Ayurvedic Treatment in Kerala for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
UNDERSTANDING CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME
Chronic fatigue syndrome is an extremely difficult condition to live with, but yet is often undiagnosed as it is misunderstood to be just extreme tiredness or sometimes even misdiagnosed, thus making it hard for those affected to lead happy, productive lives. What makes it complicated is that despite the debilitating tiredness and chronic pain, there may be no variations in blood tests or any other diagnostic investigations and both the patient and the family may believe that it is not real or that “it is all in the mind”. In reality, chronic fatigue syndrome is a clinical condition resulting from disturbances in metabolism that can be corrected with proper treatment. Ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for chronic fatigue syndrome works on this understanding and helps patients regain their healthy levels of energy and stability. As the name suggests, chronic fatigue syndrome is constant fatigue which is accompanied by a cluster of physical, mental and emotional problems. Chronic fatigue syndrome is also known as systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)
How do you know if your tiredness is chronic fatigue syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome is much more than the tiredness you experience after a hectic day. With chronic fatigue syndrome, even a small degree of physical or mental activity causes you extreme tiredness and after resting or sleeping, you do not feel refreshed. You feel fatigued in such an overwhelming, weakening way that you want to be in bed all day or fall asleep even in the midst of work. If you have been experiencing this for six months or more, along with other symptoms like muscle pain, joint pain, sore throat, sleep disturbances, mood fluctuations etc., it is time you considered visiting an ayurvedic centre in Kerala and undergoing ayurvedic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome.
How does chronic fatigue syndrome affect the person?
Ayurvedic treatment in Kerala recognises that chronic fatigue syndrome is a physical disorder with a profound impact on the mind. In addition to extreme fatigue, there may be many associated symptoms like disturbances in digestion, headache, body pain, loss of balance, inability to maintain conversations, sensitivity to light and sound etc. Gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome may also be present. Apart from the physical symptoms there may also be disorientation, mood swings, irritability and emotional outrage, all out of the inability to maintain the normal pace of life. Sometimes, there will be a sudden occurrence of all these symptoms at once, resulting in a “crash” or post-exertional malaise where the person cannot even get out of their bed. Battling all these debilitating symptoms may lead to stress and depression.
What could happen if chronic fatigue syndrome is not treated?
It is extremely important that you treat chronic fatigue syndrome. If ignored or not treated, your physical and psychological health may deteriorate, thus adversely affecting the way you deal with life. It may affect your personal, social and professional lives so badly that you end up with clinical depression. Ayurvedic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome at an ayurveda hospital in Kerala revitalizes the body and mind through detoxification and rejuvenation.
How is chronic fatigue syndrome different from depression?
In both conditions, the person’s productivity is affected and they grow more and more isolated, so it may be difficult for an untrained eye to tell the difference. Depression is a mental health problem and chronic fatigue syndrome is primarily a physical condition. In chronic fatigue syndrome, the person wants to engage in activities but find themselves utterly lacking in energy whereas in depression, the person loses interest in all activities including pleasant ones. In chronic fatigue syndrome, we find that even if the person has suicidal thoughts, sadness, weight loss etc., it is not primary but instead it is all a result of their inability to find the energy to do day to day activities. In chronic fatigue syndrome, the person may be losing weight because they are finding it too tiring to do all the related chores of shopping, cooking and cleaning and therefore eating less, where as in depression, the person may not eat even if their food is served in front of them. At ayurveda hospitals in Kerala, treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome is determined by ayurvedic physicians after a careful analysis of the patient's condition.
How is chronic fatigue syndrome different from fibromyalgia?
Ayurvedic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome is different from that of fibromyalgia. In both conditions, there is pain and fatigue, but if you have chronic fatigue syndrome, it is your lack of energy that is overwhelming to you. Pain is less of a problem compared to fatigue and you may not be able to pinpoint distinct pain sites on your body like you can when you have fibromyalgia. Also, you are more likely to experience inflammatory signs in chronic fatigue syndrome like sore throat or swollen lymph nodes which are not commonly seen in fibromyalgia.
What is the ayurvedic understanding of how chronic fatigue syndrome is caused?
Ayurveda understands chronic fatigue syndrome to be a deficiency of ojas, the vital essence of life. The depletion of ojas happens when wrong diet and lifestyle impair digestion and metabolism. Unhealthy diets and lifestyles, over a period of time, disturb the tridoshas ( vata, pitta and kapha are the three doshas in the body which must be in a state of balance to maintain a healthy physiological environment ) which, in turn, disturb digestion and form a toxic internal environment. The presence of toxins in the body blocks the flow of nutrients to tissues. Over time, tissues are weakened, metabolism in various tissues is hampered and this results in the depletion of ojas and energy, causing fatigue of body and mind. The disturbance of doshas, especially of vata dosha, also causes symptoms like stiffness and pain. Ayurvedic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome in Kerala therefore focuses on correcting the impaired digestion and metabolism, thereby nourishing ojas and revitalizing the person.
AYURVEDIC TREATMENT FOR CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME
How does ayurvedic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome help?
Ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for chronic fatigue syndrome could help you in many ways :
Corrects your digestion and metabolism: Ayurveda recognises that, in chronic fatigue syndrome, digestive fire is very weak therefore one of the first steps in the ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for chronic fatigue syndrome is to strengthen the digestive fire and improve tissue metabolism. This is mainly done through internal medicines, but dietary changes also play a significant role.
Removes accumulated toxins from the body: Improper digestion, over a long time, will have resulted in the accumulation of toxins not only in the gut, but also in different body tissues thus impairing tissue metabolism. In order to extract these toxins from tissues and eliminate it from the body, suitable internal medicines, preparatory procedures and external therapies (like churna pinda sweda / dry massage, dhanyamla dhara etc). will be employed during your stay at the ayurvedic hospital in Kerala.
Relieves fatigue, stiffness and pain: Symptoms like fatigue stiffness and pain are indicators of disturbed vata dosha, so during your ayurvedic treatment in Kerala, you will receive internal medicines and external therapies which will restore the normal, balanced state of doshas. Snehana (internal and external oleation) and swedana (abhyangam, podikizhi, elakizhi, steam bath etc.) are some commonly used therapies in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome since, apart from relieving the symptoms, these therapies also improve metabolism. Based on your ayurvedic physician’’s assessment of your condition, you may also be advised vasti treatment.
Energizes body and mind: Replenishing ojas, the vital essence of life, is one of the chief goals of ayurvedic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. This is achieved by restoring the balance of energies in the body as well as the mind. Therapies like shirodhara, shirovasthi etc.will help balance your mind while rejuvenating rasayana therapies will nourish the body, thus once again infusing enthusiasm and energy in you.
How successful is the ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for chronic fatigue syndrome?
In most patients, ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for chronic fatigue syndrome is successful in revitalizing the person with renewed energy, enthusiasm and clarity of mind. Ayurvedic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome may be taken immediately after your diagnosis or even some years after your diagnosis. Younger patients achieve better results compared to the elderly, but even the elderly could benefit significantly from treatment. Treatment results can be sustained for the long term by complying with the ayurvedic physicians’ advice on diet and lifestyle modifications.
How long is a course of ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for chronic fatigue syndrome?
Many therapies that are used in the ayurvedic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome can only be done correctly if you stay as an inpatient, so you will need to be at an ayurveda hospital in Kerala for around 4 weeks. At the time of discharge, you may be advised some ayurvedic medicines to be taken at home for around two to three months.
AYURVEDIC DIET AND LIFESTYLE ADVICE
What is the role of diet in the ayurvedic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome?
Your food habits have a great role in determining the quality of your metabolism, so make sure you spend some time with your ayurvedic physician during your stay at the ayurveda hospital in Kerala and learn more about the modifications that you need to make in your usual diet. Until then, follow these guidelines :
In chronic fatigue syndrome, there is significant disturbance of vata dosha, so one of the key dietary guidelines is to avoid food that would further disturb vata dosha and include food that help restore vata balance. The main aim is to nourish the tissues and balance the doshas while maintaining good digestive fire. If there is only one dietary rule that you follow, make sure it is to always choose warm, unprocessed, unrefrigerated, freshly made, homemade food. You may want to avoid all root vegetables, dry varieties of pulses and legumes, frozen and canned food etc. Warm soups made of fresh vegetables or meat, rice dishes and cooked vegetables in any form are excellent vata pacifiers. You may find caffeine a stimulant, but it is not advisable to have more than one small cup of tea or coffee a day considering the imbalance it causes to the mental energies. Sipping hot ginger tea instead, once or twice a day can be good as it is vata pacifying and gives a refreshing feel. You may use a moderate amount of healthy fats like olive oil, rice bran oil etc and some amount of clarified butter (ghee) for cooking as they are vata decreasing in nature. Dairy products are good for you and nourishing in nature, so do not avoid it if you are lactose tolerant. Consuming protein rich food like egg whites, milk, properly cooked fresh green lentils etc should be given priority as they are nourishing for your dhatus.
What is the role of lifestyle in the ayurvedic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome?
Even if you undergo the best ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for chronic fatigue syndrome, sustaining treatment results for the long-term depends a lot on your compliance with the recommended lifestyle. The basic lifestyle guideline is to avoid habits that disturb vata dosha. Following a healthy routine everyday without significant changes, is especially helpful.
Until the time you undergo ayurvedic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome, there will be days when you feel completely drained out. Rest for some time, but avoid day sleep and staying up late at night. Exercising is not easy if you have chronic fatigue syndrome, but even if you do simple stretch exercises for about 2 minutes at a time, it could help. Do not create stress inducing thoughts as stress increases vata. Work moderately within healthy limits. Practise simple yogasanas, meditation and pranayama.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating condition that takes a devastating toll on the lives of many people across the globe. Often misdiagnosed and misinterpreted, chronic fatigue syndrome affects one’s ability to perform optimally and creates psychological instabilities. Compared to the western system of medicine, where mainly only symptomatic management is possible, ayurveda addresses the issue by strengthening the digestive fire, improving metabolism, detoxifying the body, restoring physiological balance and ultimately, nourishing the vital essence of life, ojus. A course of ayurvedic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome in Kerala requires about 28 days of inpatient treatment and significantly boosts your physical and mental energy levels, raising the quality of life.