Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to supporting people with depression. This approach aims to restore the balance of the doshas, especially Vata and Kapha, promote mental and emotional health and improve overall quality of life. Let’s talk about some Ayurvedic approaches that can help with depression.

Photo of a man with his hands over his face, in an apparent moment of mental crisis. Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to supporting people with depression.
Picture by Francisco Moreno at Unsplash

Nutrition and diet (Ahara)

As Vata and Kapha are the doshas related to depression, it is important to adopt a diet that balances these doshas. Therefore, favor warm, nutritious and easily digestible foods. This includes warm soups, stews, cooked vegetables, wholemeal products and healthy fats such as ghee and sesame oil.
In addition, it is important to avoid foods that are difficult to digest, such as refined sugars, fried foods, processed meats and dairy products. Moreover, always prioritize nutrient-rich foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds which are rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants.

Herbs (Dravyaguna)

Oil massages (Abhyanga)

Regular full body massages with warm, soothing oils such as sesame oil or Brahmi oil can help to calm Vata and Kapha, relax the nervous system and promote general well-being.

Cleansing procedures (Panchakarma)

Ayurvedic therapeutic purgation, Virechana, helps to eliminate toxins from the body and restore the balance of the doshas. In addition, Nasya, the application of nasal oil, helps to clear the nasal passages and can calm the nervous system. Besides, Basti, Ayurvedic therapy through medicinal enemas, is particularly effective for calming Vata and supporting intestinal health, which can indirectly affect the nervous system, being an way from Ayurveda of relieving the symptoms of depression.

Yoga and meditation

Gentle yoga exercises help to calm Vata and Kapha, stabilize the nervous system and promote mental clarity. Special asanas such as Balasana (child’s pose), Shavasana (death pose) and Sukhasana (simple seated pose) can be useful. In addition, practicing Pranayamas, yoga’s powerful breathing exercises, promotes relaxation and helps calm the mind, Nadi Shodhan (alternate breathing) and Bhramari (summat breathing) are particularly recommended. Finally, regular meditation helps to calm the mind, improve concentration and reduce stress.

Lifestyle changes (vihara)

Maintaining a regular daily routine is a great strategy for all people, especially those with depression. A structured daily routine helps to balance vata and kapha and regulate habits, which can be even more difficult to maintain when suffering from depression.
Stress management is crucial. So use relaxation techniques, such as meditation, to reduce stress and emotional tension. In addition, having a proper sleep routine is extremely important for mental and physical health. Finally, regular physical exercise helps promote general well-being and alleviate the symptoms of depression.

Environmental adaptations

Creating a calm, orderly and pleasant support environment can help calm the mind and promote emotional well-being. In addition, practicing aromatherapy, using calming essential oils such as lavender, chamomile and sandalwood to calm the mind and promote relaxation can help reduce the symptoms of depression and promote greater well-being.

Regular monitoring

It is crucial for people with depression to have their emotional and mental state monitored regularly by health and psychology professionals.

Specific Ayurvedic formulations

It is important that patients with depression work closely together with their doctor and their Ayurveda expert to ensure that Ayurvedic approaches are used safely and in combination with their conventional treatment. Customisation of the treatment plan is crucial for the best possible results.

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