Ayurvedic Treatment in Kerala: Ayurvedic Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis
Understanding Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis, a disease that was not so familiar to most of us until a decade ago, is now a major health concern affecting around 2.5 million people around the world. Clinically mentioned as MS, multiple sclerosis is one main cause that takes young people to wheelchair and makes them dependent at an age when they want to showcase their best. Multiple sclerosis usually affects people between the age of 20 and 50 and incidentally, women are three times more prone to the disease than men. Though the western system of medicine considers it to have no cure, it is now a major point of interest for the ayurvedic fraternity because of the miraculous result it has been achieving in multiple sclerosis patients with its holistic approach. The growing awareness about the disease and the superior effectiveness of ayurvedic treatment attract patients from all parts of the world to seek out the best ayurvedic centre in Kerala for their treatment. Giving new hope to those who fall victim to this disease, ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis in Kerala continues to give results that change the lives of millions who are affected by multiple sclerosis.
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder that affects your central nervous system comprising of brain and spinal cord. As you may know, the nerve fibres that carry signals from brain to other parts of your body is protected by a covering called myelin sheath. In multiple sclerosis, this myelin is mistakenly attacked by your body’s immune system. The damaged myelin cannot effectively send messages from the brain to other parts of the body and eventually strips off, either partially or completely, leading to the formation of scars which are called lesions. Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis in Kerala aims at arresting the progress of lesions without suppressing your body’s immune system.
What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
As a result of loss of myelin sheath, signals passing through the nerve fibres could be slowed down, distorted, or not conveyed at all. The symptoms of multiple sclerosis are often unpredictable and its severity varies from person to person. Fatigue, defective coordination, numbness, walking difficulties, body stiffness, defective brain functions etc are the most common symptoms seen in multiple sclerosis. The fault in nerve conduction can also affect the regular bladder and bowel movements resulting in incontinence and constipation. In severe cases, the nerve fibre itself may get damaged and this increases the disability in course of time. All these symptoms may weaken you emotionally and sometimes lead to a stage of depression. A systematic approach which reduces the symptoms without interrupting the normal nerve fibres is what makes ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis in Kerala superior to other modes of management.
How do you get multiple sclerosis?
Our body functions healthily when there is a balance of the three doshas - vata, kapha and pitta. However if we follow an improper diet and lifestyle over a long period of time, the normal tridosha balance is disturbed and a toxic physiological environment is formed in the body. When a toxic environment is created in the nerves, the immune system attacks it leading to the destruction of myelin sheath. In most cases, vata dosha is primarily involved, but sometimes the other two doshas might also be involved adding to the severity of the condition. Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis in Kerala goes beyond correcting the dosha imbalance and cleansing the body. It also considers other neurologic, metabolic, psychological and immune related parameters that play a significant role in the progression of the disease.
What are the different types of multiple sclerosis and how is this important in the ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis?
Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis in Kerala starts with identifying which type of multiple sclerosis you have. The dosha involvement and its severity will vary according to the type of multiple sclerosis and hence the treatment and outcome too.
There are mainly four types of multiple sclerosis:
Relapsing-remitting (RRMS) - most common type of multiple sclerosis with well-defined symptomatic stages (commonly called as relapses), that can last for days or months, followed by an almost complete remission period during which the disease doesn’t get worse. The RRMS type with less severity of symptoms is easy to cure, compared to other types.
Secondary progressive (SPMS) - most people with RRMS proceeds to this stage if not managed properly. Unlike RRMS, the symptoms may not fully go away and become steadily worse in SPMS.
Primary progressive (PPMS) - rare form compared to other types. Rather than sudden occurrence of relapses, the symptoms gradually gets worse over time. In most cases of PPMS, difficulty in walking will be the first symptom.
Progressive-relapsing (PRMS) - least common type of multiple sclerosis, the relapses will have very well pronounced symptoms and you may not fully recover from the attack. The disease also usually tends to worsen between relapses.
Why should you undergo ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis in its early stages?
Multiple sclerosis treatment in Kerala aims at providing as much recovery as possible from the disease. The chances of getting cured completely, without any future attacks or relapses is very high if you undergo treatment during the initial stages when there is no considerable motor deficit. RRMS type, being the most common form of multiple sclerosis, usually has a very good outcome with ayurvedic treatment. The formation of lesions in the nerve fibres and its severity will be less during the initial stages, indicating mild involvement of doshas. Treatment during the initial stage will also help to arrest further progression of the disease, especially in RRMS type, arresting it before it proceeds to SPMS type. Cases with no worsening of existing lesions and no occurrence of new lesions are reported when the treatment is taken in the early stages and that is where ayurvedic treatment gains an upper hand compared to other systems. The duration of treatment and the need for follow up therapies will be comparatively less if you take ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis in its early stages.
Why is ayurvedic treatment in Kerala your best option?
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that causes significant disability and dependence if not treated correctly and in time. Intensive care and right approach that provide lifelong benefit is what you need if you suffer from multiple sclerosis. Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis is best researched and carried out in Kerala, the land of ayurveda, than in any other part of the world. You can find the best ayurvedic centres in Kerala, with highly qualified doctors and skilled therapists who have vast knowledge and experience in treating multiple sclerosis cases. There are not many ayurveda hospitals in India or in any other part of the world that has such rich experience in ayurvedic treatment of multiple sclerosis.
AYURVEDIC TREATMENT FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
What is the approach adopted at a Kerala ayurvedic centre in the treatment for multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disorder that worsens over time. So the treatment approach adopted in a Kerala ayurvedic centre will primarily aim at arresting or rather slowing down this progress and thus help in reducing the symptoms. While western modern medicine treats multiple sclerosis by suppressing the immune system, ayurveda deals with multiple sclerosis by correcting the immune response and strengthening the immune system. The general line of treatment adopted by ayurveda in multiple sclerosis is to cleanse the physiological environment in the body by removing accumulated toxins, restore dosha balance and address tissue depletion.
Some of the treatment goals in the ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis are to -
Calm the immune system to cease the progress of the disease without altering the natural immune mechanism
Activate body’s natural healing mechanism to reverse the existing lesions on nerve fibres
Rejuvenate the cells involved in the formation of myelin sheath so that no new lesions are formed
Reduce the disabilities and strengthen the body with rejuvenating and nourishing therapies and by implementing effective rehabilitation methods.
What are some common therapies adopted at Kerala ayurvedic centres in the treatment for multiple sclerosis?
The therapies done at Kerala ayurvedic centres for multiple sclerosis vary depending on the symptoms presented in each patient. Some commonly used ayurvedic therapies in multiple sclerosis are:
Shirovasti- retaining medicated oil inside a chamber over the head for a specified period of time. Gives a soothing and calming effect, in addition to strengthening the weakened nerves.
Shirodhara - pouring lukewarm oil or medicated buttermilk over the forehead for around 45 minutes. This nourishes and strengthens the nerves and is highly useful in relieving depression associated with multiple sclerosis.
Vasti - medicated enema done with oil/ decoctions or sometimes ghee. Helps to pacify vata and is highly beneficial in all disorders where vata is deranged. Different types of sneha vastis (oil based enemas) and kashaya vastis (decoction based enema) are in practice and your physician decides the one suitable for you.
Pizhichil - a nourishing therapy where warm oil is poured over the body in a rhythmic fashion, followed by massage. Helps to strengthen the nerves and improves motor and sensory functions of the body. Also eases the pain and strengthen the muscles and joints.
Nasyam - instilling medicated oil through nostrils. This is a potent treatment which aims at improving the condition of all sensory and motor organs situated above the neck and hence proves to be highly beneficial in multiple sclerosis cases where brain and nerves are directly involved.
Abhyangam - general body massage with medicated oil may be done to improve the laxity of joints and reduce disability.
Kizhi treatments - podikizhi, elakizhi, njavara kizhi etc may be done depending on the symptoms and dosha involvement. These are beneficial in cases associated with pain and these oleation treatments help to combat the body’s dryness.
What results can you expect from taking ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for multiple sclerosis?
The outcome of ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis depends on the type of multiple sclerosis you have, the chronicity of the disease, the severity of symptoms and many other factors. RRMS type in early stages always gives very good outcome in a short period of time with no new lesions and no further worsening of existing lesions. Even if your condition is very chronic, effective symptomatic management that focuses on arresting further progression of lesions will be adopted which will help you lead a comfortable life without much difficulties. A comfortable, symptom free life is what ayurvedic physicians generally offer rather than promising a complete cure. This is because of the unpredictable nature of the disease. But the fact is, majority of the cases exhibit a miraculous result after 3 or 4 courses of ayurvedic treatment not just in symptoms, but in a way that is visible in their MRI reports too. Panchakarma treatment for multiple sclerosis can significantly bring down the extent of disability and can reduce the need for physical aids like walkers and wheelchairs in almost all cases.
What are the chances of relapse after undergoing ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for multiple sclerosis?
There are RRMS cases where relapses have not been reported after completing 3 to 4 courses of ayurvedic treatment at regular intervals. In some advanced stage cases also, the severity and frequency of relapses are shown to be considerably reduced after ayurvedic treatment. Primary and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis cases are generally difficult to manage but even such cases show positive response since ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis will help in improving the overall health and fitness level thus contributing to lesser chances of relapse in such cases. Undergoing follow-up treatments at regular intervals (once every year or once in 2 years or as advised) and carefully following the diet and lifestyle advised are very important to avoid relapses.
How does ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis address the psychological aspect of the disease?
Once diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the common tendency is to focus on the physical health, while completely ignoring the emotional wellbeing. It is important to realise that your emotional health is as much important as your physical health when dealing with multiple sclerosis. Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis in Kerala gives prime importance to this aspect and your ayurvedic physician will formulate the treatment protocol keeping this in mind. Therapies like shirodhara, shirovasti etc. are intended to calm your mind. If needed, some internal medications may also be prescribed to help you cope with the mental stress. You may also be advised a satvik diet that helps emotional tranquility. If it is found necessary, the services of a trained ayurvedic mental health specialist may also be used. A strong and peaceful mind is essential to attain the full benefits of treatment and in sustaining the results long term.
AYURVEDIC DIET AND LIFESTYLE ADVICE
Is there any specific diet to follow as a part of ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis?
Yes, as part of your ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis, you may be advised to avoid certain things that can worsen your condition and have certain items that can promote your overall immunity and health of nerve fibres. Low fat and high fiber diet is the mantra for multiple sclerosis patients. Your ayurvedic physician may advise you to avoid gluten by staying away from wheat, oats, barley etc, and food products that contain these things like cakes, biscuits and brown breads. Instead, start including gluten free basmati rice in your diet. Refined sugar, which can trigger inflammatory responses is best avoided; instead include more of fresh fruit salads to satisfy your cravings for sweet taste. Avoid saturated animal fats like beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, butter and cheese items as these can worsen multiple sclerosis symptoms. You may have food containing unsaturated fatty acids that are rich in omega 3 and vitamin D like mackerel, tuna and salmon. You may safely use a limited quantity of olive oil and coconut oil for cooking and dressing salads.
More dietary tips to make your ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis successful:
Caffeine can trigger the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and hence it is good to avoid coffee and all carbonated drinks that come with high caffeine content. Black tea or green tea can be had instead of caffeinated drinks, and that too moderately. All dairy products are to be limited as much as possible. Make it a habit to have raw or half cooked vegetables like carrot, cabbage, beetroots, green leafy vegetables etc. Legumes and nuts are good to be consumed as a part of your regular diet as it will act as supplements. To tackle constipation, one of the major issues in multiple sclerosis patients, consume lots of fiber rich food like whole grains, lentils etc. Try to have warm, fresh food always and say no to leftover, refrigerated and frozen type of food. Quit alcohol and smoking. Remember, ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis is not about just taking medicines and treatments; it is a combination of therapies, medications, diet and lifestyle modifications.
How do lifestyle modifications help in the ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis?
Lifestyle modification advised as a part of ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for multiple sclerosis plays a major role in preventing relapses and in chronic cases, in reducing the severity of symptoms considerably. Moderate levels of exercise is a must to promote flexibility and improve your balance issues. Concentrating more on the weak areas during exercise can help in regaining the lost strength. However, make sure you do any kind of physical activity within your limits and rest before you feel exhausted. Engage and stimulate your brain and keep depression at bay by pursuing your work to the extent possible, being part of social conversations, staying in touch with friends, being involved in running your home and by solving puzzles, crosswords, memory games etc. For optimum health of brain and nerves, sleep hygiene is also very crucial. You may have a very hard time in getting sound sleep, but do not lose hope and stick on to a sleep schedule. Avoid day sleeping and fix a sleep routine for yourself. This ensures your brain and body are getting the rest that it needs and helps in reducing anxiety, stress and depression.
What can you do to prevent a relapse after your ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for multiple sclerosis?
The chances of relapse in cases of RRMS diagnosed early is comparatively very less after undergoing ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for multiple sclerosis. The sooner you start ayurvedic treatment, the better the outcome. Undergoing the recommended follow up treatments without fail goes a long way in preventing flare-ups. After completing the treatment course, you will be given some internal medications to be continued for about 3 or 4 months or more. Taking those medications in the prescribed time and dose is very important to sustain the benefits of treatment. This helps in preventing the attacks and managing the symptoms during this remission phase. Diet and lifestyle modifications should be followed as advised. A simple cold or flu can trigger a relapse in some people, so give importance to hygiene and stay healthy. Make sure you get sufficient sleep because sleep deprivation can cause flare-ups. Rest and relax whenever you feel tired.
In some highly chronic and progressive cases that exhibit a wide range of symptoms, the chances of relapse cannot be completely eliminated even if ayurvedic treatment is taken as prescribed. But the severity will be very less compared to previous episodes of attacks and you can expect a lesser duration too. Mild attacks and symptoms could be effectively controlled with ayurvedic medications but you might have to temporarily opt for other alternatives like corticosteroids if there is an exacerbation of symptoms and in case of emergencies. In such cases where relapses cannot be prevented the positive aspect of ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis is that you may not have to use modern medicines daily and can depend on it only if an emergency arises.
What is the role of yoga and meditation in sustaining the effects of ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis?
Yoga and meditation are indispensable elements of ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis. Yoga works by the combined effect of rhythmic movements, rest and breath control techniques that activate the brain and nervous system. This proves to be highly beneficial in multiple sclerosis cases where there are significant disability and balancing problems. Considerable improvement in fatigue, anxiety, stress, mood swings and depression can be achieved if you practise yoga daily. Uttanasana, bhujangasana and matsyendrasana are some poses that can benefit multiple sclerosis patients. A discussion with your trained yoga practitioner helps in understanding the best yoga postures for you.
Pranayama is another technique that invariably benefits multiple sclerosis patients. It is usually practised as a part of yoga where rhythmic deep breathing helps in refreshing the mind and nerves. Meditating every day helps in calming down your senses and helps in coping with mood swings and depression. The incidence of relapse is found to be significantly lower in persons who practise yoga, meditation and pranayama daily. Many ayurveda hospitals in Kerala offer yoga and meditation training as part of treatment.
DAILY SELF CARE TIPS
Have your medications on time without fail.
Eat a well balanced, low fat and high fiber diet.
Keep yourself hydrated; drink plenty of fluids.
Do not forget to take supplements if prescribed by your physician.
Practise yoga, pranayama and meditation daily.
Exercise daily in moderation; rest when you need to.
Follow a strict sleep schedule, avoid day sleep.
Talk to someone if you experience emotional instability; seek medical help when needed.
Be gentle with yourself.
Keep depression at bay by engaging in social and mentally stimulating activities.
Ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for multiple sclerosis has been gaining acceptance globally over the last many years. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic and progressive disorder that predominantly affects young adults compromising their health and wellbeing significantly. Ayurvedic physicians consider the possible causes of multiple sclerosis as unhealthy diet and lifestyle, prolonged uncontrolled infections especially in childhood, physical trauma in the form of accidents, long term mental stress etc. The limited treatment options available in modern medicine and its side effects force people to seek an alternative remedy and ayurveda is undoubtedly the finest option. Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis in Kerala has been found to be beneficial in almost all cases in reducing relapses and disability. Ongoing research and recent advancements in ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for multiple sclerosis are sure to improve the quality of life of millions who are affected by this disease.
In order to undergo ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis, will I need to stop the medicines that I am currently taking?
Based on the stage and severity of your condition your ayurvedic physician will recommend you to continue or stop the medicines during ayurvedic treatment. Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis enables patients to withdraw from modern medicines completely or at least reduce its use significantly. Most people are able to manage well with ayurvedic medicines alone for the rest of their lives. In cases of a sudden and unexpected relapse, you may need to use modern medicine temporarily, for immediate effect. In addition, supplements like vitamin D and B12 may be taken if there is a deficiency.
Are lifelong medications necessary for ayurvedic management of multiple sclerosis?
No. Lifelong medicines is usually not necessary. After the inpatient panchakarma treatment in Kerala, you will be given some medicines to be taken at home for some months. You can discontinue the medicines after the prescribed time. If there are associated complaints like constipation or bladder problems, you can take ayurvedic medicines for that as per your doctor’s instruction.
How do I know the results of ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis if I undergo treatment during a remission period when I am symptom free?
Most people opt to undergo ayurveda treatment for multiple sclerosis during their remission phase when they are symptom free. You can experience the improvement in your overall health and general body strength during the course of treatment itself. Usually an MRI scan is suggested at the beginning of your treatment if you do not have a recent one. Another MRI may be taken with the advice of your physician after completing 2 or 3 courses of treatment in the coming years. This is helpful to compare the progress you achieved before and after undergoing ayurveda treatment in Kerala. The fewer or no relapses you get after the treatment also indicates the positive outcome of ayurvedic treatment.
What is the usual duration of ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis?
Ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis in Kerala is an intensive program that usually takes about 30 to 60 days. Depending on your general health and severity, this can be more or less. Usually you are advised to come for follow-up treatments for 2 or 3 consecutive years. This is essential to maintain the good result of ayurvedic treatment.
Is a bystander necessary while doing ayurvedic treatment for multiple sclerosis in Kerala?
This greatly depends on your independence and mobility levels. If you are already using physical aids like walkers or wheelchairs or have severe balancing issues, it is recommended to have someone by your side always to help you. But if the problems are not so severe and you feel you can manage on your own, then discuss it with your ayurvedic physician prior to getting admitted, so that the hospital staff can take extra care of you, if need be.