How Ayurveda Can Help Manage StressDr Deepa Apté - Ayurveda
The principles of Ayurveda have been in practice for centuries in order to help heal the mind, body and spirit. As our lives have become increasingly busy and stressful, more recently the ancient practices of Ayurveda have been incorporated in order to relieve stress. Dr Deepa Apté is an Ayurvedic practitioner, who is also fully qualified as an Indian medical doctor and yoga practitioner. She runs The Ayurveda Pura Health Spa & Beauty Centre, and below she shares her expertise of incorporating aspects of Ayurveda, such as food, yoga and massage, in order to manage stress.
Hectic modern lifestyles have caused an increase in stress disorders. The kind of jobs people do not always cause the problem; sources of stress may come from family, friends or social life. Ayurveda looks at external influences and how they affect a particular body type. How a person reacts is down to their internal constitution. Anything that affects the mind will affect the body. Stress is caused by impatience and an inability to find solutions.
Stress is seen as a Vata (air) and Pitta (fire) imbalance. The increase in heat in the body causes sweating and breathlessness - that is fire and air together.
- Spicy, salty and bitter increase feelings of restlessness and as the heat in the body increases.
- Sweet and sour help to pacify and restore balance. Sweet flavours from nature such as fruit and vegetables rather than from chocolate or cakes are better.
- Drinking cumin tea is good for stress and high blood pressure and reduces air and fire. Ginger and Lemon tea is also very good to combat stress.
- Massage is very good for reducing stress in the body. In Ayurveda we use oil therapies to calm down the mind by pacifying air and fire. Oil is heavy so it reduces fire. We never use anything cold, always warm.
- Touch through relaxing massage helps reduce air movement. The direction of hair growth - always away from the body to relax muscles. If you wanted an energising massage you would go against the direction of hair growth, increasing the energy in the body.
- Pinda Sveda: Ayurvedic herbal bolus treatment helps to calm down the nervous system and also helps to nourish it thereby bringing balance into the active mind and body.
- Foot Massages: when done regularly this will help to release excess heat in the body and prevent recurrent headaches, sweating etc.
- When people get very stressed they forget to breathe and their lung capacity goes down.
- One of the best things to combat stress are breathing exercises.
- Yoga concentrates on breathing and positions such as cobra and fish extend the body, expanding the chest and letting more oxygen in. Oxygen helps to heal the damaged tissues in the body.
- Alternate nostril breathing is one the best breathing exercises to reduce stress in the body. Approximately 6 – 7 rounds every day will also help towards restful sleep.
- Spices such as cumin, coriander powder and turmeric are very good.
- Brahmi (Bacopa menniera) helps to strengthen the nervous and the circulatory system.
- Turmeric helps to prevent any infections, stress related skin conditions and also tones the circulatory system.
Life and Routine
- This combines all the other elements. You should concentrate on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking increases stress so things like eating and checking emails at your desk are out.
- Many people end up using bedrooms as study rooms too. And even at sleep time we end up looking at work which increases stress. The bedroom should only be for sleeping. It is about finding the triggers.
- Taking regular breaks from work and stressful situation is essential. The body and mind need to heal before they are subject to further stressful conditions.