According to Boston Children’s Hospital’, 1-5% of adolescents and 1.1 to 4.2% of females in the United States are believed to have bulimia nervosa.The National Health Services’, Uk, says that up to 8% of females probably have had or will have bulimia nervosa at some time in their lives.
Bulimia is an eating disorder, in which the person regularly binge-eats and then tries to compensate for that behaviour by purging/emesis and doing excessive exercises.
Bulimia is caused due to psychological issues. Such factors include;
- Cultural factors
Ayurvedic Treatment for Bulimia:
The holistic approach of Ayurveda to bulimia(eating disorder), has given an insight as to how bulimia can be treated. In Ayurveda, it is believed that maintaining a good state of health largely depends on the human’s mind-body constitution or Prakruti. This simply means you are what you eat. Thus having the right diet at the appropriate time would help avoid ama ( a poisonous substance produced because of an impaired digestive system), and keep the body free from toxins. Eating disorders are related to agni type, stress response, and food allergies, and thus, an imbalance in the doshas (vata, pitta, and Kapha), can result to bulimia.
Persons with vishama agni readily forget to eat. Also, people with tikshnagni (pitta agni type) have the utmost difficulty in refraining from eating. Persons with vata would find it easy to build a pattern of missing meals, thereby making them prone to anorexia/bulimia or drive and binge, while an individual with tikshnagni is likely to have a sweet mouth and potentially debauch on sugar, as such individual cannot skip meals and is prone to sugar addiction. Persons with mandagni (Kapha agni type) consume disproportionate amounts of food during Kapha time of the evening. It’s believed that such person lacks experience and the ethics of eating, as the individual doesn’t have a profound knowledge of what hunger feels like. Such person just stumbles on any food.
Under stress response, the visha agni type is a stress under eater, while the Pitta tikshnagni type is fairly stressed or resilient, but may be a victim of overeating. Mandagni Kapha types are stress overeaters.
Common Food Allergies related to different agni types
- Vata vishamagni: Sensitivity to gluten
- Pitta tikshnagni: Yeast, nuts, cheese, milk products
- Kapha mandagni: wheat – gluten, cow dairy
The line of treatment: Balancing the aggravated dosha, improving metabolism, strengthening the immune and nervous system, body detoxification, improving nutrition, managing stress levels – counselling.
Treatments – Ayurvedic Treatment for Bulimia modalities includes Panchakarma, external therapies, internal medications, Activities, Advice of food and lifestyle changes.
- Panchakarma – Vamana, Virechana, Basti, Nasya
- Externally – Abhyanga, Shiro dhara
- Internally – Deepana (Appetisers)
- Pachana (Digestives)
- Herbs which help in de-stressing as Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Brahmi (Bocopa monerii)
- Specific Asanas, Panayamas, meditation, deep relaxation techniques.
- Improving on the intake of water preferably warm water and food which makes digestion easier.
- Eat fibre rich food and plenty of raw vegetables.
- Timely regular wholesome meals in a conducible non-disturbing atmosphere
- Lifestyle changes: specific to the individual’s constitution, nature of work and geographical conditions.