Ayurveda – The Healing Touch! Part 4
In the same way, when you wake up at 3 in the morning, Vata is wide awake – remember you told me of your sleeping patterns? 2 in the morning to 6 in the morning is a Vata predominent time. The same applies from 2 in the afternoon to 6 in the evening! That is the reason why you feel tired and take your nap!”
Sabine looked stunned. “Of course! We ́re back to cycles and rhythm patterns in nature!” she exclaimed.
“Apart from all these exterior factors, Ms. Simon, we have to consider the state of mind. Your incapability to face problems, your depression, your inability to take decisions and a general air of instability suggest that Vata predominance in your mind. We also say a “Tamasic” tendency in the mind. The habit of irregular meal times, intake of cold and deep-frozen convenience foods will only increase this tendency. Yoghurt, Ms.Simon! which you take in the mornings will always continue to aggrvate this tendency! Yoghurt is “tamasic” food. Fresh vegetables, fruits and freshly cooked foods are pure or what we call “Satvic”. Spicy and acid producing items are “Rajasic”. They produce impetus and drive when taken in moderation, but cause ruthless ambition and purposeless activism for example, when taken immoderately. So all we eat and drink – all we think, has an effect on our well-being!”
Sabine Simon said gloomily “One has to be constantly on the lookout then, isn ́t it? What one eats, drinks, thinks....”
“Ahhh.... “ I say dramatically. “Mindfulness, Ms. Simon is the key to a successful and healthful life!” We both laugh.
“Let ́s think of the body as we see it. It has a structure and it is earth/water so it is Kappha. But the mind is motion. So it is Vata. Your problems, Ms. Simon, start from here. So you need inner silence in your mind to counter the bad Vata increase, which is the root cause”.
Ms. Simon looked at me with exhausted eyes which spoke the sentence “The question is how?”. But she said instead “Doctor, I do know that I need some drastic changes. But I simply don’t have the strength and the will-power in me to change”.
I hastened to reassure her. “I understand only too well, Ms. Simon. We cannot achieve this immediately. It should be done slowly. We cannot disturb the poisonous serpent, the toxins we spoke about. To go through this, we need physical strength. Without that basic requisite, you cannot still your mind or work on the mind stuff. The procedure I am going to suggest will give strength to your body which will give you the leverage to work on the mind.
In Sanskrit,we say .....Sareeram Adyam khalu Dharma sadhanam. “The body is the primary correct instrument . It is only in a sound body that a sound mind can exist.
Ayurvedic disease management consists of 3 categories. Let us go through them one after another.
The first part consists of mobilising the toxins in your fifth tissue. Do you remember why we start at the fifth tissue? I ask her.
“Yes. I ́m pushing the fifties and we have a bone and joint-related disease to address. I understood you to say that we have to go backwards in the treatment. Push into reverse gear as it were. Am I right?” she asked eagerly.
“Absolutely!” I returned. “And how are we going to mobilize these toxins? With plants which correspond to the tissue damage” I answered my own question. “This initial phase will take 28 days. During this time, you should be taking a herbal detoxifying decoction and strictly adhere to special nutritional guidelines which are suitable for deranged Vata and Pitta.”
“What are decoctions?” asked Ms. Simon.
“Lets say, plant components which are boiled down until there is only a bare essence left” I answered.
“So, its all about nature-based healing agents, is it?” she queried.
“It certainly is” I replied. “The plants which should be selected will act on the fifth tissue and will have a warming, oleating, soothing character, exactly oppostie to the character of the Vata dhosha. In your case, I would select a combination of Rasna, Amruth Aswagandha and Gandharvahata as a herbal decoction”.
Sabine Simon looked suitably impressed at the mention of exotic herbs.
“This will mobilize the ama – the toxins, the root of all evil, we talked about. They will be mobilized and also, simultaneously, be dried out of the system. The mobilizing and the drying out will, in time, free the Vata dhosha from the toxins. This phase you can do by yourself at home”.
Sabine was all eyes and ears, listening intently. “What next?”
“When the Vata dhosha is free from the ama, we go into phase two. This is the beginning of the stationary therapies which includes several medicinal oil applications on the body with sudation.
Ms. Simon, you might remember that I mentioned the skin being one of the sense organs of Vata? So we will now use the skin as a medium. We will apply medicinal oils onto and into the skin as a means of coaxing back the vitiated or aggravated Vata dosha back into “house” or “site”, - the colon. The sudation will help this. During these treatments, Vata ́s main symptom, namely the pain, will subside. And then slowly the other symptoms like numbness, coldness, rigidity of the joints etc. Your mobilitly and your flexibility will improve noticeably. The applications with their warm and oily quality will give you a sense of deep security from the outside world”.
“Oh, Dr. Jeevan, this sounds absolutely too good to be true” she said softly. Her voice grew fainter “I cant believe that this could all happen to me.....”
I looked at her encouragingly “Ms. Simon, my professors used to say that during these treatments, we go back to the same situations where we were as embryos in their uterine fluids. The soothing feeling of security, protection and nurturing in both mind and body - remember I used the word “Sneha”?”
Sabine Simon smiled back “I think “Sneha” is exactly what I need right now. You are so right! What happens next?”
“After a period of external treatments, Vata and Pitta will return to their formerly deserted houses. Now we can begin with the main ayurvedic treatment which will address your particular problems. Pinpointing them as it were. We will “home in” on them! There will be therapeutic purgation with the help of herbs and also application of medicinal extracts and oils to the colon”.
“How does one go about treating the colon? By enema?” she asked tentatively.
“I suppose, one could call it an enema but we do not merely clean the colon. We apply medicinal plant extracts. You may know that the colon can absorb several extracts. Depending on which problem there is to address, ayurveda has various formulae for this very potent rectal application”.
Sabine Simon looked apprehensive but I continued.
“The complete second stage is called “Purva karma” and “Pancha karma”. It takes 14 days in your case. However, it does depend on the chronicity of the disease”.
Ms. Simon looked puzzled “ Wait a minute, Dr. Jeevan. My friend who did this pancha karma abroad, did not do all these three phases. What do you think of that?”.
I had to now to be quite firm and explain matters which would be new to her. “Sorry Ms. Simon, there is certainly a major difference between touristy places in India and Sri Lanka, where the ancient medicinal system of Ayurveda is reduced to an oil mass devoid of any medicinal value. Ayurveda not only has got a massage system, it has thousands messages. And when we travel the long and costly distance to India or Sri Lanka nowadays and expect a proper ayurvedic treatment in the country of its roots, we generally stay at wellness hotels. We miss the period of “ama pachana” or the detoxifying decoctions. The preparatory period, which is, as you will understand, an extremely significant process”.
Sabine gaped. “Was that not the stage when our “Evil serpent”, the toxins is mobilized and dried out?”
“Well, there you are! This vital stage is left out. Plain oils are applied onto the body right from the start. There is no cleansing procedure which precedes! And then it is called “Pancha karma”. According to ayurveda however, external applications are only “purva karma” or the preparation for “pancha karma” – which, Ms.Simon incidently means “The five paths of cleansing”.
The patient was visibly deflated. “But I thought, if one goes abroad.....” she did not even finish her sentence.
“Unfortunately, that is not the case, Ms. Simon. Ayurveda is not all wellness and soothing massages. Those with true interest would have to bring time, money and honest dedication to their personal health with them. Who really has that nowadays? No, Ayurveda is certainly not “Wellness” It is medical wellness for healthy people (Sadvrutta) and medical treanment for the diseased (Athuravrutta). In your special case, it has to be a medical treatment”.
“I fully understand that, Doctor” she said somewhat humbled by the previous explanation.
“The agni or the digestive fire within you, Ms. Simon, will be fine after the pancha karma treatment. The elements and the dhoshas will be in balance again. The next stage will be to improve the agni and that will be the final phase. This consists of special immune-enhancing herbal preparations which are called “Rasayanas” or Rejuvenators in Ayurveda. These set up a disease prevention measure. This you will do at your home.
Ms. Simon, you will discover a new way of living your life during this period of treatment. When the body increases its level of fitness, it gradually becomes increasingly easier to change bad habits and to free yourself from negative thoughts. Your mind will gain subtelty during this period, which means it will be easy to direct onto the rails of right thought”.
She nodded “I can well imagine that Doctor. Now that you have explained it so clearly, it seems so logical and within my reach as well!”. Her eyes lit up as she spoke. She looked animated. I caught a glimpse of what she would return to as a personality if she took this seriously and went through the motions of ayurvedic treatment.
“Ms. Simon, you will enjoy tremendous energy after the treatment. But it has to be properly directed during this time. I am certain that you will have a completely new outlook on life afterwards”.
Suddenly her expression changed and her present self took over “But Doctor, how is it possible for me to be cleansed of all those miserable and negative thoughts?. Her voice had a whine in it. Her face looked doleful again.
“I have this horrid feeling that I will always be like this. I guess, its my character. I`m scared of dyeing. But I ́m scared of living too”.
It was now time for my rendition of “The Baghavath Gita ” . “Ms. Simon, listen! Lord Krishna says to Arjuna in the Bhagavath Gita – “The Enlightened grieve neither for the living nor for the dead”. He said it on a battlefield symbolising life.
Everybody faces battlefields in life. We battle with others or we battle with ourselves. You, Ms. Simon, need a change in your diet. You need a change in your daily activities. You need to forget or better: to work on issues you still have which result from previous situations in your life.
Ms. Simon, you need to move forward in your thinking patterns; to stop brooding and weeping over the past. The past is past and will never come back! Again I quote Lord Krishna. He says “Wake up! Act! Don’t think of what is going to result out of that action!”
But doctor my soul is full of Sin and diseased.
No. Mrs. Simon, Lord Krishna explains, the soul has neither birth nor death at any time. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain. Only the body and mind is diseased and cured by Ayurveda or Yoga.
As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.
Look up on pleasure and pain happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat with an equal eye- and by so doing you shall never be depressed. The meditation program, breathing exercises during our treatment time will help you more for such understanding.
Ms. Simon looked bewildered and somewhat doubtful at the same time.
I explained “Just see yourself as Arjuna, the warrior. See Lord Krishna as the “good mind” or your intuition within you. Now see you and Lord Krishna working together in a partnership. There can be nothing but victory for you on the battlefield of life!”
Ms. Simon sat silently, her eyes sunken. The flicker of hope I had seen in her a little while before, slowly returned while she meditated on what I had poured out with such enthusiasm.
In a voice, suddenly strong with new determination, she said “I ́m really grateful Doctor! I now see a ray of hope. Yes! I ́m ready to cooperate with you, your suggestions and your treatments!”
“Ms. Simon” I warned, again raising a forefinger like an indian schoolmaster, “I have to tell you – the medicines can be bitter!”
She laughed. There was a new quality to her laugh. I was happy to hear that. “I ́m sure they are Doctor! But my mother used to say “Bitter makes you better!”.
I continued, wagging my forefinger and beaming at her “And: you have to be willing to spend at least 14 days in stationary treatment?”
She was now more than earnest and said “Doctor! If I am to feel like a new, improved version of the present day me after 14 days, then those 14 days are nothing! I shall certainly bring time with me! I realize now that this old machine needs a clean up at least once a year!”
I discerned that Ms. Simon had been replying my negative questions with a positive reply and was pleased to see that there was positive mind power lying buried within her.
I wrote down the ama pachana decoctions for her to be taken during the next 28 days. Nutritional guidelines, how to eat what and when and how to prepare it was all stipulated by me and explained to her in detail. We prepared her treatment protocol for the 14 days and fixed the date when she would commence the stationary treatment.
It was now time to part company until the next meeting after the home therapy.
Ms.Simon spoke very softly. She seemed deeply moved. “Doctor, I want to express my very deep and whole-hearted gratitude to you for taking so
much time with me. You made it a point for me to understand all this vital information. All the information on ayurveda, the importance understanding what role the tissues play and the birth of disease.... and all your efforts to encourage me as well...” her voice faltered. “It is really marvellous because I can understand the logic behind. And I can understand the basics of what is going on in the body and mind”. Her eyes were glowing with the beginnings of enthusiasm.
“Have you any more questions you might like to ask?” I beamed back at her.
“Not really right now, Doctor. I ́m going to have to digest all this first. May I take your little sketches on Vata, Pitta, Kappha and the tissues with me?”
“You are most welcome. In case you get stuck following any of the instructions, please just drop me an e-mail. I shall contact you immediately” I replied.
FEED BACK – (One year later)
Somebody knocked briefly but vigourously on the door of my consulation room. The door opened and a pretty lady marched confidently into the room “I may come in, may I not, Doctor?” she asked unnecessarily. She had come in anyway....
The youthful appearing woman made her way to my desk with a broad smile. Her pink blouse and her blue skirt suited her perfectly. Her sparkling eyes were familiar to me. But her prana (vital air); the “tejas” (radiance) and the “ojas” (aura) were different. I wracked my brains as to which of my patients had magically turned into this energetic being.
I took in her wholesome appearance, the skin had a glow to it, even though she appeared to be around 40. She was now standing in front of my desk, looking down at me, her hands on her hips in mock indignation. “Surely Doctor! Don’t tell me you don’t recognize me?!!”
It dawned on me. Was it only some months ago, that a broken, grey and sallow Ms. Simon had sat in front of me? I gasped and jumped up, reaching out for her hands and then taking them in mine.
“Ms. Simon!” I exclaimed. “Ms. Simon! Is this truly you?! You look like a million Dollars! I guess its been around 6 months since we did the pancha karma and the final check ups!”
I stood there shaking both her hands up and down. Ms. Simon exuded an aura of deep happiness and fresh energy. “Do sit down, Ms. Simon! Tell me all!”
“Doctor, I was in the vicinity of the practice with my new life partner and I thought I simply had to come and say Hello to you! We ́ve been communicating via phone and e-mails regularly regarding all the feed back and the panchakarma and so on but I thought now is the time, Dr. Jeevan should see the new me – and that with his own eyes!!! And here I am!”
I was touched and delighted “You did well in coming Ms. Simon! It is always a great highlight for any doctor to see that ayurveda has brought about quality of life or even a fresh lease of life to unhappy or sickly patients!”.
“Doctor!” she said in an animated voice “Life is so full of new meaning to me now! I ́m really and truly happy again. I have a wonderful partner in my life and that, thanks to you and ayurveda! Believe it or not, I did finally wink at a stranger on the other side of the road!”
We both laughed heartily.
“ I ́ve brought you a small gesture of my appreciation from my religion. Please accept this little angel of protection as a Thank You for your ayurvedic care and your personal concern”.
She rummaged around in her voluminous flowery handbag and this time, even produced that which she looked for! She handed me her little token, which twinkled merrily as it caught a ray of sunshine. For a moment, I felt a deep symbolism in that gleam. Ms. Simon had crushed the serpent and finally found her own personal sunshine!
She got up and with sure, quick steps walked to the door, opening it and peered out. A man with pleasant features and an easy smile walked in behind her and we shook hands warmly upon introdcution.
“Frank and I would like to both have a go at your infamous pancha karma treatment next year. Do you know, even though I go through all the procedures you suggested after the cure, I still miss the element of caring you gave to me during that really rocky time in my life!”
“ We must celebrate this!” I insisted with deep joy. “Which ayurvedic brew may I offer both of you to drink?”
It was a jovial question meant in humour. But Ms. Simon, the soon-to-be Ms. Schmidt, replied like a shot and with total conviction: ”I ́d like a warming tea, Doctor. Cumin tea please!”
Ayurveda does not have a term equivalent to “Poly arthritis” but there is mention of a condition called “Vata Rakta/Ama Vata/Sandhigata Vata” which suits bone and joint diseases. I did not, therefore study the case sheets and the diagnosis of school medicine and the hospitals, which my patient did finally remember to bring along with her. As an ayurvedic doctor, one does not scrutinize these records because it does not give any understanding or support to my ayurvedic approach to diagnosis. On the contrary, it will distort my diagnosis or will lead to confusion, misunderstanding of the individual case. I always examine a patient afresh and diagnose the disease and the disease condition according to the Dhosha-Dhattu- Mala principles.
Ayurvedic science enables physicians to make a provisional diagnosis of new health or disease conditions. I then design a treatment protocol to match my diagnosis, not deviating from the basic principles of ayurveda. The patient is thus cured. I do not, however, claim that Ayurveda can cure all diseases. But what I do claim is that ayurveda has the capacity to look at any new disease condition with the help of the Dhosha-Dathu-Mala principles. The physician may thus be able to make a diagnosis, design a treatment protocol, set up nutritional guidelines and even set down a schedule for yoga practice and cure the disease either completely or to a great extent. Either way, an improved quality of life for the patient may be ensured.
It is a great pity that the 90 year old school medicine dominates the 5000 year old, time-tested Indian system of medicine. It is equally a pity that it is refused acceptance and treated with suspicion. It is mind-boggling that it is demanded of Ayurveda , which has strings of success stories to its credit, that it explains itself with the tools of modern scientific parameters. These tools are highly inappropriate, yes, inadequate for such a purpose.
There are innumerable instances where ayurvedic treatment has cured chronic diseases such as cancer, asthma or hepatitis, for which there are no permanent answers offered by the modern system of accepted school medicine. And which do not have any harmful side-effects.
The time has now come when all scientific and medical professions should come together to develop common parameters for improvement in human lifestyle and proper cures. The principles of Ayurveda should be given the prominent place they deserve.
Knowledge in depth of any kind cannot be attained by applying short cuts. This applies to the profound knowledge of Ayurveda as well.
There is no short cut to knowledge, to Nirvana or to wealth.
Jala bindu nipatena kramasa puryate ghata: Sahe tu sarva vidyanam dharmasya cha Dhanasya cha
It is neither adviseable nor appropriate to seriously judge knowledge as profound as Ayurveda without proper study of its system and principles or without proper experience this field.