The Gerson Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine

Scott Gerson, M.D., Ph.D. (Ayurveda) Medical Director, Jupiter Medical Center Dept. of Integrative Medicine Division of Education and Research

Jupiter Medical Center at The Calcagnini Center for Mindfulness
1210 S. Old Dixie Highway, Jupiter, Florida 33458, Suite M-117.2

 

Lake Mary Clinic and Panchakarma Facility: at 635 Primera Blvd. Lake Mary, Florida 32746

 

 Telephone: (561) 263-MIND (6463); option #2 or (561) 510-3833

Basic Principles Of Ayurveda

The Channels--Srotas

Srotas, meaning channels or pores, are present throughout the visible body as well as at the “invisible” or subtle level of the cells, molecules, atoms, and subatomic strata. It is through these channels that nutrients and other substances are transported in and out of our physiologies. It is also through these channels that information and intelligence spontaneously flow. When the flow of appropriate nutrients and energies through these channels is unimpeded, there is health; when there is excess, deficiency, or blockage in these channels disease can take root. Some srotas have obvious correlates with western concepts (e.g. both Ayurveda and allopathy recognize the anna vaha srota, or gastrointestinal channel and the prana vaha srota, or respiratory passageways. Other srotas have no western correlate: artava vaha srota or udaka vaha srota, carrying the monthly menstrum and the pure water in the body, respectively.

Together with knowledge of the doshic imbalances, the dhatus (tissues) involved, the state of the agni (digestive fire), and other diagnostic means, assessment of the srotas is one of the means in Ayurveda by which diseases can be distinguished. By knowing which srotas are affected and the nature and extent of their disturbance, one can understand a great deal about the disease process.

The Charaka Samhita describes thirteen srotas.

Three srotas connect the individual to the external environment, by bringing air , food, and water into and out of the body. Seven srotas are associated with the seven bodily tissues (sapta dhatus).

Another three srotas direct wastes out of the body. That makes thirteen. However other ancient authorities recognize three additional srota relating to lactation, menstruation, and the flow of thoughts through the mind. This brings the total number of srotas to sixteen which is the accepted description.

Here is a list of the sixteen srotas of the human being.

Three srotas connect the individual to the external world:

  • Prana vaha srota--the channels carrying prana, the breath.
  • Anna vaha srota--the channels transporting solid and liquid foods
  • Udaka vaha srotas--the channels transporting water (no Western equivalent)

Seven srotas represent channels to and from the tissues (dhatus):

  • Rasa vaha srotas--the channels carrying plasma and lymph
  • Rakta vaha srotas--the channels carrying blood cells and specifically hemoglobin
  • Mamsa vaha srotas--the channels carrying muscle nutrients and wastes
  • Meda vaha srotas--the channels supplying the various adipose tissues of the body
  • Asthi vaha srotas--the channels bring nutrients to the bones and transporting wastes.
  • Majja vaha srotas--the channels supplying the bone marrow and nerves including the brain
  • Sukra vaha srota--the channels carrying the sperm and ova and supplying their nutrients

Three srotas regulate the elimination of metabolic waste products:

  • Purisha vaha srotas--the channels which carry the feces
  • Mutra vaha srotas--the channels which carry the urine
  • Sveda vaha srotas--the channels which carry perspiration

Two srotas are specific for women:

  • Artava vaha srotas--the channels which carry the menstrum
  • Stanya vaha srotas--the channels carrying the breast milk during lactation

One srota is associated with the mind (manas):

  • Mano vaha srota--the channels which carry thoughts, ideas, emotions, and impressions