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highly atypical
Myopic Macular Degeneration

subsequent to treatment by maharishi ayurveda

Frequently Asked Questions
For people considering using Ayurveda to treat macular degeneration (or indeed any other health condition), and in particular using its residential treatment regime known as panchakarma therapy), the following information will provide some practical guidance.

      1.  What is Ayurveda?

      2.  What is Maharishi Ayurveda Hospital?
       3.  What can I expect during my stay?
       4.  Can my vision benefit from the herbs without having residential treatment?
       5.  What if I have other health problems and take medication for them?
       6.  What happens after the residential treatment is over?
       7.  What is the best time of year to go?
       8.  How can I be sure about the safety of the herbs?

1.  What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the ancient system of healthcare native to the Indian subcontinent. In its pure and authentic form, it  appears to be an astonishingly subtle, sophisticated, refined and comprehensive approach to both wellness and illness.

The following Wikipedia entry gives some background information, though I found it to be rather convoluted   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayurveda

Probably the easiest way to find out more is to enter the term Ayurveda into a search engine.

2.  What is Maharishi Ayurveda Hospital?
Maharishi Ayurvedic Hospital specialises in treating people, often with chronic conditions which do not respond well to allopathic medicine, using a pure and authentic form of Ayurveda.

The highly expert treatment at the hospital and the excellence of the doctors (known as vaidyas) is most likely distinct from some of the recent manifestations of Ayurveda in the West, and indeed in India itself - where Ayurvedic ‘spas’ have sprung up mainly to cater for stressed-out westerners.

The hospital takes its name from, and is associated with, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation movement (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi).

The senior Ayurvedic doctor at the hospital, Dr. Raju, is an extraordinarily skilled and insightful Ayurvedic healer of international renown, and indeed -  I travelled to India from the UK specifically to have treatment under his guidance.

3.  What can I expect during my stay?
You will receive a treatment program known as
panchakarma therapy, consisting of a range of complex and highly refined physiological procedures  and usually executed using herbalised oils and/or ghee (clarified butter).  The procedures will often be administered by two Ayurvedic technicians working together, and always of the same gender as you.  This is supplemented by individually prescribed daily herbs.

Although most of your treatments will not be topical to your eyes, it is highly likely that you will have at least one type of procedure that is - Netratarpana.
panchakarma therapy procedures you may receive include Shirodhara, Takradara, Patra Pottali, Basti, Pitzachilli, Udvartana and Nasya.  Again, entering these terms in to a search engine can prove useful.

For most people, the ideal recommended stay is 23 days, though other periods may be appropriate.  This is something to be sure to discuss with the hospital.

While there, you will follow a vegetarian diet and have your own air-conditioned private room (unless you request to share a room with a companion or partner).   If you find the room too dimly lit, particularly in the evenings, do request an additional light, as I did.  They immediately installed a ‘wall strip light’ which was most effective.

I found that after my first ‘eye specific’ treatment (on about day 4), it was a great strain to visually focus with attention to detail.  Therefore, reading (even out of my better eye) became impossible.  You should therefore, take LOTS of audio material to pass the time while you are resting in your room.  For the same reason, if it is at all possible, I would
highly recommend that you go with a companion or a partner.

4.  Could my vision benefit from the herbs without the residential treatment?
This is best discussed with the hospital, addressing your query to Dr. Raju.

5.  What if I have other health problems and take medication for them?

This issue addresses perhaps one of the key differences between Ayurvedic and allopathic approaches to illness (and indeed wellness).  In general terms, Ayurveda views the human body/mind system as one whole, consisting of discrete yet essentially
related and subtly intimate parts.  To maximise the healing of one part, the whole itself and all the out of balance (i.e. non-healthy) parts are simultaneously addressed.   If you have additional health issues therefore, they are highly likely to be engaged as part of your overall treatment.

It must surely be prudent to consider that Ayurvedic herbs will have the same capacity to engage bio-chemically with prescribed medication as any other ingested compound (prescribed or non-presccribed).  Clearly then, it would seem sensible to discuss the matter with your physician.

6.  What happens after the residential treatment is over?
Post-treatment (at home), you will follow a daily herbal regime.   I found it took a further 3 - 4 weeks before I was comfortably able to read, drive and look at a TV or computer, so do bear this in mind.

It took 2- 3 months before I started to notice vision improvement (very subtle at first), but this was fully consistent with the expectation I was given - as if the treatment itself was akin to the planting of seeds, and the 2- 3 months post-treatment period was akin to the period necessary for germination.

7.  What is the best time of year to go?
Particularly for westerners, the best time to go is between October - April, not only because of the more tolerable temperatures, but also because within the Ayurvedic system, eyes are likely to respond better to treatment in cooler conditions.  In my case however, out of desperation, my first visit was in August - and it was subsequent to this visit that most improvement happened.

If you are thinking of combining treatment with a holiday (vacation) in India, the Ayurvedic doctors strongly advise to take the holiday portion before commencing treatment.

8.  How can I be sure about the safety of the herbs?
There is some legitimate concern as to the safety of some Ayurvedic herbs, particularly those which are imported from India and sold direct to the public without regulatory health & safety testing.  The concern mainly relates to the levels of ‘heavy metals’ in some preparations.

However, examination of the underlying issues reveals that the matter is not as straight forward as one might imagine.

All I can responsibly say is that none of the herbal preparations that I have taken have had any negative health consequences that I am aware of.

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