Anorexia nervosa from the point of view of Ayurveda
Anorexia refers to a simple loss of appetite. Psychological causes create a situation where a person has no interest in food. Anorexia nervosa is also one of the most complicated mental illnesses present today. This condition can arise due to an unbalanced lifestyle, stress, and wrong diet. This disease is known as "Aruchi" in Ayurveda. In Classical Ayurvedic texts, "Anorexia nervosa" is classified as "Manasika Arocaka" or “loss of appetite due to factors of the mind. In Ayurveda, Anorexia nervosa is caused by an aggravation of Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas, and psychological factors such as fear, anger, and stress, leading to incomplete digestion of food.
There are two types of anorexia nervosa:
- Restricting Type. In this type of anorexia nervosa, weight loss is achieved through a restricted diet, including: fasting, reducing food intake, skipping meals, reducing carbohydrate intake, and excessive exercise.
- Purging Type / Binge Eating. In this type of anorexia nervosa, weight loss is achieved by vomiting and taking laxatives. Binge eating means eating large amounts of food and being out of control while eating.
How Ayurvedic doctors treat anorexia nervosa:
Ayurvedic treatment for Anorexia Nervosa focuses on the root cause of the disease and helps in controlling the disease. It tends to relax the mind more, which does not allow psychological, sociological factors to disrupt appetite.
Ayurveda provides a line of external therapies such as:
- Abhyangam – relaxing and refreshing full body massage using special Ayurvedic oils – it helps to balance the mind, improves appetite and helps balance doshas.
- Navarakizhi – is one of the most popular sweat therapies that is special due to use of the medicated rice and milk, that represent the energy of the Moon, which in the human body is responsible for emotions and stress reduction.
- Shirodhara – therapy means pouring oil on the forehead from a specific height for a specific period continuously and rhythmically allowing the oil to run through the scalp and into the hair. It is a purifying and rejuvenating therapy designed to eliminate toxins and mental exhaustion, as well as to relieve stress, and improve the functions of the central nervous system.
- Thalam – it is a medicinal oil that is retained over the head in a sealed manner. A suitable cap is used for retaining the medicinal oil over the head. This process provides nourishment to the brain and it prevents brain damage.
- Thalapothichil – is a procedure of application of medicated paste on the head.
- Trikatu and Ashwagandha are one of the beneficial oral Ayurvedic herbal remedies for treating Anorexia Nervosa. Ashtachoornam and Hinguvachadi churna are useful supplements for improving digestion.
- Anorexia nervosa includes psychological factors, which we recommend to treat only under the supervision of an experienced Ayurvedic doctor.
Tips for effective Ayurvedic treatment of anorexia nervosa:
- Taking ginger with lime juice and adding some salt in it is helpful for your digestive system
- Having a glass of hot water on an empty stomach also helps in digestion
- Use Asafoetida or Hing, this herbal remedy is good to encourage digestion
- Cardamom is helpful in treating anorexia
- Always have freshly prepared warm food
- Avoid snacks between meals
- Happy and calm atmosphere while eating helps to improve the condition
- Practice yoga