Tuesday, 1 January 2019

How Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy can HelpResolve the Growing Mental Health Crisis– Part 1 of 4

Mental illness is now more common than ever before. Statistics show that 20% of Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. The most common mental illnesses reported include anxiety, depression and substance use disorder.  These disorders often occur as a result of life stressors.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2017, the number of deaths from suicide in Australia was more than 3000, and 75% of these are men. In 2017,it was estimated that a construction worker commits suicide every second day. These are shocking statistics!

Prevention is always better than cure

With society ageing and healthcare systems struggling to maintain costs, it is essential that we shift towards preventative healthcare system. Prevention is about helping people stay healthy and happy. This will have a huge and positive impact on the bio psycho social aspect of community care.

According to Yoga and Ayurveda, lifestyle is the cornerstone of preventative health care. Both Ayurveda and Yoga focus on the interaction between the emotional and physical self. Ayurveda informs us of the framework in which we can modify our lifestyles to optimize our bodily functions. Ayurveda, in particular, teaches us how to live life through eating the correct foods, living the correct lifestyle in the appropriate environment, all of which is essential for us to maintain good mental health.

Personalised System of Medicine

Ayurvedic science states that if you struggle with controlling your fear, then you may have the excess of Vata (air) energy. Imbalance of fire energy, i.e. Pitta results in anger and irritability while excess Kapha (water) energy may lead to lethargy and depression. I have witnessed this in many of my patients with acute and chronic mental health issues.

From my pharma research background and Ayurvedic medicine practice, I recognise that the "one size fits all" approach does not work for our physical and mental health as treatment needs to be personalised to be effective and sustainable.

For example, there are numerous modern nutritional theories, which tend to recommend change with each new wave of research.This trend is confusing and ineffective for the consumers.According to Ayurvedic philosophy,there is no one single diet or food that is healthy for all individuals. Therefore, a specific eating plan which is not a fad and is related to your original constitution that provides guidelines for when you eat, what you eat, and how to eat will help prevent or manage diseases and maintain wellness.

Ayurveda and Yoga treatment

Ayurveda through its dietary advice and herbal therapies and Yoga therapy which includes specific asanas and meditation practice are valuable tools in improving our mental health. Future blogs will focus on how Yoga and Ayurveda therapies can have a profound influence on improving our emotional health. 

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