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Samprapti: The Development of Disease in Ayurveda

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

illustration: the development of disease
Samprapti, How Diseases Develop

If Allopathy is concerned with the symptoms, Ayurveda is concerned with the causes.

Every time we take an Antacid, Gaviscon-type, we are effectively refusing to listen to what the body is trying to tell us. Popping a pill every time something goes wrong cannot be good. But more than that, it makes us loose all connection to our body, that is, ourselves.

In western medicine, an indigestion isn't seen as the result of our bad habits, what we've eaten or our life-style but as a random occurence that doesn't need our attention. So we do pop that pill in and treat that annoying little "dis-ease" which isn't life threatening.

Ayurveda takes a completely different approach: feeling bloated, having acid reflux, diarrhoea or constipation is already caused by something you've been eating or doing... and will lead to more serious conditions. When we understand the cause of the "dis-ease" ("what am I eating or doing that makes me feel so bad?") now we can change and heal in the long run, rather than seeing a "dis-ease" turning illness...

In Ayurveda, illnesses start with the "accumulation" of the causative factor.

Say you eat tomatoes, spicy food, alcohol, fatty cheeses, bananas A LOT OF and OFTEN. This might be the way you've always eaten, the food you love the most and so nothing is abnormal to you. But often now you feel hungry, your urine is yellow-orange and you may have sour burps. These are seemingly inoffensive yet they are caused by accumulation of that "fire energy" contained in those foods. In ayurveda, Fire is associated with the Pitta dosha. (Look at the post on Doshas in this blog). At this stage, the symptoms go unrecognised to you.

Stage 2: Keep on eating those things "a lot & often", hit the gym for a spinning class 4 times a week (that's a lot of fire energy) and now you feel acidic reflux, nausea or heart burn. This is the stage called "provocation" or "aggravation" and we tend to feel like it's no big deal as it will pass, almost by itself.

Stage 3: like with a vase, add too much water and it will overspill. Here by continuing to eat those things which are bad in excess, the pitta dosha is now spreading to other parts of the body it usually doesn't inhabit. You experience hot flushes, rash, urticaria, burning sensations, your sweat feels acidic or your eyes might be burning.

Stage 4: The "dis-ease" now finds a weak enough spot that wont offer resistance in order to settle down. It might be an old knee injury, or any weakness due to a previous trauma, a genetic pre-disposition, repressed emotions or accumulated stress. At this stage, your Pitta dosha starts fighting with the tissue it wants to settle in, affecting its structural function. Pre-symptoms can be recognised by your ayurvedic practitioner but you will probably not be sure of what's going on.

At stage 5 & 6, the illness is manifest and its clear symptoms obvious. An excess of fire will be responsible for a wide array of diseases such as ulcers, abscesses, piles, Crohn's disease, Hepatitis, Rhumathoid Arthritis among many others...

The evolution of disease occurs as we've lost touch with what is or isn't good to our unique constitution. The foods mentioned as example are all good and beneficial when eaten in the right proportions and at the right time. Covering up mild "dis-eases" with a pill is a great way to avoid the problem and misunderstand what harms or heal us. By knowing your constitution, identifying the food and life-style that is appropriate to your condition or to your specific nature will allow you to stay healthy or end the progress of the disease.

Ayurveda is equally concerned with preserving one's health and restoring it.

"With Consciousness comes Healing "


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