Environmental Toxins Can Cause Weight Gain— How Ayurveda Can Help

The customary approach to weight loss is that one is overweight because one eats too much, exercises too little, and/or is destined by genetics to gain weight. While these are indeed contributing factors, the prevalence of environmental toxins that adversely affect metabolism is now seen as important part of the obesity epidemic. Removal of these toxins is being recognized as an effective treatment approach for treatment-resistant or chronic weight gain. Ayurveda offers a time-tested approach to removing environmental toxins that is comfortable and safe. In fact, oddly enough, this ancient approach is actually much more effective than any existing modern form of purification.

More than 80,000 chemicals are currently a part of our U.S economy. Only 200 of these chemicals have been tested for safety. Yet dozens of studies have shown the deleterious effects of these environmental pollutants, pesticides, plastics, and food additives.

Specifically relating to obesity, researchers have found that certain environmental chemicals act as endocrine disruptors that alter fat production and energy balance, leaving some people more susceptible to weight gain. These compounds work in different ways. Some alter adipogenesis—the process of creating fat cells—causing people to have a greater numbers of fat cells, a bigger size of existing fat cells, or abnormal fat cell distribution. Other toxins alter levels of the appetite-regulating hormone leptin, or increase the activity of estrogen. Many researchers feel that exposure to chemical may have damaged many of the body’s natural weight-control mechanisms.

Scientists estimate that the average person has at least 700 environmental chemicals in their body. Many of these chemicals are fat-soluble and build up in the body over years. “Fat-soluble” means they adhere to our fat tissues — and can stay there for up to 30 years. When we lose weight, reducing the amount of fat in our bodies, these chemicals are not necessarily removed along with the fat. Rather they can get reabsorbed by other fat cells. This creates a vicious cycle—the body gains weight because the natural metabolism has been disrupted by chemicals; the process of losing weight ends up increasing the concentration of chemicals in the body, further altering the body’s natural functions.

A published study on the traditional purification therapies of Ayurveda (Panchakarma) offered at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa showed that blood levels of fat-soluble toxins decreased by 50% after a 5-day program.  Currently a modern technology doesn’t offer any method of detoxification that can remove this class of fat-soluble toxins from the body.

Once these chemicals are eliminated from the body, people can avoid increasing their toxic load through specific lifestyle changes: Drinking filtered water, changing to stainless steel (rather than coated “non-stick”) cookware, buying organic food and clothing, and switching to natural household and personal care products are all recommended.

Self-care cannot be overlooked—developing healthy sleep habits, adding relaxation and meditation to the daily routine, and engaging in regular exercise all allow for more effective detoxification and improve overall quality of life.

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The benefits of weight loss cannot be overstated—a reduction in risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.  And all of the other factors associated with weight-gain need to be considered: issues of overeating, lack of physical activity, poor food choices, and genetic metabolic issues. However, we can no longer ignore the impact of environmental toxins on weight gain and obesity.

The Raj Ayurveda weight loss program can produce dramatic shifts in body composition, along with better blood sugar balance, healthier lipid levels, and improved liver enzyme function. People who had previously been unable to lose weight may find that they’re able to break through the weight loss resistance.

For more information on The Raj Ayurveda weight-loss programs, please visit The Raj website:

www.theraj.com

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

 

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

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, 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

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

Can Ayurveda Help Prevent Colds and Flu?

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The Ayurveda approach to protecting oneself from colds and flus involves boosting the overall immune system of the body. One of the key approaches is through Panchakarma, the traditional purification therapies of Ayurveda. Panchakarma effectively eliminates toxins from the body and is recommended both for healthy individuals as well as for those showing symptoms of various disorders.

According to Ayurveda, our physiology is made up of doshas (functional elements), dhatus (structural elements) and malas (waste products). The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These three doshas are responsible for specific functions in our body and their balance is foundational to our health — whereas a loss of balance is known to contribute to disease and disorders.

Panchakarma procedures help to bring these doshas back to their natural balance, thus restoring health and vitality.

Three Stages of Panchakarma:

Stage one: During the first phase of Panchakarma, the body and the internal system is prepared for the elimination of toxins. This process is marked by 1) oliation, which means purifying the body by administering various oils both internally and externally; and 2) sudation, which means preparing the sweat glands to expel the toxins through sweat.

Oliation begins a week before your treatment program with a home routine created specifically to support your individual doshic balance and state of health. Most people follow a low-fat diet during this time, while ingesting varying amounts of ghee and/or herbs.

Throughout your Panchakarma program, you will enjoy a variety of both oil massages and heat treatments. The massages help move the cellular toxins from the tissues and joints and into the intestine. Heat treatments allow the oils to penetrate deeply into the tissues and also encourage the body to sweat out toxins through the skin.

Stage two; Stage two involves the elimination process. Most people who undergo Panchakarma are prescribed “basti” treatments. Basti is an Ayurvedic treatment in which medicated oils and herbal preparations are introduced as an enema in order to flush toxins from the intestinal tract. Bastis offer more healing benefits than simply evacuating the colon. The medicinal effects of herbs given in this manner are able to penetrate the deeper tissues of the physiology, including the bones.

Stage three: Removing toxins is not a magic solution that will keep you healthy for life. During your stay at The Raj, you will be given recommendations for changes in diet and lifestyle that will help maintain balance and support a healthy immune system. Understanding the Ayurvedic principles of daily routine and diet according to the seasons and your doshic balance, and understanding how to maintain a strong digestion are all key to keeping your mind/body system at its strongest.

Over the years we have seen guests arrive at The Raj with numerous concerns ranging from high blood pressure to diabetes, MS, migraines, asthma, arthritis and more. And over and over again, we receive letters weeks after their departure telling us how their symptoms have improved. Did Panchakarma “cure” these disorders? Not at all. What Panchakarma did was to remove toxins and imbalances that were blocking in ability of the body to do what it does best: create health. If you support your immune system, your immune system will support you.

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

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

Why Aging and Disease Aren’t Synonymous: the Value of Panchakarma in Maintaining Health

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It is a fact that the functioning of the body suffers as impurities and toxins accumulate in the cells and tissues. Such impurities can come from both inside and outside the body. From inside the body come internal metabolic and cellular waste products, such as free-radical-damaged cells and tissues. From outside come external impurities and toxins, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants. In the history of mankind, never before have we been faced with such high levels of toxicity in our environment. A variety of man-made toxins often find their way into the deep tissues of our bodies and can wreak havoc on our immune systems. All these impurities (collectively referred to by Ayurveda as “ama”) block the free flow of our body’s inner intelligence. If left to accumulate, such impurities can lead to degenerative disorders and life-threatening disease. While the body has its own effective self-purifying mechanisms, these prove increasingly inadequate as we age, due to our ever-increasing toxic burden.

Western medicine has, for the most part, focused on putting substances (e.g. pharmaceuticals) into the body rather than taking unhealthful substances out. One of the specialties of the ancient science of Ayurveda is Panchakarma, a group of therapies that work together to purify the body of impurities, and thus avert or reduce the development of disease and aging. Panchakarma treatments are designed to first loosen impurities from bodily tissues, then eliminate them from the body altogether.

All Panchakarma treatments are individualized, depending on the doshic balance and specific imbalances of the person receiving the treatments. The treatments can result in a relief from a wide range of disorders, because the series of procedures free the bodies own self-repair mechanisms and remove blockages that are at the foundation of many symptoms and disorders.

The efficacy of these traditional treatments was shown in a two-month longitudinal study on subjects undergoing five days of Panchakarma treatments at The Raj. Researchers Robert Herron, PhD, and John Fagan, Ph.D. compared to tests taken prior to treatment showing blood levels of the highly toxic PCBs and Beta-HCH. These substances, which are known to attach to the lipid layers that surround our cells, were reduced by 46 and 48 percent respectively. Without this detoxification program, the natural expected drop in PCB and Beta-HCH over a two-month period is only a fraction of one percent. No other method has been scientifically verified to reduce fat-soluble toxins in the human body without causing negative side effects. Normally these fat-soluble substances remain in the body for many years, but Panchakarma allows us a healthy alternative for coping with a toxic world.

Once toxins are loosened from the fatty tissue, they need to be safely eliminated from the bloodstream and the body. Panchakarma treatments include specific steps that take care to properly remove the toxicants from the blood stream without so that they are not reabsorbed or able to create more damage. At the end of each day, after impurities from different parts of the body have been loosened and drawn into the intestinal tracts, a gentle internal cleansing treatment, called a basti, is given. These treatments essentially warm herbalized oil enemas that lubricate, and nourish the colon, as well as induce eliminative action. According to the original Ayurvedic texts, “by basti alone, 50% of illness can be cured.”

Panchakarma can be taken for as few as three consecutive days, and as many as 30. It can be done in-residence, or you can visit an Ayurvedic center for a few hours each day and return to your home afterwards. These treatments are most effective when done regularly each year.

Our bodies are designed to maintain a balanced state in which everything functions properly. Both fasting and these drastic detox regimens can alter this homeostasis, often in a harmful way. Liver glycogen stores can become depleted, alterations can occur in the mineral and electrolyte balance in the blood, muscle and bone tissue can begin to break down, changes can occur in the acid-alkaline balance, and immune function may be impaired. Extreme detox can also overtax adrenals, which means that the body will hold on to the calories we ingest after the fast and store it as fat. In Ayurvedic terms, an extreme fast creates high pitta/low agni. This can start a whole new cycle of imbalances.

While Panchakarma can bring big results, the process itself is gentle and even luxurious. In essence, Panchakarma is an integrated sequence of procedures that, together, dislodge impurities from the cells and then flush them from the body. The doshas are brought into balance and the natural healing mechanisms of the body are “freed” to resume full functioning.

For more information of Panchakarma, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa web site:

www.theraj.com