Ayurveda: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Disorders

Flyer 3Over the years, many guests at The Raj have asked us where Ayurveda fits in with modern medicine.

Modern modern medicine has made important and impressive advances in its management of certain categories of disease such as infectious, surgical, and endocrine disorders. In some cases, however, the modern medical approach does not deal with the root causes of the illness, but rather attempts to correct ill health on the level of the symptoms.

For example, in treating hypertension, drugs are often used to lower blood pressure. But if drug is removed, the blood pressure often returns to its previously elevated state. This is because the medicine did not remove the root cause of the disorder. Not only can this approach allow the underlying disease process to go unchecked, new disorders may emerge in the form of side effects from the medication.

The Ayurveda approach to health is highly suitable for many disorders of modern times, which are recognized to have their roots in abnormalities of diet, lifestyle, and environmental influences, and stress. Research and clinical findings suggest that Maharishi Ayurveda may be the best first-line approach to the prevention and treatment of many of these common illnesses.

Ayurveda views the body not merely as a sophisticated machine, but as a physical expression of an underlying field of intelligence. Ironically, this ancient perspective is actually more in tune with the unified field theories of quantum physics (describing the most fundamental levels of nature’s functioning) than modern medicine. Maharishi Ayurveda identifies this unified field of all the laws of nature as pure consciousness, and postulates that this field can be experienced by the human nervous system as the simplest form of human awareness.

In contrast to the view of contemporary medicine, Maharishi Ayurveda does not regard consciousness as a product of the nervous system. Rather, it sees consciousness as the basis of, and that which gives rise to the entire physiology.

Because of this perspective, Ayurveda understands that the relationship between man and nature is central to the maintenance and promotion of ideal health. Enlivening health in a person is understood to be a process of enlivening the wisdom and the intelligence of nature inherent in every individual. The skill of the Ayurveda expert lies not in “healing”, but in setting up those conditions that allow nature’s healing to take place most effortlessly.

The therapeutic strategies of Maharishi Ayurveda, such as Panchakarma, the Transcendental Meditation technique, Maharishi Light Therapy with Gems, etc., are understood as strategies that enliven the innate self-repair mechanisms of our bodies.

Maharishi Panchakarma or Rejuvenation Therapies (PK)

Panchakarma treatments involve a sophisticated system of purification and detoxification treatments that help to eliminate and prevent the accumulation of physiological impurities. Different procedures are utilized according to the type of imbalance present. Once the imbalance is removed, the body’s own healing mechanisms can begin to function in their normal manner. The rejuvenation and detoxification treatments in and of themselves do not “cure” the disorder. They simply support and promote the activity of the body’s innate self-repair mechanisms.

The Transcendental Meditation program (TM)

This mental technique allows the active mind to settle down and experience its least excited state, pure consciousness. Extensive research has documents a broad range of beneficial effects of TM on the mind, body, behavior and environment. These include the lowering of hypertension, 48% reduction in death, heart attack and stroke and the reduction of trait anxiety.

Maharishi Light Therapy with Gems (MLG)

When suitable light shines through a gemstones such as diamonds, emeralds, rubies, blue sapphires and yellow sapphires, the molecular characteristics and healing properties of the gems get imprinted in the specific frequencies (spectrum) of the transmitted light, and then transferred to the body—enlivening the body’s innate intelligence and restoring balance and health to the physiology.

For more information on Panchakarma, the TM technique or Maharishi Light Therapy with Gems and other Maharishi Ayurveda approaches to health, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa:

www.theraj.com

 

Panchakarma: Sublimely Effective Ayurveda Detox

The ultimate goal of all Ayurveda modalities is to restore balance to the level of biological intelligence in the body and allow the free flow of communication and circulation. This allows perfect coherence of the body’s innate healing mechanisms.

Ayurveda believes that the functioning of the body breaks down as impurities and toxins (caused by diet and poor digestion, stress, environmental toxins and other factors) accumulate in the cells and tissues. Over time these impurities begin to block various channels of the body (blood vessels, lymph circulation, capillaries, cellular pores, etc), limiting the flow of biological intelligence.

Panchakarma is one of the specialties of Ayurveda. Literally translated as “five actions”, Panchakarma is series of integrated procedures that, together, dislodge impurities from the tissues and cells and flush them from the body. This sequence of massage, heat treatments and internal cleansing helps to balance the doshas and allows for a more normalized flow of nutrients, blood, hormones, etc. Developed thousands of years ago to give long life to the the rulers of India, Panchakarma is the cornerstone of rejuvenation programs at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa.

Panchakarma provides the ultimate mind-body healing experience. It restores the connection of any weak or diseased area of the body with the mechanisms of biological intelligence responsible for healing. Sounds intense? It is surprisingly luxurious and gentle, especially considering the profound results that this ancient detoxification treatment provides.

Studies on the effects of Panchakarma have shown reductions in cholesterol levels and a decreased risk of heart disease. Many doctors recommend PK to their patients as a follow-up to chemotherapy, once the patient has regained his or her strength. (The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa recommends allowing 6 months from the end of one’s chemotherapy treatments or radiation treatments before undergoing any Ayurvedic massages and therapies.) Guests have also reported relief from fatigue, depression, digestive disorders, and stress.

A study published in the Sept./Oct. 2002 issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine showed that a 5-day course of Panchakarma treatment decreased blood levels of fat-soluble toxins (such as DDE, PCBs and dioxins) by 50%. Western medicine offers no means of removing these harmful chemicals, which are associated with hormone disruption and immune system suppression.

Panchakarma treatments can be taken for as few as 3 and as many as 30 consecutive days. Participants always begin with a consultation with an Ayurvedic expert who then creates a customized program based on their individual levels of balance and imbalance.

Panchakarma uses three types of therapies:

1) The first group stimulates the release of toxins from the cells using various types of massage, many of which involve herbalized oil.

2) The second group uses heat to dilate the channels of the body, allowing the impurities that were loosened through oil massage to be drawn into the intestinal tracts.

3) The sequence ends with a gentle internal cleansing treatments consisting of either warm herbalized oil or water-based decoctions.1. Shiro#3

This sequence of treatment occurs every day. As an example, one day may start with an herbalized sesame oil massage followed by an herbalized steam treatment, ending with gentle elimination therapy. Another day may begin with a massage with warm rice and milk packs, followed by Shirodhara, the pouring of warm oil over the forehead, followed by elimination therapy. Treatments will vary from day to day, depending on one’s needs.

Never had detoxing felt so good! Sometimes it is hard to remember that behind the pampering there is a powerful restructuring of the physiology taking place. Even though I’m ready to take on the world after my treatments, it’s better to take it slow for a week or so after you return home, so the body has a chance to integrate all the changes.

For me, my yearly treatment is my opportunity to reset my diet and my daily habits. To make the most of your PK treatments, a low-fat, vegetarian diet is recommended starting one week before, and continuing through treatments. If I’ve gotten into any bad habits during the year (sugar, snacks, late nights on the computer) I emerge from my treatments with a new resolve. And the new state of balance in my physiology naturally helps to support that resolve.

I’ve managed to have Panchakarma treatments once a year for the last 25 years. It is like spring-cleaning for one’s house. I can’t imagine going without.

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

www.theraj.com

 

Keeping Cool with Ayurveda Tips

50262018_524e21b23b_zAccording to Ayurveda, the heat of summer is aggravates Pitta dosha, the metabolic principle responsible for energy production, metabolism and digestion. When aggravated, Pitta can give rise to increased anger, ulcers, rashes and other skin problems.

Pitta season starts in mid-June and lasts until mid-October. During this time you may find that your appetite is not as strong as during the cold months of the year. This is because in the winter the body has to provide its own heat, so the digestive fires burns at its brightest. As the outside heat increases, however, our inner fire diminishes. If you find your appetite is less in Pitta season, listen to what your body is telling you.

You’ll want to drink more liquids during the hot months of summer (room temperature to cool is acceptable, but never ice cold) but it is important not to douse the digestive fires by drinking liquids at the end of a meal.

Sunbathing can increase Pitta and therefore should be minimized. According to modern medicine, sunbathing increases the risk of skin cancer—and that risk is greater among Pitta types or those with Pitta aggravation. If you must be in the direct sunlight, wear a hat and sunglasses. The eyes are one of the five main seats of Pitta dosha and excess heat can accumulate there during the summer.

One way to help control Pitta is simply through diet. Pungent (spicy), salty and sour tastes increase Pitta. Sweet, astringent and bitter tastes reduce Pitta. Whether or not to adopt a Pitta-pacifying depends on your constitution and on any imbalances you might have. A trained Ayurveda expert can recommend the right regimen for you. Remember also that the differences among Ayurvedic diets are matters of degree. Whatever the season, we should always include the six tastes in every meal in order to nourish all of our body tissues.

Seasonal Maharishi Ayurveda purification and detoxification treatments, or Panchakarma, are recommended to keep the doshas from unhealthy levels of imbalance. Imbalance of the doshas arises in six successive states: accumulation, aggravation, dissemination, localization, manifestation and disruption. As long as the doshas don’t get past the accumulation or aggravation stage, we can avoid ill-health.

Once the process goes beyond the aggravation stage, however, some symptoms of disease or disorder may be experienced. The traditional rejuvenation treatments of Ayurveda help remove imbalanced doshas, loosening them from localized areas and eliminating them from the body.

For more information on the traditional detoxification treatments of Ayurveda or for information on consultations with Ayurveda experts, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa and Treatment Center:

www.theraj.com

 

 

 

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Preventing Back Pain with Ayurveda

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Have you ever preformed a simple activity like bending over to tie your shoe and suddenly felt stabbing pains in your back? Turns out 8 out of 10 people will suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives.  While modern medicine pinpoints specific causes of lower back pain —poor posture, lack of muscle tone, strain, and stress — Ayurveda sees back pain as a symptom of vata and kapha imbalances, aggravated by a build-up of ama.

This helps explain why the incidence of lower back pain increases with age. Fifty percent of those over the age of 60 experience lower back pain. According to Ayurveda, when we are 60 and over we are considered to be in the vata time of life. So it makes sense that vata imbalances — and their resulting problems — appear more frequently in these years.

In the case of back pain, vata imbalances interfere with kapha’s ability to support and lubricate the spine. This dryness further aggravates vata and leads to stiffness and pain. Let’s look at this in more detail:

Vata and Kapha Imbalances

Each of the three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha) has five subdivisions called “subdoshas” which control particular functions of the body. One of the subdoshas of vata, apana vata, is related to lower back pain. Apana vata is situated in the lower pelvic area and is responsible for the downward moving aspect of vata relating to elimination and menstruation. Chronic problems such as constipation and painful periods may indicate an underlying imbalance that can end up resulting in lower back pain later in life.

When vata becomes aggravated by stress or fatigue, by traveling, by a cold, dry environment, or by too many cold, dry, rough foods, the increased vata influence in the body affects kapha.

One of the subdoshas of kapha, avalambaka kapha, is located in the lower back and heart. It lubricates and supports the spine and the sacrum. This subdosha can “dry out” when affected by apana vata.

When kapha does not lubricate properly the result is dryness in the joints. This can lead to pain, aches, stiffness, etc. This drying influence may also cause difficulties with elimination and constipation.

Ama

Ama —toxins and impurities that accumulate in body—is another factor to be considered with lower back pain. When vata and kapha are aggravated they mix with the ama, creating either a vata-aggravated ama or a kapha-aggravated ama. The ama can become lodged in the joints, blocking joint movement and interfering with the production of fluid lubricating the joints.  This leads to cracking joints, stiffness, pain, loss of cartilage and overproduced bone growth at the joints resulting in osteoarthritis.

Treatment

Effective preventive treatment for chronic lower back pain should include regular stretching, such as yoga exercises.

The authentic, traditional Ayurveda treatments (Panchakarma) offered at The Raj specialize in removing ama and impurities that have accumulated in the joints and tissues.  They also help balance vata, allowing kapha to once again function normally.

Diet

If you are prone to lower back pain, try to avoid eating vata-aggravating foods such as dry foods and raw vegetables. Also avoid root foods, which not only aggravate vata but also have certain properties that can adversely affect joints. To reduce ama, avoid cheese, meat and heavy, fried, or processed foods. Eat your main meal at noon and take a lighter meal in the evening.

Daily Oil Massage

Pacifying vata is the key to keeping everything else in balance. A simple home oil massage each morning can help soothe vata and also help remove ama from the skin tissues.

Relax

Many people find that their back goes out when they are under stress. In a stressful situation the whole body can tighten, tense, and can easily go into muscle spasm, which can push vertebrae out of place. At The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa and Treatment Center, daily practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique is recommended to reduce stress, thereby reducing incidences of lower back problems.

Now we can understand that while back pain may appear to be caused by some specific activity, there has in fact been a long series of events leading up to that particular moment: an aggravation of vata, a disruption of kapha’s lubricating function and a build-up of ama. The good news is that it is not just an inevitable part of growing old.

For more information on programs at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa and Treatment Center visit:

http://theraj.com/pain/index.php

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