. Psychosomatic theory recognizes that the mind can create illness in the body and vice versa. The seven body constitutions and seven mental constitutions were delineated here: Váyu (air/energy), Pitta (fire), Kapha (water), Váyu/Pitta, Váyu/Kapha, Pitta/ Kapha, and a com- bination of all three (tridosha).
2.Ears,Nose,and Throat-"Surgery"(Shálákya Tantra)
Sushruta reveals approximately 72 eye diseases, surgical procedures for all eye disorders (e.g., cataracts, eyelid diseases), and for diseases of the ears, nose, and throat.
Topics include air and water pollution, tox- ins in animals, minerals, vegetables, and epidem- ics; as well as keys for recognizing these anoma- lies and their antidotes.
In this branch prenatal and postnatal care of the baby and mother are discussed. Top- ics include methods of conception; choosing the child’s gender, intelligence, and constitution; and childhood diseases and midwifery.
More than 2,000 years ago, sophisticated methods of surgery were known. This information spread to Egypt, Greece, Rome, and eventually throughout the world. In China, treatment of intestinal obstructions, bladder stones, and the use of dead bodies for dissection and learning were taught and practiced.
A whole branch of Áyurveda specifically deals with diseases of the mind (including de- monic possession). Besides herbs and diet, yogic therapies (breathing, mantras, etc.) are employed.
This sec- tion deals with two aspects: infertility (for those hoping to conceive) and spiritual de- velopment (for those eager to transmute sexual energy into spiritual energy).
8. Rejuvenation (Rasáyana)
Prevention and longevity are discussed in this branch of Áyurveda. Charak says that in order to develop longevity, ethics and vir- tuous living must be embraced.