ALLEVIATING ARTHRITIS WITH AYURVEDA
Arthritis refers to the inflammation of joints which can occur in numerous ways. The most predominant forms of arthritis are Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs due to numerous reasons whereas RA is a result of an autoimmune disorder. They also differ in how they affect joints, with RA causing the membrane that protects and lubricates joints becomes inflamed, while Osteoarthritis involves the wearing away of the cartilage surrounding the bones at joints.
CAUSES OF ARTHRITIS
Arthritis occurs due to numerous reasons and can affect individuals of all ages, though it is more often seen in adults over the age of 60.
Arthritis due to injuries – This is called post-traumatic arthritis and is caused by the wearing out of a joint due to physical injuries. This speeds up the degradation of the bone and cartilage and leads to arthritis.
Hereditary Arthritis – Though people with parents or close relatives with arthritis are more susceptible to suffer from it, this is also dependent on individual factors. It only means that the risk is increased.
Arthritis due to infection – Arthritis may also be a symptom of a larger disease or issue such as certain skin conditions, gout, cancer, diabetes or lifestyle habits such as excessive drug usage or smoking.
Arthritis caused by autoimmune diseases – Lupus and RA are examples of this. This type of arthritis is a result of the immune system attacking itself. It can have long term detrimental effects on joint health.
REDUCING RISK OF ARTHRITIS
While factors such as age (older individuals have higher risk of arthritis), sex (women tend to suffer from arthritis more than men), and genes cannot be modified, certain other lifestyle changes can help keep arthritis at bay. Maintaining a healthy diet to avoid obesity, giving up smoking, following guidelines to prevent joint strain can all help reduce the risk of arthritis.
PODIKIZHI FOR ARTHRITIS
Podikizhi comprises of two things – ‘podi’ which means powder and ‘kizhi’ which means bolus. It involves tying a heated mixture of several powdered ayurvedic herbs in a cloth bolus and gently applying it to localized regions of pain. It relieves the pressure and reduces inflammation in the parts of the body where it is placed. Gently massaging with the Podikizhi on affected areas can produce significant results. It works on the principle of fomentation, or removal of toxins from the body by establishing a process of excessive sweating. Podikizhi helps in curing Kapha-Vata imbalance of the doshas. Excess Kapha is removed from the body, relieving joint pain and arthritis. Symptoms of arthritis such as swelling and inflammation are instantly relieved by podikizhi therapy. Any numbness, stiffness or immobility in joints like the knees, elbows, shoulders and even fingers can be reduced by applying podikizhi on the affected joints. Depending on the severity of the arthritis, the therapy may be repeated. Since arthritis is a disease which can only be treated but not cured, podikizhi can be very helpful in managing all joint pain associated with arthritis. Regular ayurvedic treatments can improve quality of life and enhance mental well-being.