Autism - An Ayurvedic Overview

What is Autism?

Autism is a complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairments in social interaction and developmental language and communication skills combined with rigid, repetitive behaviors. Because of the range of symptoms, this condition is now called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It covers a large spectrum of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment. 


As it is a developmental and behavioral disorder the symptoms of autism may vary from person to person. The symptom can be a mild disability to serious illness which need at most care and medications. The child may starts to show symptoms after few months of birth and in some cases the developments will be normal initially and shows symptoms after few months or years. 

Mainly the children show symptoms like·        

  • Lack of social skills        
  • Trouble in communication       
  • Abnormal behavioral patterns        
  • Hyper activity       
  • Lack of coordination       
  • Deficit attention
  • Less self motivation

Ayurvedic Approach

As autism is both a developmental and behavioral disorder it affects both the Sarira & Manas. So the treatment protocol should direct towards correcting these problems. According to Ayurveda all the disease occur due to Vishamagni which can be considered as deranged metabolism in the body and  this deranged metabolism can affect the tissue development in the body which causes developmental disorders in the body known as Dhatu Kshaya. This will lead to lack of vitality (Ojas) or resistive power of the body. In Ayurvedic philosophy the body and mind have inter relationship, so when one gets deranged the other also gets affected. Therefore the mal development of the tissues has its affects on both mental and physical condition of the body. 

The main aim of the treatment should be correcting the metabolism or Agni, which will result in proper growth and nourishment of the tissue and which will have its affect on the mental health as well.

Generally the treatment can be designed in four steps

  1. Correcting the Agnior metabolism
  2. Supporting the nourishment of tissue or Dhatu
  3. Increasing the vitality or Ojas
  4. Supportive physical interventions

Step - 1      

This step is purely depended on internal medication made by specific herbs or herbal formulations which will restore the Agni and the body metabolism will be normal.

Step - 2       

In this stage certain Ayurvedic procedures are done to cleanse the impurities in our body and support the nourishment of body tissues or Dhatu

Some of them are

  • Abhyangam - Massages
  • Vasti - Medicated enemas
  • Nasyam - Nasal administration of medications
  • Sirodhara
  • Thalapothichil – wrapping head with herbal paste
  • Njavarakizhy – special massage using medicated rice and oil 

Step - 3        

These include Rasayana treatments to increase Ojas or body vitality·        

There is also continuation of some internal medication to maintain the obtained results

Step -4        

These include physical intervention to improve the quality of life like:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy