Samprapti: The Six Stages of Disease

Ayurveda proposes a compelling and detailed view of Disease Pathology. Similar to the pattern of the seasons, the ideal flow of the Dosha’s is such that after a Dosha has accumulated and reach its peak, known in Ayurveda as aggravation, the dosha is alleviated naturally through the body’s elimination channels. This process is supported by the wisdom of paying attention to these “inner seasons” of the body. However, many times the dosha is not alleviated and this is when more noticeable symptoms can begin to occur. Lets take a closer look at each of these stages:

Accumulation: Caya
Like the observable qualities and elements of the seasons, Dosha’s naturally rise and fall like tides in the body. Kapha naturally accumulates in the stomach with symptoms such as heaviness or lack of appetite. Pitta naturally accumulates in the small intestine with symptoms such as heat or warmth. Vata naturally accumulates in the colon with symptoms such as gas or bloating.

Peak (Aggravation): Prakopa
Similar to the stage before except, and in reference to our seasonal analogy once again, this is the stage at which the accumulation reaches its peak. Symptoms that occur in either of the first two stages are occurring in the digestive system and are thus easily alleviated through proper dosha remedies and any actions that support the natural elimination channels.

Spreading: Prasara
The home site of all Dosha imbalance is the digestive tract. The digestive tract is like the central highway of the body where everything begins before finding its way into deeper tissues of the body or even the mind. When a Dosha reaches its peak and is not alleviated, it will spread into these other tissues. It is important to note that excess dosha will most easily move to area’s which the element has an affinity but will also move to areas of weakness or pre-existing illness as well. All other factors considered, Kapha will tend to spill over into the lungs, Pitta will tend to spill over into the liver or the skin, and Vata will tend to spill over into nerves or the joints.

Relocation: Sthana-Samsraya
Over time the Dosha will become more difficult to remove and will begin to cause additional symptoms. These symptoms are often characteristic of later more defined diseases. Examples of this are a wheezy cough that eventually leads to asthma, a painful knee precedes arthritis or a skin irritation that becomes chronic eczema.

Manifestation: Vyakti
This is the stage at which modern western medicine is most likely to give the disease a “name”. The dosha overflowed into circulation, found a new place to live and has now had time to make that place its new home. Diseases that get to this stage are far more difficult to cure and require specific protocols and deep cleansing techniques to cure.

Full Expression: Bheda
At this stage the disease has officially become chronic and will be difficult to full reverse. The new home of the dosha has become a place of weakness in the body and may be seeding new symptoms elsewhere in the body or the mind.