Clinical practice© Susanne Oehlschläger

Prevention of chronic disease from the perspective of Ayurveda

Ernst Schrott, MD.
(psa): There is much talk about preventive measures in maintaining health. Health in Ayurveda means more than just the absence of disease. A healthy person is one who is physically, mentally and psychologically in a permanent state of physical well-being and happiness. By this definition, nearly everyone will need to do something for his health. Dr. Ernst Schrott, physician and author of many books on Ayurveda has commented on what can be done.

Ayurveda is a comprehensive look at the individual. Not just the body, but the mind and the soul are also considered since they have an impact on health. One who is happy feels good. One who feels good, feels healthy or when ill, develops a more positive attitude that promotes the healing process or makes the illness bearable. Therapies and medications exhibit a better effect. Therefore, it is important to care not only for the body but also for the spirit and soul.

Ayurveda takes into consideration the social and family environment of man. According to practicing doctors, most of today's chronic diseases are due to stress factors.
In addition to stress of the body and mind, these factors are often brought into one's life through one's working life, primarily due to mishandling of daily routine, a disturbed day-night-rhythm, irregular meals and wrong meal times, tensions with colleagues or a lack of exercise and lack of mental relaxation in one's private life.

Ayurveda recommends a regular daily routine with set meal times and sufficient sleep at the right time, regular exercise, recreation in nature, meditation and relaxation with family and friends. It gives advice on the conduct in the different seasons and stages of life, from youth to old age.

What can you do yourself? According to Ayurveda, it is very important not to overwhelm oneself. Ultimately, one wants to be balanced and relax. That means, if unhealthy habits have to be changed, do it slowly, and use a proper approach. Once the first positive effects show up, the next step becomes easier.

Ayurveda recognizes that a definite time is necessary for development and growth. Everything has its time and life does take place in one moment. You should be aware that each moment is irrevocable. Therefore, each moment of life should be worshipped with a great appreciation. Deceleration in everyday life and focus on the here and now lead to greater balance and necessitate action.

Ayurveda recommends a regular daily routine in life. Doctor Ernst Schrott, author of various books and an Ayurvedic doctor says "Too late a bedtime, strenuous activities particularly in the evening, irregular meal times and excessive demands or under-challenges in private or professional life, are the causes of a number of diseases which the doctor primarily has to treat in his free practice. They form the bulk of everyday illnesses. "

For health prevention he recommends regular meals, with the main meal served at noon, since digestion has its optimum performance at that time. "Nothing is more strengthening to the nerves and nothing protects against stress like adequate sleep and healthy food ingested in peace," continued the Ayurvedic physician. The evening meal should be light since the night-distributed neurotransmitters in the brain are set on digestion based on the sense impressions of the day and a heavy dinner restrains this process significantly. Drowsiness and loss of appetite in the morning can be an indication of incorrect eating habits.

Mental satisfaction is very important for health. A long worn conflict blocks physical and mental processes and prevents a deeply felt sense of happiness. Any problem carries its solution in itself and should therefore be considered and addressed in peace after mature consideration. Meditation and tranquillity can assist as they lead to the inner self. This brief retreat into ones inner nature strengthens the whole body, clears the brain and makes room for new and creative ideas. These arise spontaneously and could, for example, show the solution to a problem. Meditation does not mean to sit down and ponder. On the contrary, it means letting go of thoughts and focussing on a sound or a personal word (Mantra). One must also pay attention to the breath, to any object such as the flame of a candle; concentrating on any step with mindful meditative walking may have relaxing a effect. There are many forms of meditation. The most appropriate form for any person can be learnt in a meditation class with an experienced meditation teacher, or one can start with a book or audio book and begin the search for the right personal meditation style in this way.

Music is another harmonizing medium and remedy. In Ayurveda music is used to cure headaches, fatigue, nervousness, insomnia and other stress symptoms. In India, this form of healing was developed over thousands of years and the knowledge of the Gandharva-Ved, which means eternal music of nature, is now only found in a few families.
Underlying this is a whole science which explores music as an expression of the order and harmony of the universe. Melodies were composed as ragas adapted to the daily rhythms or as Sandhis adapted to the seasons with their climatic and atmospheric features.

Ayurveda provides yoga as exercise. Yoga has a comprehensive knowledge of the relationship between physical movement and mental-emotional impact. In yoga, this is taught in a several years long study in universities in India. Anyone who attends yoga classes should be well-informed about the selection of the school. Yoga is best known to us as a movement concept, but if properly taught, it works on a much more subtle level. In India, yoga is a spiritual path where  physical exercises (asanas) represent only one aspect among several others. It has asanas, like the sun salutation, which leverages the blood circulation, but also has specific exercises that directly impact organs or hormone production. Yoga is an effective way to maintain physical and mental agility especially since it helps prevent stiffness and joint diseases. At a subtler level, yoga has a balancing and harmonizing effect. A good yoga class gives rise to a deep inner peace.

For stress, Dr. Schrott recommends dietary supplements or rejuvenating agents, included in Ayurveda in the area of Rasayanas. Stress increases the free radicals in the body that  a large proportion of all severe acute and chronic diseases including cancer have. Rasayanas strengthen the immune system, memory, digestion, as also physical and mental ability. Recommended by him is Amrit Kalash, a fruit pulp; tablets are also available at the pharmacy with a doctor's prescription.
Another way to reduce stress is the usage of flavours and fragrances. Fragrances act directly on the limbic system without conscious interpretation and are perceived by the brain directly. Therefore, if one does not have specific knowledge, the sense of smell can be a good indicator for proper balancing of fragrances. In Ayurveda, there are scents that are based on the teachings of the three doshas and act to harmonize and balance. Your nose indicates which fragrance is the right one. Care must be taken with respect to the quality of the scents that are derived from pure natural essences.
One of the most effective ayurvedic measures for reducing stress is certainly the Pancha Karma treatment. Pancha means five and Karma means action. The five treatments include various actions matched by the physician for each patient individually and these are performed by trained personnel according to the classical guidelines of Ayurveda. The applications purify and heal the body and balance one psychologically. A good Pancha Karma cure leads a person to himself, can alleviate or even cure chronic diseases of the joints, digestive, respiratory and cardiovascular system and has a lasting effect on body and mind for weeks to months. For this, a time period of ten days to three weeks should be scheduled., For those who can afford the time and money, residential treatment in a specialized Ayurveda Resort in India, Sri Lanka or in Europe is recommended.

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© presse service ayurveda – (psa) – 1.Jg. – Nr.5 / Mai 2009
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