Natural and Ayurvedic Approach to Deal with Depression
Depression is a kind of mental illness that involves the mood, mind and body of a person. Research reveals that around 15% of the global population suffers from chronic depression and the figure is doubling every decade. The reason for depression can be many, but in most cases, they are linked to unresolved issues, some from as deep as childhood.
It characteristically starts with sadness and hopelessness, which gradually starts affecting the body by showing a reduction in body weight. It makes the person tired, lazy, and irritable, with thoughts of suicide and death creeping in the mind. Depression not only affects the person but also his relations with others, his work and generally the lifestyle and social behaviour. The body’s metabolism breaks down affecting brain chemistry. The person suffering also suffers from headaches, sweating, shortness of breath and often palpitations.
Body’s Reaction To Stress
Stress sends threat signals to the body as the nervous system releases cortisol and adrenaline hormones. As it becomes a regular affair, the cortisol level released regularly affects the body negatively. The blood pressure becomes high and a sugar imbalance is created along with greater heart rate and muscle stiffness. These gradually affect the sleep pattern and cause fatigue, pain, immunity problems and also more anxiety.
Why Pick Ayurveda For Stress Treatment?
Ayurveda is the ancient Indian treatment procedure that people had relied upon for ages. Now, the advent of various allopathic medicines has made it the last resort rather than the first. Ayurveda is a more methodical approach to illness especially stress. According to Ayurveda experts, Kapha imbalance vitiates the Vatta and Pitta, which hampers the regular functioning of the nervous system and finally leads to depression.
Treatment in Ayurveda begins with counselling. The patient’s medical history, lifestyle, and diet are taken into consideration before advising medicines and modification of the lifestyle. Ayurveda experts feel that the Prana Vayu gets aggravated and causes the mental imbalance. Therefore, the path of treatment would be to calm the Vatta aggravation and help in regaining normal functions.
Shirodhara and Nasyam
The two most well-known Ayurvedic treatments for mental stress are Nasyama and Shirodhara. These methods stimulate the brain and improve the health conditions. These are usually rich in calcified butter which nourishes the brain by crossing the blood barriers in the grey matter.
- Shirodhara: In this method, medicated oil is constantly poured on the patient’s forehead following a pendulum motion. The rhythmic flow of oil helps in soothing the hypothalamus and makes him sleepy thereby reducing stress.
- Nasyam: This might be a bit painful because it includes administering medicated oils and also drugs through the nostrils to stimulate the brain centres which control emotion.
- Abhyangam: A full body massage always helps in relaxing and reducing stress. The medicated oils used for the massage enhance body circulation and eliminate toxins. It also stimulates the various pressure points in the body which help in stress reduction.
- Padabhyangam: Apart from the whole body massage, the foot massage also helps in stimulating the various pressure points that control emotion. This massage helps in calming the nerves and offering stress relief.
- Kizhi: The main aim of Ayurveda is alleviating the problems from the inside as well as the outside. The focus lies on the various pressure points and areas that enhance circulation and calm the nerves. In Kizhi small satchels are made using superfine muslin cloth containing a compilation of herbs, powders, rice, and sand. These are slowly pounded on various places of the body after heating it. The focus is again on circulation improvement which improves the signs of psycho-physical stress.
- Pizichil: This process involves squeezing mild warm oil from a piece of cloth on various parts of the body. The warmth of the medicated oil helps in relaxing the body and de-stress. Sometimes the accumulation of tension and stress causes oxidative stress which can be battled with the help of pizichil.
Herbs That Help to Cure Depression
Ayurveda deals with the vast treasure trove of ancient Indian knowledge of the uses of plants, fruits, roots and leaves with medicinal properties. Some of the herbs that are used for the treatment of depression and stress are:
- Bacopa Monnieri or Brahmi: The leaves of the Brahmi plant help in sharpening the mind and memory besides making it soothe and calm.
- Withania Somnifera or Ashwagandha: This plant is responsible for clearing anxiety disorders, depression, mood phobias and more.
- Nardostachys Jatamnsi or Jatamansi: The plant creates positivity towards life and calms the mind. It also eliminates negative thoughts and depression.
- Commiphora Mukul or Guggul: This ingredient contains something called guggulsterones which help in bringing relief from depression.
- Curcuma Longa or turmeric: This is the last of the natural products used in Ayurveda and has the ability to treat depression from seasonal changes.
These products are incorporated in the Ayurvedic medicines to battle depression.
Food for depression
While taking medicines and Ayurvedic lifestyle changes it is also important to eat properly. During this time spicy and pungent tasting or smelling foods should be avoided at all costs. Switch to fresh green vegetables by trying different types of salads. A cup of beverage like coffee or tea will stimulate the grey cells and lift the mood. It is normal for many people to eat less in depression because they lose appetite. Force eating or feeding should be avoided. Instead, you can try fruits which are rich in vitamins and helpful for treating depression.
Being positive is very important. Exercise like yoga helps in the flow of energy and has a positive effect on the body. Yoga and pranayama should be made a part of daily life.
Dealing with depression takes time and help from Ayurveda experts. Indulge in pleasant things like listening to music, standing in the sun meditation and avoiding alcohol and sweets. Don’t eat a lot of calories and seek satiety in food or stimulants.