Eliminating Mental and Physical Fatigue with Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda, there are two types of fatigue: mental fatigue and physical fatigue. Either one can affect the other: thus when the mind is out of balance, it can throw the body out of balance. And vice versa.

If digestion is weak and our food is not being property assimilated, physical fatigue can be the result. When our digestion is disturbed, the food we are eating can not properly fuel the body. On top of poor digestion, many people suffer from fatigue from simply not choosing the right fuel. Or as one Ayurvedic expert from India put it, “Westerns eat too many “P”s: pizza, peanut butter, pancakes, pastries, potatoes, preservatives and packaged foods.” Too often we are prompted by taste, ignoring nutrition and wholesomeness. The ideal way to approach diet is to go for nourishment, purity, variety and freshness in foods that covers all six tastes. (The six tastes, according to Ayurveda, are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent.) Keeping this in mind will contribute to a strong digestion and immunity and help eliminate imbalances. The best way to approach physical fatigue is through proper diet and strengthening one’s digestion.

The traditional Ayurveda treatments for detoxification and purification offered at The Raj (known as Panchakarma) also help to strengthen the digestion and eliminate blockages and imbalances in the body, allowing the doshas to return to a healthy balance.

The root cause of most mental fatigue is stress. If you really want to remove mental fatigue you need to look for a means to eliminate stress.

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The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa offers instruction in the Transcendental Meditation technique as a means to address stress. Numerous peer-reviewed studies and scientific reviews have shown that during practice of the TM technique, the mind and body gain a unique state of deep rest—much deeper than ordinary relaxation, as indicated by reduced cortisol and plasma lactate (major indicators of stress). The healing rest gained through the practice of the TM technique allows for the release of emotional, mental and physical stress—improving overall health, well-being and behavior.

Using an integrated approach of balancing both the mind and the body, Ayurveda offers a means to eliminate fatigue and allow the mind and body to enjoy continued health and vitality.

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

www.theraj.com

Managing Stress Affects Health, Memory, and Body Weight

Life is full of ups and downs, and some of them can be stressful. If we are lucky, stress is a short-term event. But often situations occur that keep us stressed for days, weeks, or months. This experience of non-stop stress can cause significant damage to our health, mind and emotions. Understanding the mechanisms of our stress response can help us minimize and control the damage.

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The medical dictionary describes stress as “any physical, emotional, social, economic or other factor that requires a response to change.” The human body is brilliantly designed to react to stress in order to survive. It does so by activating the secretion of the hormone cortisol. This initiates a cascade of physiological responses.

Cortisol is meant to be a “quick fix”. It turns “off” many of our normal physiological mechanisms while it turns “on” many temporary mechanisms. It is the source of the “fight or flight” response. Ideally after an emergency situation has been resolved our metabolic functions go back to normal.  If we are under constant stress, however, the long-term secretion of cortisol can compromise our health and permanently alter our metabolic process.

Some of the documented results of long-term stress include:

Results of Long-Term Stress

1. Weakened immune response leading to heightened vulnerability to infection

2.  Memory loss: excess cortisol can overwhelm the hippocampus and actually cause atrophy. Studies of the elderly have indicated that those with elevated cortisol levels display significant memory loss resulting from hippocampus damage. Luckily the damage incurred is usually reversible.

3. An increase in abdominal fat. Researchers at Yale University found slender women who had high cortisol also had more abdominal fat. Abdominal, or visceral, fat is a key player in a variety of health problems Visceral fat has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.

While we may not be able to eliminate the stress in our lives, we can take measures to give the body the relief from stress that it needs in order to stay healthy.

Stress-Busters

1. Decrease consumption of caffeine and alcohol, both of which impact cortisol levels

2. Go to bed by 10:00. Getting six hours or less over time can significantly increase cortisol levels. It takes a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep to give your body enough time to recover from the day’s stresses.

3. Practice a stress reduction technique.

The Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) has been found to lower cortisol levels. The lowering is greater in those who practice TM regularly. The longer people practice TM, the more pronounced is the effect.

TM was also found to decrease the time it took for the body return to normal functioning following stressful stimuli. This is significant because high cortisol levels can actually create a self-perpetuating loop by disrupting the delicate feedback balance that tells the brain to stop releasing cortisol.

Researchers concluded that the Transcendental Meditation technique gives the body a reprieve from experiencing stress, and as a result, the body care respond more normally to stress stimuli of short duration.

4. Schedule a week of Panchakarma treatments

Multiple studies have shown that massage therapy can lower cortisol levels, increase dopamine and serotonin (our happy, feel-good hormones), and lower excitatory hormones like norepinephrine and epinephrine.

A week of luxurious in-residence treatments can provide a much-needed break from the day-to-day pressures at work and home.

More Stress-Busting Recommendations

  • Get more spinach in your diet.  Spinach has magnesium, which help balance your body’s production of cortisol.
  • Eat more citrus fruits.  Research has shown that citrus fruits like oranges and kiwis have high content of vitamin C, which help slow the production of cortisol.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough healthy omega-3 oils in your diet.  These healthy fats not only inhibit inflammation, but also help lower cortisol levels and reduce stress.
  • Get some Holy Basil in your diet!  This tasty herb is an adaptogen herb, which is a unique class of healing plants that help reduce the production of stress related hormones.
  • Research has shown that zinc helps inhibit the production of cortisol.  Vegetarians can get zinc from cashews, pumpkin seeds, spinach and beans.
  • Good news! Dark chocolate has high levels of anti-oxidants that help decrease inflammation and slow the secretion of cortisol.  Just make sure that it’s at least 70% dark chocolate.

Arming ourselves with an understanding of the stress response and minimizing stress and its impact on our minds and bodies is key to maintaining balanced health. This is why any responsible health program must include stress reduction techniques. Learn more about Panachkarma treatments and learning the Transcendental Meditation technique at The Raj, Ayurveda Health Spa:

www.theraj.com

The Health and Happiness Connection

Can having loving thoughts, being kind or just feeling happy make your body healthier? Both the ancient texts of Ayurveda and modern research say yes!

The original texts of Ayurveda, dated over 5000 years ago, recognized the importance of behavior for mental and physical well being with a branch called Achar Rasayana. Achar refers to behavior and Rasayana means that which promotes life.

Behavioral Rasayana is based on the principal that just as your words and actions produce an effect in your environment, so they also have a direct effect on your mind, body, intellect and emotions. This is because your entire mind-body system, your behavior and your environment are integrated and function together as one whole.

Modern researchers have found that negative emotions such as fear and anger can create such stressful reactions that they break down the body’s immune system and eventually make it sick. Research from the Department of Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health in 2000 concluded, “growing evidence indicates that negative emotions may influence the development of coronary heart disease.”

On the other hand, positive thoughts and actions produce positive health results. A number of studies show that happy, well-adjusted people have fewer severe illnesses and live longer.

Science now knows that every time you have a thought or a feeling, every cell in your body creates chemicals called neuropeptides, which directly affect all your physical systems and organs.

Charika Samhita, the primary text of Ayurveda, specifies certain behavioral rasayanas that help one to progress and create better health and an ideal quality of life.

Here is a list of some traditional Behavioral Rasayanas from the Charika Samhita

Speak truthfully, but sweetly

Speak well of others

Enjoy the good qualities of others

Maintain untainted belief in friends

Be loving and compassionate

Do good and be silent. Accept good and sing the givers praise

Abstain from immoderate behavior and alcohol

Be calm and nonviolent

Keep yourself, your clothing and your environment clean and orderly

Be charitable to others: pass on food, money, and knowledge

Be respectful to elders and teachers

Be loving and compassionate

Keep a regular routine

Keep the company of the wise

Worship God according to your religion

Practice the Transcendental Meditation program on a regular basis

Be devoted to knowledge and the development of consciousness

Learn more by visiting

www.theraj.com