Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Ayurvedic Protocols Used For Cerebral Palsy


For many sitting here reading this blog, the ability to readjust to a comfortable position, sit still, move the eyes side to side, and scroll with the fingers, often goes unnoticed. The motor function from the brain through the nerves into the muscle tissue is so harmonious that we do not notice this order and ease in daily living. For many others, however, this is not the case. 

    Cerebral Palsy (CP) is an impaired motor function disorder commonly diagnosed in many children. “Cerebral” refers to the brain and “palsy” refers to weakness or issues using the muscles. The symptoms of CP vary depending on the severity in each individual. For example, one person may walk awkwardly and another may not be able to walk at all. There are four main types: Spastic, Dyskinetic, Ataxic, and mixed. 

    Spastic CP is the most common, effecting 80% of individuals with CP. Spastic CP is characterized by increased muscle tone (stiffness) resulting in awkward movements. Individuals with dyskinetic CP are unable to control the movement of their limbs making it difficult to sit and walk. Individuals with Ataxic CP have impaired balance and coordination. And lastly, individuals with mixed CP have symptoms of more than one type of CP. The most common mixed-CP disorder is spastic-dyskinetic. 

    Many of us without a disability often take easy and controlled movement for granted. There are, however, a number of methods to decrease the severity of symptoms and increase the quality of life for an individual with CP, including Ayurvedic treatments. Looking at CP from an Ayurvedic perspective, the predominant energy, or dosha, of the disorder is vata which constitutes vitality and governs all movement processes. Therefore, vata balancing treatments will help to reduce the symptoms of CP. These treatments which help balance the doshas and reduce the symptoms of CP include: Udhvartana or Abhyanga Massages and Pinda Swedana; Therapeutic Bolas Applications or Nadi Swedana described below.

    Udhvartana is a dry powder massage which improves muscle tone and circulation. For individuals with CP, Udhvartana reduces spasticity, brings lightness to the body, and relieves pain. Abhyanga (oil massage) strengthens the muscle and improves muscle tone as well, aiding in the reduction of spasticity. Pinda Swedana, on the other hand, uses a cloth bolas filled with cooked plants, medicinal herbs, milk, and rice, which is then massaged over the entire body. This therapeutic treatment stimulates the nerve endings and nourishes the muscles. Following the heat massage, the individual undergoes Swedana, or herbal steam, which excretes the toxins out of the skin through sweating. Therefore, Pinda Swedana gives the individual with CP a bit more control over muscle movement and a renewed sense of freshness and vitality in the body. 

    It is unfortunate that there is no cure for Cerebral Palsy, however, there are numerous methods which help reduce the symptoms and increase the quality of life for individuals with CP. The ancient science of Ayurveda is designed to bring total harmony to the entire body and mind using natural remedies. While it remedies specific limitations caused by Cerebral Palsy, Ayurvedic treatments bring an overall sense of peace and harmony into the individual’s life.  

ChayaVeda Ayurvedic Massage and Bodywork Program offers training in individual modalities or learn them all and become a Certified Ayurvedic Massage & Bodywork Specialist.

Our next Pinda Swedana module is January 22, 2022
Watch a video about our Pinda Swedana Module
Our next Abhyanga module is February 5 & 6, 2022
Our next Udhvartana & Nadi Swedana module is February 19 & 20, 2022
Early bird registration is typically until 1 month before the program start date.
Watch a video about our Ayurvedic Massage & Bodywork Program

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