If you, or someone you know, is suffering from osteoarthritis then you understand that this is a painful condition that can be chronic. Ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritis holds great promise for many people. In fact, many of the recommendations from Western doctors for how to treat osteoarthritis are very similar to the Ayurvedic methods of treatment.
The majority of the treatment process focuses on diet and lifestyle changes, something that Ayurvedic practitioners have recognized the value of for centuries. One thing that is common with Ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritis is the use of very specific herbs for its treatment. The herbs are used to decrease inflammation and promote circulation within the body.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is classified as a type of arthritis, but it is really a disorder of the metabolism. No one is really sure what causes OA and there are many theories as to what can contribute to its flare-up. With OA, there is a range of issues that can happen. Mostly, the cartilage between the joints in the body begins to take on an inflamed state that also is combined with a deterioration of the cartilage and stiffening of the joint.
Osteoarthritis is considered to be a progressive disease and it is mistakenly thought to be a disease of the elderly. Osteoarthritis may be caused by poor nutrition and over exertion as well. There is a growing body of evidence that diet and exercise that is out of balance in a person’s life can contribute greatly to increase suffering and chronic flare-ups associated with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can affect anyone at any time and there is no known cure.
What is Ayurvedic Medicine?
Ayurvedic medicine comes from India and is considered a traditional method of healthcare, much like the practices of TCM (Traditional Chines Medicine). Ayurveda is a system of beliefs that it is the balance of energies within the body that promote health and well-being. Not everyone has the same energy capacities, they will tend toward one of the three following:
- Pitta is focused on the energies associated with digestion and hormone chemical levels in the body and brain. People who tend to gain weight or are more pear or apple shaped are thought to have a high Pitta.
- Vata governs energy of movement. It is typically associated with those who tend to be thing.
- Kalpha is focused on the energy of strength and growth. This includes the immune system. People with strong, muscular frames are seen as being Kalpha.
Every illness or disorder has its own energy as well. For example, osteoarthritis is considered a disease of the Vata and Vata Dosha. This will affect the balance of the dosha that the person is inclined to initially. If a Vata person has a Vata Dosha illness, the goal is to either work to decrease the Vata influences, or to boost the influence of the other doshas (such as Pitta and Kalpha) to bring the entire balance back to the person.
Working with the Vata Dosha
The Vata Dosha is the state in which Ayurvedic Practitioners believe that osteoarthritis comes from when it is out of balance. When one of the doshas is enhanced, it pushes the others out of balance. This is why one of the core admonitions of Ayurvedic practice is to help people to learn how to live a life that nurtures the dosha they have, while providing balance to the doshas that are not as strong in the body. The Vata Dosha has to do with various digestive and hormonal processes in the body. The Vata Dosha is most easily regulated through the use of diet and supplements, which may include the use of different traditional Ayurvedic herbs and medicines. Ayurvedic medicines are compounds of herbs.
Ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritis
The traditional Ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritis is going to feature one or more of the following herbs:
Each of these herbs have proven effects on the central nervous system, circulation system and digestive system. Taking them in prescribed combinations can help to rebalance the doshas in the body and ease the complaint of osteoarthritis. The focus of the Ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritis is on getting the Vata Dosha back into balance with the other two doshas.
This means it will vary from person to person, depending on whether they are Pitta, Vata or Kalpha. The general treatment will include an addition of specific Ayurvedic herbs and medicines, plus a change in diet and specific movement and relaxation techniques as well. A detoxifying flush is also common, although how it will be done will vary according to the state of the person. It won’t be uncommon for a flush to be recommended using apple cider vinegar to treat the arthritis as well.
Does it work?
Ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritis is considered most effective when used as a complementary treatment alongside western medicine. While no studies have shown that it is effective by itself, many studies have shown that changes in diet, the practice of relaxation techniques and movement all benefit those with inflammation disorders and chronic joint pain. Some studies have even shown that the techniques promoted as Ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritis may be most effective as a management for the chronic inflammation and pain it causes. As with all treatments, it takes a balance of methods to achieve health.
Are there any cautions?
There has been some concern over metals, toxins and contaminants in Ayurvedic medicine, new regulations have made them more reliable. In Ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritis, while traditional medicines may be used the emphasis is going to be more on the use of singular herbs and lifestyle.. You can still take a medication for your osteoarthritis while using Ayurvedic methods, but you should let your prescribing doctor know that you are using a complementary treatment. This way they can monitor your progress and begin to reduce dosage amounts as are appropriate with your improvement. You should also inform your physical doctor of your plans to incorporate an Ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritis as they may need to give you guidelines for what you can and cannot do physically.