Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints in a human body by making them stiff and causing pain, swelling and sometimes redness. In Ayurveda, arthritis is called Sandhivat. At times it even affects internal organs of the body as it affects the usual motion of the affected joints. One of the most common types of arthritis is osteoarthritis which is a degenerative joint condition and affects the hands, fingers and hips. It occurs due to old age and affects the joints gradually as people grow old. Another form of arthritis is the rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that mostly affects the hands and feet. Gout, septic arthritis, lupus are a few types of rheumatic diseases. Patients suffering from arthritis may experience symptoms like weight loss, muscle pain, stiffness mostly in the mornings, fatigue, inability to walk or use hands normally without any discomfort etc.
Treating arthritis needs incorporating a balanced regime of physical activity, diet and treatments that lubricates the joints and ease the discomfort. We pay close attention to identifying the prakriti of the individuals to accurately treat the conditions. As per Ayurveda, arthritis is caused by an imbalance in the Vata dosha. Our bodies produce a toxin called ‘ama’ when the food consumed is not digested properly. This toxin ‘ama’ circulates and gets deposited in the weaker parts of the body, especially the joints in our fingers, feet and knees. The affected areas feel stiff and cause inflammation, pain and discomfort while moving naturally.
As mentioned earlier, arthritis occurs due to an imbalance in the Vata dosha. Vata dosha can be stabilised by strengthening the metabolism and the alimentary canal and open up the channels that have been blocked by impurities. Patients are advised to drink an ample amount of water along with prescribed ayurvedic medicines to detoxify the body. Physical activities that strengthen the muscles and reduce the impact of arthritis on the joins are carried out under the supervision of an experienced instructor and a diet to prevent formation of ama is planned for the patients.
We have elaborated the treatments below for a better understanding.
Diet – Food ingredients that do not produce ama are highly recommended and included in the menus. Ingredients like fenugreek, lemon juice, ginger, black pepper, green gram, garlic etc. along with fruits and vegetables are extensively used.
Physical activities – Physical activities like walking and yoga asana depending on the ability to move are highly recommended for the patients. Yoga asanas like meditation and breathing exercises, Surya Namaskar (the sun salutation), Balasana (child’s pose), Bitilasana (cow pose), Marjaryasana (cat pose), Supta Matsyendrasana (supine spinal twist pose) etc. have proved to be effective in drastically reducing the pain and discomfort caused by arthritis.
Ayurvedic Therapies – Oil therapies have proven to be highly effecting in treating patients suffering from arthritis. Body massages with mustard and sesame oil help balance the vata dosha and hence reduce the pain caused by this condition. Herbal medicines like Guggul, Haritaki, Triphala etc. are also effective in reducing the pain due to arthritis.