Reversing diabetic neuropathy with Ayurveda
Diabetic neuropathy is one of the primary complications of both type 1 and 2 Diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy means nerve damage which makes it hard for nerves to carry messages to the brain and other parts of the body.
Ayurveda considers diabetic neuropathy to be the result of malfunctioning of all the three functional elements, though, the part played by fire element in the occurrence of the disease is more pronounced. Excessive intake of sugar, fat, refined carbohydrates, excessive tension, worry and anxiety play their part in causing this imbalance.
Ayurvedic diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy
Ayurveda has its own methodology to diagnose any disease or disorder. Factors like a patient’s physical and psychological constitution, sex, age, family history, stage of illness, complications if any, season etc are carefully analyzed before suggesting any remedy or therapy. This is one of the reasons the treatments vary from person to person.
Pulse, tongue, nail and eye examinations are carried out to understand the functional elements and their imbalance.
a. Pulse diagnosis in Ayurveda is not about counting the beats. It reveals the health status of the entire body constitution, including the imbalances of the functional elements and the health of the various body organs and disease condition.
b. In tongue diagnosis, the doctor checks the general appearance, color and coating of the tongue. As different areas of the tongue correspond to different organs of the body, hence it helps determine which organs of the body are out of balance by having a detailed tongue examination.
c. Nail examination is done to check the type, color and shape of the person’s nail. Imbalances of functional elements (doshas), physical elements (Dhatu) etc are easily detected on close examination.
d. In the eye diagnosis, the color, size and even the shape of the eyes are important in determining the nature of a person. His mental status, nervousness, anxiety, confidence level etc can also be learned through eye diagnosis.
Healing the body naturally
Ayurveda’s approach is to increase the natural healing ability of the body. It may take a few weeks to regenerate the health. After the diagnosis, usually a healing plan with detoxification therapies followed by rejuvenation therapies is carried out. The detoxification therapies are meant to flush out the toxins, which include pre-purification, purification and post purification phases and various types of therapies like oil massages, fermented liquid massages, medicinal enemas, herbal purification methods.
The rejuvenation therapies are meant to nourish the body, to bring the functional elements back to balance and to regenerate the body. This includes diet regulations, daily regimens, intake of oral medicines and yoga and a stress free life.
Detoxification therapies for diabetic neuropathy
Pre-purification therapies are the first ones applied to loosen the toxins, open up the circulation channels and get the body ready for discarding these wastes. These methods are highly relaxing for the body and mind. The following pre-purification therapies are usually adopted for curing diabetic neuropathy
a. Snehapanam is an important pre-purification therapy. It is a type of Oleation therapy and consists of oral intake of medicated ghee on an empty stomach for a specified number of days. This unique treatment helps flush out toxins from the body.
b. Udwarthanam is a type of body massage using herbal powder. This massage activates the nerves and increases blood flow to the impaired parts of the body.
c. Dhanyamla dhara is the continuous pouring of warm fermented medicinal liquid on the body for nearly 40 minutes. The nerves receive a lot of nourishment from this continuous pouring and are very effective for treating all types of diseases affecting nerves.
d. Thalapothichil is the application of herbal paste on the scalp of a patient for a specific period of time. Selected medicinal herbs are ground and made into a fine paste which is thickly applied on to the scalp of the person. The scalp part of the head is usually covered up with banana leaf to allow the medicine to stay on and function well. This stays on the person’s head for almost 40 to 50 minutes giving wonderful relaxation to the mind.
e. Thakra dhara is the profuse pouring of specially prepared buttermilk on the forehead of the person for one hour. This cools down the brain, relaxes the mind and reduces stress, tension and anxiety.
This is the phase of elimination of toxins that were loosened at the pre-purification stage. The commonly adopted detoxification treatments for diabetic neuropathy are purgation (Virechana), emesis (Vamana) and medicated enema (Vasti)
a. Purgation is the oral intake of safe herbal medicines leading to the elimination of poisonous wastes through the anal route.
b. Emesis is also known as therapeutic vomiting. It is a treatment that eliminates the toxins and waste products through the upper gastro-intestinal track. It expels and cleanses undigested food. It has been found to be highly effective in treating diabetic neuropathy.
c. Medicated enema therapy, is the colon cleaning treatment. In this, the medicines are introduced through the anal route for the evacuation of accumulated toxins and metabolic wastes. It is highly recommended in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy.
Rejuvenation for diabetic neuropathy
These are body nourishing therapies to rejuvenate the body and mind after the detoxification treatments. They keep the enzymes in the tissue cells in their normal functioning condition, restore and balance the body functions and maintain the overall health and well being of an individual for much longer periods after the detox course. Rejuvenation phase of diabetic neuropathy consists of oral medicines, diet regulation and yoga.
It is important to have a lifestyle that does not disturb natural body rhythms. When we eat, sleep and exercise in constantly fluctuating and disturbing patterns, the body loses its natural balancing cycles and cannot cleanse or heal itself as effectively. Therefore, regularity in our daily routine can be extremely effective in reducing physiological imbalance to avoid chronic disease.
Text: Dr K Gowthaman, Medical Director, rVita (rVita Ayurveda Centers)
Image: Flickr creative commons sumitrarose