Understanding Arthritis: The Ayurvedic Perspective

It is estimated that over 350 million people around the world suffer from arthritis. If you are feeling aches and stiffness in your body, experiencing pain and swelling in the joints or are simply have trouble moving around, you might have arthritis.

Because the medications that reduce the pain of arthritis also can have serious side effects, many people are looking into alternative, natural approaches to arthritis. Research has shown statistically significant improvements in patients with arthritis when Ayurveda doctors were allowed to create individualized, patient-specific combinations of herbs and therapies for each person. Why was this a requirement for success?

Ayurveda identifies 3 categories or types of arthritis corresponding to Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas.

Vata Aggravated Arthritis

Those with Vata aggravated arthritis may find that their joints may pop and crack because they are dry. Joints also may feel cold to the touch. With this type of arthritis, joints are painful mostly with movement and usually there is one particular area, which is tender or sore.

Pitta Aggravated Arthritis

With Pitta aggravated arthritis joints there is usually inflammation. Joints become swollen, red and hot to the touch and can be painful even when there is no movement.

Kapha Aggravated Arthritis

With Kapha aggravated arthritis joints also appear red, but the joints feel cool instead of hot. There can also be stiffness in the joints. In this case, pain occurs when one is at rest and movement can actually decrease the sensation of pain. Waking up in the morning after a night without movement can be quite painful for many with Kapha aggravate arthritis.

AMA: The Underlying Causative Factor for All Dosha Types

As mentioned, treatment for arthritis is specific to the dosha that is aggravated. But it is also important to understand that the underlying cause of arthritis is poor digestion. When people make choices in diet, life-style and daily routine that do not support their fundamental mind/body type, one or two doshas, Vata, Pitta or Kapha, can become aggravated. When that happens, the aggravation of doshas interferes with digestion, which in turn leads to the creation of ama, a sticky toxin that results from poorly digested food. Ama accumulates in the colon, from where it gets absorbed into the body and circulates, eventually accumulating in the tissues and joints.

Ama is “colored” by whatever dosha is out of balance: thus there is Vata-aggravated ama, Pitta-aggravated ama and Kapha-aggravated ama. Ama settling into the joints is what causes the symptoms of pain, inflammation and swelling.

If you are seeking alternative approach to dealing with joint pain, the best first step is a consultation with an experienced Ayurveda expert. Using pulse assessment, an expert can locate the root cause of your particular kind of arthritis and design the most effect approach for your specific symptoms and degree of imbalance and accumulation of ama.

Ayurveda Panchakarma treatments address arthritis on many levels. Panchakarma begins with a home cleansing program that starts to loosen and remove impurities, and helps open the channels of elimination in preparation for the more intensive treatments. The treatments themselves are gentle, yet powerful therapies that remove the toxins and impurities from your tissues and help open the channels of circulation and elimination. An individualized treatment program will be designed to specifically address the dosha that is causing problems, as well as removing ama and blockages from the joints and tissues.

For more information on Ayurvedic treatments for arthritis, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

Avoiding Hay Fever: Making a Healthy Transition from Summer to Fall

September is an especially important time of the year for those who suffer from hay fever. You can more fully enjoy the crisp, clear days of the new season by taking simple steps at the beginning of the transition to address Pitta imbalances and impurities that have accumulated throughout the summer.

 

It is important to appreciate the huge changes that occur during the transition from summer to fall — changes both in climactic and doshic influences. As the fall season begins, the predominance of Pitta dosha, which has been steadily accumulating over the summer months, gives way to a rise in Vata dosha. The added influence of Vata can actually result in an upsurge of Pitta disorders; particularly skin disorders, allergies, eye problems and digestive disturbances. This happens because Vata, which is moving and changeable by nature, mobilizes the underlying accumulated Pitta imbalances, which then rise to the surface.

 

Hay-Fever.jpg

Hay fever is particularly common during the transition of summer to fall. It is basically an imbalance in the immune system (a condition called immune hyperactivity.) The immune system mistakes something that is normally benign (such as pollen or dust) as something harmful and releases a variety of chemical mediators, which leads to the painful symptoms of hay fever. According to Ayurveda, it is ama (or toxins) and low immunity that triggers these reactions, as the body tries to purify itself of impurities related to digestive (Pitta) imbalances.

 

Remember, during the summer months our bodies reacted to the high external temperatures by lowering our internal digestive fire. If we did not adjust our eating habits to accommodate our diminished capacity for digestion, it is probable that we accumulated ama (impurities) during June, July and August.

 

For this reason, fall is an ideal time to think in terms of detoxifying the physiology. It is one of the best times to participate in the classical detoxification and purification treatments of Ayurveda, known as Panchakarma. These therapies are designed to strengthen the physiology, remove accumulated impurities and balance the doshas. This allows one to go forward into the fall and winter season with a balanced physiology. If you do not have time for a full Panchakarma program, check with an Ayurveda expert to see if Nasya treatments would be helpful. Nasya is a treatment used to purify the head and neck region.

 

TRANSITIONAL SUMMER TO FALL TIPS

Maintain a Pitta-pacifying diet while it is still hot outside, but also begin to add Vata pacifying behaviors. Make sure you are drinking plenty of room temperature water, but also start sipping some hot water throughout the day.

This is an especially important time to avoid foods that are difficult to digest, such as cheese, non-vegetarian foods, processed foods and cold drinks and ice cream.

To pacify the rising influence of Vata, be attentive to the regularity of your daily routine. Go to bed on time, wake with the rising sun, give yourself a daily oil massage, eat at regular times, and be regular with your mediation practice.

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

www.theraj.com