Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Reducing inflammation through Ayurveda

I started this AWC program for selfish reasons... to help myself be healthy.  My final research paper came out of the same inclination.  For the last two months, I've been struggling with inflammation in my right knee.  Ironically, it started after sitting on the floor for 2 days during my last intense Ayurveda class.  The same weekend I had a strong reaction to some nasal drops administered during our Panchakarma class.  This whole experience has been really humbling as I see the limits and of my body and acknowledge my predisposition for joint issues.  After x-rays, blood tests, an MRI and countless doctors appointments, I'm now starting physical therapy once a week to help build strenth to support my knees.  When I look for the gift or the assignment in all of this, I can see that my health issues will help me be a more compassionate and understanding counselor.  Perhaps a little personal struggle helps me better relate to others.  It definitely has me researching and seeking out new resources to guide my healing.

Here are a few things I've learned about inflammation and auto-immune diseases:

1. My body sometimes overreacts to perceived threats and attacks healthy tissue.  Anything that can calm the body down (REST, massage, aromatherapy, chanting, pranayama) can reduce inflammation.

2. An anti-inflammatory diet is full of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

3. Sugar, gluten and alcohol can cause more inflammation.

4. Spices and herbs like garlic, tumeric and ginger have huge healing benefits. 

5. My mind is my strongest healing tool and ally.  I can ignite my own "placebo effect" by trusting my body's healing power and wisdom.  Tapping into my natural balancing capacities will save my knee.

6. Stress causes inflammation.  This research paper showed me that there is a HUGE body of knowledge and research about the benefits of yoga, meditation, pranayama and herbs.

As I move forward with Ayurveda, I learn more tricks and tips that help me stay on track and keep my body thriving.  Living happy and shaking off stress seem to be the best remedy.

For more information about inflammation, check out:

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