Paralysis refers to loss of muscle function in the body resulting in either involuntary movement of some of the muscle groups or total loss of mobility. The loss of muscle tone and function resulting from paralysis can either be permanent or temporary. Paralysis can be localised and affect a specific part of the body such as face or hand, or it may be generalised when it affects multiple organs of the body. In most cases, people who suffer from permanent paralysis do not regain their mobility or sensation. However, there are some therapeutic interventions that help a paralysed person to adapt to life by making them as independent as possible.
What causes paralysis?
Some people are born paralysed and some suffer paralysis due to a medication condition or a severe accident. Research suggests that stroke is the most common cause of paralysis. Other conditions such as, head injury, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis can also cause paralysis. The other possible reasons for paralytic attack may include,
- Disease of spinal cord including such as Cerebral Palsy, Bell’s Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and Peripheral Neuropathy
- Infection to the spinal cord
- Brain tumor, trauma, hemorrhage, or stroke
- Severe accidents causing injury to spinal cord
- Spinal fracture
- Exposure toxins, radiation or poisons
Paralysis Treatment in Ayurveda
Ayurveda recognizes paralysis as one of the Vata vyadhis and it is known as pakshaghata. Ayurveda suggests that aahar and vihaara can lead to vata prakopa result in paralysis in the body. Therefore according to Ayurveda the main line of treatment in pakshaghata is normalizing the flow of Prana Vayu. Ayurveda therefore offers some effective therapies for treatment of paralysis. Although the Ayurvedic treatment may not completely cure the illness or even reverse the lost sensation, it does help to relax muscles and stimulate the nerves. Since Paralysis is a vata vydadhi, Ayurveda also offers therapies for correction of vata vitiation. Here is how the Ayurvedic therapies work to stimulate nerves and relax muscles that are paralysed. As with any other Ayurvedic therapy, treatments for paralysis too are also chosen based on the health status and overall lifestyle of a person.
Abhyanga, the Ayurvedic full body massage is described and recommended as one of the most important dincharyas (daily regimen) for a healthy lifestyle. Ayurvedic full body massage relaxes the muscles and nerves. The warm herbal massage oils relax the entire body and muscle contractions if any. The massage strokes used during Abhyanga massage improve blood flow towards the affected area. In people who have temporary paralysis, the massage helps to improve muscle tone which can help the person regain the strength to slow get back to mobility.
Padabahyanga is a special Ayurvedic foot massage. The warm herbal oils relax muscles and ligaments especially in the lower limbs. Reflexology experts believe that our feet have some special points that correspond to the other organs in the body. Padabhyanga may therefore also involve reflexology techniques during massage. The Padabhyanga also stimulates the special energy points called marma that influence the function of various organs and systems including the brain nervous system. Padabhyanga also helps to reduce mental stress and promotes sleep.
As mentioned in Ayurveda nose is the opening to reach the brain, any medicine instilled in nasal cavity acts directly on brain. Since paralysis is mainly caused due to an illness or injury to the brain or the spinal cord, nasaym may be useful as it can carry medications to the brain.
Pizhichil Ayurvedic Treatment includes massage with warm oil and therefore can stimulate the nerves and muscles. Pizhichil means sqeezing the oil. The massage with oil enhances muscular tone and retunes the entire nervous system, promotes blood circulation, nourishes muscles, nervous tissues and restores inner balance. It is beneficial in treatment of paralysis and other kind of Vata disorders.
5. Sneha Basti:
Since paralysis is one of the Vata vyadhis mentioned in the classical Ayurvedic text texts, Sneha Basti is used to correct the vata dosha. Sneha Basti refers to oil enemas. The induced purgation through enema helps to cleanse the colon to get rid of vitiated vatas.
A person who suffers from paralysis does not only need medication to improve physical health but also needs mental calmness. Ayurveda is a holistic medicinal system that takes into account a person’s health status, social life, eating patterns and even mental health while deciding the treatment. There is no cure for permanent paralysis, but Ayurvedic treatment for paralysis can surely help the person to regain the confidence to leave and have a peaceful life. The Ayurvedic treatment for paralysis consists of therapies to improve muscle tone and strength, reduce mental stress and reduce vata vitiation. So, overall Ayurveda provides a holistic treatment for paralysis.