WHAT HAS YOU HEATED? INFLAMMATION AND AN INTEGRATED BASIC PERSPECTIVE ACCORDING TO AYURVEDIC MEDICINE

There has been a rising buzz in medical science around the learning of inflammation and epigenetic factors that contribute towards disease. In over a decade of practicing Ayurvedic Medicine and Advanced Yoga Therapy, I have noticed a trend where patients and students presenting  (even sitting around randomly in public and observing the populace) with certain ailments such as bacterial infections, virus’, candida and cancers and other related imbalances seems to come down to the lowest common denominator being inflammation. Inflammation produces an acidic environment and an acidic environment creates inflammation in the body. In an acidic biosphere we create a foundation in which diseases are rooted in. Modern medicine has become more recently aware that inflammation seems to be the underlying cause for numerous, if not all, conditions. To Ayurveda, a system of medicine over 5,000 years old, this isn't new.

 

Ayurveda is known as the “Science of Life” and is the oldest most complete system of integrated health and medicine.  Ayurveda has its roots in nature and the five elements, Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. When we combine Space and Air elements we get the principle of Vata. Vata is the term that refers to the nervous system and catabolism. Pitta, is the term that encompasses the fire and water elements and governs hormones, digestion and metabolism. Kapha, is the final principle that involves the water and earth elements, governing immunity and anabolism. When we look at inflammation in Ayurveda, we understand that many systems can be effected because eventually all the elements are affected. Health is considered ideal when we are balanced in these five elements and when we start to affect one, the others will surely follow. Everything is connected. In Ayurveda, 80% of diseases are considered a result of Vata imbalance because Vata oversees, per say, the mind/brain and nervous system. What stresses the mind will eventually stress the body. Examples of symptomology that are common in Vata predominant individuals (Ectomorphic) include insomnia, constipation, anxiety, fear, breathlessness, ADD/ADHD, Multiple Sclerosis, involuntary tremors, alzheimers. Next, Ayurveda says that 40% of diseases are a result of Pitta imbalances, which shows up as inflammation. For Pitta predominant individuals (Mesomorphic) examples of such ailments includes anything and all the symptoms ending in “itis” such as gastritis, conjunctivitis, iritis, diverticulitis, types of cancers and viral infections.  Finally, Kapha governs 20% of imbalances, relating to accumulation of sortsWith Kapha predominant individuals (Endomorphic) we have examples including edema, diabetes, depression, sluggishness, fibroids, candida and certain types of tumors. As mentioned previously, that when one of the elements are out of balance so too shall the others be somehow affected. Generally, when pain is experienced this is an aspect of Vata out of balance. When inflammation is present, this is an indicator that Pitta is somehow imbalanced and when swelling is present, Kapha is out of balance. 

 

The ancient texts of Ayurveda, written in the Arthava Veda (one of four Ancient Vedic Texts) and Charak Samhita, discuss this concept of inflammation extensively through its content. Where does this inflammation come from? What are the common categories of ailments associated with this, forming pathologies? How can it be prevented? How can it be treated?

IMMUNITY
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to when something is out of balance and/or has been invaded by an external pathogen of sorts. One of the first actions that the body takes, when something has invaded or gone out of balance internally, is the body temperature increasing. Heat is a biochemical chemical reaction designed to flush it out and support the body in returning to homeostasis. During this time, a battalion of cells in the form of at least white blood cells are sent in defense and an effort to contain the potential cascade of health issues that can ensue if not managed. It’s like when a forest fire happens and the fireman rush to the scene to contain the fire and extinguish it before it spreads and destroys neighboring homes and lives. If or when the body has recovered from this form of trauma, the body eventually recovers its health and can move forward. The body is constantly working on maintaining our immunity from things we see and don’t see. From what we drink to what we eat, how and where we breathe to exercise. It's important to note that inflammation itself may not actually be a problem but that it is an indicator of something gone array in the body/mind and that we are being asked by the body to pay attention to something. 

 

There are so many aspects to how the body works that it would be exhausting and impossible to follow all the processes in any one moment. Suffice it to say that the body is always “working” on something. Sometimes some issues develop, say from tick bites that produce Lyme Disease, or viral infections like HIV that challenge the body on an ongoing basis. Some virus’ the body can handle on its own. Other virus’ are more complex (like Lymes and HIV) and challenge the body’s capacity to maintain balance consistently over time and as we age, which require certain medications to support the immunity so that the body can at least hold the virus at bay. In such instances, inflammation on a subtle level is prevalent. The virus of HIV itself produces inflammation and then being on the anti-retrovirals (HIV medications) produces inflammation because the liver and kidneys filter all medications, putting stress on the liver; which also is a contributing organ for the filtration and synthesis of healthy blood cells.  The blood is the vehicle in which everything is delivered throughout the body. Picture it like molten lava flowing through the veins, just not as hot, thankfully. The body keeps a certain temperature (98.6 average) for a reason. This is the perfect condition the body feels that everything in the body can optimally function. Too cold and things start to become stagnant and break down. Too hot and things start to burn up.

 

Ayurveda recognizes that the first line of defense is the skin.  The skin, epithelial tissue, extends from external surfaces such as the outer skin, to lining of sinus passages, ear canal esophogeal tissue and ending in the rectal cavity. It covers the body through and through. Inside and out. Inside being the entire digestive tract beginning from the oral cavity and ending in the rectal cavity. This is how we can visualize that the body contains a tube within a tube.  The inner tube being that which I mentioned, from mouth to rectum, to the outer tube being the rest of the body that surrounds this. Even cells themselves possess a layer of tissue that is membraneous. The skin alone weighs approximately 12 pounds of the body weight. That's a lot of protection! Essentially, the first line of immunological defense is the digestive tract and equally important is the surface of the skin wrapping the entire body.

Ayurveda speaks extensively about this regarding self-care, which includes the necessity to eliminate ice and cold foods and beverages from the diet. According to Eastern Medicine (Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine) ice or cold should only be topically applied to some condition such as a burn or fever, or even stop one from bleeding, because the quality of cold is astringent and this supports wound repair by causing the blood to clot fairly quickly for most individuals.  Furthermore, ice and cold are considered poison to the body once it enters into the digestive system. This act compromises the functionality of immunity, digestion and the nervous system contributing to a large volume, onslaught and cascade of numerous health conditions. Digestion supports immunity.  We may wonder why this is, but if we remember that I mentioned that the body is balanced at 98.6 degrees and extreme variations of this can cause of domino effect of health issues.


We know that metabolism and immunity decrease with aging. It’s just part of our human design. When we factor on these two components it becomes an opportunity for us to be more mindful of our health and how delicate it is.

 


BACTERIAL, FUNGAL & VIRAL...OH MY!
There are generally five categories which account for how inflammation occurs. Bacterial, fungal and virus' are three of them. Parasites and Somatic Trauma are two. Bacterial, fungi, parasite and virus’ have two pathological patterns and roots in common: 1) They thrive in acidic environments, which is primarily indicated through inflammation. We know that an acidic environment fosters inflammation and that inflammation breeds an acidic environment. 2) They feed off sugar as a means of reproduction.  Implicitly, sugar, especially and in excess, feeds inflammation and therefore increases it. There is a process called “Glycation”, which is the combination of glucose (a type of sugar) combining with protein and creates a host of issues including inflammation.  Let’s look at an example from each category. For bacterial infection, we can use “Strep” (Streptococcus). It produces inflammation and accumulates fluids which tend to be related to the grouping of immune cells attempting to ward off the infection. Feeding it sugar will only increase its existence. If the body has pre-existing inflammation it easily finds its home in the body. If we look at the fungal category, we can see how “Candida” (Candidiasis) is like every fungus that grows from sugar and acidic environments. Virus’ like Lymes and HIV, feed off sugar and pre-existing inflammation, producing more inflammation.

Parasites contribute towards inflammation because parasites can invade the digestive system and outer surface of the skin if immunity of these tissues is compromised. Parasites have also been known to mask themselves beneath other symptoms and therefore individuals are diagnosed with conditions that look like conditions that would normally appear from other causes, but become misdiagnosed commonly because parasites aren’t always sought after unless someone has generally stated they were traveling to third world countries. We don’t really even have to travel to places like Peru or Guatemala or even India to return with parasites. Simply eating at a local diner or having sex with someone who has parasites can spread such things. Parasites exist in everyone to a small degree but the introduction of more can wreak havoc and mask as countless conditions. In Ayurveda, we can determine from pulse and tongue assessment whether parasites are prevalent. In allopathic medicine (western), tests can be performed, that are generally accurate, not always because the instruments aren't all that subtle, and can determine whether there are parasites. If parasites are the root cause, then resolution must start from here.  Diet and other lifestyle factors have to be re-evaluated and circumvented in the direction of change. Parasites feed on sugar and love inflammation.

 

Interestingly, when a trauma occurs, though anything off-setting the equilibrium of the body is considered a sort of “trauma,” the body exhibits a natural response via histamines and other biological features that address wherever a sort of wound may have entered. Say for instance we were in an accident, we obtain whiplash, our neck becomes tense, sensitive, cold, hot, throbbing, sharp etc. These are all rooted in a form of inflammation. Surgeries can also be included here because to some degree surgery alters the body and can generally be a hit or miss procedure that can either cause balance or perpetuate imbalance. Getting hit with an object or getting tossed about causes the body to respond in defense in order to protect itself. The fascial system (connective tissue) of the body distorts and eventually/inevitably effects associated organs and other systems. I sprain my ankle, which pulls my knee, disrupts my hips and later the opposite side of my neck causing a whole domino effect of issues. This pathway is slightly inflamed, stemming from the origin of the imbalance. The body’s systems come into play and attempt to re-regulate, causing stress. Stress causes inflammation and there you have it, again. What’s amazing about the body is that if we suffer an internal trauma related to a condition like a virus, which affects tissues, cells and organs, then the body will align itself accordingly. This is the “inside out effect.” If I injure the body from the outside, then the internal organs related to the location and origin will be disrupted, thereby affecting other systems along the way. This is the “outside in effect.” 

 

DIET
The topic of diet is a touchy subject for a lot of reasons, one being the direct connection with food and emotions/memories.  Ayurveda says “We are what we digest” which is different from what we learned being “we are what we eat.” If there is not food, there is no body. If we aren’t eating the best food, then we will not have the best body which includes health and immunity. Digestion is two-fold. The first relates to the actual physical digestion of food substances in the GI Tract and the second pertains to the effect of how the mind processes/metabolizes information.  With regard to physical digestion, diet plays a vast role in the reduction of diseases, the production of diseases and the prevention of diseases.  General examples of foods that increase inflammation and contribute to all three of the above categories are as such: sugar, processed sugar, excess salt, skipping meals, minimal intake of water, eggs, alcohol, fermented foods (breads, cheeses, pastas, yogurt, cheese, alcohol), night shades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants), soy/tofu/tempeh, coffee (in excess), beef and especially pork, processed sugar (I.e. candy and soda), and all fast/processed/packaged foods. Highly processed food and even lack of adequate hydration, lend themselves as factors in inflammation. When any of the above conditions are present, they all feed off this previously mentioned list. Let's add to this, Ayurveda's wisdom of “Incompatible Foods” (such as cheese, sauce and bread combined, potatoes and eggs, bread and yogurt (depending on when and who/constitutionally). Lack of vegetables, green leafy vegetables and fiber overall can contribute to inflammation. The chlorophyll, which is the blood of the plant is alkalizing and it alkalizing the hotness of our own blood and reduces inflammation. The cellulose fibers, from vegetable and legumes, also help to clear toxins and transport them from the digestive system releasing them through our bowel movements. They also encourage bowel movements which is an essential daily function highly required for management of our health. When we have a healthy colon, we have a happy mind and healthier body.

Let’s quickly add here that water/hydration daily is part of “diet” and is a natural anti-inflammatory.


MIND
Mental provision also has a major role in adding to or preventing disease formation. In and of itself, the word disease is simple "dis-ease", which pertains to mental unrest and physical imbalance.  As previously mentioned,  Ayurveda states that “we are what we digest” and thatthe digestion of what traverses the canvas of the mind includes the information that passes through “five gateways” being the doors of the senses; eyes, ears, nose, mouth and touch.  What are we seeing regularly? What are we putting in our mouth? What are we hearing/listening to normally? What do we smell/take in such as the quality of air? What do we touch or what touches us? These five doorways deliver information for the mind, which it then metabolizes/transforms/digests/interprets. The subtlety of such things has a profound influence upon our overall wellbeing. What we are exposed to on a daily basis has a sometimes immediate impact.  We can experience this in simple instances of fragrances or how people to speak to us. Unkind words cause emotional duress, usually. Loving words creates a soothing experience like salve for our mind and heart. When the mind is afflicted, we have a form of irritation, agitation and inflammation of the mind. This affects the heart. When the heart is unhappy, neuropeptides deliver messages to the brain from the heart and from the heart to the brain indicating “dis-ease.” It’s interesting to note this because just up until approximately 30 years ago, modern medicine simply looked at the body as a system of parts. Then a shift occurred and the introduction of Mind-Body connection was understood to be another key concept in healthcare/sick-care management.


The mind dictates much of the body, like a king ruling of the kingdom being the body, but similarly and when the body is afflicted by some "thing" the body affects that balance of the mind.  For instance, if the mind is aware of or creates an anger filled thought it will not only disrupt the digestive system but also add to inflammation in the body.  Conversely, unresolved anger, frustration, resentment, hatred and jealousy can contribute towards inflammation in the body.  This is the psychophysical relationship we possess within.  Many of the emotions that cause uneasiness will influence the body in such a way that the body will become a forum and breeding ground for virus, bacteria and fungus related conditions. In the past two years some research was put out showing how depression may be rooted or at least somehow related to inflammation. I would also say that inflammation can add to and or produce depression. I’ve come across many clients dealing with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia and commonly they speak of being depressed.

Addiction, which is a sensitive and complex area for discussion, is primarily an imbalance of mind (and brain chemistry to a certain degree) that translates to actions which purposely seek to find balance within by externalized (on various levels) superficial and repetitive methods. This pattern also predisposes us to all types of infections and health compromised situations. The mind can also play a vital function in healthcare because a stronger mind creates a stronger resistance to disease thereby functioning as pivotal point within and as immunity. Stress overall enhances the inflammatory response and contributes to its formation.  Stress is inflammatory by nature due to its action of "friction". Anxiety and fear provoke a cold response and therefore increase nervous system hypersensitivity.  This weakens the natural lubricating aspects of the body and mind and from this "dryness" (because fear and anxiety are cooling, drying in qualities) the probability of inflammation increases.

Sleep is necessary to counteract stress. More importantly, deep sleep is where we are engaged in a parasympathetic process that cools and restores the body. We know that constantly being hyper vigilant and active within the sympathetic nervous response increases friction and yeah in the body. Meditation is also a vital and viable tool to reduce and prevent stress through which we invite the body to be engaged more parasympathetically. Both sleep and meditation are crucial to re-establishing the integrity of the nervous system. Not only just sleep but sleep at night is the best quality sleep.  When we sleep, we let go of ourselves and our outer involvement in the world so that we can let go of this weight and explore the inner dimensions of our consciousness. Meditation can be done anytime, if someone wants to do it.  Sleep does not operate the same way.  Sleep is a natural anti-inflammatory.

 

BREATHING

Pranayam (breathing exercises that cultivate our life energy and vitality) are tools that the ancient system of yoga offers us in order to support our life. Breathing properly, regularly/consciously and with intention becomes a natural anti-inflammatory for both mind and body. It is a tool to be used with all forms of exercises that will not only maximize efficiency of the body and mind but also promote longevity.  Pranayam is also a tool used in yoga to cross the bridge from the outer experiences of the world and enter into the inner terrain of the body and mind. The respiratory mechanism is both involuntary and voluntary. We can’t really hold our breath long enough where we can cease our own life because the body protects itself from extinction per say. Yet it is voluntary because we can manipulate the breath in many ways. The breath serves us physiologically and psychologically. The yogi’s also know that spiritually the breath is a vital tool. Improper breathing decreases the quality of life. The yogi’s knew that longer, deeper and fuller breaths add on to life and that short, shallow breathing increases degeneration. Dr. Vasant Lad, an internationally known and master yogi and physician, gave an example of life span to breathing. He taught us to observe how a dog breathes. Short, quick bursts of breath; the dog doesn’t have a long lifespan. Yet when we observe the turtle, deep full and slow breaths; the turtle can live approximately 100 years. Amazing! Breath is life. No breath, not life. If we breathe more deeply, slowly and consciously we can support the respiration of not only the body, organs but go as far as the cells and DNA themselves.  This is the difference between sympathetic nervous system response (flight or fight) and parasympathetic nervous system response that involves the vagus nerve and allows us to feel a deep sense of peace and love. When we feel peace, there is no war. When there is no war, there is no inflammation. Eastern medicine says that even cancer tends to be an example of where we are at war with ourselves because love and peace are somehow hiding. The more we breathe, the more we create a space for peace and love to show up.

 

Pranayam (ones that are soothing and calming, mainly) is also a precursor to meditation. Both pranayama and meditation are natural anti-inflammatories. The more we focus on breathing techniques and inviting meditation into our daily lives, the more we can notice shifts inwardly and outwardly. Pain management techniques are showing that the usage of meditation and breathing exercises helps to reduce pain and other symptoms. Pain is an indication of inflammation.

 

EXERCISE

This is an important area worth discussing. Exercise is what moves the body on all levels. Improper exercise can build up lactic acid (remember acid is acidity and a great place for inflammation to grow, along with many other ailments.) Improper breathing effects CO2 in the body and lactic acid. The lymphatic system is a system of drainage of toxins and also an important component of our immunity. If we aren’t sweating enough/regularly then already we can have a sort of “sewage” back up. Exercise supports metabolism and with the biochemical marriage of insulin and glucose. When we exercise the muscles use glucose as energy molecules and when we don’t exercise enough this sugar accumulates and can cause the typical Type 2 diabetes. When we exercise we support insulin and the sugars are metabolized accordingly. If we have an excess of glucose and proteins then this becomes a breeding ground for inflammation and is a host to many other disease pathologies.  Exercise practices can be both stimulating and anti-inflammatory.

 

GENETICS/EPIGENETICS

I added this category because my understanding is that there will be plenty of data to support this connection, if it has already been shown. I attended an Ayurvedic Medical Conference recently and I was introduced to a doctor of pharmacology, practitioner of Ayurveda, who was trained in Epigenetics.  Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. Dr. Martha Harkey discussed with us the science of how DNA works and that Epigeneticists are learning about how some genes are turned on and off. From what she shared, methylation occurs and that seems to be a major factor in what happens when certain genes are activated. From my understanding of DNA and genes, being that they are proteins, if I were to increase the heat around any protein it would react in a certain way. Too much heat applied to protein can break it down or cause it to denature, like frying an egg. It is possible, in my humble opinion, that if the body is inflamed and proteins as far as DNA are affected, then I would postulate that maybe one of the reasons why certain genes turn on and someone develops cancer, or diabetes or some neurological disorder that “Aunt Sally” had, is because inflammation was the precursor for it. It is definitely understood in Ayurveda that we can change our genetic predispositions simply by changing our lifestyle, which includes regular meditation, yoga, diet and breathing techniques. Consciousness exists in each cell, however big or small. When we access this consciousness, anything becomes possible. We are not just a bag of parts. Just because we have a genetic predisposition towards any one thing does not mean that one health issue will come to fruition. If we create a new program, by making different choices, we can make great leaps in our own little bodies and minds. If we believe that we can develop that one issue that someone in our family has/had, then we increase the probability of it. Yet if we believe it is true that we can change that course and that is possible too. Therefore, inflammation may need further research to determine its influence in genes turning on and off.



LIST

Here is a list of many factors that can create and/or add to inflammation, according to Ayurveda/Integrated Medicine. Before you look, I would like for you to remember this which is that it’s a list designed to create awareness. It is the hope that we can make better choices and to see how health is primarily a result of “cause and effect” as Ayurveda shows us. Some items on the list are simple and others are more complex. Some are easy to digest and others more difficult to process mentally. There is a significant reason for each on that could get explored later on and/or researched accordingly. This list is about increasing mindfulness and educates us on how to make some adjustments, over time. Some items on the list are simply requiring that they be utilized in moderation BUT also remember that “a little of this and a little of that” quickly adds up to a lot of what isn’t ideal.

 

Ready? Here goes…

1. Fried foods, grease

2. Fermented foods (breads, cheeses, pastas and anything else yeasted)

3. Alcohol consumption (especially in excess)

4. Sweet foods (too sugary and unnatural sweetening... agents) ex. soda, pastries

5. Dairy (based on quality, source, digestion)

6. Lack of sleep. Lack of adequate sleep. Lack of sleeping at the appropriate time.

7. Staying up late (past 11:00)

8. Processed foods containing preservatives (including soy based derivatives)/Fast Foods. Food cultivated in fields of GMO’s and Pesticides.

9. Wheat/gluten (especially overly processed and unclean sources) ex. white flour

10. Caffeine

11. Smoking

12. Drugs

13. Addictions

14. Excess sexual activity

15. Hot and spicy foods

16. Acid provoking foods, things that are sour

17. Meats, red and especially pork (including bacon)

18. Anger (can cause inflammation and be the cause of toxins causing inflammation)

19. Night shades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants)

20. Exposure, excess exposure to technologies (ie. Cell phones, computers, electronics)

21. Traveling/traveling excessively and/or traveling during the winter.

22. Intense workouts/excessive workouts

23. Excess salt in diet

24. Parasites

25. Repressed/unexpressed emotions

26. Lack of vegetables and legumes.

27. Exposure to dryness

28. Pharmaceuticals/medications

 

29. Inadequate amount of water intake

 

30. Excess sun exposure, especially for Type A personality types.

 

31.  Lack of exercise or improper application of exercise.

 

32. Intense yoga practices or yoga practices that are excessively heating. (This especially effects pre-existing inflammation and Type A personality types)

33. Exposure/over-exposure to digital technologies. For instance, being on the computer a lot or texting or surrounded by numerous cables/wires, etc.

 

34. Minimize exposure to political environments. (This was fascinating. This morning I worked on a client that had bronchiole inflammation. I asked him a few questions as I was examining the tissue around his heart area and asked him what has him irritated. He said following the recent political presenters and all that surrounds it. After we had this awareness and I suggested he take a break from such things. Even eliminate it, the irritation in the tissues became cooler and he even stated that his bronchioles bothered him less.) Amazing!

 

35. Lack of social interactions/activities. Meaning not having a community of people who are uplifting and encouraging can increase inflammation because the mind and heart are connected. If we aren’t surrounded by love, loving kindness and connection then we are missing an aspect of or life that is vital.

 

36. Disconnection from nature and all that is natural. The body and mind can become restored and heal deeply with exposure to nature. Hiking, camping, listening to the sound of the live ocean and reflecting on the stars with our own eyes can be profound for our soul.

 

37. Exposure to radiation and radioactive sites.

 

38. Exposure to power lines, power boxes and power stations.

 

40. Contaminated water, air and soil.

 

The list was/is not meant to alarm you or frighten you but offer insight as to taking a look at your life and see what could be contributing towards ill-health. Slowly reducing and eliminating any and some of these will already start to shift things in a better direction.

 

CONCLUSION

We have spent the time looking at several of the potential causes and categories of inflammation with a few simple antidotes for it. Here’s a recapitulation of what is anti-inflammatory:

 

1-     Water/hydration is a natural anti-inflammatory.

2-     Good exercise, appropriate for our constitution.

3-     Meditation.

4-     Sleep.

5-     Breathing practices.

6-     Diet according to our constitution.

7-     Environmental considerations and what to avoid.

8-     Maintaining peace in the mind and a loving heart.

 

There could be more written and expanded upon regarding the above headings. What was written was enough to wet the palate and get the mind going in considering another approach based on an integrated perspective of medicine and philosophy of health. There’s a lot to consider. So many subtle nuances that can affect us all in different ways based on various degrees. It is safe to say that in today’s day and age we are exposed to so much and that overall there an aspect of life that we are experiencing much agitation and inflammation. In Ayurveda, we say that modern culture is afflicted, because of lifestyle and diet and a lack of peace, resulting from a Vata/Pitta imbalance.  So many of the Ayurvedic doctors and research shared at the NAMA Conference (National Ayurveda Medical Association) indicated that the main cause of disease comes from inappropriate diet and lifestyle; not to mention a mind that has run amuck.

We can say that factors from the external can affect the internal, like those mentioned, but we can also say, according to Ayurveda, that if we strengthen out immunity from the inside out we will be less likely pre-disposed to invasions. In the yogic texts, they refer to Lord Shiva being able to drink poison and process it completely. Ayurveda says that if our digestion is strong we can digest poison and eat rocks without incurring any illness. It’s amazing to consider the possibilities of how we can optimize our health and what we have access to when we turn East and see what the ancient traditions such as Ayurveda and even Traditional Chinese Medicine have been masters of for millennia. The goal is to increase alkalinity in mind and body. Avoid the major offenders as much as possible. Process emotions slowly, but surely. Follow a healthy diet and lifestyle that is in accordance with not only daily, seasonal, annual but also constitutional understanding according to Ayurveda.  Breathe more deeply. Meditate more. Notice where, how and the quality/quantity of your sleep. Eat more whole clean and home cooked meals. Drink filtered water. Get plenty of fresh air. Connect with nature more often. Detox from the digital world on a regular basis. Surround yourself with caring loving individuals.  Align ourselves with the elements more.  It is the body's right and desire to be healthy and will continue with relentless and countless efforts, until it can no longer. Is our health worth the sacrifice to lifestyle? If so, then life will be either short lived or just the quality of it will be diminished. We get to decide and affirm life or ill health in every moment.  It's up to us to thrive or dive.  Inside out and outside in. 

Lastly, it is important to share one other perspective and that involves looking at the planet as a whole.  As a nature lover, which only comes naturally with the territory of being an Ayurvedic Practitioner, I have been observing nature more and more; appreciating it and all its mystery and beauty. We have seen in the past few decades a major pattern shift in climate. A lot of it is a result of the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. I had this powerful realization years ago that just as when a human becomes afflicted by some infection the body increases heat in the form of a fever to combat it. Similarly, the Earth, considered the Mother of us all, is infected with the violence, and emotionally she may be angry but she is also filling with more toxins as the water, air and soil are polluted. She is raising her temperature at a significant rate, compared to her normal cycle, because of such catalysts. Therefore, She may be trying to fight off her own infection that is from us humans living out of balance. As we become toxic, so does the Earth. As the Earth becomes toxic, so do we. We have a direct symbiotic relationship that our life depends on. Just as when plants release CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) after taking in our O2 (oxygen) and we take in the O2 and release CO2. Our inhale is the plants exhale and the plants exhale is our inhale. The Earth and us are One. We live inside her womb. What we are doing to the planet affects us directly.

The ultimate healing of inflammation can only occur through a system of medicine that supports and is well versed in body-mind-spirit. Ayurveda is this system of medicine. Dr. David Frawley stated “there is no other medical system in the world that is as complete and integrated as Ayurveda.” Until we are each taken into consideration as a whole being, we will continue to falter in our capacity to create an atmosphere of optimal health and well-being.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: This information is meant for educational purposes only and not considered medical advice. Any changes in lifestyle should be reviewed with a qualified practitioner and primary care physician if you are currently under their care for specific conditions.