Ayurvedic Interventions to Kidney Diseases: A Lifestyle for Renal Wellness
From the advent of vaccines to effective medical practices, there has been increased life expectancy or, so to say, a decrease in death rates. But it is not to say that people are devoid of health ailments. New lifestyle brought with it novel, non-communicable lifestyle diseases. These are cascading ailments, where one leads to another, finally to death.
Over the last 40 years, we have seen a huge spike in diabetes, hypertension, kidney, and liver failure, cancer, etc., along with attributed issues such as weaker joints, knee pain, hormonal imbalance, and reduced concentration, all with no exceptions in urban and rural populations. People in the age group of 20 – 55 are highly recorded to be susceptible to these conditions. In the past, these ailments were associated with old age people who were past 50 due to decreased activity of bodily organs. But it is not the case anymore.
Why is it that even with advanced medical interventions, people are prone to these chronic conditions more often? What has changed? What is the underlying cause of all these? What is an effective way forward? In the following paragraphs, we discuss how Ayurveda can answer all these questions and to what extent.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is one of the oldest natural medical interventions originating in the Indian Peninsula. It is a traditional health care mechanism that employs the use of products of plants (sometimes metals and minerals) with the incorporation of a natural diet and exercises for enhanced physical and mental health.
What are the main causes and types of Kidney diseases?
Kidneys are mainly in control of sanitation and detoxification of bodily fluids. They control the percentage of electrolytes in the body, filter blood and produce urine. They secrete hormones that regulate blood pressure.
So what mainly causes kidneys to malfunction include the following-
- Kidney damage
- Slow blood flow
- Effect of hypo/hyperthyroidism
- Side effects of other medication
High blood pressure and sugar levels are the large contenders among the above.
Types of Kidney abnormalities-
- Kidney Stones: At any point in life, one in 10 people have kidney stones. Kidney stones are pebble-like substances made up of wastes from the urine. If there is an imbalance in the ratio of mineral wastes to liquid urine, minerals coagulate and form stones.
- Chronic Kidney Disease: It is more prevalent in the older population, but that has been proven wrong in recent times. Kidneys fail to do their normal work, such as filtering the blood, detoxifying the body, producing enough urine, etc. Their efficiency gets affected.
- Kidney Failure: If the above conditions worsen, it leads to kidney failure. Kidneys no longer do the work they should. In such conditions, dialysis or kidney transplant is recommended.
- People with kidney conditions are more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases than others.
- Irregular blood pressure and uncontrollable diabetes.
- Excessive swelling in joints due to retention of water inside, called edema.
- Weaker bones lead to knee pain and poor joint health.
- Nerve damage and dizziness due to insufficient flow of blood.
- Urinate more often than necessary.
- Hormonal imbalances often lead to the thyroid.
- Poor sleep cycles and hence lack of concentration.
How does Ayurveda address High BP, Knee Pain, Kidney, and Thyroid Diseases?
Ayurveda emphasizes rejuvenating the organs via natural procedures rather than subjecting the organs to various drugs and chemical procedures. Most ayurvedic doctors believe that all living beings are blessed with self-rejuvenating and recouping mechanisms in our bodies, be it plants, animals, or humans. But because of spiking stress levels, bad diets, and environmental pollution, it is hard for the body to participate in the fight alone.
Hence, ayurveda provides a way to serve those mechanisms and enhance their effectiveness without interrupting and intruding on the natural healing process.
Ayurvedic treatments and therapies to address these issues-
Diet and lifestyle play a significant role in the Ayurvedic approach to retaliate against any disease and protect the functioning of organs. These are some common treatments and therapies that Ayurvedic practitioners employ while treating kidney diseases.
- Diet: The fundamental principle of Ayurveda is using food as medicine. When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. So Ayurveda lays significant emphasis on healthy eating habits.
- It promotes a fresh, plant-based diet, though an animal diet is not prohibited.
- Mindful eating
- Eliminate processed and packaged foods
- Reduce intake of cold drinks and beverages
- Timely eating according to circadian rhythms
- Ensures overall hormonal health
- Detoxification: The process of eliminating bodily toxins through specified practices. It involves Purvakarma and Panchakarma.
- Purvakarma: It is the initial stage in which toxins are sent out through the bowels and skin surface skin by employing methods like oil massage, steaming, etc.
- Panchakarma: It is the next intensive stage wherein deep detoxification procedures are implemented through Virechan, Vaman, Basti, Rakta Moksha, and Nasya.
- Detoxification alone can drastically improve gut health, bone health, joint pains, and concentration.
- Lower Leg Hot Water Immersion Therapy: A Alternative and traditional medicine procedure. This is intentional sweating by induced thermal environments that regulate blood pressure. This helps in muscle relaxation and lesser joint pains in just a few sessions.
- Head-down tilt posture: It facilitates physiological diuresis in patients with renal and mineral salt accumulation problems. It helps in the removal of excess water, urea, salts, etc. It helps in the proper blood flow, eliminating dizziness and cerebral pain.
- Acupressure: A technique in alternative medicine that helps patients with kidney ailments by controlling blood pressure, enhancing renal function, relieving pain due to edema, reducing enema, etc.
Ayurvedic Herbs and Herbal recommendations-
Some common ayurvedic herbs and derivatives suggested by doctors and practitioners include the following. But these should be employed under the proper guidance of a doctor.
- Triphala churna/tonic
- Palaash and many others
What is the overall outlook on Ayurvedic interventions in reversing these ailments?
Though Ayurveda shows effective experience, it is subjective. Studies are done but are limited, so they cannot be extended to the overall population. But people already exposed to these interventions over long periods show favourable results upon consistent employment of these practices as a lifestyle.
Proper research and guidance are essential under a licensed practitioner if one is a beginner. It takes time to know what works for one and what doesn’t. It requires an honest investment of time and consistency.
Moreover, if diseases are targeted to be treated, there is always one in the future to be treated. But if life is approached in the most natural, detailed, and informed methods, the body alone could develop mechanisms to prevent and cure physical and mental conditions. And this is one of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda.
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