Ayurveda in Prevention of Lifestyle Diseases

The Recova Thought

Ayurveda in Prevention of Lifestyle Diseases

A building is as strong as its foundation. That’s what we make of it at Recova Life. Case in point? The leaning tower of Pisa in Italy! Beautiful it looked till the day it started to lean and it was found that its foundation was inadequate for the surrounding sandy soil! They couldn’t obviously cure the tilt (given that it had become a renowned monument and earned handsomely through tourism for the town of Pisa!) but they put a stop to its tilting- by building a strong foundation.

From my 20-plus years of experience both at and before Recova Life, I know of a fact that a similar tilt is taking place in our lives vis-a-viz our health these days given our excessive reliance on palliative, quick cures and an ever increasing decadent lifestyle. There is though one notable exception to this rule that I can say with absolute confidence. Ayurveda!

Like the engineers at Pisa, Ayurveda too goes right down to the root-cause(s) of the problems, analyses the existing situation, surroundings and characteristics, and then finds a cure meant to eradicate the problem to the extent possible. In doing so, it not only prescribes tailor-made medicines but also sometimes humongous changes to one’s life-style to bring about far-reaching changes.

Ayurveda divides its manner of diagnosis in ways very different from the west. These include:

  • Diagnosis on three factors, namely
    • Dosha : Physiological factors
    • Dhatu : Structural factors
    • Mala : Excretory factors
  • Diagnosis basis one’s conduct across activities in life which include Aahar, Aachaar, Vihar and Vichar
  • Diagnosis basis life’s main activities including Aahar, Nidra, Vyayam and Bramhacharya, and
  • Diagnosis and advice based on times of the day and seasons to include dincharya, raticharya, ritucharya and sadvritta

On the issue of lifestyle disease, there is a consensus among Ayurveda experts that it arises due to various reasons including:

  • Lack of time in today’s hectic way of life where doing things just to exist becomes paramount compared to spending time on one’s own wellbeing
  • Lack of interest to know the right cure. Western medicines give instant relief and given this fact it’s people’s favourite. Ayurveda may take time and has a lengthy process to follow. It seems complicated, so why bother when a pill can be popped and the symptoms done away with instantly!
  • Giving in to sensorial pleasures. India’s thoughts are progressing into a dangerous curve of indulgence as we see the economy grow. Food, fads and fun seems to interest us more. More you indulge, more are you seen as being “cool”. –
  • Laziness. Ayurveda talks about concepts like Vyayam, Bramhacharya, Aachaar and Vichar. These, take time to get into and master. Ayurveda speaks of self-control. And the last thing the average India has these days is self-control. Greed to consume and laziness to let go and exercise is doing us in faster than we can comprehend.
  • Inadvertent outcomes of today’s existence. Excessive travel in cramped modes, lack of sleep, taste-only food, excessive exposure to high levels of stress. We go through these not because we want to but because we have to. Our existence is slowly becoming just that- an existence. And circumstances prevent us from doing anything different like practicing precepts of Ayurveda whose basic premise is to “live” as opposed to “exist”!
  • One’s genetic predisposition towards certain lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart problems and even cancer. Ayurveda always mentioned this and now modern science too acknowledges it. Our parents and ancestors add to our being healthy or otherwise by passing it on in our genetic makeup. If our parents have a certain skin-type or hair, most likely we too shall get it. Cures likewise have to keep this in mind.

On how Ayurveda can help cure lifestyle related diseases, I, Doctor Madhura Bhide, take up the test case of 6 commonly-faced lifestyle diseases, their genesis and where Ayurveda helps.

On how Ayurveda can help cure lifestyle related diseases, I, Doctor Madhura Bhide, take up the test case of 6 commonly-faced lifestyle diseases, their genesis and where Ayurveda helps.

Diabetes : A condition where sugar in the blood streams does not get broken down in the cells due to no insulin or insufficient insulin. Ayurveda describes it as a Kapha and Vaata-dominant disease the treatment of which calls for dedicated consistency in living an ideal lifestyle.

Heart Diseases and Stroke : With time, our heart encounters problems mostly created by wrong lifestyles including food leading to blockages, hardening of the veins due to smoking and inhaling vehicle exhaust, heart weakening due to lack of exercise and exertion or excessively high blood pressure which damages the arteries.

Cirrhosis of the liver : The liver cleans our blood and also removes toxins from the body. Scar tissues form therein due to injuries brought by hepatitis or consumption of alcohol.

Cancer : Uncontrolled production in the body of cells which refuse to die down in the normal order triggered by carcinogens like processed foods, smoking, use of plastics etc.
Ayurveda being a holistic system of cure, every disease discussed above is diagnosed and treated in the light of the certain existing conditions including the below. One should take into account the fact that each individual has his/ her own “prakriti” i.e., traits and characteristics as regards bodily constitution, lifestyle and genetic make-up making the treatment differ between individuals.

Prajnaparadha : “Intellectual blasphemy” in that a person born into an environment develops traits brought about by his/ her circumstances, conditions, surroundings and most of all peers. A certain conditioning of the body, the mind, responses and urges is formed which the person’s physiology understands and responds to best. Prolonged disturbance or suppression of the same due to lifestyle changes as mentioned before, results in diseases as an outcome. It is thus essential to bring back the original environment to the extent possible in order to expect a cure.
Suppression of one’s natural urges due to certain conditioning is central to Prajnaparadha and every effort should be made to give vent to those urges lest they develop into unnatural and harmful tendencies. The body forms toxins by itself when consuming inputs. Its natural response is to develop an urge to excrete them at the right time. Prajnaparadha thus ordains that when consumption is controlled, so too excretion. In doing so, practically 50% of the body’s toxins and with it, every related problem too exits the body.

Aahar, Aachaar, Vihar and Vichar : To bring back the body to its pristine state after going through the vagaries of a life fuelled by a decadent lifestyle, Ayurveda prescribes a way of life which includes elements of control over food (Aahar), behaviour towards others (achaar), developing a certain routine (vihar) and following a certain positive thought pattern (vichar). In the presence of an expert Ayurvedacharya, these four elements can be refined to a point where any existing anomaly can be done away with. What it calls for is strict adherence to certain guidelines. Any slip and all the good work can simply disappear.

Aahar, Nidra, Vyayam and Bramhacharya : Continuing from the above, practitioners of Ayurveda deem it fit to concentrate on the right kind of food which besides taking care of the nutritional needs of each individual, also takes care of the reported anomalies and deems it fit for his or her daily life (including activities be it active or sedentary), particular season and is such that it brings out the best in each individual for all times.The heart, kidney, liver and every essential organ of the body is made to do its job well.

Sleep or nidra is the one thing that the body needs most. We aren’t machines which can perform endlessly. Our muscles tire and they need to be replenished. On a mental level too, sleep sorts things out by means of dreams. Depending upon the type of dosha, one’s sleep patterns change. Early to bed and early to rise with 7-8 hours between them is what is most recommended in Ayurveda. In fact, Ayurveda is quite elaborate on what and how one should do things to get a night of fitful sleep. In today’s hectic times, sleep is THE thing we need most and is THE thing that we get least. And it results in all manner of anomalies. Yes, even diabetes is linked to sleep! So, doesn’t it make sense to do things the natural way and get your quota of 40 winks?

Vyayam or exercise and its benefits need no introduction. Besides the obvious advantages it brings to the body, we know for a fact that people who exercise regularly and are into sports, are on a mental level, far fitter than those who are not. In modern times, with everything in short supply other than negativity, Ayurveda brings forth ideas and solutions with exercise at its core. Yoga in all its glory is part of Ayurveda. It helps you stretch and tone. And it helps you cleanse.
A note of caution as regards nidra and vyayam! Every individual has his/ her own need for sleep and an ability to take up the rigors of exercise. That being so, moderation in these should be attempted according to one’s needs as derived by a competent Ayurvedaycharya.

Bramhacharya or the art of abstinence needs no introduction to most Indians. Most of our sages were just that- celibate. With bare minimum of needs, they had practically zero distractions in their lives which helped them concentrate on things that were vital and essential. Here the meaning of Bramhacharya should not be restrained to companionship alone and can be extended to mean abstinence from creating permanent attachment with material things which creates unhealthy cravings & the mind from important issues to mundane sensorial things. By staying away from things, we help ourselves concentrate our limited energies to a few and important things which over time we are able to fulfil with satisfaction.

These in a general sense show that Ayurveda, the Indian science of living life in sync with nature and natural order propounded millenniums back still holds the key to living life to the fullest – even in the 21st century!

There is though the one thing that Ayurveda asks for and which we are loath to.do- Strict adherence to a simple yet effective lifestyle which calls for timely exercise, proper diet, sleep and certain abstinence. If we can muster enough resolves to do so, there is practically no reason why Ayurveda cannot serve our needs in the foreseeable as also for all times to come.

So, my dear readers, if there is anything that you want to know about Ayurveda, do visit our website www.recovalife.com

Here’s hoping for the best of your health!

Disclaimer :

This article is meant solely to provide information about remedies under Ayurveda and is not meant to be used for diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.
Where the reader or any other person has chronic and/or dire health issues, it is advisable to consult a trained and certified medical practitioner for a complete and comprehensive diagnosis which can address the underlying issues effectively.
Recova Life and its constituents are also certified medical practitioners who can be consulted. Our numbers are +91 83800-16119 and Email ID atul@recovalife.com
With respect to the consumption of any herbs, fruits, vegetables and the likes mentioned here, it would be advisable where you consult a certified medical practitioner for his/her opinion before-hand.

Madhura Bhide
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