The Maharishi AyurvedaSM Approach to Asthma
The Raj asthma program is conducted under the supervision of an Ayurveda Health Consultant and draws on knowledge from Maharishi Ayurveda, the world's oldest and most complete system of natural health care.
Through its unique assessment of causal imbalances at the basis of a condition and its wide range of time-tested recommendations, Maharishi Ayurveda provides the most comprehensive approach for asthma available in natural health care today.
Understanding the Root Causes of Asthma
Modern medicine understands the physiological changes involved in bronchial constriction and fluid retention in lung tissue that create asthma symptoms. Maharishi Ayurveda expands this understanding by:
- Describing the mental, physical and behavioral factors that contribute to bronchial constriction and fluid retention.
- Providing natural methods to help prevent and reverse these changes.
According to modern medicine the physiological changes at the basis of asthma are:
- A hyperactive bronchial constrictor response to a stimulus that creates bronchospasm and constriction of airways.
- An inflammatory reaction that leads to buildup of mucous and liquids in lung tissue.
- Various material and structural changes in airway passages.
Maharishi Ayurveda describes the following types of imbalances that are major contributing factors to the physiology of asthma.
1) Poor digestion leading to the buildup of toxins and impurities in lung and airway tissues
When impurities accumulate in tissues they contribute to many chronic conditions, including asthma. This is especially true of most types of allergic and hypersensitive responses in the physiology. Maharishi Ayurveda has programs to reduce the most common sources of impurities in the body including those from:
- Impure or toxic food sources
- Poor digestion
- Poor elimination
- Improper metabolism
- Mental and physical stress
According to Ayurveda, accumulation of impurities leads to the debilitating changes at the basis of asthma through the following mechanisms:
- Ayurveda theory says the cause of asthma is in the stomach. It describes how toxins created by improperly digested food are carried through channels directly into the chest and lung area. The resulting toxin accumulation imbalances the lung and airway tissues through several mechanisms.
- Impurities start to clog the channels of circulation to the tissues and the channels that take nutrients into cells and waste out of cells. The end result is that the cells are not nourished properly and waste starts to accumulate in them.
- When toxins accumulate in tissues, and circulation becomes blocked, often the body's natural defenses against foreign material become activated against the accumulating impurities.
- When natural defense mechanisms become over-activated the result can create the conditions of asthma. For example, inflammation and excess fluid secretion is really a natural body defense mechanism to help dilute and wash away impurities in tissues. When impurity buildup becomes so great as to make this process hyperactive, then the lungs fill up with fluid, airwaves are constricted and asthma results.
First, the toxins themselves can irritate the linings of airways and often trigger an inflammatory response to foreign bodies that also can harm the epithelial lining of airways. Secondly, modern medicine describes the damage of epithelial lining of airways as one of the major contributing factors to asthma as the epithelium creates chemicals that help inhibit bronchoconstriction. This inhibitory effect is lost when epithelial lining is destroyed by toxins and the body's reaction to them.
Maharishi Ayurveda contains many recommendations to improve digestion, eliminate the buildup of impurities and reduce blockage of circulation to tissues.
2) Imbalance and deterioration of nervous system strength and stability
The level of nervous system stability and level of activation play a major role in the asthma condition. Nervous system function becomes involved in the many neurochemical changes that lead to the heightened bronchconstriction response at the basis of asthma.
According to Ayurveda theory, the functioning mode in the physiology called Vata controls the overall level of balance and activation of the nervous system. From this perspective, Vata imbalance can play a major role in asthmatic symptoms and therefore needs to be addressed. Because Vata is the most easily disturbed physiological principle in the body, there are a wide variety of time-tested Ayurveda recommendations available to help balance Vata and remove the symptoms caused by its aggravation.
3) Accumulation of physical and mental stress
Experiences of high mental and physical stress are often associated with a relapse of the condition and worsening of asthma symptoms. Stress reduction therapies are an important component of the Ayurveda approach to managing asthma. Reversing the body's response to stress is aided in The Raj in-residence programs through the availability of instruction in:
- The Transcendental Meditation® program
- Ayurveda massage and heat treatments
- Yoga asana postures and Ayurveda flexibility exercises
4) Decrease in the body's natural balancing and self-repair ability
Every health professional must ultimately depend on the body's natural healing, balancing and self-repair ability in order to cure disease. The main approach of Maharishi Ayurveda is to enliven the natural healing ability of the body. Since the real problem in asthma is not the external allergen but the internal imbalance, any increase in the balancing ability of the body could potentially help alleviate symptoms of asthma.
A Natural Treatment Approach to Asthma
The following section describes the classic Maharishi Ayurveda approaches used at The Raj to eliminate toxin buildup, stabilize the nervous system, enliven the healing ability of the body and manage stress.
a) Diet, Nutrition and Digestion
Asthma can be aggravated through improper diet. For example, some foods can make Vata highly active or clog the physiology, thereby worsening many of the symptoms of asthma.
Consultations with The Raj Ayurveda Health Consultants, along with daily educational meetings, will help you understand which foods are the most clogging and obstructing to circulation and which are the hardest to digest. These foods have the potential to create toxins (undigested food not only clogs the channels in the body but actually becomes toxic). Foods that are easily digested create nutrients that are then assimilated into the tissues to rebuild their strength, will be recommended. Your Ayurveda Health Consultants will also provide programs to improve digestion, an important step in overcoming asthma.
During your in-residence stay at The Raj you will also learn the basic principles of Ayurveda cooking. The Raj cooking classes provide knowledge of how to prepare foods in ways that create maximum nourishment for the body and that prevent incomplete digestion and clogged circulation.
In summary, improper nutrition can create and aggravate asthma, but proper nutrition can go a long way toward curing and preventing it.
b) Stress Management and Improved Mental and Emotional Function
Many individuals experience that asthma is often worsened by heightened stress, anxiety and mental fatigue. This is due to hormonal changes and other biochemical responses to stress that can aggravate the nervous system, create pain and depress the immune response. The sleep disturbance that is often created by symptoms of asthma increases fatigue, which increases one's susceptibility to stress, which in turn aggravates the asthma condition. A downward spiral is created.
The Raj Ayurveda Health Consultants recommend practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique for removing the stress component of fatigue, pain, insomnia and other symptoms of asthma. Published scientific articles outline the effectiveness of the TM practice for both pain relief and insomnia.
If you choose to learn meditation during your in-residence stay at The Raj, highly trained teachers of the Transcendental Meditation program are available to instruct you. The TM technique has a wealth of scientific research verifying its effect on reducing many of the mental and stress factors influencing asthma. Research shows it creates virtually the opposite physiological response that stress does and helps the body recover more quickly from stressful stimuli.
Practice of the TM technique twice a day is an ideal mental approach to the problems of asthma. The TM program at The Raj gets you off to a superb start with your practice, and your instructor will help connect you with the local TM program center in your home area for any follow-up that you may desire.
c) Lifestyle and Daily Routine
One of the most important factors for balancing Vata and keeping the natural cleansing processes strong is to have a lifestyle that does not disturb natural bodily rhythms. When we eat, sleep and exercise in constantly fluctuating and disturbing patterns, the body loses its natural balancing cycles and cannot cleanse or heal itself as effectively. Therefore, regularity in our daily routine can be extremely effective in reducing Vata imbalances.
Improper lifestyle can create the Vata imbalance at the basis of asthma and disrupt the body's natural cleansing cycles. Our Ayurveda Health Consultant will review your daily routine and provide the information you need to help create a daily schedule that will actually increase balance in your nervous system and aid in healing your body.
d) Ayurveda Herbs and Reduction in Free Radicals
During your consultation, our Ayurveda Health Consultants select the appropriate herbal formulas for aiding the healing process, strengthening digestion and helping the body purify itself.
Free radicals are highly irritating to the physiology and their presence creates and worsens many disorders, including asthma. When appropriate, our Ayurveda Health Consultants can recommend Ayurveda herbs that research has shown to be powerful anti-oxidants and free radical scavengers. Two Maharishi Ayurveda herbal preparations have been shown to have 1000 times more powerful anti-oxidant properties than vitamin C or E. These herbs can also have a holistic influence of balancing and nourishing the entire physiology.
Traditional Ayurveda theory says that herbs are most effective after a person completes an internal cleansing program. The cleansing and rejuvenation treatments that you will receive daily are the main focus of your in-residence stay. Once this program is finished, you are ready to gain maximum benefits from your herbal program.
e) Herbalized Oil Massage:
Your Ayurveda Health Consultants will choose a specific herbalized massage oil that is individually prepared for your condition. You will also be instructed in the technique of Ayurveda massage, which involves using specific strokes over different parts of the body.
Daily herbalized oil massage provides a deeply soothing and balancing effect to the entire nervous system. The motion of massage creates heat and friction which enhance circulation and help cleanse the areas of chemical impurities that could be causing symptoms of asthma. The oil and herbs cleanse and nourish the tissues, hastening tissue development and repair.
The various herbs that have been boiled into a base oil, and the oil itself, are specifically chosen for their Vata balancing and cleansing influence. The oil allows the herbs to deeply penetrate the tissue beds, thereby balancing the nerve and other tissues in the affected areas.
Your program involves two types of Ayurveda herbalized massage:
- Your home program involves herbalized self-massage for 5-10 minutes in the morning before you take your shower. Daily herbalized oil massage provides a deeply soothing and balancing effect to the entire nervous system.
- During the in-residence portion of your program, highly trained Ayurveda technicians daily perform very specialized massage for you, using oils in which as many as 50 herbs have been cured. These special oils are only available as part of the in-residence program. These daily oil massages are a cornerstone of the in-residence cleansing process.
f) Cleansing therapies: Maharishi RejuvenationSM Therapy
Your daily three-hour treatment program of massage, application of herbalized preparations and mild internal cleansing is the cornerstone of your In-residence treatment at The Raj. The combination of these three treatments received every day for 5 to 21 days creates the ideal internal physical environment for healing.
g) Exercise and Flexibility Education
Maharishi Ayurveda considers proper stretching and flexibility exercises to have a very positive effect on the body's healing response and the treatment of many chronic conditions. During your in-residence stay at The Raj, we offer Yoga classes every day and teach you a simple but profound set of postures that can be practiced daily to create a healthy flexibility throughout the body. We also instruct you in individualized Yoga breathing practices that create a state of restful alertness in mind and body.
Our in-residence courses give you knowledge you can continue to apply after you leave The Raj to maintain your progress in alleviating the symptoms of asthma.
The Raj chronic disorder program is conducted under the supervision of an Ayurveda Health Consultant and draws on knowledge from the world's oldest and most complete system of natural health care. The program provides the most comprehensive approach in natural health care to remove the imbalances at the basis of asthma.
For detailed information on program structure and fees see Program Overview.
Wishing you perfect health,
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