The aim of Ayurveda, the Mother of all healing systems, is not just to cure disease, but to achieve total good health. Of the eight branches of this 5000 year old science of life, Jara Chikitsa or Rasayana Chikitsa as it is also known, is a positive expression of this philosophy. “Jara” actually means wrinkles, but this Ayurvedic speciality is not confined to geriatric treatment or old age. Jara Chikitsa or Rasayana Chikitsa is a rejuvenating therapy that repairs wear and tear of the body, and revitalizes body tissues. It arrests ageing, gives luster to the skin, nourishes the blood and tissues, energizes and boosts the immune system. Rasayana Chikitsa ensures a longer life with good physical and mental health- and actually goes a step further, to provide spiritual solace as well, for an individual’s total well being. In short, Rasayana Chikitsa boosts the vital force of life, known as ‘ojas’ in Ayurveda.
Rasayana Chikitsa and Nutrition
Diet and nutrition play a very important role in Rasayana Chikitsa. Nutrition is promoted in three ways. The first focuses on improving the body’s nutritional intake through the increased consumption of certain foods like milk and ghee. The second aims at improving digestion and metabolism with nuts like bhallataka and herbs like pippali, so that the food that you eat is utilized more efficiently. Thirdly, the body’s micro circulation is improved with herbs like tulsi and guggulu that step up the delivery of nutrients to the different parts of the body.
Rasayana therapy is of two types. The first is for people who have a busy schedule and do not have the time or the energy for prolonged procedures. Patients have to make changes in their diet and lifestyle, and they undergo therapy in short spells. The medicines, given in the therapy, are carefully chosen, bearing in mind, the patient’s age, sex, constitution, habits, living conditions and diseases acquired in the past and also the present state of the body. The second type of therapy is a prolonged and elaborate procedure. A person desirous of undergoing rejuvenation therapy should be firm in his purpose, full of faith, and single-minded. The patient is kept in isolation in a specially designed hut for weeks together. During this period he or she is continuously monitored by a skilled ayurvedic practitioner. The patient is first cleansed by the administration of elimination therapy. After administration of elimination therapy, normally the patient becomes a little weak. Therefore, proper diet should be given to patient to restore strength. Only then is rejuvenation therapy administered. At the end of the period all the old tissues in the body are replaced with new and energy-filled tissues. It is almost like a reincarnation of the body- but it is not an easy therapy to undergo.
Kerala, the cradle of Ayurveda, is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Rasayana Chikitsa. Fashion models and celebrities are flocking to its many renowned Ayurvedic centres and to quote ‘The Deccan Chronicle’- “While celebrities like Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci have been coming to Kerala for ayurvedic treatments for their chronic ailments, now one can also hear of a Kate Winslet trying it out for its preventive and restorative aspects”…such is the power of Rasayana Chikitsa.