Name: A.A. Nadar
City/Country: Nagercoil/ South India
A.A. Nadar’s Experience
I am a businessman from Nagercoil, and a couple of years back, I started experiencing blurred vision, disorientation in identifying red and green colours, difficulty in walking, and abnormal sensations of pain as well as numbness and a prickling feeling in my fingers and toes. I went to many doctors and underwent many tests. Finally, the doctors said that I had Multiple Sclerosis or MS. They explained that it was a progressive disease that affected the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord. These nerve fibres are protected by a substance called myelin, and when this myelin gets damaged, scarring of the fibres occurs. As a result, the nerve impulses are slowed down, and this was what was causing weakness, pain, vision loss and my other symptoms. According to the doctors, the symptoms may occur in different areas of the body and may in time include loss of control of limbs, recurring facial palsy and gradual loss in vision. However, they could not tell me what triggers the whole process in the first place.
The Ayurvedic Approach
My doctor started me on the conventional course of treatment, but a couple of months back, I decided to complement the treatment with Ayurveda. A friend had told me that he knew someone who got good results after going in for Ayurvedic treatment for this disease. He also suggested that I go to Kerala for treatment, as the physicians in this state in South India have a five thousand year old tradition of practicing Ayurveda in its purest form. I took his advice, and consulted the vaidya or Ayurvedic physician he recommended. The vaidya explained to me that Ayurveda recognizes a Life Force which pervades all of nature, and which manifests itself as three vital energies in our bodies. These are known as the “doshas” and they are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. One’s health depends on maintaining a unique balance of these energies, and this balance promotes well being. Of the three doshas, Vata controls the overall level of balance and activation of the nervous system, and MS is a classic example of Vata imbalance. The damage to the myelin that is seen in MS is an example of impurities accumulating in tissues and disrupting delicate tissue biochemistry. Ayurvedic treatment for Multiple sclerosis involves the removal of toxins and restoration of digestive fire with the use of herbal remedy. Proper diet and lifestyle changes are also recommended in addition to herbal concoctions to ensure proper functioning of the nervous system.
The treatment begins with a detoxifying process. Physical therapies like the Panchakarma therapy play an important role in this process. Vasti Karma or therapeutic enema is universally regarded as a key Panchakarma procedure. Multiple sclerosis patients are also treated with ‘pizhichil’ and ‘sirodhara’ – two highly rejuvenative treatments for the nerves that have shown marked results. The foremost aspect of the whole treatment is the usage of special herbal oils which are used individually or in a mixture. One of the main types of oil contains around 65 different kinds of herbs and requires 3 weeks to prepare. Daily massage using these herbal oils provides a soothing effect to the nervous system and is an important stress buster. The motion of massage creates heat and friction which in turn enhances circulation in the body. My vaidya also prescribed customized herbal supplements to help my body manage and heal the imbalances that are the cause of the illness. These supplements were prescribed after a careful study of my constitution. The oils and decoctions used in the treatments are purely herbal in origin and tested for non-toxicity from heavy metals or other toxic ingredients. I was also encouraged to do pranayama or breathing exercises. Almost 80% of oxygen we breathe is utilized by the nervous system. So deep breathing refreshes the nerves and helps one to unwind.
Multiple Sclerosis can be aggravated because of improper diet. Some foods aggravate the imbalance of Vata dosha, and should be avoided. I was told that gluten in any form- whether it is wheat, barley, oats or rye- should be given a wide berth. I have cut out refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol and stopped smoking. I avoid animal fats and dairy products as far as possible. I make sure to drink plenty of water and to eat lots of fruits and leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. I drink aloevera juice and green tea, both of which were recommended by my vaidya. Will my MS respond to the natural approaches of Ayurveda? Well, I have been told that the full course of treatment is two to three years… but based on my experiences so far, I am confident that Ayurveda will be of immense benefit in the treatment of my condition.