Five Basic Elements
The universe is composed of five basic elements : space (or ether),air, fire, water and earth. In Ayurveda terminology, these are called Aakaash, Vaayu, Agni, Jal and Prithvi, respectively. Being a miniature universe, the human body, too, is composed of the same five elements.
Each of these five elements serves a specific and important function within the body :
Aakaash (space) is an inactive element that manifests itself in the bodily cavities like the cranial cavity, the paranasal sinuses, the ear cavity, the buccal cavity (mouth), the thoracic cavity, the abdomen-pelvic cavity and the spaces within tubular/ bag like organs.
Aakaash creates room within the body so that the rest of the elements can act. Aakaash is also associated with sound and, therefore, hearing. Ear ailments (e.g., acute pain) are relieved by the manipulation of Aakaash element.
Vaayu (air) is the element of movement. All movements : of the body and within the body, voluntary as well as involuntary, are effected by air. Air is also responsible for our thoughts and emotions and for the movement of electrical impulses along sensory and motor nerves.
Air is related to the sense of touch and, therefore, to the skin. Disorders of movements (lacking as in paralysis or excessive as in Parkinson’s disease) can be helped by the manipulation of air element.
Agni (fire) element is responsible for the body-temperature and metabolism. Fire works on the alimentary system, causing thirst, hunger, digestion of food and assimilation of digested food.
Fire is also associated with vision and, therefore, eyes. Disorders like loss of appetite, indigestion and fatness can be helped by the manipulation (reinforcement) of the fire element.
Jal (water) element is the constituent of protoplasm (the jelly-like substance present within cells), blood, tears, saliva, digestive juices, sweat, urine, semen, cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) and fat.
Water is also related to taste and, therefore, the tongue. Without water, the tongue cannot recognize various tastes. Disorders of water-metabolism within the body (e.g., dehydration or water-retention) can be helped by manipulating the water element.
Prithvi (earth) element is the constituent of skin, hair, nails, bones, cartilage, muscles, etc. It is responsible for the body-mass. An excess of earth element causes obesity (overweight) whereas a deficiency causes emaciation (weight-loss).
Earth is also associated with smell and, therefore, the nose. Disorders like leanness, prostration, debility, low immunity, etc., can be helped by the manipulation (reinforcement) of the earth element.
Mudra Therapy is another non-medical mode to treatment which helps without harming. Mudras are various postures of fingers and thumbs. in mudra therapy, different diseases are treated by holding and retaining the fingers and thumbs in different ways.
This is simple measure surprisingly restores a state of balance in body and raises the level of the performer’s resistance. with the patient’s immunity thus strengthened, the disease has no other option but to flee.
How to Practice Mudras
- Touching a finger-tip to the thumb tip increase the element residing in that finger whereas touching a finger-tip to the thumb-base reduces the element residing in that finger.
- When performing a mudra, a light contact between the thumb and the finger/s is sufficient; firm pressure is not really required.
- When performing a mudra, the position of other fingers (which are not participating in that mudra) is immaterial. They can be held (effortlessly) straight or allowed to bend as per the practitioner’s desire or
- Mudras can be practiced anytime, anywhere e.g., while reading a newspaper in the morning, while traveling to the office or back home, while watching T.V. or listening to music, etc. However, simultaneous meditation can, perhaps yield greater benefits.
- Mudras can be performed in any body-position i.e., lying, sitting, standing, walking, etc. However, simultaneous meditation
- Even passive performance/ of mudras,using rubber bands or sticking plasters (in cases of unconscious/insane people or children) proves beneficial.
- Only a few mudras (e.g., Aakaash Shaamak and Apaan Vaayu mudras) help within a few minutes of beginning to perform them. Rest of the mudras have to be practiced for about 30-45 minutes every day (either at one stretch or in three parts, each of 15 minutes), for at least 15 days to experience benefits. In fact they should be practiced till the disease is eradicated, however long it takes.
- Should a person undergoing Mudra Therapy bring about changes in diet is a question that is frequently asked. We will say that though not indispensable, suitable Dieter/ changes can reinforce the benefits of mudras whereas unsuitable diet can, at least partially, offset the good effects of mudras. If a person having an excess of element Vaayu (air) or humor Vaata in his body liberally consumes foods that can increase Vaayu or Vaata, he may not benefit (or may benefit only partially and slowly) even by a most religious and regular practice of suitable (i.e., Vaayu decreasing or Vaata decreasing) mudra/s. Quite obviously, no sane person would want his sincere efforts and time spent in performing mudras go in vain because of injudicious diet. In other words, a person’s recovery from disease is expedited by combining Mudra Therapy with correct diet. Suggestions about appropriate diet for the three constitutional types, Vaata, Pitta and Kapha.
- Mudra Therapy goes along quite well with other forms of treatment, medical as well as non-medical. Previous medicines should not be stopped when beginning Mudra Therapy.
Holistic healing is about exploring the best possible wellness options available to you.
It is about finding therapies that complement your existing medical care.
It may also be about finding solutions that replace your level of medical treatment.