Stroke Rehabilitation treatment in Ayurveda
Stroke also called brain attack occurs when blood supply to an area of the brain is cut off due to clogging or bursting of arteries. This leads to the death of brain cells in that area due to the deprivation of oxygen and nutrients. When cell death occurs, the function of the body controlled by that part of the brain is affected leading to various systemic problems. The common manifestations of stroke include:
• Numbness and lack of muscular control in certain parts of the body
• Visual disturbances
• Movement problems
Common complications of stroke include:
• Paralysis of one part of the body (Hemiplegia)
• Paralysis of one side of the face
• Lack of bowel and bladder control
• Emotional disturbances
• Difficulty in speech
Modern medical management of stroke is done using drugs to dissolve the clots (in cases of ischemic stroke) or to control bleeding (as in haemorrhagic stroke) with the aim of restoring blood supply to the affected area. This is then followed by physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy for stroke rehabilitation etc. But in majority of cases, physical therapy for stroke rehabilitation has got its own limitations that result in slow recovery. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, has an important role to play in the rehabilitation therapy after a stroke by virtue of the effective treatment modalities it offers.
Ayurvedic treatment for stroke rehabilitation:
Stroke or Pakshaghata, according to Ayurveda, is due to an imbalance of ‘Vata’ one of the three doshas and Ayurvedic treatment for stroke patients aims to bring back the three doshas into the equilibrium. Being a holistic system of medicine, Ayurveda treats the body as a whole and aims to restore the harmony of the various systems that helps the patient to recover from the illness completely.
The treatment is fundamentally based on the following concepts:
• To treat the cause of the stroke
• To repair the nervous system and improve the neurological function
• To restore the functions of the various body parts affected
• To invigorate the vascular system that includes all the blood vessels
Ayurveda employs a combination of techniques to help in the rehabilitation of the stroke victim. Some of them are:
1. Oral administration of the medicines- certain Ayurvedic preparations like kashayam, lehyam, churna etc. are administered through the oral route to help an easy recovery. Being a herbal therapy for stroke rehabilitation, even the prolonged use of Ayurvedic medicines does not create any unwanted side effects or dependency.
2. Nasyam- Certain medicated oils are administered through the nostrils with the aim of repairing and restoring the normal functions of the nervous system.
3. Vasthi- a type of medicated enema administered through the rectal route to remove the toxins from the body and helps to harmonise the three doshas in an effective manner.
4. Pizhichil- a massage therapy that uses warm medicated oils that helps to reinvigorate or restore the blood supply, nerve supply, and muscle tone. It helps to energize the nerve endings that results in an increase in sensory and motor functions.
5. Dhara- a treatment where medicated oils are made to fall drop by drop over certain points of the body with the aim of reinvigorating the nervous system. In stroke rehabilitation, dhara helps to improve the mental and the emotional faculties and thus is valuable in the recovery process.
6. Various other types of Snehanam (oleation), Swedenam (fomentation) and Virechnam (purgation) are also employed to assist the main treatment schedule with the aim of rejuvenating the body and the mind.
Advantages of doing the stroke rehabilitation treatment in India:
Even though one can undergo Ayurvedic therapy in any part of the world through various Ayurvedic centres, it is always advisable to undergo the Ayurvedic treatment for stroke rehabilitation in India. The main reasons are being the land of its origin, a much purer form of Ayurveda is practised in the country and one can also undergo the treatment under various highly learned Ayurvedic practitioners who have dedicated their lives to bring improvement in the health of others. The best ayurvedic treatment for paralysis in India is available in Kerala which has a large number of high quality institutions and is a front runner in the field of Ayurveda.