Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India.
The treatment options for improving the balance in degenerative cerebellar ataxias are very few. Ayurvedic texts have described diverse treatment regimens for this disease.
To determine the change in balance indices, if any, by dynamic posturography (Biodex Balance System, USA) in progressive cerebellar ataxia following Ayurvedic treatment.
We performed a preliminary open labelled study on ten patients diagnosed with progressive cerebellar ataxia. The patients were treated over a period of one month. Treatment consisted of Shirobasti (therapeutic retention of medicament over the scalp) in male patients and Shirodhara (pouring of a steady stream of medicament on the forehead) in female patients with Dhanvantaram tailam (medicated oil) for 45 minutes daily, followed by Abhyanga (methodical massage) with Dhanvantaram tailam and Bhashpa sweda (steam bath), for 14 days. In addition, the treatment also consisted Abhyantara aushadha (oral medicines) of Maharasnadi kashayam 15ml thrice daily, Dhanvantaram capsules 101 two capsules thrice daily, and Ashwagandha tablet 500 mg one tablet thrice daily, for one month. The patients were assessed on the Biodex balance system before and after the treatment. Results were analyzed using paired samples 't' test.
All patients tolerated the treatment well without any adverse events and reported subjective improvement in walking. There was a statistically significant improvement in the overall and anteroposterior balance indices of dynamic stability.
Over the short period of the present study, Ayurvedic therapy was found to be safe and, showed improvement in the balance in patients with progressive degenerative cerebellar ataxia. Further randomized placebo-control double-blind studies are needed to validate the results.