The Ayurvedic Approach To Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Ayurveda treats every case of chronic fatigue based on the individual body-type (prakruti/vikruti) imbalance. The important issue behind most cases of chronic fatigue is systemic congestive toxins (ama). The toxic buildup impairs the digestive fire (agni), leading to more ama and thus poor nutrition and depletion. The aim of Ayurvedic treatment is to balance the doshas, improve digestion (agni), and eliminate toxic buildup (ama). When doshic imbalances spread to any tissue (dhatu) and create depletion (vata), inflammation (inflammation) or congestion (kapha) fatigue can result.
Three types of Fatigue as per Ayurveda:
Vata type chronic fatigue:
Starts in the colon and generally involves the nervous system (asthi dhatu). In such a cases, symptoms will include dry skin, ringing in the ears, constipation and bloating. If the lymphatic system (rasa dhatu) has a Vata imbalance there will be coldness and weakness in the body. Also, if Vata enters the blood (rakta dhatu) the person will feel anemic. If there is excess Vata in the muscle tissue (mamsa dhatu) there will be spasms, twitching, tremors as well as fatigue.
If vata moves into the fat tissue (meda dhatus) the person will be underweight and weak. When Vata enters the bones and joints (asthi dhatu) the person will have joint pain, osteoporosis or osteoarthritis. When Vata enters the nervous system (mejja dhatu) there will be neurological symptoms such as tingling, numbness, or loss of sensation. Finally, when Vataenters the reproductive system (shukra dhatus) the person will have sexual debility and premature ejacualtion.
Pitta type chronic fatigue:
Systemic Pitta increases, the appetite becomes very strong but digestion is poor due to excess stomach acids. The poor digestion creates toxins (ama) which results in diarrhea, malabsorption and then fatigue. If there is excess Pitta in the liver the person will often get a viral infection of the liver. If Pitta enters the muscle tissue (mamsa dhatu) there will be tissue pain and inflammation; referred to as fibromyalgia. When Pitta moves into the fat tissue (meda dhatus) there is profuse sweating and the person cannot digest fat. If Pitta enters that nervous system (mejja dhatus) it can also create irritability.
Kapha type chronic fatigue:
There will be dullness, heaviness, and generalizes swelling if Kapha goes into the lymph system (rasa dhatu). If Kapha enters the fat tissue (meda dhatu) it will result in fatty degenerative changes to the liver, which will lead to fatigue. If the Kapha enters the nervous system (majja dhatu) the person will be depressed as well as fatigued. Depending on the doshas and sub-doshas imbalance, as well the tissue(s) and systems affected a customized herbal formula will be provided.
This is achieved through the traditional Ayurvedic practice of balancing the aggravated doshas (vata, pitta, kapha), sub-doshas and dhatus (different tissues such as lymph, blood, fat, bone, nerves or reproductive organs). Additionally the three malas (eliminating channels) are cleared as are any congested channels (srotaamsi). This approach is based on the understanding that the body will achieve a natural state of health or homeostasis when deficiencies and excesses are balanced.
Khabir Southwick is a professional health consultant, Ayurvedic and Naturopathic practitioner, whole-foods nutritionist, master herbalist and formulator, public speaker on natural self-care and author of numerous natural health-care programs.