Natural Treatments of Long Covid - Part 1

As our knowledge and expertise in treating Long Covid patients has become widely acknowledged, we have quickly become highly sought after for the holistic-based treatment of Long Covid at our London clinic. We are pleased to share this updated version of our previous blog, Successfully treating Long-Covid. Responding to the need for greater support from our patients, we are also delighted to share that we are now offering an empirically backed Long Covid Recovery Programme integrated with bespoke Ayurvedic wellness offerings at our Sanctuary in Sri Lanka.

At Sen Wellness we believe that each one of us has the power to heal, flourish, and awaken to our highest inner potential. After hundreds of successful treatments, we have now crafted a unique, holistic approach to healing symptoms of Long Covid. Harnessing the power of holistic healing modalities rooted in Ayurveda, we have developed a unique programme that has the power to offer hope to those who may be suffering.

Since the autumn of 2020, I have spent much time observing a large number of patients recovering from Covid. During this time, limited data and research were available and there was much uncertainty in symptoms associated with Covid. We are grateful that our blog post offered hope to those who were suffering and encouraged many to seek a holistic natured treatment programme after they were left disheartened by a more conventional approach.

It is profoundly heartening to have reached and supported such a large group of individuals internationally on their road to recovery from what for many has been an extremely trialing, lonely, and misunderstood condition. I would like to dedicate this blog post to all our patients for instilling their trust in us to walk alongside them on their journey back to equilibrium and well-being. 

We are pleased to present this blog post with incredibly relevant information, including feedback from influential academics at the forefront of Long Covid research. It is our hope that this blog offers hope of recovery to those who may be suffering.

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Treatment of Long Covid
Table of Contents

What is Long Covid?

“Long Covid is a condition that seems to elude the best efforts of healthcare practitioners operating inside the NHS, as well as private consultants and Long Covid clinics. My opinion is that a holistic approach to the body and treatment is the only way we’re likely to ’shake the tree’ and elicit significant improvement and help us in our journey of recovery. Sam Kankanamge and his team at Sen Wellness have made an enormous difference to me and my recovery - it’s safe to say that I wouldn’t have been able to continue working the way I have without his efforts. His energy, understanding, knowledge, and intuition are unparalleled and I wouldn’t have the slightest hesitation to recommend his approach for a range of health problems as well as that of Long Covid.”

To begin, I would like to share my experience as well as empirical evidence that my team and I have gathered in treating a large pool of Long Covid patients.

The majority of patients belonged to the 20-45-year-old age group. Common themes among patients were that they were all relatively fit, exercised often, and had busy lifestyles. Many experienced very mild Covid symptoms, however, these symptoms worsened over 4 weeks, developing into Long Covid. In nearly 40 cases, patients had experienced a history of ME/CFS or immune system failure. Lastly, a large group of Long Covid sufferers lived with heightened levels of stress.

Researchers are finding lingering similarities between Long Covid and ME/CFS. Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex condition affecting 1 million to 2.5 million people in the United States alone. It is characterized by a cluster of symptoms, including severe and debilitating fatigue, disrupted and unrefreshing sleep, difficulty thinking (commonly called “brain fog”), abnormalities of the autonomic nervous system, and post-exertional malaise — a flare-up of multiple symptoms following physical or cognitive exertion. (Bindu, Paul, and Anthony Komaroff) Gez Medinger and Dr. Ronald Tompkins MD on “Long Covid vs ME/CFS | Why There’s Much We Can Learn From The Similarities” is linked here.

If you would like to read more about Post-COVID and Long Covid conditions, data from The CDC can be found here.

Symptoms presented high level:

Among our Covid patients, these were the most common symptoms presenting themselves: difficulty breathing, tightening of the chest, and shortness of breath.

Of our Long Covid patients, many reported physical tiredness, lack of energy for physical exertion, difficulty performing everyday tasks such as cleaning the kitchen, and brain fog. The accumulation of these symptoms created an immense amount of both emotional and physical stress.

Other symptoms include:

  • Various types of muscle-skeletal pain: Specifically lower back, shoulder, and neck pain. This often led to headaches and migraines induced by physical misalignment.
  • Abdomen and digestive disorder: This symptom is often presented with inflammation of the intestinal tissue or food intolerance.
  •  Inflammation of myocardial tissue: While not as common, this is worth noting as some experienced inflammation of the heart muscle.
  • Loss of smell and tinnitus were also extremely common.

Further, there is a  large connection between Covid and the microbiome that has been overlooked. Our microbiome is a gateway to our immune function.  It holds the power to fight off infection, and disease, and create natural immunity within our intestinal flora. 

However, due to the Western diet, many of us are exposed to in modern-day life, we have very little microbiome left in the intestinal flora. In many cases, this is due to chemical damage. Chemicals that are present in processed foods, plastic, and beyond all contribute to the deterioration of our flora. In addition, the overuse of antibiotics from a young age also contributes to the deterioration of the microbiome. Less intestinal flora leads to a weaker immune function.

A study shared by Science titled Seasonal cycling in the gut microbiome of the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania expressed the diversity of microbiota within the Hadza hunter-gatherers in comparison to urbanized communities. The data from the study indicated that some dynamic lineages of microbes have decreased in prevalence and abundance in modernized populations. Hence, the microbiota of the hunter-gatherers in Hadza was much more successful in defending the body against covid.

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Common symptoms of Long Covid

Common symptoms explained in depth:

Compromised Sympathetic Nervous System

Through and through we have found that our Long Covid patients present with highly aroused and highly-wired sympathetic nervous systems. Many patients' nervous systems have been in a state of overdrive, a state that triggers a compromised immune system. When the immune system is compromised, it is extremely difficult to fight off infection and disease. For many patients who present with highly aroused sympathetic nervous systems, something as simple as a short walk can trigger sympathetic overdrive. Oftentimes setting off symptoms such as chest pain, inflammation of cardiac muscles, and heart palpitations. Upstate Medical University shared-“Some patients who survive COVID infections struggle with a variety of symptoms after they’ve recovered from the infection, a condition called long COVID. Some of those symptoms are related to the body’s autonomic nervous system, which plays a role in involuntary body processes including heartbeat, blood flow, digestion, and breathing.” (Eldokla, Ahmed)

Inflammation of Bowel & Intestinal Tissues triggered by the Vagus Nerve

Another extremely common finding amongst our patients is inflammation of the bowel and intestinal tissues. From my background in osteopathy, a simple osteopathic examination reveals that these tissues are related to the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the most influential in the parasympathetic system. When activated and properly functioning it can help you better manage stress, reduce cortisol levels, and achieve a better homeostatic balance, which affects all physiological functions of the body, including better absorption of nutrients and digestion, decreased systemic inflammation, improved short-term memory, lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system, produces endorphins that make you feel good, relieves anxiety and depression and can stimulate stem cells. The vagus nerve is something that is often overlooked and not examined in traditional healthcare, but it is vital to your optimised well-being. Similar to our first finding, the vagus nerve is compromised by states of overstimulation to the sympathetic nervous system. When your vagus nerve is compromised it is common to experience anxiety, palpitations, and mood swings. All of these lead to inflammation of the intestinal lining and colon. "'I started seeing Sam for my Long Covid and PoTS a year ago. Through a combination of cranial osteopathy, acupuncture, breath-work, and trauma release he and his colleague Lina have helped my symptoms. At Sen Wellness Centre, you are treated as a person rather than a collection of organs. This holistic approach helped unearth issues with my autonomic nervous system and identified the role of prior traumatic experiences in my symptoms presentation. I would strongly recommend their services to anyone with Long Covid’.” -Dr. Asad Khan

Brain Fog

From an osteopathic approach, brain fog is the result of residual locking and compression of the dural membrane. The dural membrane acts as a protective barrier to prevent viruses from attacking the brain and central spinal cord. When exposed to states of stress, such as being attacked by the virus, the dural membrane releases fluid, leaving it less hydrated, compressed, and inflamed. Thus, limiting space for movement from the brain to the spinal cord, as well as compromising its ability to filter nutrients and fresh blood. Brain fog is often a result of a compromised and inflamed dural membrane. An article published in Forbes recently stated: Although inflammation is a common feature of many infections, viral and otherwise, SARS-CoV-2 elicits a particularly intense inflammatory response. Exactly why remains unclear. What is becoming increasingly clear, on the other hand, is that much of the damage associated with Covid-19 can be traced back to this hyperinflammation. (Haseltine, William)

A Holistic Approach- Restore Equilibrium at our Sanctuary

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Sen Wellness Sanctuary

Being a holistic osteopath with an integrative approach to addressing Long Covid, it has been of the utmost importance to me to acknowledge that symptoms vary from person to person; to understand that each person is unique and requires individualised treatment.

Over 25 years of experience, I have gained a vast understanding of a person’s emotional, mental, and physical profile. Furthermore, the ability to sense and understand the proprioception of tissues in the body; our tissues often present underlying symptoms and lead the way for a recovery program.

I have mindfully crafted a Long Covid Recovery Programme that has proven to be successful. Rooted in Ayurveda, osteopathy, and harnessing the power of ancient healing modalities, I can confidently say it is possible to heal Long Covid and reignite your inner light.

Our Long Covid Recovery Programme is deeply inspired by the Ayurvedic practice, Panchakarma. Panchakarma is the Sanskrit word meaning five actions or five treatments. This ancient system of healing is designed to act as a bio-cleansing regimen that eliminates toxic elements from the body, thereby enhancing the body’s immune function.

 

Resetting the Autonomic Nervous System

The radical elimination that takes place during Panchakarma works as an effective method of healing for those suffering from Long Covid. The treatments make way for the release of toxins, micro-clotting, reducing inflammation on both micro and macro levels, and much more.

Panchakarma acts as a trigger for the autonomic nervous system to reset. During this phase, your nervous system will exit from a state of “fight or flight” and restore your nervous system to a state of equilibrium.

The programme will be tailored to your requirements after consultation with our resident Ayurvedic doctor. Panchakarma will be the main focus of treatments for the reasons shared and will also be aided by complementary modalities such as acupuncture and a bespoke mindfulness programme created in collaboration with our research partners at the University of Humboldt in Berlin. By the end of this personalised 12-day programme set in idyllic surroundings, your mind and body will feel balanced and restored. 

Our Long Covid Recovery programme goes beyond a traditional medical experience. Our goal is to go further, to address traumas and stress associated with Covid and social isolation. Not merely addressing physical symptoms, our intention is also to provide you with emotional support and to introduce long-term lifestyle changes upon returning from the programme. Much care has been forethought into the design of this programme to give you the necessary tools to continue on a new path of well-being. 

For more information on our Long Covid Recovery programme, you can get in touch at 020 7486 3373 or email us at [email protected]

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! I stumbled across this place researching Sri Lanka and it was truly meant to be. The faculties are stunning, comfortable and reasonably priced. Don’t miss an opportunity to come here!Melanie F.Melanie F.1711609773 ★★★★★ A wonderful stay! The staff was so incredible and thoughtful throughout. I left feeling very rejuvenated. Thank you !M U.M U.1710650939 ★★★★★ I had really nice experience at Sen Wellness for 8 nights. Here is in the middle of nature, we can feel that we are a part of nature and it is very natural to live with all kinds of animals and plants. I am now mentally and physically fit.What I really appreciated is food - healthy, everyday different menu, some vegetables that I have never seen… I felt that my feeling of taste transformed through my stay and skin condition and body condition became better.All people here is really kind and peaceful.Yoga teacher, Stefania, is a wonderful teacher, she is really knowledgeable and so kind to care all participants. I had enjoyed conversations with her at breakfast, lunch and dinner.Doctors, therapists are nice, I could ask questions and request whatever I feel comfortable.There are different types of rooms, I experienced the most luxury cabana and eco-cabana with Air Conditioning, too. Luxury cabana was awesome but I liked eco-cabana as well. It was an old facility but authentic, compact and I felt cozy. I was alone in the room so the space was enough for single use. If you wish to have luxury stay, I would recommend you to go for Luxury cabana.Everyone has different purpose and expectations. My purpose was feel nature, have simple life and feel appreciation of life. And it was fulfilled. Thank you so much for all Sen wellness team.sunil D.sunil D.1710516667 ★★★★★ Went to Sen Wellness with family for a retreat, it was a nice spiritual and healthy experience. 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. Frances is the manager at Sen, a person with a beautiful soul who is very sensitive to our needs and intentions when visiting the sanctuary. Saneth (pardon my spelling) is a very dedicated and hardworking gentleman who made sure that our stay was a pleasant one. Highly recommend Sen Wellness Sanctuary 🙏🏽Heike M.Heike M.1708017780 ★★★★★ I stayed at Sen Wellness Sancutary for the festive retreat 23/24 - for me a 10 days commitment to complete immersion. I enjoyed every bit of it already at the Sanctuary! 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! I hope, I can return to this unique place one day.Sally E.Sally E.1707933557 ★★★★★ My stay at Sen Wellness was exhilarating, from the dramatic colours of the sunsets to the naughty monkeys bouncing on the roof of our yoga room then leaping into the jungle. Best of all was watching, after a sunset walk over the wide empty white beach, newly hatched turtles hurtling over the sand to the ocean beyond. Good food, kind smiling staff, excellent and varied company from all over the world at the communal meals, massages, swimming pool, meditation, yoga, it was all pretty faultless and very inspiring.The serene and mesmerising Tseyang from Tibet provided me with a yoga programme I am actually keeping to.Jennifer M.Jennifer M.1707576319 ★★★★★ One of the most relaxing and intriguing stays I’ve ever had. From the moment you walk in to the moment you leave, the hosts and staff anticipate and provide for your every need.The creative Vegan meals, yoga, meditation and daily treatments make this retreat a must-do for anyone who wants to experience an absolute gem.js_loader

Author

Picture of Sam Kankanamge
Sam Kankanamge

Sam Kankanamge BSc (Hons) Osteo, DPO, Dip.Acu is an exceptional, world renowned healthcare professional, with over 25 years-experience transforming patients’ health.