Lyme Support with Ayurveda
How I Manage Chronic Lyme with Ayurveda
Ayurveda and Lyme Disease
Yesterday we found two ticks. As the ground warms the ticks awaken with life around us and so it begins.
When I first moved north from St Croix within 6 months I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. I used to look at photos like these and wonder “was this the day?” The grass felt so soft and inviting and I didn’t hesitate to play barefoot, practice, even nap on the lawn. I still do the same things but now with greater respect and awareness. Afternoon oil massages have become inspection time as well as asana practice when I peer into the nooks and crannies of my body.
Lyme stuck with me for 4 years. This season feels exciting as it marks the 3 year mark for me not having a relapse! Ayurveda has changed my life in many ways but it wasn’t until I was rocked with this pesky illness that I could truly put the practices to the test. In the past, Spring and Fall marked not only the sightings of ticks, but oddly my body would remember their presence and lyme symptoms would creep in with them. Fatigue, aches, insomnia, dizziness, and heart palpitations came on like clockwork. If you have ever experienced chronic lyme, it feels sneaky and confusing. Symptoms jump around, catch you by surprise and move through your system in seen and unseen ways. For someone who had always felt healthy, this was scary and frustrating.
I tried so many herbs, protocols I found in books and online, cleansing techniques, and supplements– nothing worked. What was worse was I would feel perfectly fine, the tick season would begin and boom my nervous system would crash. Finally in the Spring of 2019 I did Pancha Karma with an emphasis on krimi, or parasites.
What do the Ayurvedic texts say about parasites?
Though Lyme disease may not have been as rampant in India 10,000 years ago as it is today in Maine, we can safely assume parasitic infections, bug viruses and infestations were invading host species since the beginning of time. Let’s see what it says in the texts.
tatra sarvakrimīṇāmapakarṣaṇamevāditaḥ kāryaṃ, tataḥ prakṛtivighātaḥ, anantaraṃ nidānoktānāṃ bhāvānāmanupasevanamiti||14||
Charak Samhita Chapt 7 Vimanasthana
This is the main line for the treatment of krimi. Charak says the treatment for all kinds of parasites has the same general outline:
- Extraction or removal- Apakarshan
- Opposite therapy- Prakrutivighata
- Avoiding or reducing the cause- Nidan Parivarjana
If you are a student of Ayurveda this may raise an eyebrow as it is the ONLY protocol where Charak offered a different order in treatment with extraction being the first step. In terms of lyme you may know that extracting spirochetes can be virtually impossible, as it isn’t quite like plucking lice from the scalp or passing worms through the stool. However, due to the nature of the presentation of the advanced lyme symptoms I stuck to the protocol.
I followed the “krimi” Pancha Karma protocol meticulously. It includes internal cleansing practices, herbal support and removal of excess dosha with rejuvenation therapies to follow. Throughout that Spring season I did longer self-care practices giving myself time and space for healing. My lyme symptoms have NOT returned! There is part of me that is aware that the virus most likely is still lingering somewhere in my system. Similar to the hibernation of the tick in the winter, it feels like a sleeping dragon. After travel or long work periods the vibration can be felt peaking through in my nervous system, however with dedication to self-care it has not woken to disturb the balance I have worked so hard to maintain.
Here are a few non-negotiables for me during tick season:
- sleep (getting 8 hours each night)
- asana practice and/or swimming
- weight lifting (building strength was imperative in my healing)
- daily oil massage (with immune strengthening herbs)
- daily nasya (application of oil to nasal passage)
- daily steam (steam tent or shower)
- daily meditation
- hydration and high quality seasonal produce
- gentle seasonal cleansing (especially Spring and Autumn)
Outdoor and Household Protocols
Ticks can’t stop us from our love for the great outdoors. Since we spend most of the day in the garden, playing and practicing outside and camping in the beautiful Maine woods, these are a few areas that have helped us to feel comfortable in our surroundings.
- wear light colored clothing
- repeated body checks during and after outdoor time
- carry fine pointed tweezers and a lighter (extract and burn)
- follow safe extraction methods
- if a tick is found use tea tree oil or an andographis tincture applied to the area (can support reduction of infection)
- pets should be checked regularly and kept off beds and furniture during peak tick season
- change clothes/shower/swim after extended outdoor activities
That’s it folks! As with all treatments, there is not a one size fits all. Especially for lyme. I am excited now to feel empowered and not scared of the creepy crawlers. There are of course moments I feel “lymey” (you know what I’m talking about if you have had lyme yourself) but with greater care that feeling is swiftly subdued.
If you are suffering from chronic lyme I highly encourage you to make self-care top of your list. It will benefit you in so many ways. If you or a loved one is looking for Lyme support, contact us for an Ayurvedic Consultation. For now there is not an absolute cure for Chronic Lyme (it’s only just beginning to receive medical recognition); however, through thoughtful on-going management you can feel like yourself again! What better way to do so than through self-care and self-love that reminds us daily we have the power and strength within. You got this!