Kaya chikitsa or kayachikitsa is the first branch of Astanga Ayurveda or eight-branched Ayurveda. Kaya means body and chikitsa means treatment.
Charaka Samhita by Acharya Charaka is the first script that gives elaborate knowledge about Kaya chikitsa or Ayurvedic general medicine.
The practitioner must identify first the nature of the person (rogi pareeksha), and then the nature of the disease (roga pareeksha). This is an elaborate process and goes through different stages of assessing the dosha type of the person, his/her physical and mental capabilities, the stage of disease etc are all taken into account before prescribing a medicine.
According to Charaka, the body has the power to cure any imbalances that occur to the body. The function of medicines is to revitalize the life force in our body system, thus enabling our body reach a healthy state.
Diseases according to Ayurveda are the imbalance caused to the tridosha system of body. imbalance in any one dosha can affect the balance of other doshas too. Thus, it is important to quickly assist the body reinstate the state of balance. The imbalances can sometimes be occurred due to the action of mind or due to irregularities in sapta dhatu system or due to deposit of malas (wastes or toxins).
Sodhan or purification of the body is the first thing about treating the body. Panchakarma is a method of full body cleansing to expel accumulated toxins from the system. Panchakarma is a deep cleansing method, which involves five karmas namely nasya, vaman, virechan, basti and rakthamoksha.
Shaman is treating the body with snehan and swedan. Snehan is oil therapy and swedan is forcing the body to sweat, after shaman.
Purva karma is the preparatory procedure for panchakarma and paschat-karma is the therapy that follows panchakarma.
The body naturally has a tendency to expels accumulated bodily wastes (ama). At times, this expelling of toxic wastes can become difficult for the body. The sodhan therapy is a way of assisting the body in expelling those toxins from the body, thereby facilitating healthy functioning of body tissues.