Ayurvedic Perspective on Pain Management

 


Whether chronic or short-term, pain affects more than a 100 million Americans today. We tend to suppress or ignore mild pain, because we need to keep going with our deadlines! That is, until pain comes back to haunt us, becomes chronic and disrupts our routine, our sleep, our lives. Pain management experts in our culture use different remedies ranging from medication to surgery. But most of the time, the pain either persists, or resurfaces in different ways, turning into a life-long condition.
Ayurveda acknowledges all kinds of pain and categorizes the types and sources accordingly. It is an in-depth topic and needs to be handled holistically. With SV Ayurveda, we use the classical texts for reference, the SVA lineage for its practical experience, and my personal experience of teaching and working with Ayurveda in the West for the past 20 years.

Pain can go by different names in Ayurveda:

-Vedana

-Peeda

-Tod

-Ruja

-Shool
In general, there are 2 main categories:

 

1. NIJ: biological or internal pain that originates from within the body. This could be due to doshic imbalances or accumulation, toxic build-up, inflammation, etc. A sedentary lifestyle, ongoing mental stress, a poor diet, etc can all contribute to bodily imbalances that can result in pain.

2. AGANTUJ : pain that originates from without or outside the body which includes: xenobiotics or exposure to toxic chemical fumes; events that cause physical and mental trauma; EMF or other electromagnetic fields that disrupt the physiology’s subtle flow of prana, as well as clog and damage the physical channels, tissues, and organs. 
Based on the hetu, the etiological factor of pain, the above conditions can create pain in four possible areas of our bodies:

 

in the shrotas or physical channel,

in the nadi-s vibrational channels,

in the angas, organs and organ systems,

in the the dhatus or tissues.
Based on the ayurvedic shastras, dis-ease goes through several stages of gestation before it reaches its final 6th irreversible stage. Similarly, unaddressed minor pain travels from one dhatu or tissue to another, diving deeper into the physiology, until it becomes chronic and may be impossible to address without major medical or surgical intervention. The deeper pain is allowed to travel, the more difficult it becomes to treat as it involves more aspects of our physiology. For example, when the pathogenic factors, whatever they might be, reach the bone marrow, this is the case for cancer conditions, then it becomes very difficult to manage even with the most powerful pain management processes of modern medicine.
 With SV Ayurveda, we categorize the management of pain into easy steps.

A) First find the hetu, the root cause of pain. Hetu-based or etiological-factor based assessment, whether created by the imbalance in the doshas (vata, pitta, kapha), or the subdoshas (5 vata, 5 pitta, 5 kapha), or resulting from blocked detox channels, due to ama, or amavisha. First determine whether the inflammation the individual is experiencing was created by external trauma; or garavisha (xen

obiotics); or is it due to the wear-and-tear in the channels; or is EMF disturbing the vibrational channels, sandhi-s or gaps? Or are the marma points clogged and toxically loaded?

In general, aching superficial overall pain means blockage or inflammation in the rasa and rakta channels or nadi-s, sandhi-s, whereby which marma points become compromised.  There are many ways of addressing this. Changing one’s diet and adjusting the work/rest routine are always recommended, but there are also herbs that can help through transdermal detox to alleviate pain. The following SVA management tips normally work very well, particularly in the presence of toxins, or imbalances, given that they have not gone beyond the mamsa dhatu or muscle tissue. I will discuss things further during our upcoming SVA cafe in the third week of June 2015. But, for now, the following protocol is safe and effective for general aching pain. Please note: any individual experiencing long term chronic pain, or known to carry a disease or condition resulting in pain must consult with their physician before adopting this or any SVA protocols or products.
General Body Aches: Use my “Detox and Relax bath pouches.” Massage your body with Vata massage oil with Magnesium and Vit D. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then take a bath with the bath pouches. Soak in for 10-15 minutes, then shower. This will help burn away and eliminate the ama of the physical channels, releasing the toxins from the body into the bath water.
The detox bath pouches contain magnesium, but not just that. The magnesium that we use is not just magnesium chloride from a natural source, but it is synergistically blended with different ayurvedic herbs that give it added potency. Magnesium has three unique properties: it nourishing , detoxifying and according to Ayurvedic principles, it also acts as a “yogwahi,” in other terms, it has sharp penetrating molecules that help it travel deep, specially when combined with other herbs, into deeper tissues, for deeper

 cleansing. This is why the SVA Detox and Relax bath pouches uses Magnesium along with the other ingredients, such as:
Moringa Oleifera leaf powder : a great detoxing and nurturing leaf with a long list of health-balancing properties

Lavender (Lavandula Officinalis) to relax

Neem (Azadirachta indica) for deeper and holistic cellular detox
Indian Kino leavesIndian Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus) to pull out toxins from the fat tissue
Turmeric with magnesium,  turmeric balances the sharpness of magnesium, and magnesium helps take turmeric deeper into the tissues for detox
Likewise all my magnesium formulas: the Pitta oil with magnesium, the Vata oil with Magnesium and Vit D, the Ashwagandha oil with Magnesium all are based on Ayurvedic principles. You can read more on www.chandika.com
After the bath, apply DGL cream on specific areas like the calf muscles, or the joints.  First try DGL followed by SuperSport cream or roll-on. DGL will neutralize the inflammatory tendencies, and SuperSport will open the channels further and release the toxins that are causing the pain. 
Joint Pain:  use DGL and Maha Kanchanar cream. Apply on all joints and massage in gently in a circular movement twice a day.
Ayurvedic pharmacopeia offers a wide range of herbs that are used to address pain. When combined together into a synergistic blend, they can have a more potent effect for acute pain. I have gathered these herbs into one formula, currently called “HN Cream.” It can be used all over the body – except sensitive areas such as the eyes, ears, or open orifices –  on the knees, calf muscles or any painful area.
The HN cream contains the following ingredients that have been scientifically studied to carry specific pain relieving properties.
Gandh Prasarini  

Botanical name: Paederia Foetida

Properties: Anti-inflammatory, Antispasmodic, Anticancer, Hepatoprotective
This plant is very powerful vata pacifying herb. It cleans the blood tissue and pacifies shleshak kapha. It opens the channels and binds the toxins, taking them out. It also repairs the wear-and-tear of the channels created by the toxins. It’s most unique property is that it is three-dosha pacifying, nurturing the channels and reestablishing their intelligence.

Nirgundi

Botanical Name: Vitex nigundo

Properties: Anti-inflammatory, analgesic
This ingredient is particularly helpful for pacifying Vyana vata and Sleshaka kapha. It pacifies through cleansing the cellular system, relieving it of pain through its anti-inflammatory action, and by reestablishing the intelligence of the channels.

Sensitive plant

Biophytum Sensitivum Linn.

Anti-inflammatory, diuretic, sedative and tonic properties, antimicrobial

Sensitive Plant repairs the nerves, addresses inflammation by taking care of purifying the blood, and repairing cellular damage.
Brahmi

Bacopa Monnieri

Properties: For anxiety, backaches, joint pain, anti-stress

There are two brahmi plants, with distinct properties. One is called “mandukparni.”This is known as “gotu kola.” The other is Bacopa monnieri, also called “aindri.” Both are good for detoxifying the cellular system, and reestablishing its intelligence. Brahmi is particularly good for the nervous system, to help it calm down, and thus prevent inflammatory pain that may be resulting from stress.
Holy basil 

Ocimum Tenuiflorum

Analgesic, anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-stress, antifungal, for coughs, headaches, skin disorders, common cold
The Ayurvedic shastras know this plant to be light in its cellular property as well as warming. It thus burns the excessive sliminess of the channels, supporting the digestive and metabolic fire to burn away the ama or semi-digested food material. At the same time, it evacuates toxins. This herb is considered a divine healing herb in Ayurveda, it helps connect the vibrational and physical channels for optimal communication when used on the marma points. Its properties are enhances when used along with peppermint, ajwain, and camphor.


Peppermint

Mentha Piperita

Properties:  Anti-microbial, antioxidant, antiallergic

Increases cellular agni , burns ama, clears the channels, pacifies kapha and vata, and relieves pain associated with those doshas.
Ajwain 

Trachyspermum Ammi

Properties: Antibacterial, nematicidal
The Shastras explain that there can be no pain without vata aggravation, no vata aggravation without blockage in the physical and vibrational channels. Ajwain is very famous for burning away physical ama which blocks the physical channels, creatingpain. Ajwain pacifies vata and kapha, helps digestion food better, so no ama is made through  improper digestion. Ajwain has the power go to the deepest level of cellular system, to cleanse and reset things.
Camphor

Cinnamomum Camphora

Properties: Relives pain, reduces itching, counterirritant, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative


Being pungent and bitter, with a sweet after-effect, Camphor is perfect for pacifying  sleshak kapha and bhrajak pitta together. It carries the unique property of pulling out toxins from the cellular system, and that’s how it cools off the cellular system. It also opens the physical channels and supports the vibrational channels, due to its unique channel-opening quality.
At our last SVA Conference this May, course participants became very fond of the HN cream. They applied it for aches and pain on marma points as well as on their joints, shoulders, neck area. It is a very potent cream that is versatile in its use. Help us find a good name for it, enter our Namkaran competition. See below for more details.
Learn more about pain and its management at our upcoming SVA Cafe in June. See you at the Prana Center in Chatsworth California, or join us over the phone, live!

Make your own Digestive SVA Spice-Mix, and Mouth-Freshener with Fennel and Ajwain Seeds

Ill-health starts with poor digestion. Eating an easy-to-digest freshly prepared meal is ideal, but sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we may end up eating something heavy, or not-so-terribly-fresh, or suiting our body’s

needs. This SVA digestive spice mix is a simple and quick recipe that you can make and carry in your purse or pocket, and use throughout the day. It will keep your digestive fire well-stoked, and ensure that your meals are all properly absorbed and digested – whether you “cheat” or not!

Optimal digestion is when you make zero toxins, or ama, from the food you eat. Ama-free optimal digestion occurs when your digestive flame (pachakagni) is neither low nor too high. Due to stress, or when you eat heavy processed indigestive food, or left-overs, the digestive fire can go either low (mandagni), high (teekshnagni), or sometimes-low-sometimes-high (vishmagni).

Low agni (mandagni) makes ama; when you have low agni, it means you are not able to break-down and absorb all that you are eating, and you produce semi-digested toxic matters after you eat. You will usually feel lack of appetite, or feel heavy even after eating something very light, and in general not desire food.

If your digestive fire is high, then after consuming a meal, your body produces “amavisha” or poisonous acidic toxins, also known as free-radicals. When you have “teekshnagni” then no matter what you eat, you crave more! You will also crave sugar a lot. You may wake up hungry in the middle of the night.

If you have “vishmagni,” that is: if your digestive fire is sometimes slow and sometimes too high, then you will make both ama and amavisha. With “vishmagni,” you sometimes feel hungry and then at other times, not. You will experience a feeling of fullness alternating with a feeling of excessive hunger.

“Samagni” is the state of a balanced digestive fire – neither too low nor too high. When you have “samagni,” you have a balanced appetite for food, attuned with the needs of your body. After consuming a meal, you feel satiated, and blissful.

If you have not been experiencing the blissful state of “samagni” after consuming your meals, then you probably need to support your digestion. To have “samagni” you need to have “pachak pitta” and “pachak agni” in your stomach balanced out. Packak pitta is the fuel, while pachak agni is the flame in your stomach. The fuel feeds the flame, so your stomach can break down and cook the food.

This SVA recipe is very simple, consists of only 2 ingredients, but it works like a charm. Fennel cools off excess fuel or pachak pitta; while ajwain sharpens the flame, or pachak agni.

In an open pan, or in your toaster-over, dry toast Fennel and Ajwain seeds in the following proportions:

80% Fennel

20% Ajwain

Mix them. Let the mixture cool off. Then add to a container and it’s ready to be used.

Chewing a teaspoon at a time, after lunch or dinner. Or as needed. This spice mix also serves as a delicious natural mouth freshener!

Note: Fennel is highly estrogenic. If, for any reason, you restrict your intake of estrogenic foods, simply replace the Fennel seeds with Coriander seeds in the above recipe and follow the same steps.

Holiday Health Hazards and How to Avert Them – with SVA Tips, Recipes, and much more!

 

Let’s face it – the holidays can be mentally and emotionally stressful! In addition to our ongoing daily professional or familial obligations, we may find ourselves carried away by the whirlwind of back-to-back parties; endless shopping lists; painfully crowded malls and supermarkets; under-the-gun baking, cleaning and entertaining; family obligations and traditions that may involve challenging emotional settings. So it’s very easy to lose sight of ourselves and get caught in dizzying activity, compromising our own health. By the time it’s finally time to celebrate, you’re probably already exhausted having tried to make things perfect for everybody, but your diet is off, your can’t seem to get a full night’s sleep, and you are mentally tense, emotionally fragile – in a word: you’re a wreck! True, you may not be able to change how things are going to unfold and how stressful they are going to be, but you can manage how you are going to go through and respond to the stress.

 

Do you know what happens in your body when you get stressed? Your brain and body release specific chemical toxins, such as cortisol, that create metabolic imbalances that trigger inflammatory conditions. Stress compromises your body’s acid-alkaline balance, bringing down your immunity and making you prone to ill-health, weight-gain, depression, and more. Did you know that you can correct your body’s response to stress? This involves more than a mind-over-matter trick – when stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup no matter what you tell yourself to do. However, with Ayurveda, and specifically SV Ayurveda, we learn that there are herbs and ingredients that can naturally boost our bliss, or “correct” our behavior by increasing the “happy chemicals” in our brain: serotonin; dopamine; endorphins. With Ayurveda, you can also help curb those undue holiday errings of the senses: the overeating; the hang-overs; unruly sleep, etc.

How can SV Ayurveda help us address the typical holiday hazards?

Emotionally Down?: it’s unsettling how holidays can magnify pain. They will highlight everything that may have recently changed in your lives — a divorce, a death in the family, estranged family members, etc. If you are missing someone special this holiday season, if someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, first thing is to tell yourself it’s ok to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry and express your feelings, to give yourself the space to work through your emotions instead of suppressing them. You should not force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season! But do not dwell on the sadness longer than you need to. Acknowledge it and release it. But isn’t that the tricky part?! How do you release sadness?

If you are feeling sad it means your sadhak pitta is off and needs to be balanced. You can  cool off and balance your sadhak pitta by eating seasonal sweet juicy fruits – apples and pears are great this time of year. In addition, add more protein your diet, cooked with a nice pitta pacifying masala.

Herb-wise, add Ashoka Transdermal cream or roll-on your tala-hridiya  marma points. You can also do the full Samadhi Set protocol 3-5 times a day.

Add Ashoka and Brahmi Nectar drops: 3 drops of each to a glass of water.

Drink “Bliss and Bliss tea”

Drink “Vaidya’s Cup!” Treat yourself with Chyawanprash, – it’s the best tridoshic dessert you can have and 1 tsp will be worth 10 slices of cake or 5 chocolate bars!

 

Listen to or chant the Heart Lotus Mantra.

Don’t skip or delay meals.

Use pitta masala. Use the soothing aroma essential oils of Rose, Neroli, Jasmine, and Sandalwood.

Add the non-alcoholic Celebration Nectar Drops to your celebrations! Formulated by Vaidya Mishra 3 years ago, the nectar drop “celebration drink” is a hit with SVA clients. You can add 5-10 drops to your glass of water during lunch or dinner.

Top of your meals with a cup of “Vaidya’s Cup.” You will be surprised by the shift in your mood. “Vaidya’s Cup” will boost the serotonin and the dopamine to enhance your bliss. You can have 3-5 cups a day.

Mentally stressed and Physical Drained? During the holiday season, obligations and errands run us down. Due to mental and physical over-activity prana and vyana vata go out of balance, leaving us feeling frazzled, unable to settle down, and constantly haunted by the feeling of “always more to do!”

Take a breather: literally take a few minutes to step out of a scene to sit down and breath. Do a quick alternate nostril pranayam exercise to regulate the flow of prana and keep things even in your Ida and Pingala channels. Clear your mind and restore inner calm by shifting your thoughts to the big picture.

If you are caught in the middle of frenzy, spray 4-5 squirts of Stress-Free Spray, breath, and relax. This water base formulations has been helping countless individuals since Vaidya Mishra launched it this year.

Drink Soma Nidra Tea: this rich blend will calm your mind and sooth your sadhak pitta as well.  

Apply Soma Nidra Roll-on on your wrists, cervical area, and inhale the aroma.

At night, before the big day, or after the party is over, take a bath with the SVA “Relax and Detox Bath Pouches.”

Do a self-mssage with Vata Oil with Vit D and Magnesium – alternately you can treat yourself to a massage parlor, take your oil with you and ask them to use it on you for a richer relaxing experience.

Add Mucuna capsules to your dietary regimen (For Him for men, For Her for women)

Reclaim your vibrant energy with Chyawanprash: 1 tsp morning before or after breakfast, and 1 tsp after lunch daily.

Try to do at least 10-15 minutes of yoga or a brisk walk daily.  

Could not Stop Eating? Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all by abandoning your healthy habits, knowing full well that overindulging will only add to your stress and guilt. But it’s easier said than done, right? Here’s the trick: by consuming food that contains all 6 tastes – sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent, you maximize your chance of not getting carried away by temptation. Food that carries all 6 tastes helps us maintain psychological and mental balance – Ayurveda is very clear on this. But science also finds that chilies or the pungent taste, for example, release the endorphins already present in our brains; cumin, which is astringent, releases serotonin; black pepper increases oxygenation calming us down and taking away anxiety. When you eat a meal that contains all 6 possible tastes, the coordination between your stomach, brain, and heart is optimal, minimizing your craving for sweets or larger portions. This means that your pitta dosha stays cool and composed, then your emotions don’t go off. Meals that contain all 6 tastes are tridoshic. Eating all 6 tastes in each meal will help you not abandon healthy habits when you need them most.

No time to cook? Sprinkle Mum’s Masala on your meal – it’s balanced and tridoshic and delicious, giving you all possible 6 tastes.

Add chutneys to your meals – cilantro chutney and/or the Tamarind and Amla preserve, which will give you satiation by enhancing digestion and absorption of food.

In case you overeat and feel bloated, try the Pro-Pachak drops  – 5 drops in a glass of 8oz of water. Drink this after lunch and dinner to support digestion and absorption.

Make and carry a mixture of dry toasted 80% fennel seeds and 20 % ajwain seeds. Chew 1/2 tsp after each meal.

Overdosed on Sugar?: during the holidays it is inevitable not to overdose on sugar. It may be that one time of the time where we allow ourselves to go for it! And it’s great to reward ourselves from time to time… But here’s what you can do to help metabolize that sugar you ate so that after the holidays your immunity is not compromised, and in order to avoid sugar-induced fatigue and post-celebratory depression:

make a tea with 16oz water: add 2 pinches of Gymnema, 2 pinches Indian kino, 2 pinches of Jamun seeds, a tiny cinnamon stick, boil 5-10 minutes, filter and sip. This tea will enhance your sugar metabolism, by converting the sugar molecules into energy.

*Caution: don’t drink this tea if you have not eaten sugar (or consumed carbs), because it will otherwise drive your blood glucose levels low. Do not drink this tea before eating sweets, only AFTER eating sweets, otherwise you will not enjoy the sweet taste.

Can’t Sleep? When our days are overly active, prana vata goes high, and it becomes hard for the mind to unwind and settles down at the end of the day, unable to induce deep restorative sleep. What can help?

Massage with warm Vata oil with Vit D and Magnesium will help balance all of vata dosha.

Take a warm bath with the  “Relax and Detox Bath Pouches,”

Have a cup of Soma Nidra tea, or use the Soma Nidra oral spray, and Soma Nidra roll-on on the back of the neck and the shoulders.

Go to bed with “happy thoughts” – if your day was a mixed bag of events, let go of the ill-fitted episodes, as they were inevitable anyways, and linger on the brighter moments. You will be surprised to see how a conscious choice to prefer the positive over the negative will shift your mood and ease in blissful sleep.

In the end, holidays may be more stressful than fun, but the good thing is it’s predictable! You know it is going to happen, you see it coming, but also when it’s going to end, so you can do something about it. This year,you can be pro-active about it, and with SVA, you have a wide array of ayurvedic tips and stress-survival strategies, along with calming and mood-brightening formulations and recipes.

Happy Holidays!