Ayurveda Infertility - Healing Principles of Health

Fertility problems are becoming increasingly common in the modern world, particularly among people living in urban areas. An estimated 15% of couples will have trouble conceiving (UCLA Health, 2020), while in the United States alone approximately 9% of men and 10% of women aged 15 to 44 have experienced fertility issues (CDC, 2013 and Office on Women’s Health, 2019).

Defined as the inability to conceive naturally through unprotected intercourse over an extended period (12 months or more), infertility can cause serious distress among those who are trying for a baby. At Sen Wellness, our Ayurvedic doctors are here to support you throughout your fertility journey and to help you restore a healing balance in your life. Let’s delve a little deeper into some of the possible causes of infertility and how Ayurveda can help.

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Causes of infertility, according to Ayurveda

“Sperm should be cold in nature and Ovum should be like fire" / "Soumyam shukram agneyam artavam"

Ayurvedic history has focused on the importance of treating infertility, its causes and the many treatments that can help achieve positive results.

The reality is that there are a wide range of reasons why an individual might be having fertility difficulties and usually there is more than one contributing factor. The physical causes in a woman may be due to a range of health issues, such as blocked fallopian tubes, premature ovarian failure, ovarian or cervical cancers, endometriosis or other menstrual cycle issues. The menstrual cycle is a key factor to consider when looking at the causes of infertility as it can be affected by age, lifestyle, diet, stress, mental health and physical activity. Male infertility can be caused by various conditions that impair sperm production or ejaculation, hormonal imbalance, tubular defects, and testicular cancer. According to Ayurvedic teachings, all of these conditions can be caused by a dosha imbalance of Vata, Pitta or Kapha.

Traditionally, Ayurvedic teachings explain that infertility can be caused by a variety of leading factors such as:  

  • Bad nutrition, poor digestion or a toxic build-up in the body causing specific ailments.  
  • Low sperm count due to overeating spicy, salty and hot food.  
  • Infections or injuries to the reproductive organs.  
  • Overindulgence in sexual activity.  
  • Overly excessive control of sexual urges for extended periods.  
  • Genetics or hereditary predispositions.  

Busy, career-driven women living and working in cities are increasingly experiencing a number of these factors, exacerbated by heavy stress, an over-stimulated adrenal system, exposure to environmental pollutants, and a diet which lacks the nourishment needed to facilitate fertility. What’s more, more women than ever before are choosing to have children later, often after the age of 30. In their mid-thirties, some women experience hormonal, metabolic and endocrine imbalances that can affect their fertility, further complicating attempts to conceive.

Managing infertility with Ayurveda

Ayurvedic principles aim to support your overall health by giving strength to the body’s independent healing, whilst balancing your energetic levels. Ayurvedic practitioners take a holistic approach to treating infertility, aiming to improve the overall health and vitality of the individual. 

Ayurveda strongly believes that diet plays a crucial role in the prevention, management and healing of disease. Diet management involves a disciplined attitude towards food that increases what is known in Sanskrit as Ojas (where the physical, mental and spiritual health of the body intersect, responsible for overall health, energy and vitality), as well as avoiding the foods and substances that diminish Ojas. 

Ojas-enhancing foods such as nut milk, ghee, nuts, avocados, fresh fruit, vegetables and plant proteins can improve the interaction between hormones, whereas processed carbohydrates, starch, meat and processed dairy milk can negatively affect fertility.

A trans-fats-free diet can help to reduce blocked arteries, enhance fertility, and restore the heart and blood vessels. However, other foods that contain preservatives, artificial sweeteners, MSG, high fat or other artificial flavours and colours, as well as excessive alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, red meat and refined sugar or carbohydrates, are leading causes of infertility.

Optimum health can be achieved through living life with a healthy approach and choosing natural foods and products that don’t toxify the body or create added stressors and ailments. All of these can be very important factors when helping to balance ovulation and strengthen the fertilisation process. Eating well and living a healthy lifestyle can provide all the effective nutrients and management of infertility needed for health, hormonal balance and getting pregnant.  

Ayurveda Infertility

Ayurveda for infertility recommends these top seven ways to promote a healthy lifestyle in order to enhance and manage your fertility.  

  1. Maintain good hygiene habits so as not to obtain any infections or viruses.  
  2. Eat a good variety of organic, wholesome food made fresh to nourish your cells and help build healthy reproductive tissues.   
  3. Be mindful of your digestion and avoid too much caffeine, alcohol and overconsumption of unhealthy foods.  
  4. Choose joyful and happy life experiences to manage stress levels.  
  5. Encourage the healthy development of the body’s tissues, including the reproductive organs, also known in Sanskrit as Shukra Dhatu in Ayurvedic medicine.  
  6. Get good amounts of sleep!  
  7. Enjoy a massage (abhyanga) every day. This is particularly good if you are a Vata or Pitta type. If you are a Kapha then dry body brushing could be a good alternative. 

Treatment principles of infertility in Ayurveda

Our founder, Sam Kankanamge, has over 25 years’ experience supporting women with fertility problems at the Sen Wellness clinic on Harley Street, London, alongside some of the world’s foremost professionals in the field of modern fertility medicine. He has translated this experience into a unique programme at the Sen Wellness Sanctuary, addressing a range of factors that contribute to infertility, including:

  • Biological, metabolic and hormonal imbalances
  • Emotional, mental and spiritual support
  • Nutritional health

Our programme also goes beyond Ayurveda infertility treatment to include other holistic approaches, such as acupuncture and cranial osteopathy. All Ayurvedic therapy treatments aim to feed, rejuvenate, improve the immune system, and revitalise the mind, body, and soul. They can be helpful in reducing physical and mental discomfort by nourishing all the body’s dhatus, as well as helping to lower anxiety and eliminate impurities.

There are four main Ayurvedic treatments for infertility.

Treatment of Ama Toxins

The build-up of Ama toxins can also lead to the imbalance of Agni (or Digestive Fire) which can cause disease in the mind and body. Thus, the treatment of Ama must include the treatment of Agni. A healthy Agni can therefore contribute to a healthy Ojas overall.

Vatanulomana

The main dosha attributed to infertility is Vata. Therefore, a treatment called Vatanulomana (correction of the functions of Vata) is a key treatment for infertility, supported by a rigid exercise routine and strict nutritional programme.

Swedana

Swedana is a cleansing and stress-relieving therapy recommended for patients suffering from ailments such as asthma, weight, digestion issues, body inflammation and infertility. Based on the temperature, herbal mix and devices used to induce sweat, there are six forms of Swedana: Pinda Sweda or Navarakkizhi; Ooshma Sweda or Bashpa Sweda; Avagaha Sweda; Nali Sweda; Upanaha Sweda; and Patrasweda or Ilakkizhi. During all Swedanas, the sweat-inducing agent is carefully directed along the surface of the body. This movement gently dislocates the toxins inside and channels them to specific sites. This detoxification therapy helps in the expulsion of toxins from the body and can help to correct ovarian, tubular and uterine problems causing infertility.

Panchakarma

Panchakarma helps to eliminate toxins from the body and strengthen the reproductive system, treating ovarian, tubular and uterine issues causing infertility. Scientific research suggests that secondary infertility (when a woman can’t get pregnant after having had at least one successful pregnancy) accounts for roughly 40% of female infertility, due to lifestyle factors. In Ayurvedic tradition, this is in relation to having proximity to the Vandhyatwa disorder. Ayurvedic infertility practitioners may recommend Panchakarma to women suffering from secondary infertility, with the intention of purifying the doshas in the female reproductive organs. Snehapana is then prescribed for oral intake, followed by Virechana, a purge, to produce higher quality ovum.

Ayurvedic herbs used to treat infertility

Infertility is very complex and often the result of one – or a combination – of undetected issues elsewhere in the body. That’s why Ayurvedic herbs are used as part of a treatment plan in order to tackle root cause(s). The most common herbs used to treat infertility are Ashwagandha, Kapikacchu, Musali, Shatavari and Amalaki, all of which have extremely useful formations to help synergise hormonal balances between the Follicle Stimulating Hormone and the Luteinizing Hormone. 

Our Ayurvedic Doctors at Sen Wellness will be able to prescribe the right combination of Ayurvedic herbs to support you on your wellness journey and to help with specific physical and emotional ailments, including:

  • Regulating the menstrual cycle 
  • Enhancing your general health and wellness 
  • Revitalising sperm quality, quantity, and motility
  • Reducing stress hormones 
  • Enhancing sleep 
  • Easing anxiety or erectile dysfunction 
  • Increasing energy  
  • Balancing the endocrine system to improve overall blood flow to the pelvic region and promote fertility
  • Bringing fresh oxygenated blood to the eggs  
  • Promoting hormonal balance by strengthening the feedback loop between the pituitary, hypothalamus, and ovaries, which controls the levels of hormones produced
  • Helping to restore natural balance to your body

How does Sen Wellness Sanctuary approach Ayurveda for infertility?

The Ayurvedic approach to infertility treatment at Sen Wellness is holistic and sensitive to your individual needs, desires and constitution. By exploring how your physical health, lifestyle, diet and exercise regime impact your fertility, we can also discover the root cause of any infertility issues, whether that may be due to anxiety, lack of sleep, lack of motivation or emotional imbalances.  

When you start to search down the Ayurvedic path, we recommend that you obtain medical tests to determine if there are any genetic, hereditary or physical causes affecting your fertility. We can then assess your health from an Ayurvedic perspective. Shortly after arriving at Sen Wellness, our doctors will curate a comprehensive programme that will address your overall health and well-being on every level, including diet, lifestyle, stress management and exercise routines in line with the appropriate herbal therapies and Ayurvedic treatments.  

We understand that the process of conception can be physically and emotionally challenging, and begin to feel helpless if you have been trying for a while. It is difficult to know what route to take, however, an Ayurvedic approach could be the first step in achieving the ultimate gift of a child.

Excellent4.8Based on 185 reviews from Claire W.Claire W.1717427624 ★★★★★ I have just completed a 10 day retreat at Sen Wellness and having researched many options, I was drawn to this but it was way beyond my expectations, it was amazing. The yoga by Frances and the monk was incredible, the doctors were kind and helpful and all the staff could not have been more helpful. Special mention to treatments from Tanisha and the manager Sanath who got me out on the beach one evening to see the mother turtles. A dream come true in so many ways, left feeling refreshed,so much healthier in body and mind!! I would highly recommend to anyone who needs a reset.Michael BMichael B1717236953 ★★★★★ My stay at Sen Wellness was absolutely amazing all-round. Sen is a beautiful place, in the middle of nature with a serene atmosphere. I had a deeply relaxing,  inspiring and unforgettable stay at Sen.I stayed for three weeks in April/May 2024. The Yoga and meditation classes were great and even as a (complete) beginner, I felt very well supported. Also the therapeutic sessions were fantastic and effective. The food is delicious and rich in variety, which was very welcome for my longer stay.As I was traveling alone, I much enjoyed the close-knit group and personal feeling at Sen. Meals are enjoyed sitting together around a large communal table, allowing you to connect and meet.The staff is just fabulous - everyone, from the gardener, kitchen staff, to the therapists and managers (to mention just a few), really cares to make you feel well. Whenever you need something, they help you. Everyone greets you always with a smile.I would like to thank the whole Sen team for an amazing experience, and I am sure to be back here in the futurebritta B.britta B.1713871962 ★★★★★ I had a wonderful stay and participated in the Signature Retreat. The resort is located in a very beautiful nature reserve. There is a beautiful beach for long nice walks and you also can see turtles.Meditation and Yoga were very also so good as were the ayurvedic treatments. I love it.The Signature Retreat led by Sam is a great, inspiring journey in itself - I can highly recommend.The ayurvedic food was delicious and the staff is great.I hope to go soon again to this wonderful place.Mandy thanks to Sam and his team at Sen Wellness Sanctuary. BrittaKimberly St. O.Kimberly St. O.1712299536 ★★★★★ One of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had in my life. The 10-day retreat is the ultimate in relaxation. They feed you all your meals (delicious homegrown/homemade food), schedule yoga and daily spa treatments and hold special ceremonies throughout the week. The staff go above and beyond to make your experience deep, meaningful and heartfelt. The sanctuary is located in a jungle so be prepared to be immersed in wildlife! Monkeys, reptiles of all kinds, turtles on the beach, eagles/birds and more! 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Fantastic team who were friendly and did everything possible to make it us feel special, great doctors and therapists and of course the daily yoga and one on one interaction with Sam was icing on the cake. Would recommend this to anyone looking for a great mix of spirituality, yoga, treatment and healthy eating. Look forward to my next one at Sen Wellness.Jessica C.Jessica C.1709904229 ★★★★★ Sen Wellness is the perfect place to go to when you are exhausted by life and need a rest to get back to yourself and work through any difficulties you may be experiencing.There’s lovely yoga and meditation classes every day plus a set schedule which is a great way to structure your day of rest alongside tailored Ayurvedic treatments and healthy food.The place is for me perfect but it’s not like a 5 star hotel so if that’s what you are looking for it may be the wrong place for you.If you are lucky you’ll see some turtles as well.Samath and Francis are great managers and will make sure everything goes well.Kumail S.Kumail S.1709739998 ★★★★★ Beautiful experience, beyond my wildest expectations. Would recommend to anyone interested in Ayurveda and healingNeil W.Neil W.1709656423 ★★★★★ I was fortunate to lead a yoga retreat in early February of 2024. Everything was absolutely spectacular. Sen is a very special place with a beautiful energy that is perfect for retreat and healing.What really makes Sen so special are the people. Every single one of the staff members as well as the ayurveda doctors and all the managers were so kind and always trying to make each experience special. The entire team was led by Sanath and Frances and they were both absolutely wonderful. I can't possibly find enough kind words for both of them. Their leadership and warmth really allowed me to lead the retreat in the best way I could and they were always there for me whenever I needed. Thank you!helen W.helen W.1709279369 ★★★★★ Sen wellness is a perfect sanctuary. The Ayurvedic retreat was insane - I loved every minute of it . Thank youElly GElly G1708444914 ★★★★★ Came here for a yoga retreat with our teacher. This is the place to unwind, do yoga, relax and get Ayurvedic treatment. Ayurvedic drs and therapists are so helpful and friendly. Staff are so warm and helpful. 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Now, back home and 40 days later, I am still profiting from the treatments, the experiences I made and my 40-days-practise that I started, as soon as I arrived home.Here is my deepest gratitude for the gifts I received during this retreat: a wonderful place, a kind, supportive, attentive and friendly team, support and grounding in my personal difficult moments, fantastic and soothing Ayurveda treatments (thanks to the doctors & massage therapists - always there with a smile and advice), delicious food, fascinating ceremonies (an unforgettable experience!), a lot of fun & laughter with other group members...Just to name a fiew.The biggest gift is, that I still have all this in my heart, that I can feel the connection to it. And that the practice of pranayama and meditation starts to become a routine! 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