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How do we gain weight?

A businessman in his early 40s  complained of gradual weight gain reaching 95 kilos in the past 5 years. He blamed his hectic and fast paced life, which included travel and late working hours. His weight problems spiked during the lockdown, accompanied with complaints of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).


After consulting with Ananda’s physicians, he enrolled for a comprehensive 21 day weight management programme. Says Dr.Chandan MS, the lead Ayurveda Physician on the case "In Ayurveda, time is medicine. Like in any other relationship it takes time to discover the deep-seated truths about the other. Similarly, an Ayurvedic physician needs time to discover certain fundamental truths and reach the root cause of a manifested physical situation”.


Medo mamsa ati vruddhatvat Chala Sphik Udara Stanaha |

Ayathopachayotsaho Naro atisthoola Uchyate ||


As per the above Sanskrit phrase, in Ayurveda obesity is when, due to excessive increase of fat and muscles, one develops pendulous buttocks, abdomen and breasts, and suffers from deficient metabolism and energy. Ayurveda has defined 8 deformities in a human body. Ati sthoola or excessive weight is one of them and considered to be the worst one due to its complicated pathogenesis. Acharya Charaka has prescribed Apatarpana chikitsa - negative or de-nourishment as the main diagnosis for an obese person. The above case is one of Sthoulya or obesity treated by Apatarpana chikitsa.



Ancient Indian Body Mask, prescribed for obesity, is a clay mask made using ancient herbs and spices. The warming and soothing effects of ginger and cardamom present in the mask enhance the natural healing abilities of the body, this treatment is ideal for Cellulite breakdown.


We often associate eating and no exercise to fat gain, is that entirely true?

The term Sthoulya is derived from the Atmanepadi Sthoolayate Dhatu meaning to grow or increase. But, the scientific study of cases of obesity shows a far more complex process than simply an imbalance between energy intake and energy output, of eating too much or exercising too little. Factors responsible for the development of obesity include – race, sex, and age factors, ethnic and cultural factors, socio-economic status, dietary habits, pregnancy and menopause, psychological factors, lactation history in mothers, endocrine, metabolic or genetic factors.


As per Dr. Chandan, “the assimilation of food is equally or far more critical a step, than the consumption itself. Overeating is an extended action of your thoughts. Let’s know the body’s response to this choice. Your body builds the tissues in a sequential manner, and every tissue system in the body has its own quota of digestive fire. Even a bonfire needs the right amount of wood and gentle cajoling to rise, if you dump it with wood and not create the desired space through gentle stroking of the logs, we know what happens. Similarly, it is blood and muscle tissue that work to help the formation of fat. If you mindlessly dump food and not give the required space (through movement and relaxation) for proper nourishment, it will ultimately kill the digestive fire specific to the fat tissue or meda dhatu. End result is that the fat that was to move ahead in the journey of nutrition to form the bone tissue, now gets held back, creating weakness and complications in the other systems.


 Fried heavy food for grounding and madhura raas or sweet food through carbohydrates, alcohol or sugar seems like a natural choice for the body-mind to cope from a lack of love and satisfaction.


In the case of our guest, we recognised the following reasons or actions that led to weight gain. These undesired actions were the consumption of large portions of sweets, milk and milk products,  rice and bakery products. Besides this, no exercise, sleeping during the day, over sleeping and constant worrying were the primary causes. This lifestyle created a spike in kapha dosha (earth and water elements), diminished or almost shut down the fire in fat tissue or medo dhatwagni mandya. This led to medo dhatu vridhhi - since there is no fire to digest and process the fat, it keeps coming in and getting collected. The final result is shulata, meaning obesity, gross, stagnation or heavy with complaints of acid reflux, laziness, breathing difficulty and continuous tiredness.


The Treatment Plan


Ayuverda therapies with customised herbs and oils were administered to start the process of moving the fat deposit. A strict diet based on principles of apatarpana was advised to follow, where the food fills you without over nourishing. Abhyanga with chinchadi and triphala oil, choornaswedana, and cleansing procedures like sneha basti or oil enemas, Kashaya basti or decoction enemas were the main Ayurveda therapies. Aroma cocoon wraps, earth wraps, stimulating water blitz and deep tissue massages were prescribed during the stay. The integration of Oriental medicine, fitness evaluation and outdoor boot camp, physiotherapy, personalised sessions with yoga therapists and emotional healers helped fasten the healing process.



Udwarthana, is a deep dry massage using herbal powders which stimulate the hair follicles and assists to break down the body’s excess subcutaneous fat. The Ayurvedic treatment mobilizes toxins and is beneficial for firming and toning.




In 21 days the guest reduced 6% of body weight, with a drastic fall in acidity and reflux symptoms. In his words, “being taught to be kind and considerate towards his body was the precious gift he is leaving with”.


You may aso be interested in

Ananda’s Ayurvedic Physicians advice on the best forms of satiating sugar to consume


Did you know, the human body-mind needs ample amount of directional rest to let go and process the unwanted accumulated fat! Read about the Dhyana Meditation Program to experience a deep sense of stillness and calm within.

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