By Dr. Aparna Bapat, BAMS
The mind connection
The musculoskeletal system is also connected to aspects of mental faculty. Bones are the strongest, hardest, and most stable tissue in the body forming the skeleton and protective cages of ribs, skull and vertebral column for our vital organs like heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. Muscles are softer, stretchable, and covered over the bones and tied to the ends with ligaments. The spaces in between bony ends are filled with synovial fluid and surrounded by cartilage.
As per the science of Ayurveda every cell in our body has a portion of our mind. Our mind stores different emotions and feelings in the form of memory in different tissues. According to Ayurveda, mental stability, strength, and confidence are interpreted through strong bones. If the bones have osteoporosis, they become porous, weak, brittle, break easily and are difficult to heal when fractured. Memory of pain, trauma, physical abuse and injury, fear, and instability from mind is stored in the bones, muscles, and nerves. Hence the symptoms of pain, tremors, twitches, trauma is felt through the damage in these tissues.
Arthritis is the most common inflammatory condition of joints which is progressive with aging. As we use our joints for all kinds of movements throughout life, there is a significant wear and tear and degeneration occurring naturally. Premature onset of this can be stopped by proper healthy choices in diet, exercise, and lifestyle modifications.
As a result of anger, frustration, stress, heat exposure, intake of spicy and toxic substances and polluted environment, the mind can either withdraw or overreact and this can be seen as inflammatory changes in the softer areas around the bone and muscles. Anti-inflammatory medicines and steroids can temporarily stop the pain sensation but the real cause that lies in mind, lifestyle, habits, and environment, remains unchanged. The causative factors need to stop, so the progression is reversed, and healing starts sooner.
To control and reduce pain and swelling
Use of anti-inflammatory herbs, spices in the form of teas and pills, use of lubricating, oily substances in food, massages with warm medicated oils, application of herbal salves, balms, on the body regularly, controls the pain and swelling, heat application with thermal pad, poultices, medicinal plastering with herbal pastes, all help in most of the bones, joints, muscles and neurological symptoms of the musculoskeletal system.
Dryness and cracking
During locomotion, there is difficulty, pain and cracking, popping sounds making the patient immobile and dependent. The synovial fluid is dried up and scanty and bones can rub on each other without it, damaging, tearing the cushion of the meniscus. To rebuild this fluid, intake of substances like ghee, sesame seeds, soaked almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds, warm milk with turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, fresh coconut water, fish and seaweed, use of sesame oil and coconut oil in cooking, is very beneficial. Avoid too much dehydrated, frozen, stale food and carbonated beverages.
Fluid retention and swelling in the synovial joint spaces
This also causes extreme pain, swelling and immobility due to heaviness and fluid retention. Circulation can be improved by doing some breathing exercises, gentle movements of limbs, intake of herbs like fenugreek, ginger, roasted garlic and use of Himalayan salt instead of sea salt. Avoid congestive, salty foods and excess fluid intake.
Ayurveda remedies for Arthritis
Food and lifestyle modifications as per your type of arthritis, oil massages, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon as teas and pills. These are the best anti-inflammatory food substances. Herbs like Guggul, Boswellia, Ashwagandha are very good for pain relief and swelling reduction. Calcium and mineral rich supplements, coral calcium, sesame seeds, moong beans soup, are good for bone and joint strengthening. Heat application, massages, steam treatments, oil enemas, castor oil packs and use of detoxifying herbs to clean blood and lymphatic system are very healing to slow and reverse degenerative progression of the disease pathology.
In Holistic Orthopedics part 3 we will have healthy snack and drink recipes for healthy bones and joints, healthy hair, nails, skin, and a balanced mind.