Fibromyalgia is a recently recognized disorder that is regarded as a chronic condition associated with the experience of non-inflammatory pain and tenderness in muscles, ligaments , joints and fatigue. Fibromyalgia is a relatively common condition, estimated to affect about four percent of the general population.
It is very similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS); Only point of difference is presence of musculoskeletal pain in fibromyalgia and that of fatigue in CFS. Low level of Serotonin is considered to be most important biochemical criteria. The primary treatment goals should include raise serotonin levels, improve sleep quality, and assure adequate magnesium levels.
Fibromyalgia Symptoms :
•Generalized aches or stiffness at many sites for more than three months.
•Chronic headache including migraines
•Sleep disorder, particularly timings of cycles
•Neuronal and psychological complaints
•Numbness/ tingling sensations
Fibromyalgia – Ayurvedic View :
It can be described as ‘Mansa Dhatugat and Mansavrut Vata’ Fibromyalgia is perceived as a Vata imbalance. Vata is the main imbalance and Aggravated Vata destabilizes the nervous system and can create hypersensitivity leading to pain and tenderness. Accumulation of Ama (toxins) and shrotorodha are also contributory factors.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Fibromyalgia :
The aggravation of Vata dosha and accumulation of Ama (toxins) are the primary causes and should be treated mainly. Associated weak digestion, constipation, and effects of chronic stress should also be tackled.
Panchakarma Therapy for Fibromyalgia :
Pre-purification Measures namely ‘snehan’ and ‘swedan are very useful to balance ‘Vata’ and to loosen the toxins. Snehan is the Herbalized Oil Massage. This oil is applied to the entire body with a particular type of massage. Swedan is sudation or sweating and is given immediately following the snehan. An herbal concoction may be added to the steam to further enhancement of effect.
Daily herbalized oil massage also provides a deeply soothing and balancing effect to the entire nervous system. The motion of massage creates heat and friction which enhances circulation and helps cleanse the areas of chemical impurities that could be aggravating and hypersensitizing nerve tissues.
Ayurvedic Herbs for Fibromyalgia / chronic pain:
•Decoction of the roots of ten herbs ‘Dashamula quath’ is useful
•Daily use of the Ayurvedic compound ‘Triphala choorna’ is recommended to cleanse the colon.
•Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder with warm water helps to reduce pain and inflammation in Fibromyalgia.
•Garlic is useful for detoxification and to enhance immune system function.
•Guggul is a very helpful herb for relief of pain.
•Licorice root supports the glandular system and acts in the body like cortisone. Use with caution.
•Ginger Tea. Ginger is a good alternative to aspirin to relieve minor aches and pains.
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Diet and Nutrition :
What role does diet play in fibromyalgia? Can diet help cure the condition?
There is a saying in Ayurveda: “Without proper diet, medicine is of no use. With proper diet, medicine is of no need.”
There are certain types of foods that imbalance Vata, create an overly activated and hypersensitive nervous system and thereby contribute to worsening fibromyalgia symptoms.
For example, raw vegetables do provide freshness to the body but in excessive quantities they create indigestion and aggravate “Vata.” Also, heavy hard-to-digest foods, eaten at late evening meals, are very hard-to-digest and can create toxins that exacerbate fibromyalgia symptoms.
On the other hand, fresh, sweet (not unripe or acidic) juicy, fruits are very nourishing and balancing to the nervous system. Also, drinking ample quantities of room temperature to warm water throughout the day can aid the body in its natural cleansing and healing processes. Eating the largest meal of the day at lunch when digestion is strongest is also recommended.
What role can exercise play in reducing symptoms?
Exercise can play an important positive role as long as it is not overdone. Overexertion in heavy work or exercise can deplete the body’s reserves so necessary for healing and balancing the system.
Regular, non-weight bearing, aerobic exercise can often help symptoms, but please consult your personal physician for help in determining the amount of exercise appropriate for you.
At Arogyam, we help people by drawing on a wealth of knowledge regarding subtle physical conditioning and flexibility programs contained in Yoga asana postures and Yoga breathing techniques.
Do massage and heat help fibromyalgia?
Modern medicine often recommends massage and heat treatments. In Ayurveda some gain the greatest benefits when they are able to take them through several days in a row of classical Ayurveda herbalized oil massage and heat treatments.
These classical Ayurveda therapies help eliminate toxins and impurities from the system and are very helpful in increasing flexibility and often reduce pain. Also, the specific Ayurveda herbs we choose for the massage and heat treatments are a great aid in cleansing, balancing and nourishing the tissues that are most tender and sensitive to pain.
In order to have the ongoing benefit of herbalized massage, almost everyone is instructed in a the classical Ayurveda herbalized oil massage and continues to practice it daily at home because of its balancing and healing effect.
What role does mental stress play in fibromyalgia? Can stress management programs relieve symptoms?
Fibromyalgia often begins after some mental, physical or emotional trauma. Also many individuals experience their symptoms worsen when they come under extra stress. The body has a very powerful neuroendocrine response to perceived challenge, which is well documented to exacerbate many disorders.
Since life by nature will always have some level of challenge, it is important to be able to help the body quickly return to its neuroendocrine baseline after stressful experience. In fact, stress isn’t necessarily bad for the physiology, unless the body is unable to restore biochemical balance after the experience of challenge.
Following is the diet suggested for the patients suffering form Fibromyalgia
– Vegetable juices and soups
– Coconut water and Coconut milk
– Juice of carrot, Cucumber, Beetroot
– Cooked vegetables like squash, zucchini and pumpkin
– Spices like cumin, coriander, ginger asafetida, garlic, fennel and turmeric.
– Green salad with a dressing of lemon juice and a little salt
– Khichadi (recipe made by cooking rice and mung dal, 1:1 or 1:2 proportion)
The patient of Fibromyalgia should avoid the following :
Eating hot, spicy and fried foods, sweets, foods like brinjal, cabbage, Cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, okra and potatoes. Too much tea, coffee, alcohol, white sugar, yogurt, chocolate, cocoa. Sleeping during the day and staying up late at night Mental tensions like worry, anxiety, fear, stress and grief.
– Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder with warm water helps to reduce pain
and inflammation in Fibromyalgia. Dosage: twice a day.
– Garlic is useful for detoxification and to enhance immune system function.
– Guggul is a very helpful herb for relief of pain.
It is well documented that fibromyalgia is often worsened by heightened stress, anxiety and mental fatigue.
Meditation,Yoga, Pranayama and studying of spiritual philosophy are all recommended for supporting personal healing and relaxation of the mind. Efforts should be made to increase the Sattvic quality of mind.
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