The Neurologist Who Found Ayurveda to Heal:

The Art of Blending Ancient Wisdom with Modern Science

By Trupti Gokani, MD

The two questions I hear most often are, “How did you discover Ayurveda as a Western medical doctor?’ and “Isn’t it challenging to blend these models in your practice?”

Western medicine can absolutely be blended with the ancient wisdom of the East. In fact, this is the best way to practice if we can respect the boundaries of what each approach can offer. Many wonder how it is that I found Ayurveda in the first place. This is a question that’s not easy to answer as it takes a few moments to explain that it was Ayurveda that found me, at a crucial time in my life, versus me that found this rich, ancient wisdom of healing. 

I was struggling in my early 20s, challenged by nights of insomnia. My issues sleeping were initially quite mild, with an occasional restless night here or there. Soon enough, the restless nights became more persistent. Eventually, I found myself not sleeping at all. This went on for weeks and then eventually into months. I sought the help of a therapist who asked if I was stressed. I told her I was not. My family life was going well. I had healthy friendships along with a significant other who was supportive and loving. Little did I know, at that time, how stress could manifest in our minds and bodies in ways we are unlikely to recognize. 

As the insomnia persisted, I went to see a psychiatrist hoping to find the answers to my sleep disturbances. After eight questions and 10 minutes later, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and given a prescription for Prozac. I immediately felt a surge of uncertainty about that approach. As soon as I got into my car, I ripped up the prescription and decided that I must find another path. I was baffled. To make it even more challenging, I was a first-year medical student and unsure if I should continue my path.

It was then that I began to explore the self-help section of bookstores and came across some beautiful books on mind-body healing. I felt aligned with these authors and felt that the answer must lie within these books. I was drawn to ancient healing methods — and the wisdom of Ayurveda spoke to me in a way that no other teachings had. Learning that I was born into a certain nature and my goal in life was to align with this authentic state made so much sense. The insomnia was a symptom my mind and body were giving me to let me know that I was not in alignment. I began to evaluate my sleep habits, my diet, and even my friends to see if I was making the right choices for my natural state. I quickly applied ancient tools of massage, herbals, yoga, and dietary shifts, and began sleeping again. 

As I continued my medical training and eventually found my way into neurology, I never forgot how impactful this ancient wisdom was to my challenging condition.

I found myself working with migraine patients, along with others who struggled with complex neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions. I realized that for some, Western medicine was essential to control disabling symptoms. For all, I understood that if I could apply the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda to their understanding of manifestation of symptoms, it was another set of tools to give them a more in-depth understanding of why the imbalance began in the first place. Using the ancient model of finding your authentic self with dietary, lifestyle, and mind shifts truly allows the Western approaches to have greater effect. Eventually, as we come more into our balanced selves, the Western tools become less important and our mind, body, and spirit heal. What a beautiful way to practice. 

I am so grateful that Ayurveda found me so that I am able to share this ancient wisdom with the many I meet. I hope that Ayurveda finds you. It has transformed me and the many I have met. Namaste.

An award-winning, board-certified neurologist, Trupti Gokani, MD, has dedicated her life to developing a unique blend of modern medicine and ancient philosophy. By melding these approaches, she’s become a highly sought-after speaker and health coach sharing holistic wellness strategies with larger-than-life media personalities like Dr. Oz, global pharmaceutical giants like Teva, and individuals with a wide range of symptoms, from debilitating migraines to chronic fatigue.

Her book, The Mysterious Mind: How to Use Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science to Heal Your Headaches and Reclaim Your Health, has helped countless readers restore their health and wellbeing.

She’s best known by those on Chicago’s North Shore for her revolutionary integrative approach to treating headache pain. The Zira Mind & Body Clinic’s patients swear by her unique methodology focused on healing the head by identifying the disconnect between the mind and the body. When not in the clinic, Dr. Gokani dedicates her insights to speaking and media engagements aiming to help others understand the “purpose” of their pain and how to heal themselves through a deeper appreciation of the mind-body-spirit connection.

Dr. Gokani earned her medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has certification as a Master Clinical Psychopharmacologist. She is educated in Ayurvedic medicine and transcendental meditation, and has pursued training in Functional Medicine. She has also lectured extensively in the fields of neurology and psychiatry, specifically regarding headaches, mood disorders, insomnia, adrenal fatigue, hormonal issues, and adult attention deficit disorder (ADD). 

Dr. Gokani is available for speaking engagements and media appearances in addition to her ongoing work at the Zira Mind & Body Clinic and private coaching intensives.

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This article appears in: 2020 Catalyst, Issue 1: Healthy, Happy Gut Summit