Health Tips
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Depression and Anxiety are often observed to co-exist. Too much mental stress is a trigger that can result in mental disturbances leading to Depression or Anxiety.

Stress is actually a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened. When you sense danger, whether it’s real or imagined, the body’s defense kicks into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, or the stress response.

However, excessive stress when left unmanaged can result in several illnesses including mental disorders such as Depression and Anxiety. Ayurvedic massage therapies are a 100% safe and proven treatment for such mental disorders.

Here are the 6 Ayurvedic ways to beat Depression and Anxiety that are offered at NuAyurveda clinic:

1. Abhyangam: It involves the full body massage with medicated herbal oils. Abhyangam therapy increases blood circulation to remove metabolic wastes and toxins from the body. It stimulates vital pressure points, which leads to nervous stimulation and reduction in Stress, Anxiety, and Depression.
In this therapy, two therapists apply herbal oils over the whole body (Head to Toe) of the individual in rhythmic and synchronised manner by using the right pressure. The massage goes on for 45-50 minutes in seven different positions. Abhyangam balances the Doshas and treats Mental, Emotional, and Physical disorders.
This therapy boosts Immunity and leads to well-being by preventing Stress and Depression. It is also effective against Insomnia, Paralysis, Arthritis, and Spondylosis disorders.

2. Padabhyangam: This Ayurvedic massage includes the stimulation of nerve endings and vital pressure points present in the foot to balance the Doshas. This also promotes mental calmness and relieves Stress and Anxiety.
A therapist applies herbal oils on the foot using precise hand movements. This leads to the improvement in blood circulation in the lower leg, which revitalises the tired feet.
Padabhyangam eliminates psychological disorders such as Nervousness, Anxiety, and Insomnia and prevents Depression. It also prevents Muscle cramps, boosts Fertility, and reduces Swelling and Pain in the lower leg region.

3. Nasyam: Nasyam is a part of Panchakarma therapy and involves the administration of medicated oils or drugs through nostrils. This treatment stimulates the vital centres of the brain to overcome problems such as Stress, Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia.
Nasyam starts with a facial massage or steam application to the face, forehead, ears, and neck. Afterwards, a therapist instills herbal oils, juices, or powders through nasal route, which then spread through venous (blood circulation) and nervous system into the areas present around the nostrils. Finally, the patient is given lukewarm water to gargle and medicated smoke for inhalation.
Nasyam therapy treats the disorders of ear, nose, and throat. It unblocks the energy channels and gets rid of Depression, Anxiety, and Headache. Moreover, it boosts Immunity and improves eye health.

4. Pizhichil: Pizhichil treatment involves the squeezing of warm medicated oils to help the system retune itself thereby inducing both physical and mental relaxation. The stress and tension building up in the system due to various factors often lead to oxidative stress, which can be effectively combated by this Ayurvedic treatment.
Pizhichil starts with a gentle and synchronised massage on all parts of the body excluding the head. A cloth dipped in lukewarm herbal oil is squeezed on the body of the patient followed by oil rubbing over the body. The dipping of cloth in medicated herbal oil is repeated periodically, and the entire procedure takes about 1 hour.
Pizhichil rejuvenates the body and boosts the functioning of the nervous system. It reduces Vata dosha, Tension, Anxiety, Depression, Muscular aches, Rheumatic problems, Insomnia, and Sexual problems. It also tones the skin by promoting the blood circulation.

5. Kizhi: Kizhi enhances circulation and reduces the oxidative stress thereby relieving the psycho-physical symptoms of stress.
This therapy makes use of powders, herbs, rice, sand tied in a muslin cloth to make small satchels. These powders, herbs, rice or sand sacks are then heated and lightly pounded over the body or specific parts of the body as needed.
Kizhi massage provides dry heat which treats aggravated Vata and Vatakapha conditions. It is an effective treatment for Depression, Anxiety, Muscular cramps, Swelling, Obesity, Lower back pain, Diabetes, Osteoarthritis, and Spondylosis.

6. Shirodhara: This healing massage involves the continuous pouring of medicated oil on the forehead with pendulum motion for a specific period of time. Shirodhara may also include the pouring of decoctions, buttermilk, or even water.
Continuous pouring of oil on the forehead stimulates and soothes the hypothalamus to induce sleep by reducing Stress. This therapy is performed for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the condition of the person. The person is also given a gentle head massage before or during the procedure.
Shirodhara boosts the immune system and improves the blood circulation around the head and face to effectively treat Hypertension, Insomnia, Depression, and Jet lag.
How Does Body React When You Are Stressed?
When the body perceives a threat, the nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. This actually prepares your body to be more alert. However, when stress becomes a regular phenomenon, high levels of cortisol can show several detrimental effects on the body. Increased cortisol level is associated with High blood pressure, Sugar imbalance, Muscle stiffness, and Increased heart rate. These physiological effects lead to health issues such as Pain, Fatigue, Low immunity, Sleep problems, Depression & Anxiety, etc.

A novel nasal spray of ketamine — often misused as a party drug – can rapidly treat symptoms of major depression, and suicidal thoughts, a study has found.

The study, published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, compared an intranasal formulation of esketamine, part of the ketamine molecule, to a placebo for rapid treatment of symptoms of major depression, including suicidality, among individuals at imminent suicide risk.

The researchers at the Yale School of Medicine in the US involved 68 participants randomly assigned to one of two groups – either receiving esketamine or placebo twice a week for four weeks alongside standard treatment with antidepressants.

They looked at effects at four hours after first treatment, at 24 hours and at 25 days. Researchers, including those from Janssen Research and Development, found a significant improvement in depression scores and decreased suicidal ideation in the esketamine group compared to the placebo group at four hours and at 24 hours.

The esketamine effects were not greater than the placebo at 25 days. The measurement of suicide risk took into consideration both the patient’s and clinician’s perspectives.

The results of the study support nasal spray esketamine as a possible effective rapid treatment for depressive symptoms in patients assessed to be at imminent risk for suicide, researchers said.

Esketamine could be an important treatment to bridge the gap that exists because of the delayed effect of most common antidepressants.

Most antidepressants take four to six weeks to become fully effective. The scientists caution that more research is needed on the potential for abuse of ketamine.

We are not oblivious to the fact how depression is fast becoming a common lifestyle problem with many of us suffering from symptoms like anxiety, stress and insomnia. These may seem like mere day to day problems, but they can turn into a matter of concern in the long run.

Ayurvedic herbs can help in healing your body in more ways than one. According to Dr. Ashutosh Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager, Baidyanath, "During depression, your feel good hormones are not competent anymore to handle many situations, hence, putting you in different moods. Some ayurvedic herbs and spices have proved to help reduce the symptoms of depression."
He suggests the following herbal remedies for depression.

1. Ashwangandha

Ashwangnadha is believed to relieve stress and anxiety due to the presence of active compounds like steroidal lactones, saponins, alkaloids and withanolides that provide antidepressant, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. These properties help in reducing stress caused by emotional and physical fatigue. It also balances out the constant mood swings and increases mental alertness, focus and concentration. It helps restore the normal physiological functioning. Ashwangandha can be consumed in its powdered form or as a liquid extract.

2. Brahmi

Brahmi is a small perennial creeping herb that has an age old reputation of curing stress. Brahmi acts as an adaptogen, which simply means that it helps the body adapt to new or stressful situations. When consumed, it is believed to increase the serotonin levels in the brain that help the mind keep calm and give relief from anxiety and nervousness.

3. Jatamansi (Spikenard)

Jatamansi is a perennial herb that helps curing insomnia and other sleeping disorders. It is also known for its anti-depressant, anti-stress and anti-fatigue properties. The roots of jatamansi are used for the medicinal purposes in Ayurveda which are known to give a therapeutic effect to mood swings and stress disorders. Jatamansi can erase negative thoughts by channelizing the energies of the mind in the right direction.

4. Pudina (Peppermint)

Pudina or peppermint has been used for centuries to cure nervous system disorders due to the presence of menthol as it helps calm the frazzled nerves and has a cooling effect. It is loaded with vitamin A and C, minerals including magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron, folate, copper and potassium. Menthol helps cure insomnia by keeping your mind calm and lets you sleep in peace.

5. Maca (Peruvian Ginseng)

Maca also known as Peruvian ginseng is a herb that is power packed with nutrients. It is a rich source of vitamins, amino acids, various minerals and phytonutrients that increase stamina and decrease excessive anxiety. A Peruvian plant that belongs to the radish family, maca has proved to be a natural healer that helps with hormone and neurotransmitter production due to the presence of adaptogen. Additionally, maca is a natural energizer and helps people overcome lethargy.

It is imperative to refer to a doctor before you switch to herbal remedies as the result majorly depends on the dosage and the form in which they are consumed.

Depression is a common but serious mood disorder that causes severe symptoms that affect how a person feels, thinks and handles daily activities such as sleeping, eating or working.

Symptoms must be present for two weeks in order to be diagnosed with depression. Current treatments predominantly focus on brain chemicals such as serotonin.

However, scientists now think inflammation throughout the entire body, triggered by an overactive immune system, may be the root cause of the problem.

In fact, it has been suggested that widespread inflammation could be what's causing and producing feelings of unhappiness, hopelessness and fatigue. If this be the case, then depression can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs.

In the case of chronic depression, it's a possibility that the immune system may be failing to switch off after an illness or trauma, leading to persistent symptoms.

Furthermore, at the University of Cambridge, Head of the Department of Psychiatry Professor Ed Bullmore told The Telegraph that he thinks a new field of 'immuno-neurology' is coming soon.

In fact, he believes that it is pretty clear that inflammation can cause depression. He also states that “in relation to mood, beyond reasonable doubt, there is a very robust association between inflammation and depressive symptoms.

The question is does the inflammation drive the depression or vice versa or is it just a coincidence? In experimental medicine studies if you treat a healthy individual with an inflammatory drug, like interferon, a substantial percentage of those people will become depressed. So we think there is good enough evidence for a causal effect.”

As a result of this work, one important finding would be more effective treatments for depression, treatments that may not need to be lifelong.

There is no way to prevent menopause, but its symptoms and effects can be managed. It is often possible to manage the symptoms of menopause without medical intervention.

>> Exercise: Exercise during menopause can have a range of benefits, including preventing weight gain, reducing cancer risk, protecting the bones, and boosting general mood. Women should exercise earlier in the day during menopause to avoid causing any interruptions to their sleep cycle.
- Pilates, for example, has shown great benefit in reducing all menopausal symptoms not related to the urinary system and genitals, including sleep problems and hot flashes.
- Kegel exercises can be useful for preventing #UrinaryIncontinence. These are exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. Practicing 3-4 times a day can lead to a noticeable improvement in symptoms within months.

>> Nutrition: It is important to maintain a healthful and varied diet when managing the bodily effects of menopause. Omega-3 may ease psychological distress and depressive symptoms and it is available in foods such as oily fish & its supplements.

Women experiencing menopause should eat a well-balanced diet that includes: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, unsaturated fats, fiber & unrefined carbohydrates.
Try to consume between 1,200 and 1,500 milligrams (mg) of calcium and plenty of vitamin D each day.

>> Psychological assistance: Deep breathing techniques, guided #meditation, and progressive relaxation can also help limit sleep disturbance. Stress can aggravate #HotFlashes and #NightSweats, so avoiding known stressors and practicing #relaxation techniques can help menopausal symptoms.

>> There are a few ways for a woman to comfortably accommodate the effects of menopause:
- Avoid tight clothing.
- Limit the consumption of spicy food, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Stay sexually active to reduce vaginal dryness.
- Keep stress levels to a minimum, and get plenty of rest.

Dr. Anjali Awate
Dr. Anjali Awate
BAMS, Ayurveda Panchakarma, 9 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sivasubramanian
Dr. Sivasubramanian
MD - Allopathy, Dermatologist, 6 yrs, Dharmapuri
Dr. Vinod Shinde
Dr. Vinod Shinde
BAMS, Ayurveda Dietitian, 17 yrs, Pune
Dr. Vinod Shingade
Dr. Vinod Shingade
BHMS, General Physician Homeopath, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Ajay Rokade
Dr. Ajay Rokade
MD - Homeopathy, Family Physician Homeopath, 15 yrs, Pune
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