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.