Friday, May 4, 2007

Ayurvedic Medicine and SAD

According to Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide, "Ayurevedic medicine (meaning "science of life") is a comprehensive system of medicine that combines natural therapies with a highly personalized approach to the treatment of disease. It places an equal emphasis on body, mind, and spirit, and strives to restore the innate harmony of the individual."

The most famous proponent of Ayurvedic medicine is Deepak Chopra, M.D., a western-trained endocrinologist, who is the co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California. He's also the person who has undoubtedly introduced more westerners to this type of healing than anyone else.

"Ayurvedic medicine is founded on the concept of metabolic body types, or doshas," which are somewhat similar to the Western view of thin, muscular, and fat. But that's far too simplistic a definition and in Ayurevedic medicine, they have a far greater influence on your health.

Without going into a whole lot of detail, according to Dr. Vasant Lad, the founder of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico and author of The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies, "there are three doshas or humors which govern our psychobiological functioning. Vata-pitta-kapha are present in every cell, tisue, and organ. When out of balance, they are the cause of disease."

Although he doesn't discuss bipolar mood disorder in his book, Lad does mention depression. According to him, dependent upon the kind of person you are--vata, pitta, or kapha--your depression should be treated differently.

He says that "Pitta-type depression is generally associated with anger, or with fear of failure, of losing control, or of making mistakes...Pittas are most vulnerable to SAD and among the remedies he recommends are rubbing coconut oil onto your scalp and the soles of your feet at bedtime, drinking gotu kola or brabmi tea two or 3 times a day, taking certain herbs, and meditating."

While I never tried these remedies, I did try other alternative "cures." They were always very expensive and never worked. However, the concept of Ayurvedic medicine intrigues me. I like the fact that they accept that seasonal differences affect mood. I appreciate their integration of mind, body, and spirituality. I only wish that I believed that this type of alternative medicine would "cure" bipolar disorder.

If anyone has tried it, I'd love to hear about your experiences.


Syd said...

What an awesome post. As usual, your words have really resonated with me. In particular... "Because with strangers, I can enjoy the social interaction without explanation. I don't have to account for my period of hibernation. I don't have to apologize for what I've missed in their lives. I don't have to share what's been going on in my life for the last four to six months or ask what's going on in theirs.

I feel the exact same way but have never been able to articulate why. Thank you for sharing this insight. I think I'm going to go blog about it! :)

Anonymous said...

Auyrvedic practitioner trained in Allopathic medicine in Germany has assisted several patients out of bipolar/mood disorders: Dr. Durairajah 60-124311655 (Malaysia). Many have benefitted.
I know the pain and anguish patients go through.


Patrick said...

I don't have bipolar, but suffered moderate depression for 6 years. I've been seeing an Ayurvedic Physician for a few of years now. Through diet and herbs he had stabilized my depression in only 3 months, and within a year cured (yes, cured) my depression. I have been a happy, balanced person for two years now, with no hint of emotional strangeness. I think he's awesome!

I would say this, though: Not all Ayurvedic physicians are equal. There is no standardisation in Ayurveda, which is one of its strengths, but also a weakness. I had gone to see an Ayurvedic physician years before this one, and he sucked. Just sucked. He gave me herbs which did little besides increase my sex drive. He subsequently left town to return to India.

The Ayurvedic physician who cured my depression is:
Sivakumar Varma
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Patrick,
Thanks for letting me know. I've gotten a lot of hits on that post for months. I'm not sure how to list recent comments in the sidebar, but I'll reference it in the body of my blog in the next few days. I love success stories!