THE AYURVEDIC WAY OF OBESITY TREATMENT
Obesity is a common health problem affecting millions of people around the world. There are several factors that may contribute to obesity, such as unhealthy dietary choices, eating disorders, underlying illness, certain medications, a sedentary lifestyle, anxiety and hereditary factors as well.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, one of the major reasons for obesity is an imbalance in the Kapha dosha. Ayurveda also says that people with a dominant Kapha constitution are more likely to gain weight than Pitta or Vata dominant individuals. Therefore, people with an imbalance in their Kapha energy have to work extra hard to avoid gaining that unwanted weight.
Ancient Ayurvedic texts have described eight undesirable conditions of the body called as Nindya Prakriti among which obesity or Medoroga is one. Individuals with obesity tend to have overly sterile fats or medas that malnourish other essential dhatus of the body. When fat metabolism is hampered followed by an increase in Kapha, obesity is the result.
Pathogenesis of Obesity
According to Ayurveda, weight gain is a cyclical process. As with any other disease, weight gain leading to obesity initially starts with one’s food and lifestyle habits that tend to hamper the Agni or digestive fire of the body. This causes improper digestion of food as well as increases the levels of toxins in the body.
Further ahead, the increased toxin or Ama levels in the body disturb the natural metabolic processes and result in the formation of more fatty tissues. This also disturbs the formation of other important tissues such as bone tissues or asthi dhatu. Improper tissue layers reduce the functionality of Kapha and increase meda dhatu or fats in the body.
The presence of Ama also obstructs the bodily channels causing Vata imbalance, which stimulates the digestive fire leading to an increase in appetite contributing more to obesity. However, the root cause for obesity can be ascribed to an improper or abnormal meda dhatu, which is formed due to weak fat metabolism or Meda Dhavagni Mandya.
The early signs of the condition can be seen as an accumulation of fat in the abdomen, excessive sweating, lethargy, dyspnoea on exertion. Some people may also develop symptoms like increased hunger and thirst, weakness, loss of vitality, etc. If not treated, the symptoms could lead to several complications, such as hypertension, high cholesterol levels, cardiac disorders, diabetes, arthritis, kidney infection, premature ageing and mental confusion.
Ayurveda Obesity Treatment
Obesity treatment in Ayurveda is not just focused on reducing your weight, but also considers adjusting the metabolic processes by eliminating Ama and extra fats to regulate the role of Kapha while preventing Vata aggravation. Proper metabolism is necessary because it fortifies the tissues and enhances the digestive fire. Ayurveda also lays down yoga and diet suggestions to aid in weight loss and treatment of obesity. The general Ayurvedic treatment for obesity is a combination of the following:
The Panchakarma treatment in Ayurveda is a five-step therapy which works extremely well in removing the toxins from your body. Some of the therapies of Panchakarma that may be recommended especially for weight loss treatment in Ayurveda are Virechana or purgation therapy, Basti or medicated enema and deep tissue massages – Mardanam and Udwarthanam. The Mardanam and Udwarthanam massages use herbal powders and oils to eliminate body stiffness and remove any blockages. Sesame oil may be used along with other herbs in the massage to promote soft skin and reduce the fat tissues. The oil opens up the pores of your body, increases tissue heat and stimulates the metabolism of fats.
Another most preferred Panchakarma Ayurvedic treatment for weight loss is Abhyangam treatment. It uses special oils like Triphala, Kaphaghna, Valiya Lakshadi, Eladi Thailam, Sainndhavadi Thailam along with steam bath to induce sweating and reduce cellulite and subcutaneous fat. Besides, it also nourishes your skin and eliminates body odour.
Diet control is an important part of the obesity treatment in Ayurveda. It is necessary to cut down on the quantity of food you consume as well as take into account the type of food that you consume. An appropriate diet program involves cooking the right food and eating it at the right time. You should remember to focus on the food and avoid any distractions while eating as that’s when your mind can perceive the taste of the food better. This will also ensure that the right enzymes and digestive juices are secreted to digest the food completely.
People with obesity are recommended to go for food that helps to reduce Kapha and extra fats. The food should be light and dry prepared with less oil. A few herbs can be added to the diet, such as turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, pepper and coriander. If the individual has a dominant Pitta constitution and regular digestion, raw vegetables like cabbage can be consumed.
Unlike conventional drugs for weight loss, Ayurvedic supplements offer a better advantage in controlling the weight without any unwanted side effects. Some of the herbs that are commonly used in Ayurvedic medicines for obesity and weight loss are turmeric, Triphala (a combination of three wonder herbs – Amalaki, Bibhitaki and Haritaki), Trikatu (a combination of ginger, pepper and pippali) and Guggulu. These herbs improve fat metabolism in your body and aid the purification therapies of Ayurveda.
Practising yoga regularly can have immense benefits on your body and also helps to lose weight. Besides, there are several yoga asanas that have been proven to enhance the healing potential of Ayurveda. However, it is recommended to perform these asanas only in the presence of specialists and according to the instructions of the practitioner. Some of the yoga postures or asanas that help to get rid of excess body fat are:
Tadasana: It is also known as the mountain pose and is performed to correct and maintain a proper body posture.
Paschimottanasana: In this yoga asana, one sits with the body bent towards the thighs.
Surya Namaskar: Also called sun salutation, it is an important yoga pose to regulate proper metabolism in your body.
Pawanmuktasana: The Pawanmuktasana or the wind relieving pose stimulates the organs in the pelvic region like the intestines and urinary bladder.
Bhujangasana: Commonly known as the cobra pose, this yoga pose works quite well to tone and strengthen your lower abdomen.
Dhanurasana: The Dhanurasana or bow pose aids in the reduction of excess fat deposits in the abdomen region.
The above-mentioned yoga asanas work best when they are coupled with an appropriate diet and pranayama. The pranayama is the practice of controlling one’s breath. It clears the physical and emotional obstacles within your body so that Prana or life energy can freely flow. It enhances the flow of oxygen to the cells while stimulating higher metabolism and decreasing the BMI. Some of the common pranayama techniques that you can be practice for weight loss are:
Kapalbhati pranayama: It involves pushing away active shots of exhalation through the abdomen wall. To ensure that it is done correctly, notice whether there is an inward movement of the belly with every exhalation.
Anulom Vilom pranayama: In this pranayama, inhalation and exhalation are performed through alternate nostrils. If the air inhaled through the left nostril, the exhalation is done through the right nostril and vice versa.
Bhastrika pranayama: Also known as the breath of fire, the Bhastrika pranayama is a powerful technique that can burn the excess body fats in a couple of months. It involves inhaling and exhaling forcefully at the same pace.
Bhramari pranayama: In this pranayama, the eyes and ears are closed and a humming sound that resembles the sound of a bee is produced from the throat.
Reducing weight and excess fats from the body is extremely difficult in the presence of Ama or toxins in the body. This explains why people don’t lose weight even after reducing their food intake. Therefore, it is essential to look at eliminating Ama from the body first before focusing on losing weight. Amapachan is carried out through the use of digestive and carminative substances like turmeric, triphala, trikatu, panchakola, etc. After the Ama is digested, it can be drawn out from the body by Shodhana therapy as advised in the Panchakarma Ayurvedic treatment for reducing weight.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Obesity at Govardhan Ecovillage
Govardhan Ecovillage is situated amidst the scenic lush green foothills of the Sahyadri mountain ranges. It offers a holistic approach to living a healthy life with the principles of Ayurveda. Govardhan Ecovillage’s weight loss program is a dynamic package that includes traditional Ayurvedic massages performed with medicated oil and powder, a diet program to complement the weight loss program and other oral medications. Some of the therapies included in the package are Udwarthanam, Pizhichil, Vasti, Kadikizhi, Elakizhi, etc.
Our Ayurveda and yoga practitioners also offer yoga and meditation classes which play a crucial role in weight loss management. Govardhan Ecovillage welcomes everyone to benefit from our authentic and natural programs and get on the path to lead the best possible life and stay healthy!