Ayurveda for the elderly
In Ayurvedic system of medicine, old age is given high priority.
Treatment of the elderly is broadly explained under the category of 'vridhopacharaneeyam.' According to Ayurveda, the 'dhatus' (constituents) that make a human body degenerate as one grows older. This is because of the various
structural changes that take place in the body with the passage of time.
The focus of Ayurveda in context of old age is that to rejuvenate
and protect the seven dhatus that comprise human body. These dhatus
are- mansa (flesh), raktha (blood), rasa (lymph), majja (marrow), medas
(fat), asthi (bone), and shukra (sperm).
There are several rejuvenation therapies employed by Ayurveda that
benefit the old people. These therapies strengthen their immunity system
and let them feel more energetic. Some of the most popular therapies
generally prescribed for older people are: njavarakizhi, panchkarma,
pizhichil and sirodhra.
While pizhichil and njavarakizhi take away fatigue from the body
allowing old people to feel fresh and to a certain extent youthful,
panchkarma therapies do a lot of good to their digestion system
managing which often becomes one of the major problems for old
Sirodhra helps in nourishing the head. The emphasis while treating old age patients in Ayurveda is on harmonizing their mind, body and intellect. In many cases instead of
one a combination of therapies may be prescribed.
In addition to various therapies Ayurveda also has a number of
medicines, which slow down the process of ageing by invigorating the
body. In fact, the modern day "chavyanprash'" can also be considered
in the same league.
In Vedic times, its main ingredient was gooseberry and it was
considered to be an excellent tonic for various age groups as well as
a remarkable anti-ageing medicine. The legend is that it came into
existence after Maharishi Chyavana, a reverend Indian sage in ancient
times, started taking ‘chyavanaprash’ to get rid of diseases related
to old age as they had sapped him of all his energy.