Gentle Healing: Natural Solutions for Joint Pain and Arthritis
Life, with its vibrant tapestry of experiences, should be danced through, not endured with every step. Ayurveda has the power to naturally navigate the twists and turns of arthritis and joint pains, discovering the secrets to living life to the fullest, unconfined by the limitations of discomfort.
Ayurveda recognises that joint pains and arthritis result from an accumulation of toxins (ama) and imbalances in the body's doshas – primarily Vata and Kapha. The accumulation of Ama, due to impaired digestion and metabolism, further worsens the condition by obstructing the channels and causing inflammation.
There are different types of arthritis in Ayurveda, categorised based on the dominance of doshas:
- Vata-Type Arthritis (Vata Rakta): This type is characterised by severe pain, dryness, cracking joints, and worsening pain during cold weather. It can be associated with gout as well. When Vata becomes imbalanced, it can lead to dryness, coldness, and erratic movement, resulting in joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
- Pitta-Type Arthritis: In this type, there's heat, inflammation, and redness in the joints. Pain is often acute and accompanied by fever and digestive disturbances.
Kapha-Type Arthritis: Here, the pain is more dull and aching. Swelling, stiffness, and heaviness in the joints are common.
Excess weight can worsen Kapha-type arthritis.
Ayurvedic treatment for arthritis and joint pains focuses on balancing the aggravated doshas, eliminating toxins (Ama), and restoring the
body's natural harmony.
Here are key aspects of natural arthritis management:
Focus on anti-inflammatory foods to reduce pain and inflammation. Include warming spices like turmeric, ginger, and cumin in your diet. Avoid foods that aggravate Vata and Kapha, such as cold and heavy foods, processed sugars, and excessive dairy. Avoid fermented foods, bread, smoothies, cheese, ships, tomato sauce, sugars and coffee.
Anti-inflammatory foods can include:
- Turmeric: Ayurveda has long recognised turmeric's potent anti-inflammatory properties. It's often used in cooking and herbal formulations.
- Ginger: Similar to turmeric, ginger is a staple in Ayurvedic cooking and is known for its digestive and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Green Leafy Vegetables: Many leafy greens are considered to have a cooling effect on the body and can help balance excess heat and inflammation.
- Bitter Greens: Bitter greens like kale, collard greens, and dandelion greens are believed to support digestion and help reduce inflammation.
- Mung Beans: Mung beans are considered easy to digest and are often recommended in Ayurveda for their potential to reduce inflammation.
- Cilantro: Cilantro, also known as coriander leaves, is used as a culinary herb in Ayurvedic cooking and is believed to have detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Coconut: Coconut and coconut oil are used in Ayurvedic cuisine and are believed to have soothing and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Whole Grains: Whole grains like basmati rice, quinoa, and oats are generally considered balancing and nourishing in Ayurveda.
- Lentils: Lentils are a good source of plant-based protein and are often used in Ayurvedic cooking for their grounding and soothing qualities.
- Fruits: Sweet and ripe fruits like bananas, pears, and mangos are generally considered nourishing and can help pacify excess heat and inflammation.
- Herbal Teas: Herbal teas made from calming herbs like chamomile, fennel, and mint can be soothing and help balance inflammation.
- Ghee: Clarified butter, known as ghee, is used in Ayurvedic cooking and is believed to have nourishing and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Spices: Ayurveda uses a variety of spices such as cumin, coriander, fennel, and cardamom, which are believed to aid digestion and balance inflammation.
- Nuts: Nuts like almonds and walnuts, when consumed in moderation, are considered nourishing and can help balance the body.
In the morning after brushing your teeth, scrape your tongue with a Copper Tongue Scraper, to remove amas from your tongue and prevent them from being re-absorbed into your body. You can then follow with a morning detox drink made with ½ tsp freshly grated ginger, ½ tsp fennel seed powder, ½ tsp lemon juice mixed into hot water. When this is warm enough to drink, add ½ tsp honey.
An important step in your daily routine is regular self-massage with warm black sesame oil. When symptoms are more noticeable, or regular, use Ayurda Arth Oil which helps improve circulation, reduce stiffness, and provide nourishment to joints and tissues. Heat the oil before massage. Begin at your toes, moving upwards in circular strokes. This will help flush toxins from your lymphatic and circulatory systems. On especially cold nights, or when pain is increased, soothe with Arth Oil and a hot water bottle. Learn more about how to perform Ayurvedic self-massage here.
Ayurvedic herbs like Turmeric, Ashwagandha, Guggul, and Boswellia have anti-inflammatory properties which can provide relief from joint
pain. These herbs help reduce inflammation, improve mobility, and strengthen joints. You can find a powerful combination of herbs
formulated especially for joint pains and arthritis in our Bon Ton capsules, as
well as Guggulu in capsule form. Consult with our Ayurvedic practitioner to see if our herbal capsules Bon
or Guggulu is right for you.
Ayurvedic natural supplements for joint pain and arthritis:
Kizhi bolus massage is particularly beneficial for joint-related conditions such as arthritis. The therapeutic warmth and herbal properties help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and improve joint mobility. Read more about Kizhi Bolus massage here.
Follow a daily routine that supports balanced doshas (you may want to consult with an experience ayurvedic practitioner for a tailored routine suitable to your Prakriti). Include gentle exercise, like yoga or a light walk, which promotes flexibility and circulation without straining the joints. This is especially ideal during the morning or evening. Getting adequate rest and sleep is also crucial for the body's healing process, often occuring during the hours of 10pm-2am.
Stress and breathing:
Stress amplifies arthritis symptoms by triggering the release of inflammatory molecules in the body. This heightened inflammatory response can aggravate joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Moreover, stress can disrupt hormonal balance, affecting the body's ability to regulate inflammation and leading to increased discomfort. The mind-body connection also plays a role—stress can lead to muscle tension, which places additional strain on already sensitive joints. Furthermore, stress might alter pain perception, making existing symptoms feel more intense. Addressing stress through relaxation techniques and mindfulness not only benefits mental well-being but also holds potential to alleviate the intensity of arthritis symptoms. Practicing relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness helps reduce stress and supports overall well-being. Quite often, our breathing can be quite shallow without our notice. Try taking 10 long, deep breaths at least 5 times every day to provide more oxygen to your cells and promote vigour and vitality.
Consult an Ayurvedic Practitioner:
To receive comprehensive guidance, consult with our Ayurvedic expert, Dr. Ajit, online or in-person. With over 43 years of experience, Dr. Ajit can create a personalised treatment plan based on your specific condition and needs. Learn more about Dr.Ajit here
Remember, natural healing takes time. Ayurveda aims to address the root causes of joint pains and arthritis, promoting long-term relief and improved quality of life. It's essential to follow an Ayurvedic regimen consistently and work closely with a qualified practitioner to achieve optimal results.