Ayurveda and Aromatherapy: The Untold Anecdote

Most of us might have perceived Ayurveda and Aromatherapy as two different parts of the Complementary and Alternative medicine but I take great privilege in revealing the fact that Aromatherapy is an innate or in-built part of Ayurveda, the 5000 years old ancient healing methodology. Ayurveda is proudly celebrated as the Mother of all healing sciences as it has given birth to numerous traditional healing methodologies like Unani, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Acupuncture, Herbalism, Siddha, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Traditional European Medicine and much more.

Aromatherapy is not a separate branch of Ayurveda but it is a vital part or an incredible way of treating illness in Ayurveda through the use of ‘aromatics’ and later given a separate name by Rene Maurice Gattefosse, known as the father of aromatherapy. It’s high time to put an end to this endless myth whether Ayurveda and Aromatherapy are the two poles apart? Let’s analyze.

Holistic approach: Ayurveda is a holistic healing approach that considers an individual as an entity and as a ‘Whole person’. This ancient science considers the physical, mental, emotional, environmental and sociological reasons contributing to a particular illness of an individual. While prescribing medications, Ayurveda does not stop with giving herbs or oils as remedies for a disease instead it suggests regular practice of yoga, meditation, taking an Ayurvedic diet, an Ayurvedic routine and certain other lifestyle changes according to an individual’s body type (doshas) and the unique constitution known as Prakriti. On the other hand, Aromatherapy is also a holistic method that considers the connection between mind, body and spirit.

Use of aromatics: Ayurveda makes use of aromatics to prevent and treat various health conditions. This is because it believes that the strengthening of the five human senses promotes healthy living. Inhalation of the aroma of plants and the essential oils extracted from those plants is trusted to enhance the sense of smell and directly contributes to mental health and treats hormonal imbalances.

This is the basic reason behind the use of incense sticks and other aromatic herbs and oils like sandalwood and tulasi in religious rituals and prayers for instilling the spiritual feeling. When it comes to Aromatherapy, this attribute of using aromatics needs no explanation as Aromatherapy makes use of Ayurvedic essential oils and trusts that the aromatic compounds and therapeutic properties present in these oils helps in healing illnesses invariably.

Abhyanga or the Ayurvedic massage therapy: Ayurvedic massage therapy involves the use of remedial oils like sesame oil, coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil and few other vegetable oils along with effective essential oils. It is a vital part of Panchakarma or the detoxification therapy, where the toxic substances of the body are removed and it inhibits the growth of harmful bodies through systematic massage.

Marguerite Maury, pioneer of Aromatherapy and the celebrated French Aromatherapist, in the traditional British Aromatherapy has talked on the benefits of using essential oils on dermal application through effective    massage techniques, where the concept of massaging itself is indigenous to Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic essential oils: Ayurveda is the oldest of the existing medicinal practices in the world and has a recorded use of herbal plants for more than 5000 years ago. Essential oils are nothing but the highly concentrated liquids extracted from plants and are often known as the essence of the herbal plants. Aromatherapy makes use of these essential oils to reiterate the fact that we are a part of nature and it is safe and secure to treat our illnesses in a natural manner. Dr. Light Miller in her famous book ‘Ayurveda and Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom’ talks about the importance of doshas and the perfect essential oils for each dosha.

For Vata Dosha: Lemon, Eucalyptus, Cinnamon, Basil, Ginger, Angelica, Cajeput, Anise and Rosewood.

For Pitta Dosha: Sandalwood, Lime, Peppermint, Chamomile, Yarrow and Coriander.

For Kapha Dosha: Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Niaouli, Sage, Basil, Savory, Clove and Hyssop.

Vata, Pitta and Kapha is not Greek or Latin in the world of Aromatherapy but it just indicates the predominance existing in an individual’s constitution and these essential oils are said to treat the dosha imbalances with their healing properties.

Limbic System: According to Ayurveda, the sense of smell is connected with the limbic system. This helps in recollecting the memories of a place or a person associated with an aroma. Limbic system is a vital part of the brain that stimulates the function of the nervous system, determines the body temperature and blood sugar level, enables the process of respiration, and controls sexual feelings, sleep and awake responses and much more.

The underlying principle behind limbic system and Ayurveda is that the inhalation of aromatic essential oils with healing properties fosters the essential oil molecule to pass through the nasal passage and reaches the limbic system ultimately as nerve impulses following which, the hypothalamus passes the message to other parts of the body to rejoice, relax, control hunger, hormonal imbalances, thirst and many other feelings. Even Aromatherapy indicates the same mechanism of aroma through the limbic system in healing illnesses.

Hope this information is more than enough to prove that the concept of Aromatherapy has been a part and parcel of Ayurvedic healing methodology since ages till it was given birth under a new name ‘Aromatherapy’ by its father Rene Maurice Gattefosse. Nothing to wrestle or protest but I end this post with the pride of finding something unique and exceptional in all the healing sciences that is nothing but ‘Human beings are special naturally’.

Thought for the day:

‘Healing,’ Papa would tell me, ‘is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.’
-W. H. Auden

Suggested Reading:

  1. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing By Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller
  2. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils By Gabriel Mojay
  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. Aromatherapy from Ayurveda’s Perspective by Yayoi Stavish
  2. Ayurveda and Aromatherapy by AllHealthyFamily News
  3. The Limbic System by Suzanne Bovenizer CMT, CST

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

Smart Six Authentic Benefits Of An Ayurvedic Massage Therapy

Think of the real relief and complete newness your mind and body enjoys after an expert Ayurvedic massage therapy….. Sounds simply great… Isn’t it? You might have heard people calling Ayurveda as a spiritual science, an intelligent or a divine science but for the first time hear someone calling it as a ‘FRIENDLY SCIENCE’. Yes! I prefer calling this ancient system of healing as a gracious and affable methodology as it aims in granting complete healing without any pains. It aims at taking you to the real heaven of health and heartiness with its soothing therapy.

One such way of healing in a calm, cool and collective manner in a tranquil environment is the Ayurvedic oil massage treatment also known as Abhyanga. Maneuvering the soft tissues of the human body by hands, elbows, forearms, feet and certain other massaging equipments with effective Ayurvedic massage oil proffers everything that you need for a serene living. You can never keep yourselves away from an Ayurvedic oil massage after knowing its authentic benefits and the most significant among them are:

  1. Makes your body supple and glowing: It has been proved that a regular Ayurvedic oil massage helps you stay younger by setting back the process of aging. Massaging with Ayurvedic oils is one of the important parts of the detoxifying process in Ayurveda known as Panchakarma, where the toxins from your skin are removed leaving a blemish-free and glowing skin. The gentle massage techniques used by the Ayurvedic therapists are focused on your pressure points and their certified motions end up in making your body flexible and avoid the tearing of muscles in the joints.
  2. Relieves muscular tension: A relaxing Ayurvedic oil massage mitigates your muscular pain and tension while reviving the natural tone of your muscles. This treatment calms down your muscles, boosts metabolism, brings down spasms, alleviates cramping, improves the functioning of your veins, helps treating fibrosis, paralysis, exhaustion in the muscles and helps provide sufficient nutrition to the entire mechanism.
  3. Deepens your breathing: An efficacious massage helps in regularizing your breathing pattern while intensifying it. This aids in absorbing the essential oxygen and boosting the functions of the respiratory system while preventing lung disorders due to breathing difficulties.
  4. Never before relaxation for your nervous system: Nothing else can lighten up and relax your nervous system as efficacious as an Ayurvedic massage. It fuels your nervous system and improves the function of the nerves to brain, stimulating them to secrete the body’s innate pain killing hormones known as endorphins. This gradually reduces nervous tension, compression of nerves, nerve entrapment syndrome and few other problems of the nervous system by encouraging the body to transmit the right information between brain and spinal cord through sensory receptors and muscles.
  5. Revitalizes your mind: A systematic massage with the best aromatic Ayurvedic essential oils makes you feel as if you’ve newly born in this world. It paves way for self-realization , self-confidence, self-esteem and focused mind free of fear, anxiety, threats, tension, trauma, stress, depression, sleep apnea and many other problems that suppress your mind and stop you from exhibiting your fullest potential.
  6. Perk up your blood circulation: Massaging your body with uplifting Ayurvedic oils improve your blood circulation and increases the count of red blood cells. It enhances the function of the lymphatic system and enables the veins to carry the oxygenated and deoxygenated blood to the heart. Severe pains, nervous disorders due to the lack of blood supply, bruises and swellings are also treated effectively with an Ayurvedic massage.

Get yourself ready to rejuvenate your body and revive your system with an Ayurvedic oil massage therapy.

Reference Links:

  1. Abhyanga by Wikipedia
  2. Panchakarma by The Ayurvedic Institute
  3. Ayurvedic Massage by Ayushveda
  4. The Lymphatic System by Lymph Notes.Com