In Charaka Samhita, from the standpoint of physical constitution, Atisthoulya (Obesity) is explained under Ashta Nindita Purusha (8 types of undesirable persons). Obese persons have more of unwanted distinctive features. There are 8 defects inherent in them. They are weak, deficient in longevity, slow in movement, they find it difficult to indulge in sexual intercourse, they emit bad smell, have too much of sweating, hunger and thirst. Here obese personal are said to be undesirable persons. They always will be showing the signs of abnormalities and suffer from furious diseases.
Causes of obesity
In this modern era, due to the fast paced lifestyle we are under constant pressure at workplace or business having no time for self care or exercise. In our busy world, too often intake of fast food, soft drinks with sedentary lifestyle having lack of physical exercise, improper and untimely eating patterns as well as excess sleep, over eating or excessive intake of heavy to digest, sweet, cold, oily and unctuous food cause obesity.
Pathogenesis of Obesity
Due to obstruction of the passage by fat, the movement of Vata dosha is specially confined to Kostha (alimentary tract) resulting in the stimulation of digestive power and absorption of food. So the patient digests food quickly and becomes voracious eater. If he does not get food when he needs, he can be subjected to many diseases of serious nature. Agni (Digestive fire) and Vata dosha are the two most troublesome factors. They burn the corpulent ones as the forest fire burns the forest. In the event of disproportionate increase of fat, diseases of very serious types are caused, all of a sudden, by Vata dosha, etc. which may lead to instantaneous death. Owing to an excessive increase of fat and muscle tissue, the buttocks, abdomen and breast become pendulous and the strength is rendered disproportionate with the physical growth.
Signs & Symptoms of Obesity
Chala Spik Udara & Stana (Pendulous buttocks, abdomen and breasts), Atisweda (Excessive sweating), Dourgandhya (Foul smell), Utsaha Hani (Lack of enthusiasm), Kruchhra vyvayatwa (Difficulty sexual intercourse), Alpa ayu (Decreased life span), Kshudra shwasa (Breathlessness), Alpa bala (Less strength), Ati kshudha (Excessive hunger), Ati pipasa (Excessive thirst) and Ati nidra (Excessive sleep)
Prognosis : “Karshyam Varam Sthoulyasya na Bheshajam |”
Almost all the texts consider Obesity as Kashta Sadhya (Difficult to treat) when compared with treatment of Krishatwa (Emaciation). Obesity can be treated if it is recent onset, having less intensity and without complications.
Ashta Doshas of Atisthoulya (Obesity)
• Ayusho hrasa (Deficient in longevity) – In obese people, fat tissue grows whereas other tissues are under nourished. This affects longevity.
• Jawoparodha (slow in movement) – The bodily movement is impaired due to the looseness, tenderness and heaviness of fats.
• Kruchra vyavayata (difficulty to indulge in sexual intercourse) – Sexual act becomes difficult because of small quantity of Shukra (Semen) and also due to Srotorodha (obstruction to the channels carrying semen) by Medas tissue.
• Dourbalya (weakness) – Weakness prevails as the equilibrium of tissues is disturbed.
• Dourgandhya (foul smell) – Bad smell is caused by inherent defect and nature of fat tissue and also due to excessive sweating.
• Swedabadha (excessive sweating) – As fat is associated with Kapha and as it is fluid, multitudinous and heavy, as such, it cannot withstand physical exercise and it brings about excessive sweating in the body.
• Ati Kshut & pipasa (Excess hunger and thirst) – Because of sharp digestive power and the presence of Vata dosha in excessive quantity, there is excessive hunger and thirst.
Both obese and emaciated persons suffer from some diseases or the other all the time. The volume of suffering in the case of obese persons is far greater than in emaciated ones. Obesity is treated by slimming therapies. The main difficulty in treatment with obese persons is that if they are given nourishing treatment, they will grow more obese. Also they cannot even withstand slimming therapy because of their strong digestive power. Heavy and non-nourishing diet is prescribed for losing weight in case of obesity in order to restore normal health. By virtue of heaviness the diet would minimize the force of non-aggravated power of digestion and due to the non-nourishing nature; they would help to reduce fat.
Management of obesity
Intake of diet and drinks that alleviate Vata and Kapha and which can reduce fat – Intake of old grains (grains which are more than one year old), barley, etc. Administration of Lekhana basti (Enema with sharp, ununctuous and hot herbs), Udwartana (Herbal scrub) with ununctuous herbs, Intake of Triphala, Administration of Bilwa panchamula & Shilajit, Intake of Prasatika, Priyangu, Shyamaka, Yavaka, Yava, Kodrava, Mudga, Kulattha, Seeds of Adhaki along with Patola and Amalaki as food, followed by honey water, More indulgence in sexual activity, physical exercise and mental activity.
Thus Ayurveda has a multi-factorial approach that helps you get on the road to healthy weight loss.