How to lose weight? Ayurvedic treatments for weight management

by | May 10, 2019


Ayurvedic Treatments for weight management – Dr Namitha Suseel B.A.M.S

Obesity is a chronic health problem in which there is an excess accumulation of fat in the body. It is now a leading cause of preventable illness and death in both developed and developing countries.

Mechanism of Fat Storage

In prehistoric times, the natural selection favored the genotypes that could overcome the harsh conditions by storing more fat. For most of human history, malnutrition was the major norm, and hence genetics evolved to favor fat storage.

The most important function of body fat is the maintenance of energy reserve in the form of lipids so that it can be used later when the body is badly in need of energy.

The insulin produced from pancreas converts a part of glucose into glycogen and lipids and is stored in the liver. When the energy need is not met from the food intake, the body uses glycogen, and if still not sufficient, it breaks down the fat stored to release energy.

Ayurvedic Treatments for Obesity

In ayurvedic literature, the obese are said to be one among the eight most undesirable persons.

Reasons for obesity include:

  • Overeating
  • Intake of heavy, sweet, cooling and unctuous (too oily) food.
  • Lack of physical exercise.
  • Abstinence from sexual intercourse
  • Day sleep
  • Lack of mental exercise.
  • Heredity

The Vicious Cycle

The unhealthy food pattern and sedentary lifestyle results in the formation of ama(endogenous toxins) which obstructs the srotas (circulatory channels)and deranges the Agni(digestive fire).

The excess intake of heavy, sweet, oily and cold food increases the kapha dosha in the body. The kapha along with ama clogged the communicating channels, srotas and thereby disrupting the formation of tissues.

As a result , all the food ingested gets converted to the medho dhatu [adipose tissue]. Hence the rest 6 dhatus[ tissues] become undernourished.Since medhas increases, its mala [waste product] , sweat also increases and will also have a bad odor.

Accumulation of kapha associated with ama in the srotas causes an imbalance in naturally flowing Vata energy.
The Vata gets obstructed in the koshta [GIT], which in turn ignites the agni [ digestive fire] leading to an increase in appetite and thirst.As a result, one eats more and more → his kapha dosha and medo dhatu increases → still his agni remains inflamed →so he becomes more hungry and eats more and the cycle goes on and on.

Ayurveda for Weight Loss

Aim of Treatment

The treatments given should be such that it:

  • Eliminates ama.
  • Pacify Kapha dosha
  • Cleans up the srotas
  • Re-establishes the normal flow of Vata
  • Balance the agni.
  • Reduces the medas.

Importance of Panchakarma

Regular purification of the system is very important.

Before starting the actual procedure of purification, there are preparatory procedures called poorvakarma. Usually, olieation and sudation therapies are done. But in the case of obese, a special therapy known as udwartana is to be done.

  • Udwartana

It is a kind of massage done using medicated powder.massage is done with pressure in the upward direction of hair follicles.This procedure is kapha medhohara , ie it reduces kapha dosa and body fat.

  • Snehapana

After attaining rukshata [dryness] by doing udwartanam and internal medication, snehapana[ intake of oil] with murchita tila taila [processed sesame oil] can be done. It has got medhohara and staulyahara properties which help in burning out the fat.

  • Swedana

It is to be done to liquefy the adhered dosas and medas [fat].

Next comes the main procedures of panchakarma called the pradhana karma. It includes :

  • Vamana [emesis]

Vamana helps in eliminating the vitiated kapha dosa.The drug for vamana should be selected after accessing the patient’s ability to bear the potency of the medication. Mostly less potent drugs are used to do vamana in obese.

  • Virechana [ purgation]

Virechana helps in eliminating the vitiated pitta. A considerable amount of kapha also gets eliminated. This process helps in cleansing the liver.

  • Vasti

Decoction enema is the treatment of choice. Strong decoction enema having the properties to burn fat and eliminate vata is done. Oil enema is prohibited.

  • Nasya

It helps to eliminate the vitiated dosas especially kapha from the head and neck region.



Food should be such that it is of guru guna[ heavy] so as to satisfy the increased agni, but at the same time, it should not be nourishing.

What to eat :

Foods like horsegram, millets, barley, green gram,honey and buttermilk are useful. Along with what you eat, how you eat also matters a lot. In Ayurveda, a detailed protocol on the ways of eating is explained. One should take food only after the previous meal is digested.

How to eat food:

  • Food should be taken only after the previous meal gets digested.
  • Should take only adequate quantity of food. Half of the stomach is to be filled with food and 1/4the with water. The rest of the stomach should be left empty.
  • Eat food within 3 hrs  after cooking.
  • Don’t eat too fast or too slow. Chew your food properly , so that the food gets adequately mixed with saliva and the digestive enzymes are sufficiently released.
  • Don’t watch tv or phone while having food.concentrate in your food only. This also helps in the proper secretion of digestive enzymes.
  • Avoid excessively pungent and sour food like pickles etc..
  • Say a big NO to all junk foods. Eat only those foods that you get from the mother nature. Processed foods are your greatest enemy.

Read Ayurvedic Guide for Healthy Eating

Exercise – Yoga

Pranayama : This helps in maintaining a smooth and proper flow of Vata energy in your body specifically prana vayu. Apart from this, it also helps to reduce stress.

Meditation:  Stress has been cited as a reason for obesity. Obesity in turn also increases stress.  An excess of the stress hormone, cortisol results in the increase of the abdominal fat and weight also increases the appetite. Hence stress can be one among the factors that cause obesity.

Meditation renders your mind peace and brings your body and mind to a relaxed state.

How Intermittent Fasting or Fasting is useful for weight loss?

Fasting comes under langhana therapy.

But it is not the treatment of choice at the starting stage as the agni, the digestive fire is very much increased. If fasting is done and proper food is not given for the agni to act on, it starts to use whatever available to it , be it is your own body parts and also vitiates the vata more. This causes other health issues like acidity, heartburn, ulcers in GIT, etc.

So fasting at the initial stage will only drive you into more health issues rather than controlling obesity.

Many researches now suggest that fasting as a much better option for treating obesity rather than low carb diet. But Ayurveda does not suggest fasting at the initial stage. It might be helpful when the agni comes back to normalcy and the vata aggravated in koshta gets pacified. It can be done at a stage when your only aim is to reduce medas, the fat deposited in your body.

It is essential to maintain your weight once you have lost a certain weight and came out of the obesity phase. It should be given the same amount of importance as you give to the obesity treatment programs.

Follow the lifestyle changes you have brought till the day you want to stay fit and all those hidden enemies out of your life Love healthy and be happy.😊

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