Managing Kampavata (Parkinson’s) with Ayurveda

Need for satisfactory treatment for Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease is progressive disease leads to crippling of patient. The treatment of Parkinson’s disease according to Modern Medicine includes mainly through the use of levodopa and dopamine agonists. As the disease progresses, these drugs eventually become ineffective at treating the symptoms and at the same time producing complications as well. Hence treatment which is cost effective, which improves the quality of life in the patient and with nil or minimal side effects is the need of hour in this particular disease. So a multi-modality treatment in the form of Ayurveda Panchkarma procedures is boon for Parkinson’s disease patient by giving satisfactory results in the treatment of disease.

Ayurvedic Understanding & Pathogenesis

Evidences prove that as early as 300 BC, Charaka proposed a coherent picture of Parkinsonism by describing tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia, and gait disturbances as its components. It was further developed by Madhava, Vagbhata, and Dalhana.

Vata dosha gets aggravated due to several factors, one of which is ageing and pervades into the Srotas or channels in the body, gets impaired functionally and produces features relating to localisation and features relating to obstructions. So the obstruction in the movement of Vata dosha thereby under nourishment of the tissues is the chief pathological process in Parkinson’s.

Ayurvedic treatment modalities

The Ayurvedic management is with suitable herbs and Panchakarma followed by Rasayana or rejuvenation with Brmhana (Nourishing therapy) and Medya Rasayana (Neurotonics). The treatments recommended are –

1. Abhyanga (Massage) – Abhyanga with warm medicated oil is best therapeutic module for pacify vata. It helps the promotion and regulation of proper functioning of vata. It helps in nourishment of the tissues. It stimulates the sensory nerve endings and provides strength to the muscles. Abhyanga provides a passive form of exercise even for those who cannot perform of exercise even for those who cannot perform active physical exercise because of debility and old age.

2. Svedana (Fomentation) – Swedana mainly Patra pinda swedana, Shashtikshali pinda swedana and Sarvangadhara with oil relieve stiffness and rigidity by enhancing circulation, delivering higher level of oxygen and nutrients to the injured cells.

3. Basti (Medicated enema) – Among the Panchakarma, Basti is important Shodhana or bio-purification type of treatments intended to alleviate vata dosha and also plays nourishing action on the nervous system. Also the herbs used in Basti have antioxidant and neuroprotective action.

4. Shirovasti – In Shirovasti the oil is made to retain on the scalp for a prescribed time. It is beneficial in vata disease. It promotes sleep and calms the mind. It nourishes the brain.

5. Shirodhara – Shirodhara has found to have anxiolytic, and tranquilizing effects resulting into kind of relaxation response. It calms down the hyperaction of vitiated Vata dosha. Shirodhara shows significant improvement in Kampa (tremor).

6. Nasya (Nasal medication) – Nasya is most important therapy to nourish the nervous system. Nasya is said to be the best treatment protocol for all diseases above the clavicular region especially related to brain as this route provides direct administration of the drug to the brain bypassing the blood brain barrier.

7. Yoga therapy – Yoga therapy pranayama, asanas and meditation are beneficial. In yoga gentle stretching movements increase the flexibility and balance in meditation reflect and focus the mind on an idea. Meditation may reduce stress and pain.

8. Herbs for internal use – Kapikachu beej is the herb of choice in Parkinson. Also Ashwagandha, Bala, Brahmi have ideal role in Parkinson’s. Kapikachu (Mucuna pruriens) is a legume plant, known as ‘velvet bean’, naturally containing high quantities of dopamine precursor, L-dopa (4-7%), which makes it useful prominently in the treatment of Parkinson disease. As a food, it’s rich in protein (27%).

9. Diet – Wholesome and nutritious diet which is rich in fibre and protein is beneficial.
Treatment Modality Medicine used
Abhyanga – Bala Ashwagandha oil
Swedana – Patra pinda swedana Nirgundi potali
Swedana – Vashpa swedana Dashmool potali
Swedana – Seka Dashmool bala oil
Swedana – Shastikshali pinda swedana Bala Ashwagandha oil
Shirobasti – Brahmi oil
Shirodhara – Brahmi oil
Nasya – Brahmi ghee
Yoga Basti – Anuvasana Basti with Maha masha oil and Madhutailika Basti as Niruha Basti

Treatment outcome with Ayurveda

Ayurveda treatment modalities particularly Panchakarma effectively helps in promoting musculo-skeletal flexibility and movements thereby reducing weakness and impairment associated with Parkinson’s disease. Ayurveda herbs have no side effects, are easily available, effective, safe and good result yielding. Panchakarma followed by Ayurveda treatments help to stop / slow down the disease progression to great extent & improve motor functions also which in itself a great help as Parkinson’s is a progressively degenerative disorder. The person will improve symptomatically at great extent but eventually, the long term effect is as above and it is harm less. Thus Ayurveda has less invasive treatment which will definitely help to check the progression and give qualitative improvement.