Ayurveda (Ayuh + veda) is the science of life, through its holistic approach. It is mainly concerned with the prevention, promotion and treatment of the body health. There are eight branches in Ayurveda known as Ashtanga Ayurveda, those are Kaya (general medicine), Bala (Paediatrics), Graha (Graha roga/ microbiology), Urdhwanga (Shalakya/ENT and Opthalmology), Shalya (general surgery), Damshtra (toxicology), Jara (Geriatrics), Vrisha (Rejuvination therapy).
So, Kaya Chikitsa is the first branch of Ashtanga Ayurveda, which deals with the general medicine.
Kaya means Sharira or Body and Chikitsa means treatment, so the treatment of the entire body comes under Kaya chikitsa. Kaya Chikitsa mainly deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. It provides the knowledge and skill for clinical diagnosis. It is the base knowledge for all other branches. Kaya chikitsa deals with the treatment of all the systems of the body in a conservative way. The Charak Samhita written by Acharya Charak is the most important manuscript which deals with Kaya chikitsa.
In Kaya Chikitsa, many basic principles like Tridosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), Trimala (Sweat, Urine, Faeces), Sapta dhatu (Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Meda, Asthi, Majja, Shukra) are discussed. Apart from these many principles for treatment, detoxification therapy, Rejuvination therapy have also been discussed.
“Kayasya antaragimeva Chikitsa kayackitsa”, Ayurveda is mainly based on the study of Agni and kayachikitsa deals with the treatment of this Agni.
Kayachiktsa is the branch that focuses chiefly on herbal preparations, finding the root cause for illness and curing it from the root, so, that it will never reoccur again.