fibromyalgia

Managing Fibromyalgia with Ayurveda Treatment and Healthy Lifestyle

Fibromyalgia, associated with pain and tender muscles, is not an inflammatory disorder. This means that there is no muscle wasting or damage, but the muscles are stiff and patients often feel fatigued even when they wake up. As an Ayurveda doctor in my clinic in Chennai, I see this condition as a common complaint primarily in women. Yes, fibromyalgia mainly targets women and is chronic, which means that patients will have to adopt a smart lifestyle change and a healthy routine to overcome this condition. Let’s look at what fibromyalgia is all about.

More about fibromyalgia

This condition mainly involves the soft tissues of the body – which includes the muscles and ligaments. It also affects joints. This condition does not start at middle or old age, rather it is known to originate from the early stages of adulthood and even childhood. The characteristic muscular pain and stiffness, especially in specific locations of the back, and a fatigued feeling are characteristic pointers to fibromyalgia. This condition definitely needs attention since it invariably affects your ability to carry out your routine activities.

Why does fibromyalgia occur?

There is no clear reason why fibromyalgia occurs, but stress, sleep disturbances, and digestive imbalances are common causative factors. Genetics and poor lifestyle choices are also indicated as contributors. Ayurveda points to three main causes – vata imbalance, toxins or ama in the body, and stress.

Vata imbalance affects the nervous system, causing energy imbalances in the muscles and causing pain. The toxins are produced due to digestive imbalances and poor food habits. The accumulation of these toxins also leads to fibromyalgia. Allergies, infection, poor sleep habits, and stress also trigger fibromyalgia.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia

Chronic pain across specific parts of the body is a characteristic feature of fibromyalgia. Fatigue, muscle numbness and stiffness, sudden shifts in mood, and other psychological discomforts are additional symptoms. The affected muscles are extremely sensitive to pain.

Management of fibromyalgia

Ayurveda recommends a nature-friendly treatment approach – including detoxification, oil massage, and lifestyle corrections.

Detoxification

Based on the severity of the condition, patients will have to undergo a detoxification therapy, which is a combination of massage, heat therapy, and internal cleansing. Panchakarma treatment, which includes these treatments, as well as snehana, swedana, nasya, and other therapies, is the treatment of choice.

Abhyangam

Herbal oil or moderately warm sesame oil followed by hot fomentation is the ideal choice for oil massages. This approach helps calm the nervous system, reducing fatigue and stress. Meanwhile the massage also improves circulation and stimulates detoxification. The herbal oils also calm any vata imbalance.

Medication

Internal medications with a healthy mix of herbs help in strengthening the digestive and nervous system and eliminating the toxins. Many formulations include ayurveda herbs like ashwagandha, shatavari, turmeric, ginger, triphala, licorice, etc.

Balanced diet

A balanced diet is critical to manage fibromyalgia. Avoid vata-intensifying and toxin-generating food. The food patients ingest must be easily digestible and nutritious. For example, vegetables, coconut-based food, salads, ginger, and coriander are popular food sources. Avoid alcohol, coffee, and hot and spicy food, especially fried foods.

Lifestyle changes

Lead a stress-free life, since this approach will minimize the chances of firomyalgia. Regularly practice stress and sleep management techniques such as yoga and meditation since they are effective.

 

One of the main points to note in the management of fibromyalgia is to avoid self-diagnosis and treatment. The symptoms of fibromyalgia overlap with those of many other related conditions. Hence take the guidance of a trusted Ayurveda doctor before you take any decision.

joint pain

Don’t Let Joint Pain Control Your Lives: Joint Pain Relief with Ayurveda

Do the rains and cold make all your joints go stiff? Do you feel intense pain and tenderness when you try to bend your knees or fingers? These are all clear symptoms of joint pain. At my Ayurvedic clinic in Chennai, joint pain is a common complaint that many of my patients come with, seeking immediate relief. But before you jump into the treatment and pain relief aspects of joint pain, you must understand a couple of interesting details about the source of joint pains. So here is a quick overview of our joints and why we struggle so much with joint pains.

The cause of joint pain

Joints are the often overlooked parts of your body that gain significance only when their critical functions are affected. They are regions between two bones and are filled by a lubricating liquid called the syanovial fluid. The main job of the joints is to cushion the region between two bones so they can move easily in relation to each other. Yes, joints are as critical as bones in facilitating movements. With age, the syanovial fluid reduces in concentration, drying out the joints. This is caused by activities that cause excess strain to the joints and also by natural wear and tear. In addition injuries and infections can lead to inflammation of the joints.

The two causes of joint pain as per Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda, joint pain is attributed to two causes, one of which is quite interesting. The first cause is the imbalance of vata roga. Joints are commonly associated with vata; hence if the tissues around the joints do not receive the right nutrition such as fat in a timely manner, then the syanovial fluid will no longer be able to lubricate the joints, causing it to dry up and create a vata imbalance. This can also affect the health of bones, the tissues’ capacity to absorb nutrients, and the ability to transmit nerve impulses.

Interestingly, joint pains are also associated with healthy nutrition of the tissues around the joints and the digestive power of patients. Improper digestion leads to the production of toxins or ama in the intestines, which accumulates in the joints. If the body is not able to eliminate these toxins from the body, they affect the joints, causing irritation and inflammation. These toxins can also lead to joint pain, especially during rains or cold seasons, when they mix with the syanovial fluid. The fluid hence becomes viscous and loses its lubricating power. Kapha roga is a common cause of this type of joint pain, and Ayurveda experts can easily manage this condition at the earlier stages. However, as time proceeds, it leads to chronic pain. Hence, poor digestion is a critical cause of joint pain.

So, if your causative symptoms are owing to digestive complications, then you will need immediate and intense attention to remove the ama. But if the causative symptoms are because of lack of proper nourishment to the joints then you will need corrective procedures that can bring back the vata balance.

Relief from joint pain

The solution depends on the source of the joint pain – either correcting the nutritional balance to remove vata roga or eliminating the ama from the body.

But as a general approach, every treatment protocol aims at correcting the circulation to the joints, detoxification, providing the right nutrition to the joints, and minimizing the discomfort and pain from joint inflammation. Since each protocol depends on the cause of the joint pain, ensure that you consult with an experienced and expert Ayurvedic doctor before you blindly proceed with therapy.

Elimination of toxins

Panchakarma is a treatment of choice that can help remove the harmful ama from your body to deliver relief from joint pain. But it also involves specific focus on the affected joints. Detoxification of the entire digestive system and supporting the cleansed system with the right nutrients is essential to clear joint pain and to prevent it from recurring.

Massage therapies

Therapeutic abhyanga is a great option to correct vata roga. Regular massages with medicated oils, kizhis, and enemas also help in improving the supply of nutrients to the affected joints.

Diet

Detoxification and nourishing the tissues are the main focus of providing relief from joint pain. Hence, diet plays a critical role in both causes of joint pain. A vata-correcting diet includes a well-balanced nutrition of all the tastes. Preferably avoid bitter foods and caffeine. Ghee is a great ingredient source of nutrition, and in addition, include many vegetables and fruits in your diet. Milk is critical as it supplies the much-deserved calcium. All processed, frozen foods, and food items that challenge easy digestion are a complete no. Focus on breaking your food intake into many manageable pieces.

Exercise

Ayurveda recommends sensible exercises that help bring back the movement of joints and related bones and muscles. Perform these exercises under the supervision of an expert since excessive strain can worsen the underlying condition. Perform pranayama and specific yoga poses under the strict guidance of experts.

 

 Say no to joint pain with healthy living

Any treatment modality is successful only when supported by a healthy way of living. Hence make sure that you correct your sleep-wake cycle to a regular 6 to 10 format. Eat and live healthy, supporting your body with fresh thoughts and invigorating exercises. Joint pains in most cases are completely avoidable. But if you are struggling with the pain, do get in touch with an expert Ayurveda doctor. You will have to first find the cause and only then go in for specific treatments.

Chavitti Uzhichil

Chavitti Uzhichil or Foot Massage – A marma treatment form originating from Kalaripayattu

Chavitti uzhichil or Chavutti thirumal is popularly known as foot massage or at times rope massage, based on the procedure used in this treatment. This procedure has gathered tremendous interest in the recent years owing to the extensive promotions of Chavitti Uzhichil as an exquisite form of treatment.  In my Ayurveda clinic in Chennai, many of my patients often ask me about this procedure and its origin. This rejuvenation treatment is centuries old, with quite an interesting history. Let me tell you the story of Chavitti Uzhichil, explaining the procedure, the benefits, and the points to be aware of.

History of Chavitti Uzhichil

Chavitti Uzhichil is a unique form of massage that originated from the esteemed traditional martial arts form of Kerala, Kalaripayattu. Kalaripayattu was a school of training for warriors, teaching them defense and offense techniques. This training aims at coordinating the warriors’ body and mind to build intense mental focus and physical strength. Physical treatments and marma chikista are crucial aspects of Kalaripayattu’s strict practice regimens and recovery protocols. Chavitti Uzhichil is one such procedure. It requires extensive expertise and experience since the process involves massaging the marma points of the body.

How do therapists perform Chavitti Uzhichil?

Chavitti Uzhichil is classified as a marma chikitsa, where the word marma refers to vital and sensitive parts of the body. Kalari records more than 300 marma points with some points being so sensitive that any injury to these spots can be fatal. Hence, when therapists without enough experience perform Chavitti Uzhichil, it can be quite dangerous.

The procedure involves manipulating the marma points deftly using controlled pressure, varying from gentle to intense. This improves blood flow across the body and rejuvenates its every tissue. It involves warming herbal, medicated oils gradually and applying them all across the body. But this massage has a critical difference. It involves applying foot pressure. Yes, the therapists massage the patients’ body with their feet instead of hands. This massage requires intense focus and expertise since every marma point of the body has specific and firm pressure requirements – some quite intense. So using the feet serves the purpose, with some small strokes and many long strokes. Of course, some strokes require the use of hands.

Ropes are hung from the treatment room’s ceiling so the therapist can balance on the rope while massaging the patient lying on the floor at a specific position that enables optimal energy flow.

Benefits of Chavitti Uzhichil

Chavitti Uzhichil is extremely relaxing, nourishing every tissue of the body, from bones to muscles. Enhancing circulation stimulates the body’s immunity and the body’s lymphatic system, rejuvenating the body and removing all the body toxins. This procedure relaxes the mind too, removing all stress and fatigue.

Ayurvedic physicians recommend this treatment for people in the field of sports since this is an extension of martial arts. It is also beneficial for back pain, spine-related complications, muscular pain, nerve-related disorders, and certain structural deformities. This procedure improves mental focus and physical fitness.

Chavitti Uzhichil – a powerful procedure that requires care

This procedure takes about an hour and a half and usually requires more than one sitting, extending anywhere between 1 and 3 weeks. The nature of the oil and the intensity of the treatment require the attention of an expert Ayurveda doctor. Since marma treatments are extremely sensitive, make sure that you connect with the right expert before you undergo the procedure.

So if you have any further questions about this procedure, do get in touch with me.

Navara rice

Annalepanam – A magical procedure using Navara rice for muscle, joints, and nourishment

Annalepanam is related to the Navarakizhi procedure. Both the procedures use the same primary ingredient, Navara rice. Their benefits are also similar. However the procedure has a slight variance. Many physicians also call this procedure Navara Theppu. As the name indicates, the procedure involves applying the warm paste of the rice across the patient’s body. This warm paste is said to stimulate sweating and removal of toxins through the skin.

This procedure is relatively less well known as compared to the other Ayurveda treatments. But, in my Ayurveda clinic in Chennai, I recommend this procedure to my patients who usually do not have the physical stamina to withstand the navara kizhi.

 What is Navara rice?

Navara is a special form of medicinal variant of rice from Kerala. We use the specific variant that farmers reap on the 60th day since it has optimal medicinal effects. Naravara rice is popular for its internal effects too and people commonly feed this rice to infants to stimulate growth. It also helps overcome urinary and skin disorders and is a great health supplement.

The benefits of annalepanam

Ayurveda physicians usually prescribe annalepanam for vata rogas, but it also helps in rejuvenation and is safe even for children. It’s especially beneficial for those patients who find it tough to manage the heat and strain of Navara kizhi. Annalepanam’s benefits are similar to those of Navara kizhi, with its rejuvenation effects. It is usually one of the main procedures that Ayurveda physicians recommend during the recovery period following injuries or in conditions that result in muscle wasting. The procedure is also an effective supplement in managing paralysis, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, and muscle and joint pains. This treatment predominantly nourishes the body, rebuilding the muscular and immune system of the body after any traumatic injury. It is equally effective in healthy people.

The procedure

For annalepanam, the therapists do not make the navara rice into a poultice, but they cook it and mix it with warm and medicated milk to form a paste. They then apply the warm paste from the torso downward or on a particular part of the body, as per my prescription. The procedure takes about an hour and a half and you will need to repeat the procedure based on my prescription. This is a svedana treatment, which means that this procedure induces sweating. Annalepanam is perfect and safe for people across all ages.

 

Do contact me if you have any further questions about this procedure. You’ll need to first inquire about how it works, whether you are eligible to undergo this procedure, and the care you will have to take during and post this procedure. Ensure that you proceed with the treatment only after you have all the answers.

kizhi treatment

Kizhi Treatment: The Magical Medicinal Cloth Bags That Soak Away All Your Stress

In today’s right-now and right-away lifestyle, most of us struggle with stress and its symptoms, but we are either too busy to notice these signs or assume that these indicators are part of our regular body response. You might not be in a position to drive stressful situations away, but you can certainly take the help of Ayurveda to rejuvenate your body to overcome stress and other painful conditions. The kizhi treatment is one of the most popular Ayurvedic treatments that helps you mitigate the harmful effects of stress and related conditions with ease.

A popular treatment, Kizhi has been point of curiosity for many patients who visit me at my Ayurveda clinic in Chennai. They have a million questions about how a muslin cloth filled with leaves, herbs, or powder work such magic? Is there a specific routine that they have to follow? Who decides on the type of kizhi?

With so many interesting questions coming my way about the benefits of kizhi treatment and the actual procedure, I thought I could help you understand this form of rejuvenating treatment a little better.

What does kizhi treatment involve?

Kizhi refers to a sachet or a bundle made of muslin cloth, which contains rice, herbal powders, leaves, or even sand. Physicians warm these bundles and gently massage them across the body or specific body parts depending on the prescription. Always make sure that you consult with an Ayurvedic physician before starting treatment since each condition requires a specific type of kizhi and application format. The intention is for the body to absorb the medication from the sachet or poultice and sweat from all the heat applied. Physicians apply kizhis usually to specific parts of the body by placing them in these locations for a specific period by applying gentle pressure. This procedure has many benefits.

Conditions where kizhi treatment is beneficial

The dry heat and the medicinal influence of kizhis are great in overcoming vata rogas, but physicians avoid this procedure in predominantly pitta conditions.

Reducing stress

This treatment improves blood circulation across the body, thus relieving the body from stiffness, fatigue, and the other physical and psychological symptoms caused by stress.

Controlling pain

Vata aggravation often leads to musculoskeletal and joint pains. The heat from the warm kizhis reduces vata roga and alleviates the associated pain. Improved circulation also helps the muscle tissues to recover faster. This treatment is especially effective in the case of back pain.

Other effects of enhancing circulation

Enhanced circulation means increased sweating; hence the body easily eliminates toxic body wastes easily. This helps in rejuvenation and in the treatment of inflammatory diseases, osteoarthritis, sciatica, neuralgia, and spondylolysis.

Sports injuries

The combined effect of herbal medication, heat, and massage helps in the treatment of sports injuries when performed under the supervision of a certified doctor across multiple sittings.

Weight loss

Kizhi leads to heat-stimulated perspiration, which helps lose body weight. For the same reason and because the body’s blood circulation is enhanced, kizhi is great for the skin and delays aging.

Types of kizhis

There are many types of kizhi that can be used based on the purpose of the procedure. Ensure that you take the guidance of an expert Ayurvedic physician before selecting the specific type of kizhi.

Podikizhi

Podikizhi has herbs that are dried and powdered. These are mixed into warm herbal oils and then added into muslin bags. This poultice is applied on the affected areas. Podikizhis are beneficial in case of rheumatic arthritis and in overcoming pain in muscles and joints. It is also effective in the treatment of chronic sports injuries.

Elakizhi

Although ela refers to the leaves, this form of kizhi uses both leaves and roots of herbs such as dhatura. Physicians heat these herbs in oils and finally prepare their bundles. The physician determines the ingredients of this kizhi and the preparatory procedure. Physicians heat elakizhi during the application process since it does not retain heat. This kizhi is great at rejuvenating the body and relieves pain in case of joint pain and improves agility in sports. It also helps in relieving the numbness of the hands and legs, as well as other conditions that require relief from pain.

Navarakizhi

Navarakizhi is unique since Navara, which is a special form of medicinal rice, is the primary ingredient of this kizhi. This is mixed into a concoction of milk and other medicinal herbs, heated, and tied into a kizhi. This form of kizhi is quite popular and is useful in rejuvenating the body muscles. It provides relief in case of paralysis and other neurological conditions.

 Kizhi treatment for pain and stress relief

Kizhi treatment requires a preliminary assessment by an expert physician who will first assess your symptoms and condition. The physician will recommend the right procedure based on your condition. Each session takes about an hour, and ideally a complete treatment requires about 2 weeks. So make sure you choose a well-recommended Ayurveda clinic and an experienced doctor before you go on a self-prescription mode. Yes, the treatment works wonders, but only when done the right way.

Shirodhara

Shirodhara – The Magical Ayurveda Treatment for Relaxation and Calmness

Shirodhara is a treatment that has gained immense relevance in today’s stressful day-to-day life. As an Ayurveda doctor in Chennai, I have seen an exponential increase in the number of inquiries about Shirodhara over the recent years. People have become increasingly aware of the calming benefits of shirodhara and its effect on the nervous system. A critical step of the Panchakarma, as well as an individual treatment modality, Shirodhara literally means a thin continuous flow over the head. It involves pouring a thin stream of warm medicated oils or ghee over a person’s forehead. This treatment has become the first choice of people who seek alternate options to relax the stressed nerves.

Let’s clarify some important details about this interesting procedure and its innumerable benefits.

Calming benefits of Shirodhara

Shirodhara is the Ayurveda treatment of choice when you body overcome imbalances in Vata and Pitta rogas. The nerve effects of Vata roga include anxiety and fear, while Pitta roga leads to uncontrollable anger and irritability. It also induces vibration as the oil permeates through the forehead’s skin to the body’s nervous system. This is the treatment of choice for insomnia, hypertension, and depression. In addition, shirodhara is a precious option in case of psychosomatic disorders and conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disorders, and jet lag. This procedure is also a great option to relieve fatigue and for rejuvenating the mind.

How does it work?

The scientific explanation of shirodhara is interesting. When the warm oils are poured on a person’s forehead, it stimulates the hypothalamus, inducing sleep and improving the brain’s blood circulation. It also manages the levels of stress hormones in the body, leading to relaxation.  In addition to medicated oils, shirodhara also uses ghee and buttermilk. The  oil definitely needs to be warm as it is poured as a thin stream oscillating to and fro over the person’s forehead – a critical marma of the human body. Alternately a well is created over the person’s forehead using wet flour and the warm medicated oil is placed in this well. Another option is to constantly apply cotton pads soaked in medicated oils over the forehead. This process extends anywhere between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on the intended outcome of the procedure.

Special care during the procedure

Avoid this procedure in case of pregnancy, especially during the third trimester, head injuries, nausea and vomiting, fever, and related conditions. Make sure that the room is quiet and calm, at the right temperature and not too cold. Choose the medicated oil depending on the intended outcome. Both before and after the procedure avoid excessive strain and mental excitement.

Shirodhara – the ideal solution for distressing the mind and soul

Shirodhara is indeed the perfect procedure to relax your mind especially in case of stressful conditions. The approach of using a thin stream of oil flowing steadily on to the forehead brings innumerable benefits in calming the mind. Make sure that you approach an expert with proven experience in providing Ayurveda treatment for this procedure. Ensure that you follow all the required precautions before, during, and after this process.

nasya

Nasya – The Powerful Nasal Therapy of Ayurveda

Some of the most common questions I am asked before most of my Panchakarma sessions at my Ayurveda clinic is about Nasya. The whole concept of administering medication through the nasal cavity is an apprehensive thought. Nasya is one of the most effective form of treatment to clear the ear, nose, throat, and head regions from toxins. So let’s find out more about this treatment, shall we?

What is Nasya all about?

Nasya refers to administering ayurvedic medications through the nasal cavity to clear complications in the ear, nose, throat, and head. It cleanses the entire region and relieves the body from conditions such as migraine, sinusitis, and anxiety, with almost no side effects. It is a critical part of the panchakarma treatment and, when performed by Ayurveda experts, it is extremely effective in bringing back the vata–pitta–kapha balance of the body.

Why is Nasya so effective?

Powdered medications, herbal oils, and Ayurvedic formulations are delivered carefully through the nostrils, while get absorbed by the blood vessels through the mucus membrane into the circulatory system. It also enters the nervous system through the cerebrospinal fluid and nerve endings in the nasal cavity, allowing the Ayurvedic medicines to take effect, both in the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) regions and the brain.

Nasya is hence useful in clearing the nasal cavity, removing mucus and instances of blocked nose, infections, and congestion. This procedure is also effective in controlling migraine headaches and sinusitis, enabling breathing without complications. This process calms the nerves, reducing stress, nervousness, and anxiety, as well as promotes good sleep. Of course, Nasya is great at detoxification too. But its interesting application is in slowing down the aging of the skin and graying of the hair. This procedure also helps in bringing relief in case of cervical spondylosis.

What does the procedure involve?

The process involves medicated powders, oils, or formulations of Ayurvedic medicines and natural products. The nasal cavity is the entry point for these medications. Ghee is another popular ingredient. But before this step, poorvakarma prepares the patient’s body. This involves a gentle head and shoulder oil massage, including forehead, face, ears, and the neck. After this step is swedana, which involves applying steam to the massaged parts. This process loosens up the toxins so the main procedure easily helps in eliminating these toxins.

This main process is the pradhana karma. Here, patients usually lie on their back and they tilt their head backward and upward. This procedure starts with the Ayurveda physician instilling warm medicated formulation into the nasal cavity, one by one, using a dropper or a similar equipment. This might cause a slight discomfort but not pain. During the administration process, massage the neck, shoulder, and ears gently. The patient might have to spit out the extract that reaches the mouth regularly. This continues for a specified period of time and for a specific number of times, after which the post-treatment step of gargling with warm water and inhalation completes the process.

Conclusion – Nasya for clearing ear, nose, throat, and head-related complications

Nasya is an effective, yet harmless, procedure that has immense benefits. The only care that you need to take is to avoid the process post meals or after the procedure called shirodhara.  With so many advantage and a clear therapeutic process, Nasya is indeed safe and trustworthy. Just remember to choose an experienced Ayurveda physician who can help you gain the most from this therapy

Swedana – An Ayurvedic Treatment That Detoxifies through Sweat

Swedana means sweating; hence any Ayurvedic treatment that involves swedana promotes sweating to enable detoxification. As an Ayurveda doctor in Chennai, I observe an increasing curiosity among people about the benefits of swedana. Hence, I thought I could give you a quick introduction to the benefits of this treatment and its various types.

What is swedana?

Swedana helps in detoxification and reestablishing the balance between Vata, Pitta, and Kapha in the body. The sweat glands are one of the sources that eliminate toxins from the body. The thousands of sweat glands, when stimulated can help in mobilizing the toxins in the inner layers of the skin and muscles, getting rid of them. This benefit makes swedana a critical preparatory procedure of the Panchakarma treatment.

Many of us associate swedana with the steam box, the closed box that most of us have used as the last step of a body massage. But you can classify this treatment modality into many types based on the duration, the specific part or the whole body, the intensity, and the source of sweating. Yoga or exercises that cause sweating is classified as swedana in Ayurveda. But steam is the most common source of sweating in Ayurveda.

Steam box swedana

In this form of treatment, a herbal infusion induces steam. Patients sit inside a wooden box, surrounded by this steam. The duration varies, but it is usually about 30 minutes. They start sweating extensively and through this sweat the toxins of the body are eliminated. This process is also shown to stimulate circulation. The comfort of patients during this process is of primary importance since the temperature in the steam box is quite high. So if patients are sensitive to high temperature, then they will require close attention.

Other benefits of swedana

Although detoxification and balancing the doshas are critical advantages of this procedure, it also has other specific benefits.

  1. The skin and subcutaneous tissues experience increased blood flow, resulting in improved nutrition, loss of fatty tissue, weight loss, and a well-nourished skin
  2. The procedure also helps in relieving stress and pain
  3. It also helps in loosening the muscles and providing relief in case of joint pain, back pain, and body stiffness
  4. Swedana delivers immense benefits in case of allergies and rheumatoid arthritis
  5. This treatment provides relief in case of menstrual pain

With such impressive benefits from just a simple step – sweating – Ayurveda strongly recommends swedana as a treatment that will help keep your body strong and your skin refreshed.

sesame oil

Sesame Oil, Paste, and Other Products – Ayurveda’s Magical Solution for Most Rogas

Sesame or til is the wonder product of Ayurveda, with an unimaginably long list of uses, from oil massages to eye treatments. As an Ayurveda doctor, I have always maintained sesame as one of my most precious magical components in many of my Ayurveda treatments.

A precious element of the traditional practice of Ayurveda, sesame is a common ingredient in many herbal formulations. This wonder element finds use in overcoming dry cough, toothache, and digestive complications. It is also a miracle component that improves bone health and heals wounds. With a million other miraculous powers, sesame is one of the most powerful ingredients of Ayurveda. Let’s look at some of the magical properties of sesame.

Sesame seeds for balancing the body’s vata

Sesame has a moisturizing quality and increases the body heat – so we use sesame in Ayurveda to balance out vata rogas of the body. It also supports the digestive system and nervous system, along with moisturizing the skin and hair. Hence this component is to be avoided if the body has excessive heat and toxic built up with the systems. This magic ingredient also influences at least three crucial marma points of the human body – the heart (which controls emotions and relationships), the root (which influences the mental strength), and the spleen (which influences intellect and self-confidence).

Science has proven that sesame is an antioxidant, and is rich in vitamins K and E. It also includes minerals and ions such as magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Sesame’s uses in Ayurveda

Rejuvenation

Sesame oil is a rejuvenator, since it nourishes the skin, penetrating all the way down to the nerves and bones. It also calms the body and mind, enabling deep sleep and triggering sharp thinking. Sesame oil is a great nourishment for the skin and hair. All these properties make sesame oil a popular ingredient of abhyangam.

Herbal formulations for digestive ailments

Sesame seeds are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. It strengthens the entire digestive tract, especially the colon since it improves bowel movements by softening the stool. Sesame is however contraindicated when the body heat is too high.

Sesame and the skin

Sesame’s moisturizing qualities make it ideal for fighting dryness of the skin. It’s a popular ingredient for massaging babies and in case of shirodhara. This oil also promotes sound sleep and overcome headaches.

Sesame for strong teeth and gums

Sesame oil is ideal for overcoming toothache. It is also a great mouthwash since it supports strong gums and teeth, killing the bad bacteria in your mouth.

Sesame oil in the ear

Sesame is a common ingredient in ear drops and is useful for removing ear wax. It is also of great use in curing tinnitus and even improving hearing.

Nasal lubrication

Nasya or sniffing sesame oil lubricates the nasal tract, helping you overcome sinus complications and clearing all the mucous from it. You should massage your nostrils with your little finger after dipping it in warm sesame oil.

The wonder drug of Ayurveda is sitting right inside most of our kitchens. So why not start from the humble and modest sesame to transform yourselves into healthy, calm, and strong individuals?

Ayurvedic oil massage

Abhyangam – The Power of Ayurvedic Oil Massage

Abhyangam is the traditional form of Ayurvedic oil massage that delivers immense health benefits. The use of warm (sometimes, cold) herbal oil formulations for different types of massage movements is relaxing to the body and mind. As an Ayurveda doctor in Chennai, I have seen a steady increase in awareness for Abhyangam, not just as a treatment option but also for its wellness benefits.

However, many of us are still not clear about Abhyangam and the overall procedure. So, here is a little note about Abhyangam.

Purpose of Abhyangam

Ayurvedic oil massages have two critical elements – plenty of herbal oils (specific oils for specific purposes) and specific massage techniques depending on the purpose of the abhyangam. Both these elements are critical in improving the circulation of blood across the body, especially the extremities of the body – the arms and legs.

However, the process has to be done carefully else it will cause a blood flow overload on the heart, especially in the case of a full body massage. Oil massages are recommended to be part of a person’s daily routine. This procedure has innumerable advantages.
1. It’s a powerful detoxification procedure, rejuvenating the body and mind. Along with svedana, Abhyangam forms a critical part of the Panchakarma therapy.
2. The process nourishes the body and has been proven to improve the skin and body’s complexion and youthful appearance. It helps keep dry skin at bay because of the lubricating effect on the body and helps the skin stay young.

3. Oil massages are a great option for weight reduction, since the process removes toxins from the body and burns fat

4. This procedure has a calming effect on the nerves and supports relaxing sleep. Interestingly, the moment the procedure is complete, you will definitely feel a peaceful sense of satisfaction.

5. Abhyangam helps in overcoming stress and their common signs including fatigue and stiffness of the body.

6. Abhyangam is definitely a critical component of therapy in case of vata rogas; however, the procedure is effective in case of pitta and kapha rogas too, with different components, including herbal powders.

Popular oil massage ingredients

Yes, oil is the star of Abhyangam, with a wide range of herbal oils delivering specific health benefits.
1. Sesame oil is a popular choice, with its antioxidant capabilities making it tone of the most preferred options for Abhyangam for vata rogas.

2. Other herbal medications like ashwagandha are used depending on the specific condition the massage is focused on.

3. Other popular ingredients include ghee, coconut oil, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, almond oil, and brahmi oil. Of course, there are many specific herbal formulations that provide focused relief.

How is Abhyangam performed?

Different Ayurvedic experts perform Abhyangam using different procedural approaches. But the general approach includes the following steps:

  1. In the first step, apply warm oil using the fingertips with a gentle pressure and definite strokes.
  2. The second step includes ensuring that the oil seeps through the skin.
  3. The third step includes applying controlled pressure and definite movements across the entire body for the oil to entirely seep through and to enhance the circulation. Perform the massage at a slow pace, with more pressure applied at the distal ends of the body and lighter pressure applied to sensitive regions such as the neck and heart region.

The direction of massage strokes and the extent of pressure applied are critical for achieving the desired results. For example, straight strokes help improve circulation in the hands and legs, while circular strokes work magic at joints and the abdomen.
A short period of rest after the massage, followed by a warm bath, completes the magic. Yes, your body feels oily but this is essential for the oils to take complete effect.

 

There are different types of abhyangam for different purposes, from full body and face massages to foot massages and procedures focused on the marmas. Experts perform procedures for specific body conditions; for example, for sprains and fractures. But before you proceed with abhyangam, make sure that you approach a well-experienced Ayurvedic specialist who has expertise in Ayurvedic oil massage and is entirely knowledgeable in the intrinsic details.