Inflammation from an Ayurvedic perspective, yes! Good question.
When I think of the channels of our body, I imagine stream flowing clearly and energetically, without impedance. This means proper nourishment gets to where it needs to, leading to the creation of healthy tissues. All the substance of our body is made up of tissues, you see, and what we consume becomes these tissues. As the saying goes: you are what you eat.
Food is transformed into tissues, by the fires or agni in our body. Imagine how a fire works: it needs to be stoked, have room for air, not too much water, nor be suffocated by too much wood or food.
Fire, Fire, Burning Bright!
This is why Ayurveda puts such importance on digestion, mindful consumption, and proper food / drink combining. In order that the agni is not overwhelmed, it can do its job, the food gets transformed into healthy tissues, and there is no toxic waste circulating the channels, causing blockages etc.
I say all this in order to explain where inflammation often begins: toxic undigested food waste circulating the channels of the body (this toxicity is called ama). Ama then lines the channels, causing constriction, blockages, as well as filling up spaces that have been left in joints through vata imbalance. Ama has a tendency to head straight for our weakest areas.
If our gut is lined with ama, proper absorption can’t take place, meaning tissues aren’t being properly created and imbalance rears its head. You see where I’m going.
Inflammation is like a minor infection inside our body. It is the saturation of toxicity, and an imbalance of doshas.
Inflammation in Ayurveda
The original Ayurvedic texts (like Charaka) talk of three types of inflammation (depending on which of the three doshas is out of balance). These imbalances can be caused by external or internal factors. The way in which we treat it is first and foremost through clearing the gut and channels of waste and build up, allowing the agni to burn brightly, so it can do its job, and burn off the ama. Giving the body a chance to rebalance itself. The body wants to be in balance, we just sometimes spend our lives not giving it a chance!
The mind has a tendency to work in a similar way, it can hold on to toxicity and experiences from the past, leading to reactive states that are not based on what is going on in the present moment. The body and mind are completely entwined, so that which puts the body out of balance can do the same to the mind and vice versa.
So it is all about finding our natural state of balance in the here and now, and clearing the paths so that there is no obstruction
What Can We Do to Cleanse The Channels of our Mind and Body and Treat Inflammation?
- In Ayurveda, the first line of treatment is often fasting. Fasting gives the body a break, so it can repair and rebalance.
- I have written before about cleansing the channels and fasting, see post here. I recommend speaking to an Ayurvedic Practitioner about a fasting protocol for your constitution.
- The mind plays many tricks to distract us from the layers of past reactions stored in our body, and food can be a way of numbing these latent feelings. Fasting uncovers them, letting us sit with them, and eventually accept that they are what they are.
- Sitting with ‘what is going on in your body right now’ is a neat exercise to do in the morning, so you can feel what subliminal undertones might otherwise have underlined your day. Sit cross-legged, bring your awareness inside your body, do a couple of deep belly breaths and sighs in and out (to engage the parasympathetic nervous system). Feel what vibrations are lying latent. These could be soft electrical pulsation running through your whole body, a feeling of anxiety, or even warmth and safety. Sit with whatever is, don’t try and change it. This acceptance is the route to equanimity and defusing any negative undercurrents.
- Do Mantra Japa work, as instructed by a Master, to fill yourself with positivity.
I hope this helps.
by Selina Van Orden