Obesity is the outcome of modern age convenience and abundance of food. In Ayurveda as early as 1500 BC, Charak Samhita described this disorder as Medorog (disease of fat). Medorog is characterized by increase in adipose and muscle tissue of an individual. It makes the hips and the abdomen pendulous.
Obesity is not just a cosmetic concern, but a serious health issue that can put you at a greater risk of chronic ailments like type-2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. According to a study by World Health Organisation’s cancer research agency, obesity is to blame for nearly half a million cases of cancer a year, with overweight women at a far greater risk than men. (Half a Million Cancer Cases a Year Fuelled by Obesity)
In Ayurveda, there are some techniques or therapies specifically recommended for losing weight and the chief amongst them are – swedhan, udhawartanam and vasti karma. Besides these, there are also other healthy ways of controlling and maintaining your weight. Have a look.
1)Nidana Parivarjana – Avoiding the causes
The first and the most important thing is to avoid factors that contribute to obesity. Avoiding the root cause is the foremost line of treatment to curb any disease. Lack of physical activity with increased intake of food, stress, genetic disposition, low metabolic rate, unhealthy dietary habits and incorrect food combinations are some of the most common causes of obesity.
2) Vedic Nutrition
Vedic nutrition means nutrition according to the prakriti of an individual. Vedic foods are wholesome and natural. They help in correcting and maintaining a balance of the three main doshas – vata (air imbalance), pitta (fire/ heat imbalance) and kapha (water/ fluids imbalance). Here are some tips that one must follow –
- Take only one source of carbohydrate at a time. For example, potato, rice or wheat should be taken only in a single meal.
- Light pulses should be included in the diet like moong and masoor dal, avoid heavy pulses like urad dal. (Eat More Pulses to Lose Weight)
- Eat one plate of salad before every meal. (How Fibre Can Help You Lose Weight)
- Spices like fenugreek, coriander, turmeric and cumin seeds should be included in diet.
- Avoid excess of sugar, salt, oily food, white bread, packaged foods and carbonated drinks.
3) Physical Activity
You should choose exercises that suit your body type and Prakriti. You can get your Prakriti analysis done to know your body’s tendencies and then choose a suitable form of exercise. If your are aware of your prakriti, here are some suggestions –
- Vatta – Yoga , meditation, Abhayangam therapy (medicated oil therapy)
- Pitta – Brisk walk, aerobics, Abhayangam, Udhavartanam (herbal powder therapy)
- Kapha – Brisk walk , running, aerobics, dancing, Udhavartanam
4) Treatment for Stress
Include herbs like Brahmi and Jatamansi to fight those blues. Some Ayurvedic therapies like Shirodhara & Abhayangam can help you deal with stress. Try relaxation techniques like meditation and breathing exercises. Avoid eating late at night as it may hamper your sleep. (What to Eat to Sleep Better?)
5) Swedhan (Steam Therapy)
This is an Ayurvedic technique of giving steam to the body to open the pores and allow the body to sweat. As the steam raises the body temperature and dilates the pores, it results in the body increasing the circulation to the skin. The enhanced temperature and increased circulation to the skin brings out the toxins and fats from the inner layers and allows the body to lose the toxins through the process of sweating. Through sweat the body also loses the water that is trapped with toxins and this procedure also helps the body to get rid of water retention.
Swedhan therapy is exceptionally good for the people who have arthritis as this technique allows the body to lose deep seated and accumulated toxins through sweating. An herbal steam therapy is excellent for vata disorders and also for stress-related obesity. Steam relaxes the nerves and helps the person to get better sleep.
6) Udhwartanam (Ayurvedic massage)
Udhwartanam is a medicated massage therapy which helps the body to move the sluggish lymph circulation to the drainage areas. It allows the body to release fat from the cells and move it to the lymphatic drainage systems. During udhawartanam, herbal dry powders are used which assist the body in improving the lymphatic circulation. It is particularly effective when combined with Vedic Nutrition therapy.
7) Vasti Karma
This is a very effective procedure in Ayurveda which is used to treat obesity due to vata blockage. Vata blockage typically occurs one consumes gas-producing foods, wrong food combinations and junk food. This leads to a vata imbalance in the body which can cause polycystic ovary, weight gain and joint pain.
Vasti karma is the process of giving medicated enema to the person. Enema results in releasing blocked gases of the large intestine. As the vata levels comedown, it helps the body to open its natural nutritive channels and the cells which were holding fat now begin to release the fat into the circulation. Vasti karma should be supplemented with a proper nutrition therapy.
8) Herbs that help
There are many herbs that aid weight loss. When used correctly, they help the body to lose weight in a natural and scientific way without any side effects. Some home remedies like the ginger decoction and cinnamon decoction should be consumed two to three times a day. Also, 1 teaspoon of amla juice consumed once a day with lukewarm water is very effective. (The Best Indian Herbs & Why They are Healthy)
Ayurveda provides scientific methods for weight loss that also help in healing your body. The science behind Ayurveda dates back to about a thousand years. In the modern times, these successful principles of Ayurveda can actually help us in improving the quality of our lives.
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