This system of medical practice is associated wit the Tamil speaking parts of India. The term Siddha is derived from Siddha, which means attainment of perfection. The origin of this system of medicine is associated with the desire of saints who relentlessly took efforts to attain salvation.

These saints realised that a good physical body free from disease was required to attain eternal bliss. They evolved a system of medicine primarily for the healthy living and also for the elimination of disease. This traditional Tamil system was refined by Saivite saints called siddhars. It's also known as Agastya after it's famous exponent, sage Agastya.

Like all the traditional India medicines, siddha is based on body humours and other characteristics similar to those in Ayurveda. According to siddha system, the universe consists of 5 elements -- earth, water, fire, air and ether that correspond to the five senses of the human body. A suitable proportion of these 5 elements in combination with each other produce a healthy person.

Mercury and sulphur play a major role in the therapeutics of this medical science and often, they are used in combination. Siddha medicine has an interesting way of categorizing drugs. On the basis of mutual interaction the drugs are called enemies or friends based on the compatibility with each other.

The Siddha practitioner considers these aspects while administering the drugs. The diagnosis in siddha is based on findings from eight aspects: pulse, eyes, voice, touch, colour, tongue, faeces, and urine.

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This system of medicine states that if the four humours and the four primary qualities are all in a state of mutual equilibrium, man is healthy. It is the influence of external factors such as climate, age, profession and the customs that causes a dominance of one of the four humours observed in every human body. Both rules and noblemen from t eh beginning of the Muslim rule, built hospitals that followed the Unani system. During the reign of Akbar, there was a mass exodus of learned men from regions where Arabian medicine was taught.

Later when the English took over, these medicine practices lay neglected and forgotten. Towards the last quarter of the nineteenth century that a national reawakening aroused the interest of a few educate Indians to this system of medicine. Today various charitable organizations colleges throughout the country promote this form of medicine.

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This ancient medical tradition, with its origin in the Mediterranean world was developed in the Middle East. It was brought to India with the spread of Islamic civilization around the 10th century A.D. the Unani system of medicine was founded on the principles propounded by Galen, a Greek practitioner. Abu Sina, an Arab philosopher and physicist, also known as Avicenna in English (A.D. 980 - 103), was instrumental in the development of this system of medicine. Many other Arab and Persian philosophers also contributed to its growth and development. The role in the development of Unani is evident from the fact that this style of medicine is now not known as Gaelic, as it was earlier called, but the Unani (Arabic name for Greek) system of medication.

Unani system of medicine revolves around the fact that food is transformed by the natural warmth in the stomach into different substances. A part of these substances that are useful to the body are transported by the blood to different organs, while the waste is excreted. The main products of this process according to the Unani system were the four cardinal humours:

Yellow bile
Black bile

These humours were combined with the four primary qualities

Warmth (or heat)
Moisture (or damp)

One of the most popular Ayurvedic centers, the Kairali chain is found in many cities across the country. The Ayurvedic center provides treatment for a variety of ailments. It also offers special health and beauty care packages. The treatment here is a perfect combination of the traditional and Spiritual. The center has state of the art facilities while remaining true to time tested traditional methods of treatment.

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Ayurveda believes that the imbalance of fire, air and phlegm causes disease in the human body and tries to correct it majorly through cleaning and massage. Once the balance of humours is restored, the body copes better with external factors like pollution, strain and infections.
Say "massage" in the context of an Asian country, and the first thoughts that come flooding in are those of the exotic massage parlours of Pattaya. But an Ayurvedic massage is the real thing. These are serious life-enriching massages, so be prepared to get some energetic flesh pounding from experts. While you soak in the herbs you can watch the beaches of Vizhinjam packed with boats out to sail in the sunset. From the beach you can see their lights strung out like pearls in a necklace from the coast. Look forward to being draped with pieces of linen, dipped in lukewarm herbal oils, all over the body by two to four trained therapists in a special rhythmic way. This goes on continuously for about 60 to 90 minutes per day for a period of 7 to 21 days, and is said to be an effective remedy for rheumatic diseases. It's supposed to be good for your nerves too and should pep up your overall energy levels as well.
When alternative lifestyles and stressful schedules are talking points in the cosmopolitan circuits, Ayurveda, the art of ancient Indian healing cannot be far behind. The inability of modern allopathy to allay all sicknesses and diseases has made an increasing number of people turn to Ayurveda, which has a cornucopia of ancient secret cures for stubborn diseases. Along with yoga, Ayurveda is the new balm for fevered souls. It uses natural herbs and their oils to treat ailments and ensure a healthy life. Most of the centres for Ayurveda, called Ayurveda Shalas, are in Kerala on the South Coast. This is beach country as well, so bring along your sunscreens and hats. In fact many westerners have made Ayurvedic spas their annual treat, combining a relaxing holiday with cleansing for their bodies.

Vata ---- Earth & air, governs the movement, nervous system, circulation,
------------- respiration & elimination.

Pitta ---- Fire & water combined governs the metabolism

Kapha - Water & earth combined governs growth

The system of Ayurveda says that there are unique proportions of the dosha's in each body & the accumulation of any one dosha could cause physical ailments or disorders. Ayurveda suggests lifestyle & nutritional remedial measures and sometimes medicines or massages to reduce the excess of the dosha.

This Art of healing has been held in high esteem in India. In mythology Dhanwantari is regarded as the god of medicine & the parishioners were known as Ashwini kumars.

The herbs used in Ayurveda are indigenous to Kerala's moist climate. The type of oil used for massage differs according to the ailment being treated. It is one of these: camphor, neem, mustard and castor. To these are added various powdered herbs, nuts and the bark of trees. The Ayurvedic practitioner may conduct the massage using the palm of the hand, poultices, and cloth.

Traditionally, Ayurvedic massage is used on trainee Kathakali dancers, and students of kalaraipayattu. The guru massages the student's head and shoulders with his hands, but uses his feet to stretch and flex the student's legs and back, since flexibility is essential to classical dance and martial art.

Ayurveda[ayur + veda] is considered to be a sub-veda or the branch of knowledge that is concerned with the physical health and happiness on earth, which therefore assumes great significance to human life. Vedic culture was based on the Vedas [four books of knowledge] the origin of which dates back to 40000 years. This is an indication to the age-old roots of Ayurveda. Ancient physicians segmented the universe into different types of manifested energy and attributed the very same energy to food and herbs.

Ayurveda or the 'science longevity' is the system of nature cure. It is known to promote positive health, natural beauty and long life. Although rooted in antiquity, Ayurveda is based on universal principles and is a living, growing body of knowledge - as useful today as it was in earlier centuries.


2 thousand yrs ago the indigenous people of Tibet had a traditional medical system, which was closely connected to their native spiritual system. They use an ancient form of medicine known as Gso-wa Rig-pa or the "knowledge of Healing" whose origins are believed to be based on the teachings of the Buddha.

Tibetan medicine has existed in its present form for over one thousand yrs. Over the several centuries, medical knowledge was incorporated from the Indian Ayurveda, the Chinese system and the Greek medical systems. In addition it also incorporated the buddhist thought.

In Buddhist thought, all suffering and hence all illness, is caused by attachment, anger and ignorance, known as the "three interior poisons". The physical manifestation of he 3 poisons assume the form of three humours which are rlung (pronounced long), mkhris-pa and Bad-kan. In English these are generally translated as wind, bile, phlegm. When they are in harmony, they maintain well-being, but when they are disturbed or out of harmony, they are the cause of illness.

Desire corresponds to disharmony of rlung (wind). Some symptoms of that are frothy urine, a rough and dry tongue or a 'jumpy' pulse.

Hatred corresponds to disharmony of bile. Some symptoms are presence of thick or yellowish red urine, thick yellowish fur on the tongue or a 'full' pulse.

Ignorance causes phlegm disorders. The urine in odourless, thin whitish and the pulse is "sluggish or heavy".

Furthermore Tibetans believe that karma (the law of cause and effect) from one's previous incarnations can also be responsible for our illnesses in our present experience.

Ignorance generates other negative states of the mind such as desire, hatred, jealousy and pride, which also contribute to our suffering. Understanding one's emotions is an essential part of the Buddhist journey to full awakening and freedom from unwanted conditions or all sorts. However, since most of us have very little ability to work with our emotional energies, medicines and other remedies are required. Treatment can include consultations on lifestyle and diet, recommendations of mantras and meditation, moxibustion (burning of the herb mugwort), the use of supplements and massage with specially formulated herbal oils and occasionally, acupuncture.

The ideal image of a healer in Tibetan medicine is that of "a man of noble character, capable of immediately making the right diagnosis of a patient's illness, without any examination or the least assistance" (Burang, p.12). Needless to say, such physicians are quite rare. Consequently, before a physician acquires credibility, he must train at least twenty years in the tradition.

Tibetan medicine is a holistic tradition, and a lasting cure can only take place when the whole psychological environment, of the patient is accounted for, superficial methods which consider only the outward symptoms of illness are frowned upon. Consequently, Tibetan medicine is increasingly gaining recognition in the west as particularly effective for patients with chronic diseases such as hepatitis, certain kinds of mental illness, ulcers, paralysis, gallstones, kidney stones, and arthritis. Tibetan look at well-being as a consequence of three integrated types of medical practices: secular therapies, such as medicine, diet, surgery, spiritual cures where Buddha is the Absolute healer and the Dharma, or teachings of Sakyamun, the King of medicine."

The Tibetan physician focuses his attention on spiritual factors even in the treatment of the simplest illnesses and regards medicine and medical instruments as holy objects. Even the pharmaceuticals, which are mixtures of vegetable, animal and mineral compounds, are prepared with meticulous attention to religious ritual. For example, after the Tibetan physician gathers dozens of different ingredients that go into the making of the single small pill, he performs a meditative ritual.

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Ayurveda the traditional form of Indian medicine was developed by ancient sages whose astute observations led to the development of constitutional medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine too has similar origins. Over the past 5000 years the Ayurvedic and chinese traditions have developed sophisticated systems of medicines. The ancients visualized the universe as a constant play of energies, an imbalance of which created discomfort and disease in the body. It was the duty of the vaidya/ (physician) to harmonize this imbalance of the body - mind environment.

Ayurveda is an intricate system of healing that originated in India thousands of years ago. This system of medicine stressed on the prevention of body ailments in addition to curing them. Followed by the Dravidians and Aryans alike, Ayurveda has been practised ever since.

Ayurveda is more than just a medical system. It is a Science of Life. Ayurveda is a system that helps maintain health in a person by using the inherent principles of nature to bring the individual back into equilibrium with their true self. In essence Ayurveda has been in existence since the beginning of time because nature's laws have always governed us.

Ayurveda has eight specialized branches, namely internal medicine including gynaecology, surgery, the treatment of diseases of the head and neck, toxicology, paediatrics, psychiatry and rejuvenation therapy.

In India, Ayurvedic spas can be found all over the country. The most famous Ayurveda Shalas are found in Kerala.

Kerala's equable climate, natural abundance of forests (with a wealth of herbs and medicinal plants), and the cool monsoon season (June - November) are best suited for Ayurveda's curative and restorative packages. Kerala is the only State in India, which practises this system of medicine with absolute dedication.

Today, it's a unique, indispensable branch of medicine - a complete naturalistic system that depends on the diagnosis of your body's vata, pitta and kapha - to achieve the right balance. Ayurveda believes in the treatment of not just the affected part, but also the individual as a whole. Making it the natural way to refresh yourself, eliminate all toxic imbalances from the body and thus regain resistance and good health.

Monsoon - Time for rejuvenation:
Traditional texts reveal that the monsoon is the best season for rejuvenation programmes. The atmosphere remains dust-free and cool, opening the pores of the body to the maximum, making it most receptive to herbal oils and therapy.

The Ancient method of Mediation

The main quality that Ayurveda has drawn from Charaka Samhita is the removing the cause of the illness & not just curing the disease itself. According to Charaka a noted practitioner of Ayurveda India "a physician who fails to enter the body of a patient with the lamp of knowledge & understanding can never cure the diseases. He should first study all the factors, including environment, which influence a patient's disease, and then prescribe medication. Prevention is more important than cure.

Ayurveda believes that human being consists of the five elements, air, water, fire, ether & earth. And the combination of any of these elements exists in each one of us. There are mainly three types of Dosha's or combinations

Rasayana Chikitsa - Rejuvenation Therapy:
Tones up the skin and rejuvenates and strengthens all the tissues so as to achieve ideal health and longevity. Increases 'Ojas' (primary vitality) and improves 'Sattva' (mental clarity) and thereby increases the resistance of the body. Includes head and face massage with medicated oils and creams, body massage with herbal oil or powder by hand and foot, internal rejuvenating medicines and medicated steam bath. Herbal baths are also used.

Kayakalpa Chikitsa - Body Immunisation And Longevity Treatment:
This therapy is a prime treatment for retarding the ageing process, arresting the degeneration of body cells and immunisation of the system. Includes intake of Rasayana (special Ayurvedic medicines and diet) and comprehensive body care programmes. Most effective if undertaken before the age of 50.

Sweda Karma - Body Sudation:
Medicated steam baths eliminate impurities from the body, improve the tone and complexion of the skin, reduce fat and are recommended for certain rheumatic diseases, particularly for pain. Precious herbs and herbal leaves are boiled and the steam is passed over the entire body for 10 to 20 minutes daily. Hand massage with herbal oils or herbal powder improves blood circulation and tones up the muscles.
Body Slimming:
Medicated herbal powder and medicated herbal oil massages, an Ayurvedic diet of herbal juices etc. are part of the programme.
Beauty Care:
Herbal face pack, herbal oil massage, intake of herbal tea etc. improves complexion and beautifies the body.
Mental And Physical Well Being (Meditation and Yoga):
Mental and physical exercises meant to isolate the ego from the body and mind - designed to hone your concentration, improve health and help attain peace of mind through eight stages of training:
1} Disciplined behaviour (yama)
2} Self purification (niyama)
3} Bodily postures such as the lotus position (asana)
4} Control of breathing (pranayama)
5} Control of the senses (pratyahara)
6} Fixing of the mind on a chosen object (dharana)
7} Meditation (dhyana) and
8} Samadhi - a state of being where you experience absolute tranquillity and well-being.
Overall Fitness (Panchakarma Treatment):
A five-fold treatment for mental and physical well-being - tunes the body, organs, mind, breath, nerves and purifies the blood.

Panch Karma is the cornerstone of Ayurvedic treatment. While diet, lifestyle, and herbal supplements play roles in creating & maintaining health Panch Karma is the process, which gets to the root cause of the problem. There are several eliminative procedures in Panch Karma : --

This five-fold purification therapy aims at correcting the imbalance of the body's Doshas or bio energies (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) in order to maintain their inherent equilibrium and Ama, which forms as a result.

Panchakarma therapy has three main stages : Poorvakarma, Pradhanakarma and Paschatkarma.

Poorvakarma, the first stage, comprises essential preliminary procedures for preparing the body to unload stored toxins. The treatments help to loosen Ama (toxins) and move it out to the deep structures into the gastro-intestinal tract, where Panchakarma's cleaning therapies can then eliminate it.

Pradhanakarma is the second stage and includes the main cleansing therapies.

Paschatkarma is the final stage and describes the measures employed after the main treatment, such as diet, medicines and daily routine.

Vamana : therapeutic Vomiting -- promotes elimination from the stomach & thoracic cavity -- Administering herbal decoction to induce therapeutic vomiting. Very beneficial for Kapha imbalances such as asthma, cough, psoriasis and other skin disorders.
Virechana: puragation -- promotes elimination from the small intestine -- Administration of Virechak Aushdhi, a purgative, in milk or warm water. Alleviates excess Pitta in the body and helps treat dermatitis, chronic fever, heartburn and jaundice.
Vasti: therapeutic enema -- works on the colon -- An oil enema. The main seat of the Vata Doshi is Pakwashaya (large intestine), therefore Vasti is the main therapy for all Vata disorders such as constipation, neurological ailments, paralysis, flatulence, lower backache, gout and rheumatism.


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