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Self-Care Guide: Joints
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The Ayurvedic Approach to Healthy Joints
Joint disorders affect millions of Americans. 80% of individuals over 50 years of age reportedly have joint concerns of one type or another. Reasons range from obesity to heredity. Improper use of the joints, overexertion, stress, diet and lifestyle contribute to the problem.
The Ayurvedic Perspective
Vata-Related Joint Problem
Foods and Lifestyle Habits to Pacify Vata
"Follow a Vata-pacifying daily routine," advises The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians. Go to bed before ten o'clock at night, and rise before six a.m. Avoid too much stimulating activity at night, such as watching television right before bed. Eat your main meal at noon, and eat a light, nourishing dinner early in the evening. Engage in some mild exercise such as walking for half an hour a day. Practice Transcendental Meditation® on a regular basis to dissolve stress and calm your mind. All of these things together will soothe Vata dosha and prevent and correct Vata-based joint problems. A daily ayurvedic oil massage is recommended to prevent these kinds of joint problems, because it helps settle Vata dosha.
Herbs that Heal
If you are taking a calcium supplement, The Council suggests adding the Calcium Support to help your body absorb calcium from your diet and from calcium supplements. It's important to avoid caffeine and a highly acidic diet because they increase the excretion of calcium and magnesium in the urine, thus depleting the body's calcium.
This program is most effective in restoring balance to the joints when there is a small amount of malnutrition of the bone and drying of Shleshaka Kapha. If the problem is more severe than that, it is important to consult a physician. Many physicians are now trained in Maharishi Ayurveda, and can help correct the problem by eliminating the problem at its source.
Ama-Related Joint Problem
Foods and Lifestyle Habits to Reduce Ama
A very effective way to purify the joint is to drink lots of ama pachana water (water infused with ama-reducing spices). To make the water, boil two quarts of water and put it in a thermos flask. Then add two to three thin slices of fresh ginger, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. fennel, 2 black peppercorns, and 2 leaves of mint. Let it steep. Drink this water throughout the day for a very purifying effect. It also helps to eat an apple cooked with prunes and figs each morning for breakfast. You can also cook your foods with an ama pachana spice mixture. To prepare this, mix 2 parts turmeric, 6 parts cumin, one part ajowan, 2 parts fenugreek, 1 part black pepper, and 6 parts fennel. Stimulating Spice Mix a is also a good spice mixture for reducing ama.
Herbs that Heal
On stiff joints, gently apply Joint Soothe II, an ayurvedic oil designed to lubricate the joints, eliminate impurities, and deliver vital nutrients to the joints. Joint Soothe II is a highly complex formula that takes many days to prepare and contains two traditional oil formulas for strengthening the joints. One of these oil formulas, Mahanarayana Oil, a blend of sesame oil, milk, and 56 herbs, is praised in the ayurvedic texts for its effectiveness in increasing circulation around the joints. Another herbal blend included in Joint Soothe II is known as Vishagarabh Oil, a sharp, heating, penetrating oil that penetrates the surface layers of the skin to target ama in the joints and liquefy the impurities. Once liquefied, ama can be internally eliminated by taking the Joint Soothe I tablets. So these two products work together to effectively penetrate, dissolve, and eliminate ama and to lubricate the joints to restore their natural balance.
Again, prevention is key. It takes a great amount of effort to get rid of ama that has circulated throughout the body and settled in the joints. So once you start taking care of your joint problem by reducing ama, you should be very careful not to accumulate ama in future. Examine your tongue in the morning-it should not be coated. If you are eating right, you should not carry any post-lunch fatigue. If you feel even a little stiffness or heaviness in your joints, you should start following all of these recommendations immediately to prevent ama from accumulating. This is truly a case of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure.
DISCLAIMER: These results may not be typical. Results with products may vary from individual to individual. Information in this newsletter is presented for the sole purpose of imparting education on ayurveda and neither the information nor the product is intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition, or are pregnant or lactating, please consult a health professional. Before making changes to your diet or routine, it is recommended that you speak with your physician.
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