An Ayurvedic approach to mental health
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the science of life—a 5,000-year-old, time-tested holistic healthcare system from India that is as relevant today as when it began.
Within the eight branches of Ayurveda (Asthanga Ayurveda) is Graha Cikitsa which focuses on mental health and psychiatry.
How does Ayurveda treat mental health conditions?
Ayurveda does not look at mental health in isolation— there needs to be a balance between the physical and mental health of an individual for them to be truly happy and at ease in their mind.
Each person has three bioenergies or Doshas—Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Anxiety and depression are often associated with a Vata or Kapha imbalance.
If a person is suffering from anxiety, nervousness, or tension this may indicate a Vata imbalance. Depression, mood swings, a sense of loneliness, and withdrawal can indicate a Kapha imbalance.
A Panchakarma (Ayurvedic detox) or Sattvavajaya Chikitsa which involves Pranayama (breathing) and meditation—may be effective in treating these conditions.
It is important to note there is not one line of treatment for mental health conditions. Ayurvedic doctors will look at each individual holistically, assessing their Tri Gunas–the three types of mental/spiritual energy.
Are there any tips for people in addressing their mental health conditions?
Know yourself and recognize your own health patterns.
In Ayurveda there are three pillars of good health, they are:
- Ahara (food) – eating good quality, fresh food
- Nidra (sleep) – having proper sleep
- Brahmacharya (emotional balance) – maintaining a regular routine to keep yourself healthy.
Ayurveda can complement Western medicines for the treatment of mental health conditions and in some cases help individuals become less reliant on drugs over time. It is important to note, that Ayurvedic doctors will always consider the current prescriptions an individual is on and will only suggest changes in consultation with their existing healthcare providers.
Dr. Ninnu Sudarshan, BAMS
Dr. Ninnu, Oneworld Ayurveda’s Head Ayurvedic Physician, has treated thousands of guests since Oneworld Ayurveda opened its doors in 2016. Known for his caring attitude and extensive Ayurvedic knowledge, people from around the world return to Bali specifically to do a Panchakarma with Dr. Ninnu.
Dr. Tami Lubitsh-White
Dr. Tami is a licensed psychologist providing psychotherapy, supervision, BH integrated care, and program development. She was a Panchakarma guest at Oneworld Ayurveda and is currently living in Alaska.
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