Literal meaning of Ayurvedic term Paksha Aghat or Pakshaghat is Paralysis i.e. trauma of one half or the body. In Ayurvedic texts it is clearly described that Vata or neurological pathologies influence the Dhamni / Shira vessels of head region leads to destruction of the function of the corresponding Paksha or half side of the body. Pure Vataj Paralysis is difficult to cure as Kshya due to vitiated Vata causes extensive degeneration of nerve tissue and nervous regenerations is quite difficult. Paralysis due to vitiated Pitta is easily curable as inflammation caused by Pitta is better treatable. Paralysis caused by Rakta being haemorrhagic is most difficult to cure.
In Paralysis loss of voluntary muscle movement is accompanied by numbness, or loss of sensation, in the affected part. Due to this, the person does not feel any pain or climatic changes like heat, cold, etc. in the paralyzed part of the body. After some time, due to paralysis, the circulation and other metabolic activities of the affected part may come to a stop. This could cause disuse atrophy, which could change the shape of the affected part. Prolonged disuse atrophy could lead to 'death' of the part, and the person may lose the use of it permanently, even after the condition of paralysis is treated.
Types of Paralysis: Depending on where the paralysis has occurred, it is classified as Monoplegia, in which only one limb hand or leg is affected, Diplegia, in which both the limbs are affected, Paraplegia, in which both the trunk and the legs are affected, Hemiplegia, in which only one side of the body is affected, Quadriplegia, in which the trunk and all the four limbs are affected
Causes of Paralysis: Paralysis is always caused due to the impairment of the central nervous system, i.e. the brain and the spinal cord, or due to the impairment of the peripheral nervous system, i.e. the system of nerves radiating outwards from the brain and the spinal cord.
Features of Paralysis: There is loss of tactile inputs and outputs in the affected part of the body. That means, the person cannot feel it when something touches him/her or even when someone else touches him/her. The person also cannot feel pain in the affected part. In fact, it has been said that the most painful aspect of paralysis is the painlessness. Numbness to weather is common. The person cannot feel heat or cold. There could be tingling sensations in the unaffected parts of the body. There is generally an impairment of vision. The person becomes incontinent. If paralysis lasts for a long time, then the biggest danger is that of the 'death' of the affected part. Due to the constant depletion of blood from the affected part, the part may become seriously damaged. As a result the muscles and tissues in that part will also get wasted, leading to disuse atrophy, as mentioned earlier. In quadriplegia, the most serious form of paralysis, the person's body becomes like the mere 'skin and bones' within a few months of the affliction. Speech impairment is also a very common by-product of paralysis. Along with speech impairment, there could be loss of auditory senses and visual senses as well. If the person is paralyzed on one side of the body, then there is a great chance that the eye on that side would lose its power of sight.
Diet for People with Paralysis: Warm & freshly cooked foods. Sweet, sour and salty are the tastes that are good for creating a balance of the vata. Avoid bitter, pungent and astringent foods in taste. Nuts are very good for balancing the vata. Rice and wheat both are okay, but barley must be avoided. The juicier fruits such as bananas, mangoes, oranges, etc are preferred. Dry fruits such as apples, figs, pears and pomegranates must be avoided. Asparagus, beet, carrot are the vegetables should be important part of the daily diet. Among the meats, white meats such as poultry and fish are much better as compared to red meats such as beef, pork and mutton.
Ayurvedic Management: Ayurveda has prescribed a few herbs that are beneficial for the treatment of paralysis.
Ashwagandha is prescribed for the treatment of paralysis due to its vata pacifying properties. Bala is used as an effective remedy in all kinds of paralysis because of it muscle and nerve strengthening properties it is a best herb for curing vata induced degenerative neurological changes.
Snehana: Massage of affected regions with medicated oils like Mahanarayn Tail, Mahamash Tail & Vishgarbh Tail is done.
Pinda Swedana: A special type of fomenting with the Red rice bolus on the affected region with medicated herbs and mixtures is very effective.
Basti: Niruh Vasti with Dashmool Kwath and Anuvasan Vasti with Ksheer Bala Tail is very efficacious in Paralysis.
Shirodhara: Dhanvantar Tail or Bala Tail is most recommended for Shirodhara in Paralysis.
Case Report on a Patient of Paralysis
Name : Mrs. Sunita Rani
Spouse : Mr. Manohar Singh Rana
Age : 31
Sex : Female
Address : 61, Arya Nagar, Gulab Devi Road,
Occupation : Housewife
Religion : Hindu
Registration No : 676/799
Date : 08.09.2008
Doctor In charge : Dr. Sanjeev Sood
The patient visited the OPD of Panchakarma Department of Dayanand Ayurvedic College & Hospital on 8th September, 2008 (OPD no. 676/799) with the history of paralysis attack on 4th February, 2008 early morning. She experienced sudden loss of movement on right side of her body. She noticed that her face also got deviated towards the left side. She was unable to speak properly. On admitting to a nearby hospital she was diagnosed of Stroke. She was admitted in hospital for three weeks; she had a fifty percent improvement in the movements of her limbs and face in earlier 12 days. For half of left neurological deficit she tried many types of treatments and physiotherapy but it was not responding to any treatment and was standstill like the same.
On 8th September, 2008 she was admitted in the Dayanand Ayurvedic College & Hospital with the residual neurological deficit. She was having 50 percent diminished movements and strength of right upper and lower limb, she was limping a lot on walking. Her face was still having the remarkable effect of stroke and she was dribbling the liquids from the side of her mouth, right eyelid was not properly closing.
Investigations: Patient had got her CT scan done just after the stroke, according to CT Scan Head there was a hypo dense lesion in left basal ganglia.
Inference: A non haemorrhagic infarct in left basal ganglia.
Management: Therapeutic dose of Bala, Ashwagandha & Rasna powder was given thrice in a day. Abhyang, Nadi Swed, Matra-vasti of Ksheer Bala tail was given for 15 days. Shirodhara with Bala tail was also done for equal number of days.
Outcome: After fifteen days of treatment patient was having tremendous improvement, she was walking without limping, there was no weakness in upper & lower limbs, slurring of speech was totally cleared, dribbling of liquid from the mouth absent. Eyelids were closing properly, therapies of Panchakarma were continued for one more week and she was all hale and hearty.
Note: No other treatment was given along with above mentioned management.
Professor & Head of Panchakarma Department, Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar