Definition – What does Chikitsa mean?
Chikitsa is a Sanskrit term, broadly defined as ‘therapy,’ but also understood as the application of consciousness or caring. It is a concept prominent to all major Ayurvedic texts, many of which have a Chikitsa Sthana or ‘section relating to therapy’. Chikitsa is used to refer to any type of treatment or therapy intended to correct an imbalance or manage a specific illness.
On explains Chikitsa
Ayurveda takes a holistic and broad-based approach to health and healing. As such, Chikitsa therapies incorporate a wide range of techniques, including diet, massage, herbs, Panchakarma, Pranayama, Asana and even meditation.
Chikitsa can be classified into several sub-types:
- Shodhana Chikitsa– treatments which focus on detoxification, purification and elimination of excess doshas
- Shamana Chikitsa – palliative treatments used to address symptoms
- Ahara Chikitsa – food-based treatments
- Rasayana Chikitsa – rejuvenation therapy
- Sattavajaya Chikitsa – psychological therapy
Regardless of the method, Chikitsa focuses on restoring equilibrium to body, mind, spirit and senses. This generally involves finding a relative balance between the three gunas, the seven dhatus, the three doshas and the fifteen sub-doshas, as a means of treating Vikriti (imbalance).