Ayurveda And OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a specific type of anxiety disorder, affects up to 3% of the adult population The condition is characterised by obsessions and/or compulsions (acts performed to alleviate distress or try and neutralise a troubling thought).

It is estimated that in Australia today, over 1 million adults suffer from depression and/or anxiety. That staggering figure has been attributed to a variety of factors many of which are linked to our modern day, highly stressful lifestyles.

Those who suffer depression or anxiety can attest to the impact it can have on everyday life and overall health and wellness. Whether mild or severe, mental health conditions can be very upsetting for the sufferer and notoriously difficult to treat.

While the compulsive side of OCD is generally well documented (for example religious and rigorous hand washing or ‘checking’ of things to ensure their safety), the lesser known side involves the obsessive aspect which may cause a sufferer to experience unwanted and upsetting thoughts or images (commonly known as ‘intrusive thoughts’). These thoughts can cause huge levels of distress in an individual as they struggle to work out what the thoughts mean and why they are thinking in such a way.

Western medicine has found that OCD usually develops from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In Ayurvedic tradition, conditions like OCD are linked to an imbalance within the bodies’ delicate biochemistry. According to Ayurveda, mental health concerns develop when one of the primary doshas is out of balance.

  • Vata imbalance can contribute to anxiety, fear and insomnia
  • Pitta imbalance can cause anger, compulsions and irritability
  • Kapha imbalance can lead to lethargy and depression

In most cases of OCD, the Vata dosha is especially aggravated and out of balance.

A variety of different factors can cause this imbalance. These include:

  • Diet and digestion
  • The accumulation of toxins
  • Stress
  • Lack of exercise

Ayurvedic treatment for OCD and related anxiety conditions seeks to re-balance your biochemistry through the removal of toxins and restoration of healthy physiological functioning. This multifaceted approach often involves the following, in consultation with our Ayurvedic doctors or consultants.

  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Counselling
  • Prescription of kitchen and medicinal herbal medicines
  • Instruction in gentle yoga postures and breathing exercises
  • Prescription of Ayurvedic rejuvenating massage and detoxing treatments including:

Abhyanga – Abhyanga or ‘herbal oil massage treatment’, which involves herbal oils being massaged into the body to penetrate deeply through the skin into the tissue and muscles. It encourages the elimination of stagnant waste and allows nutrients to reach starved cells. The result is an increased state of awareness, directing the body’s internal healing system.

Shirodhara or the ‘rebalancing treatment’, which involves a continuous flow of herbal oil being poured gently across the forehead to calm the mind and spirit.

Udvartana involves a healing warm oil massage to encourage the elimination of toxins deep within the body and tissues followed by an exfoliation treatment with an Ayurvedic herbal paste to enliven and revitalise the skin.

Panchakarma or Ayurvedic detox, a complete cleansing process used to rid the body of toxic build up and restore balance to the entire system. It is often referred to as the ultimate healing experience for both body and mind due to its rebalancing, detoxifying effects.