The Story Of Disease: An Ayurvedic Understanding

The Story Of Disease
There's a fascinating story I've heard that describes the "Summary of The Process of Disease Formation," according to Ayurvedic Medicine. First, disease begins when we forget our true nature. This is known as the "Primordial Cause" of disease. We forget how we as spirit are spiritualizing through the human experience. According to Marisa Laursen, a professor at the California College of Ayurveda, "the mind is a place of purity and clarity. The thought comes along and disturbs the mind."

the "Primordial Cause" of disease.

"Thought is part of ego and the chatter becomes the smoke screen that disturbs us from the true self." The ego creates stories and draws upon attachments to the past and projections of the future, constantly shape-shifting and vacillating between the two; preventing us from being absolutely absorbed in the present moment because it fears its cessation. There is a sacred text called the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the first line of the yoga sutras states "yoga chitta vritti nirodha", which means that "Yoga (union/merging) involves the cessation of the disturbances of the mind." There are 195 sutras or verses and of the 195 versus the 194 verses show us how to accomplish verse number one.

"Ayurvedic Living" By Dr. Marc Halpern

The process and movement of time, which is known as "Parinama" or that which relates to things that change, is the next cause and contributing factor. There are two aspects to time. One relates to Linear time, which is out of our control because this involves the cycles of the earth revolving around the sun and the changes of season. The second form of time consists of Biological time, which, though is in our control, it is dynamic. This is because the pacing of biological time changes with response to our motion and as motion increases, the rate of biological time increases. With this, the body either ages faster when we are moving faster and more slowly when we slow down. A busy mind causes us to perceive time as moving quickly and a mind that is still and more anchored in the present moment, time slows down. When the mind moves quickly, the body will reflect this and as the mind moves slower, the body will reflect this too.

“and a mind that is still and more anchored in the present moment" ... 

Once we experience a busy and chaotic/distracted mind, we come to the next step where disease develops. This experience is called "Prajnaparadha" or "crimes against wisdom/failure of intelligence". What happens here is that on some deep level we know what is right for us but we allow our minds to convince us otherwise and we make opposite choices. Our intellect is constantly being used to make decisions and it prefers to choose between pleasure and harmony. This is where the ego feeds off the senses and uses the senses to support its own happiness somehow as it pursues outer pleasures to satisfy itself and perpetuate its own existence through separation/division. Dr. Marc Halpern, President and Founder of the California College of Ayurveda, says "While the ego and the senses speak loudly within the great hall of the mind, the soul speaks in whispers." When we allow our inner wisdom to be ignored, it's because we have given our power away to our senses and this leads to the next place where the five senses, the eyes, ears, mouth, the skin, and smell dictate our interaction with the world.

Amrit Nectar  
Enhances coordination of mental and physical functions; supports balance between the heart and the brain; powerful antioxidant.

This is called "Asatmendryartha Samyoga" or "unwholesome conjunction of the senses with their objects of their affection." Dr. Marc Halpern further explains: "When people take into their body that which does not match their constitution, they are considered misusing their senses. In addition to taking in what is not harmonious, a person may also take in too much or too little of what is energetically harmonious for that person. This too will cause disease."

... only Ayurveda has a full definition of what is health.

What is amazing is that of all the healthcare systems in the world, only Ayurveda has come up with an adequate and full definition of what is health. Other systems, like Allopathy, define health as the "absence of disease" but Ayurveda says this "Sama Dosha Sama Agnis ca Sama Dhatu Mala kriya Prasannatmendriya Manah Svasta itiabhidyate" which means "balanced constitution(Vata/Pitta/Kapha), balanced digestion, balanced tissues, balanced waste products (urine, feces, sweat), balanced senses (eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin), balanced mind (sattva, rajas,tamas), and alignment with spirit is what healthy is." Any disturbance or abnormality in any of these is an indication of disease.

Stages Of Disease ... 
Additionally, Ayurveda has broken down disease pathology into six stages, known as "Samprapti." Each of the stages can be understood as such: Accumulation, Aggravation, Overflow, Relocation, Manifestation and Diversification. There is an image that helps to grasp these concepts more easily. Let's say we have a tree and the roots are the doshas (tendencies towards imbalances based on constitutional determinants, of Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and these roots are below the surface. What is above the surface is the trunk of the tree and this represents Overflow, where the blood and plasma exist as part of the circulatory system. As the tree progresses upward, the branches form and this is known as the Relocation Phase. From the branch, we have a bud and this budding is the Manifestation of the disease. After it starts to bloom and this blooming is the full-fledged experience of the disease, known as Diversification. According to Ayurvedic prevention and management of disease there is a natural cycle that happens throughout the year and with each season. As one season is present, that is the Aggravated Phase and the season that just left has now been Alleviated but while we are in the Aggravated Phase the next season is already Accumulating.

Herbal Di-Gest 
Supports improved digestion and balanced appetite; helps with gas, bloating, and discomfort.

A Closer Look
As each Dosha (biological constitution, that is prone to decay) undergoes this experience of time/season change, the natural Alleviation of particular symptoms occurs. IF or WHEN, for some reason or another, this cycle is interrupted and Alleviation is prevented, we enter into Overflow and this is when a disease is really progressing. In other words, it is during the Accumulation and Aggravation phases that this is the beginning of a disturbance that begins in the digestive system. Commonly ignored, may appear subtle or overt, disturbances would be: sluggish digestion (weak/low digestive fire = Manda Agni), gas/dry stools (variable digestion = Vishama Agni), and/or burning indigestion (sharp digestion = Tikshna Agni). Low digestion relates to Kapha. Variable digestion relates to Vata and sharp digestion relates to Pitta. Balanced digestion is called Sama Agni where there are no digestive disturbances. It is during the Accumulation and Aggravation phases that we can catch a disease from further progressing but we are usually too busy and less sensitive to notice and we keep pushing ahead until other symptoms develop and scream for out attention. It is at these stages that, according to Ayurveda, that we can simply balance our diet and lifestyle, making better choices that we can prevent diseases from increasing. When the symptoms have progressed and they enter into the circulatory system then we have to intervene with herbs/medications and other therapies. Regardless of what stage a disease is at, diet and lifestyle must be adjusted in order to secure the optimization of health. Herbs/medications alone are not meant to do the job completely as we are whole beings and not just treating parts of a body/mind. This is the holistic approach and effort. Even when herbs are administered, diet and lifestyle provisions are made to ensure success or at least make some improvements.

Disease starts out as "dis-ease".

Prognosis is about the likelihood of improvement and/or correction of a condition. Disease, depending on what stage of development it is at can always be managed. There are diseases that are Easy to cure, Difficult to cure, Incurable but not terminal and Terminal.  Disease starts out as "dis-ease" and picks up momentum until it has completely manifested itself as disease and by returning ease through our diet and lifestyles we can encourage disease to return back to ease. Importantly, this ease also involves supporting the well-being of a person through their state of mind. I've said for many years now, that it's about the little things that build up to the big things.

There are of course extenuating circumstances that are to be factored into all this, circumstances such as external factors like accidents and other outside variations of trauma that can influence health and disease pathology. Karma falls into this and it is important to remember that karma is not about blame or judgment but about balance. Karma is not about punishment or reward, it is about balance. In Ayurveda and Yoga, we know that karma is a result of selfish acts and by being selfless we can release ourselves from the cumulative effects and experiences of karma. This is a discussion that requires further exploration at another time and escapes the main purpose of this present article which is meant to give a general understanding and summary of the cause of disease. This current article is meant to share a perspective and expand our lens on the possibilities that surround dis-ease leading to disease. Simply, we can always either prevent or manage.

In summary, take note of what your senses are doing. Take control of them. They are like the five horses without a charioteer and once the charioteer takes hold, the horses can be guided. Similarly, our innermost and highest version of ourselves is the charioteer and when we take hold of the five senses we can get a better handle on our lives. Ayurveda has in place a five sense therapy protocol designed to support this process and journey. With regard to other stressors, by reducing the stress we experience as the mind stresses because of past and future projections and attachments, we can feel more in touch with what is happening to day and embrace the grace of the moment that invites us to be intimate with it. Practices such as, yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, Tai Chi, and other holistic modalities are meant to support us in remembering who we are and what we have come here for. When we remember who we are by escaping the illusions and story-telling of the mind rooted in the attachment to past and future events, we will find our interactions with the world coming from a more wholesome place and the choices we make will be more in alignment with what is true in our hearts and not what we think is true in our minds.

About The Author
Vishnu Om

Vishnu M.Ayu, BA Psy., LMT, CSP, E-RYT, CS2, is a licensed massage therapist with more than 15 years of experience and Master’s of Ayurveda/Yoga from Hindu University of America. Vishnu is currently enrolled in California College of Ayurveda with the intention of obtaining his doctoral degree in Ayurveda. He is the owner of ‘Still Point Ayurveda’ Center and offers Ayurveda out of a few locations. To learn more about Vishnu and his practice you can contact him at Still Point Ayurveda.


What The Heck Are Doshas & How Do We Keep Them Balanced?

 

What The Heck Are Doshas? 
Disease doesn’t just suddenly appear. After all, having good health for the most part is the result of developing a healthy lifestyle. Similarly, disease can be likened to a seed. If the seed is cultivated by unhealthy habits then the seed will soon manifest into a full-blown disease. According to Ayurveda, illness is often the result of a long process which can actually be detected during early stages and therefore can often be prevented. Also, from a holistic perspective, it’s important to determine the causative factors and resolve them rather than just suppressing the symptoms through medications. In order to do so, we must first investigate into possible causes from which diseases originate from and finally help to establish balance using basic principles using the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda.

“Health results from the natural, balanced state of the doshas. 
Therefore, the wise try to keep them in their balanced state.”
– Charaka Samhita

Ayurvedic Body Types - Vata, Pitta & Kapha. 

 

The Doshas

Each of the three doshas are present throughout the body. They govern our physiology and all activities of the body, mind, and emotions. An important principle to consider regarding the cause of disease from an Ayurvedic perspective is “like increases like”.

“Like Increases Like”
This principle of ‘like increases like’ clearly explains that if one of your doshas [vata, pitta, or kapha] becomes imbalanced then it’s likely that you will experience symptoms which directly reflect a particular quality belonging to the imbalanced dosha.

Vata Dosha
Movement, motion and flow are always occurring in all parts of our body at every moment. This movement is thought to be under the guidance of vata dosha. Vata dosha is characterized by qualities such as:

  • Dry
  • Light
  • Cold
  • Rough
  • Mobile

 

Like Increases Like ...
Vata dosha may become aggravated by similar qualities. For example, eating large quantities of dry food, dry nuts, cold food, or even certain prolonged activities with excess movements such as jogging, running, and rushing about may lead to vata imbalances within the body. Vata imbalances can manifest as irregular digestion, anxiety and worry, insomnia, and various other conditions.

Vata-Balancing Supplements 
Tips, products, recipes, spices, aromatherapy, massage oils & more!!

Balancing Vata Dosha:
Therefore, in order to balance vata dosha, you may want to consider the following:

  • eat more warm, brothy and easily digestible foods
  • eat at regular times to help promote balance in life
  • avoid stimulating foods [i.e. coffee, tea, tobacco and spicy foods]
  • avoid foods which are dry, cold, and light
  • consider eating more ‘healthy oils’ [ghee, flax, hemp, sesame]

 

Pitta Dosha
Pitta dosha is involved with metabolism at every level of the body. For example, all transformations at the organ, tissue, and cellular level are all governed by the principle of pitta dosha. Pitta dosha is characterized by qualities such as:

  • Hot
  • Sharp
  • Light
  • Liquid
  • Oily

 

Like Increases Like ...
Pitta dosha may become aggravated by similar qualities as well. For example, eating hot and spicy food, fermented food, citrus fruit, and working in hot humid conditions can all increase and provoke pitta dosha. Pitta imbalances in the body may manifest as acidity, irritability, inflammation, fever, nausea and various other conditions.

Pitta-Pacifying Herbal Supplements
Tips, products, recipes, spices, aromatherapy, massage oils & more!! 

Balancing Pitta Dosha:
Therefore, in order to balance pitta dosha, you may want to consider the following:
– Eat foods which are cool and refreshing
– Avoid foods which are sour, salty, pungent and spicy
– Dairy milk, butter, and ghee are often beneficial for pacifying pitta
– Drink more water and consider aloe vera to help cool down pitta

Kapha Dosha
Every cell, tissue, and organ system are involved with providing structure to the body. The process of creating structure involves building, maintenance, and repair – which are all under the principle of kapha dosha. Kapha dosha is characterized by qualities such as:

  • heavy
  • dull
  • cool
  • oily

 

Like Increases Like ...
Kapha dosha may become aggravated by similar qualities as well. For example, kapha types are vulnerable to cold, moist, slow and heavy characteristics which may manifest as a slow and sluggish digestion, weight gain, congestion, edema, and poor circulation.

Kapha-Balancing Supplements
Tips, products, recipes, spices, aromatherapy, massage oils & more!!

Balancing Kapha Dosha:
Therefore, in order to balance kapha dosha, you may want to consider the following:

  • Wake up early, be active and consider exercise daily
  • Avoid sedentary lifestyle and daytime sleeping
  • Avoid cold drinks and instead consider warm and spicy food and hot drinks
  • Eat fresh raw vegetables to help balance the oily nature of kapha
  • Consider drinking hot water mixed with small amounts of honey

 

Want More?
The saints of Ayurveda observed how the elements are involved in the different seasons and times of day. They brought to light the importance of understanding this in order for us to prevent imbalance and disease. Therefore, click below to learn how to become more in-tune with nature throughout the various seasons of the year.

Seasons In The Light Of Ayurveda
Learn how to keep your doshas balanced throughout the seasons!!

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.


Autoimmune Conditions [Rheumatoid Arthritis]: An Ayurvedic Perspective + Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Sun Dressing Recipe

Autoimmune Conditions
In essence, autoimmunity is when the body attacks itself. The function of the immune system is to help protect you from disease. However, when the immune system doesn’t function properly it can mistakenly identify your own bodily tissue as an invader and therefore mount an attack - the immune response!

Main Factors Of Health ...
The concept of health according to the ancient science of Ayurveda is explained in terms of healthy digestion [agni], balanced doshas [vata-pitta-kapha], preventing ama [toxins], and preserving ojas [vital essense of life]. When all these factors are balanced then it’s said that the person will be strong, healthy, and live a long and happy life.

“Let food by thy medicine and medicine thy food.”– Hippocrates 

 

Healthy Digestion

According to the most ancient and revered textbook of Ayurveda, the Charak Samhita, the principle of “Agni” – The Digestive Fire illustrates the body’s ability to digest food; almost equivalent to digestive enzymes. In fact, when managing most health concerns, correcting digestion is often the very first line of management.  Click Here - Learn How To Improve Digestion Naturally

Great Video: 10 Steps To Reverse Autoimmune Disease - Dr. Mark Hyman

Balanced Doshas
According to the teachings of Ayurveda, there are three doshas called vata, pitta, and kapha. We can think of these three doshas as the guiding principles that keep all our bodily functions balanced and healthy.

“Health results from the natural, balanced state of the doshas.
Therefore, the wise try to keep them in their balanced state.”
– Charak Samhita

In order to explain how to correct any underlying doshic imbalances it is important to introduce two very simple  principles common to the science of Ayurveda. These two principles are:

  • The Principle Of Similarity: like increases like
  • The Principle Of Opposites: opposites restore balance

 

The Principle Of Similarity
This principle of ‘like increases like’ clearly explains that if one of your doshas [vata, pitta, or kapha] becomes imbalanced then it’s likely that you will experience symptoms which directly reflect that particular quality which belongs to the imbalanced dosha.

The Principle Of Opposites
Likewise, when a certain quality [i.e. hot quality] of a dosha becomes imbalanced the best way to re-establish balance is simply to introduce the opposing quality. For example, cool & cold qualities help to balance the hot quality in order to regain a state of balance.
Click Here - To Learn More About Balancing Doshas

 

Ama - Toxins

As mentioned above, “ama” is the by-product of poor digestion and is thought to be toxic to the body. The by-product of poor digestion may accumulate in the colon and create a hostile environment within the G.I. tract; i.e. supporting unhealthy gut flora. Not only does this support an unhealthy gut flora but even worse, it supports the process of fermentation and putrefaction.
Click Here - To Learn How To Remove Ama

“When food is digested improperly because agni [the digestive flame] is low the undigested food becomes vitiated [disturbed] and collects in the stomach.
It is known as ama [toxins].”
– Astangahrdaya Samhita

Goal: Purify The Body Of Ama [Toxins]
“Due to the purification of the body, the capacity of digestion and metabolism is enhanced, normal health is restored, all sense organs start working with vigor, old age is prevented and diseases cured.”
– Charaka Samhita Ch. 16 Sutra 17-19

 

Preserving Ojas

Having strong Ojas helps maintain optimum health and many diet and lifestyle factors can contribute to either depleting or nourishing ones Ojas. Ojas is defined as the pure essence of the bodily tissues and is considered the refined by-product of healthy digestion. In essence, ojas is referred to as the source of vitality, immunity and vigor in the body.
Click Here - To Learn More About Ojas

 

"The Connection"

Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to Ayurveda, vata dosha and bone tissue [asthi dhatu] are intimately connected. Vata primarily governs the element of space and the porous nature of bone makes the skeletal system one of the primary sites of vata dosha. The colon is also the primary site of vata. Interestingly, the mucous lining of the colon membrane is responsible for the absorption of minerals which support bone tissue. This emphasis the connection that connective tissue disorders and skeletal conditions [i.e. rheumatoid arthritis] begin in the gut.

“All disease begins in the gut.” - Hippocrates

As explained above, if the digestive fire [agni] is diminished then this impaired digestion will lead to the formation of toxic by-products of poor digestion called “ama”. Eventually, the toxic substances of ama begin to accumulate in the colon and begin to get absorbed into the general circulation. Due to the intimate relationship of the colon and bone tissue much of these toxic substances [ama] get carried by vata dosha to the skeletal and connective tissue [primary sites of vata dosha] - this illustrates the initial stages of rheumatoid arthritis. The residue of ama [toxins] that chronically resides on the cell membrane gives rise to an attack on various tissues such as connective tissue, bones, and joints which correlates well with our modern view of the rheumatoid factor.

Prevention Is Key:
Healthy digestion and the prevention of ama are the first steps in preventing disease.

Natural Management

Langhana - Fasting Or Eating Light Foods
The initial management of autoimmune conditions is to break the chain of toxemia.  The first goal is to prevent the formation of by-products of poor digestion [i.e. ama]. Therefore, fasting or eating light and easily digestible food is the initial management. Likewise, to help improve the digestive flame [agni] and burn some of the toxins [ama] you may also want to consider spices such as cumin, mustard, and ginger powder.

Foods which are easy to digest include:

  • rice broth
  • softly cooked rice
  • tapioca

 

Pulling Out The Toxins
Longstanding autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis have residual toxins within the synovial membrane and joint space. Therefore, Ayurveda would recommend applying the principle of heat [i.e. hot sauna, steam bath or hot shower] to help loosen up the ‘stickiness’ of ama. By loosening up ama from certain tissues and/or joint space, one can then apply certain pastes externally on the joints. This will help to pull out toxic ama and help to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. Certain pastes which can be applied externally [onto the joints] are formed by certain powders such as bachan, dhattura, and vacha. All of these considerations should be considered under the guidance and supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic professional and after having discussed these options with your primary care physician.

Bitter Herbs
According to Ayurvedic principles, bitter herbs consist mostly of ether and air elements. These subtle elements of [ether + air] allow bitter herbs to spread into subtle channels of tissue [i.e. articular surface within the joint space]. Generally, bitter herbs are cooling. However, there are some bitter herbs such as rasna, guggulu and parijata which are heating and therefore are able to enter into subtle channels of tissue [i.e. articular surfaces] and help ‘burn toxins’ [ama] - ama being that which is stimulating the autoimmune response.

Pungent Herbs
Pungent herbs like trikatu help to improve the function of the digestive fire [agni] while helping to burn toxins [ama]. Trikatu is a combination of ginger, black pepper, and pippali which helps to clear toxins within both the digestive system and tissues of the body.

Caution:
Because trikatu and pungent herbs can enhance the function of the immune system, it should only be considered under the guidance of a qualified ayurvedic/herbal professional and after first discussing these options with your primary care physician.
Click Here -To Learn More About Trikatu

Panchakarma - The Complete Detox System
Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic purification system which helps to remove impurities and toxins from the physiological channels of the body. With proper purification of the body springs forth greater cellular intelligence allowing for optimal functioning of the body as a whole.

The Five Purifying Actions Of Panchakarma:

  • vamana: therapeutic vomiting
  • virechana: purgative or laxative therapy
  • basti: medicated enema therapy
  • nasya: nasal administration of medicated oils
  • rakta moksha: blood-letting; purifying blood

 

“Through the use of vamana, basti, and rasayana [rejuvenative therapy] as well as proper diet and lifestyle, one can prevent the recurrence of rheumatic fever and rheumatoid arthritis.”
- Dr. Vasant Lad, Ayurvedic Physician
 Click Here - To Learn More About Panchakarma

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Sun Dressing
Turmeric is widely utilized in Ayurvedic Medicine in treating allergies, immune conditions, liver diseases and neurological disorders. It is considered a holy, auspicious and natural healer.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice + zest of 2 Lemons
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. raw local honey — if not vegan
  • pinch of Himalayan sea salt (to taste)

 

Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Add more avocado if you desire a thicker consistency.
Click Here - Benefits Of Turmeric

Recipe Credit To: MindBodygreen.com

Disclaimer:
This is strictly for educational purpose only and not medical advice. Always first consult your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.

Resource:
Ayurvedic Perspective On Selected Pathologies, Dr. Vasant Lad - 2nd Edition


An Ayurvedic Purification Purge [Virechana]

 

An Ayurvedic Purification Purge 
According to the ancient teachings of Ayurveda, there are three doshas called vata, pitta, and kapha. These three doshas act as the guiding principles that keep all our bodily functions balanced and healthy.

“Health results from the natural, balanced state of the doshas.
Therefore, the wise try to keep them in their balanced state.”
– Charak Samhita

Imbalanced Doshas
Each of the three doshas are present throughout the body. They govern our physiology and all activities of the body, mind, and emotions. Ayurveda is a holistic science and recognizes that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That said, when the doshas become imbalanced it affects the whole body. Likewise, when the doshas become aggravated by various factors such as poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, negative emotions, etc. this can cause an imbalance to the bodily systems and if not corrected appropriately - may lead to disease.

Imbalanced Doshas + Impaired Digestion = Toxicity
As a result of poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle not only do the doshas become imbalanced but the digestive fire [agni] soon becomes impaired. As the digestive fire becomes disturbed, food no longer is able to be properly digested and the undigested food then accumulates within the G.I. tract. allowing for toxicity [i.e. fermentation, putrefaction]. From this perspective, Ayurveda states that the by-product of poor digestion [“ama”] is the root cause of all disease.

"The signs and symptoms of ama are clogging of channels, sense of heaviness, low energy, restlessness, lethargy, indigestion, kaphatype congestion [expectoration], accumulation of the three malas [wastes], loss of taste and sexual debility." - Ast Hrd Su. 30.23

Goal: Remove Ama [Toxins]

Cleansing & Purification 
Once the doshas have begun to significantly cause an imbalance or disease, it soon becomes necessary to consider certain purification techniques to cleanse the body of excess doshas and toxins [“ama”]. This purification process is called “panchakarma” which involves five cleansing actions.

Panchakarma
Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic purification system which helps to remove impurities and toxins from the physiological channels of the body. With proper purification of the body springs forth greater cellular intelligence allowing for optimal functioning of the body as a whole.

Great Video - A Very Brief Introduction To Panchakarma

The Five Purifying Actions Of Panchakarma:

  • vamana: therapeutic vomiting
  • virechana: purgative or laxative therapy
  • basti: medicated enema therapy
  • nasya: nasal administration of medicated oils
  • rakta moksha: blood-letting; purifying blood

 

Snehana - Virechana 
Modern living is filled with impurities. These impurities are typically stored in adipose/fat tissue and in order to remove these toxins the cleansing process of panchakarma makes use of oleation therapy called “snehana”. Typically, the oleation process of snehana takes place during a few days. During these several days, one would be instructed to drink melted ghee [clarified butter] on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. The amount of ghee to be ingested is specified by a qualified ayurvedic professional as the amounts typically increase daily throughout the few days. Generally, on the third or fourth day, the person is instructed to skip dinner, take a hot tub bath, then undergo purgation [“virechana”] by ingesting castor oil or other laxatives which are properly indicated

 

The Logical Explanation

Toxins From Fat Cells Get Pulled Into Circulation
Prior to the ingestion of large amounts of ghee there is a brief period of reduced ingestion of fat and/or calories. The reduced ingestion of fat helps fat cells to concentrate impurities and toxins [i.e. PAHs; polyaromatic hydrocarbons] stored within adipose tissue. As one begins to ingest large amounts of ghee this creates a sudden increase in the amount of “impurity-free ghee” within the blood stream. The fat [triglycerides] in the blood stream attract the toxins which are concentrated within fat cells and through the process of diffusion, osmosis, and active transport - the toxins from the fat cells enter into the blood stream.

Circulating Toxins - Pulled Into The Gut
As the toxins leave the fat cells due to diffusion-osmosis-active transport explained above, these toxins then begin to circulate into the general circulation. The fat-soluble impurities which have now been released from fat cells are now unstable in the aqueous circulating blood and therefore seek out other stores of fat to dissolve into. Likewise, the circulating impurities are also unable to return back into adipose tissue due to the imposed concentration gradient created by the ingestion of large amounts of ghee. Finally, due to the increasing amounts of ghee ingested, the “impurity-free ghee” within the gut now creates a favorable concentration gradient allowing for circulating toxins in the blood to enter into the G.I. tract. Now that the toxins are concentrated within the G.I. tract, the next step is purgation.

In Essence:
A concentration gradient was established in order to pull stored fat-soluble impurities from fat cells into the blood stream and from the blood stream into the gut.

 

The Purging Of Toxins 
Now that the toxins are concentrated within the G.I. tract, the next step is purgation. However, before the final purge it’s best to consider a hot bath to induce vasodilation and to further loosen and remaining fat-soluble toxins. Finally, purgation using castor oil [or another laxative] specified by a trained professional results in the elimination of toxins and ghee from the G.I. tract.

Signs & Symptoms Of Proper Virechana

  • tongue looks clean
  • clarity of the mind
  • no gas or discomfort
  • appetite returns a couple hours after purgation
  • creates lightness to the body and promotes sound sleep

 

Caution:
Excess purgation can lead to excessive diarrhea, severe dehydration, and hypovolemic shock and therefore should only be performed under the guidance of a qualified professional.

Disclaimer:
Panchakarma is a specialized Ayurvedic procedure which should be performed under the guidance of a trained and skillful Ayurvedic professional. Excess purgation can lead to excessive diarrhea, severe dehydration, and hypovolemic shock. This is strictly for educational purpose only and not medical advice. Always first consult your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.

Want More?
CLICK HERE - For More Information On Panchakarma

 


Ayurveda & The Wisdom Of The Doshas

 

Ayurveda & The Wisdom Of The Doshas
According to the ancient teachings of Ayurveda, there are three doshas called vata, pitta, and kapha. We can think of these three doshas as the guiding principles that keep all our bodily functions balanced and healthy.

“Health results from the natural, balanced state of the doshas.
Therefore, the wise try to keep them in their balanced state.”
- Charak Samhita

The Wisdom Of The Doshas
Each of the three doshas are present throughout the body. They govern our physiology and all activities of the body, mind, and emotions. Not only do the doshas govern our bodily functions but from a more truer perspective - they are the governing principles of Nature. The ancient science of Ayurveda understands the doshas as being a direct expression of Nature’s intelligence and therefore seeks to find balance by understanding the doshas.

Vata
Movement, motion and flow are always occurring in all parts of our body at every moment. This movement is thought to be under the guidance of vata dosha.

Pitta 
Pitta dosha is involved with metabolism at every level of the body. For example, all transformations at the organ, tissue, and cellular level are governed by the principle of pitta dosha.

Kapha 
Every cell, tissue, and organ system are involved with providing structure to the body. The process of creating structure involves building, maintenance, and repair - which are all under the principle of kapha dosha.

Discovering The Ayurveda Concept Of Dosha

 

A Balancing Act

We all have a unique state of balance which signifies a state of good health. We can say that when all your doshas are balanced this illustrates a balance in all bodily reactions, metabolism, flow and communication of all systems of the body. However, what does it mean when a dosha is out of balance? Very simply, an unbalanced dosha represents a subtle imbalance within the body. For example, if vata dosha is increased this can lead to increased dryness of the body [i.e. dry skin, constipation] and increased lightness or ungroundedness of the mind [i.e. anxiety, worry]. Likewise, if pitta dosha is increased, this can lead to an increased fiery aspect to the digestive fire [called “Agni” ] and result in heartburn. Finally, if kapha dosha is increased this can cause increased mucous formation, congestion and/or heaviness to the body. These are all very simple examples to illustrates how physiological changes of the body occur due to subtle changes in the three doshas.

The Balancing Of Doshas
Before we can explain how to correct any underlying doshic imbalances it is important to introduce two very simple  principles common to the science of Ayurveda. These two principles are:

  • The Principle Of Similarity: like increases like
  • The Principle Of Opposites: opposites restore balance


The Principle Of Similarity

This principle of ‘like increases like’ clearly explains that if one of your doshas [vata, pitta, or kapha] becomes imbalanced then it’s likely that you will experience symptoms which directly reflect that particular quality which belongs to the imbalanced dosha. For example, if one eats hot and spicy food [which is fiery like pitta] on a hot [fiery-pitta] summer day while being forced into an aggravating  [fiery-pitta] heated discussion - it is then likely that the hot-fiery quality of pitta may manifest itself within the body such as an inflammatory condition [i.e. heartburn, skin rash, urticaria, etc.].


The Principle Of Opposites

Now, let us assume the above mentioned hot-fiery pitta individual comes to see you for an Ayurvedic consultation. Using the law of opposites, we would want to consider the opposite quality of hot [which is cool and/or cold qualities] to bring the pitta dosha back into balance. Therefore, as a very simple example, we would first suggest avoiding such aggravating factors and next consider opposing qualities - such as cool qualities of aloe vera, amalaki, neem or other soothing elements such as ghee [clarified butter] to help pacify and balance pitta dosha.

The Governing Influence Of The Doshas
The concept of the three doshas is not only limited to our body but also describes the changes involved in the hours of the day, the days of the year, and the entire span of our lives. In other words, the three doshas [vata, pitta, and kapha] influence everything.

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