Saturday, September 28, 2019

September; Pain Awareness Month

We help people resolve pain issues all year long, but I just saw September was dedicated to pain awareness and a good time to announce the new law coming into effect in 2020, requiring physicians to educate their patients on alternate methods of pain reduction, that include massage therapy, yoga therapy and Ayurveda as options for reducing and often eliminating pain.

Pain receptors called neurons are on one end of nerve cells and on the other end is an axon, which connects to the spinal cord. When the pain receptor is activated, it sends a signal through the nerve, and subsequently through peripheral nerves, up the spine and neck to the brain via synapses between each neuron, eventually landing at the thalamus in the brain, which is a sorting station that sends the signals to the appropriate part of the brain. Signals are sent to the somatosensory cortex (responsible for physical sensation), the frontal cortex (in charge of thinking), and the limbic system (linked to emotions).

It seems there are several factors that affect how a person experiences pain.
In addition to the gate control theory of the thalamus are differences in emotional and psychological state; memories of previous pain; upbringing; expectations of and attitudes towards pain; beliefs and values; age; sex; and social and cultural influences.

Hence the experience of pain differs from person to person.

From the Ayurvedic viewpoint, vata (ether and air) are responsible for movement, and thereby govern the nervous system and the sensory pathway. When there is either an injury or an excess or irregularity of vata in the system, the nervous system will activate more, affecting pain level and perception.

Chronic pain can persist for months or even years after an initial injury and can be difficult to treat. People with chronic pain may experience sleeplessness, anxiety and depression, all of which are vata disorders and can compound the problem. 

However, support and help are available, often in the form of a multidisciplinary approach and with skillful integration of body/mind and contemplative practices of Ayurveda, massage and Yoga Therapy, where we work holistically, from the level of the brain, nervous system, mind and emotions, to the physical body and all aspects of a person’s daily routine and life.

This is accomplished with a combination of massage and bodywork modalities, yoga therapy tools and techniques such as appropriate movement, breathing, yoga nidra; a specific form of guided imagery that promotes very deep relaxation and integration of the brain and the nervous system and incorporating appropriate diet, herbal support and daily and season routines all prescribed according to the person’s Ayurvedic doshic condition and assessment.

By utilizing these methods, we can reduce the root causes of pain and its perception, whether they are of a pitta- inflammatory, kapha- accumulated toxins, or vata-dryness, movement and/or sensory impressions and nervous system conductivity and bring a person back to balance. 

The practices of shirodhara and yoga nidra are important for neuroplasticity and integration of the brain and nervous system, and change conditioned patterns in order to create a new normal without pain. The use of specific types of oils and appropriate styles of application or massage are best for calming the nervous system, for vata or pitta imbalances and dry, lymphatic drainage with silk gloves and/or powders work best for kapha imbalances.

These are therapeutically combined into a personalized treatment plan or panchakarma program for optimum results, (see previous blog or visit).

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

10 Reasons To Do Panchakarma

Ayurveda's Signature Integrative and Comprehensive Healing Experience

                                 10 Reasons To Do Panchakarma

  1. Eliminate physical and mental toxins
  2. Restore your constitution; physical and emotional balance 
  3. Improve physical, mental and emotional health and wellness
  4. Improve gut health, digestion and elimination
  5. Strengthen your physical and emotional immunity and become more resistant to    illness
  6. Reverse the negative effects of stress on your body and mind, thereby slowing the  aging process
  7. Enhance your self-reliance, energy, and vitality 
  8. Enhance your emotional strength, mental clarity and expand self awareness 
  9. Bring about deep relaxation and a sense of calm and well-being
  10. Re-Engineer healthy habits to sustain these improvements throughout the year

PANCHAKARMA is Ayurveda's traditional and holistic method of creating personal clearing and rejuvenation for the body, mind and consciousness, and an immersion known for its beneficial effects on overall health and wellness that strengthens the body's capacity for its own self-healing. 
The transition between seasons is a prime time to receive a panchakarma cleansing and rejuvenating program, though you can schedule one any time.
Programs are customized according to what is indicated for your constitution, age, condition and goals with a specific, natural, holistic, health promoting series of therapeutic massages and body treatments, specified diet, Ayurvedic health education, Yoga and Meditation/Yoga Nidra classes creating a balanced and holistic program to engineer healthy habits, improve energy, vitality, inner peace, confidence, well-being, longevity and purpose. 
Your Ayurvedic Consultation includes a complete assessment to determine the appropriate steps needed, from diet and treatments to yoga and meditation, and your Ayurvedic Practitioner will monitor you closely and document progress at every step along the way.
Programs are custom-tailored to your constitution, and current state of health and participants gain improved well being and in depth understanding of Ayurvedic principles, their self care and health and are inspired by Chaya’s vast knowledge, teaching skills and sensitivity, creating a life changing experience most people are longing for.
Ayurveda recommends Panchakarma to facilitate deep cleansing and healing of the body and mind. The initial stage of Panchakarma therapy is called Purvakarma
Ayurveda believes that the causes of chronic disease are deep-rooted imbalances in the dosha (basic body elements)-dhatu (body tissues)-mala (waste products). The following information will be beneficial in understanding the preparation phase of purvakarma.
It has now been scientifically proven that a natural purification treatment can successfully eliminate environmentally toxic substances such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB's) and pesticides from the body, without any negative side effects. A laboratory study at the Colorado University demonstrated that classical Panchakarma treatment eliminated up to 50% of the detectable toxins in the blood.
Purvakarma is the preparation for panchakarma that helps to mobilize and liquefy waste products (ama) from the tissues and to move it out towards the intestines, which then allows Panchakarma to flush them out. 

Panch means 5 and karma are the actions of this removal process that is tailored towards each individual.

Purvakarma is recommended for the full success of Panchakarma, though there can be benefits attained without it as well. 
The program includes eating Ayurveda's signature healing dish called kitchari, a delicious rice, bean and vegetable meal that balances the doshas and starts the process of detoxification.
Before the actual operation of purification begins, there is a need to prepare the body with prescribed methods to encourage it to let go of the toxins. These two procedures are snehan and swedana.
Snehan means “love” in Sanskrit, which is referred to as “internal and external oleation”. The internal oleation is accomplished by consuming prescribed quantities of ghee (clarified butter) and specified herbs along with external oleation consisting of Ayurvedic massage and body treatments.
Snehan reduces the dryness of body tissues (dhatu) and body passages (srotamsi). This ultimately helps in driving impurities out of the body during Panchakarma. Snehan mobilizes unwanted matter lodged in the body and adds to the results of Panchakarma. Daily Snehan profoundly relaxes the body and mind and improves the flow of energy by opening the channels of circulation. In addition Snehan prepares the body and mind to flush excess toxins and doshas from the system.
Swedhana is sweating induced by steam and is given immediately following the snehan to liquefy the toxins and increase the movement of toxins into the gastrointestinal tract to be removed.