Ayurveda and Elderly Health: A Detailed Analysis

Ayurveda is a charming and divine system of healing human beings. It states that aging is a natural process and with the help of Ayurveda, aging can always be a healthy aging making elderly people independent rather than depending others for fulfilling their routine tasks. Health is a comprehensive and of course a complicated term. According to Ayurveda, health is not just physical health or a body that is free of diseases, instead real health is the functioning of a healthy mind in a healthy body paving way for a healthy environment. Ayurvedic system of treating elderly health is termed as ‘Vridhopacharaneeyam’. The Sanskrit term ‘Geeryadi’ meaning degenerated has a close connection with the term Greek ‘Geriatric’ meaning elderly care (Geri- old age & latrics- care).

Ayurveda for the Senior citizens: Ayurveda pays special attention to the aged people as it aims in healthy aging and not mere longevity or extended life expectancy lacking robustness. Old age is known as Vardhakya in Ayurveda and one among the eight comprehensive branches that deals with the health of elderly people is known as Jara Chikitsa or Rasayana (also known as Geriatrics or Gerontology). This branch deals with stimulating, vitalizing, rejuvenating, fortifying and preventing the human body from aging symptoms. The basic objective of this Ayurvedic treatment is to improve quality of life rather than just extending the ‘quantitative number of years’. For this, Ayurveda recommends the use of powerful herbal medications, meditation, simple physical exercises, yoga, Ayurvedic essential oils and other natural remedies for improving the mental stability, physical strength, psychological power and supports a healthy skin.

Reasons behind the loss of strength during old age: Each individual has a unique body set up (dhatus or the constituents of human body according to Ayurveda) and his/her health depends upon the balance between the Ayurvedic body types or Doshas namely vata, pitta and kapha and the condition of Saptadhatu (seven dhatus). With aging, the vata constituent gets aggravated due to stress, strain, psychological weakness, imbalanced nutrition etc. Vata aggravation leads to inappropriate functioning of metabolism, respiration, digestion and the process of excretion, leading to health problems like heart disorders, musculoskeletal ailments, diabetes, hypertension, rheumatic illness, Parkinson’s disease, cardiac disabilities, Alzheimer’s syndrome, depression and much more.

Ayurvedic treatment for healthy aging: Ayurveda advises on a firm Ayurvedic routine, a nutritious diet, meditation, Rasayana treatment, utmost care, yoga, expert counseling and boundless love to grow old, hale and heartily with a strong immune system. Rasayana therapy is proven to revitalize the system of the aged person and gradually contribute to the progress of their mental and physical health. This treatment strengthens the immunity and increases the potential to tussle against diseases, interrupting its onset, trim down its rigorousness, speedup the period of recovery and fight against other symptoms and problems of aging. This effective Ayurvedic treatment along with Shirodhara, Abhyanga and Padabhyanga with Ayurvedic essential oils will recharge the aged individual and restore their lost energy due to aging. A renowned research article has proved that Ayurveda and Yoga has positive influence on self-rated sleep in geriatric population.

It is the most appropriate time to recollect a time-valued principle that says ‘Age is not a constant factor’ or you can never remain at Sweet 16 forever…………so love the elderly community and get ready as your 16 might soon turn 61 even before you realize it. As a symbol of your love for your aged Parents or your Grandparents, introduce them to the holistic world of Ayurveda for a healthy, happy and harmonized aging.

Thoughts for the day:

The old are in a second childhood. By Aristophanes

I truly believe that age — if you’re healthy — age is just a number. By Hugh Hefner

You may wonder that it is always ‘Thought for the day’ and why it is ‘Thoughts for the day’ today? It’s all because to signify that the elderly people need that extra care and love to keep them going on and on. Aging generally brings with it certain unavoidable things like loss of energy, loss of ability of the body for its regular functioning and a feel of insecurity and diffidence that life and the world needs them no more. Loving people above 60 is a great feeling and I’m sure that you will ‘live a perfect day’ by boosting their confidence to live for an extra day.

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Ayurveda Encyclopedia: Natural Secrets to Healing, Prevention, & Longevity by Swami Sadashiva Tirtha
  2. Aging & Blood Stasis: A New TCM Approach to Geriatrics
    By Yan De-Xin
  3. The Aromatherapy Companion: Medicinal Uses/Ayurvedic Healing/Body-Care Blends/Perfumes & Scents/Emotional Health & Well-Being (Herbal Body) by Victoria H. Edwards

Reference Links:

  1. Rasayana by Maharshi Charak Ayurveda
  2. Influence of Yoga & Ayurveda on self-rated sleep in a geriatric population.
  3. Ayurveda for Geriatric Care by Internaturalhealth

Ayurveda and Turmeric Essential Oil: The Natural Bond

You can seldom find an Indian kitchen without this noble herb named ‘Turmeric’, used since 4000 years in the ancient healing system known as Ayurveda. The power of this herb is being realized by the contemporary researchers and innumerable research studies prove its efficiency, fighting for its stand in healing even the most complicated of the diseases. Each and every part of the turmeric plant is beneficial in its own ways and the essential oil is extracted from the rhizomes or the roots of this plant and that is why most of the times, Turmeric essential oil is favorably called as Turmeric root essential oil. Whenever and wherever you talk about or think about Ayurveda, you can never neglect the essence and health values imparted by this grand herb known as ‘Kanchani’ in Sanskrit meaning ‘The Golden Goddess’.

Healing properties of ‘versatile’ herb Turmeric: Turmeric herb is scientifically known as Curcuma Longa. The essential oil extracted from  the roots or bulbs of  this Indian Saffron plant by steam distillation process is said to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, analgesic, anti-oxidant, anti-spasmodic, antiseptic, diuretic, anti-allergic, digestive, vulnerary, carminative, astringent, cardiovascular, cholagogue, anti-tumor, appetizer, stimulant and alterative properties proven to be the best natural cure for the most problematical human illnesses like cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, urinary tract infections, amenorrhea, hemorrhoids, gallstones, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) like Genital Herpes, Hepatitis-C etc, liver problems and even the most obscure skin disorders. Ayurveda suggests the use of turmeric in daily cooking for its priceless medicinal benefits.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Turmeric essential oil: Ayurveda has proudly named Turmeric as an ‘All-Purpose Cleanser’, insisting on the benefits of this herb in purifying the body from internal and external disorders. This energizing herb is meant to support the imbalance of Kapha body type (who are generally fat, obese and with a hefty body) with its warming properties and that is why Turmeric is used as an effective remedy in numerous natural weight-loss treatments. It also helps in resuming the function of pitta and vata body types also.

Nature’s shield against cancer: Cancer is hard to think and difficult to digest and I have personally felt the pain of losing my near ones to this deadly disease, being ignorant of the curative values granted by Ayurveda few years back. Turmeric has been used in numerous Ayurvedic treatments to help fight against cancer as it is said to restrain the development of fresh blood vessels in tumors and holds its growth. An accepted research in 2011 has witnessed that Turmeric essential oil has the capacity to fight against the free radicals in the body and act as excellent antioxidant, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory agents. Ayurveda’s uses of Turmeric oil as an effective tool for preventing cancer has again been proved by this research which says that Turmeric essential oil increases the level of Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and augment carcinogen detoxification in the human body and effectively function as a perfect cancer-preventing force.

Brilliantly assists the digestive system: Along with imparting irresistible aroma and flavor to the food, turmeric supports the function of the digestive system. The safety prescribing authority of herbs in Germany known as the German Commission E has allegedly approved the use of Turmeric in treating digestive disorders. It stimulates the mucous element in the gastric juices and aids in curing irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, constipation and other chronic digestive disorders. Turmeric essential oil strengthens digestion and eliminates the toxins that are stored in the gastrointestinal tract.

Pampers the skin perfectly: Turmeric is the beauty secret of Queens since the prehistoric period. Ayurveda suggests the use of Turmeric daily as it protects the skin from harmful bodies and gives a flawless fair complexion. You might have come across the use of Turmeric essential oil in innumerable skin care products in the market for it is celebrated to treat wounds, eczema, wrinkles, pigmentation of skin, pimples, acne, psoriasis, cuts, burns and other skin infections.

Other health conditions: According to Ayurveda, turmeric is said to reduce Kapha (mucous secretion) and hence it is used an as effective aid in treating respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, accumulation of phlegm, common cold, cough, flu etc. It improves blood circulation and helps in treating female health problems like amenorrhea, dysmennorhea, uterine tumors, endometriosis and cysts. It protects the liver, treats diabetes, kidney pain, colitis, food poisoning, headache, vascular dysfunction, blood pressure, inflammation, swelling and reduces excess cholesterol.

How to use Turmeric essential oil: This powerful essential oil can be diluted with carrier oils and used as a topical application or for a relaxing Ayurvedic massage. Few drops of oil can be added to potpourris, vaporizers, candles or diffusers for combating germs in the air and protecting the environment naturally. It can also be added to your bath tub for an aromatic, healing, stimulating and energizing bath. Turmeric essential oil is generally ingested for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties but it is strictly advised to consult an expert Ayurvedic Practitioner before using this oil internally and if you are pregnant or getting ready for a child.

All that glitters is not gold’ is a popular adage. With the bright golden color, Turmeric in the Ayurvedic world can be remembered by saying ‘All that glitters is Turmeric’ (rightly called as the Golden Goddess).

Thought for the day♥

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.

                                                                                    -Thomas Carlyle

Suggested reading:

  1. Turmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Life by Prashanti DeJager MS
  2. Curcumin: The 21st Century Cure: Prevent and Reverse: cancer, depression and dementia, digestive disorders, diabetes, pain and arthritis, heart disease and more by Jan McBarron M.D.
  3. Turmeric and the Healing Curcuminoids by Muhammed Majeed, Vladimir Badmaev, Frank Murray

Reference Links:

  1. Turmeric: ‘The Golden Goddess’ by California College of Ayurveda
  2. Turmeric by University of Maryland Medical Center
  3. An evaluation of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antinociceptive activities of essential oil from Curcuma longa. L by PubMed
  4. Uses of Turmeric in Ayurveda by IndiaNetzone

What Can You Expect From Your First Ayurvedic Consultation?

Every task in this world has a system to adopt and a strategy to follow, Ayurvedic treatment also fits under this ceiling. Just by hearing about certain random facts, you cannot pluck the leaves in your backyard to cure an illness because there’s a heap of things to be done before kick starting your Ayurvedic therapy. Only a skilled Ayurvedic professional can hit the nail for you the first time itself. So you are ready to take up this holistic approach for your well-being. It is at this stage that you’ll be inquisitive in knowing about the things that you can expect from your first Ayurvedic consultation. It’s time to pull the plug and here you go with the occurrences that you can look for in an initial Ayurvedic session.

1st Stride: Most of the Ayurvedic institutions ask you to fill in a short form with your personal details along with the ground reason for the actual visit. After which the sitting with your Ayurvedic expert is set upon. The first consultation may last for about 1 to 2 hours and the follow-up sessions will be for about 30 minutes.

2nd Stride: Here starts the assessment where most of your physical functions are tested thoroughly by the Ayurvedic practitioner. We’ll take a quick look at the different tests you’ll undergo:

  • Every Ayurvedic consultant will start with the pulse checkup to determine the strength, regularity, degree, association and warmth of your body. This test aids in weighing the function of your cell system, endocrine system and your cardiac system.
  • Your pulse analysis is followed by a breathing test for finding the speed and disparities in breathing. This helps in tracing out the fortitude, level of stress dynamics, wetness and time-span of the flow and robustness of your lungs.
  • Now the Ayurvedic specialist will look into your eyes analyzing its shape, color, glow and movement that will help him discover the working of your brain, pancreas, gall bladder and liver. This also assists in concluding the level of toxins in your body.
  • Your tongue is then checked for thickness, color, texture and shape revealing the condition of your digestive system, pancreas and gall bladder and discloses the presence of bacteria or other micro organisms in the body.
  • Mineral, vitamins and other nutrition deficiencies along with the mucus content are assessed by testing the surface of your skin and palm reading is also done to test out the planetary influence on your system.

This step helps in verifying the contemporary condition of your vital organs along with the psychosomatic structure (Doshas) of your body according to Ayurveda.

3rd Stride: This is the time when you need to wear your heart on your sleeve. Yes! Open up and never hide any of your personal details as every small thing has a greater influence in deciding your treatment composition. At this step you’ll be inquired about your medical history and that of your blood relations like father, mother, brother, sister, grandparents and your children. Along with this, you also need to answer questions on your routines, eating and other customary habits, lifestyle, your food and other general preferences, any events that have affected or moved you and any other physical or mental problems that have been bothering you persistently in the past.

At the end of these 3 steps, your Ayurvedic consultant will come to a conclusion on your natural inheritance known as Prakriti, current health condition or imbalances of body types called as Vikriti and estimate your health condition in the near future. After which he’ll prescribe you the right Ayurvedic treatment in the form of powder, capsules, decoction or massage therapy with Ayurvedic essential oils for handling your current illness and to confiscate the actual root cause for the disorders along with a pertinent diet, meditation and other physical exercises for enlightening your lifestyle. Your Ayurvedic specialist will also confirm you the date for your follow-up consultation for better and complete results.

Reference Links:

  1. Ayurvedic Consultation by Yatan Holistic Ayurvedic Center
  2. Prakriti by Wikipedia
  3. Dosha by Wikipedia
  4. Vikriti: Your Current Condition-Test by Banyan Botanicals Ayurvedic Herbs