In Ayurveda, in contrary to modern medicine, there are six stages for each disease. That is exactly why Ayurveda is a preventive medicine as well, and also treats the root cause of the disease and not just the symptoms like the modern medicine.
The six stages of disease:
1. Sanchaya – Accumulation
As mentioned in earlier posts, each Dosha has a dwelling place (Vata – Colon, Pitta – Small intestine, Kapha – Stomach).
Vata Accumulation may be indicated by symptoms of constipation, abdominal distention or gases in the colon.
Pitta accumulation may be indicated by symptoms of heat around the belly button, yellowish discoloration of the eyes or urine.
Kapha accumulation may be indicated by symptoms of heaviness, lethargy, fullness of stomach and low appetite.
During this stage the person feels healthy, and the body’s magnificent intelligence, makes one wants to eat the opposite tastes of the accumulated dosha.
2. Prakopa – Provocation
When a dosha is aggravated, and continues to aggravate it does so in its own dwelling place.
During this stage symptoms will be more significant.
Vata symptoms during this stage will be pain in the flanks or mid-back, hyperperistalsis, gurgling and even breathlessness.
Pitta symptoms will be indigestion and heartburn.
Kapha symptoms will be cough, congestion, heaviness.
If one is listening to one’s body, one may reverse those symptoms during those early stages, by using the opposite qualities of the aggravated dosha. After those two stages, the disease is getting out of the GI tract, makes it harder to treat by oneself, and will need to consult an Ayurvedic doctor or practitioner.
3. Prasara – Spread
Further aggravation of the dosha, will make it leave its dwelling place and go to another site of that dosha elsewhere in the body. Purva Rupa, prodromal symptoms and signs are happening during this stage.
In the junction between this stage and the fourth one (sthana Samshraya), purva rupa manifest but is still curable.
Vata will be always involved, as it is represent the factor of movement in the body.
Vata will move to the ears, skin, bones and thighs. Normally during this stage a person will crave dry, rough foods. If one will not go with this crave, one may reverse the progress of disease.
Pitta will move to the stomach, eyes, sweat glands, skin, heart and subcutaneous fat. During this stage a person will crave hot, spicy food. If one will not go with this crave and will eat the opposite tastes like sweet, bitter and cooling substances, one will arrest the further spread of pitta.
Kapha will move to the lungs, sinuses, lymphatic system, breast tissue, mouth and head. There will be craving towards heavy sweet food, and the choice should be spicy and light and hot.
Remember as long as the doshas are at the GI tract, which takes place in the first and second stages, they are still in the home of Agni. As long as this is happening, the doshas can do much harm, as Agni is there to protect, once the Agni is impaired the doshas will leave the GI tract and the disease will manifest further, and will be harder to cure.
4. Sthana Samshraya – Deposition or Localization
During this stage, the aggravated dosha will tend to move into a spot which has a weakness, this point is called Khaivaigunya. When the dosha enters this delicate spot, it changes the tissue and its qualities. When the dosha reaches the khaivaigunya, there is a ‘fight’ between the Agni of the dhatu and the aggravated dosha, if the agni is weak, the dosha will change the qualities of the asthay dhatu (immature form), which will further change the sthayi dhatu (mature form).
For example: Vata may bring coldness, dryness into the dhatu, Pitta may bring heat, oiliness and Kapha may bring stagnation, heaviness and congestion.
5. Vyakti – Manifestation
In this stage the dosha has overcome the dhatu, and changed its qualities, symptoms will be observed in this stage. One may see the pathological symptoms, and know exactly which guna (attribute) of the dosha is the most important part of this disease. The seeds of disease now sprout and begin to manifest in the area of the defective dhatu.
Specific signs can be seen, like cracking of joints due to dryness of Vata entering the joints (a Kapha location). Inflammation is caused by Pitta entering the specific dhatu. Kapha will create congestion, swelling and the like.
6. Bheda – Differentiation of disease
In this stage, structural changes manifest. Complication of other organs, tissues or systems becomes evident. It’s the final expression of the disease. In this stage the tissue is affected as well as its surrounding areas and their functions.
Vata during this stage can manifest as structural changes, severe dehydration, emaciation and so forth.
Pitta may create ulcers in the stomach, hemorrhage, bleeding disorders and the like.
Kapha will create consolidation, tumor formation, as well as fibrocystic changes like lipoma, fibroma and the like.
* Remember a good doctor or practitioner will want to detect the disease in the first stages, and will not let it manifest in the 5th and 6th stages. Always look for the root cause and don’t be blind by the symptoms alone.