Winter has arrived and along with it comes cold and flu season. All of us are at a high risk of catching a cold, cough and stuffy nose during the winter season. None of us are totally immune to these winter ailments. Hence proper precautions and good hygiene should be maintained at all times. If these ailments are not treated properly, then these small infections can prove to be very deadly.

Common cold and Sinusitis:
A cold is a viral infection marked by runny nose or nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, or headache. Colds are caused by many different types of virus and can occur year round, although they are most frequent in the winter months.
Most colds worsen over 3-5 days and then begin to improve.
Sinus problems occur when homes are closed and there is no proper ventilation. To stay clear of sinusitis this season, make sure you get enough rest, eat healthy and drink plenty of fluids to avoid catching a cold. Stay away from dust.

The most common symptoms of influenza are fever, headache, body pains and fatigue. At times people with influenza may also show symptoms like stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat. The best way to stay away from influenza is washing your hands constantly , avoid contact with people who have influenza as it is highly contagious.

Throat infection:
It is most often seen in school-aged children. Children frequently present with sore throat, headache, and stomachache. Some children will get high fevers or vomit.  Sore throat does not cause cold symptoms or coughing.  It can usually be easily treated with medication and children with strep throat should be treated to help prevent later complications from this infection.
Keep drinking hot water, when the temperature dips down. Avoid icy cold stuff if your throat is already sore. For quick relief, keep gargling with warm salty water at regular intervals.
Itchy Skin:
One of the most common problems that people face during the winter is itchy skin. Cold temperature with low humidity results in winter itch.
Avoid eating oily street food, apply coconut or olive oil on your skin to avoid flakes and drink lot of green tea to avoid itchy skin.

Joint Pain:
There are many people who do suffer from the joint pain in winter. One of the most common remedies to get relief from joint pains is keeping yourselves and your feet warm. Exercising is another way to get rid of all joint and muscle stiffness during winter time.

Precautions to fight against Winter Diseases

  • Wear extra layers of clothes to keep yourself warm
  • Maintain hygiene
  • Moisturize frequently
  • Avoid consuming cold water
  • Take luke warm water for bath
  • Eat a healthy diet.

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Back Pain has become one of the most common ailments in the world today, specially with the people who have long sitting hours at work. There are different types of back pains ranging from pain in the upper back to spinal cord pain to pain in the lower back. The causes, prevention, cure and best practices that we should have in our life style to make sure that our body is away from it. According to Ayurveda, excess ‘apana‘ in the body is responsible for lower back pain. Hence, the body needs to be detoxified of this element. One of the most effective ways to detoxifying your body is to to take Castor oil twice a week for a month.

Few of the ways that can help in Back Pain are:

  • An ayurvedic internal treatment method called ‘Panchakarma‘ is also good in back pain. This treatment method includes administration of a full body massage (Abhyanga) and meditated enema (Basti) to lubricate the inside walls of the intestine and empty the bowels. According to ayurveda regular purgation , helps reduce back pain.
  • Certain ayurvedic preparations can also be given to reduce back pain. The ayurvedic preparation like Rhumaja Gold Plus, Yograj Guggulu, Mahanarayana Oil and  Triphala Guggulu. These ayurvedic medicines leads to an internal action on the causes of back pain.

Few More Methods of Ayurvedic Back Pain Treatment

  • Yoga Asana: One more method to prevent back pain mostly include performing yoga asana. The postures that can be done to reduce back pain include the following simple back bend poses: Bhujangasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana and Salabhasana(Locust pose). It is advised that people suffering from back pain take and strictly follow the advice of their yoga teacher. Doing this would avoid possibilities of any further damage to the lower back
  • Breathing Posture: For more stability of spine, it is advised in ayurveda that the breathing posture needs to be corrected. Hence, if you have back pain then inhale in a manner which allows your breath to reach the bottom of your spine. This would result in a relaxed feeling in the full length of the spine as well as the lower back region.
  • Aromatherapy: Ayurveda also recommends the use of aromatherapy to reduce back pain. Oils of natural herbs such as basil and cinnamon could be poured into hot water and its vapors inhaled.
  • Sleep Well: When it comes to sleeping, good mattresses are important. A good mattress would give ample support to your back. Too hard or too soft mattresses can ruin the posture of our back and can cause or aggravate back pain. We normally ignore the fact that we spend close to one-third of our life in the bed. What is also ignored is that it is highly important to remain in the correct posture while we are sleeping in our bed. The situation aggravates when one sleeps on a too soft or too hard mattress. Such a mattress does not provide proper support to the back. When this is ignored for an excessively long period of time, it becomes the cause of back pain.

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Ayurveda has three broad themes of treatment. These are elimination therapies (shodana or Panchakarma), pacification therapies (shamana), and nourishing therapies (bhrimana). Panchakarma includes nasal administration for vata, pitta and kapha, medicated enemas for vata, purgation and blood letting for pitta, and vomiting for kapha. Symptomatic treatment of this type of disease is not effective in bringing a cure. Pacification strategies, or balancing with opposites, include diet, lifestyle, herbs, meditation, yoga, and so on. Nourishing therapies are used when strength or emaciation issues are being treated.

The model of disease development in Ayurveda describes six stages. Knowledge of the symptomotology of each stage for each dosha enables the practitioner to properly diagnose and treat the disease. This knowledge shows how a common cold becoming chronic may become asthma or congestive heart failure; or how multiple sclerosis starts with worry, constipation and the need to control and ends with degenerative changes in challenged nervous tissue. The classification of the western disease scheme manifests in the fourth stage of the development of disease according to Ayurveda. This knowledge enables the Ayurvedic practitioner to prevent the serious diseases indicated in the western classification of disease.

How It Works

In Ayurvedic philosophy all of creation is made up of the five essential elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth. These elements are also the subtlest aspects of human life. Each person is made up of a combination of these elements, establishing their basic constitution or dosha. This is the level on which Ayurvedic healing works. When the elements are strong and balanced within a person, they support healthy functioning on the concrete physiological level. Illnesses are regarded as aggravations of the doshas in the human body. An Ayurvedic practitioner will look to see what part of the patient’s life is creating the imbalance, be it diet, lifestyle, work, emotional states, etc. Based on the nature of the imbalance, there are several basic therapeutic strategies employed.

For quantitative changes in the doshas, such as gas, hormones, mucus and calcifications, elimination therapies (Panchakarma) are used. When there is excessive material present, Panchakarma eliminates these factors directly. A metaphor for how and why this works has been offered in the ancient classics: by eliminating these excess substances from their sites of production and accumulation, an emptiness in the home site is created and the body is able to naturally rebalance itself.

Qualitative changes, addressing localized occurrences such as a sprained ankle or carpal tunnel syndrome, are treated by applying opposites (pacification) through diet, lifestyle changes, herbs, etc. The general role of pacification is subordinate to the elimination therapies in Panchakarma but it is still necessary for physiological balance to be achieved. Panchakarma utilizes both strategies simultaneously.

In the case of toxicity, detoxifiers and digestives are employed. Disorders of the mind and spirit require mental and spiritual specific medicines in addition to bodily specific medicines. These include mantras, pujas (rituals and recitations), and other spiritual practices. Be in the company of the wise is one such behavioral prescription. These techniques operate directly on the soul/consciousness itself; hence they are effective for this purpose.

When To Use It

The field of expertise of Ayurveda is broad and deep, as is its pharmacopoeia. It is valid for the chronic, sub-acute, acute, symptomatic and asymptomatic. The central premise that no disease occurs except through the operation of the governing principles (vata, pitta, kapha), and that each can be manipulated by even diet only, makes all diseases amenable to successful treatment by Ayurveda. This does not imply that Ayurveda can cure all disease in all stages of progression. Some diseases may be managed only, such as congenital defects, dormant poliomyelitis, etc. The science of drugs is complex but extensive. This field embraces the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms.

Ayurveda is an ancient system of life (ayur) knowledge (veda) arising in India thousands of years ago. Ayurveda theory evolved from a deep understanding of creation. The great rishis or seers of ancient India came to understand creation through deep meditation and other spiritual practices. The rishis sought to reveal the deepest truths of human physiology and health. They observed the fundamentals of life, organized them into an elaborate system, and compiled India’s philosophical and spiritual texts, called Veda of knowledge.

Ayurveda was first recorded in the Veda, the world’s oldest existing literature. The three most important Veda texts containing the original and complete knowledge of Ayurveda, believed to be over 1200 years old, is still in use today. These Ayurvedic teachings were customarily passed on orally from teacher to student for over 1000 years. The wisdom of Ayurveda is recorded in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India that reflects the philosophy behind Ayurveda and the depth within it.

Ayurveda greatly influenced health care practices in the east and the west. By 400 AD Ayurvedic works were translated into Chinese; by 700 AD Chinese scholars were studying medicine in India at Nalanda University. Chinese medicine, herbology and Buddhist philosophy were also impacted by Ayurvedic knowledge. Having passed the test of experience it remains essentially the same now as at its inception, although numerous commentators over the centuries have added insight with their analyses.

The philosophy of Ayurveda teaches a series of conceptual systems characterized by balance and disorder, health and disease. Disease/health results from the interconnectedness between the self, personality, and everything that occurs in the mental, emotional, and spiritual being. To be healthy, harmony must exist between the purpose for healing, thoughts, feelings and physical action.

Ayurveda is a careful integration of six important Indian philosophical systems, many physical/behavioral sciences, and the medical arts. One verse from an ancient authority says Ayurveda deals with what is good life and bad life, happiness and misery, that which supports or destroys, and the measurement of life. It works to heal the sick, to maintain health in the healthy, and to prevent disease in order to promote quality of life and long life. Health is defined as an experience of bliss/happiness in the soul, mind, and senses and balance of the body’s three governing principles, seven tissues, three wastes, digestion, and other processes such as immune functioning. Health is not the absence of symptoms. Ayurveda has objective ways to assess each of these, pulse assessment being the primary means.

Its central tenet is that life is a combination of body, mind, senses, and spirit (more than a mind-body system). Nothing exists but for the pre-existence of and working of a Supreme Intelligence/Consciousness – an elemental, all-powerful, all-pervading spirit-energy that expresses Itself through and in the creation. Ayurveda seeks to know this aspect of life, the subjective (internal) as well as the objective (outer).

It is central to Ayurveda that the functioning of all creation, the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms, can be understood as the interactions of three fundamental energy complexes (erroneously called doshas). The three energies are vata, pitta and kapha – signifying the dynamic or mobile, energetic, nonmaterial aspect of nature; the transformative, intelligence aspect; and the structural, physical aspect respectively. Vata governs respiration, circulation, elimination, locomotion, movement, speech, creativity, enthusiasm, and the entire nervous system. Pitta governs transformations such as digestion and metabolism, vision, complexion, body temperature, courage, cheerfulness, intellection and discrimination. Kapha governs growth (anabolic processes), lubrication, fluid secretions, binding, potency, patience, heaviness, fluid balance, compassion, and understanding in the organism. All have physical expressions in the body.

In the human physiology these three energies tend to interact in a harmonious and compensatory way to govern and sustain life. Their relative expression in an individual implies a unique ratio of functioning of these governing principles according to each person’s unique DNA (vta-pitta-kapha ratio) determined at conception. This is body or constitutional typing, called prakruti. There are seven types – vata type, pitta type, kapha type and combinations thereof.

Prakruti yields two important understandings. A person has a permanent or stable nature for the entire life and efforts to maintain or change physiology must keep this balance point in mind. In addition each type will suggest an area tending to go out of balance, a disease tendency, requiring lifelong attention to maintain balance. A vata type naturally tends to constipation, arthritis, anxiety; a pitta type tends towards inflammations, infections, ulcers; and kapha types tend to overweight, diabetes, congestive disorders, etc. The implication of pakruti is that it helps explain why people react differently to the same things. The medical implication for this is that certain people will have a natural predisposition or sensitivity to certain medicines and this can be predicted.

Why does imbalance occur? It occurs because one or more of the energies or elements described above gets increased quantitatively or altered qualitatively. There is no human experience, whether a thought, an emotion, the climate, food, lifestyle, etc. that does not have at least one of the twenty qualities which, by its action, yields an effect in the physiology.

Classically, the nature of the causative factors are the result of mistakes of intellection (failure to perceive things as they are), inappropriate use of the sense organs, and mistakes of time (doing even proper things at the wrong time). While DNA gives the body one set of instructions, the life experiences at every moment are giving the governing principles perhaps another message. Since these three governing principles are nothing but energy themselves, they can be influenced –increased or decreased – by like or opposite energies. Heat increases pitta, dryness increases vata, and liquid increases kapha, etc. Thus imbalance is the continued experience of some stimulus – mental, emotional, or physical, real or imagined – that overwhelms the body’s ability to maintain its identity, its prakruti or vata-pitta-kahpa ratio. When a stimulus and a system have the same energy the stimulus promotes more of its value in the system. Like increases like which can lead to imbalance even though they are not necessarily unhealthy influences in themselves – properly cooked organic food when taken in excess or at the wrong time promotes imbalance. With time and chronicity and some defective space in the organism (from genes, prior disease, trauma, congenital defect, etc.), disease can develop and manifest in the weak organ or tissue. When disease begins to manifest the governing principles are called doshas, meaning impurities, which can pollute or contaminate the physiology.

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