Monday, May 17, 2010

When nephrologist says, you'll soon need dialysis...

.... he / she may not always be right.

Kidney failure is one of the most dreaded diseases. Even when one knows, it is coming, there is not much that one can do. Mainstream treatment normally means dialysis or transplant. Both are expensive and very taxing on the patient. Not to mention the difficulty of finding right donor in time. Economic cost of Dialysis in India would be about Rs 2-3 lakhs per year.

But there is a way out.

Some of the Naturopaths and traditional medicine practitioners have been working with kidney patients and I have the privilege of working with one of them. I write below what we do so, that more people can know and benefit from it. The note is written in collaboration with Dr Jay Sanghvi who has been treating kidney patients through combination of Naturopathy, Ayurveda, and Yoga for more than 25 years.

We combine various simple and safe treatments to enable patients take care of their kidney.

Over the years various patients have had following benefits:
- Decrease / stabilisation of creatinine levels
- Decrease frequency / Avoid dialysis
- Avoid / postpone surgery
- Symptomatic relief e.g. reduction in vomiting, blood pressure, oedema, loss of appetite, pain etc.

How does Naturopathy work?
- By reducing load on kidney by changing diet pattern
- By allowing time for kidney to rest & repair
- By activating other cleansing organs e.g. Bowel, Liver, and Skin to support kidney

Which Naturopathy treatments are used?
- Kidney pack – It’s a combination of hot and cold packs
- Fomentation – Alternative use of hot and cold towels near the kidney area.
- Hip Bath – Immersing the lower abdomen in tub filled with water.
- Friction Bath
- Reflex and meridian points

How Naturopathy treatments work: Main aim of treatment is to give proper blood supply to kidney.
- treatments to improve functioning of kidney which is weak and malfunctioning.
- treatments to remove impurities sticking to kidney
- treatments to remove infection in chronic infective condition

Herbs for kidney care: Time tested safe herbal medicine
- Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa); Red or Spreading Hogweed – It is a good diuretic and anti-inflamatory.
- Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris); It is a diuretic herb useful in kidney dysfunction, renal stones, and dysuria.
- Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia); Helps in improving immune system

Diet in kidney diseases:
Main aim of dietary plan is to decrease load on kidney by eliminating food that produces lot of by-products which in turn need to be filtered by kidney. The dietary plan also ensures that all the essential nutrients are made available thus allowing cleansing, repairing, and reconstruction. It also works towards restoring the natural balance of the body chemistry.
The diet plan is designed taking into consideration individual’s body constitution, state of disease and general health condition.

Main food items used for kidney care:
- Bottle gourd juice
- Rice & Rice water
- Green gram water
- Banana water
- Vegetables – bottle gourd, pointed gourd (parval), ivy gourd (tindora), ridged luffa (galka), smooth luffa (turiya), papaya, radish, pumpkin.

Normal course of treatment:
- 6 weeks at a Nature Cure Centre directly under supervision of doctor
- 2 to 3 months of treatment to be continued at home
- 3 weeks follow up treatment at Nature Cure Centre
This is general plan but varies as per need and condition of the individual.

Kind of conditions that can be treated through Naturopathy:
- Chronic Renal Failure - If kidney function > 30%
- Chronic Infective condition
- Inflammatory Condition
- Diabetic Nephropathy
- Hydro Nephrosis
- Renal Insufficiency

Ideal cases for treatment through Naturopathy:
- Not yet started dialysis or doing dialysis for less than 3 months
- Haemoglobin level > 10
- Creatinine < 5
- Age < 60 yrs
- No other complications with kidney disease
- Clinically stable and other parameters under control
- One who has faith in Naturopathy & wishes to go for this treatment.

How we deal with current medication & treatments? 
- Normally we continue the medication being taken by the patient before starting treatment
- When symptoms and parameters show improvement, medicine is reduced or replaced with herbal medicines e.g. when blood pressure is controlled, medicine is tapered and / or replaced with Ashwagandha, Gokshur, Punarnava
- Main goal is to reduce the load on kidney which is burdened by chemicals from medicines.

Role of Yoga in Treatment of Kidney:
Asanas are selected to promote blood flow towards kidney e.g. Uttanpadasana. Yogasana which gives gentle twisting, stretching, contracting spine through which natural massage to kidney is experienced and smooth muscles are also involved in the practise (this doesn't happen in exercise), thus decreasing lethargic tendency of kidney & increasing functioning of kidney.

Pranayama and Meditation - Ancient breathing technique called Pranayama and meditation, bring perfect balance between Sympathetic Nervous System and Parasympathetic Nervous System, increase anti-stress hormone, and help to completely get rid of stress e.g. Nadi Suddhi Pranayama (Anuloma- Viloma), Bhramari, meditation etc.

Suddhi Kriya - Through different Suddhi Kriyas like Kapalbhati lot of toxic element is thrown outside through breath. This brings purification in blood as well as purification at cellular level thus decreasing work load on kidney.

Prana (Vital Force for life) - Above mentioned details are medically approved, but something which can only be experienced is Prana, Vital Force. Prana is major factor for health either physical or mental. All above practices brings balance in Prana (Vital Force) at subtler level of our existence where chemical or medicine can't reach, this opens many possible doors when medically we find the disease is un-curable.

For more information contact us at 02837-286812 or write at

This note is designed to help fellow Doctors understand our line of treatment better in order to use it for benefit of their patients. When shared with patients, it is just to serve as information on our line of treatment.
This note is not a substitute for expert medical advice and patients are advised not to use this note for self medication as it may harm the body.
Any medication or treatment should be taken only under guidance of an expert and treatment be started only under supervision of a qualified physician.