Obesity – Ayurveda’s solution to the “Big” problem
Obesity statistics are increasing all over the world and it is becoming one the world’s biggest health problem. Recent reports suggest that it may soon overtake cigarette smoking as a serious health risk. These statistics are alarming because being overweight, and especially being obese, increases our risk of many health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, stroke, back and joint pain, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, gallstones, fatty liver, infertility, breathlessness, depression, insomnia, etc.
Obesity is defined as an excess of body fat in the body. It is a condition where the natural energy reserve stored in the fatty tissue increases to a point where it is associated with certain health conditions or increased mortality.
Being obese is not a cosmetic issue. Obesity is not a sign of a person being out of control. It is a serious medical disease that affects over a quarter of adults in the United States, and about 14% of children and adolescents. A report from the National Audit Office concluded that obesity could shave an average of nine years from our lifespan. Obesity needs to be treated early in life to prevent the long-term complications later in life.
The most obvious cause of obesity is eating more than the body needs or when food energy intake exceeds energy expenditure, fat cells throughout the body take in the energy and store it as fat. Other factors that contribute to obesity are genetic factors and genetic disorders, an underlying illness, eating disorders, consumption of certain medications, leading a sedentary lifestyle, a high glycemic diet (i.e. a diet that shows gives a high post prandial blood sugar reading), stress, etc.
In Ayurveda every human being is a unique phenomenon of cosmic energy, which manifests itself thought the three basic elements or the “Tridosha” – Vata – Air, Pitta- Fire and Kapha – Water. Each individual’s constitution has its own unique balance of these three energies. When this “doshic” balanced is disturbed it leads causes damage to normal bodily functions leading to various health disorders and diseases.
Obesity is cause by an imbalance ‘ Kapha – Water Energy’. According to Ayurveda, people with a Kapha (Water) constitution are more likely to gain weight through excess fat than a Pitta (Fire) or Vata (Air) person. People with an imbalance in their Kapha energy have to take that little extra care to avoid putting on those unwanted pounds.
Obesity and Ayurveda
In the Ayurvedic texts, ‘Charakacharya’ has described eight ‘nindya prakruties’ (undesirable constitution) of the body; obesity is one of them and is described as ‘Medoroga’. In an Obese person individual Medas (Fat) is excessively nourished and remaining other Dhatus get malnourished. Kapha gets accumulated in between. When Kapha increases in abnormal fashion, Fat metabolism gets hampered and person becomes Obese.
Ayurvedic weight management
Ayurvedic treatment for Obesity is achieved through a combination of:
Panchakarma therapy – Includes five types of therapies, which are mainly used for purification or elimination of toxins. For weight loss Virechana (Purgation Treatment) or Basti (Medicated Enema) are recommended, depending on the individual health.
Diet management – It is not only the quantity of food that is important, but also the type of food one eats. One should eat the correct food, cooked the Ayurvedic way in the right quantity and at the correct time.
Udvartana Massage – Here herbal paste and powders are applied all over the body and deeply massaged with specific movements. This massage tones the skin, removes cellulite, loosens fat molecules and eliminates them from the sub-cutaneous level and removes Kapha toxins from the body.
Herbal supplements – Medicines can be of great benefit in weight control without the negative side effects of conventional drugs. These medicines improve fat metabolism in an obese person.
Therapeutic Yoga – Yoga not only helps one loose weight but also enhances the healing potential of Ayurveda.
Pranayamas – Are the Ayurvedic breathing techniques, which brings about tremendous benefits, such as increased energy, increased perception and development of various brain faculties.
The Ayurvedic weight loss program, besides the immediate weight-loss, cleans out toxins from your body and allows it to function more efficiently promoting an overall feeling of health and wellness.
The quick fix!
The quick fix – There is no such thing! Fad diets, slimming pills, liposuction, surgery, etc. none offer a permanent solution. Ayurveda teaches us to make simple and permanent lifestyle changes by helping us understand what our body needs, it teaches us to make a commitment to our body and follow through with goals. This helps us develop respect for our bodies enabling us to enjoy every moment of LIFE. In fact if maintained, even weight loss of as little as 10 percent of body weight can improve one’s health.