Ayurveda shows the path to graceful aging
More than childhood, it is youth that is desired by all. Says Dr. Ajith Kumar, Director, Ayush, Singapore: “In another few years we will have more people over 50 in the world and ageism is the challenge that the youth would face then.” Can you prevent ageing?, asks the Ayurvedic doctor. It is an inevitable transition we have to be prepared to face it. Instead of shying away from it, let us find out ways and means to live with it and celebrate the serenity and wisdom that are its add-ons, elaborates the wise doctor of Ayurveda in Singapore.
Instead of going in for treatments like Botox, facelifts and chemical creams, let us take some help from nature, suggests Dr. Ajith. First, let me list the health problems that ageing people undergo _ Diabetes, blood pressure, stroke, cancer, heart diseases, arthritis, a decline in mental health, problem in the joints, etc. All these alienate them from society and they also suffer emotionally, highlights the Ayurvedic doctor.
Principles of ageing
Ageing is natural and cannot be overlooked or avoided. Dr. Aith Kumar explains that in Ayurveda, it is called or defined as Jara. Unfortunately, though it is an important phase of our life, unlike the other stages, it is a degenerative one.
The doctor elaborates on the doshas of Kapha, Pitta and Vata. While it is the domination of Kapha in childhood, Pitta takes over in youth and it is Vata that makes its mark beyond 50 or 60 years. If we are able to keep the three doshas balanced, it is well and good and we can delay the process of ageing. otherwise, the transition may not be as smooth as expected, explains the doctor.
If you follow the ayurvedic techniques in your youth or in your 40s, you can decrease or delay the onset of health issues in your old age, assures Dr. Ajith. Health disorders can be managed in a wonderful way with the help of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda focuses on balancing the three doshas and also balancing them individually.
The Ayurvedic doctor elucidates that if the vata dosha is not balanced, it gives rise to dryness, degeneration and joint disorders. Your digestion and sleep may also be in disarray, reveals the doctor.
Next, he talks about Ojas which is the strength of the body. “If we increase Ojas, we can be sure of good immunity and also developing mental resistance against stress.
Always include in anti-ageing strategies and therapies as part of your weekly or monthly routine. Let herbs always be your first option in all your activities, advises Dr. Ajith Kumar.
Regulating body Metabolism
There is a need to regulate your needs and wants in your life according to your age, stresses the Ayurvedic doctor.
There is a dire need to improve our digestive mechanism or metabolism as we age. In Ayurveda, we refer to it as regulation of Agni, explains Dr. Ajith. He gives us a few tips about regulating Agni in the body of the elderly:
_Let the foods they eat be age-appropriate or that can be easily digested
_Let the food always be fresh
_Timing of the meals is very important.
_No skipping meals or overeating, eating late
_A strict no to junk or processed food
_Heavy lunch or let lunch be the one where they have the most
_Foods should be rich in antioxidants
_Include veggies, fruits, legumes and whole grains and nuts
_Cut down on caffeine intake. (Herbal teas are suggested)
After all this, Dr. Ajith stresses on detoxifying the body periodically to kick in the effective regeneration of cells.
Ayurveda advocates Dinacharya (daily routine) and Ritucharya (seasonal routine) for one to age gracefully. Dr. Ajith Kumar explains that once you begin to follow a strict routine every day and according to the seasons, circadian rhythms will glide to their place and this will not only improve longevity but also the quality of life.
Needed measures for ageing
The doctor advocates the following measures for sailing through old age with ease.
A night of good sleep is a must, for otherwise the elderly will develop disorders like diabetes, obesity or even cardiovascular diseases. Good sleep can help them get over depression, inflammation or dementia. They should meditate for at least half an hour daily. They should learn to push all unwanted thoughts to the back of their mind and sit in a relaxed manner for 30 minutes, I am sure they will see a change in how they view their problems, asserts Dr. Ajith.
In order to retain flexibility and joint health, Dr. Ajith is totally in favour of yoga and exercise. These activities will enable the elderly to retain their cognitive abilities for a longer period of time, affirms the doctor.
In addition to all these, the doctor recommends:
Oleation – Also called Snehana (meaning self-love) it helps overcome a kind of dryness triggered by vata.
Abhyanga – Regular massages can be had to enhance blood circulation. These massages improve joint and skin health, balance doshas and relax the body or reduce stress.
Diet – Be liberal with your fat, ghee and oil intake and drink plenty of fluids.
Panchakarma – It is a detoxifying treatment that is very effective in treating chronic and degenerative disorders. This has three parts – Pre; Primary; Post. Mostly the post-treatment will be the rejuvenation part where herbs are used and changes will be recommended in the diet and lifestyle. Basically, Panchakarma aids lymphatic drainage, blood circulation and even cerebral blood flow.
Herbs used in ageing
Dr. Ajith Kumar of Ayush, Singapore opines that formulations to boost immunity such as Chyawanprash, Shakti drops, Triphala and Amruth can be safely had as daily tonics by ageing people. Be sure to consult good Ayurvedic doctors such as the team at Ayush before taking up any over-the-counter medicines.
The next recipe the doctor suggests is that of Triphala. It is slightly difficulty to make this recipe but you can go the extra mile to make it, smilingly says Dr. Ajith Kumar.
Make a paste of 3 or 5 ounces of the Triphla powder with water. Now smear the paste on a clean iron vessel of a plate. This should be allowed to dry for almost a day. Once it is bone dry, you can scrape the powder and store it in a dry container. Take care to see that it should be clean and very much dry to avoid it from getting spoilt. This powder stays fresh for one or two months. This powder (one or two teaspoons) can be had along with honey (1 spoon) on an empty stomach daily for a year. The doctor advises that if you take this powder in the morning then having one teaspoon of ghee or sesame oil along with your diet is a must in the evening.
As you age, it is essential to take care of your sense organs. Have a regular eye-care routine, oil pulling, oiling ears, Nasya, says the doctor. He elaborates on a special treatment called Kutipravesika. In Ayurveda this is a radical rejuvenation concept, explains Dr. Ajith. A person is treated in isolation and this kind of silent retreat does wonders for the aged, assures the Ayurvedic doctor.
Importance of Skin Health in old age
The trophies given to us as we age are receding hairline, thinning of hair, pigmentation, wrinkles and sagging. The doctor asks the elderly to opt for products that rehydrate the skin if he/she has vata skin. He bats for warm oil self-massage and liberal use of moisturizers. Sunscreens and body oils will suit a pitta skin, he says. He warns against tanning treatments for a long time.
The doctor suggests cleaning the body with a gentle exfoliant if you have a kapha skin. Moisturizers and warm oil massages will make a difference to the skin, he assures.
Above all this, Dr. Ajith Kumar very gently sends out a message to the elderly to avoid being alone. He wants them to foster social connections with any community, or spiritual group either when they take a walk, or by joining a meditation class or by trying to take up any creative pursuits.
If you can indulge in service activities, it is an added bonus and it will help you to stay focussed on social values and strengthen your mental fabric, concludes the doctor of Ayurveda, Dr. Ajith, Ayush, Singapore.