Health and Ayurveda

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Honey is a sweet and viscous fluid produced by bees and other insects from the nectar of flowers. Now, modern research into the use of honey as an anit-microbial agent has revealed potential treatments for a variety of ailments.

The natural sweet substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers or from secretions coming from living organisms feeding on plants, that bees together and combine with specific ingredients, store and leave to ripen in the combs of the hive.
Honey is a sweet and viscous fluid produced by bees and other insects from the nectar of flowers. The definition of honey stipulated a pure product that does not allow for the addition of any other substances.
Honey is one of nature’s wonders and has been treasured commodity for centuries. It is acknowledged that bees have been producing honey for 150 million years, but some of the earliest written references about honey have been found dating back to the 40th century BC in ancient Egypt. In ancient history, the ancient Egyptian and middle-eastern people used honey for embalming the dead. In jewish tradition, honey is also a symbol for the new year. At the traditional meal for that holiday, apple slices are dipped into honey and eaten to bring a sweet new year.
For around 2000 years honey has been used to treat a variety of ailments through it was not until modern times that the cause of infection was understood. Now, modern research into the use of honey as an anti-microbial agent has revealed potential treatments for a variety of ailments.
In ayurveda honey is called as ‘Madhu’. Its qualities are explained in the ayurvedic classics are: rasa (taste): Madhuram (sweet), anurasa (secondary taste): kashayam (astringent), guna (qualities): guru (heavy), ruksha (dry), virya (potency): hot (ushna), vipaka (property at the end of digestion): katu (pungent), action on doshas: aggravates vata, scrapes kapha, normalizes pitta and rakta
Ayurveda explains another special quality of honey. Honey is called as ‘Yogavahi’ which means that the substance has a quality of penetrating deep into the tissues when used with other herbs.

Action on body
Honey is very good for eyes and eyesight. It quenches thirst. Dissolves kapha. It is antipoisonous. Stops hiccoughs
It is very useful in urinary disorders, worm infestations, bronchial asthma, cough and diarrhea and nausea/ vomiting.
Cleanses and heals the wounds
Helps in quick healing of deep wounds and initiates the growth of healthy granulation of tissue

Classification of honey:
Extracted honey:
It is liquid honey separated form the comb. It is most readily available and used.
Comb honey: a popular honey product. The honey is sold still in the wax comb. Comb honey was packaged by installing wooden framework in special supers, but this labor intensive method is drying, and being replaced by plastic rings or cartridges. After removal from the hive, a clear clover is usually fitted onto the cartridge.
Raw honey: honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling, straining without adding heat. Raw honey contains some pollen and may contain small particles of wax. Local raw honey is sought for allergy suffers as the pollen impurities lessen the sensitivity to hay fever.
Chunk honey: honey packed in wide mouth containers consisting of one or more pieces of comb honey surrounded by extracted liquid honey.
Strained honey or filtered honey: honey, which had been passed through a mesh material to remove particulate material (pieces of wax, propolis, and other defects) without removing pollen. Preferred by the health food trade – it has a cloudy appearance due to the induced pollen, but it also tends to crystallize more quickly than unfiltered honey.
Unfiltered honey: honey processed by very fine filtration under high pressure to remove all extraneous solids and pollen grains. Unfiltered honey is very clear and has a longer shelf life, because it crystallizes mores slowly.

Types of honey according to ayurveda:
Eight types of honey described in ayurveda depending on the type of bee, which collect it. They are pouttika, bhramara, kshoudra, makshika, chatra, arghy, aoudalaka, dala.

Pouttika: this type of honey is collected by very lare beeds from the nectar of poisonous flowers. It increases vata, causes gout and burning sensation in chest. It is also sedative, reduces fat.
Bhramara: this honey is collected by large bees and sticky in nature. It is useful for raktapitta, mutajatyam (heaviness in urination), abhisyandhi, pitta-karaka and cold in nature and sweet at the end if digestion.
Maakshika: honey collected by medium sized honey bees. It is very light and dry natured. Useful in vatakapha and kapha diseases, kasa (cough), swasam (dyspnoea), kamala (jaundice), helps in curing kshaya (tuberculosis).
Chatra: it is heavy and cold in nature useful in gout (arthritis), eucoderma (shiwtram)
Aadharya: good for eyes but causes arthritis.
Oudalaka: useful in skin diseases, and helps in modulation of voice.
Dala: dry and reduces vomiting
Amongst all the above ‘makshika’ is considered as the best type with immense medicinal properties.

Navina madhu (fresh honey) and purana madhu (old honey):
Navina madhu:
honey that is fresh or recently collected is navina madhu. It gives nourishment. Liquefies kapha. Honey which is newly collected from bee bive increases body weight and is a mild laxative.
Purana madhu: honey when becomes old is called as purana madhu. Its qualities are graahi (adsorbent), ruksha (dry), medhanasaka (reduces fat). Honey which is stored and old helps in metabolism of fats and scrapes kapha.

Composition of honey:
Honey is a mixture of sugars, waters and other compounds. The specific compositiono f honey will depend largely on the mix of flowers consumed by bees that produced the honey. Honey has a density of about 1500 kg/m3 (50% denser than water) that means 12-13 pounds per gallon.

Typical honey analysis:
Fructose: 38%, glucose: 31%, sucrose: 1%, water: 17%, other sugars: 9% (maltose, melezitose), ash: 0.17%

It contains proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids. It is volatile aromatic substance.
Honey also gives us energy about 300 to 320 calories per 100 ml of honey. One teaspoon of honey would give us about 15 to 16 calories. Various ingredients of honey have helped it become not only a sweet liquid but also a natural product with high nutritional and medicinal value.
The medicinal quality, taste, color, aroma of honey differs according to the geographical area and the species of plants from which it has been collected.

Uses of honey
The main uses of honey are in baking, spreading on bread or toast, and as an addition to various beverages such as tea. Beacuase honey is hygroscopic (drawing moisture from the air), a small quantity of honey added to a pastry recipe will retard staling. Raw honey also contains enzymes that help in its digestion, several vitamins and antioxidants.
Honey is the main ingredient in the alcoholic beverage mead, which is also known as honey wine and methelgin.
Honey is used in traditional fold medicine and apitherapy and is an excellent natural preservative.
In all preparations it enhances the medicinal qualities of herbal preparations and also helps them to reach the deeper tissues

Therapeutic uses of honey:
It contains sugars that are quickly absorbed by our digestive system and converted into energy; this can be used as instant energizer.
It is hygroscopic it speeds up healing, debrides wounds, removes malodor, growth of healing tissue and dries up.
Honey’s anti-inflammatory activity reduces edema and minimizes scarring and it stimulates growth of granulation and epithelial tissues to speed healing, not only rapidly clear existing infection but also it protects wounds from additional infection.
It acts as a sedative and is very useful in bedwetting disorders
It is a very good antioxidant, it plays a major role in the prevention of cancer as well as heart disease
It restores the damaged skin and gives soft and young looks. It has the ability to attract water. It is also safe for sensitive skin
Honey has antibacterial properties due to its acidic nature and enzymically produced hydrogen peroxide.
Constant use of honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacteria and viral diseases
Honey may be beneficial to athletes by reducing fatigue. Honey is a good source of glucose and fructose (according to national honey institute)
Honey may be useful in sore throat also. It may not heal your sore throat but it will make it feel better as it heals. The taste may also take your mind off the pain.
Honey that is local to where one lives can also help with seasonal pollen allergies because it contains the same pollen that is producing the allergy – consumed in this way it can act as an immune booster.
Honey diluted in water helpful for stomach aches and dehydration.

Precautions to be taken before using honey:
Honey should not be heated
Honey should not be consumed when you are working in hot environment where you are exposed to more heat.
Honey should never be mixed with rain water, hot, spicy foods, and alcoholic beverages, ghee and mustard oil. When honey is mixed with these the poisonous properties get enhanced and cause imbalance of doshas.

Checking purity of honey:
A cotton wick dipped in pure honey when lighted with a matchstick burns and shows the purity of honey. If adulterated, the presence of water will not allow the honey to burn; if it does it will produce a cracking sound
Pure honey does not dissolve in water quickly but impure honey dissolves quickly when compared to pure honey. Mix a spoon of honey in a cup of water and find out whether it dissolves to check its purity

Few home remedies with honey:
1. Mix 2 teaspoon of honey with carrot juice and consume regularly. This helps to improve eyesight and is very helpful those who sit before computer for long time.
2. Mix 2 tsp of honey with equal quantity of ginger juice and should be consumed frequently. It helps for cold, cough and congested chest.
3. One glass of luke warm water taken with two teaspoon of honey and 1 tsp of lemon juice in early morning reduces fat and purifies blood
4. Consuming one spoon of honey daily helps us to lead a healthy life.
Dr. S. Brindha BAMS
Global ayurveda (Dec-Jan 2007)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


This procedure is included under the five bio-purificatory procedures. Removal of impure blood from the body treats the root cause of the sufferings.

Ayurveda the great medical science of India is now practiced meagerly; but when the challenges of resistant cases are alarming day by day ayurveda is the only hope. No doubt each country has its own traditional medical system, which they practiced since centuries back but due to lack of a well written script it gradually disappears. In India traditional medical system is enriched with a well defined doshik (morbid) theory of disease etiology, types, clinical features, treatment modalities etc. in a very well organized and systematic way, and known as ayurveda. Charka samhita, susruta samhita, ashtanga smrgraha and ashanga hridaya are the base books while madhav nidana, sharangdhara samhita, bhava prakasha etc. are the supplementary books; because of these written textual books ayurveda is still practicing in India with great success. The main drawback of ayurveda is lack of proper literary and medicinal research as well as documentation of prior knowledge. Rakta mokshana or blood letting is practiced in India since thousands of years. Our saints included this procedure under the five bio-purificatory procedures; they said that removal of impure blood from the body treats the root cause of the sufferings.

Rakta mokshana by jalauka (Blood letting by leech)
Blood letting can be done by jalauka (leech) in those who are rich, weak, fearful sophisticated, old and in case of ladies.
Leech is sheet (cold) in nature so commonly used in pittaja and raktaj disorders.
Leeches first sucks the impure blood than the pure so when patient feels pricking pain and itching over the bite place leech should be removed.
Leech should undergo emesis, to expel the dirty blood

Jalauka bheda (types of leeches)
Savisha (poisonous)
  • Krishna – blackish, long head
  • Karbura – like Rohit fish, spiral lining over the body
  • Alagarda – hairy, lobulated
  • Indrayudha – rainbow like multicoloured
  • Samudrika – black-yellow, dotted
  • Gochandana – like scrotom of ox
Nirvisha (non poisonous)
  • Kapila – orpiment color, highly motile
  • Pingala – reddish, circular
  • Shankhamukhi – color like of liver, rapid sucking (commonly used)
  • Mushika – color and odor like rat
  • Pundarikamukhi – face like lotus
  • Savarika – 18 angula long, shape like lotus leaves
General review
There are two species of therapeutic medicinal leeches hirudo – medicinalis and hirudo-mychaelseni
This is a segmented worm of phylum-annelida
Leech has two suckers, one at each end, caudal (back end) and rostral (front end)
Front end with three sharp jaws that leave a ‘Y” shaped bite.
A leech can remain 30 minutes to 6 hours as it fills with blood
During feeding it can suck 5-15ml of blood
Following the suction process the leech can perform active movements after a week
The leech stores the sucked blood over months in its stomach and digests it within a period of one and a half years.
Leech saliva contains several bio-active substances including prostaglandins, vasodilators, anesthetics and anticoagulants.
Hirudin a potent anti coagulant found in leech saliva inhibits conversion of firbrinogen to fibrin, thus preventing blood clotting.
Other existing substances – calin, apyrase hyaluronidase, egline, destabliase, piyavit and kollaginase.

Maintenance of medicinal leeches
The leech will survive quite happily in a cool place provided the temperature does not exceed 15-25 degree Celsius.
Avoid direct exposure to sunlight to the leeches
The water where the leech resides should be declorinated and sterilized. When changing the water the replacement water is of same temperature as the previous.
For best results we should keep 2 leeches per 250ml of water
Naturally the leeches engulf algae, fish blood, flesh, etc

Ayurveda classical indications
  • Vidradhi (abscess)
  • Gulma (lump)
  • Arsha (Piles)
  • Kushtha (skin diseases)
  • Vatarakta (sclerosis)
  • Kantharoga (throat diseases)
  • Netraroag (eye diseases)
  • Granthi (cyst)
  • Arbuda (tumor)
  • Shlipada (filariasis)
  • Vidarika (rhagades)
  • Vishadamshtra (poisoning)
  • Visharpa (pemphigus)
  • Siroroga (headache)
  • Dantaveshta (dental disorders) etc
Other indications
  • Boils and abscess
  • Herpes zoster
  • Thrombosis
  • Thrombophlibitis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gouty arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Wounds – diabetic, leprotic, pyogenic etc
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Alopecia

Classical method of application
Purvakarma (before procedure)

Proper snehana (oleation) and swedana (sudation) of the patient
Purification of leech by pouring the leech in haridra (turmeric powder) and water
Part preparation – cleaning of place by turmeric water

Pradhana karma (main procedure)
Application of honey or blood or butter or by prachchan (making scar) at the desired site
Application of leech through its front end
Cover the leech by wet cotton
Removal of leech by dusting haridra churna (turmeric powder) after completion of blood letting

Paschata karma (after procedure)
Induction of emesis to the leech by dusting of haridra churna (turmeric powder) on its mouth
Sometimes pressing the leech from caudal to front end is required for proper emesis
Leech should be freed in fresh water, where it swims swiftly and then settles down.
Replace the leech in a clean jar or aquarium
Dusting of yashtimadhu (liquorice powder) churna and bandaging over the bite site

Frequency of leech application
It will vary according to the disease and severity
The leech should be applied once in a week up to six sittings
One leech should be reserved for a particular patient to avid cross infection
A few biochemical examination liked Hb%, TLC, DLC, blood urea, serum creatinine of patient blood and leech sucked blood does not show any change.

Complications of hirudotherapy
The infection caused by bacteria aeromonas-hydrophilia present in gut of leech, which can cause pneumonia, septicemia or gastroenteritis.
Excess blood loss, so contra indicated in patients of hemophilia or in other bleeding diathesis.
Allergic reactions such as itching followed by burning and blister formation
Ulcerative necrosis due to toxins present in leech saliva

The results on using leeches for blood letting are the severity of eczematous patch disappears, there is no new blister in pemphigus, joint pain and lesion are vanished in psoriasis and new hair roots appears in case of alopecia.
As said by sushruta it sucks the impure blood of the body; the impurity can be in terms of auto immune reactions, enzymatic and hormonal imblanance, or chemical imbalance etc.
Leech therapy is very effective in atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, alopecia, vitilito, filariasis, non healing ulcers, pemphigus

Dr. Vijay Kumar Srivastava
Dr. O. P. Singh
Prof. N. P. Rai
Global Ayurveda (Dec-Jan 2007)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


The weakness of muscles (myopathies) is the diseases interfere with chemical reactions involved in drawing bio-energy (Prana shakti) from food. Normal, fuel molecules derived from food must be broken down further inside each cell before they can be used by the cells; mitochondria to make the energy molecule ATP. The mitochondria inside each cell could be called the cells; “energies.” The metabolic muscle diseases are caused by problems in the way certain fuel molecules are processed before they enter the mitochondria, or by the inability to get fuel molecules in to mitochondria. Muscle required a lot of energy in the form of ATP to work properly. When energy levels become too low, muscle weakness and exercise intolerance with muscle pain or cramps may occur.
In a few metabolic muscle disorders, symptoms aren’t caused so much by a lack of energy, but rather by unused fuel molecules that build up inside muscle cells. This buildup may damage the cells, leading to chronic weakness. Metabolic muscle diseases that have their onset in infancy tend to be the most severe, and some forms are fatal. Those that begin in childhood or adulthood tend to be less severe, and changes in diet and lifestyle can help most people with the milder forms adjust.

What causes muscle weakness?
Most muscle weakness is caused by defects in the enzymes (Agnis) that control chemical reactions used to breakdown food. Enzyme defects are caused by flaws in the genes that govern production of the enzymes. A gene is a “recipe” or set of instructions for making a protein, such as an enzyme. A defect in the gene may cause the protein to be made incorrectly or not al all, leading to deficiency in the amount of that enzyme. Genes are passed from parents to children. Therefore genetic defects can be inherited.
In normal metabolism, food provides fuel that’s processed inside the cells, producing energy (ATP) for muscles contraction and other cellular functions. In metabolic myopathies, missing enzymes prevent motochondria from properly processing fuel, and no energy is produced for muscle function.
Muscular dystrophy refers to a group of genetic diseases characterized by progressive weakness and degeneration of the skeletal or voluntary muscles which control body movement. The muscles of the heart and some other involuntary muscles are also affected in some forms of muscular dystrophy, and a few forms involve other organs as well. The muscular dystrophies include many inherited disorders such as: Becker’s, Duchenne, Facioscapulo-humeral, Limb-girdle, Emery-Dreifuss, and Myotonic and myotonia congenita.

Most common neuro muscular disease among children
Most children are affected by muscular dystrophies, inflammation of muscles, cerebral palsy, motor problems related to injuries at the time of birth or thereafter, and also birth-related injuries to the arms and legs – mostly to the nerves in the arms.
The most common diagnosis would be spasticity in children, muscular dystrophy and different kinds of delays such as not walking, crawling and so on. Other less common problems are spinal muscular atrophy, neuropathies and so on.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common form affecting children, and myotonic muscular dystrophy is the most common form affecting adults. Muscular dystrophy can affect people of all ages. Although some forms first become apparent in infancy or childhood, other may not appear until middle age or later.
These diseases are distinguished from each other by the type of inheritance (sex-linked, dominant gene, recessive gene), the age when symptoms appear, and the types of symptoms that develop. Because these are inherited disorders, risks include a family history of muscular disease.

Symptoms of muscular dystrophy
Weakness is primary symptom
  • Progressive frequent falls
  • Delayed development of muscle motor skills
  • Difficulty in walking (delayed walking)
  • Difficulty using one or more muscle groups (the specific muscles affected depends on the type of dystrophy)
  • Poor muscle tone and curved spine

Muscular dystrophy is diagnosed by serum CPK (an enzyme found in muscle) and EMG (electromyography). An ECG is also done to monitor changes in cardiac status.

This disease may also alter the results of the following tests:

  • Myoglobin in urine / serum
  • LDH (lactate dehydorgenase)
  • Creatinine
  • AST (aspartate aminotrasferase)

What are the complications?

  • Joint contractures, deformities and scoliosis
  • Permanent progressive disability
  • Decreased functional ability to care for self
  • Mental impairment and depressive manifestations
  • Cardiomyopathy, respiratory failure and death

What is the prevention?
Women may be asymptomatic but still be carrier of gene for the disorder. Duchenne muscular dystrophy can be detected with about 95% accuracy by genetic studies performed during pregnancy

New treatment options
There is a big push to find a cure or at least modify the problems in different ways. There are newer treatment options.
Panchkarma therapies, specially developed molecules (mamsagni rasayan) and yogic techniques may be effective in the long term management of muscular weakness. It may help people to maintain muscle strength and function. In addition, some people with metabolic disorders have benefited from strict ayurvedic dietary changes. There is evidence that those with carbohydrate-processing problems may be helped by a natural high protein diet, while those with difficulty processing fats may do well on a natural diet high in carbohydrates and low in fats.
Ayurvedic herbs which safe guard the function of liver can be very effective in reversing heart failure in the patient of myopathies. Orthopedic appliances such as braces and wheelchairs can improve mobility and self care abilities. In some cases, surgery on spine or lower extremities may help improve function and slow deterioration.
Ayurveda considers this condition as mamsa – vata – kshaya (MVK) related to beeja dosha and impairments of mamsagni (muscle enzyme). It involves deranged vata and subsequent degeneration of muscles and structures related to it. Ayurvedic treatment might slow or stop the progressive of muscle degeneration. A combined strategy of age old Til Mash Pinda sweda (TMP), pizhichil, anuvasana vasti, mamsagni rasayana and yogic support is effective in the long term management of muscular weakness.

Mamsagni rasayana
The mamsagni G is gurvel, guggul and gold (G3) based new ayurvedic formula developed by Ayurveda Acharya Mukesh Dev Jain in 1998 for his care through research project on neuromuscular diseases. The active ingredients are bio-enhanced and standardized marich, triphala, gurvel, guggul, kuchla, parad and gold bhasma. This new compound molecule regulates muscular metabolism and useful as a safe ayurvedic medicine for the management of muscular dystrophies.
The marich promoted mamsagni (muscle enzyme system) triphala guggulu is well known srotorodhahara (correct membrane defect) and regulated fat metabolism. Kuchla boost the neuromuscular tone while the gold bhasma retards the process of muscular degeneration. Gurvel also called amrita (nectar) is best immunity modulating (rasayana) drug. The combined effect is neuro-muscular vata-pitta-kapha balancing which is evident by promising clinical results such as weight loss, decrease in blood CPK level, decrease in walking difficulty, increase in neuro-muscular tone

The practical therapeutic benefits of weight reduction are not only obvious but potentially greater i.e. improved muscle power/ weight ratio.

Dose: the therapeutic oral dose is 20 mg/kg body weight administered in two divided doses. The medicine can be given preferably before meals with honey or with dasmula ghrita.

Dr. Mukesh D Jain MD
Global ayurveda (Dec-Jan 2007)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Aromatherapy in pregnancy

Pregnancy brings about a lot of physical and hormonal changes in a woman’s body. These may manifest into moderate to severe discomforts like morning sickness, edema due to water retention, stretch marks, heaviness in the body, etc. pregnancy is a wonderful experience but this happiness can be marred by these discomforts. Also the excess weight and stretch marks, which remain behind after delivery, may spoil a woman’s beauty.
Aromatherapy offers simple yet effective remedies for all these problems. However pregnancy is also a very delicate stage hence these oils are best used under guidance of an aroma therapist. Following precautions need to be taken:
  • Certain oils like basil, cinnamon, dary sage, fennel, juniper, comfrey, myrrh, Melissa, thyme, hyssop, etc are contraindicated in pregnancy while others like marjoram and rosemary are to be avoided during the first three months or the 1st trimester.
  • Use essential oils in lower concentrations
  • If you suffer from skin or other allergies, use oils very carefully. A patch test is indicated before use
  • During a massage keep the strokes lighter than usual
  • The moments of the pregnant clients like lying down for massage, turning or getting up have to be very gentle
  • If you are on homeopathy medicine, consult your homeopath before using essential oils, as it is believed that the strong, of the oils negate the effect of the homeopathic medicines

Aromatherapy in first trimester
(First three months)

The commonly encountered symptom in first three months is nausea or morning sickness. Rest is very important during this period. This is also the most delicate phase since the foetus is not stable yet and improper lifestyles or wrong drugs may lead to miscarriage. Hence one has to be extra careful during this period.
Morning sickness: to combat nausea inhalation of mandarin oil or orange oil by means of port pourri or vapourizers is useful. One may also put a couple of drops on ones pillow to prevent morning sickness. Alternatively add a couple of drops of lavender, sandalwood and orange and massage gently on the abdomen. Reduce oily, spicy foodstuffs in diet. Have frequent smaller meals in a day rather than having large and meets at longer intervals. Go easy on fast food. Eat plenty of fresh fruits (barring papaya and mango) and take herbal teas made from chamomile or orange blossom.

The second trimester
(The date from four to six months of pregnancy)

Frequent urination, heartburn and varicose veins may appear during this period. The following remedies can be implemented:
Varicose veins: varicose veins and spider veins may develop during second trimester due to increased intra-abdominal pressure. Use crepe bandages to support the calf muscles. Indulge in gentle and moderate exercise and avoid very hot water baths. Make a blend of two drops each of cypress, lemon grass and lavender in 30ml of apricot kernel base oil. Massage gently but firmly from ankle upwards towards thighs. Avoid working directly on the swollen veins. Alternatively you may use a blend of the three drops of geranium in 20ml of base oil. However more caution needs to be observed where then using geranium during pregnancy.
Constipation: increased the fiber intake in diet. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and salads. Avoided pulses like Bengal gram, kidney beans etc as these causes flatulence. However one can consume green gram. Keep your body well hydrated. A helpful aromatherapy blend is 3 drops of lavender and 3 drops of rose in 15ml of base oil. Massage gently in clockwise circular motion on the belly. Alternatively one may use a blend of chamomile and orange.
Fluid retention/ edema: reduce the salt intake in diet. The edema or swelling is generally present on the ankles and legs. Hence while sleeping, raise the head slightly with the help of pillows. For ankle edema give a foot bath by adding 7-8 drops of lavender, 3 drops cypress, 3 drops of orange and 2 drops of patchouli to a bucket full of warm water. Ensure that you use plastic bucket and water is only lukewarm. Alternatively add 3 drops each of benzoin, rose and orange to ¼ bucket of warm water and use this for foot massage.

The third trimester
During this period abdominal girth increases substantially which exerts pressure on all the organs especially the lower back. Hence along with the problems encountered in the 2nd trimester one may also experience problems like lower back pain and difficult in lying down or sleeping.
Lower backache: massaging lower back is very relaxing. One may use a blend made from sandalwood and lavender by adding 4 drops of each to 15 ml of base oil. Mild fomentation can also be given.
Sleep problem: lying down in different positions becomes difficult due to increased size of abdomen. Try lying down on the left side keeping the left leg straight and bending the right leg at the knee.
Support the right knee by placing it on the cushion. Have a relaxing bath with neroli. Lavender and vetiver oils just before going to bed. You may also add a couple of drops of lavender oil to your pillow.
Stretch marks: these may not be seen during pregnancy as the skin is tensed. However they appear soon after delivery if measures are not taken during pregnancy itself. Although these marks do not cause any problem it is better to prevent them for cosmetic purpose. These stretch marks are likely to appear on lower abdomen, thighs, breast and buttocks. So in order to minimize the scarring and retaining the elasticity and suppleness of the skin, start aroma massage from the fifth month itself and continue even after the delivery till you lose the extra weight that you gained during pregnancy. For massaging make a blend of five drops of lavender and 5 drops of frankincense in 30ml of olive oil. You may add the contents of capsule vitamin E to the blend. Adding evening primrose oil to the blend also helps to smooth the skin.
Sore nipples/ breast: the breast size also increases during pregnancy due to increased levels of prolactin hormone. This causes them to be engorged and tensed. Nursing the baby also causes cracked nipples which are very painful. The following blend can be used during pregnancy and even when you are nursing the baby. However before breast feeding ensure that the nipples are washes thoroughly and wiped dry. Care must be taken to prevent the essential oils from entering the newborns stomach. use a gentle massage oil with 3 drops each of rose and orange in 15ml of sweet almond or olive oil. During labour, if possible use aroma candles or vapourizers in the labour room.

Post partum care:
Inadequate lactation, post partum depression may be encountered after delivery.
Inadequate lactation: this rarely occurs and is often psychological that physiological in nature. Hence it is important for the mother to relax and help her baby to suck more frequently on the nipple. Increase your intake of milk, sugar, rice and asparagus. Do not get anxious whether baby is getting enough feed or not. So long as the baby passes urine, for about 10-12 times in 24 hours, sleeps well, and sucks energetically you may also use cold compress on the breast using 2 drops each of lavender, geranium and peppermint oil. This helps facilitate lactation.
Post partum depression: this may occur within a week after delivery. Usually it is mild in nature but some woman may suffer from severe depression, which may last up to a year. A massage with 5 drops each of chamomile, geranium and orange in 30mlof almond oil is relaxing. You may also have a bath by adding 7-10 drops of jasmine and ylang ylang to warm water. Inhalation of 3 drops of neroli and 3 drops of bergamot also helps. To relieve the pain in the perineal region, which may occur due to tear and suffering, take a sitz bath of lavender and tea rose.

Massage during pregnancy
The precautions to be taken while giving massage to a pregnant lady have been mentioned. Let us look at the steps:
Back massage: after about 4th month of pregnancy it becomes difficult for a woman to lie down on her stomach. Hence work with your partner in sitting position.

  • After your partner is comfortable, place your left hand over the partner’s forehead and your right hand palm across the back on her neck. Hold for a few moments and then release.
  • Apply little oil on your fingers and gently massage each of your partner’s shoulder blades and upper back. Employ kneading movements using your thumb.
  • Spread the oil on the entire back evenly and begin an effleurage movement
  • Stroke gently down the spine from the base of the neck to the lower back. Repeat this movement 20 times
  • Stroke across the back starting from the lower back from the right hand side. Stroke out from the inside of the body towards the loins with alternate hands, moving upwards gently towards the shoulders.
  • Using thumbs work upwards on each side of the spinal column from the lower back to the neck to help relieve congestion along the spinal nerves.
    Repeat this 4 times

Abdomen: For a pregnant woman lying on her back may exert extra pressure on the blood vessels due to the weight of the foetus. This may result in constriction of important blood vessels. Hence support the head, neck, and back with cushions, pillows mattress etc. ensure that she is comfortable. It is of utmost importance to keep the strokes gentle and light. Do not exert undue pressure under any circumstances.

  • Apply the blend as per your choice and needs, evenly over the abdomen.
  • Using the palms of your hands, carefully glide the hands from either side of the waist towards the navel. Lift your hands off as they reach the navel. Continue this and work over the whole abdomen.
  • Gently circle around the abdomen with the flat of your hand in clockwise direction. Do not apply any pressure. Repeat this for about 5-6 times.

Legs: legs also get easily tired during pregnancy due to extra weight that they carry.

  • Support your partners legs by placing a cushion or bolster beneath her knees.
  • Begin by dabbing the oil and gently stroking the leg with effleurage from the ankle to the knee.
  • The smoothen out the muscles by working from the shin bone towards calf.
  • Upward motion helps to relieve varicose veins and ankle edema

Finish the massage by massaging the scalp and neck with light circular movements.

Choice of blends: add ten drops each of any two of the following essential oil to 100 ml of base oil (sweet almond, extra virgin olive oil, apricot kernel oil are desirable as base oils). Choose any of the pairs given below depending on the person’s physical and mental set up.
Chamomile and lavender
Lavender and sandalwood
Neroli and frankincense
Ylang ylang and sandalwood
If you encounter complications in pregnancy like pregnancy induced hypertension or diabetes, please consult an aromatherapist before starting aromatherapy as certain oils like cypress which may be permissible in normal pregnancy may prove harmful in hypertension.


Ayurveda is a 'science of life', which has always laid more stress on preventive rather than curative treatment. The motto of Ayurveda is:
“Swasthasya swasthya rakshanam
Aturasya vikara prashamanam dha”
The meaning of the above shloka is to safeguard the health of a healthy individual and to cure the illness of an ailing person. For this purpose Ayurveda has prescribed a daily itinerary for all the individuals and some variation in the same depending up on the season. Since monsoon is fast approaching, it is apt to describe what are the dietary and lifestyle changes that person needs to make during this season in order to stay healthy. Charakacharya, the ancient seer and physician, compares our body to a vehicle, which requires routine cleaning and occasional servicing. The former is compared to dincharya or the daily routine that one needs to adopt and the latter comparesto the riutcharya or the seasonal variation that one needs to observe. In ayurvedic literature the year is divided into six ritus (seasons) – grishma (summer), varsha (monsoon), sharad (autumn), hemant (winter), shishir (late winter), vasant (spring)
Unlike the western countries, monsoon season is well demarcated in the tropical countries. Some scholars also regarded ‘pravrut’ as a season, which falls between summer and monsoon. However, these scholars have not recognized ‘shishir’ as a season keeping the number of seasons constant. The text do not only describe the changes one has to make it diet and lifestyle but is also describe the changes in nature and atmosphere one may notice at the onset of every season. Acharya vagbhat states that during monsoon the western winds flow over the land. The sky is covered by garyish blue clouds, which make it appear dull and gloomy. Rivers are overflowing and fields are lush green. There are thunders and lightening and land remains wet for a long time. From time to time one experiences showers.
During this period the water is slightly acidic in nature and tends to increase the pitta dosha. Due to the dryness of the preceding summer season the vata dosha accumulates in the body of those individuals who do not follow the summer regimen described in Ayurveda. However, since the vata has the characteristic of being cool and summer being a hot season the symptoms of accumulated vata do not surface in an individual. But with onset of monsoon the temperature drops and various symptoms of elevated vata might be seen in affected individuals.

Cleansing regimens: To combat any health hazards from elevated vata and pitta dosha one might resort to cleansing procedures like basti (medicated enemas) and virechan (purgation). Once the body is cleansed it is then important to keep it healthy through proper diet and lifestyle.

Diet during monsoon: It is important to bear in mind that the water available in the reservoirs during monsoon is comparatively heavy to digest and also the metabolism is sluggish during this period. An individual is likely to experience loss of appetite, cough and cold, aches and pains in different parts of the body, etc. To avoid this one needs to make following changes in their diet:
  • Keep your diet as light and fresh as possible. Always have the meal when it is warm. Do not reheat the food or eat stale food
  • Include cow’s ghee, lean meat, lentils, green gram, rice and wheat in daily diet.
  • Always consume small piece of ginger with rock salt before every meal.
  • Water should be boiled and filtered before consuming. Other electronic purification methods may also be used to purify water. Drink at least one glass of water with honey daily. However, avoid drinking excess of fluids at this further slows down the metabolism.
  • Onion, lean meat and vegetables may also be used in soups.
  • Avoid leafy vegetables during monsoon.
  • Those individual who are not accustomed taking liquor may take drakshasava. It is a kind of wine made from grapes by adding various herbs, jaggery, etc. It acts as a good appetizer.
  • Maintain a balanced diet comprising of foodstuffs of the six tastes but increase the intake of sweet, sour and salty food in the first half of the season and bitter, astringent and pungent food during the later half of the monsoon season.
  • Avoid curds, red meat and any foodstuff, which takes longer time to digest. One may have buttermilk instead of curds.
Lifestyle changes: Healthy diet is very important but may not provide desired benefits unless supported by a healthy lifestyle. The important changes that one may need to make in one’s lifestyle are:
  • Go for an oil massage regularly and have warm water bath daily. Oil massage is good for health during all the seasons for most of the individuals including women, children and aged people. Only persons unfit for an oil massage are the ones who may be suffering from acute illness like fever, dairrhoea, or any other infection
  • Avoid sleeping during day. Again this rule is applicable to most of the individuals for all season except summer. Especially during monsoon sleeping during the day hampers digestion and slows down the metabolism
  • Avoid swimming in natural water bodies like the lake, rivers, or ponds as these may be infested by snake, scorpions or other reptiles
  • Keep sexual activity and exercise to minimum or avoid it altogether.
  • Avoid moving out in afternoon sun.
  • Avoid getting wet in the rains
  • If you happen to get wet, change into dry clothes as soon as possible to avoid getting infections as immunity is low during this season. Also due to continuous dampness one is more susceptible to fungal infections.
  • Seasonal outbreaks of diseases caused by mosquitoes are common during this period. Maximum cases of malaria, filarial and dengue are reported just during or immediately after monsoon. So keep the surroundings clean and hygienic. Avoid stagnation of water as stagnant water is breeding ground for mosquitoes. Considering the day and age one may also use pesticides to disinfect the water.
Bhavaprakash states that consuming ‘haritaki (terminalia chebula) in every season is beneficial to health. ‘ haritaki’ may be consumed with following accompaniments during the following seasons:
  • Grishma (summer): consume with jaggery
  • Varsha (monsoon): consume with rock salt
  • Sharad (autumn): consume with sugar
  • Hemant (winter): consume with dry ginger
  • Shishir (later winter): consume with ‘pippali or long pepper
  • Vasant (spring): consume with honey
Consuming haritaki thus, helps increase the quality and quantity of life
Ayurvedic masters also state that when seasons are changing and an individual changes his/her lifestyle and diet to suit that particular season, the change must be gradual over a period of 15 days. Slowly try to give up the initial lifestyle and adopt new one. It the changes are brought about drastically the body may not be able to cope with them and this could lead to problems


Dry eye is the term given for a group of clinical conditions, characterized by burning sensation, gritty feeling, photophobia and intermittent blurring of vision, ocular discomfort and subsequent diminution of visual acuity.
The reason for selecting this subject is the increasing number of patients suffering with these complaints it the current era

  • Tear production decreases as the age advances. In decreases especially during menopause and old age.
  • Staring at computer or Tv for a long time
  • Air conditioning/ dry heating system etc
  • Systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Pollution/ allergic reactions/ exposure to smoke etc
  • Side effects of certain medicines such as antihistamines, anti depressant, anti hypertensives, anti Parkinson disease, oral contraceptive pills etc
Tear film is a fluid that covers the cornea and conjunctiva. The primary role of tear film is to establish refractive surface, to ensure the well being of corneal and conjunctive epithelium. These layered tear films has an intrinsic relationship with the superficial epithelial layers of cornea and conjunctiva. The innermost layer of tear film is composed of a mucus layer, over laying which there is an aqueous layer and outermost layer is lipid. The tear film has an estimated thickness of 4-6 mm

Lipid layer
The bulk of lipid content of tear is produced by mibomian gland that opens on to the lid margins. The tear lipids control the overflow of tear fluid and plays a crucial role in the control of evaporation.

Aqueous layer
This is produced by larchrymal glands main and accessory glands. This layer accounts for around 98% of the total thickness of tear film. The aqueous layer is a complex fluid composed of water and solutes including dissolved mucus, electrolytes and proteins. A high number of different proteins includes immunoglobulins, albumin, lysozyme, lactoferrin. These are involved in defending the ocular surface against invading pathogens. Another function attributed to this lubrication.

Mucous layer
It is the innermost layer. It is composed of mucus in gel form. This is secreted by the goblet cells of conjunctiva. By the act of blinking, the debris get down to mucous and collapses to form mucus strands.

Symptoms of dry eye
Foreign body sensation, burning sensation, general ocular discomfort (dry, sore, gritty feeling), photophobia, intermittent blurring, eye tire easily, inability to cry under emotional stress etc.
Incidences according to age
2% below 10 years
10% under 60 years
20% between 60-8-
25% over 80
Contact lens wearers have dry eye symptom incidence more than 60%

  • Tear deficient dry eye
    This is due to the deficiency of aqueous phase in tear film
  • Tear sufficient dry eye
    An alternation is lipid composition is seen, hence will not have control over the evaporation of tear
  • Mucus deficiency
    Either decreases in quantity of quality of mucus may lead to impaired surface wetting, decreased lipid trapping. It is marked with decreased tear stability.
  • Lid surface abnormalities
    When normal lid movement is compromised, the area of cornea and conjunctivas are not adequately served. This leads to non-wetting of cornea leading to dry eye. The stability of tear film is very much needed for the health of eyes.

Test for assesssing tear volume
Stripof thin filter paper, which is hooked over lower eye, lids – on contact with the ocular surface the paper absorbs tears. The length of paper wetted over a set of five minutes is an indication of tear volume.

It is a fundamental theory of Ayurveda that treatment is to attain doshasatmyata. Nethrarogas make no exception in this regard. Here also the treatment aims to eliminate the nidanas, to achieve doshasatmyata, to repair dhathuvaikalya and to strengthen the arogya. This demands the correct assessment of dosha, the exact perception. In dry eyes, it is already stated that almost all the nidanas vitiate vathapitta. To be precise rooksha, seetha, khara, sookshma, chala properties of vatha are increased above normal.
But in case of pitta dosha there will be increase of ushna, teeksha gunas. Increased vatha naturally causes kaphakshaya which will lead to disruption of function. At the same time, there occurs qualitative decrease in sneha and dravabhavas.
Here the intension is primarily to normalize the doshas of both kaya, and shiras and then to focus on to the pathology of the nethra. Internal and external medications are necessary for the treatment. Jeevaneeya ghritham, vidaryadi ghritham, thriphala ghritham etc are the internal medication which can be chosen according to dosha predominance

External Thailam - Medicine

1. Swedam - Haridra
2. Nethradhara - Darvee + Vara kwatham
3. Aschothanam - Jeevanathyadi ghritham
4. Anjanam - Chandandi
5. Nasyam - Anuthailam
6. Tharpanam - Jeevanathyadi ghritham
7. Sirodhara - Triphaladi

This is the general outlook. But the medicines varies according to the condition of the patient. It depends upon the desa, kala, vaya etc


Milk is considered as an ideal and complete food and it contains proximate principles of a well balanced diet. Milk in Sanskrit called as ‘Ksheera’. Ayurveda – an authentic system of Science has described varieties of milk and its importance in diet. There are varieties of milk from different animals like cow, buffalo, goat, horse, camel, elephant etc. Among all cows milk seems to have greater medicinal properties. Human milk I also essential diet for infants for their growth and gain immunity through out their life.

Cow’s Milk: Cow’s milk is Sanskrit is ‘Goksheera’. It considered being the best among all.

Cows milk, which is sweet in taste; cold in potency, promotes digestion, strength, and longevity, good for eyes and suitable for all age groups. It is indicated in most of the diseases like Sopha, Udara, Pandu, Daaha, Amlapitta, Unmade, Mada, Brama, Murcha, Garbhasrava, Yoni roga, Sukra vikara etc. In spite of its indications in various diseases it is also used for purification of some Dravyas to remove their visha properties and make the fit to be used for various external treatments in Ayurveda like Ksheera dhara, ksheera vasti etc.

Buffalo’s Milk: Buffalo’s milk is heavier than Cow’s milk. Hence it is advised to persons those who have strong digestive power.

Goat’s Milk: Goat’s Milk has the same properties like that of Cow’s milk, still lighter to digest than cow’s milk. Goat’s Milk is lighter to digest as goat eats lots of plant food that has different tastes, does lots of physical exercises like walking and drinks very little quantity of water. It can be used as a substitute in the place of cow’s milk.

Human milk: Human milk is essential for infants. Human milk is sweet and slightly astringent in taste, cold in potency and light to digest. It promotes strength, helps in promoting the growth of the tissues of the body, good for eyes. It is used for treatments like Tarpana, Aschyotana and Nasyam.

Dharoshna ksheeram: The milk that is obtained directly from the cows udder will be warm, is said to be dharoshna ksheeram. It is equal to nectar in qualities, promotes digestion and tridoshaharam in nature. When it becomes cold it becomes unfit for use.

How to boil milk?
To 1 part of the quantity of milk, ½ part of water should be added and then boiled till the water gets evaporated.

Un-boiled milk: The milk, which is un-boiled, is heavy to digest, reduces one’s digestive power. All types of milk should be taken only after boiling except human milk, as boiling of human milk is not good. If the milk is kept un-boiled for about 5 hours the original quality of milk changes, if it is kept for about 10 hours it becomes unfit to use.

Effects of intake of milk depending upon time
Morning: Intake of milk is usually not advised in the morning hours, as it is heavy to digest.
Afternoon: Intake of milk in the afternoon promotes strength in old people, improves agni in children, removes urinary calculi (krichra Asmari chedanam) and also alleviates kapha and pitta.
Evening: Drinking of milk in the evening hours is good for eyes and alleviates vata and pitta.
Night: Drinking of milk at night is ideal. In daytime people happen to exert much and vidahi annam hence drinking of milk after food is essential at night to reduce tiredness and also good for eyes.

Age factor
Baalyavastha (childhood)- promotes growth and development of tissues
Yuvavastha (youth)- promotes strength
Vruddhavastha (old age)- provides strength and prevents ageing.

Qualities depending upon storage
Qualities of milk differ depending upon the vessel in which it is stored.
Taamra (copper) – Vatahara
Suvarna (gold) – Pittahara
Roupya (silver) – Kaphahara
Kamsya (brass) – Rakta prasadhanam

In pregnancy:
Habitual intake of cow’s milk is indicated from the first month pregnancy in ayurvedic samhitas. Because of the valuable properties, milk is advised to take every day solely or mixed with other food.

Milk that should be avoided:
Milk other than Sweet taste like sour, salt should be avoided. Milk with bad smell, abnormal colour should also be avoided. Milk of cow that is pregnant aggravates all the tridosas, hence should be avoided. Milk of cow that is pregnant aggravates all the tridosas, hence should be avoided. After intake of taamboola (betel leaves) for about 2 hours milk should be avoided.Milk is considered almost complete food, as it contains vitamin A, thiamine, nicotinic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin K, minerals like calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium according to modern concepts. In Ayurveda milk has so many properties like rasayan and considered to have the qualities of ojas – essence of all dhatus, hence equal to nectar. Now-a-days people go for pasteurized milk, slim milk, skimmed milk etc which is not going to give the actual benefits of milk rather it may lead to some other problem in the future. Cow’s milkis the best among all. What is the need for us to go in search of substitutes when we have nectar in our hands?

Thursday, May 10, 2007


As we known asana means any position in which a person can sit comfortably, steadily and meditate for long hours. Adopting various postures not only helps to increase the flexibility of the body and protects it from various diseases but it also helps to make the mind steady. The yogi frees himself from physical ailments and mental distractions by performing asanas. Its popularity than other limbs is because of the quick benefits the practice of asanas provides an individual.
Every individual young and old can practice asana but certain factors are desired in order to achieve desired effects. First of all an individual’s body has to be detoxified by various yogic cleansing procedures. These are known as ‘shatkarma’. As the name suggests ‘shat’ means six and ‘karma’ means procedures meant to cleanse one’s body of the toxins, which may have accumulated due to wrong type of diet and lifestyle. The procedures are listed below.
1. Dhauti cleaning the stomach.
2. Basti cleaning the colon.
3. Neti cleaning the nasal passage.
4. Nauli cleaning the abdominal organs.
5. Kapalabati cleaning the respiratory organs.
6. Trataka clearing the mind through gazing.

These will be described in detail in next edition. After cleansing the body one has to observe certain rules before practicing yogasana these are as follows:
As mentioned earlier asana is the third limb of Ashtanga yoga, which comes after yama and niyama. A person, who intends to practice Ashtang yoga in order to increase one’s spiritual level, has to practice these before practicing asanas. Without which they will provide health benefits without having any impact on a person’s spiritual status.

TIME: Now after cleansing the body and observing yama and niyama we have to think about the finer aspects one needs to consider while practicing asanas like the time for asana, food that should be consumed during this period and when to have it, etc. As far as time is considered the best time to practice these postures in the morning. The level of pollution is less in the morning and body and mind are fresh after a good night’s sleep. Most of the ancient Hinduism texts advocate the habit of getting up early in the morning at ‘bramamuhurta’, which is approximately between 4:00a.m and 5:00a.m. Even Ayurveda suggests that a person who desires to have good health has to sleep early and wake up by ‘bramamuhurta’. It is believed that there is a lot of positive cosmic energy present in the surroundings during this period and hence it is the best period to exercise, study or to carry out rituals. However although it is advisable to practice asanas in the morning it is not a hard and fast rule. A person who does shift duties or people who sleep late and cannot get up early May adopt the practice in the evening but avoid doing it in afternoons as some asana generated a lot of body heat which May cause problems for people who reside in hot tropical countries like India. However certain forms of pranayam or breathing exercises can be undertaken in afternoon as well. On cooler days one May adopt the practice in afternoon also. The gist is that one must practice asanas in the morning but in case this is not possible, then consider any other time that suits an individual and practice it then. It is better to practice at some convenient time rather than not practicing it all just because a person is unable to do it in the morning.

FOOD: As mentioned earlier the food has to be light and ‘satvic’ meaning food that cleanses mind of all bad thoughts and body of all toxins. Hence the food has to be freshly prepared simple vegetarian food. Animal products, which are permissible, are milk and milk products like butter milk, ghee etc. Honey may also be used in daily diet. However Ayurveda suggest that never consume honey and ghee in equal proportions at a given time as these produce toxins in the body. Also consume food and fluids only up to 75% of your appetite and leave 25% stomach empty as this facilitates the digestion. Yogasanas have to be carried out on an empty stomach after cleansing your bowels. However many individual’s cannot pass motion unless they have warm cup of tea or coffee in the morning. Although it is advisable to slowly give up artificial stimulants initially such persons may have their morning cup of tea or coffee or preferably milk. In case one is practicing asana at some other time of the day instead of morning, then one should take care that asana should not be performed for at least 3 hours after a heavy meal or one hour after a light meal. Although it is a thumb rule it is important to bear in mind that every individual is different and the same rule May not be applicable for everyone. Being an Ayurvedic practitioner I would suggest that it is important to think of how rapid or slow one’s metabolism is.
In Ayurveda this is termed as ‘agni’ or digestive fire. One individual might feel hungry within two hours of a heavy meal while another may not have an appetite even after four to five hours. So the above- mentioned time restriction is for those individuals who are not attuned to their bodies. Also after practicing asanas do not consume food for at least 30-45 minutes.

BATH: It is usually asked whether asanas should be performed before or after the bath. Swatmarama, who was a great yogi, states that adhering to the rules stringently is also considered as an obstacle in the path of yogic practice. General masses, which look forward to perform yogic asanas to gain health benefits, would be dissuaded if the rules were too strict. However bath enables one to perform asana with more flexibility hence it is advisable to have a bath before the practice. After doing asanas the body feels sticky due to perspiration so one May need to take bath again. This can be done after the break of 15 minutes after performing asanas. The choice of water, whether hot or cold, depends on one’s habits and the kind of climate they stay in. However taking either hot or cold shower both before and after performing asana is refreshing for body and mind.

PLACE: It is also important to have the right kind of place and atmosphere to perform asanas. It can be practiced in solitude or in groups but person who wishes to achieve higher spiritual pursuits should perform in solitude away from the hustle bustle of the city life. For general masses the place where they would practice asanas has to be pleasant and airy. As far as possible try and reduce the sound levels to the minimum in this place. If one is practicing in the open air it is important to avoid it beneath the scorching sun. Also avoid practicing immediately after being in hot sun for a long time.

MEDICAL PROBLEM: The below mentioned factors are to be used only as guidelines. In case of specific problems one may seek advice of their physician or a qualified yoga instructor. It is mandatory for all the patients to see to it that they do not strain themselves too much at any given point. The movements are slow and gentle and the breathing is gentle and rhythmic. These rules stand true even for the special medical conditions like pregnancy and post delivery.
Hypertension or high blood pressure and other heart problems: In the initial stages avoid asanas, which include acute bending either forwards or backwards and all topsy-turvy positions. Begin with milder forms of asanas such as vajrasana, paschi-mottanasana, ardhakati chakrasana etc. These can be accompanied with breathing exercises. As and when the blood pressure normalizes, the patient may shift slowly too more complex asanas such as sarvangasana, halasana, hastpadasana etc.
Diabetes: Persons who suffer from the late onset diabetes or type2 diabetes are usually obese. Such persons should begin with pranayam and slow suryanamaskar and then shift slowly to more vigorous asanas. Diet and other forms of exercises like swimming and walking should also be continued.
Ophthalmic and E.N.T. problems: A person who has complains such as retinal detachment or otitis media (infection in middle ear along with pustular discharge) are advised to refrain from topsy-turvy positions like shirshasana.
Pregnancy: Barring asanas, which are done by lying on ones stomach, all other asanas can be performed in normal pregnancy during first three months (trimester). However in women who suffer from bleeding during pregnancy, pregnancy induced hypertension, pregnancy induced diabetes, etc. need to consult their doctors before practicing. During later stages of pregnancy as the weight and abdominal girth increases, it may be difficult to perform certain asanas. However if it is possible for the woman to practice slowly she may continue doing it. Regular practice of breathing exercises and pranayam are especially helpful for a mother during labour as it imparts elasticity to the spine and tones up the muscles.
Delivery: Uterus normally takes around a month to contract and get back to its original shape. So one may practice asanas one month after the delivery. Begin with mild forms of asana and then practice the more difficult ones when the body regains it strength.
Menstrual period: It is advisable not to perform any asanas during these 4-5 days. However if one wants to practice all the same it is advisable to do those asanas where the strain is only on abdomen and not on other parts of body e.g. paschi-mottanasan. These asanas also help a woman if she bleeds excessively during her periods.
Eyes: Another question that is often asked is whether to keep ones eyes open or closed during performing asanas. Keeping ones eyes closed helps a person to concentrate on ones breathing without being distracted by the surroundings. However for the beginners there may be a sense of loss of balance if they perform with their eyes closed. So it is advisable for the beginners to start their practice with open eyes and slowly as they achieve more confidence with the practice they can perform with their eyes closed. Also persons who suffer from vertigo of giddiness are advised to practice with their eyes open.
Miscellaneous: One has to keep ones mind relaxed and devoid of any other thoughts while doing asana, pranayam, meditation etc. This happens with practice. Initially till you get the hang of the method focus completely on the instructions. Once you are confident enough that you can do the asana without any guidance then try to defocus and let the movements be automatic and flowing. At no point should the breathing be laboured during asanas. This means no rapid or shallow breathing, no flaring of nostrils and no breathing through mouth. Do not try to achieve everything in the same day and do not stretch your limits to maximum, otherwise you stand to lose more than you stand to gain. It is a matter of practice and with perseverance anyone can gain flexibility and expertise in doing yogasanas.
Many postures described in yoga are basically derived by observing various animals, birds, insects, fishes etc. So the number of asanas would be equal to the number of species of various living beings that exists on earth.


Yoga is a device to attain the eternal blissful state of mind and soul. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root word ‘Yuji’ meaning union or to join. Here there is union of an individual’s soul (jivatma) with the supreme (parmatma). This can be achieved only through meditation. However meditation is easier said than done. Try emptying your mind of all thought for 10 seconds.

Mind is the most agile substance known to us. It can travel faster than light. It governs our sense organs and we choose wrong diet and lifestyle to gratify our senses.
Yoga like ayurveda is a way of life rather than a form of exercise.

Yoga is one of the sic-orthodox systems of Indian philosophy. It was systemized by Patanjali. As mentioned earlier it was formulated to gain control over oneself, one’s mind and senses. Once this is achieved, the soul travels from perishable worldly pleasures to the external happiness and unites with Parmatma. In Bhagwat Gita, Sri Krishna describes yoga as expertise in any work that an individual takes up. In order to achieve this, is of prime importance that an individual is in best of his health. This is accomplished by sollowing the stages of Ashtang Yoga. Ashta = Eight and Ang = Parts. Ashtang yoga implies eight techniques systemized by Maharshi Patnjali. These are as follows.

a. Ahimsa: Means non-violence, not only towards any being at physical, verbal or mental level but there is a deeper message of love towards every single being be it humans, animals, plants, insects, reptiles etc.
b. Satya: Means truth. It takes a lot of courage to be truthful even if it means incurring a loss or inflicting harm on oneself. However Sri Krishna says in Bhagwat Geeta Speak the truth, speak sweetly and with kindness. However, do not speak a truth that would harm others or hurt others.
c. Asteya: Asteya literally means not to steal. It means a desire to possess and enjoy what is not rightfully yours. To accept credit for the work that you have not.
d. Brahmacharya: Brahmacharya means life of celibacy and self rest rain.
e. Aparigraha: Prigraha means hoarding or collecting. Renunciation of this habit is aparigraha and this is an extension of asteya. Aparigraha also implies non-acquisition of things or refraining from accepting gifts. Receiving gifts as a favour or without working for it destroys one’s independence and self respect. Acquiring and collecting things which an individual does not need immediately for survival, reflects an individual’s lack of faith in God and in himself to provide for his future.
Yama are described to establish a just society where as Niyama are disciplines for ones personal health and growth and these purify our body and mind.
a. Shaucha: means cleanliness i.e. physical cleanliness and mental purity of body is essential for ones health. Like ayurveda, yoga also believes that diseases are caused mainly due to improper diet and lifestyle rather than microorganism.
b. Santosh: Santosh means contentment or satisfaction. It means to be content and satisfied with what one gets through his or her hard work and not crave for more. Desire is believed to be the cause of all the sorrow in the world. One has to realize that all the material things are perishable and being materialistic would not make any one happy.
c. Tapas: it means penance or austerity. It is derived from the Sanskrit root word ‘tap’ meaning to blaze or burn. It means a burning effort to achieve one’s goal. Tapas are to gain complete control over the self on all three levels viz. physical, mental and verbal level. Unselfish service towards other fellow beings is tapas.
d. Svadhyaya: Literally means self study. Learning the meaning of the life through scriptures.
e. Ishvarapranidhana: it means dedication to the Lord. Offering oneself and one’s action to God. By doing so one never feels sad about his failure and is not proud about his achievements. One learns to face everything in life with equality.
Asana is described as ‘Sthiram sukham asanam’meaning the posture where one can establish himself with stability and comfort. In order to meditate, one has to sit in one position for a long time, steadily without moving. Adopting various postures to increase the flexibility of one’s body asanas are adopted.
Prana means the vital energy in the body or the breath and ayam means its control or dimensions. Hence pranayam means control over one’s breath.our breathing rate and rhythm changes with our mood. Breathing is faster when we are angry or sad. It is shallow when we are anxious and hence we are told to take a deep breath when we are tensed. Our breathing is slow and deep when we are relaxed. So we see that the breath depends on our mood. Our mood in turn depends on our mind. Hence we learn to control our mind by controlling our breath.

Inhalation is refered ‘purak’ where as exhalation that we lose our reasoning for the right and wrong. With regular practice of asana and pranayam one is able to withdraw the senses from their subject and turn them inwards do introspect.
After purifying the body and mind and having gained complete control over ones senses, one has to focus his mind on an object. This object can be within him or outside his body.
Dhyana means unbroken flow of thought towards object of concentration. As the mind is continuously focused on the object it is transformed into the shape of that object. If mind is focused on the divine it becomes like it. Dhyana is more serious form of concentration than dharana. It brings about steadiness, lightness of body, radiance, and freedom from craving.
Samadhi is the end stage of a yogi’s quest and the most difficult to accomplish. At this stage a yoge is beyond consciousness and yet his mind is alert although the body and senses might be detached from the surrounding as if he is sleeping. He has merged with the eternal. His blissful state is beyond description it can only be experienced.


Non-inflammatory swelling of the body is known as oedema. Oedema is a sign one may see in many diseases especially those, which involve heart, kidney and liver. Swelling or oedema could be generalized or localized. In case of localized oedema the areas, which are often affected, are face, legs and abdomen.

Causes of oedema: Congestive cardiac failure, chronic renal failure, nephritic syndrome and many other renal diseases, cirrhosis of liver, portal hypertension, anaemia, and medicine induced problems etc.

Signs and symptoms: It depends largely on the cause of oedema. The frequently encountered signs and symptoms of oedema of cardiac origin are: breathlessness on exertion, swelling on legs, enlargement of heart.

Home remedies

  • Take ½ teaspoon of dry ginger powder and mix it with ½ teaspoon jaggery and make a ball. Have 2 such balls in a day. The quantity of ginger powder and jaggery can be increased gradually up to 10 days depending upon the patient’s digestive capacity. Continue this maximum dose that the patient can tolerate for next 10 days. From 21st day onwards reduce the dose gradually, till on the 30th day when the patient consumes the same amount that as was consumed on day one. Give a gap of a week and repeat the procedure again for a month.
  • Take 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds and 1teaspoon of cumin seeds. Crush them slightly and soak them in 1 glass of hot water overnight. In the morning strain the mixture and have on an empty stomach.
  • Mix 2 teaspoons of castor oil with 2 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of honey. Take the mixture at bedtime.
  • Cow’s urine is an excellent remedy for any type of swelling. Either consume 100ml of urine daily or if you find it repulsive, consume urine containing formulations like gomutraharitaki.
Diet and lifestyle: Include in your diet on a regular basis: Drumstick and its leaves, radish with its leaves, snake gourd, old rice, green gram, ripe papaya etc. Avoid curds, alcohol, excess salt, non-vegetarian food, cheese, butter, spicy food and sleeping during the day.

Ayurvedic remedies: For cardiogenic oedema use a mixture of 250gms of mruga shringa bhasma, 250gm of karaskarkalpa and 60mg of lakshmivilas ras to be taken twice daily with warm water.
Mix 15ml of dasamoolarishta with 15ml of arjunarishta. Take it with 30ml of warm water twice a day after food.
Punarnavadi guggulu 2 tabs thrice a day with warm water after food is effective in reducing oedema of any type.
Other panchakarma procedures like virechan can be given under professional guidance can be of help.

Veins are the blood vessels, which carry deoxygenated blood from various parts of the body to the heart. The veins have thinner walls. When they are carrying blood from lower parts of the body to the heart, they do so against the gravity. Due to dietary deficiency, wrong lifestyle and ageing veins lose their elasticity and become lax. Blood stagnates in them and they appear swollen. This condition is known as varicose veins. Factors which contribute to varicosity are heredity, obesity, prolonged standing over a period of time, constipation, increase in abdominal pressure due to pregnancy or portal vein obstruction etc. The veins most affected are those of feet.

Signs and symptoms: Veins appear dark blue coloured and are engorged. They ache on pressure. The veins become unnaturally curved at different angles. Difficulty and pain may be experienced during walking, in severe cases. Skin ulcers may be formed if veins rupture.

Home remedies
Massage is contraindicated on varicose veins. However massage with olive oil, sesame oil, or other medicated oils like chandan bala lakshadi oil on adjacent muscles help to strengthen them. Use hot and cold baths on legs or spray cool water up the legs after a hot bath.
A supplement of vitamin C helps to ease swelling and pain by improving elasticity. It may be necessary initially.

Diet and lifestyle: Reduce weight gradually if you are obese. Swimming is a very good form of exercise. Increased intake of vitamin C is essential in diet. So include lots of citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime, lemon or other fruits like amla, which are good source of vitamin C. have a diet rich in dietary fibres, which would ensure smooth bowel movements. Yogic asanas like sarvangasan, halasana, shirshasana, viparit karani etc. are quite helpful. While sleeping, lie down without a pillow beneath head. Instead place a pillow under feet to elevate them. Alternatively place wooden blocks under the limbs of the bed at the side of the feet. Quit smoking and drinking.

Ayurvedic remedies: Mahayogaraj guggulu 2 tablets can be given thrice a day with warm water after food.
Juice extracted from brahmi leaves 15ml can be administered twice a day.
T. Chandraprabha vati 2 tablets can be given thrice a day.

Dental problems have serious importance in the human body as it plays an important role in the digestive process. More over it maintains the shape of the face. Ayurveda included the dental disorders under Jathrurdwagada rogas. In olden days people were using the neem stick, mango tree leaves etc. as the tooth brush. In most cases we can find that plants tasting astringent are mostly uses in dental disorders.
We can apply the herbs in dentistry in the form of gargling of the decoction, applying the paste, smoking the fumes, rubbing, chewing etc. There are herbs below which can be used in dental disorders:

B.N: Mimusops elengi
Being an astringent and styptic (arrests bleeding), it is a valuable aid in dental ailments like bleedings, pyorrhea, dental caries and loose teeth etc. In such conditions the tender stems are used as tooth brush. The powder of the bark skin is used for cleaning the teeth. A popular combination of powders of bakula’s bark skin, root of kantakari (solanum xanthocarpum), saireyaka (Barleria prionitis) leaves and skin of almond fruit is burnt into ash and is used to clean the teeth and strengthen them. The gargles of decoction with its bark and that of khadira (acacia catechu) are effective in bleeding and swollen gum. The unripe fruit is used as a masticatory and helps to fix loose teeth.

B.N: Myristica fragrans
This is a common plant. Its oil is effectively used in dental ache and incase of infections. This is one of the drugs which can be used as a pain killer.

B.N: Solanum xanthocarpum
The dried fruits are smoked in the form of cigarette and the smoke is help up in the mouth cavity for some in the case of dental infection.

B.N: Syzygium aromaticum
It acts as mouth freshener. In tooth ache lavanga can be administered as first aid. The oil can effectively administer in toothache as a pain killer.

B.N: Piper nigrum
In case of tooth decay and aches, the Maricha powder is used for brushing the teeth.
The gargle with its leaf decoction is good in case of oral infection.

B.N: Azadiracha indica
Dental infections are well controlled with the gargles of decoction of its leaves. In north India people used to brush their teeth with the crushed end of neem stick.

B.N: Mentha arvensis
The juice of leaves is an effective gargle in ailments of oral cavity like halitosis. It is also useful in dental caries.

B.N: Brassica juncea
The seed oil of rajika acts effectively in dental disorders. The seed oil with salt is an effective gargle in dental infections and pyorrhea.

B.N: Altonia scholaris
The twigs are used to brush the teeth in case of decay and caries. The latex also can be used in dental caries.

B.N: Curcuma angustifolia
The powder of rhizomes with honey is applied on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity in stomatitis. It also promotes the healing of stomach ulcers.

B.N: Cinnamomum zeylanicum
The small pieces of its bark are chewed for strengthening the gum. It is also used as mouth freshener. The swab dipped in its oil is placed in dental caries to alleviate the pains and to mitigate the dental infections.

B.N: Embelia ribes
The gargles with the decoction of vidanga are beneficial in dental ache. Application of the paste of Vidanga is useful in dental infections.

B.N: Sesamum indicum
Gargle the paste of sesame seed mixed with buttermilk or hot water can very effectively use in the case of painful sensation of the teeth. Simple chewing of sesame is also helpful in this case.

Coronary arteries supply oxygenated blood to the muscular walls of the heart. In order to carry out pumping action effectively, the cardiac muscles or the heart muscles have to get enough blood supply. Coronary artery disease occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscles become narrow and hard. The main cause of CAD is presence of excessive cholesterol in the blood, which gets deposited on the inner wall of the arteries and over a period of time hard plaques are formed at the place. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. Due to atherosclerosis the lumen of the artery is narrowed and the elasticity is also lost which render the arteries incapable of expanding and contracting effectively. The important risk factors, which may cause the narrowing of the arteries, are –
  • Elevated levels of bad cholesterol (L.D.L./V.L.D.L.) and triglycerides
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension
  • Lack of exercise (exercise helps build up the good cholesterol or HDL which protects the heart)
  • Smoking and drinking
  • Stress
  • Heredity
Signs and symptoms

  • Constricting chest pain, which may radiate to hand, back, lower jaw and upper abdomen. It mimics a heart attack.
  • Pain may be precipitated or increased during exercise or exertion or after a meal.
  • Breathlessness on exertion may be present in some cases
  • Sweating
  • Arrhythmias or irregular beating of heart may be noted in some cases.
  • Heart attack or myocardial infarction may result as a complication in severe blockage.
Home remedies

  • Allopathic practitioners routinely prescribe aspirin in such cases to make the blood less viscous and facilitate its flow. Garlic has similar blood thinning action. Take 4-5 cloves of garlic, peel and crush them coarsely, add them to a mixture of half-cup milk and half-cup water. Boil it till only ½ cup mixture is left. This formulation is known as rason ksheerpak. Take this mixture every morning on an empty stomach.
  • Amla and sour fruits like lemon are beneficial for the heart.
  • Take try ginger powder 2-3 grams daily with jaggery. Consume at least 4 betel nut leaves with stalk after food daily.
Diet and lifestyle
  • Include carrot, cucumber, radish, lemon, old rice, whole wheat, buttermilk which is not too sour, fresh fruits, snake gourd, green grams, grapes, pomegranates and dry fruits like dried black grapes, fig, prunes, apricot in the diet. Avoid cheese, palm oil, coconut oil, butter, milk cream, all products made from refined flour (Maida), dried nuts (pistachio, walnut, almonds etc.), red meat, broiler chicken, prawns, egg yolk, hydrogenated vegetable oil, coffee and chocolates.
  • Exercise increases HDL and lowers LDL. However, strenuous exercises may trigger chest pain. One can do vigorous exercises only if cholesterol is elevated in absence of other symptoms. Otherwise just walking for 45 mins is beneficial. It need not be brisk walking either. Just maintain a medium continuous space.
  • Quit drinking and smoking at the earliest.
  • Meditation and yogasana helps to relieve stress, which is one of the leading causes of heart disease.
  • If possible switch to a vegetarian diet.
  • Recent studies show that changing the medium of cooking helps to control the cholesterol levels to certain extent. Hence barring coconut oil and palm oil use the remaining oils like olive oil, sesame oil, groundnut oil, sunflower oil, mustard oil etc. in rotation.
Ayurvedic remedies

  • Do not use medicines containing arjun in presence o cardiogenic chest pain (angina pectoris) as it worsens the condition.
  • Tablet laghu sootshekhar can be given thrice a day with warm water.
  • 250gms of mruga shringa bhasma mixed with 1gm of pushkarmool choorna should be taken twice daily with warm water. Any compound containing guggulu is beneficial in lowering the cholesterol. Select any of the following yogaraj guggulu, ajwain guggulu, triphala guggulu and take 2 tabs thrice a day with warm after food.


Hypertension means high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force exerted by the flowing blood on the arterial walls. The cause of high blood pressure cannot be ascertained in most cases. Such high blood pressure where the cause is not known is known as primary hypertension or essential hypertension. In other cases hypertension may be a complication of other systemic diseases e.g. Pheochromocytoma (tumour of adrenal glands), chronic renal failure, pregnancy etc. In these cases where hypertension arises as complication to other primary diseases of conditions, it is known as secondary hypertension. Some factors that may contribute to hypertension are obesity, alcohol, stress, steroids, oral contraceptive pills, and diabetes mellitus.
Normal blood pressure of a healthy young adult is 120/80 mm of Hg or now days the range that is considered normal is 115/75. The upper reading is known as the systolic pressure, which is the pressure, exerted on the arterial walls when the heart is in the state of contraction. The second reading is the diastolic blood pressure, which is the pressure, exerted on the arterial walls when the heart is in the state of relaxation. A persistent high systolic blood pressure of over 140 or the diastolic pressure above 90 would be considered as high blood pressure. However, in younger adults a persistent blood pressure of 130/90 should also be considered as high blood pressure.

Signs and symptoms:
Most cases could be as symptomatic, whereas in others following signs and symptoms could be present: Headache, irritability, palpitation, and giddiness.

Home remedies:

  • For secondary hypertension the underlying cause has to be dealt with first. For primary hypertension, following remedial measures can be adopted.
  • Garlic is the herb of choice not only to treat hypertension but many other cardiovascular diseases. Peel and crush 3-4 cloves of garlic and take them once a day with a glass of buttermilk.
  • Take handful leaves of drumstick and boil them in little water. Grind it and have it like a soup twice a day after food. Preferably do not add salt.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of onion juice with ½ teaspoon of honey. Have this solution twice a day. Both onion and garlic have adenosine, which has relaxing effect on muscles. So these two products can be generously taken in diet as well as. However garlic is more potent than onion.
Diet and lifestyle consideration
  • Reduce weight by cutting down animal fat and hydrogenated vegetable oil. Brisk walking for 45 mins is an easy and effective form of exercise for many patients. Take whole wheat with bran to make breads. If you are obese use bajra or millets instead of wheat.
  • Although the number of cases sensitive to salt intake are less, excess salt is best avoided. Salt causes water retention in the body, which in turn causes increase in blood pressure. So although normal salt while cooking is permissible, avoid all food items, which have high quantities of salt, e.g. pickles, pappads, chips, dry fish and all dried and preserved food. Do not take salt separately in serving dish. If possible use rock salt instead of sea salt in food tasteless to you, try adding lemon, amchur (dry mango powder), herbs and unsalted seasoning to flavour the food instead.
  • Meditate or listen to some soothing music everyday for 30 mins.
  • Try to quit smoking and drinking. There is a belief that 30 ml of alcohol once in a while is beneficial to the heart, but excess quantity is unhealthy and damages not only the arterial walls but also the liver, pancreas and brain.
  • Include raw curry leaves, cucumber with skin, radish with leaves, lemon etc in salads.
Ayurvedic remedies
  • Mix ½ teaspoon each of jatamansi choorna and tagar churna with ¼ teaspoon of arjuna choorna. Take the above mixture twice a day.
  • Take ¾ teaspoon triphala choorna with warm water at bedtime.
  • A mixture of 250gms each of swarnamak shik bhasma and mrug shring bhasma to be taken twice daily with honey.
  • Shirodhara with milk and buttermilk treated with herbs is a useful treatment to relieve stress.
  • Sarpagandha choorna is also used to treat hypertension. However it should be used as a whole herb, rather than segregating its active ingredients and using them. Using the entire herb substantially reduces the side effects. However it is better to consult an ayurvedic physician before starting this medicine

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Benefits and effects of sports massage

Sports massage should play an important part in the life of any sportsman or women whether they are injured or not. Massage has a number of benefits both physical, physiological and psychological.

Massage will:
1. Maintain the body generally in better condition.
2. Prevent injuries and loss of mobility.
3. Cure and restore mobility to injured muscle tissue.
4. Boost performance
5. Extend the overall life of your sporting career.

The stroking movements in massage suck fluid through blood vessel and lymph vessels. By increasing the pressure in front of the stroke, a vacuum is created behind. This is especially important in tight or damaged muscle tissue as a tight muscle will squeeze blood out like a sponge, depriving the tissues of vital nutrients and energy to repair.
Increased tissue permeability: Deep massage causes the pores in tissue membranes to open, enabling fluids and nutrients to pass through. This helps remove waste products such as lactic acid and encourage the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients which help them recover quicker.
Stretching: Massage can stretch tissues that could not be stretched in the usual methods. Bundles of muscle fibers are stretched lengthwise as well as sideways. Massage can also stretch the sheath or fascia that surrounds the muscle, so releasing any tension or pressure build up.
Break down scar tissue: Scar tissue is the result of previous injuries or trauma and can affect muscle, tendons and ligaments. This can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury and pain.
Improve tissue elasticity: Hard training can make tissues hard and inelastic. This is one reason why hard training may not result in improvements. Massage helps reverse this by stretching the tissues.
Open micro-circulation: Massage does increase blood flow to tissues, but so does exercise. What massage also does is open or dilate the blood vessels and by stretching them this enables nutrients to pass through more easily.

Pain reduction: Tension and waste products in muscles can often cause pain. Massage helps reduce this in many ways including releasing the body’s endorphins.
Relaxation: Muscles relax through heat generated, circulation and stretching. Mechanoreceptors which sense touch, pressure, tissue length and warmth are stimulated causing a reflex relaxation.

Anxiety reduction:
Through the effects mentioned above relaxation is induced and so reduces anxiety levels.

Invigorating- if massage is done with brisk movements such as what would be done before an event then this can produce an invigorating feeling.


A contraindication is something that should not be massaged. If you do, then further injury may be caused or even death! You should never have a sports massage if you have any of the following conditions:

Open wounds: Any cuts, lacerations or grazes. Obvious really, but it has to be said. You should wait until the scar has properly formed. This is usually between one and two weeks.
Muscle ruptures: in the acute stage these may still be bleeding. Massage will increase bleeding and tissue damage and prolong recovery. After the initial 48 to72 hours massage may be possible but it will depend on the extent of the injury.
Tendon ruptures: The above also applies to tendon injuries. Complete ruptures will need surgery, not massage.
Contusions: These are impact injuries causing bleeding within the muscle. Massage to a contusion may cause further damage and may lead to Myositis Ossificans (bone growth within the muscle).
Burns, chilblains and broken bones: Massaging all of these will hurt and cause damage. Don’t do it.
Periostitis: this is inflammation of the sheath that surrounds the bone. Massage directly to the bone may cause irritation. You may be able to massage the surrounding muscles but stay well clear of the bone.
Rheumatoid arthritis and gout: These are inflammatory conditions. The same rules apply here as to acute injuries. Massage may cause further inflammation.
Bursitis: Inflammation to a bursa. Bursa is a small sack of fluid that helps tendons passes over bones at joints. If there is pain, swelling and redness over the skin then massage should be avoided.
Myositis ossificans: A bad contusion or muscle rupture may begin to calcify (grow bone). Massage will make the damage worse.
Infection of the skin and soft tissue: Bacterial infections, viral infections and fungal infections can be spread to other areas of the body by the therapist. Pain may also result from the infection, not an injury so massage will not help.
Thrombosis: this is rare but potentially lethal blood clot in a vein. It is common in the calf muscle area. A deep, sore pain in the belly of the muscle may be a thrombosis. If this is massaged, it may dislodge, travel up the veins and damage the heart.
Artificial blood vessels: implanted through surgery.
Bleeding disorders such as hemophilia: Massage may cause damage to tissues and bleeding.
Tumors: If you are unsure of any lumps and bumps in the muscle or skin then leave well alone. Most often these lumps are muscle spasms or fatty tissue.

Ayurvedic herbal oils are recommended to do sports massage and panchakarma treatments. It includes Abhyanga, (gentle oil massage), Udwarthanam (poly herbal powder massage), Pizhichil (luke warm herbal oils dripped all over the body) Kizhi, Dhara.

Types of oils vary for each individual according to nature of person, fitness status and the event in which he/she participates. This can prevent muscle injury, soreness, tiredness and highly beneficial for muscle strength and power. Some studies are also proved that oil massage will fasten the muscle contraction and for generating explosive power, and improving flexibility.