Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old tradition of medicine that comes from the subcontinent of India. Ayurveda uses all natural diagnostic methods and treatments. It is an Organic system of healing that considers everything from how one sleeps, to the emotional and mental states of the individual when making a recommendation to fix what ails them. Ayurveda also states that anything can be used for either a medicine or a poison, so there is really nothing that is off limits in this system. The diagnostic methods and the way to determine treatment is based on each individual situation and often varies.
There are however, many general recommendations that are universally applicable. Yoga, for example, is recommended to everyone. The type of Yoga is again determined by the predisposition of the practitioner. Yoga and meditation (Chanting Om, for example), along with diet are major factors of consideration for disease prevention and longevity. Another across the board prescription is to be as organic as possible with everything in our day-to-day lives. Our clothing, for example should be comfortable. Handmade organic cotton clothing is my personal choice and it is one of the few cloths in the world that everyone can benefit from. There are no harsh dyes or chemicals, it is resilient and sturdy, and as a result, quite long lasting. These are all desirable qualities we strive for in our lives everyday. Perhaps we could all take a lesson from this prestigious cloth.
One of my favorite healing modalities to come from Ayurveda is Shirodhara. Shirodhara is part of what is called Pancha Karma, or five actions. It is a surprisingly simple and incredibly profound treatment in which warm oil is poured on the forehead. Shirodhara deeply relaxes the nervous system, increases self-awareness, improves sleep (decreases insomnia and excessive thinking), relieves minor depression and anxiety, nourishes the eyes, increases the perception of tastes, enhances memory, and slows down the aging process. It further has been know to bind with certain functions of the brain to create brain wave coherence, resulting in an alpha state. When the brain is under stress cerebral circulation is compromised. When oil is poured on the forehead the nervous system is deeply stilled. This causes brain waves to slow down and become coherent. Once the brain is quieted more life, energy, oxygen and other nutrients flow freely to the brain. The result: better brain function, mood stability and improved stress handling. With each successive Shirodhara treatment the mind systematically achieves an even deeper state of silence and more healing takes place. Regular treatments are said to have a lasting and profound effect on the individual.
Now don’t think that being prescribed Shirodhara gives you an excuse to skip Yoga practice, you have to work the mind and the body to feel the full benefit.