About 54.4 million US adults, that is about 25% of the country’s population suffers from some form of arthritis, data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests. There are about a thousand types of arthritis, or inflammation of joints and other joint diseases, but two of the most common ones are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Thankfully, arthritis is well discussed, studied and researched within the science of Ayurveda, one of the oldest systems of healing and wellness and a qualified Ayurveda expert can tell you in good time if you are predisposed to joint diseases or arthritis for you to take the necessary precautions and make the relevant lifestyle changes.
Ayurveda defines the types of arthritic pain based on the imbalance of doshas in the body.
· Arthritis caused by Vata imbalance is called Sandhivata or osteoarthritis, a degenerative disorder caused by the damages, aging and weakness in the cartilage around the joints. It affects the hip, spine and knee. Cartilage degeneration leads to increased friction between the bones at the joint that causes stiffness and pain.
· One led by excessive pitta imbalance is gout or Vatarakta.
· Kapha imbalance causes Amavata or rheumatoid arthritis which is inflammation of the membranes that constitute the tissue lining of joints. This affects the joints of wrist and feet.
Remedies in Ayurveda
1. Panchakarma Therapy
Panchakarma is a set of cleansing processes prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors, based on the Dosha constitution of an individual. These treatments, using natural oils and lepas or masks, are tailor-made targeting the specific imbalances and Aama (toxins) in the body. You can learn about your Doshic imbalances through a pulse diagnosis administered by an Ayurveda doctor.
Panchakarma therapies are recommended by Ayurveda experts to manage arthritic pain. The Vata dosha or the air element in our body tends to be aggravated, partly due to seasonal factors, lack of nutrition, aging and poor lifestyle choices. When this aggravation goes unattended, it lends itself to multiple illnesses and diseases manifesting in the body, like arthritis. So it is rather important to take every measure in calming the Vata imbalance. Panchakarma treatment for balancing Vata dosha involves two processes Snehana and Swedana.
A) Snehana is one of the main internal detoxification therapies prescribed in Ayurveda. In Sanskrit, Snehana means to oil or smoothen. This therapy softens, smoothens and prepares the body for the removal of the metabolic waste in the body.
B) Swedana or Sweat therapy is where the body is induced to sweat through herbal steam. Swedana is performed right before the detox therapy begins. Swedana improves blood circulation, removes toxins, lubricates the joints, improves the skin, lightens the stress in the body and makes the patient feel deeply relaxed.
C) Ayurvedic experts recommend full body massage with essential oils that are slightly heavy structured and balance the Vata like sesame oil, avocado oil, Clary Sage (used in aromatherapy, For example, Shankara’s Calming Body Oil has been formulated keeping Vata imbalance in mind. This ultra-nourishing body oil is the perfect remedy for arthritic pain arising out of vata aggravation. Filled with essential oils of sandalwood, borage, cardamom, vetiver, aniseed, ginger, bala and clary sage among others, that help soothe emotions and relax the body and joints, while delivering the benefits of rich nutrients, antioxidants, and intensely moisturizing ingredients.
Ayurveda suggests Basti treatment, curated in classical texts specifically to alleviate Vata related disorders, where stiff joints are bathed in warm medicated oil. This treatment also includes a massage to the affected area.
Katti Basti: for the lower back.
Greeva Basti: for the neck and shoulders.
Janu Basti: for the knees.
Abhyanga is one of the most popular and commonly recommended therapies in Ayurveda that incorporates warm, aromatic oils, rhythmically massaged into your body, which loosen toxins, relax the nervous system and bone systems, and provide rest, nourishment, and rejuvenation. It improves blood circulation, tones and moisturizes skin, works up the lymph system, and calms the mind and nervous system.
Where can you take these treatments at?
What if we reveal a hideout! A quiet and heavenly place for the finest Ayurvedic spa and massage treatments that few people know about is the Art of Living Retreat Center, nestled at the top of Blue Ridge mountains in Boone, North Carolina.
The center has all the ingredients-spa retreats, Panchakarma, finger licking delicious fare, Yoga and Ayurvedic Dosha balancing treatments with the idyllic views of the hills-that go into making a perfectly relaxed and rejuvenating vacation with quality soul-time. Here’s where you can check in with your loved ones for some well-deserved self-care.
The talented team of professionals there is committed to the practice. The team immerses itself in the dual traditions of Ayurveda and Yoga, not just as professionals, but as a powerful way of life. It has been ranked the #1 Ayurveda program in the US by Organic Spa Magazine and USA Today, for being one of the very few centers exclusively dedicated to offering Ayurveda focused wellness treatments in the US.
4) Essential oils
Essential oils, the oft used name for natural plant products is very relevant in treating arthritic pain because of their strong potency and anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties. They penetrate deeper and are absorbed directly into the tissues that allows them to be useful right away and because of their strong analgesic properties they are great at managing pain too. A study showed that application of an EO based ointment was able to significantly reduce the severity of adjuvant arthritis.
You can make the most of the therapeutic effect of essential oils by combining different essential oils mentioned below for quicker pain relief. We will later show you how.
a) Essential oils made from Bala (country mallow) extract
Bala extract, one of the most valuable herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine, has incredible benefits for patients of arthritis. It is anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic (induces sweat that reduces vata imbalance), and used for treating join pain, stiffness, cough, and diseases related to the central nervous system, regenerative for dhatus or body tissues.
b) Ginger Oil
Ginger oil is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory essential oil. A study carried out by the University of Miami goes to the extent of saying ginger extract can replace non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In the study, use of ginger extract helped reduce joint pain among subjects by 40% versus placebo.
c) Sesame oil
According to Charaka, a proponent and an authority on the 5000 year-old healing system of Ayurveda, sesame oil is one of the most valuable among all the oils with its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties. It is also rich in linoleic, or omega-6 fatty acid, needed for good bodily development. Sesame oil is specifically helpful in managing Vata imbalances.
How can we have the benefits of all these essential oils within an ideal blend? How much should the quantities be? Should we blend two of them or three of them and what is the procedure to extract them? RELAX!
Leave it to the professionals at Shankara to craft the perfect and most harmonic EO blends like Shankara’s Calming Body Oil for your skin and body that use extracts from all the above essential oils and more, bringing the best of Ayurvedic wisdom from the east and the knowledge of natural actives in the west. Made into perfection, so when the oil drips on your skin, and you rub it evenly, gradually and lovingly, you can feel the goodness of all these essences seep into your body tissues, making you relaxed, hydrated as the aromatic richness wafts through the space you walk in. Feel the pain dissolve away!