Ayurveda: Bringing Healthy Babies into a Modern World


Today I’m going to look at two crucial ways that Ayurveda can help to bring healthy children into the world. One involves improving fertility; the other involves promoting the healthy brain health of fetuses and babies.

Falling sperm count is a serious modern problem. Back in the 1990s, Danish researchers reported “a genuine decline in semen quality over the past 50 years”, with possible implications for male fertility.

Numerous studies have linked this phenomenon to BPA, a chemical found in many plastics used to make food containers, bottles and coatings in tin cans. It is also commonly used in thermal paper in cash register receipts. Researchers claim BPA can disrupt hormones, raising the risk of a wide number of health problems such as diabetes, obesity and cancer — and disrupted sperm production. A recent Washington State University study indicated that the chemical “disrupts the delicate DNA interactions needed to create sperm.” BPA also has the potential to harm infants and the fetus. The chemical has already been banned in baby bottles in Europe because of safety fears.

The second and equally disturbing concern is the high “body burden” of toxins carried by women of childbearing age: toxins that can harm the brain development of fetuses and babies.

While the commitment to organic food and natural materials is steadily increasing around the world, we are still faced with the legacy of industrialization: a level of toxic exposure that has serious implications for future generations. Studies have focused on the three pollutants (lead, mercury and PCBs) because they are especially pervasive and persistent in the environment. Scientists identified specific risk factors to fetal and infant brain development for children of women with higher blood levels of these chemicals.

And studies show that as women grow older, the blood levels of chemical toxins increase exponentially. Women aged 30 – 39 had a 12 times greater risk and women aged 40 to 49 had a risk 30 times great than women aged 16 – 19.

The reason that risk increases with age is because the toxins accumulate in body over time. PCBs and BPA are fat-soluble chemicals. They bind to the fatty lipid layer that surrounds every cell in the body. This is where the ancient detoxification treatments of Ayurveda provide unique benefits.

In a study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine in its September/October 2002 issue have shown that Maharishi Ayurveda Panchakarma therapy offered at The Raj, Ayurveda Health Spa greatly reduces the levels of 14 important ˜lipophilic’ (i.e. fat-soluble) toxic and carcinogenic chemicals in the body, which would otherwise remain in the body for a very long time. Studies founded by the National Institute of Health and conducted by Maharishi University have shown that person’s receiving Panchakarma treatments had a 70% reduction of heavy metals, pesticides and other hazardous chemicals than the general population.

These are the only treatments that have been proven to reduce the levels of fat-soluble toxins in the body.

For both women and men considering parenthood, a serious commitment to reducing the levels of toxins would be considered at least three months before trying to conceive a child.

The Raj offers a pre-conception and infirtility program that includes individualized treatments, diet, life-style recommendations and herbal preparations. For more information, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:


Ayurveda Beauty Tips

For many of us who are braving the harsh winter weather, keeping skin soft and glowing can be a challenge. Here are some year-round Ayurvedic beauty tips for all skin types.




Vata types have dry, thin, delicate skin that in prone to wrinkles and can become rough or flakey.

Vata-types should bathe in water at body temperature. Water that is too hot or too cold can be harmful to delicate Vata skin. Do not use harsh cleansers of cleansers with chemicals

Morning massage with warm sesame oil sooths Vata and protects the skin

Avoid extreme cold. Protect the face and head in cold and windy weather. Hats and earmuffs are a must!

Go to bed before 10:00. Fatigue aggravates Vata. A late night will show on a Vata face the next morning.

Light exercise brings out the best in a Vata type. Too much exercise can cause premature aging. Listen to your body and stop if you are straining

Avoid caffeine.


Pitta types have reddish skin with freckles. Their skin is sensitive to the skin and prone to rashes or breakouts.

Bathe with water a little cooler than body temperature.

A pre-shower massage with olive oil or sweet almond oil will help cool Pitta and moisturize the skin.

Avoid spending time in the sun, especially between noon and 2:00 p.m. Pittas are more prone to skin cancer than others.

Follow a moderate exercise program. Never exercise at mid-day. Early morning exercise is ideal for Pitta-types.

Avoid spicy and fried foods. These aggravate Pitta and increase redness and breakouts.

Minimize intake of caffeine.

A few drops of rose oil in an aroma pot will help Pittas sooth both body and emotions.


Kapha types have smooth, pale skin that is prone to oiliness

Bathe in water a little warmer than body temperature.

Don’t use heavy moisturizers, which can clog pores.

Morning massage with sesame oil is beneficial for Kaphas.

Once a week massage with raw silk gloves to enliven the circulation and reduce excess Kapha.

Kaphas need exercise. Develop a regular workout program. Kapha gives strength and stamina when balanced but can lean to lethargy and weight gain when imbalanced. Find a Pitta friend to help motivate you.

Get up early! Kaphas can go to bed a bit later than Vata and Pitta types but getting up at 6:00 is a must!


Eat lots of green leafy vegetables, coconut, carrots and sweet juicy fruits. These fruits nourish the outer level of the skin and provide an abundance of vitamins A, C, and E.

Drink lots of water! This is very important in the winter, because of the drying effects of most heating systems. Hot water is best for Vata and Kapha types. Pitta types may do better with room temperature water. Don’t drink iced drinks and avoid carbonated beverages.

Sweet almond oil is a good moisturizer for almost all skin types. Pat on after washing the face, then blot with a soft tissue. (Whenever using anything new on your face, try a small amount on the neck area first to check for sensitivity.)

For a gentle, nourishing natural cleanser you can make at home, grind masala dal (check out your local health food store or Indian grocery store) in a powder and soak in milk for 1/2 hour. Make a thin mixture to wash with or make a thicker paste to use as a facemask. Rinse off with water at the appropriate temperature for your skin type. Never use hot water on your face.

Stress is a major factor in the aging process. Daily meditation quiets the mind, releases stress and allows the body to produce anti-aging biochemicals.

An Ayurveda expert can give you more specific details on your specific body type and imbalances than may require more individualized recommendations. For information on consultations and/or Ayurveda skin and beauty treatments, contact The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa:


Tasty Recipes to Balance Vata: Chapatis and Chutney

During Vata season digestion may be weakened because of the fluctuating characteristics of Vata. The integration of chapattis (flat breads made without yeast) and chutney into your meals can help promote good digestion and pacify Vata.



Ayurveda does not recommend yeasted breads because yeasted breads can promote ama (toxins) in the body. Yeasted breads can be difficult to digest and can aggravate Vata and cause bloating. The ideal bread is non-yeasted and made freshly at meal-time. Chapatis are enjoyed best piping hot from the stove.

The following recipe makes 12 individual servings

2 cups unbleached white flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 – 2//3 cup of warm water.

Step 1

Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Gradually add water until dough forms a firm ball.

Step 2

Dust the ball of dough with flour, cover and let set for 30 minutes. (This is an important step in increasing the digestibility of the chapatti)

Step 3

Cut the dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Put the ball onto a floured surface and use a rolling pin to create a 6 inch circle.

Step 4 — for those with gas cooktops

Place the chapati on a heated griddle or frying pan. Cook about 1 minute on each side.

Step 5 — for those with gas cooktops

Put the chapatti directly on the flame of a gas burner and cook until the bread puffs up.

Step 4 and 5 for those with electric cooktops

Take a clean kitchen towel and bunch the corner into a ball.

Place the chapati on a heated griddle or flying pan. Cook the chapatti until you see the surface become slightly darker in color. Flip the chapatti over and look for bubbles to form. Once the bubbles form, flip the chapatti again and quickly begin pressing the chapati with the cloth ball until the dough balloons. Flip once and remove.


RAISIN-GINGER CHUTNEY (A specialty of The Raj)

This chutney makes a tasty addition to meals and acts to stimulate the digestive fires.

Combine in a food processor:

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/3 cup orange juice

3/4 cup chopped, pealed fresh ginger root

1/2 cup raisins

For information on Ayurveda, Ayurveda consultations or Ayurveda treatments, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa web site:


Keep Balanced in Winter with Ayurveda


By the beginning of February, those who live in northern climates have reached their peak of Vata aggravation. Months of cold, dry, windy weather results in an increase of those same qualities within our physiology: dryness, coolness, movement and quickness. Once our Vata becomes imbalanced we can start experiencing problems sleeping, aching joints, emotional instability, less mental clarity, dryness of the skin, increased sensitivity to the cold weather and a low frustration level.

With months of cold weather still ahead of us, this is the time to adopt a diet and daily routine that will help settle Vata. One key to balancing Vata is regular routine—eating and going to sleep at the same time, for example. Going to bed early on a regular basis is actually one of the most powerful tools available for balancing Vata.

You may find yourself thinking more about food than you did last summer. When the cold, dry weather of winter begins to aggravate Vata dosha, we naturally crave hotter, more unctuous foods that help counter this effect. An increase in appetite is also the natural result of the cold weather—it tends to cause our digestion fire to increase. As long as you don’t eat more than you can easily digest, large portions at meals can help keep Vata in balance.

One very important point is that the food we eat in the winter should always be warm. Never eat or drink ice-cold food or beverages. Oil is our friend in the winter. Using olive oil and ghee in our meals will help counter the drying effects of Vata.

Along this same line of thinking, daily oil massage with sesame oil is particularly helpful in the winter. The warm, unctuous quality of the oil is the perfect antidote to the cold, dry qualities of Vata. If you are Pitta by nature, you may prefer coconut oil or olive oil, as sesame oil is naturally heating. Ideally you should heat your oil before applying it. Letting your bottle of oil float in hot water for a few minutes will bring the oil to a nice, soothing temperature. Try to keep the oil on for a while before jumping into the shower or bath. 10 minutes letting the oil soak into your skin is ideal.

Vata imbalances often lead to constipation. Remember to drink plenty of warm fluids during the day. Drinking two glasses of warm water when you wake up can help stimulate bowel functioning. Hot water with black salt can also be helpful in this area.

It is easy to find oneself becoming sedentary during the colder months. Be sure that you incorporate Yoga or some kind of gentle stretching exercise into your routine, as well as other comfortable and easy exercise. Don’t strain or over-do in your winter exercise routine. Spring is a much better time for vigorous exercise, as that is the time when Kapha is increasing and we naturally have more strength and stamina.

If you find that diet, lifestyle and self-massage are not helping, it may be that your Vata imbalance has gone deep into the tissues. In this case Panchakarma, the traditional rejuvenation treatments of Ayurveda, are recommended. Panchakarma removes Vata from the tissues by using various herbal decoctions and oil preparations in combination with specialized treatments to treat the root of the Vata imbalance.

For more information on Ayurveda consultations and Panchakarma treatments, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa web site: