Wellness Wisdom: How monsoon maximises Ayurvedic benefits for the body

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With information easily available through many sources today, people are increasingly aware that unhealthy lifestyle choices lead to diseases. But while there is a desire to take steps toward a healthy lifestyle, most often we put it off for another day. Ayurveda helps you weave it in your daily rhythms through simple interventions.

Ayurveda recognises the imbalances created in our body constitution, largely because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, as the root cause of disease. The principle of Ayurveda treatment is to correct these imbalances and bring the body back into a state of equilibrium, thereby achieving good health. According to ancient science, seasonal changes, such as from summer to monsoon, lowers immunity, which causes metabolic toxins and waste to be deposited in the body, giving rise to diseases.

THE EFFECT OF MONSOON ON THE BODY

Most of us must have noted that seasonal changes affect us in some way but why does that happen? According to Ayurveda, our body has three bio-energies called doshas (Pitta, Kapha and Vata) which are a combination of the five elements in nature that determine the mental, physical and emotional constitution of each person. These doshas undergo cyclic ups and downs on a daily, and on a seasonal basis. Kapha increases during the spring, manifesting in flu, cough, and other related issues. Pitta normally increases in autumn and may cause liver-related or other inflammatory issues. During the monsoon, the Vata aggravates and goes out of balance. And as the manager of all doshas, when Vata is disturbed during the monsoon season, it has a domino effect, causing imbalances in the other doshas too. Pitta starts to accumulate in the summer months and makes the body more inflammatory and acidic, and additionally, it gets aggravated due to the imbalance in Vata during monsoon. Kapha is moderately aggravated during monsoon due to the moisture in the environment and as a result of Vata’s imbalance. Kapha’s imbalance is relatively lesser than Vata and Pitta.

Unhealthy lifestyle choices further aggravate Vata. This weakens the body, increasing the probability of diseases, leading to tremors, metabolic disorders, disturbances in the sensory and motor functions, pains in the body and stiffness in the joints. It also causes an imbalance in your digestion which can manifest as having either increased or decreased appetite, bloated feeling, constipation, diarrhoea and so on. Improper digestion and absorption, and a stressful lifestyle, lead to the weakening of the body. The essence of Ayurveda treatment lies in correcting one’s Agni or metabolic fire.

Ayurvedic vaidyas (doctors) recommend the monsoon season to address medical conditions like degenerative diseases, neurological illness, arthritis for an effective start to treatments. For those living in India, the doctors also recommend the monsoon season as a good time for pre-emptive treatments to strengthen and fortify the body against diseases.

For those who already suffer some ailments, there is no good or bad time to start and undergo Ayurveda treatments. One must address it immediately. But in Ayurveda, which is a holistic medical system that is seen as a “way of life,” preventive healthcare treatments play an important role in the health of every individual.

WHY IS MONSOON GOOD FOR TREATMENT?

Preventive healthcare, which focusses on keeping the body healthy to prevent disease and has become vastly popular in modern medicine, is the foundation of the 5,000-year-old Ayurveda medicine. It is towards this end that Ayurveda vaidyas in Kerala developed a treatment protocol for a specific period in the monsoon.

Even ancient writings outline the monsoon season to be the best season for Panchakarma treatments. Our skin pores open up faster due to the high humidity during monsoon and cause them to absorb the Ayurvedic oil better. Additionally, the discharge of toxins is more intense, as the body naturally perspires more in a very humid culture. Yoga exercises seem easier to execute, as the muscles are stretched. These months are therefore ideal for yoga beginners.

KARKIDAKA CHIKITSA

Undergoing Ayurveda treatments during the specific period in the monsoon was vastly practised in Kerala and it became a way of life for its people. This specific period is called Karkidaka Maasam. According to the traditional Malayalam calendar, the last month of the year is Karkidakam and it is also the peak of the monsoon. This year, the period of Karkidakam traverses between July 17 and August 16.

The treatment protocol that has been practised over the years is called Karkidaka chikitsa, which translates to the treatment done during the Malayalam month of Karkidakam. Karkidaka Chikitsa is a Sukha Chikitsa or rejuvenating and preventive healthcare treatment with specific therapies and diet. It is said that the people of Kerala prepared themselves for the New Year by undergoing a Karkidaka Chikitsa.

Since metabolism is slow, one is likely to feel heavy. A light and fresh diet is advised and must include a bit of cow’s ghee, lentils, rice and wheat. Include ginger in your diet and you can even have it with a pinch of rock salt before a meal to ease digestion. Try the ginger honey water in the morning, too. Go for sour and salted soups of vegetables when it is pouring outside. Avoid salads, leafy vegetables as they become hosts for microbes during this season. Avoid stale food too. For probiotics, replace the heavier curd with buttermilk.

Since your immunity levels are down, tweak your lifestyle as well to tackle the lower immunity levels. Avoid sleeping during the day as it hampers digestion and further slows down the metabolism. Avoid over exertion and over exposure to the harsh afternoon sun. Keep your body warm and avoid rapid and dramatic temperature changes that may push you towards microbial infection. Use dry neem leaves for drying and disinfecting clothes.

Ayurveda’s preventive healthcare protocol focusses on treating seasonal disturbances in metabolism and lifestyle disorders and also helping patients in understanding the methods to correct the imbalances through guidance and counselling. The focus is on creating a nurturing environment with personalised attention and individualised treatment plans that comprise medicine (external and internal), a diet based on Ayurveda principles, yoga and meditation therapies and guidance sessions for leading a healthier life.





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