Ayurvedic Treatments Help Combat Heart Disease

 

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Free radicals, or reactive oxygen species (ROS) are fragments of molecules that are electrochemically unstable. They are like tiny molecular “sharks” that damage every living cell and help cause problems such as heart attacks, cataracts, arthritis and cancer.

Pollution, poor diet, smoking, second-hand smoke, alcohol, pesticides, excessive exposure to sunlight, chemotherapy, and stress are know to contribute to the uncontrolled formation of free radicals, which can then initiate chain reactions capable of causing extensive damage to normal cells and tissues.

Free radicals are damaging because they are unstable molecules containing oxygen. Just as oxygen rusts automobiles and contributes to the burning of forests, so the oxygen in free radical molecules “rusts” and “burns” biological molecules within each cell. The resulting damage tears apart cell membranes, destroys the cell’s energy-producing mechanisms and disarranges the genetic code in the DNA.

This damage not only helps cause 80% to 90% of all diseases, but is also produces wrinkles, grey hair, stiffness and other signs of “normal” aging.

Panchakarma Removes Free Radicals, Promotes Heart Health

Studies on the Panchakarma treatments (traditional Ayurveda detoxification and purification therapies) given at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa found that Panchakarma:

  1. Reduces lipid peroxide levels. Lipid peroxides are fat molecules that have been damaged by free radicals. They are thought to be important in the initiation of atherosclerotic heart disease. Lipid peroxide levels in the blood are uses as a measurement of free radical activity.
  2. Balances biochemistry and improves cardiovascular risk factors: a) *VIP (vasoactive intestinal peptide) rose 80% three months after Panchakarma treatment; this is significant because VIP is responsible for dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the heart. b) *HDL, or “good” cholesterol increased 75% three months after treatment. HDL protects against atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and is associate with decreased incidence of heart disease.

It is proposed Panchakarma achieves its results through tree possible mechanisms.

  1. The special, pure oils used in the cleansing program, massage and heat treatments of Panchakarma replace damaging lipid peroxides in the cells.
  2. Panchakarma treatment loosens lipid peroxides from the cells and sets them into the bloodstream from where they can be eliminated.
  3. The deeply soothing and relaxing influence of Panchakarma reduces biochemical stress factors that contribute to free radical formation.

Panchakarma fights free radicals with unique effectiveness. For more information on Panchakarma treatments, visit the The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

 

Improve Digestion, Improve Health—Tips for Healthy Eating

According to Ayurveda, the two most important pillars of good health are diet and digestion. Add proper sleep and you’ve got a very simple template for creating health and vitality. What you eat and how your body processes what you eat are key factors in determining not just your level of health, immunity, but also our emotional mindset.

Did you know that over 90% of our body’s serotonin is located in our digestive tract? And 50% of our body’s dopamine? The enteric nervous systerm (ENS) consists of a mesh-like system of neurons that governs the function of our gastrointestinal system. It manufactures more neurotransmitters than the central nervous system and has been referred to as our second brain. This amazing system alters its response depending on factors such as nutrient composition and bulk. There is no longer any challenge to the statement, “what you are what you eat.”

In addition, according to Ayurveda, if we are not able to properly digest our food, either because of the poor quality of the food we are eating or because of the poor quality of our digestive fire, a sticky toxin (ama) is created that gets absorbed into the body and ends up building up in the joints and tissues, blocking the proper circulation of nutrition and information to those areas. Ama can also trigger an immune response, leading to disorders such as chronic fatigue, asthma, and psoriasis.

Here are some simple Dos and Don’ts for improving your digestion at home:

  1. DO Savor your meals

Don’t divide your attention by reading, working, watching television, and specially driving. Eating mindlessly doesn’t allow you to properly taste and digest your food. You’ll feel unsatisfied and want to eat more, even though you are full

  1. DON’T bolt from the table immediately after finishing your meal.

Sit quietly for a few minutes so that your body can settle into its digestive rhythm.

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  1. DO include all six tastes in a meal

Sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Each taste satisfies a different need. Missing one or more of the tastes can result in cravings.

  1. DO drink plenty of warm or room temperature water throughout the day (although during meals you should only sip water moderately.) Sipping water during the day helps keep the digestive tract flushed of accumulated toxins.
  2. DON’T eat heavy foods

Red meat, leftovers, processed foods and deep-fried foods are either hard to digest or lack energy-giving freshness, and will sit in your digestive tract causing toxins to accumulate.

  1. DO favor light, nutritious foods. Fill up on sweet, juicy fruits and vegetables. The fresher and purer the produce, the better.
  2. DON’T drink cold beverages

Cold drinks and foods douse the digestive fire.

  1. DO eat freshly cooked meals whenever possible
  2. DO visit an Ayurveda expert

An Ayurveda expert can determine your individual mind/body balance and pinpoint any areas of imbalance. An individualized diet and routine will help address imbalances and put you back on the road to health.

10 DO have regular Panchakarma treatments.

Panchakarma, the traditional purification and detoxification treatments of Ayurveda help remove accumulated toxins while nourishing the physiology.

For more information on Panchakarma treatments and programs to improve digestion, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

WWW.THERAJ.COM

Is Aging Necessary? Ayurveda Approach to Maintaining Youth and Vitality.

What is the aging process? In some cases it is the inevitable result of wear and tear on our system. But in many cases, what we consider normal effects of age are really the results of years of accumulated toxins and impurities taking their toll on our bodies.

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Stiffness, chronic disorders, memory loss, insomnia, decrease in skin tone…too often the myriad of problems that confront us in our later years are in fact manifestations of deep underlying imbalances that may have been deposited in our physiology as long ago as childhood. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco, chemicals from food, water and our environment—any of these influences may still be buried deep in our tissues. If fact, the earlier our exposure to these, the more likely it is that their effects are present at deeper, more fundamental levels in our physiology.

Addressing Deep-Seated Imbalances

The traditional purification and detoxification therapies of Ayurveda, Panchakarma, are designed to dissolve and remove impurities from the dhatus or tissues of the body. The longer the program, the deeper level of purification can be provided. At The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa, Panchakarma programs range from three days to 21 days. Over the last years we’ve seen a growing trend towards longer treatments, reflecting the growing need of a maturing population to address deep-seated imbalance that are beginning to show themselves as “signs of aging” or worse, as chronic disorders.

Different levels of Purification: Understanding the Dhatus

To understand the levels of purification it is helpful to understand the Ayurvedic understanding of the sequential creation of tissues in the body. Ayurveda recognizes seven levels of bodily tissues:

  1. Rasa: blood plasma, lymph
  2. Rakta: red blood (hemoglobin, or oxygen-carrying compound)
  3. Mamsa: muscle
  4. Medha: fat
  5. Asthi: bone
  6. Majja: central nervous system and bone marrow
  7. Shukra: ova and sperm

Each tissue level is constantly reformed and nourished on a daily basis. Each level of the tissues nourishes the next. Thus a balanced rakta level can only be created from a fully developed and balanced rasa level, and so on. Impurities within one level of tissue can interfere with the ability to create balanced tissue at the next level.

Levels of Panchakarma

A three-day purification treatment can be very powerful in refreshing and energizing the physiology, ridding the body of day-to-day stress and fatigue. The effect of a three-day treatment would be most likely to be experienced more on the rasa and rakta level of the body.

Longer treatments dissolve ama (impurities) and stresses, and nourish deeper tissue levels; the medha, asthi, majja and shurkra levels. This helps in transforming the vital organs, the brain, nervous system, and eventually the reproductive tissues. As impurities are loosened in each tissue level, more intelligence can flow into these areas. This level of restoration, at the very basis of each organ and tissue, can help reset the essential functioning of the body.

(Although this is not relavant to the theme of aging, you can see why minimum of seven days of Panchakarma is recommended to those who want to have children. Because shurka (ova and sperm) is the final tissue level, nourished by every other tissue level, all seven tissue levels should be healthy and balanced before conception.)

If it is not possible to participate in longer, extended treatments, start with a consultation with an Ayurveda expert to find out your level of balance and imbalance. Ultimately, the most important contribution to our overall state of health is our every day lifestyle. Daily oil massage, the proper diet and routine and herbal recommendations that target specific imbalances can help extend our experience of health and vitality throughout our entire life.

For more information on Panchakarma treatments, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

 

Increased Digestive Power Equals Increased Health

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While many of us put great thought into choosing healthy foods to eat, consideration of our ability to digest our meals is less common. Ayurveda considers good digestion to be central to our health. The best way to maximize the health-promoting benefits of the food we eat is to increase our digestive power.

How do we know if our digestion is working well?

One of the easiest ways to judge the strength of our digestion is to notice how we feel after eating. If we feel light and comfortable after eating a full meal, the chances are good that we are processing our food well.

If we feel dull, heavy, fatigued, or have an uncomfortable feeling in the abdomen, this could mean that our agni, or digestive fire, is weak

Why does Ayurveda consider a strong digestion to be so important?

Our agni, or digestive power, must be strong in order to metabolize our food properly. When agni is strong, the body processes food efficiently, distributes the necessary nutrients to every cell, and burns off and eliminates waste products without leaving any toxins behind.

If our agni is weak, we don’t completely metabolize the food that we take in. The end product of partially digested food is a sticky, noxious residue that Ayurveda calls ama (impurities). When ama is absorbed into our body it blocks the channels of the body, inhibiting the normal functioning of Vata, Pitta and Kapha — the three governing principles of the physiology. One example of ama is the cellular debris that has been observed by Western medicine to build up over time in our body’s cells. This waste material impairs cellular functions and accelerates aging. It could even be a factor in causing the DNA to make mistakes, an etiological component in most cancers.

Because ama contributes to the early stages of many diseases, Ayurveda considers keeping our agni strong and our digestion healthy to be an essential component of prevention.

If you wake up in the morning with a white coating on your tongue, you need to start attending to your digestion. (And buy a tongue scraper to remove the build-up of toxins on your tongue.)

Other signs that your agni needs attention include bad breath and digestive complaints such as constipation or diarrhea.

Tips for Strengthening Agni

  1. Eat a “ginger pickle” before meals. Slice thin pieces of fresh ginger root, then sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Eat a few pieces several minutes before your meal.
  2. Sip hot water throughout the day. Avoid cold or (worse) iced beverages.
  3. Get regular exercise. If you feel sleeping during the day, it is better to take a brisk, 30-minute walk rather than indulge in a daytime nap.
  4. Always eat sitting down and remain sitting for 10 minutes after you have finished your meal.

The traditional Ayurveda detoxification treatments, Panchakarma, offered at The Raj help dislodge toxins from the cells and flush out the ama that has been lodges in the system. The recommendations for diet and daily routine given by the Ayurveda experts will help prevent future accumulation of ama.

For more information on Panchakarma, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

Finding Relief from Chronic Fatigue with Ayurveda

Chronic Fatigue syndrome is an illness that consists of a constellation of symptoms lasting for many months. These symptoms are fatigue, joint problems, muscle tissue pain, trouble focusing, and trouble concentrating. It is sometimes related to a preexisting viral illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. There is no effective treatment in Western, allopathic medicine. But at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Spa, we’ve seen guests who have generally done well with an Ayurvedic approach and have had good results from Panchakarma treatments.

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From an Ayurveda perspective, chronic fatigue is often related to a disturbance of the digestion and an accumulation of ama, or toxins, in the physiology. This causes clogging of the shrotas—or channels—through which energy flows throughout the body. This blockage, or clogging, results in a lack of energy and enthusiasm. Those suffering from this condition should first have a work-up by their physician to make sure that there are not other causes, such as thyroid imbalance or adrenal imbalances. But in the absence of those factors, Ayurveda looks toward the accumulation of ama and poor digestion.

Specific diet recommendations according to one’s doshic balance, together with measures to strengthen digestion, or agni, are the first steps in helping eliminate some of the backlog of ama. Specific herbs can also be used to increase the power of digestion.

Perhaps the most effective means of mobilizing and eliminating toxins is Ayurveda’s traditional purification and detoxification therapy, Panchakarma. These powerful treatments open up the possibility for many chronic fatigue sufferers to find relief. The herbalized heat treatments such as swedena, pizzichilli, and pinda-swedena, open the channels and allow ama to become dislodged from the tissues. The elimination therapy, or basti, then removes the ama from the lower digestive tracts.

Often there is a mental stress that resulted from dealing with on-going chronic fatigue. In this case, we recommend an approach from the level of consciousness, the Transcendental Meditation technique. In conjunction with Panchakarma and appropriate diet, this can help create an effective and complete program to revitalize the entire mind/body system.

For more information on Ayurvedic programs for Chronic Fatigue, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

WWW.THERAJ.COM

Increased Digestive Power Equals Increased Health

familydinnervnd

While many of us put great thought into choosing healthy foods to eat, consideration of our ability to digest our meals is less common. Ayurveda considers good digestion to be central to our health. The best way to maximize the health-promoting benefits of the food we eat is to increase our digestive power.

How do we know if our digestion is working well?

One of the easiest ways to judge the strength of our digestion is to notice how we feel after eating. If we feel light and comfortable after eating a full meal, the chances are good that we are processing our food well.

If we feel dull, heavy, fatigues or have an uncomfortable feeling in the abdomen, this could mean that our agni, or digestive fire, is weak

Why does Ayurveda consider a strong digestion to be so important?

Our agni, or digestive power, must be strong in order to metabolize our food properly. When agni is strong, the body processes food efficiently, distributes all the necessary nutrients to every cell, and burns off and eliminates waste products without leaving any toxins behind.

If our agni is weak, it doesn’t completely metabolize the food that we take in. The end product of partially digested food is a sticky, noxious residue that Ayurveda calls ama (impurities). When ama is absorbed into our body it blocks the channels of the body, inhibiting the normal functioning of Vata, Pitta and Kapha — the three governing principles of the physiology. One example of ama is the cellular debris that has been observed by Western medicine to build up over time in all our body’s cells. The waste material impairs cellular functions and accelerates aging. It could even be a factor in causing the DNA to make mistakes, an etiological component in most cancers.

Because ama contributes to the early stages of many diseases,Ayurveda considers keeping our agni strong and our digestion healthy to be an essential component of prevention.

If you wake up in the morning with a white coating on your tongue, you need to start attending to your digestion. (And buy a tongue scraper to remove the build-up of toxins on your tongue.)

Other signs that your agni needs attention include bad breath and digestive complaints such as constipation or diarrhea.

Tips for Strengthening Agni

  1. Eat a “ginger pickle” before meals. Slice thin pieces of fresh ginger root, then sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Eat a few pieces several minutes before your meal.
  2. Sip hot water throughout the day. Avoid cold or (worse) iced beverages.
  3. Get regular exercise. If you feel sleeping during the day, it is better to take a brisk, 30-minute walk rather than indulge in a daytime nap.
  4. Always eat sitting down and remain sitting for 10 minutes after you have finished your meal.

The traditional Ayurveda detoxification treatments, Panchakarma, offered at The Raj help dislodge toxins from the cells and flush out the ama that has been lodges in the system. The recommendations for diet and daily routine given by the Ayurveda experts will help prevent future accumulation of ama.

For more information on Panchakarma, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

Avoiding Flair-ups of Psoriasis with Ayurveda

Psoriasis is a complex disorder involving both the skin and the joints, which are governed by Pitta and Vata, respectively. While only an Ayurvedic pulse assessment can reveal an individual’s exact needs, imbalances of both Pitta and Vata are usually at the root of this problem.

The end of summer and beginning of fall can be a time when psoriasis can flare up. This is because Pitta dosha has been building up all summer and is at its peak in the physiology. At the same time, increasingly cool fall weather and brisk winds can begin to aggravate Vata. If you have not been taking steps to pacify Pitta dosha throughout the summer, the combination of Pitta and Vata aggravation can trigger episodes of psoriasis.

The accumulations of toxins and impurities in the physiology (referred to as ama in Ayurveda) can also play a role in the outbreak of psoriasis. During the summer months, the physiology reacts to the extreme external heat by turning down its own internal heat. As metabolism decreases, so does the ability to digest food. When we do not properly digest food, a sticky substance (ama) is produced that is not able to be utilized by the body. Instead it builds up in tissues, joints and channels of circulation, blocking the healthy functioning of the body. Unless you adjust your summer diet accordingly, it is easy to create ama during the hot months of the year.

Moving from Pitta season to Vata season does not automatically improve our digestion. In the fall, when Vata becomes more predominant in our environment, the drying quality of Vata can adversely affect our digestion. This combination of accumulated Pitta, increasing Vata, poor digestion and accumulated ama can lead to all kinds of health problems, including psoriasis. Seasonal transitions are known to be especially can be hard on the phsyiology. This is why the ancient texts of Ayurveda encourage Panchakarma (traditional purification and detoxification treatments) at the end/beginning of each season. While quarterly Panchakarma treatments may not fit into our busy modern-day lives, an Ayurvedic expert can suggest to you which seasonal transition puts the most demands on your physiology. Even once a year Panchakarma can help keep the body balanced and functioning properly.

The Ayurveda approach to the treatment of psoriaisis is multi-dimentional, and includes recommendations for diet, daily routine, yoga and meditation to reduce stress, herbal formulas, Panchakarma and other purification procedures.

Home Purification

One purification procedure that you can try at home is castor oil. Castor oil has been used as a home laxative by mothers around the world for many generations. But in addition to being a natural laxative, castor oil can be used to gradually draw accumulated impurities and toxins from the cells and tissues into the eliminative organs. Small quantities of castor oil can be used for this purpose without creating a laxative effect. If a laxative effect occurs, simply reduce the quantity of castor oil.

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Recommended Diet

(Please note that these are general recommendations ~ with severe psoriasis it is better to get individual recommendations from an Ayurvedic expert.)

Avoid Pitta aggravating foods—foods that are sour, pungent and salty. This includes yogurt (except in the form of lassi —and even with lassi, yogurt should be fresh), citrus fruits, fermented foods, junk food and processed foods, red meat, and alcohol.

Favor foods that are sweet, astringent and bitter.

Avoid iced or refrigerated foods and drinks.

Avoid whey.

Avoid sweets, sugary pastries, and chocolates.

Avoid fried foods.

Avoid common table salt.

Avoid all kinds of chiles or pungent spices.

Only take milk with foods with a sweet taste (such a grains). Never drink milk while eating fruit or with meals that contain salty, pungent, bitter, astringent or sour tastes.

Eat your mail meal at lunch. Dinner should be light. Soup and steamed vegetables is ideal.

Pacifying Vata

To pacify the rising influence of Vata, be sure to get 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 about Panchakarma or scheduling a consultation with an Ayurvedic expert, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

Can Ayurveda Help with Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia, a brain disorder affecting the parts of the brain controlling thought, memory and language. About 4.5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s and the number of cases are expected to quadruple by 2050. Ayurveda, the original health science of India, offers much needed knowledge on how to reverse aging trends, even in cases of brain deterioration such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Early detection provides a greater opportunity to delay or reverse the existing symptoms of aging disorders. Ayurveda, offers a comprehensive system of effective interventions.

A consultation with an Ayurvedic health expert using the ancient technique of Ayurvedic pulse assessment can help with early detection. Pulse assessment can help identify specific imbalances in the body which can predispose an individual to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. This individual diagnosis is a powerful tool for designing an individualized treatment program and home recommendations.

Factors Affecting Alzheimer’s

Drugs, alcohol, stress, the buildup of toxins and poor nutrition are all factors whose effects accumulate over time and contribute to the degeneration of our brain’s ability to function properly. While available drugs have been shown to be somewhat effective in reducing some aspects of cognitive decline, changes in diet and lifestyle remain the only proven means of affecting the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s.

Don’t Let Your Brain “Dry Up”

The thousand year-old texts of Ayurveda indicate that with advancing age, the brain and body gradually become more agitated and dry. Alarik Arenander, Ph.D, a UCLA-trained neuroscientist with degrees in Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, and Neuroscience, notes that Alzheimer’s is often associated with marked shrinkage of the brain. “The ‘drying’ effect of Alzheimer’s”, says Arenander, “must be remedied by proper diet, digestion and routine. This is the specialty of Ayurveda.”

Ayurvedic experts can offer individualized recommendations to regain balance in the physiology and nourish the brain in an effort to counteract the brain’s natural “drying” influence and establish an optimum level of mental and physical function.

In addition, Ayurvedic treatments and massages help to increase lubrication and stability and sustain quality of functioning, thereby decreasing drying, agitation and distruption of body and mind. These treatments also remove accumulated toxins and impurities which are associated with the degeneration of optimal functioning of the mind and body.

Toxins linked to Alzeimer’s

A recent study published in JAMA Neurology found that patients with Alzheimer’s had four times as much blood levels of DDT as healthy people. While the findings are not conclusive, researchers believe the chemical increases the chance of Alzheimer’s and may be involved in the development of amyloid plaques in the brain, which contribute to the death of brain cells. Even though DDT has been banned in the US since 1972, the average American still ingests small amounts of the toxic chemical every day.

It turns out that the ancient science of Ayurveda provides the only known means of removing this harmful chemical from the body.

Current mainline thinking is that the only way to eliminate DDT from the body is to let nature take its course. DDT’s half-life — the time it takes to naturally fall to half it’s original value — is 2 to 15 years. But a published research study conducted on the traditional Ayurveda detoxification treatments at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa and Treatment Center in Fairfield, IA showed that 50% of DDE levels (DDE is the by-product of DDT found to be linked to Alzheimer’s) can be eliminated through a 5-day treatment program. To read more about the study visit http://theraj.com/rajresults/index.php

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Ayurvedic Tips to Nourish Your Brain

  • Stay physically active: Recent studies suggest that exercise which raises your heart rate for at least 30 minutes several times a week can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s. One study, conducted at the University of Chicago, looked at two groups of mice. One group was allowed to exercise and the other was not. The brains in the physically active mice had 50 to 80 percent less plaque than the brains of the sedentary mice. In addition, the exercising mice produced significantly more of an enzyme in the brain that prevents plaque.
  • Mental activity: stay mentally alert by reading, playing cards, crossword puzzles and writing.
  • Eat a wide variety of green vegetables and include milk products (only milk contains significant levels of B12 which is absolutely essential for proper nervous system function) in your diet. If you are feeling mentally weak and are experiencing memory loss, have your doctor check your vitamin B levels, especially vitamin B12
  • Include plenty of antioxidants in your diets. Free radicals and oxidative stress are major factors in premature aging. Include plenty of organic fruits and green vegetables in your diet.
  • Include high quality oils in your diet. It is good to sauté spices such as tumeric and black pepper when you use oils. Your brain is composed of over 50% fat. Nervous system tissue is most nourished by oils, especially ghee, or clarified butter. Organic ghee and olive oil are the best cooking oils. Tumeric and freshly ground black pepper have the ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, which helps lubricate the brain. In India, where tumeric is used in great quantity, the rate of Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases are very low.

The treatments and techniques of Ayurveda are based on age-old wisdom of how to maintain perfect balance in the physiology. This ancient wisdom sheds light on how to maintain and promote healthy, youthful brain functioning.

Learn more about Ayurvedic programs to optimize brain functioning at The Raj, Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

Hidden Factors Blocking Your Weight-Loss Efforts?

Most people who lose weight gain it back within a few years – with many regaining even more than they lost. What they may not know is that there may be a number of factors triggering their weight-gain that are beyond their ability to control.

Mind/Body Types

According to Ayurveda, different mind/body types have different body shapes and sizes that are natural  — and healthful — for that particular physiology. The goal of Ayurveda is simply to maintain or restore one’s natural balance. As one restores balance, weight will naturally shift back to what is normal for that particular physiology.

Diet and Digestion

Crucial to maintaining balanced health is good digestion. Suppressing our appetite means suppressing our digestive “fire”. As a result, the food we eat does not get digested or metabolized property. When the body is not nourished properly it begins to send messages to the brain that it is starving. The dieter gets cravings that cannot be ignored. This can lead to binge eating, creating further imbalances and weight gain.

Toxins: Environmental Toxins and Ama

Environmental toxins

Environmental toxins are now being recognized as major contributors to obesity and removal of these toxins may be an effective treatment approach for treatment-resistant or chronic weight gain. Researchers are pursuing indications that certain chemicals, which have been shown to cause abnormal changes in animals’ sexual development, can also trigger fat-cell activity — a process scientists call adipogenesis.

The chemicals under scrutiny are used in many products, from marine paints and pesticides to food and beverage containers. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found one chemical, bisphenol A, in 95 percent of the people tested, at levels at or above those that affected development in animals.

The suspected link between obesity and exposure to “endocrine disrupters,” as the chemicals are called because of their hormone-like effects, has been called “plausible and possible.”

Exposed mice became obese adults and remained obese even on reduced calorie and increased exercise regimes.

Ayurveda offers a time-tested approach to removing fat-soluble toxins that is comfortable, safe, and, in fact, more effective than any other form of purification approach available today. A published research study (Sept./Oct. 2002 issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine) on the Ayurvedic panchakarma (purification) treatments offered at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa in Fairfield, IA showed that  50% of these dangerous toxins were removed with a 5-day program.  No other methods of detoxification have been shown to remove this class of fat-soluble toxins from the body.

Ama

Not all toxins come from our environment. We actually create some toxins ourselves due to poor digestion or poor food choices. Ayurveda refers to the toxins created by poor digestion as ama, a sticky residue that gradually clogs up the cells and channels of the body. This waste material can impair cellular functions and accelerate aging. It can also cause lethargy, fatigue, dullness, erratic eating habits and compulsive eating.

When ama blocks the channels of the body, Vata, the principle of movement, no longer flows property and can become trapped in the abdomen. This can stimulate an abnormal digestive “fire”. As a result, a person feels hungry and begins to eat excessively, beyond their actual need.

The specialized Panchakarma treatments can help “chisel away” impurities and toxins that have been slowly building up in the body over years. Removing these blockages and toxins allows the natural intelligence of the body to become more expressed. Cravings disappear and more natural eating habits are more easily established.

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Five Weight Loss Tips

Ayurveda recommends five actions steps that are helpful for everyone – no matter what your body type. These tips are easy to implement and can bring about great changes in your over-all health and wellness.

  1. Eat a light evening meal favoring easy-to-digest foods (fresh vegetables, soups, grains such as barley and couscous). According to Ayurveda, digestion is weaker in the evening.  Also, going to sleep just a few hours after eating slows digestion, metabolism and circulation. This leads to poor digestion and the accumulation of toxins, fat and promotes excess weight gain.
  2. Eat the largest meal of the day at lunch favoring a wide variety of warm, cooked, organic food. Digestion is strongest at noon and we have many active hours to metabolize the food before we sleep.
  3. Drink warm or hot water frequently during the day. This helps flush the digestion tract of accumulated toxins.
  4. Avoid eating heavy foods such as red meat, leftovers, packaged foods and deep-fried food. These are hard to digest or lack energy-giving freshness. “Eat fresh food, freshly prepared” sums up the essence of Ayurvedic food guidelines.
  5. Move!  Exercise improves digestion, metabolism, elimination, body tone and strength and bone density.  It helps us normalize weight gain. Try to take time every day to get out and walk. It is good to walk 15 minutes or so after eating. Walking after the evening meal is especially encouraged.

The basis of successful weight-loss is a deep understanding of the most fundamental causes of weight gain: imbalance of the doshas, poor digestion and accumulated toxins. Ayurveda offers a time-tested approach that ensures that a comfortable, healthy weight can be both established and maintained.

For more information on Ayurvedic weight-loss programs, visit

www.theraj.com

How We Live Determines How We Age

Is more stress in your future? More than likely, yes. Stress is one of America’s leading causes of disease. Chronic stress breaks out physically as headaches, allergies, ulcers and heart disease. Ultimately, stress wears down the immune system, allowing the body to fall prey to disease. Chronic stress can also lead to mental frustration, anxiety, and ultimately, depression. There’s really no way around it: sooner or later, chronic stress will make us ill.

Science has shown us that by reducing stress not only do we remain healthier as we age, memory and mental abilities remain stronger as well. Researchers have learned that stress can actually damage the hippocampus, an area of the brain governing learning and memory. In short, stress can cause brain damage.

Unfortunately, many people deal with stress by adopting behaviors that end up increasing their stress load. Turning to “comfort food”, staying up late to watch TV or read or to catch up on work, drinking caffeinated drinks and energy drinks, relaxing with alcohol… All these “quick fixes” actually end up putting more stress on the body’s systems.

This is why preventive health centers like The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa, which incorporate stress reducing techniques and alternative therapy strategies, are becoming more and more important. While most agree that prevention is the future of health, the key question is how to take people from the stage of talking about the importance of diet, meditation, and exercise to the stage of actually doing something about it.

In-residence experiences take away the excuses. They take a person away from habits, distractions, and immediate sources of stress. Out of sight helps you to be out of the minds of your co-workers and even your family. I can’t tell you how often we’ve heard guests exclaim over the unexpected experience of being taken care of — because they are so accustomed to always taking care of others.

At the heart of The Raj programs are the traditional Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatments, designed to remove imbalances and impurities from the body and to rejuvenate the mind and body. These therapies detoxify the body, rejuvenate the internal organs, lubricate joints, release toxins, stimulate the body’s lymphatic system, and relax the muscles.

The Raj also offers guests instruction in the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM). The physiological response during TM has been found to be the exact opposite of the body’s stress response. As the mind experiences quieter, subtler levels of the thinking process, the body gains a state of profound rest, much deeper than ordinary relaxation.

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Research has found that the practice of the TM technique results in the normalization of hormone levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, cardiovascular health and brain functioning. The body starts to maintain a more rested, calm and energetic style of functioning even outside of meditation, making us more resilient to stress.

Published research shows that just one year of regular practice of the TM technique can be the antidote to stress and its detrimental effects. Even short-term practitioners of this meditation have, on average, a biological age five years younger than their chronological age. Five years of TM practice results in a biological age 12.5 years younger than the practitioner’s chronological age.

Guests at The Raj participate in daily Yoga classes, learning a simple set of yoga exercises that can be fit into almost any schedule. Yoga has been shown to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate.

When guests return home from an in-residence experience, they should know how to eat, handle stress and how to live a life that supports health and happiness. Studies on twins have shown that only 20% to 25% of what determines how long we live is genetically determined. This means 75% to 80% must be due to our lifestyle, diet, environment, etc. At The Raj guests adopt an Ayurvedic daily routine; a routine that is in tune with the cycles of nature. Integrating these principles into one’s daily life supports healthy changes in body, mind, and consciousness. The Ayurvedic routine helps to establish balance in one’s constitution, regularizes a person’s biological clock, and aids in the digestion, absorption and assimilation of food, leading to a healthier and more resilient physiology.

Staying healthy makes more sense than trying to cure illness. It is never to early or too late to start a healthy lifestyle. If you find yourself struggling to maintain balance in your life, consider treating yourself to an in-residence experience.

For more information on in-residence programs at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa, visit the website:

www.theraj.com