War is a man made calamity. It traumatizes those who faced the wars directly and their families. Wars leave many injuries not only to the flesh but also to the mind. Even after the body is healed , the mental injuries remain. They are more than just images or memories. They produce a feeling of ongoing suffering leading to a series of psychological issues which eventually become cause of many psychosomatic diseases. It is also popularly known as post traumatic stress disorder.
War includes near death experiences,separation from loved ones, extreme situations of hunger, sleep deprivation and sometimes torture. These are not normal conditions, and hence alters the way a person feels, thinks, behaves and reacts. One would be surprised to know that women are affected much more than men. Most of the nurses and other lady staff who get exposed to wounded patients and dead veterans experienced high levels of war-zone stress.
How to Identify War Syndrome?
Depression, panic attacks blasting headaches, generalized anxiety, extreme anger, disturbing thoughts and feelings, nightmares or flashbacks of the events happened in war, person trying to avoid any memories of war. We have to understand that apart from war, riot struck, kidnapped,terrorist attacked or even natural disaster faced people may also behave in the same way. Some people might have disturbed sleep patterns. Medicines do not bring substantial results but counseling does. There is marked difficulty in paying attention to present. Indulgence in drugs and alcohol is also observed. In extreme cases, suicidal attempts are also seen.
Why this happens?
War or war like situation causes permanent change in brain wave patterns. It is unpredictable when or under which circumstances the brain chemicals start expressing themselves in a particular way
Management in Ayurveda
The altered mental expressions can be effectively managed by taking therapies based on Ayurvedic philosophy. Ayurveda attacks war syndrome in three folded ways. Firstly it detoxifies you, leaving you elevated and with a feel of calmness. Further it balances your doshas or biological energies, which keep all the diseases away. Third, it clears all your channels inside body, which handles depressive issues for long term.
The ayurvedic line of treatment is the use of Panchakarma,herbs and medicines, nasya (inhalation therapy), mantra, and achaar vichaar (life style modification).
Specific treatments like Vamana, Virechana, Basti , Nasya And Externally – shirodhara, Shiro Basthi, Shiro pichu/lepam, Abhyanga and sweda are the main treatments for depression.
NASYA (NASAL INSUFFLATIONS)
Administration of medicines through nostrils is called Nasya.
The patient is made to sit or lie in a comfortable posture. He is massaged on the head, forehead and face followed by mild Steam. Slightly
warm oil, 1-2 drops maximum, is put in each nostril. Gentle massage is done on shoulders and back. Complete rest is advised to the patient for at least 20 minutes. Dhoomapana (intake of medicated smoke by mouth) can be done after Nasya.
In Shirovasti medicated oil is kept over the head with the help of a fixed cap.
The medicated oil heated to match the body temperature and is slowly poured inside the cap over the head upto to a height of 5 cm . Temperature of the oil (warmness) is maintained by replacing with warm oil at regular intervals. This process is generally continued for 45 minutes.
At the end of the procedure, the oil is taken out and recollected. The cap is removed and head wash is done. After wiping the head dry gentle massage is performed on shoulder, neck, forehead and back.
In Shirodhara medicated oil/ liquid is continuously poured over the forehead and then allowed to flow over the scalp from above 10-12 inches for about 30-45 minutes. The patient is massaged on the head with any suitable oil.
The oil/ liquid poured is recollected and reheated just above the body temperature and again poured in the vessel. It is followed by warm water medicated bath.
Shirolepana is a procedure of application of paste of medicines on head for a
specific period of time. Patient has to sit comfortably in a chair and paste of medicinal herbs is applied aroundthe head with a thickness of 3 inches. At the center,a dip (trench) is made and taila is poured into it. The head is also covered with lotus leaves. After one hour, head is washed and Bramhi Choorna is applied.
The extracts of the some herbs are very potent and hence should be used with caution. These are-sarpagandha, khus, jatamansi, bramhi, kevada, vacha, tagar, amla, and rose. The nervine tonics like ashvagandha and bala are my favourites, I have also used muti herbal preparations like saraswat choorna, tagaradi choorna and ashvagandhadi choorna. along with these medicines the rasayana preparation brahmi rasayana, ghrita (ghee based medicines) like maha paishachik ghrita, panchagavya ghrita, puran ghrita, and brahmi ghrita are given to the patient. Fermented preparations like saraswatarishta, balarishta are also used.
Apart from Ayurveda We can use the following:-
Listening to Indian classical music has been proved to improve mental balance, and reduce depressive symptoms compared to those who only received usual care, Though it may take some time to develop a liking for this kind of music, but eventually it casts a healing effect and the person develops his communication and interactive skills.
Sleep has a strong effect on mood. To regulate sleep one can do bhramari pranayama, foot massage with sesame oil and head massage with hena oil. This improved the quality of sleep. One may also play a mild night raga while sleeping to bring out the restorative results.
Meditation, Spirituality and Ashtanga yoga
Meditation is a state achieved by constant negation of thoughts. Whenever a thought pops in, just don’t give in. Just don’t go along to think with it. Its harder than pulling weights in a gym. Here the opponent is you yourself. You have to tell yourself to just shut up and relax. It is worth to see how Ashtanga yoga helps , as observed in improved brain mapping results.