Over the last 26 years, I personally have found Ayurveda to be very important to my health. As a child, I had severe environmental allergies and food sensitivities that impacted my health and my parents were health conscious and had used both conventional and alternative medicine to reduce my symptoms. In my early teens, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and prescribed pharmaceutical medication that caused me to hallucinate while in school and both myself and my parents decided there must be a better solution. This is when I first met Dr Shanbhag and was introduced to Ayurveda.
At this time, I was unable to participate in running and other physical activities as I was feeling so poorly and not sleeping well. At our first appointment, I remember Dr Shanbhag saying that adherence to an Ayurveda treatment plan for two months would improve my health and I would be able to participate in running and other normal activities. Gayathri Shanbhag who is an Ayurveda nutritionist was very helpful in educating me to understand which foods that I could eat and which foods that I should avoid and how to make food choices at school or with friends. I followed herbal-nutritional prescription and modifications in diet & lifestyle. Two months later I was feeling better and able to participate in athletic sports and live a normal teenage life while following my Ayurveda treatment plan and working with Dr Shanbhag.
This experience inspired me to become a naturopathic physician working with patients through diet, lifestyle and other naturopathic therapies to treat particular illnesses and to also promote a healthy lifestyle. My other passion has been researching botanical medicines and their effects on the immune system. Throughout my education and beyond I have always followed many Ayurveda principles however life got very busy and stressful and I had not been as attentive to my health as I needed to be. As I started my naturopathic clinic, teaching, and performing research I began to have a recurrence of my environmental allergies and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. With the allergies and the hypothyroidism, I began to gain weight for the first time in my life and was unable to lose the weight through diet and exercise. This was further complicated by hormonal dysregulation and I became desperate to find a solution as I was approaching age 40. I had seen other Ayurveda practitioners and was not receiving the same benefit as when I worked with Dr Shanbhag. Luckily, Dr Shanbhag and Gayathri had moved back to the United States from India and opened a clinic in San Jose, so I traveled from Bellingham, Washington to San Jose, California and stayed a week to do pancha karma and get my health back in order. Receiving pancha karma treatments away from home was a great choice for me as it allowed me to both decrease my stress and work levels. Since starting back in working with Dr Shanbhag and Gayathri and other practitioners at their clinic my allergy symptoms have decreased, my energy has improved and my stress levels have reduced. I have also lost weight. I highly recommend Ayurveda as a treatment option for many illnesses as it is a personalized treatment approach and has the ability to treat various conditions that in western medicine are not seen as connected to each other but are treated as connected in Ayurveda. For me personally, my life has been drastically changed by Ayurveda and has greatly improved my health and inspired my career today.