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Stress Management in Ayurveda

Stress is basic elements of various human diseases and mental illness. It is a term that refers to the sum of the physical, mental, and emotional strains or tensions on a person. Stress is the wear and tear our mind and body experiences as we attempt to cope with our continually changing environment. It is also called as anxiety, tension etc. Stress Management in Ayurveda has been explained using majorly shodhana chikitsa. Psychosocial stressor is defined as “any life event or life change that may be associated temporally (and perhaps causally) with the onset, occurrence, or exacerbation of a mental disorder (Jo-shua Cowaetal).

The study of mind is called as Psychology. The profounder of Ayurveda were probably the first who gave detailed description of mind and body relationship. They clearly stated that, the concept of mind and body are two separate entities. The word Manas is came out from the Dhatus and it forms the meaning of this is through which we are collecting the knowledge and objects that is called as Manas.


A stressor is as a stimulus or event that provokes a stress response in an organism. Stressors can be categorize as acute or chronic, and as external or internal to the organism.

Causes of Stress

One significant source of stress in modern life is the cumulative effect of various toxic waste products in the environment. Our personality, behavior, and lifestyle all have important influences on our stress level. Much stress occurs through emotions such as aggression, impatience, anger, anxiety, and fear, all of which kindle the body’s stress responses. Eating an unhealthy diet, smoking, drinking, and taking drugs can also contribute further to physical strain. Stress is through work, at home, within relationships, as a result of internal emotional conflict, through environment, diet, ill-health, and financial insecurity as well as through major life events such as marriage death, divorce etc. Man facing number problems in the modern society, these problems thrown the man in to mental stress. Mental stress causes the number of psychosomatic disorder like hypertension, migraine and severe headache etc.

Effects of Stress on Human Body

The initial stage of arousal remains the same whether we are faced with a major or minor. But under extreme, prolonged, or persistent pressure the body continues to manufacture extra quantities of stress chemicals, triggering further processes to maintain energy. If arousal continues, the adrenal glands manufacture anti-inflammatory chemicals that simultaneously speed tissue repair while depressing the body’s immune defense system and if all these changes continue, the body goes on trying to adapt under increasing strain and pressure. Eventually it breaks down. Exhaustion, variety of illnesses and even death may be the out-come of uninterrupted, excessive stress.

Symptoms of Stress

Physical Symptoms

  1. Seep pattern change
  2. Fatigue
  3. Headaches
  4. Pain
  5. Indigestion

Mental Symptoms

  1. Lack of Concentration
  2. Memory Loss
  3. Difficulty In Making Decision
  4. Confusion

Behavioral Symptoms

  1. Appetite Changes
  2. Increased Smoking And Alcohol
  3. Nail Biting

Emotional Symptoms

  1. Depression
  2. Fits Of Range
  3. Impatience

Signs of mental illness according to Ayurveda

Good memory, taking the right food at the right time, awareness of one’s responsibilities, awareness of the self and beyond self, maintaining cleanliness and hygiene, doing things with enthusiasm, cleverness and discrimination, being brave, perseverance, maintaining cheerfulness irrespective of the situation, fearlessness in facing situations, sharp intellectual functioning, self-sufficiency, following a good value system and ability to proceed steadfastly against all odds.

Treatment Modalities used for Stress Management

Panchakarma Therapy as well as herbal healthcare to maintain the ‘Tridoshas‘ in balance throughout our mind and body. The Ayurvedic management of disease has used these therapies for centuries.

Panchakarma is the process which gets to the root cause of the problem and corrects the essential balance of ‘Tridosha‘ in body. The therapies specific for Stress conditions are Shiroabhyanga, Shirodhara, Shirobasti, and Abhyanga.

The panchakarma measures used are:

  1. Vamana: induced therapeutic vomiting.
  2. Virechana: purgation through therapeutic laxative, providing symptomatic relief of mental illness.
  3. Basti (enema therapy): Niruha Basti cleanses toxins from the dhatus and removes naturally accumulated body wastes from the colon. For effectiveness, the body retains Anuvasana Basti for a longer period.
  4. Nasya: Nasal medication acts as a purificatory aid to the head where major sensory faculties are located. The clarity of these faculties (indriya prasada) leads to clarity of mind.
  5. Shirodhara: Medicated water, herbal oils and medicated milk are poured on the forehead. It is through a special method for 30 to 45 minutes. It reduces anxiety, depression and mental stress and rejuvenates the central nervous system.
  6. Shiro Basti: keeping herbal oil in a cap fitted on head.
  7. Panchakarma therapy follows shamana or purification treatment with oral medicines including herbal powders.

Sadvritta for Stress Management

Stress response depends on personality of person and good personality can enhance by good conduct this known as ethecical region or “Sadvritta”. It comprises two words “Sad” means good or “Vritta” means behavior or regimen or habits includes in our daily regime. In various classical texts of Ayurveda different types of practices mentioned related to social behavior or personal behavior either mentally or physically related.

Yoga for Stress Management

Progressive deep relaxation, i.e. Shavasana (Corpse posture) brings about a relaxed state of mind and practicing it daily is very useful in reducing stress. Daily practice of ‘Yoganidra‘ is also useful for making your mind calm and tension free.

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