Ayurveda for cancer care

Ayurveda is the ancient medical science which helps individuals to heal with diet, herbs, yoga, massage and other external therapies. In cancer care, all the above are based on the level of Doshas, place of tumour, Prakriti (doshic type/body type) of the person, and body strength after surgery/radiation therapy/chemotherapy. In this article we are discussing the ayurvedic perspective of cancer in brief and what to expect in terms of ayurvedic medicine as a part of cancer care.

Ayurvedic classics have explained both benign and malignant growths as either Arbuda or Granthi. In case of any type of malignancy we can see imbalance in all the three doshas. Also many other conditions with three dosha imbalance can be taken into consideration depending on the symptoms.     

The therapeutic approach of ayurveda has been divided into four categories as health maintenance, disease cure, enhancing immunity and restoration of normal body function and spiritual approach.

Let’s have a look at how above is implemented in cancer care. When you approach an ayurvedic practitioner, there will be a detailed assessment of your condition and Dosha and tissue (Dhatu) levels at that time. Then treatment might include one or more of following.

  • Diet - change in some of the food habits may be advised to balance the Doshas and have proper nutrition also, sometimes to enhance the disease-fighting capacity of the body.
  • Rasayana - either spices or herbs are prepared in a specific way and specific dose for the particular type of tumour. This is given by taking consideration of treatments you have already undergone or currently undergoing.
  • Herbs - many herbs have already been proven by different studies for their anti-cancerous activity. One or more herbs might be prescribed depending on your condition at that particular time.
  • External therapies - external therapies like massage (Abhyanga), marma massage, herbal ball treatments (Pinda sweda), etc. might be administered to reduce the stress, help with easy recovery or to reduce the adverse effects of treatments depending on the condition.
  • Yoga and Pranayama - simple yogic postures, breathing exercises or Pranayamas and meditation might be helpful in the process of increasing one’s well-being levels. These are usually tailored to particular client’s needs based on their condition at the time of assessment.

Above methods are usually prescribed depending on the client’s body strength and gradually increased in the number depending on the response seen during follow-up assessments.

Therapy Directory Directory's view: Cancer Research states that "There is no scientific evidence to prove that Ayurvedic medicine can treat or cure cancer or any other disease." Please consult your G.P. or medical practitioner before starting a course of complementary therapy.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Therapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Upminster RM14 & London W1G
Written by Dr Prathima Nagesh, BAMS, MD(Ayu), GCSRT(HMS)
Upminster RM14 & London W1G

Prathima Nagesh is a qualified ayurvedic specialist with BAMS and MD in Panchakarma from India. She is practicing in UK for more than 10 years. She's been a lecturer for 11 years at College of Ayurved and Middlesex University London. She's also a visiting expert at School van Ayurveda in Belgium. She has given talks on ayurveda in many conferences.

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