Ayurvedic Approach to Digestive Health: Reclaiming Balance at Sitaram Retreat
Our gut health has a big impact on the state of our health. Finally, research studies have proven that a healthy gut affects not just digestion but also mental wellness. For instance, many individuals with sadness and anxiety report feeling better after adopting a healthy diet free of processed foods. Processed food harms the gut flora since it typically contains more sugar and salt. Since Ayurveda has long been aware of these links, it lays a strong emphasis on enhancing metabolism and digestion.
Anyone looking to enhance their digestive health should first concentrate on boosting their gut health. “Dhatu parinama” refers to the process through which Agni, or the digestive fire, acts on food to produce nutrients and waste products, which then causes the body to build up its tissues. This process of tissue development aids in our understanding of how appropriate digestion results in better immunity and quicker tissue repair as well as fed tissues. Without first treating the digestive system, the majority of chronic illnesses cannot be adequately cured.
What is digestion?
Through the process of digestion, food is broken down into smaller molecules that are converted into nutrients and taken up by the body through the bloodstream for cell growth and repair. Since the vitamins, minerals, lipids, proteins, and other nutrients included in food are crucial for a healthy body to operate, digestion is a crucial process. The mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, and large intestine are digestive system organs that facilitate digestion. By utilising digestive secretions like stomach acid, bile, and enzymes, they help with actions like chewing, squeezing, and mixing. These nutrients are then stored in the liver, digested, and provided to the rest of your body as needed.
Our Gut-Brain Connection
Recent studies done to understand the action of the nervous system that controls the digestive functions and its connection, along with the influence on our mind and emotions have led to the invention of a whole new branch of human physiology, called the enteric nervous system. According to Ayurveda, every activity of our body is interrelated. An imbalance caused at the level of doshas, will have an influence on thought, emotions, sleep, digestive and nervous system. This is normally caused by a combination of factors like poor diet, weak digestion, stress and disturbed sleep. Accumulation of Vata imbalance over a long period of time can result in an extremely sensitive gut and several digestive issues.
Fasting and Rebalance
Fasting is suggested as a way of purification or detoxification in Ayurveda. Typically, the weight loss is a positive side effect. Depending on the Agni, or digestive fire, level, fasting is typically practised in a variety of ways, from skipping any solid food for a length of time to merely sipping warm water, to eating khichadi (a rice and lentil porridge preparation) for each of the three meals of the day. Any food that we eat when our appetite is weak or if the food is heavy, the digestive system and metabolism slows down, and it may turn into a poison called AMA.
According to Ayurveda, a healthy Agni (digestive fire) is responsible for the digestive process. Samana and Apana Vayu, two Vata subtypes that are close to Agni help with digestion, the release of waste items from the body, and nutritional absorption, promote Agni. The appropriate release of hormones and signals is aided by pachaka pitta. Nutrient absorption and cell moisturization are aided by kledaka kapha.
Apana Vayu dysfunction results in bloating, constipation, and diarrhoea, whereas pachaka pitta dysfunction results in indigestion, dyspepsia, gastritis, acid reflux, nausea, and vomiting. Ama dosha which builds up in the body as toxins obstructs countless channels that carry nutrition to different cells and tissues, is the outcome of the Kapha’s imbalance. Depending on each individual’s constitution, the effect may vary.
Promoting Agni, balancing the Doshas, and re-establishing the harmonious interaction between the organs and organ systems that aid in digestion are the main objectives of Ayurvedic treatment.
At Sitaram, we focus on correcting the base course that has lead to digestive issues. Our team of doctors thoroughly examine and find the course before fixing the treatment routine and medicines. A few of the methods include –
- Nidana parivarjana: Refraining from aetiological factors such an unhealthy diet, inconsistent eating habits, drinking a lot of water right after meals, etc.
- Sarvanga Abhyanga and svedana i.e. full body massage and full-body steam is advantageous.
- Before or after eating, Dipana (increase in digestive fire) with Trikatu powder (Shunti, Pippali, and Maricha in equal amounts) in a dose of 1-3 gm helps to boost digestive fire and hunger.
- Medicines like Chitrakadi vati and Lashunadi vati each aid in the appropriate digestion of the food that has been consumed.
- It is also advised to use Shodhana Chikitsa (bio-cleansing therapies) before moving on to Shamana Chikitsa(Palliative therapy).