A Message from Dr. Shekhar Annambhotla, BAMS, MD-Ayu, LMT, RYT, RAS, President AAPNA - Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America, Inc.
This message gives a background to the upcoming conference on Ayurveda and Metabolic Disorders.
What Is Ayurveda?
The word “ayurveda” is translated as “The Knowledge of Life”. Ayurveda is Nature’s medicine, approaching health from a “whole person” (body, mind and spirit) perspective. By understanding how nature works, we can apply these principles to all aspects of life. We can know how each choice, action and interaction will affect our thoughts, emotions, physical body and consciousness.
Ayurvedic consultants seek to understand the root cause of an imbalance in order to help alleviate the associated symptoms of that underlying condition or illness. In its highest expression, Ayurveda is the ultimate form of preventative medicine. Individuals come to know themselves so well that they easily recognize imbalances early, before disease manifests.
According to Ayurvedic philosphies, our bodies are made up of three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha, which each represent two of the five universal elements (a combination of ether, air, fire, water, earth). Ayurvedic philosophies believe we each contain varying proportions of each dosha, generally one or two in natural dominance. Mind-body health and harmony may be challenged when any of the doshas become aggravated or imbalanced.
Ayurveda and Metabolic Disorders
Metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes are increasing to epidemic proportions across the globe. The numbers of obese or diabetic people are in the range of hundreds of millions. The global impact of these disorders is immense in terms of human suffering and economic burden. There is an urgent need for a more effective comprehensive understanding of these disease processes and their management.
Ayurveda explains a set of complex clinical disorders, sthoulya / medoroga and prameha, which match the modern outlook of metabolic disorders. The clinical conditions associated with prameha correlate in many ways with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes mellitus. The etiology, classification, pathogenesis, and management of prameha are discussed at length and in detail in the ayurvedic texts. The theoretical background and comprehensive set of strategies ayurveda utilizes to treat medoroga and prameha may be valuable in managing obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes mellitus effectively.
Ayurveda describes prameha as characterized by frequent abnormal urination. The generalized causes of prameha include long periods of physical inactivity, laziness, sleeping for long hours, consumption of dairy products, aquatic meat, sugar/jaggery preparations, fresh grains, and similar foods that increase kapha. Even though prameha evolves to a tridoshaja vyadhi, it is initially a disease with kapha predominance. The main dhatus affected are mamsa (muscle tissue) and meda (fat) with involvement of kleda and ojas. Low agni (weak digestive and metabolic process) leads to accumulation of ama (buildup of toxins from improperly digested food particles). All these factors combine to produce the disorder known as prameha, which may be hereditary or acquired. Patients with prameha may be obese. There are 20 subtypes of prameha resulting from the interaction of the various doshas and dushyas. The clinical conditions associated with various types of prameha have much in common with disorders described in allopathic medicine that are associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes mellitus.
Ayurvedic management emphasizes dietary and lifestyle recommendations and herbal preparations, in accordance with the constitution of the patient and the specific etiopathology. Ayurveda also addresses the management of psychological factors that contribute to the development of prameha. If the patient is physically strong and has acquired prameha, panchakarma is considered the ideal option. For physically weak patients, pacification of the doshas is recommended. Measures that minimize the morbid kapha and meda (fat) – balanced nutrition, appropriate exercise, administration of herbs and formulations - will improve the health of the patient.
Traditional formulations mentioned for prameha in ayurvedic classics are comprehensive and aimed at correcting the entire disease pathway, including balancing digestion and metabolism and rejuvenating the tissues and organs affected by this condition. The examples of traditional formulations and protocol I will share in this presentation reveal the strength and comprehensive approach of ayurveda for managing conditions that are of global prevalence.
Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America, Inc. is conducting its 7th International Ayurveda Conference – Ayurveda & Metabolic Disorders – on June 8 & 9, 2013 at University of British Columbia, Asian Center, Vancouver. For more information and to register, please visit www.aapna.org.
View the schedule for this event HERE
Dr. Shekhar Annambhotla, BAMS, MD-Ayu, LMT, RYT, RAS
President AAPNA - Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America, Inc.