Keeping our Joint Healthy
In our daily lives, we tend to take our ability to move seamlessly for granted. Our joints play a pivotal role, in our ability to get on with our everyday functionality. Beyond being mere facilitators of mobility, healthy joints are integral to our overall wellbeing, impacting every facet of our lives. Maintaining the health of our joints becomes crucial in preventing issues such as Osteoarthritis, Gout, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and similar inflammatory joint conditions, which can all cause joint pain and limited mobility.
Pain, inflammation, stiffness, swelling, and degeneration are common symptoms of joint problems. Often feeling worse around certain seasonal changes.
According to Ayurveda, joint condition involves the connective tissue (majja dhatu), joints (sandhi) and bones (asthi).
The elements of Air and Space (Vata Dosha) and our bone tissue (asthi dhatu) are closely associated due to the porous nature of the bones and therefore in all conditions related to our bones, Vata is involved. As our joints require a supply of blood and regenerating nutrients to remain healthy, any obstruction to circulation or deficiency of nutrients supply or wear and tear which prevents regeneration, will lead to any of the conditions mentioned above.
Ayurveda always talks about the importance of having a strong functioning digestive fire or Agni as the cornerstone for good health. In joint conditions, a weak Agni and a misguided diet, leads to the formation of toxins (ama) in the colon. Eventually this toxic material will be carried by Vata into the Musculo skeletal system, clogging the channels in the connective tissue. This Ama creates various pathological conditions in the connective tissue, bones, and joints.
Depending on which other Doshas are involved this results in inflammatory (Rheumatoid), metabolic (Gout) or degenerative (osteoarthritis) conditions.
Conventional treatment usually involves a range of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’S), which can damage mucus membranes, cartilage, and joints as well as cause bleeding to the lining of the digestive tract.
Ayurveda offers some very effective natural remedies that can slow down and help manage such conditions, by using diet, lifestyle, and natural herbal remedies. Ayurvedic remedies leverage the healing power of herbs to address the root causes of joint discomfort, preventing further progression, promoting resilience, flexibility, and overall longevity.
Ayurvedic Dietary Suggestions
In Ayurveda maintaining a balanced diet is considered essential for overall well-being, and this principle extends to joint health as well. A balanced diet includes a variety of nutrients that support joint function and mitigate inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods play a pivotal role in preserving joint health as well as reducing pain due to inflammation. Include these foods in your diet:
- Eat a nourishing diet, remove all processed foods, refined sugars, poor quality dairy and hydrogenated oils.
- Increase foods that are good for circulation such as garlic, turmeric, ginger and saffron. Include whole grains, pulses, and foods high in essential fatty acids such as fatty fish, walnuts, flax seeds.
Add anti-inflammatory foods such as:
- Fatty Fish: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines have potent anti-inflammatory properties.
- Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries contain antioxidants that can help combat inflammation.
- Turmeric: Contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. It is a staple in many traditional cuisines.
- Ginger: Known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, ginger can be consumed fresh, as a spice, or in tea.
- Leafy Greens: Kale, spinach, and other leafy greens are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that combat inflammation.
- Broccoli: A cruciferous vegetable that contains sulforaphane, known for its anti-inflammatory effects.
- Walnuts: Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts are beneficial for reducing inflammation.
- Cherries: Contain antioxidants and anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
- Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation.
- Green Tea: Contains polyphenols with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Flaxseeds: High in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, flaxseeds can help reduce inflammation.
- Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate with high cocoa content contains flavonoids with anti-inflammatory effects.
- Avocado: Rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, avocados can contribute to joint health.
- Pineapple: Contains bromelain, an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties.
- Tomatoes: Rich in lycopene, tomatoes have been associated with reduced inflammation.
Incorporating a variety of these foods into your diet can contribute to an anti-inflammatory effect, whilst supporting circulation and promoting joint health
Self-Abhyanga: Abhyanga involves massaging the body or affected joints with warm medicated oil twice a day. Our Joint and Muscle Support Oil also known as Narayana Oil, is a traditional medicated oil specific for reducing inflammation, stiffness, and pain.
Yoga and Exercise: Regular exercise and movement are considered crucial for promoting joint flexibility and strength, preventing stagnation, and supporting the proper flow of energy throughout the body. Yoga postures, or asanas, are designed to promote flexibility, improve circulation, and strengthen the musculoskeletal system. Doing simple joint rotations everyday can go a long way to joint flexibility.
Panchakarma for long term benefits
For long term benefits and to address the root cause, I always recommend Panchakarma. Panchakarma is a detoxification process that involves a series of cleansing procedures to eliminate accumulated toxins from the body. Specifically, for joint support, treatments like Virechana (purging) and Basti (enema) are commonly recommended. Basti is highly regarded for its rejuvenating effects on the joints. This therapy involves the administration of medicated enemas, often using herbal oils or decoctions, which penetrate deep into the tissues, lubricating the joints and promoting their flexibility. The cleansing and nourishing actions of Panchakarma and Basti contribute to the removal of metabolic wastes and inflammatory substances, thus alleviating joint discomfort.
Panchakarma is best done in a residential in-house retreat where you can be monitored regularly by a trained Ayurvedic Practitioner.
Ayurveda offers a rich array of supplements and remedies specifically formulated to support joint health, addressing issues such as pain and inflammation.
Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb, is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and its ability to strengthen the bones and joints, promoting overall joint strength and flexibility.
Our Joint Support formula contains a range of herbs that increase circulation, reduce inflammation, and encourage healthy digestion. Boswellia is a well-known anti-inflammatory Ayurvedic herb which works as effectively as NSAID’s without causing digestive irritation. Turmeric limits Arichidonic acid which is an acid that triggers the inflammatory process. Guggulu, derived from the resin of the Commiphora wightii tree, is renowned for its anti-arthritic effects, helping to alleviate joint pain and inflammation. Combined with Rasna, Nirgundi and Surajan all known for their analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties when used individually or in combination, addresses inflammation, pain, and overall joint function.
Dashamula: is a combination of ten roots from various medicinal plants. The term "Dashamula" translates to "ten roots" in Sanskrit. Renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties, Dashamula addresses joint inflammation, offering relief from conditions such as arthritis. Its analgesic nature provides comfort by alleviating joint pain, while its muscle-relaxing effects contribute to reducing stiffness and promoting flexibility. As a nervine tonic, Dashamula supports the nervous system, addressing any related issues contributing to joint discomfort. Recognized as a rejuvenative Rasayana, it aids in tissue regeneration, promoting the overall health of bones and joints. With Vata-pacifying properties, Dashamula restores balance to the Vata dosha, crucial for maintaining joint health. Furthermore, its circulation-improving and detoxifying characteristics enhance nutrient delivery to the musculoskeletal system and eliminate accumulated toxins. The root of Agnimantha, helps improve digestion and breaks down toxins.
Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), is a valuable ally in promoting joint health through its diverse array of properties. Known for its potent anti-inflammatory characteristics, Guduchi stands out in alleviating joint inflammation and addressing conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Acting as an immunomodulator, it helps regulate the immune system, potentially mitigating autoimmune responses affecting the joints. Rich in antioxidants, Guduchi safeguards joints from oxidative stress, while its adaptogenic nature aids in managing stress-related impacts on joint well-being. Additionally, the herb's detoxifying properties contribute to the elimination of toxins, fostering a reduction in inflammation. Guduchi’ s traditional use extends beyond joint support, as it is believed to positively influence overall bone health. Its mild analgesic qualities offer relief from joint pain and discomfort.
Joint and Muscle Support Massage Oil: Known for its anti-inflammatory attributes, Narayana oil helps in reducing joint swelling and inflammation, providing relief from discomfort. The oil's warming properties, often attributed to ingredients like camphor and cinnamon, make it especially beneficial for enhancing circulation and promoting joint flexibility. Additionally, the analgesic qualities of Narayana oil contribute to alleviating joint pain and muscular aches. Regular massage with Narayana oil is believed to support the overall well-being of the musculoskeletal system, addressing stiffness, and promoting a sense of relaxation.
These herbs, when used individually or in combination as part of our Joint Support Wellbeing Kit, can provide a holistic approach to supporting joint health by addressing inflammation, pain, and overall joint function.
Seeking Professional advice
However, as with any herbal remedy, individual responses may vary, it's crucial to use these supplements and remedies under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. Professional supervision ensures that the chosen remedies align with your individual unique constitution and health condition. Moreover, the practitioner can offer personalized recommendations on dosage, duration, and potential interactions with other health interventions. And recommend complementary lifestyle practices to maximize the effectiveness of these Ayurvedic solutions. Taking these remedies under professional guidance is essential for safe and optimal results in promoting joint health.
Book a Consultation.
Whether you suffer from Osteo or Rheumatoid Arthritis, osteoporosis, or Gout, we would be happy to see you at our clinic in Harrow. Our personalised health plans are based on an in-depth diagnosis, identifying the root cause and Dosha involved.