Trupti Gokani, MD is a neurologist in the Chicago area who practices an integrative and Ayurvedic approach to treat her migraine patients. In 2015 Gokani published The Mysterious Mind: How to Use Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science to Heal Your Headaches and Reclaim Your Health. In an earlier post, I asked Gokani to give an overview for patients how best to use her book. Here, we’ll talk about her advice for physicians and other healthcare providers.
Who did you write the book for, doctors or patients?
While I started writing the book for patients, the more I wrote and lectured to diverse groups, the more I realized that this knowledge can be beneficial to a wider audience. Medical students, residents, physicians, nurses, PA’s, wellness coaches, yoga instructors, chiropractors, massage therapists and other providers have shown interest in this work and truly can benefit from this book since it bridges integrative/eastern medicine with the western model of medicine.
How can a doctor who isn’t familiar with Ayurveda get started?
If a western physician wants to learn Ayurveda, I believe the best way to start is to understand the concepts of the dosha, or mind-body type and learn about his or her own unique doshic state. Each person has one of three doshas governing them: vata, pitta, or kapha. The key to using this approach with patients is to first learn about yourself. From there, using certain principles of lifestyle and dietary recommendations to keep his nature in balance will then allow this science to be explained to others.
Now that you have been practicing integratively, how has your concept of migraines and their treatment changed?
What do you think causes migraine attacks?
I now realize that migraine is a reflection of many systems gone wrong. For a migraine to be generated, there is a cascade of events that lead to the final attack of pain. Often, digestion is impaired, adrenals are weakened, nutrients are low and hormones are imbalanced. In addition, the body’s ability to detoxify may be impaired. It is a culmination of all of these events that leads to an attack of pain. This is a far more holistic approach than the traditional model that I was initially trained on. While it is true that low serotonin levels, along with pro-inflammatory peptides in the brain do lead to the final manifestation of pain, it is a system that is out of balance that allows this final manifestation in the brain.
What are the biggest questions or critiques you get from other physicians?
“These approaches have not been studied, how is it possible that they work?”
“Where is the data?”
My response is that I have now used both Western and Eastern approaches for over a decade. My success in my practice is a testimonial to the efficacy of my approach. Also, Ayurveda is a 5000-year old science and it has survived the test of time. If it wasn’t effective, it wouldn’t still be practiced to this day.
If a doctor takes away just one concept from your book, what would you want that to be?
Anyone, at any stage of disease, can regain faith and hope that their body can heal and symptoms can improve using the principles of ancient Ayurveda. We often need to simply guide the mind/body on how to move that direction, and then make sure we do not utilize medications, injections or approaches that prevent the healing from happening.
Trupti Gokani, MD is a board-certified neurologist in Chicago best known for her integrative approach to treating headache pain. She writes a monthly column (LINK) in The Huffington Post.