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Calm the chaos  

Calm the chaos

Express News Service

In the current fast-paced lifestyle, the pursuit of livelihood often comes at the expense of wellbeing. A concerning indicator of this sacrifice is the rising occurrence of panic attacks, particularly among the younger generation. These attacks manifest as a phase of functional disability, marked by fear, stress, chest heaviness, palpitations and more. Although they may seem like isolated events, panic attacks often have an underlying, prolonged narrative.

Symptoms may include weakness, dizziness, vomiting tendencies, loss of appetite and even a sensation akin to death. It is crucial to differentiate panic attacks from cardiac events, as they can mimic each other, requiring thorough examinations and investigations such as echocardiograms and electrocardiograms.

In Ayurveda, the mind (manas) and body (deha) are interconnected aspects of human existence. Diseases are viewed as manifesting in either deha or manas. Panic attacks, rooted in the mind, affect the body, emphasising the importance of their harmonious interaction for overall health. The traditional system of Indian medicine recognises that stressors, whether physical, mental or emotional, often precede panic attacks. Work pressure, strained relationships, traumatic incidents or emergencies can be major contributors. Recognising aversion coupled with fear towards routine activities, along with the aforementioned symptoms, indicate a panic attack.

Manas, responsible for thinking, connects external sensory perceptions to internal consciousness. Ayurveda emphasises the role of praanavaayu (vital force) in linking the body, mind and consciousness. Controlling manas involves therapeutic manipulation through sensory perceptions and promoting smoother function. Pranayama and various breathing techniques help in managing the mind. Being swastha (healthy) involves maintaining prasannatvam (tranquility) in manas through favourable circumstances, food and daily routines.

How to manage?

Regular vyayama (exercise) keeps pranavayu intact. Engaging in physical activities, especially in nature, is inherently healing. Practices like walking, jogging, dancing and music expression contribute to the healing process. 

A well-balanced diet, including prana-rich foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, milk and nuts, along with adequate water intake, supports the body’s essential components for joy and peace. Consult health experts for internal medicines to reconnect deha and manas.

Role of panchakarma

Severe or chronic cases may benefit from panchakarma therapies such as vamana, virechana, vasthy and nasyam. Procedures like shirodhara, takradhara, talapothichil, shiro abhyangam and nabhipooranam play significant roles in healing, tailored to individual needs after thorough clinical analysis.

Every psychological breakdown, including panic attacks, presents an opportunity for personal evolution. By isolating specific triggers and circumstances, one can navigate through these challenges. Stress, seen through an Ayurvedic lens, becomes a precursor for positive transformations, by offering solutions to guide you through these challenging times.

The author is a Professor at the Department of Panchakarma, Ashtamgam Ayurveda Medical College, Kerala

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