Do you know that Multiple Sclerosis, an auto-immune and extremely debilitating disorder is highly prevalent in Armed Forces, which is surprising because this job is supposed to be the home for fittest of all the people? This blog will explain you the exact cause of this disease using very simple principles of Ayurveda, conveyed in the modern scientific language post which you will understand that why despite maintaining strict fitness regimes, certain people are more prone/fall prey to this debilitating disease due to some wrong choices of food they make in their lifestyle which they think are healthy.
*** It will be wonderful in case you go through this video (click here) to understand just the basic principles of Ayurveda.
WHAT EXACTLY IS AUTO-IMMUNE DISORDER
To begin with let us understand auto-immune disease in simple terms. Blood is the one that transports all the nutrition in the body from one part to another. Not only nutrition, it also carries enzymes, hormones and waste product to the place of their destiny. So if blood is flowing in the right quantity, quality and direction, health of the individual is bound to be fit. Now visualize that what if a specific part of the body is having narrowed blood vessels vis a vis the other parts of the body. In such a case,
this specific part will start degenerating due to lack of nutrition including degeneration of the insulation (called myelin sheath) of the nervous system (with nerves conducting current exactly the way electrical cables do). This will lead to short circuiting of nervous system leading to high inflammation in this area vis a vis other parts of the body (from Ayurveda perspective, it means high Vata). And exactly this is what is observed in all Auto-immune diseases including MS- haywire electrical activity due to short circuiting. It is the site of this haywire activity (high vata vis a vis other parts of the body) that decides what kind of auto-immune disease one will have. If it is in colon- its ulcerative colitis, if it is in brain- it leads to epilepsy, if is in brain and peripherals- it leads to fibromyalgia, if it is in brain and spinal cord- it leads to MS.
*** Due to haywire circulation of blood (due to high vata), the blood is unable to transport its nutrients/waste/immunity to the right destination leading to immunity landing at the wrong site and that is why such diseases are called as auto-immune diseases, however you would have learnt by now that this is an outcome of high vata.
SO WHAT CAUSES IT
Ayurveda has clearly mentioned in its texts that too much of bitter tasting foods increase vata imbalance in the body and that’s why they should be consumed wisely and in limited quantity only. From modern science perspective, I have already mentioned in my blogs too that most of the bitter foods dilate our blood vessels (by blocking our angiotensin mechanism) and are therefore called as Vasodilators. And while a bit of dilation is fine to keep the blood flowing freely, too much of it increases so much of space (referred to as Akash in Ayurvedic terms) in the vessels that it creates haywire movement of blood (the way wind moves in haywire direction wherever it gets space). It is this indiscreet use of highly bitter (vasodilating) foods (onion, garlic, tea, coffee, chocolates, mint concentrate, menthal, soy, liquor, tobacco) which is primary reason for drastic increase in auto-immune disorders.
So what if a person is consuming too much of hot (in terms of energy/potency), bitter, astringent tasting foods like black coffee, tea which is seen in students to remain awake? Bitterness will
reduce blood from the brain (due to vasodilation and gravity) leading to overactive mind, astringency will constrict body further reducing blood from the brain (more hyperactivity) and hot potency will increase metabolism (rather catabolism/breakdown) in the body and take this heat to lower body parts due to vasodilation and gravity leading to inflammation of pancreas, colon etc. resulting in type 1 diabetes, ulcerative colitis respectively.
*** Recommended to read the blog on Ulcerative Colitis too.
On the other hand if a person is consuming vasodilating foods and exercising a lot, he/she would be circulating blood haywire in the system because of excess space created in the vessels along with paucity of blood towards the brain leading to MS type situation (hope this explains the reason that why this disease is highly prevalent in people who had been following a strict fitness regime).
Since vata thus created is haywire and leads to haywire distribution of blood as well, symptoms of auto-immune diseases overlap and even if they have been named differently, there are chances of a patient of an auto-immune disease susceptible to another one as well (click here to know more). This is the reason that Ayurveda has believed more in understanding that how different doshas are placed in the body and accordingly works to target those places rather than naming diseases as the modern medical science does which has only one formula/medicine for one disease and therefore can never be successful.
MANAGEMENT OF AUTO-IMMUNE DISEASES
Nature of Auto-immune diseases is such that it is very difficult (rather impossible) to restore total health of the person (because of excess vata imbalance and the haywire direction of vata). However this is for sure that correct diagnosis of the doshic imbalance can alleviate pain/symptoms/disease to a large extent. The level of success depends a lot on how soon the patient approaches an experienced Ayurveda practitioner and gets the right treatment after correct diagnosis.
The ironical part is that usually people approach Ayurveda only when they have given up on Allopathy, which instead of giving them any respite has only increased the discomfort and imbalance with time (this is because allopathy doesn’t understand the functioning of six tastes and wouldn’t ask the patient to take precautions of not taking more bitter and astringent tastes which will further increase vata imbalance).
*** Since Allopathy cannot control the VPK of a specific part of the body, it uses only steroids to control the inflammation of the inflamed part, however in the bargain, these steroids reduce the inflammation of the entire body (not just the highly inflamed part) leading to multiple health issues like obesity, diabetes, liver failure, toxicity, anxiety, depression. Remember inflammation is pitta and a bit of pitta/inflammation is must to metabolise food and keep the body healthy.
First line of treatment (half the battle can be won this way)
A rajasic mind (due to vasodilating foods) is so high on inertia that it is not able to register subtle changes in the body and mind unless the issue reaches beyond proportion which is exactly there in case of patients of MS/fibromyalgia and infact most of the diseases of the world especially auto-immune. And this is the reason that the first line of treatment in MS and most of the auto-immune disorders should be to address the high vata of mind (Prana vata) by using vata pacifying herbs/medicines like Medha vata, Manas Mitra which increase blood towards brain with the help of herbs like Brahmi (As mentioned in my previous blogs such meds to be taken only in night so that gravity while lying down, helps blood to reach deeper parts of brain for settling deep seated vata). Once Prana vata (of the mind) gets pacified, flow of pitta in the body becomes slower and therefore less inflamed and thus alkaline. A settled mind will also help the patient himself/herself, to understand the causes and precautions to be taken. There also may be a need to pacify pitta by reducing very pungent spices. Goes without saying that it should be accompanied with total abstinence from vasodilating foods especially bitter in taste and should strictly follow vata food pyramid (click here to check vata food pyramid).
YOGASANA, PRANAYAMA AND EXERCISE
The person concerned should involve in lighter exercise since the body is vata ridden like yogasanas, swimming and never into intense exercises of any kind. Yogasanas to increase blood to the vata ridden areas of the body should also follow e.g. shashankasana, shirshasana to push blood towards brain for calming down prana vata. Also meditation should become a part of life (even if it is difficult to concentrate in the initial days) as this will not only help to calm down mind and thus reduce pain and symptoms but will also help one to understand which part of the body is vata ridden and requires calming through right yogasanas and food.
Pranayama especially Anulom Vilom will be a great help as it will smoothen the blood vessels thereby reducing gap between high vata and low vata areas. Bhastrika should be avoided unless body is high on kapha (due to intake of excess sweetness).
THIS BLOG IS AN EXTRACT FROM MY BOOK THE ROOT CAUSE.