Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes and lungs. This causes the air passages to narrow periodically resulting in breathing difficulties. According to Ayurveda, it is an aggravation of Kapha and Vata humor. Asthma is a fall out of wrong, improper dietary habits and the accumulation of toxins.
Excess exposure to heat or cold, change in weather, certain types of cosmetic products and perfumes, cigarette, pollution etc. are known to cause asthma apart from psychological factors and hereditary factors. Main symptoms are wheezing, coughing, feeling of “tightness” in the chest etc.
Ayurvedic treatments are oriented towards rebalancing the body humours, strengthening the digestive system and removing the accumulated toxins.
Diagnosis – The Ayurveda Way
All treatments in ayurveda are prescribed only after a careful analysis of the patient’s disease.
The first consultation with an Ayurveda doctor, including the diagnosis will last for more than an hour. The basic step in the diagnosis will be to find the person’s body humour (Dosha) – Vata, Pita or Kapha, because it is the imbalance of these body humours that creates the disease.
The dominance of dosha in a person is found by asking several questions on his behaviour, food habits, sleeping patterns, personal details like age, height & weight, place of life, profession, health problems and medical reports etc.
Ayurveda diagnosis comprises of clinical and laboratory tests also. The doctor can decide if an Ayurveda treatment is helpful on providing these details.
Pulse, tongue, nail, and eye examinations are important diagnosis methods used to reveal a person’s body humour and its imbalance.
Pulse diagnosis in Ayurveda is not mere counting the beats. It is a mirror of the health status of the entire body constitution, including the dosha imbalance and the health of the various body organs.
In tongue diagnosis, the doctor checks the general appearance, colour and coating of the tongue. Tongue diagnosis has a vital role to play in Ayurveda system of medicine.
In Ayurveda, as different areas of the tongue correspond to different organs of the body, the Ayurvedic practitioner can determine which organs of the body are out of balance by having a detailed tongue examination.
Nail examination is done to check the type, colour and shape of the person’s nail. Imbalances of doshas are easily detected on close examination.
In the eye diagnosis, the colour, size, and even the shape of the eyes are important in determining the dosha dominance of a person. His mental status, nervousness, anxiety, confidence level etc can also be learned through eye diagnosis.
A preliminary consultation with Ayurveda doctors online is also possible nowadays for guests worldwide.
Treatment Methods for Asthma
After the diagnosis, the doctor sets out to treat the patient in a very systematic manner. This would include a set of appropriate Panchakarma treatments and Rasayana therapies.
The Panchakarma Treatments are meant to flush out the toxins, They are classified as pre-purification, main purification and post purification phases and include various types of therapies like oil massages, fermented liquid massages, medicinal enemas, herbal purification methods.
The Rasayana Therapies are meant to nourish the body, to bring the doshas back to balance and to regenerate the body.These comprise diet regulations, daily regimens, intake of oral medicines and ayurveda tonics, yoga and a stress free life. After the treatment the ayurveda doctors will advise you how to lead a healthy life. The beneifts and results of the treatment are shown only after the Rasyana Treatment is over and docotrs advise is strictly followed. The results will manifest itself normally after 3 to 4 weeks as the body takes time to regenerate itself.
Panchakarma for Asthma
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. These treatments, however, are to go hand in hand with strict dietary restrictions.
The following pre-purification methods are usually adopted for Asthma
Dhoomapanam This method of treatment involves inhaling and exhaling of medicinal smoke. It is a fine treatment for various sinus and respiratory diseases. Acute sinusitis, asthma, sneezing, infections of the lower respiratory tract, cough etc. are treated using Dhoomapanam.
Abhyangam is whole body massage from head to toe, usually done for 45-50 minutes, using warm medicated oil such as brahmi oil, sunflower oil or neem oil. It relaxes nerves and muscles and loosens the toxins and readies the channels for detoxification. These oils are mixed in herbs such as country mallow or winter cherry.
Thakradhara involves the continuous pouring of specially prepared butter milk on the fore head. An assortment of herbs such as gooseberry, nut grass tuber, sandal wood, lotus, valerian, etc. is used in its preparation.
Swedanam means medicinal perspiration. It liquefies vitiated doshas and brings them into the alimentary canal. Due to swedanam, toxins are expelled through the sweat also.
Vasthi is keeping warm medicated oil on the chest for a specified period of time, usually.
Main Purification Therapies for Asthma
Main purification therapy is the phase of elimination of toxins that were loosened at the pre purification treatment stage. These therapies are highly potential methods and are usually overseen by doctors. Depending on the type and intensity of the ailment, one is advised to undergo one, two or three of these therapies.
The commonly adopted Panchakarma treatments for asthma are Vamanam and Virechanam.
Vamanam means therapeutic vomiting to eliminate the vitiated dosha (waste product) through the upper gastro-intestinal track. It expels and cleanses undigested food and toxins. Herbs generally used in Vamanam include – emetic nut, sweet flag, and liquorice.
Virechanam It is the oral intake of herbal purgative medicines leading to the elimination of toxins through the anal route. As the origin of asthma is also linked to disorders and malfunctioning of the digestive system, Virechanam is found to be effective.
Rasayana Therapies for Asthma
These are body nourishing therapies to rejuvenate the body and mind after the Panchakarma 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 Panchakarma course. Rasayana includes oral medicines and diet regulation.
Oral medicines for Asthma
A variety of treatments are available in Ayurveda for the treatment of Asthma. Kashayams, lehyams and choornams are generally prescribed in the treatment of this disease. These herbal medicines are used to strengthen the system and over a course of long-term management the Asthma sufferer may find that their Asthma attacks become milder and less frequent.
Herbs and spices such as liquorice root, amalaki fruit, black pepper, tulasi, myrobalan, clove, turmeric, etc. are commonly used in these medicines. Onion juice with honey and black pepper is a good homey remedy for Asthma.
Diet Regulation for Asthma
Diet regulation will be suggested for patients during and after the treatment. They are designed for controlling the digestive fire, better digestion, and for total well being. Ayurveda diet provides adequate nutrition as well as rest for the needed organs.
Ayurveda recommends that a person suffering from Asthma follow strict dietary restrictions. He should consume only a limited quantity of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. However, he should consume large quantities of fresh fruits, green vegetables and sprouted seeds.
Rice, sugar, curd, tea, coffee, other alcoholic beverages, processed foods, spicy foods, etc. are best avoided.
The necessary diet pattern would be selected by an experienced doctor. You can also find out your type of Prakruthi and decide a diet for yourself.
It is advised to take at least one or two weeks of rest after the Panchakarma experience. At this time the body is weak after a purification process and needs time to get back to normalcy. Avoid strenuous exercise, late nights, too much television, and other stimulating experiences.
Yoga and life style for Asthma cure
Yoga and deep breathing serve as good therapies for respiratory problems. They help increase lung capacity and also create awareness of the lungs and breathing process.
Also increases the oxygen flow to all parts of the body giving more energy and strength to the whole body. Sukhsana, Surya Namaskar, Matsyendrasana, Anuloma Viloma etc. are the main poses that Asthma patients can do well to perform daily.
Pranayama breathing exercises free up the lungs; give more control over breathing and also stimulate digestion.
Asthma patients should avoid exposure to dust and other pollutants. He should not go out in extreme cold conditions. He should avoid coming in contact with anything that may cause allergy and worsen his condition.
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