What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder affecting the central nervous system. It is called a progressive disorder as the disease and symptoms increase gradually over time. The disease causes degeneration of nerves (or neurons) in the nervous system.
Neurons in the nervous system produce a chemical substance called Dopamine which acts as the signal transmitter from the nervous system to the other parts of the body. As Parkinson’s disease affects the neurons and degenerate them, dopamine level decreases as a result. This causes a delay in transmitting signals from the brain to other parts of the body thus affecting movements.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
The symptoms are generally mild to start with and typically occur on one side of the body initially. Symptoms get progressively prominent over time in most cases. The main symptoms are trembling of hands, stiffness of hands, arms, slurred speech, difficulty in writing etc.
Parkinson’s is seen more in men than in women. While disease symptoms typically start at an older age (60 years and above), early onset at a young age is also seen in some cases.
Treatment for Parkinson’s disease
There is no complete cure for this disease in modern medicine. Medications can control symptoms and provide relief. Neuro Surgical procedures especially Deep Brain Stimulation surgery are performed in case of patients where the disease is in a very advanced stage.
Ayurvedic treatment for Parkinson’s disease
Ayurveda treatment philosophy is based on maintaining the balance between the three primary doshas, Vata (reflecting the elements of Space and Air), Pitta (reflecting the elements of Fire and Water) and Kapha (reflecting the elements of Water and Earth).
“Kampa Vata” is name for Parkinson’s disease in Ayurveda. As a person ages, there is an aggravation of Vayu, which governs the outward flow of energy from the body. This along with Vata dosha aggravating lifestyle creates an overflow of air circulation within the body. This affects many tissues within the body causing general dryness. This aggravated vata has a tendency to concentrate on weaker tissues and in case of Parkinson’s these tissues are in the brain. This thus affects the transmission of signals from brain to other parts of the body resulting in lack of co-ordination and control over body movements.
Since Ayurveda sees Parkinson’s as a vata aggravated disease, the treatment is typically towards pacifying the aggravated vata. The main treatment methods are
Oleation: External application of oil over the body and also internal consumption. Massage therapies like Abhyanga are used generally for oleation
Fomentation: Swedana is an induced sweating therapy designed to remove body toxins through sweating.
Medicated oils from ashwagandha (withania somnifera) and bala (sida cordifolia) are commonly used in Ayurvedic treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Strict diet control and lifestyle changes are also part of the treatment process.
Duration and Cost of Ayurvedic treatment for Parkinson’s
The overall treatment time is typically 21-28 days in the Ayurvedic hospital. There will typically be treatments conducted twice a day (morning and afternoon). Yoga and meditation sessions also form an integral part of the treatment.
Cost of Parkinson’s treatment in Ayurveda is typically between 1,300 USD to 1,750 USD and would depend on the type of hospital, room, duration etc.