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

Ayurveda Provides a Leading-Edge Approach to Arthritis

Ayurveda often connects joint pain to Vata dosha. While other factors contribute to the development of arthritis and joint pain, an imbalance in Vata dosha is almost always involved. For this reason, one of the most important Ayurvedic recommendations for balancing Vata is regularity in one’s daily routine: eating at the same, exercising at the same time, and going to bed at the same time every day.

Modern science now lends strength to this seemingly simple Ayurvedic “fix”.

Research studies conclude that regular meal times, exercise and bed times could help keep help avoid and/or minimize the pain of arthritis. According to researchers, tiny biological clocks exist within our cartilage cells, which control thousands of genes that are involved in keeping in keeping our cartilage healthy and strong.

The most common form of arthritis is caused by the wear and tear of cartilage that helps our joints withstand the strain of lifting, kneeling, bending, gripping, etc. When the biological clocks in our joints are working properly, the genes are timed to be activated at different times of the day and night. This allows the daily repair to happen in progressive and sequential steps.

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As we age, however, our biological clocks in our joints can stop working properly and the repair process no longer gets carried out as it was designed. Researchers found that the simple act of keeping a regular daily routine actually helped keep the cartilage clocks working properly, allowing them to support the self-repair of the cartilage.

The study concluded that not only can a regular routine delay the onset of arthritis, it could also help relieve pain in those already suffering from the condition.

Ayurveda has long understood the role that the body’s circadian rhythm (our built-in body clock) has in maintaining proper functioning of the physiology. Now modern science supports this understanding disruptions to this process can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.

In many cases, wear and tear in the joints are aggravated by the accumulation of ama. When ama, the toxic residue that results from poorly digested food, enters the blood stream, it can build up in areas of the body, including the joints. To remove ama from the joints and tissues, the traditional Ayurvedic treatments for purification and detoxification, known as Panchakarma, can be very helpful. These treatments help bring the aggravated doshas and accumulated ama back into the digestive tract for elimination. Once ama has been cleared, a program of prevention can be recommended. This will include lifestyle, diet and herbal recommendations that will help keep Vata in balance while supporting proper digestion so that ama no longer accumulated in the body.

For more information on programs for arthritis at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa, visit the web site:

www.theraj.com

Relieve Joint Pain with Ayurvedic Massage

Joint pain can be debilitating, limiting activity and affecting many aspects of life. While there are medications that can help manage the pain, these often tend to have temporary effects and in many cases, severe side effects. Ayurveda offers a natural approach to pain relief without any harmful results.

Joint pain and arthritis are usually associated with Vata imbalance and often include a build-up of ama, or internal toxins. Following a Vata-pacifying diet, getting to sleep on time, and being regular with one’s daily oil massage can often help reduce symptoms of Vata imbalance.

Ayurveda also offers a number of helpful massages that can be enjoyed either as a part of Panchakarma treatments, or as day spa treatments. A consultation with an Ayurveda expert can help you to decide which approach could best help with your specific condition.

Abhyanga: This is a two-technician, synchronized, full body massage with herbalized oil that lasts about 45 minutes. The herbalized oil is selected according to your specific level of balance or imbalance. The massage is done in seven standard positions so that all the joints and large muscles are addressed.

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Benefits: Most Ayurvedic massage is done by two therapists working in synchrony on either side of the body. This is said to help balance the left and right sides of the brain. The oils lubricate joints and release toxins, while the gentle, rhythmic strokes stimulate the body’s lymphatic system and relax the muscles. After receiving this treatment for a number of consecutive days, the body begins to absorb the oils, which help lubricate the many channels of the physiology and remove deep-rooted toxins.

Abhyanga helps to relieve joints and muscles from stiffness and pain. The treatment increases blood circulation, which in turn encourages the removal of metabolic wastes and toxins. It is often recommended for anxiety, fatigue, circulatory disorders, rheumatism, arthritis, and backache. It helps in treatment of sleep disorders and induces a general sense of well-being.

Pizzichili: Pizzichiil literally means “squeezing”. During this treatment, warm oil is pumped through hoses that are held by technicians as they perform a synchronized massage. Guests have described this massage as “river of velvet” that both heats and relaxes the body.

Benefits: Relieves body pain and muscle spasms, helps preserve and promote optimum health, increases immunity, and promotes health of muscles. The massage also helps ensures improved blood circulation. A soothing and relaxing procedure, it is very useful for rheumatic disorders, arthritis and, diabetes. It can also be very effective in helping with symptoms of asthma.

Pinda Swedana: This massage involves massage of the body with boluses of cooked rice. The rice is first cooked with milk and an herbal decoction. This is a strengthening fomentation that can be helpful with a number of neurological disorders, rheumatism, arthritis, joint pain, and even injuries. This therapy is done in the seven standard positions.

Benefits: Strengthens the body, rejuvenates the tissues, improves muscle tone, improves blood supply by cleansing the channels of circulation, and is traditionally said to be effective with diseases of the nervous system and others such as chronic rheumatism, osteoarthritis, and gout. It is said to make the body strong and sturdy, nourish the body, and increase immunity. It also gives softness and luster to the skin.

External Basti: A well of dough is built around the affected area. Warm, herbalized oil is then poured into the well. Various bastis include:

Kati basti for back pain

Hridaya basti for heart problems, emotional or physical

Griva basti for neck pain

Merudanda basti for spine health

Janu basti to address knee pain

Shiro basti (on the top of the head) for emotional stability, insomnia

If you are looking for relief from particular symptom or disorder, schedule a consultation with an Ayurveda expert to see what massages can help. Often a mixture of two or three massages is recommended. For more information on Ayurvedic programs for joint pain, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

http://www.theraj.com

How Ayurveda Can Help Prevent Asthma, Arthritis and Heart Disease

The Ayurvedic approach to creating health has two goals: to restore balance to the level of underlying biological intelligence and to open the channels of communication and circulation. This helps bring re-establish the lively coherence between biological intelligence and the material level of the physiology.

Enhancing Mind-Body Coordination

At its deepest level, the body is a network of intelligence that is constantly being influenced by our mental state. In fact, Ayurveda holds that all health problems are ultimately due to “mistakes of the intellect.” This is because in the mind-body system that constitutes our selves, “consciousness is primary and matter is secondary”. Enhancing the body’s connection with the network of intelligence at its source is the most important step in creating ideal health.

Diet and Proper Routine of Life

Proper routine of life is also a prerequisite for health. In the majority of cases the imbalances at the basis of disease are created over time by simple life-style mistakes in diet, exercise and behavior that disrupt natural biological rhythms.

Our diet and daily routine of eating, sleeping and exercising determine whether we become stronger and healthier day by day or whether we create imbalances that continually grow toward disease. Without proper diet and routine of life, the effectiveness of any treatment program, whether it is a Western medicine approach or an natural medicine approach, will be greatly reduced. This is because the true cause of most diseases and disorders will continue to exist. The primary goal of an Ayurvedic program is to help structure day-to-day behavior so it has a balancing and strengthening effect on health. (See our blog, Staying Healthy with an Ayurvedic Routine)

Internal Cleansing

Impurities blocking the channels of circulation and communication are a major factor in the body losing contact with its own network of intelligence. Most blockages develop gradually over time due to poor digestion, which leads to the creation of impurities (referred to as “ama”), and poor elimination, which allows the impurities to be absorbed into the system.

Improving digestion and elimination and removing accumulated impurities is an important step in your Ayurveda health program. This can be achieved by simple internal cleansing therapies that can done at home can be prescribed by an Ayurveda expert, depending on your individual state of health and balance. For more profound internal cleansing, the traditional detoxification treatments, called Panchakarma, are recommended. (Read our blog on Panchakarma)

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The following examples describe how an accumulation of ama can be at the basis of various diseases.

1)Arthritis: When ama starts to accumulate in the joints, this can create an inflammatory and immune response that creates the symptoms of arthritis.

2) Asthma: When ama accumulates in the lungs, impeding the circulation in that area, the body can both accumulate more allergens and also become more sensitized to those allergens.

3) Cardiovascular disease: Modern medicine describes how impurities block the cardiovascular system. When the accumulating impurities are high in free radicals, they become very reactive with the blood vessel walls and damage them.

For more information about specific disorders and how Ayurvedic programs can help restore balance, contact the Vedic Health Office at The Raj, Ayurveda Health Spa:

www.theraj.com

Agni vs Ama; the Battle for Good Digestion

In the daily drama of digestion, the two main players are Agni and Ama. -2

Agni, the digestive fire, takes the role of hero in the story. When Agni is burning brightly and steadily, then digestion takes place normally.

When Agni s diminished for any reason, then the villain, Ama, starts to collect in the digestive tract. Ama has opposite qualities of the firey agni. Cold and sticky, a toxic waste product of incomplete digestion, Ama collects in the tissues and creates imbalance wherever it spreads.

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Two other factors are critical to the digestive process: the quality of the food and the way it is eaten. Even if a person had strong Agni, Ama could still be created if the person eats the wrong kind of food or eats in a hurried, unsettled manner.

Good digestion is central to health. Many diseases may arise from poor digestion. When Agni is low and the food is not prepared and eaten properly, then Ama collects in the digestive tract and travels to other areas of the body where it forms the basis for the disease process. Lowered immunity, aching muscles and joints, arthritis, and fatigue may indicate a build-up of Ama. When Agni is at a normal level, it tends to burns up Ama, creating a state of balance throughout the entire system.

And when digestion is functioning flawlessly, Ojas, the final product of digestion, gets created. Ojas is the finest material aspect of the body—the link between consciousness and matter. (We’ll talk more about Ojas next week.) Ojas is responsible for establishing and maintaining balance in the mind/body system. The more Ojas your body produces, the greater your health, immunity, and happiness.

How can you tell if your digestion is running smoothly? One of the main ways to tell is how you feel after eating. A feeling of dullness, heaviness, and fatigue after meals, or symptoms such as gas or bloating, usually indicate poor digestion.

On the other hand, if you feel lightness and bliss after eating, you’re probably producing Ojas.

Another way to tell if your digestion is in good shape is by how your tongue looks in the morning. Ama tends to collect on the tongue, and if the tongue is heavily coated, it is a sign that Ama is present elsewhere in the body. If the tongue is pink and clear, then digestion is probably functioning well.

Other signs of improper digestion are bad breath, body odor, constipation, or diarrhea.

Simple Tips for Strengthening Digestion

Eat your main meal at noon

Eat light at night

Try to maintain regular meal times

Don’t snack between meals

Go to bed by 10:00

The most accurate way to tell how your digestion is functioning is through pulse assessment. Experts trained in the sophisticated technique can detect irregularities in digestion even before they manifest into symptoms. They can also pinpoint where Ama has built up on the body and identify imbalances throughout the body. For more information on Ayurveda consultations, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

Ayurveda Approach to Arthritis: Individualized Programs Improve Success

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.

istock_rf_photo_of_arthritis_pain_in_hand

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.

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. Because of a person’s underlying constitution, diet, life-style and daily routine, Vata, Pitta or Kapha can become aggravated. When that happens, that aggravation of doshas interferes with digestion, which in turn leads to the creation of ama, a sticky toxin. Ama accumulates in the colon from where it gets absorbed into the body and circulates, eventually accumulating in the tissues and joints.

The ama is “flavored” 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 see 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 loosed and remove impurities and helps open the channels of elimination in preparation for the more intensive treatments. The treatments themselves are gentle, yet powerful cleansing 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.

Some of treatments used in dealing with arthritis are:

Pizzichilli

In this treatment a continuous stream of warming herbalized oil is poured over the entire body. The oil soaks through the skin, penetrating deep into the body’s tissues. This softens the skin and mobilizes impurities. It also helps to balance Vata dosha and ease stiff joints.

Pinda Swedan

Boluses filled with a mixture of rice cooked with milk and Ayurvedic herbs are used to give a full-body massage. This treatment balances the physiology, and strengthens and nourishes the muscles and joints. It is often recommended for with those with joint pain from arthritis as well as those suffering from joint and muscle pain caused by accidents and injuries.

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

www.theraj.com

The Raj treatments for arthritis