Ayurveda on Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Fibromyalgia and CFS are affecting more and more of the population of developed countries. Modern medicine admits its inability to cure these maladies that are characterized by generalized fatigue, chronic headache, sleep disorder, neural and psychological complaints, swelling, numbness, or tingling sensations. The only difference between Fibromyalgia and CFS is presence of musculoskeletal pain in the former and that at fatigue in the latter.
Ayurveda calls these aliments Mansa Dhatugat and Mansavrut Vata. Imbalanced Vata (principle of movement in the body) destabilizes the nervous system and creates hypersensitivity. Ama (undigested toxins) makes its contribution as it clogs the gross and subtle channels of the body. This Ayurvedic understanding of the disorder’s roots gives us a plan of healing that suggests that Vata dosha should be brought to the norm and toxins eliminated.
Correction of Vata dosha starts with Oil massage (snehana) immediately followed by fomentation (swedana). Performed on a regular basis it provides a deeply soothing effect on the entire nervous system and helps loosen toxins (See Abhyanga).
An Auyrvedic specialist can decide on further actions such as enema (Vasti) or purgation (Virechana) (See Pancha Karma-five actions).
Digestive strength should be enhanced at the same time.
Daily use of Triphala (Trifala) is recommended to cleanse the colon. (See Trifala).
Turmeric powder with warm water (1/2 teaspoon twice a day) eliminates toxins and reduces pain.
Licorice acts in the body like cortisone supporting the glandular system without causing the side effects of the latter. Consult a specialist about dosage and period of taking since Licorice elevates blood pressure when overused.
Ginger tea made of raw or dry ginger eliminates Ama (toxins) and relieves minor aches and pain. Add some honey if you like but don’t boil. Heating honey makes it indigestible.
Guggul is a very helpful herb for relieving of pain and cleansing the channels. (See Guggul).
Dashmool (ten roots compound) is recognized as one of the most effective means to balance Vata. 30 ml of decoction should be taken twice daily. (See Dashmool).
Life style and daily routine.
Vata can’t be balanced without consistency. Waking up early, going to bed early, and eating with nature’s rhythms, when the main meal of the day is consumed between 11am and 1pm while the Sun is at its highest so the food is completely digested. Consistency gives a sense of security, confidence, and stress reduction. Avoid sleeping during the day and staying up late at night since that sets Vata out of control (See also Dinacharya – daily routine ; and Ritucharya- seasonal routine).
Ayurveda values milk because it produces ojas (life strength) in the body and intellect. Like the Sun helps digest heavy meals at noon, the Moon easily assimilates milk, if it is taken warm after 6 pm.
The amount of milk should be found practically. Cook organic, non-homogenized, whole milk with spices like cardamom, fennel, nutmeg, saffron, or ginger, and add organic date sugar by taste. Start with ¼ cup of this potion before bed.
If there is mucus in the throat, eyes, or nose the next morning, cut off the dosage by half. Continue cutting the amount by half until there is no mucus the next morning. Sometimes it will be only a few drops of milk. Even this tiny portion is very beneficial since food just like us has a subtle level and interacts with us this way (See How food affects the Mind).
Sometimes the amount is too small. Disturbed sleep and imbalanced emotions indicate that the dosage has to be increased.
Protecting of emotions.
Overstimulation from TV, computer, and video games leaves lasting impressions on our minds. These assaults go deep into the psyche and disturb the life force (prana), affecting our emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Be very careful with everything that you take in, whatever food or impressions.
Diet and nutrition.
Eat freshly cooked wholesome food according to your constitution, age and the season. (See Food list for the Vata, Pitta and Kapha type). During the bouts of illness choose food that is pacifying both Vata and your main dosha.
Various stretching exercises have positive effect on Vata disorders. Preform static postures rather than dynamic. Choose a pose that is neither too difficult nor too easy for you and hold it for 20-60 minutes. Your mind will calm down and tensions release. When holding the posture breathe normally and observe your body. Discomfort in any part of it indicates that gross or subtle channels are clogged with physical and mental garbage. Changing the posture is a mistake. Imagine yourself inhaling and exhaling through this organ or part of the body until the discomfort ceases. You have sent prana (life force) to eliminate the obstruction.
Yoga nidra is an unparalleled practice of deepest relaxation, when your body is repaired by its own inborn intelligence without being disturbed by an agitated mind (See Yoga nidra).
Vata is aggravated by stress thus its management is the key factor in curing Fibromyalgia and CFS. Prayer, reading of Holy Scriptures in your tradition (Bible, Koran, Tora, Bhagavat Gita) or spiritual books, and meditation decrease one’s susceptibility to stress.
Breathing exercises (pranayama) is a well-known method to manage the restlessness and anxiety that Vata is prone to. Alternate nostril breathing is one of the recommended practices (See Alternate nostril breathing).
TODAY’S TIP: Be a sattvic person (See qualities of a sattvic person).