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The term “heart” refers to something that is essential, crucial, and sustains everything else. The literary references we encounter in our daily lives ought to serve as adequate reminders of the importance of an organ like the heart to the human body, but most of us fall short in our efforts to maintain its health. A 2019 survey conducted by the American Heart Association found that one or more heart problems affected over half of the country’s population. How absurd is that?
The Ayurvedic Viewpoint on Cardiovascular Health
A subtype of vata dosha called vayana vayu is in charge of the heart’s ability to pump and transfer blood, essentially controlling the flow of blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The heart is nourished, safeguarded, and lubricated by avalambaka kapha, while sadhak pitta controls our emotional equilibrium. The main cause of cardiac disorders is an imbalance in one or more of these physiological humours. All heart-related conditions, including rheumatic heart disease, hypertension, coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, and inflammations like myocarditis, endocarditis, and pericarditis, are collectively referred to as “cardiac diseases.”
The key factor contributing to the rise in coronary heart disease cases is the sedentary lifestyle of today, which is accompanied by alcohol, cigarettes, and junk food high in trans fats. Incorrect dietary practises and behaviours that are out of step with the body’s natural rhythm also contribute to the buildup of toxins in the system. While vata vitiation is the primary cause of the majority of nervous system-related problems, including palpitations and hypertension, pitta imbalance is primarily responsible for the inflammations. A patient who already has cardiac issues may experience worsening anger and irritability as a result of a vitiated pitta dosha. Other significant risk factors for coronary illnesses include stress, obesity, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels.
One of the most efficient Ayurvedic therapy procedures, shodhan chikitsa (treatment by elimination), is based on the removal of the body’s vitiated doshas and accumulated toxins through a variety of interventions. Numerous ailments, such as high blood pressure, obesity, stress, and similar risk factors for cardiac disorders, have been successfully treated using a set of five such effective procedures known as Panchakarma, along with its preparatory steps of massage and sudation. These procedures also nourish and renew your mind and body, stop the onset of a variety of additional illnesses, and promote health and vigour.
Cardiac Disorder Treatment with Panchakarma
Pizichil. The benefits of both snehana (oleation) and swedana (sudation or sweat) therapies are combined in this extremely calming technique. In a particular way, a consistent stream of heated therapeutic oil is softly applied to the body while also giving it a mild massage. In this preliminary step, warm oil is applied to the body, which causes sweating and releases Ama (toxins). After the procedure is finished, the person is wrapped in a cotton sheet or blanket and allowed to rest for a while before taking a hot water bath. The scalp is then covered in Rasnadi Churna, an ayurvedic remedy that balances the vata and kapha doshas. Pizichil is very helpful in treating a wide range of neurological conditions that also have an impact on heart health, including coronary artery disease, hypertension, excessive blood pressure, and many more.
Urovasthi. In this method, a leak-proof trough formed of a fine black lentil paste paste is sealed to the area and heated therapeutic oil is poured on the chest region. The lentil paste is removed after the oil has been kept in the trough for 30 to 40 minutes. The therapeutic oil helps to improve blood circulation while nourishing the muscles, nerves, and joints in the chest area. Cardiovascular conditions like coronary artery disease, chest pain, and pulmonary problems can all be successfully treated with uravasthi. Typically, this operation is carried out for seven days, however the length can change based on the circumstances.
Sirovasthi. Similar to Urovasthi, but carried out on the head rather than the breast. After finishing, Rasnadi Churna is applied to the head and a light massage is given to the back, neck, and shoulders. This treatment is successful in treating neurological conditions, sleeplessness, and hypertension while nourishing the head region.
Shirodhara. Shiro is Japanese for head, while dhara is an elegant translation of stream. Shirodhara is a deeply calming process in which a steady stream of therapeutic oil or liquids is allowed to pour over the head in a certain pattern for a predetermined amount of time. Depending on the individual’s vikritis requirements, this treatment is performed every day for 5 to 21 days. This procedure is very helpful in treating anxiety disorders, insomnia, headaches, psychiatric illnesses, and cardiac problems including hypertension in addition to calming the entire nervous system.
Shiropichu. In this procedure, a folded cotton pad or sterile cotton cloth is soaked in warm oil and applied to the head for a predetermined amount of time. After the procedure, one can indulge in a soothing head and neck massage. It’s recommended to get some shut-eye before taking a soothing hot water bath. Rub Rasnadi Churna on the top of the head to ward off colds and their accompanying symptoms. In addition to being beneficial in treating hypertension and other cardiac illnesses, shiropichu is particularly effective in treating neurological and psychological conditions.
Abhyanga. This ayurvedic body massage is carried out utilising medicinal oils and particular methods, such as controlled strokes and pressure on the various regions of the body. It is more effective to combine abhyanga with techniques like shirovasti, shirodhara, or shiropichu while treating various illnesses, including cardiac issues. The heart receives more blood thanks to the massage’s improved blood circulation and opened coronary channels.
Virechana. Utilising methods of induced purgation, this procedure involves the anal route for the elimination of vitiated doshas. Virechan is one of the five pradhan karma (main procedures) of the panchakarma procedures. It is carried out after the body has been prepared through poorvakarma stages that include deepan-pachana (oral medication administration), snehan (external and internal oleation methods like massages and oral ingestion of medicated fats for 3-5 days), and swedan (induced perspiration by sauna or other therapies). Virechan principally gets rid of the vitiated pitta dosha that poorvakarma has already been directing into the GI tract for disposal. This therapy successfully decreases weight and enhances metabolism, both of which are crucial for keeping your heart healthy. The removal of the tarry poisons that have built up in the arteries and veins allows the blood vessels to restore their flexibility, which improves the blood flow to the heart. Eliminating toxic pitta also calms the nerve system and promotes mental equilibrium and relaxation, which helps to alleviate issues like hypertension.
Vasti. Another pradhankarma (main procedure), this one includes administering medicated oils or ayurvedic concoctions down the rectal canal and retaining them there for a while before causing a need to urinate. Vasti is effective in restoring the balance of vitiated vata dosha, which aids in preventing heart conditions linked to vata.
Different approaches for different patients
What is beneficial for one person may be harmful for another, which is why panchakarma treatment options are always customised for each patient. The medications, the kinds of oils, and the types of treatments are always chosen after analysing and comprehending the patient’s body and health conditions using diagnostic techniques like Nadi Pariksha. The traditional panchakarma therapies are created with each person’s distinct physiological and mental constitutional characteristics in mind.
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