muscular dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy – Ayurveda-based management of this set of genetic disorders

Mamsavatakshaya is Ayurveda’s terminology of muscular dystrophy. This is a set of many genetic disorders or beeja roga that results in increasingly weakening muscles and damaging the muscular cells, affecting a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities with ease. It also equally affects the heart and endocrine system, leading to early death. As an Ayurveda doctor practicing in Chennai for many decades, I have been researching about this condition, given its progressively crippling nature and the fact that there’s no cure for this condition as yet. So let’s find out a little more about this inherited condition.

Mamsavatakshaya – wasting away of muscles

The primary characteristic of this set of genetic disorders is gradually increasing weakness of the voluntary muscles (e.g., muscles of the arms and legs and other controllable muscles of the body).

It is an inherited condition where muscle strength is progressively lost, along with other associated effects on the heart, other organs, and involuntary muscles. Interestingly some of these conditions are common in men, with women playing the role of carriers.

A particular type of muscular dystrophy affects children, especially boys, right from the age of 2 or 3 years and is quite severe. This condition often leads to early death.

Cause and symptoms of muscular dystrophy – as per Ayurveda

Ayurveda associates this group of conditions to two causes – vata imbalance and improper functioning of the muscle-related agni.

This results in the muscles losing their ability to prevent their uncontrollable wear and tear. This results in the muscles getting wasted away and they lose their ability to function normally. As a result the muscle cells start dying.

The symptoms and the pattern of deterioration vary from person to person. In some people, muscular functioning first affects the limbs, reducing the person’s capability to move their legs and hands independently. In others breathing easily might become a challenge. However, the common pattern of declining muscular function and worsening symptoms is common.

It also affects the other related systems, especially heart, nervous system, digestive system, and endocrine system. It also affects the skin and eyes. Even simple movements such as sitting down or standing up can become a painful activity, eventually leading to early death.

Treatment of muscular dystrophy

As of today, science and Ayurveda have not yet found any cure for this condition. However, Ayurveda uses an effective combination of treatment protocols to control the condition and ensure that patients are able to improve their quality of life. The logic used by Ayurveda treatment is to focus on three aspects:

  1. Provide complete nutrition to all the muscles across the body to restore their agni. This helps in maintaining a reasonably appreciable ability of movement and building muscle strength
  2. Protecting the muscles through intake of herbal formulations, delaying their wasting away.
  3. Physical treatments that improve blood flow across the body and a lifestyle that beats the effects of the condition.

Specific treatments include detoxification with panchakarma treatment, which remove all toxic amas from the body (from the digestive system to the skin), steam treatments that correct the vata imbalance and improve the body’s flexibility, abhyanaga or oil massage that relax the muscles and improve the nourishment that reach the muscle cells, and a wide range of other treatments including dhara, nasya, basti, pizhichil, and rasayana treatments. Oral herbal formulations support these physical Ayurveda treatment modalities. Formulations such as ashwagandha, amla, guggul, and other herbal medications promote muscular strength. A healthy mix of physical exercises – from yoga and pranayama to meditation – under the guidance of an expert also brings in a lot of improvement.

The most important point to note is that you must take the guidance of an expert Ayurveda doctor first. The doctor can help you with a clear diagnosis and treatment protocol before you blindly jump into hearsay solutions.

Connect with me at http://www.miayurveda.org/ for a comprehensive treatment that integrates the best of Ayurvedic healing and modern diagnostics and knowledge to deliver complete cure and enhance well-being.  

cervical spondylosis

Ayurveda Treatment of Cervical Spondylosis – Make No Compromise on Your Quality of Life in the Presence of Cervical Spondylosis

One of the most common spine-related disorders that can affect your day-to-day life is cervical spondylosis. This is a condition I see quite commonly in my Ayurveda clinic at Chennai. Sadly most patients come to me only after the condition exacerbates and when they are in intense pain. One of the main reasons for this painful condition is a complete lack of awareness of this condition. What causes cervical spondylosis? Is there an easier solution? Can you gain back your regular lifestyle after being affected by this condition? Let’s find out, shall we?

What is cervical spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis involved complete yet gradual degeneration of the neck vertebrae (cervical vertebrae) and the cushioning cartilage between the vertebral bones. There are many causes of cervical spondylosis, including aging, overexertion, wear and tear, and poor lifestyle. In Ayurveda this condition is called Greeva Sandhigatvata. This condition is commonly seen in people older than 40 years, but of late younger people are also getting afflicted with this condition.

Common causes of cervical spondylosis

Ayurveda categorizes this condition as a vata roga, which leads to tissue degeneration in the neck as a result of excessive drying of the cushioning agent around the neck bones. The bones of the neck portion of the back bone are packed closely one above the other with a cushiony cartilage layer in between. It’s the cartilage that makes sure that the bones do not brush against each other painfully. In addition, sensitive nerves from the brain pass through these neck bones. So when the cartilage loses its elasticity the bones irritate the nerves when they touch the nerves.

Of course, age-related wear and tear, as well as previous instances of injury to the neck, is a major cause of cervical spondylosis, but there are other causes. Poor food habits in terms of eating excessive gas-forming edible items, eating excessive food after an excessive gap, eating a lot of fried food, poor water intake, and consuming excessive dry and cold food is a primary contributor. Poor posture, excessive body strain, poor sleep schedules, and sedentary lifestyle are dangerous contributors to this condition.

Symptoms of cervical spondylosis

One of the main symptoms is radiating pain that is initially bearable but quickly escalates in severity. This pain often radiates to the shoulders and upper arms. This is accompanied by a tingling sensation and numbness in the arms and sensory loss. There are also significant instances of vertigo and headache. The patient experiences extreme difficulty while trying the move the neck. Since this condition is increasingly debilitating, every symptom continues to worsen till it affects the patient’s ability to carry on the routine tasks of day-to-day life.

Treatment of cervical spondylosis

The treatment of this condition first requires a detailed assessment by an experienced Ayurveda doctor. The doctor will confirm that your condition is indeed cervical spondylosis and will determine the severity of your condition. The treatment protocol and recommendations depend on the stage of your condition. One of the main focus of treatment is to pacify Vata roga by detoxifying the body’s ama and correcting the digestive tract. Another critical treatment is to restore the nourishment of the cartilage cushion and pain relief. Rejuvenation treatments also help the body to recuperate faster.

Common treatment approaches

Snehana and swedana: Steam therapy or swedana is extremely effective in managing the pain, headache, stiffness, and other symptoms of the condition. Snehana or oleation helps overcome the dryness from vata roga and in improving joint flexibility.

Basti on the neck involves placing a well-like poultice at the back of the neck and pouring warm medicated oil into it. The heat from the oil will expand the space between the neck bones, which will prevent them from causing pain, while the medicated oil helps to nourish and rejuvenate the cushion.

Navarakizhi also helps with nourishing the cushioning agent while the heat from the kizhi is a great healer of pain. Pizhichil or complete oil massage with excessive medicated oil also plays a critical role in relieving inflammation and pain and in making the neck joints more flexible. However, all these procedures require multiple sittings.

Panchakarma treatment is critical for detoxification and helps revive the vata balance. However, this treatment can be performed only when your Ayurveda doctor is confident that your body is strong enough to take up this treatment.

Internal herbal formulations including ksheerabala are helpful in rejuvenating the body. But correcting your diet and lifestyle is critical to correct your condition. Avoid exposure to anything cold – cold bath, cold weather, cold food, etc. Maintain correct postures while at work or even while relaxing. Avoid stress and excessive strain on your neck and stay away from an excessively sedentary lifestyle. Do not consume food that exacerbates the condition, such as gas-forming food, fried stuff, sour curd, cold stuff, etc.

stroke treatment

Stroke Treatment and Management of Its Effects with Ayurveda

Stroke is literally a sudden jolt to your body, where your brain’s blood flow is suddenly blocked, leading to the death of brain cells. This leads to incredibly serious complications such as paralysis or pakshaghata and other serious conditions, even causing death when severe. This sudden effect on blood flow can be due to severe internal bleeding within the brain or an arterial clot in the blood vessels circulating blood to the brain. Hence, the extremely active brain cells do not receive the required oxygen and start dying. The severe implications of this condition require elaborate stroke treatment and therapeutic protocols to rejuvenate the body and mind.

As an Ayurveda doctor practicing in my Chennai clinic for many decades now, I have commonly seen many incidents of stroke, which often comes to our attention after quite a delay. This approach often delays the scope for successful stroke treatment and rejuvenation and the patient struggles with the aftermath of this rather complicated condition.

Let me take you through the causes, symptoms, and Ayurveda treatment options of stroke so you understand the seriousness of this sudden and serious condition.

Common symptoms after a stroke attack

The body’s response to a stroke attack is severe and dramatic. It leads to impaired consciousness and confusion in patients. They could fall or glide down as they lose consciousness. Alternatively, they could completely lose control of specific portions of the body after feeling a sense of weakness. Another term for this symptom is paralysis, which can affect movements across the entire body, or one or both the arms or legs. This is also accompanied by difficulty in normal vision, distinct memory loss, and headache in many instances. They are not able to talk clearly, with slurred speech being a definite indication of a stroke. The characteristic drooping of the mouth on a specific side is another characteristic symptom.

Causes of Stroke

Ayurveda categorizes stroke as a vata roga, which affects both the movement and the critical senses of the body. Conditions that lead to stroke are uncontrolled blood pressure, people with cardiac conditions, obesity, high cholesterol, and those struggling to manage their diabetes. The aftermath of a stroke is especially severe in the presence of diabetes. If your family has a history of stroke attacks, then you need to be watchful. Additionally, poor lifestyle, including smoking and lack of exercise, is a major risk factor.

Ayurveda stroke treatment

Every case of stroke and resulting conditions are different. Hence the Ayurveda doctor assesses not only the stage of the patient’s condition but also all the symptoms and the body’s ability to take up strong treatment protocols before prescribing the right combination of treatments.

One line of treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms. While the other combination works on restoring the brain’s impaired functionalities and improving the blood circulation to the brain. The therapy then focuses on detoxification and rejuvenating the body, thus preventing further damage.  This approach requires a strong combination of treatments, which your expert Ayurveda doctor will determine based on the patient’s condition.

A common combination of panchakarma treatment, abhyanga, kaya seva, shirodhara, herbal medications, kashayams, arishtams, herbal oils, vasti, and nasya is used.

Abhyangam and Shirodhara use herbal medicated oils. Ghee is also a popular option. Expert doctors recommend a continuous series of sittings.

The entire procedure of treatment takes time, focus, and a lot of effort. The guidance of an expert Ayurveda doctor will go a long way in delivering the desired results.

hip pain

Conquering Hip Pain with Ayurveda Treatment and Lifestyle Changes

Pain in the pelvic region or the joints of the hip is termed hip pain. It’s a common sight in most ads when men and women hold their hips in pain. Hip pain can just be an indicator that you need some rest. However, it could also be signaling to you that something else is wrong. A common pattern I’ve observed at my Ayurveda clinic in Chennai is that people often choose to wait until it is way too late before they seek support. So rather than ignore the pain and wait for it to worsen, you need to watch carefully and then seek the support of an experienced Ayurveda expert before moving on to treatments blindly.

Why don’t we look at hip pain, its possible causes, and treatment options in more detail?

Causes of hip pain

Hip pain can often be the result of excessive workload – probably a function in the family, shifting homes, renovation, or an adventurous outing – because of which you had to work excessively. In such cases, resting your tired body can do the magic.

An injury from the past can sometimes come to haunt you in the form of hip pain, especially if you are not careful to take proper care. It could be a recent traumatic injury, dislocation, or fracture and you have not really allowed your body to heal properly. It could also be an old injury because of which you had to make lifestyle changes and you did not listen to good advice.

Hip pain is also common in sedentary workers. Most of us are guilty of this because our work often forces us to be seated in the same position for long periods. What’s worse than being sedentary? Well, sitting or standing in the wrong posture, of course! Wrong postures can cause a lot of damage, and hip pain is a serious indicator of such damages.

Joint- or pelvis-related Infections and auto-immune disorders can also cause hip pain among other symptoms. This could also be related to tendonitis or conditions such as osteoarthritis, hernia, or even certain types of cancer.

In Ayurveda, hip pain is a strong indicator of vata roga and the treatments are all planned around mitigating the vata roga effectively. So if your hip pain persists despite taking a break and if it worsens then you really need to take the help of your Ayurveda doctor.

Symptoms

Of course there is pain, but you need to worry in case of any of the following:

  • Prolonged excruciating pain that worsens with time
  • Chronic dull and radiating pain that does not disappear despite care
  • Pain that makes movement and carrying out regular activities painful
  • Pain that persists overnight, leading to regular morning stiffness
  • Additional swelling around the hips
  • Any deformities noticed around the joints

Treatment of hip pain

Never blindly jump into treatment or do a self-diagnosis and proceed with self-treatment approaches. So the first step to treating hip pain is to diagnose the cause. Then determine whether hip pain is a symptom of any other underlying condition or is in itself the condition. Then finding the exact location of the pain is critical. The treatment process can be determined only after this step. Since diagnosis is a critical first step in the treatment process, always trust an expert Ayurveda doctor for correction. Some of the critical treatment options I have listed here is about managing the pain. The main treatment in case of an underlying condition would be focused on the condition and hip pain will then be taken up as a symptomatic treatment procedure to manage the pain.

Rest

Ayurveda recommends rest – not bed rest – but to care for the hip region by avoiding strenuous activities that exacerbate the pain

Abhyangam

Choose this massage option with care and choose only experienced therapists since any wrong approach can worsen the condition. But when you do it accurately, abhyangam helps reduce the vata roga effectively.

Kati Vasti

Sittings of about an hour with warm herbal oil or formulation poured into dough-based poultices placed on the region of pain provides immense relief and reduces vata roga.

Yoga

Yoga postures must be selected with care and by an expert because a wrong asana or a wrong posture can harm your body severely.

Food

Focus on food items that strengthen your skeletal structure – choose lentils, milk, and curd, for example. Completely avoid junk food and consume food that is rich in   and vitamins.

Lifestyle

Avoid activities that place pressure on your region of pain – strenuous exercise or domestic work. Avoid excessively sedentary lifestyles and choose ergonomic furniture for your home.

Hip pain can be both a condition in itself or a strong indicator that something else is wrong. Never ignore persistent hip pain that worsens with time. Immediately consult an expert Ayurveda specialist who can help you find the cause and treat your pain.

brahmi

Brahmi – the brain tonic from the world of Ayurveda

Brahmi has held the fascination of the Ayurveda world since time immemorial. Rightfully named after Lord Brahma, the creator, Brahmi is all about channelizing your body’s energy through its innumerable therapeutic benefits. The intense interest around Brahmi often leads to many questions from my patients at my Ayurveda clinic at Chennai, who want to know whether consuming this wonder herb will really enhance their brain capacity and memory power. So here’s a quick introduction to the powerhouse of Ayurveda, the Brahmi.

Why is Brahmi so important?

Brahmi refers to energy – it’s all about an energetic mind, body, and soul. Brahmi’s leaves resemble the cerebellum (a critical portion of the brain); hence, even nature has tagged Brahmi for greatness.  Rich in antioxidants, this wonder herb eliminate free radicals from the body, supporting in rejuvenation and detoxification.

Brahmi grows easily in humid conditions and has been in use for many centuries. So it is easily one of the most studied natural herbs not just in Ayurveda but also in Allopathy. Brahmi improves pitta and reduces kapha in case of imbalances. This is responsible for most of its extensive applications.

Some of the important uses of Brahmi

Stress busters

One of the most significant benefits of this herb is in reducing stress and its resulting body effects. Studies have found that it probably limits the release of stress hormones in the body, thus limiting the effects of stress on the body. This effect also reduces the brain’s reflex reaction to stress.  They also soothen the nervous system and reduce the stress in the body.

Improving memory, focus, and energy

This effect too is related to the stimulation of the nervous system, which drastically improves alertness at the same time calming the body and mind. This contrasting effect ensures that your mind is stress free and free from tiredness. It helps you sleep and rest well, decreasing your muscle tension and making your alert and attentive.  It also has an appreciable effect on your long- and short-term memory power. As a result you feel energetic and clear, always ready to take on mental and physical challenges.

This multiple effect of Brahmi makes it precious in controlling the symptoms of deteriorating brain function in case of Alzheimer’s disease.  Studies have indicated that this wonder herb also stimulates growth of brain tissues and that all these encouraging effects are because they act on the hippocampus, which is the seat for memory and intelligence.

Immunity boosters

Brahmi boosts your immunity, especially owing to its antioxidant property. This makes it precious in the Ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritic pain and other types of inflammatory conditions.

Other applications of Brahmi

Brahmi is effective in joint pain treatment since it helps in detoxification and removing ama from the syanovial fluid, resulting in movement. It is also known to help in the management of gastric ulcers and digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. Interestingly, this super herb also controls blood sugar in case of diabetes.

Support in panchakarma treatment

One of the main challenges during panchakarma treatment is that it alters the person’s sleep patterns, reducing the number of hours you sleep. In such cases, Brahmi helps in calming the mind and inducing sleep. Hence, this is a support treatment during panchakarma.

Brahmi – the bright intellectual  of Ayurveda

Brahmi in the form of oil, paste, powders, or formulations for internal use have innumerable benefits. However, rather than getting carried away by its brilliant advantages, always consult with an expert Ayurveda doctor to be sure that your body requires this wonder herb and that there will not be any undesired consequences before you enjoy the benefits.

Triphala – the Superpower Ayurvedic Rasayana for Rejuvenation

Triphala is quite a common wonder drug in Ayurveda. Most people familiar with Ayurvedic formulations must have heard about Triphala in association with most health conditions. As an Ayurveda doctor in my Chennai clinic, I am surprised at how often patients inquire about Triphala, asking whether they can take this formulation for detoxification and rejuvenation.

So here is a quick introduction to one of the super tonics of Ayurveda – Triphala.

What is Triphala?

As the name suggests, Triphala is a combination of three fruits (“tri” + “phala”) – amalaki (or the Indian gooseberry), haritaki (commonly called harra or kadukkai), and bibhitaki (commonly called tannikay). Interestingly, in earlier days, people used to assess whether the Ayurveda doctor was indeed the best based on how well he used Triphala to manage different health conditions. There is a strong reason why people chose Triphala as the ultimate test of an Ayurveda doctor’s capability.  The perfect combination of the three fruits creates a magical formulation that’s more powerful that most other herbal rasayana. Its power to detoxify the body, enhance immunity, and rejuvenate the body, mind, and soul is unparalleled. It powers the positive energy of the body, purifying the blood, muscles, and even the bones. One of the best cures for Vata rogas, Triphala helps the body regain its balance of the three rogas.

Each component of Triphala

The fruit of amalaki, or the Indian gooseberry, is rich in antioxidants, which makes it a powerful rasayana, rejuvenating the entire body and delaying signs of aging. Triphala uses the dried form of the haritaki fruit, and many of its acidic constituents act as laxatives, are great for nourishing the skin and hair, and boost immunity. The fruit of bibhitaki is rich in minerals such as iron, potassium, and copper. It also has vitamins, proteins, and cardiac glycosides. Bibhitaki is a powerful rejuvenator in case of respiratory complications. This fruit too has laxative properties.

Hence, the combined effect of all the three components in Triphala makes this formulation a superpower in Ayurveda.

Applications of Triphala

Triphala has a wide range of amazing benefits on the human body – from the digestive system to the respiratory system. Its laxative effect makes it sought after for constipation issues. It also helps in regaining the acid-base balance of the digestive tract in case of hyperacidity. It also promotes the growth of only the useful gut flora, destroying the harmful microbes. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help in removing all the ama from the digestive tract and enhancing the digestive fires. In addition, Triphala has powerful immunity-enhancing properties. It also has cancer-preventive characteristics. Experts recommend Triphala for nourishing the skin and eyes, and its overall rejuvenating effect makes it the formulation of choice for complete detoxification, body nourishment, and anti-aging.

Triphala acts in the long term since the body absorbs it all the way up to the core of the body and it influences every aspect of the body. Hence Ayurveda doctors often prescribe it for long durations of time. A common form of dosage is a powder (churnam) or pill and doctors recommend warm water as a common vehicle.

Triphala – the wonder therapy tool from Ayurveda

Although most of us understand the benefits of Triphala quite well, I recommend that you first take the guidance of an experienced Ayurveda specialist before you attempt self-medication. If you consume triphala excessively without monitoring, you are risking diarrhea and dehydration. Consume Triphala with caution in case of pregnancy and conditions such as diabetes. Hence always go in for a thorough evaluation with an experienced doctor before you proceed.

 

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Terminalia_bellerica_05.JPG and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllanthus_emblica#/media/File:Phyllanthus_officinalis.jpg
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.