Fibromyalgia is a recently recognized disorder that is regarded as a chronic condition associated with the experience of non-inflammatory pain and tenderness in muscles, ligaments, joints and fatigue. Fibromyalgia is a relatively common condition, estimated to affect about four percent of the general population. It is very similar to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); Only point of difference is presence of musculoskeletal pain in Fibromyalgia and that of fatigue in CFS. Low level of Serotonin is considered to be most important biochemical criteria. The primary treatment goals should include raise serotonin levels, improve sleep quality, and assure adequate magnesium levels.
•Generalized aches or stiffness at many sites for more than three months.
•Chronic headache including migraines
•Sleep disorder, particularly timings of cycles
•Neuronal and psychological complaints
•Numbness/ tingling sensations
It can be described as 'Mansa Dhatugat and Mansavrut Vata'. Fibromyalgia is perceived as a Vata imbalance. Vata is the main imbalance and aggravated Vata destabilizes the nervous system and can create hypersensitivity leading to pain and tenderness. Accumulation of Ama (toxins) and shrotorodha are also contributory factors.
Ayurvedic Approach of Fibromyalgia and CFS Treatment
The aggravation of Vata dosha and accumulation of Ama (toxins) are the primary causes and should be treated mainly. Associated weak digestion, constipation, and effects of chronic stress should also be tackled.
Pre-purification Measures namely 'snehan' and 'swedan' are very useful to balance 'Vata' and to loosen the toxins. Snehan is the Herbalized Oil Massage. This oil is applied to the entire body with a particular type of massage. Swedan is sudation or sweating and is given immediately following the snehan. An herbal concoction may be added to the steam to further enhancement of effect. Daily herbalized oil massage also provides a deeply soothing and balancing effect to the entire nervous system. The motion of massage creates heat and friction which enhances circulation and helps cleanse the areas of chemical impurities that could be aggravating and hyper-sensitizing nerve tissues.
Diet and Nutrition
Following is the diet suggested for the patients suffering form Fibromyalgia and CFS
Vegetable juices and soups Coconut water and Coconut milk Juice of carrot, Cucumber, Beetroot Cooked vegetables like squash, zucchini and pumpkin Spices like cumin, coriander, ginger asafetida, garlic, fennel and turmeric. Green salad with a dressing of lemon juice and a little salt Khichadi (recipe made by cooking rice and mung dal, 1:1 or 1:2 proportion)
The patient of Fibromyalgia and CFS should avoid the following
Eating hot, spicy and fried foods, sweets, foods like brinjal, cabbage, Cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, okra and potatoes. Too much tea, coffee, alcohol, white sugar, yogurt, chocolate, cocoa. Sleeping during the day and staying up late at night Mental tensions like worry, anxiety, fear, stress and grief.
Yoga for Stress Management and Improved Mental and Emotional Function
It is well documented that fibromyalgia is often worsened by heightened stress, anxiety and mental fatigue. There are hormonal changes and other biochemical responses to stress that can aggravate the nervous system, and the immune response. The sleep disturbance that is often created by fibromyalgia symptoms increases fatigue which in turn increases one's susceptibility to stress which in turn aggravates the fibromyalgia condition.
Meditation,Yoga, Pranayama and studying of spiritual philosophy are all recommended for supporting personal healing and relaxation of the mind. Efforts should be made to increase the Sattvic quality of mind.
Various stretching exercises are known to have a positive effect on fibromyalgia. Regular practicing of sets of different postures are helpful in creating a healthy flexibility throughout the body. Yogic breathing practices will also create a state of restful alertness in mind and body. Progressive deep relaxation, i.e., shavasana (Corpse posture) brings about a relaxed state of mind which prepares the individual for meditation.
Lifestyle and Daily Routine
One of the most important factors for balancing Vata and maintaining stability in the nervous system is to have a lifestyle that does not disturb natural bodily rhythms. When we eat, sleep and exercise in constantly fluctuating and disturbing patterns, the body loses its natural balancing cycles. Therefore regularity in our daily routine can be extremely effective in reducing Vata imbalances.
•Decoction of the roots of ten herbs (Dashamularishtam) should be given in the dose of 30 ml., twice daily.
•Daily use of the Ayurvedic compound 'Triphala choorna' is recommended to cleanse the colon.
•Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder with warm water helps to reduce pain and inflammation in Fibromyalgia. Dosage: twice a day
•Garlic is useful for detoxification and to enhance immune system function.
•Guggul is a very helpful herb for relief of pain.
•Licorice root supports the glandular system and acts in the body like cortisone, but without the harmful side-effects. Caution: If overused, licorice can elevate blood pressure. Do not use this herb on a daily basis for more than seven days in a row. Avoid it if you have high blood pressure
•Ginger Tea. Ginger is a good alternative to aspirin to relieve minor aches and pains. Steep 1 teaspoon of the grated root in 8 ounces of hot water for 10 minutes. Strain. Add honey for taste, if you like. Alternatively, take 1 to 2 Grams of powdered ginger a day with food.
Indian Board of Alternative Medicine
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