Management of Diabetes Mellitus through Ayurveda and Yoga
Type 2 Diabetes is a leading health issue globally. Diabetes has been known since the first century B.C.E. In 1425, the word diabetes was first recorded and in 1675, the Greek word mellitus, meaning “like honey,” was added, to reflect the sweet smell and taste of the patient’s urine.
Much before that, Ayurveda- The Science of life explained the concept of Diabetes. Ayurveda has termed Diabetes ‘Madhumeha’ a condition in which a person passes honey like (sweet) urine.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a heterogeneous group of disorder characterized by variable degree of insulin resistance, impaired insulin secretion and increased glucose production and abnormal fat metabolism.
Ayurveda physicians treat Diabetes with multi dimensional approach, using diet and lifestyle modifications, various treatments like panchakarma (Bio-purificatory procedures), medicines and yoga practices.
Ayurveda Explains the causative factors in detail. The causes mentioned in Ayurveda can be divided into following
Diet: Excessive use of guru (heavy to digest), snigdha (unctous), amla (sour) and lavana (salty) rasa, Navanna (newly harvested rice), new wine
Lifestyle:Aasya sukha (sedentary lifestyle), atinidra (excessive sleep), avyayama (lack of exercise), achinta (lack of mental exercise)
Psychological factors: Shoka (grief), bhaya (fear) and deergha roga (long standing illness)
The causative factors lead to the imbalance in dosha’s leading to the manifestation of Diabetes. This helps us understand that the treatment therefore is unique and customized, as Ayurveda treats the individual by bringing the doshas into balance with specific concentration on age, lifestyle and physiological responses.
Scientific studies show that Ayurvedic medications may act through potential pancreatic as well as extra pancreatic effects. The probable mechanisms of action include: delaying gastric emptying, slowing carbohydrate absorption, inhibition of glucose transport, increasing the erythrocyte insulin receptors and peripheral glucose utilization, increasing glycogen synthesis, modulating insulin secretion, decreasing blood glucose synthesis through depression of the enzymes glucose-6-phosphatase, fructose-1, and 6-bisphosphatase, and enhanced glucose oxidation by the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase-dehydrogenase pathway (Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2013)
Using the Practices of YOga enhances the beneficial effects of ayurveda and will alsohelp in controlling the blood glucose levels or help in reversal of diabetes
Yoga explains Diabetes as a Aadhija Vyadhi (stress born disease) and scientific studies have shown how different components of yoga are effective in the management of Diabetes.
The performance of asanas has shown to lead to increased sensitivity of the beta cells of pancreas to the glucose signal. Yoga has been showed to be useful in reducing oxidative stress and therefore complications such as atherosclerosis, microvascular complications, and neuropathy.
Yoga therapy also improves the status of diabetics in terms of reduction of drug doses, physical and mental alertness and prevention of complications (Int J Yoga, 2018)
All this was theoretical understanding which is highly essential. But let’s hear the practical experience of a participant who has been visiting VHG HSR Layout Bengaluru.
Mrs. Lalitha Muralidharan who is 60 years old, is a type 2 diabetic since 30 years with associated conditions of Hypertension and Hypothyroidism. She started visiting VHG since 2016 when she was advised to switch over to Insulin Injections as she was non responsive to oral hypoglycemic pills. Since she was already on many modern medicines for her health problems, fearing long term side effects, she was keen on exploring other modalities of treatment. Thus started her journey of recovery with Dr.Vasudha M Sharma, the director of medical services, VHG.
Unlike many doing Panchakarma treatments for her was not feasible due to different aspects, both personal and medical. Her initial complaints of exhaustion, weight loss and turbid urine faded away within the first 1 year of treatment with a combination of oral Ayurveda medicines and Yoga therapy, but the blood sugar levels were not decreasing. Slowly as Rasayana’s were added and counselling sessions were taken up by the Doctor, she started responding. Now her Glycosylated Hemoglobin has dropped to 7 from 11.
This experience of Mrs. Lalitha can definitely instill lot of confidence in individuals fighting diabetes. When an elderly individual can respond very well, a young adult will definitely bear quick results in a shorter span of time. Therefore timely intervention is the need as ‘Stich in time saves nine’.