Committment and Affordability for Patients

My introduction to functional medicine was in an integrative clinic.  Whenever the clinic ran in the red, the founder poured money in from his for-profit business.  This meant we could keep costs reasonable and hardly turned anyone away.

 

The offerings at the next integrative clinic for me were almost identical, but the costs were not.  The first bill easily ran $1,000.  I saw huge disagreements as to whether to spend the money with the clinic.  I saw divorce, second and third mortgages, bankruptcies and breakdowns.

 

Functional medicine does not merely seek to introduce an alternative method of treatment.  It seeks to reeducate and replace the current outdated model.  Yet, it is currently available for higher income patients only.

Read the entire article in Natural Practitioner here:

Supply Side West 2012

supply side west logoIn November, I attended Supply Side West, the global expo and conference, gathering together over 1,500 ingredient suppliers and buyers from around the world.

 

supply side expo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here I am with the DSM MEG-3supply side west exhibit.

 

The Expo was abuzz with numerous topics of education, discussion, and conversation. Most impressive and exciting from my perspective, however, were four key areas:
1) Impending Federal involvement in the regulation of the dietary supplement industry
2) Sustainability, and the use of this goal as a marketing strategy
3) GMO: future propositions and the effects on this market and the conventional market
4) Cause Marketing: Using charity to pad the bottom line, with a conscience

Look for more of my points of view to come in interviews, discussions, and articles exploring these topics here on this site and in industry publications!

In addition, I always look forward to seeing the progress made by Vitamin Angels in their mission to alleviate micro-deficiency in children worldwide.  I love to support this organization and encourage individuals and businesses alike to do the same. So much can be done for so many even with a minimum donation. Please check it out here at Vitamin Angels
Sincerely,
Amber at AmberLynnVitale

Natural Approaches to Preventing Stress and Anxiety

from

Natural Practitioner – January/February 2012

“Natural Approaches to Preventing Stress and Anxiety” – Janet Poveromo

 

Ayurvedic practitioner Amber Vitse, LMT, CN, director of ayurveda education at New York-based Nature’s Formulary, said well-recognized, commonly used herbs for stress are shankh pushpi (for mood and anxiety in Vata and Pitta dominant types) and ashwagandha (an adaptogen for stress management in Vata and Kapha types predominantly).

Vitse explained that shankh pushpi helps with mental stress and rejuvenating the mind, improving memory and concentration. “It can be used in mental and emotional exhaustion. Like brahmi or gotu kola, it increases circulation to the brain.”

An adrenal adaptogen, ashwagandha helps the body to physiologically manage stress. “Likened to ginseng, it aids in physical exhaustion or debility, but also in stress-induced insomnia,”Vitse said, also recommending pranayama, or breathing exercises, as suitable for each doshic imbalance.

“Chyawanprash is excellent for helping the body, especially the immune system, cope with the side effects of stress,” she said. “Bhringaraj and brahmi are excellent calming nervines good for all three doshas, and are often found in oil for application and inhalation. Tulsi is another favorite adaptogen for relieving stress and balancing the immune system, and there are several different kinds.”

Chyawanprash is a potent antioxidant paste, created by the synergistic blending of over 40 herbs and spices. “Due to the tannoid complexes that form in the preparation of this formulation, the vitamin C in the mix is much more potent and absorbable than ascorbic acid alone,” said Vitse. “Brahmi purges toxins and blockages from the nervous system, and can aid in all kinds of addictions and habits. Yogis take it to promote a clearer mind and improve meditation, as can any of us.”

Nature’s Formulary offers shankh pushpi and ashwagandha, sustainably wildcrafted or organic, and chyawanprash produced from the original recipe used for thousands of years. “Look for brahmi and bhringaraj oils, brahmi ghee, or teas,”Vitse added.“Many great companies produce tulsi, but it is quite enjoyable as a tea.”

Read the entire article here.

Chyawanprash Ayurvedic Jelly

Long, long ago, there sat an old and wizened sage in a forest. His name was Chyawan.  He was covered with moss, twigs, leaves, and branches from meditating for so long in the same place.  Along came a princess, dancing her way through the forest in some game in which she was blindfolded.  By chance, her delicate hand grazed the head of the sage.  Likely much to her father’s dismay, he was obliged to ask the sage to marry her, as according to the laws of the country she was only to touch one man in her lifetime.  Surprisingly, our sage Chyawan agreed; but he asked for a couple months in which to prepare himself.  He sought out a combination of herbs that would restore his youthfulness and vitality so that he might offer his young bride conjugal bliss and the joy of years together. As the story goes, he was successful in his endeavor, and the recipe for this herbal jelly made it into the famous Charaka Samhita some 2000 years ago, and possibly into the Vedas prior to that. It became known as Chyawanprash, Chyawan’s jelly.

Chyawanprash is the most famous and widely utilized of all Ayurvedic jellies: for young and old, male and female, for the very weak and for those needing an energy supplement.  It is a good tonic for all three doshas, but is considered a Rasayana Rejuvenative for Pitta debility, containing a high content of the pitta-rejuvenative herb Amalaki. A Rasayana substance rebuilds not only the body, but the essence and the quality of the psycho-physiological being. It improves the quality of the body, and provides for optimum form and function of the various organs, tissues, and doshas.  It rebuilds the body-mind, prevents decay, and postpones aging.  In some cases it is said to even reverse aging as it did for Chyawan.

By the time it was recorded in the Charaka Samhita, many more uses for Chyawanprash had been determined. It is the best all-around tonic for keeping the tissues of the body healthy and young, working to restore some vigor and vitality to tissues weakened in the elderly. It is also an excellent nutritive and growth tonic for children, tasty and easy for them to take on its own or with milk.  It is a potent immune enhancer, with the Vitamin C from the Amalaki being highly bioavailable because it is a part of a tannoid complex.  It is a different level of immune support than taking hundreds of milligrams of Vitamin C as pure ascorbic acid.  Also, Chyawanprash is taken for low grade fevers, for headaches, for Vata type diabetes, as a complement to iron supplementation to aid in its digestion and assimilation, in hay fever and allergies, asthma, recovery from bronchitis and pneumonia, in treatment of underweight and the debility that comes with that, and generally to increase energy. To both the male and female reproductive systems, Chyawanprash provides tonification and support: in sexual debility or impotence, when there is an absence of menstruation due to Vata imbalance, during and post menstruation to strengthen vitality and ease pitta aggravation, as a tonic to the reproductive tissues during pregnancy, following a miscarriage to tonify the damaged tissues and emotions, following female surgeries like a hysterectomy, in menopause for rejuvenation, and it is taken by AIDS or HIV + patients for general immune enhancement and to rebuild the ojas or vital essence.

Amalaki, or Amla, the key ingredient in Chyawanprash, is itself a powerful tonic, specific for building blood and reproductive fluids.  It is especially nourishing for the heart, lungs, and kidneys.  The best quality Chyawanprash is made with fresh Amalaki, but this is harder to find because it can only be produced seasonally. Chyawanprash is a combination of multiple herbs in a base of ghee, raw sugar, and honey.  Thus, if a person is under medical care or on medications, it is prudent to take the list of ingredients from a particular brand of Chyawanprash to the doctor or pharmacist to rule out any possible complications. For general adult consumption, however, 1-2 teaspoons are taken daily.  Historically, it is recommended that it be taken with milk, or a milk-like substance as the anupana, or carrier, to the tissues.  It can also be take straight off the spoon, in tea, on crackers, and there are even capsules available.  The jelly itself though, with the ghee and honey, provides a synergy and anupana, ensuring that the herbal constituents get carried to the pertinent tissues in the body, not just the digestive tract. When using Chyawanprash to treat a condition or illness, 1-2 teaspoons are taken 2-3 times a day.  For infants, offer a pinch on the finger.  For children 5-10 years of age, 1/4 to 1/2 the adult dosage is taken.

 

Too good to be true?  It sounds like Chyawanprash can cure whatever ails you!  It is certainly worth a try, and is a tasty and affordable component of any household wellness regimen. After all, it’s been in use for thousands of years now, let history speak for itself!

 

©Copyright 2012,  By Amber Lynn Vitale

 

 

 

Enhance your pregnancy – the ayurvedic way

My inspiration came from Ayurveda, an ancient science of healthcare that has been practiced in India for thousands of years. Ayurveda focuses on wholeness—using herbs, diet, exercise, massage, and lifestyle enhancements to achieve balance—and offers this advice for your pregnancy.

Keep your growing baby calm. According to Ayurvedic beliefs, there are three major energy types—or doshas—that correspond to constitutional forces or characteristics in the body, mind, and emotions. Vata energy controls the nervous system and bodily functions associated with movement, such as blood circulation and heartbeat. Pregnant women should strive to keep their vata dosha calm and balanced for a healthier pregnancy and an easier delivery. If vata becomes imbalanced (through stress, diet, or another contributing factor), you can feel nervous, agitated, and anxious. Be sure to ground your vata energy by eating nourishing foods, keeping a consistent schedule, getting adequate sleep, practicing deep breathing, and getting gentle exercise.

 Feed your vata dosha oil. Incorporate ghee (clarified butter) in your

diet. When used for cooking, it does not oxidize. It can also be taken with a glass of warm milk for gentle laxative action. This doesn’t need to be cow’s milk. It can be milk made from almonds, rice, hazelnuts, oats, or coconut as well. However it’s consumed, ghee boosts vitality for you and your baby. It also soothes dry and stretched skin, calms nerves, and nourishes tissues.

An oil enema, or basti, prevents constipation and is another way to use oil to pacify vata. Unlike a water enema, the Ayurvedic tradition uses medicated oils and liquid herbal preparations. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner or a book on Ayurveda

Exercise. Swollen feet are caused primarily by the pressure the enlarging uterus puts on the pelvic veins. Gentle exercise, like walking and swimming, helps to move organs around and improves circulation. Try walking every day for 20 to 30 minutes. The kapha dosha (which controls growth in the body) especially benefits from exercise, because people with a kapha-dominant constitution tend to have a more sluggish system. A tea of equal parts cumin, coriander, and fennel (N to K teaspoon each per cup of water) is helpful for swelling, as it is mildly diuretic. You can have this tea two to three times daily.

Rest. Adjust work schedules and activities to promote a regular sleep rhythm. Warm milk with ghee before bed is helpful to many who have a hard time falling asleep. Ghee is almost completely free of lactose so it should be okay for those who are lactose intolerant if mixed with nut or rice milk. Taking calcium with magnesium in the evening may help with aching or cramping legs that disrupt sleep.

Soothe the bladder. Frequent urination commonly occurs in pregnancy because of pressure on the bladder. Try taking white sesame seeds with Kteaspoon jaggery (whole sugar) or raw sucanat (whole cane sugar) once or twice a day to reduce spasms. Make a mixture of six parts sesame seeds to one part raw sugar, then consume a tablespoon at a time or sprinkle it on cereal.

Cool the pitta dosha. The pitta dosha governs transformation and is full of fire or heat. When pitta dominates, hormones may rage, anger may flare, and body temperature may rise. Morning sickness (common in the first trimester) is usually caused by a pitta dosha imbalance. Relieve nausea and heartburn by eating frequent, small meals made up of foods that avoid excessive acidity, saltiness, and spice.

Almonds and almond milk are highly revered for pregnancy in Ayurveda. Place 10 raw almonds in water in the refrigerator overnight to soak. Remove the skins and snack on the nuts for protein and calcium and to help settle the stomach.

Shatavari is a pitta-cooling herb, touted for balancing the female reproductive system. Try mixing the powder with one cup of warm milk, ghee, and a touch of raw sugar. It can help with hyperacidity and even ulcers. In Ayurveda, it is used during pregnancy, but check with your healthcare practitioner for your own individual situation. It is also used to improve the quantity and quality of your milk postpartum.

Massage yourself. Self massage with oil, called abhyanga, is an excellent way to balance the doshas and lessen aggravation throughout pregnancy. Self care is of the utmost importance in pregnancy, teaching you to take good care of yourself so that you are in shape to care for your infant when the time comes.

” Enhance your pregnancy – the ayurvedic way  ”

http://traditionalhealthclinic.com/clients/6709/documents/TFL_0212_Pregnancy_amber_1_.pdf

©Copyright 2012,  By Amber Lynn Vitse  –  tasteforlife ,  february  2012

Cha Cha Change.. Change of Seasons

We are upon the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere  one of four changes of  seasons.  At every seasonal change our bodies and minds can experience imbalance and disruption. Ay-urvedic philosophy offers steps we can follow to ease ourselves through the change of seasons. How we respond to this seasonal changes depends both upon our individual Doshic balance and upon how we care for ourselves through the summer with diet and lifestyle.

 VACILLATING WEATHER

For many of us the weather has been vacillating wildly between winter, spring, and summer. This means we’ve been experiencing the doshic influences of Vata, Ka-pha, and Pitta in various combina-tions.

Winter gave way to spring  with cold dampness alternating  with strong, erratic winds.  These  are the influences of Kapha and  Vata.  The Kapha cold dampness.

will cause us to feel sluggish, cold, and unmotivated. The Vata winds will leave us with irritated nerves, and minds that are spacey and scattered. Even as recently as a few weeks back we were still ex-periencing a bit of this kind of seasonal shift.

Now we are seeing more of the alternation between cold, damp rains and warmer humidity. Ka-pha and Pitta are battling. We may feel cold and disappointed, or even depressed, then unexpectedly hot, irritated.

 COMING SOON: PITTA SEASON

Soon we will be solidly engulfed by the season of Pitta: high sum-mer. Pitta elements are water and

fire. Seasonally we experience this as heat and humidity. This causes some of us to feel “hot headed” impatient, dehydrated and expe-rience sunburn or heat stroke. Others feel more mobility and flexibility, a brighter mood, and more normal body temperature after the cold of winter.

 MANAGING SEASONAL CHANGE

How can we best manage these wild transitions from one season to another? Transition is a com-ponent of movement and Vata (we all have the 3 Doshas; even though we may be dominant in 2 of the 3 doshas) governs move-ment. Therefore, easing our way through transitions is all about pacifying Vata. Most of us could use a little Vata pacification any-

way because we are so out of balance in this Dosha due to our hectic, constantly mobile lifestyles.

Even though the weather is turning warmer, don’t go launch-ing into raw foods and icy bever-ages just yet! Pacify your vata and enable your body to cleanse by consuming warm, cooked foods. Lightly flavor your food with mild carminative spices like cumin, coriander, ajwan, and fennel to assist your digestion. Sip tea warm or room temperature water during a meal. Large iced beverag-es will quench your digestive fire. Make certain you consume an adequate amount of good quality oils for your doshic type to facili-tate the elimination process and keep your body lubricated. These include coconut, sesame, olive, grape seed, flax, and nut oils.

For the outside of the body, exfoliating daily with a dry brush or loofah improves circulation and promotes detoxification through the skin. Follow with Abhyanga, (self massage) with oils to pacify your dosha: Vata calming, Pitta

cooling, Kapha warming. You can also use grounding essential oils in your home or office to keep you centered. Clary sage, rose-wood, sandalwood, cypress, lemon grass, or lavender can help to calm and re-focus the mind. Mas-sage will release toxins stored in the subcutaneous layers beneath the skin. If you suffer constipa-tion or vata anxiety, perform an

internal cleanse. Herbal therapy can be a supportive adjunct to your cleansing process. Triphala keeps the bowels moving, toned, and nourished. Alleviate seasonal allergies, perform nasya with a neti pot to wash pollens from your nasal passages. Practice your yoga, deep breathing (pranayamas), meditation or prayer. Shankha-pushpi can ease the Vata mind through fearfulness and anxiety. Phyllanthus assists the liver in removing toxins, followed by Pic-rorrhiza to protect and rejuvenate

the liver. Ashwagandha can revive and rejuvenate the fatigued and winter-tired body, and help man-age stress. Guggul can be a part of weight reduction and clearing fats from the bloodstream.

Ancient Ayurveda offers the ultimate solution to seasonal change: Pancha Karma—a system

of whole body cleansing that also involves the mind and spirit. This may not be accessible to all of us, however we can still affect a measure of cleansing in our bod-ies while in the comfort of our homes. It is this “cleaning house” that best prepares us for the new season.

READY FOR SUMMER!  

Now you are ready for the summer season! Your body is cleansed of excesses and toxic burdens and your mind and spirit are calm. For those who tend to overheat in the summer or be depleted by the heat and outdoor activities, the following tips may help. Prevent overheating when   working outside or at the beach by applying coconut oil to the scalp. You can include a bit of Brahmi oil in that to further cool the head. Brew your own Pitta-re-ducing iced teas to keep you hy

drated, provide minerals, and give you a tasty alternative to water. Use mints, fennel, lemon grass, alfalfa, nettles, dandelion, hibiscus, and holy basil or tulsi. Sweeten your tea with natural sweeteners like agave nectar. Reduce your consumption of heating stimu-lants like caffeine and hot spices.

If you spend a lot of time in the hot sun, try cool water foot baths with a dash of peppermint essential oil. Make a spray bottle and spritz yourself with lemon grass and peppermint, bhringaraj and brahmi.

The foods you eat will affect your body temperature and com-fort through the summer. Avoid sour, spicy, and overly salty tastes, while emphasizing sweet, astrin-gent, and bitter tastes. Use as-tringent beans and grains more than heavy meats to cool yourself. If you eat meats, consume lighter fish and poultry. Reduce the oili-ness of your food and keep what oils you do use light and cooling, such as olive and coconut. Enjoy  the sweet fruits of summer, and the abundant vegetables and bitter greens. Gymnema sylvestre is an herb that can help quench your sugar cravings so that refined sugars do not raise your tempera

ture or your weight. Digest your food better with cooling herbs like fennel, dill, coriander, cilantro, saffron, and the mints.

And remember to leave time to treasure the evenings. As the breeze lifts the humidity from the air and the sun sinks from its  fiery perch, bring your family out-side to revitalize in the night air. In Southern India on the Indian Ocean, in the setting sun, men, women, and children alike retreat to their homes to cleanse the dirt of the day from their bodies. It is a beautiful sight as they emerge

once again to the gentle winds of the evening in their spotless garb, scented by the generous flow-ers all around. Women and girls twine the mogra blossom in their hair driving all to a dizzy happi-ness. The men are freshly showered and shaved with brahmi, tulsi, and sandalwood scenting their skin. All living things wilted by the heat of the day begin to pulse anew in the scented coolness that the summer evening brings.

“ Cha Cha Change.. Change of Seasons  ”

http://www.sanjevani.net/HPC_Summer2012.pdf

©Copyright 2012,  By Amber Lynn Vitse  – AYURVEDIC INSIGHTS ,    SUMMER 2009 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abyangha – Ayurvedic self massage

There is a tradition in Ayurvedic health practices that goes back thousands of years and is a foundation for health maintenance and disease prevention. The reasons why it is so beneficial and so important are many, but center around the idea that it is about paying attention to oneself, giving time and love to oneself, and di-recting positive energy to oneself. This is the practice of Abyangha, massaging healing oils into one’s own skin from head to toe.

Many of us would love to receive a massage daily, no? But only the very wealthy seem to have that privilege. Therefore, it is up to us to give ourselves that treatment daily, because the benefits of daily massage cannot be denied. Massage imparts firmness and tone to the tissues by literally “squeezing” toxins out and assist-ing in the skin’s normal elimina-tive processes. On a deeper level it improves overall circulation of both blood and lymph, and can even affect the health of internal organs with proper attention. By giving yourself daily massage you also maintain the strength and flexibility of your body well into the aging years. Abyangha is a primary balancing therapy for all the doshas, though each dosha benefits from a slightly different approach and the use of different oils, as will be explained later.

What you will need:

 

  • A towel or blanket, or you may stand if you prefer
  •  A private place, warm and draft free
  • A soft body brush or loofah pad or mitt
  • An appropriate oil blend for your doshic type

 

When to perform Abyangha:

 

  • Morning or night, depending upon your waking patterns
  • If sluggish in the morning, perform then
  • If hyperactive at night, perform then
  • Before bathing if you are concerned about oiliness on clothing
  • After bathing if you are not concerned or are going straight to bed
  •  Perform daily as a part of your routine for best lifetime results

 

Appropriate Oils:

  •  You can purchase medicated oils designed for Vata, Pitta, or Kapha
  •  You can purchase base oils with essential oils added for spe-cific doshas as well
  •  You can use just a base oil if you choose with no aroma
  • You can make your own oils home as well with guidance
  •  Vata calming and warming base oils: Sesame, hazelnut, peanut
  • Pitta cooling and soothing base oils: Coconut, sunflower, olive
  • Kapha warming and stimulat-ing base oils: Mustard or almond

 

If your skin all over is really very oily naturally, you can use corn starch, arrowroot powder, or chick pea flour to promote a smooth massage without the oiliness; but you may also find that massaging with oil before bathing actually helps balance your skin.

The Technique:

Plan ahead by warming your oil in a pot or glass of warm water – not boiling hot! You can start this while you are performing exfoliation. Using a soft brush or even washcloth if you are Vata dominant, and a firmer brush or loofah for Pitta or Kapha domi-nant individuals, begin by gentle exfoliation. Start with the ends of the extremities, the hands or feet, and stroke gently towards the center of the body. Kapha types may be more vigorous if the skin is not too sensitive. Make long sweeping movements all the way up the arms and the legs, covering all aspects of each limb, brushing towards the armpits and the groin area. Perform clockwise circles on the abdomen. Stroke up the center of the torso toward the base of the neck. Stroke gently from the jaw line down to below the collarbone. If you have an extension for you exfoliating pad or are flexible enough, pay attention to the back as well, stroking from the buttocks up. Don’t miss the sides of the thighs and back of the buttocks as these areas get much less circulation. The point of the directional strokes is to follow the lines of lymphatic flow to assist in the movement of lymph through the body. At this point you can bathe if you will leave the oil on for the day or overnight. Otherwise, bathe after the massage.

Now that your oil is warmed let’s massage! Just a couple notes on dosha-appropriate massage: Kaphas need the most deep and vigorous massage. If you are sensitive in the beginning or lack the strength, work your way up to a more vigorous pace gradu-ally. Pittas need consistent flow, firmness, and organization to the massage. Pressure requirements may vary, but the “efficient” mas-sage is the most appreciated by the Pitta individual. Vatas are the most neurologically sensitive and require gentle pressure, smooth-ness, lots of oil, and a grounding focus. Be sure to end with the feet here. I prefer always to begin at the head and end at the feet, because most of us need ground-ing in this Vata/Pitta imbalanced world. As a massage therapist I have always ended my massage with some attention to the feet to bring the recipient back into the body, firmly rooted in the physical being. This is a part of cultivating “presence”—being here now.

Though it may seem strange to many of us sold on daily sham-pooing, massaging oils into your scalp is an excellent way to maintain the health of the skin, hair follicles, and thus, the hair itself. Of course you would want to do this before showering or before bed. Starting from the head, take a little of your personal oil blend, rub it between your two hands, and begin to massage it thoroughly into the scalp. You are not concerned about your hair itself, but focusing on the skin of the scalp. This can be especially good for the “hot headed” Pitta type, using coconut oil for its cooling qualities, and can even help after excess sun exposure. The oils also help with Vata type dandruff.

Work the oil down the forehead and around the face. Be gentle on the face applying light pressure and working in small circles, especially focusing on the tension spots on the forehead, temples, eyebrows, and jawline. Pour extra oil in your hand whenever needed for a smooth flow.

Continue down the neck, spending some time squeezing and rolling the tense tissue at the back of the neck and on the tops of the shoulders. Using the opposite hand, continue down the arm either with an open hand or with a squeezing motion to com-press all the tissue of the arm, up-per and lower. Spend some time massaging the palm of the hand and in between the bones on the backs of the hands. Take each finger in your hand and compress it as you slide off the finger tip. Repeat on the other arm. Make a smooth transition with a long stroke up the arm toward the shoulder, sweep under the armpit, and across the top of the chest.

With an open hand and broad strokes move down the sternum, below the breast/pec (using op-posite hand), up-stroke around the outside of the breast/pec, over the top, and then to the other side using the opposite hand.

Repeat this several times as it is meant to be firming to the tissue and relieves congestion.

Massage as firmly as is comfortable in a clockwise direction over the whole abdomen. One technique is to start in small circles around the navel, gradually spiraling into increasingly larger circles until you are covering the edges of the abdomen. The colon eliminates in a clockwise direction so you are facilitating healthy elimination with this type of massage and en-couraging belly fat to be carried away with better circulation.

Move around to the low back and as far up as you can reach comfortably, massaging in broad circles, squeezing and rolling the tissue as you are able. You can even use a fist to get deeper into the buttock tissue as you move across them and down to the thighs. This is a common problem area, for many women at least, so the more circulation you can bring to this area, the more toxins you eliminate, allowing your body to eliminate the unneeded fat. Use both hands on one thigh pulling and pushing, squeezing and rolling the tissue between the hands like making bread dough. Again, you can use a fist to stroke vertically up and down the upper leg if the pressure is comfortable for you. Use the fingers of both hands to make tiny circles around the kneecap. Do not exert any pressure behind the knee. Continue down the shin and the calf, squeezing the calf muscle between both hands. Again using your fingertips, make small circles around the ankle bones and down over the tops of the feet.

Now take one foot in both hands like you are holding a book. Massage the sole of the foot using your thumbs. Use as much pressure as is comfortable and as you are able. This is the winding down portion of your massage and one of the most important parts, so take your time. When you are not able to do the whole massage, at least do this part. Cover all parts of the sole, from the fat pad at the base of the toes to the heel. Massage between the toes and take each toe in your hand one at a time like you did with the fingers. You can continue massaging with your thumbs on the top of the foot as well, following the line between the bones where tension develops. Repeat on the other foot.

Now take a moment to sit qui-etly, grateful for your body and all it does for you, enjoying your mind at peace. At this point you will take a bath or shower, go to bed, or go on with your day! If you plan to leave the oil on your body, you can buff off the excess with a towel, remembering that the oil has therapeutic qualities and will be acting on your tissue long after your massage.

Blessings to you on your way to a healthier, more balanced body, mind, and spirit. Enjoy your mas-sage!

Now transition smoothly to the belly and, using plenty of oil, mas sage!

“ Abyangha – Ayurvedic self massage ”

http://www.naturesformulary.com/userfiles/file/Insight_Aug_07.pdf

©Copyright 2012,  By Amber Lynn Vitse  –  AYURVEDIC INSIGHTS, AUGUST 2007

 

 

 

Get a good night’s sleep – the ayurvedic way

Think of everyone you know. How many of them typically get a good night’s sleep? Without adequate sleep, we are at risk for many diseases, and we falter in efficiency and productivity. Ayurveda, an ancient science of healthcare, offers sage advice in the slumber department.

Dosha sleep styles

First, it is important to understand the typical quality of sleep experienced by each dosha (energy type). Vata individuals tend toward interrupted sleep. This is due to their nervous and anxious nature, and most insomnia tends to originate from a vata imbalance. This vata-type insomnia can stem from excessive thinking and worrying as well as hypersensitivity to people and surroundings.

Pitta individuals may get moderate to little sleep, but it is sound. An example would be the efficient owner of a large company who functions well on four

hours of sleep and a power nap. A pitta-type insomnia, though, can result from unresolved emotions like anger, resentment, and jealousy.

Kapha individuals tend toward heavy, prolonged, and excessive sleep, which further exacerbates the sluggishness of their natural constitution. Kaphas rarely experience insomnia. They will

derive health benefits from purposefully shortening their sleeping time and not napping during the day.

 How much is enough?

Ayurvedic practitioners often recommend between six and eight hours of sleep a night. A kapha may need less, while a vata may need more. When aiming for longer sleep, it is important that it occur before sunrise to be in harmony with nature.

A vata-dominant person could also nap in the afternoon if overwhelmed or depleted. Most Ayurvedic lifestyle recommendations include instructions to be in bed by 10 p.m., asleep by 11 p.m., and up by 6 a.m. How do we make that happen?

 Aids to slumber

Ayurveda recommends setting aside time in the evening to quietly review the day. This practice helps to release the tensions and concerns of the day and

to empty the mind of bothersome thoughts. Yoga asanas are valued, but no stimulating or aerobic poses should be done.

Oil massage of the head—especially with sesame oil—followed by a warm bath promotes sound sleep. Applied to the feet of a vata-dominant person, sesame oil anchors and calms. Follow with a warm bath for best results.

For some vata-dominant types, heavier food for dinner helps. In Ayurveda, that means whole grains, root vegetables, dairy, and boiled rice with milk and ghee (clarified butter).

computers outside the bedroom.

Many people are disturbed by the evening news. Avoid this influence before bed, along with stimulating music, movies, and video games.

 

Read something calming or inspiring instead, or listen to soothing music for a few minutes.

Prayer and meditation are the preamble to sleep for many. Prayer is where you do most of the talking; meditation is where you are listening! If, with all these lifestyle recom

mendations, you still need help with peaceful slumber, Ayurveda recommends drinking warm milk. If dairy intolerant, use warmed rice, coconut, almond, or other nut milks. To this, you can add a pinch of nutmeg, poppy seeds, and/or gotu kola. Nutmeg and poppy seeds are both excellent sedatives, but can lead to dullness of the mind if overused on a daily or copious basis.

Herbal remedies

Ashwagandha (one to four capsules) taken with warm milk and a bit of raw sugar helps the body cope with stress and leads to deep, untroubled sleep.

Medicated bhringaraj oil applied to the scalp or hairline calms the mind

and excessive mental activity. Jatamansi and valerian herbs can also sedate and work for some, while being too heavy for others. Chamomile tea is a good standby for all three doshas. You may need to experiment to see what works best for you. Sweet dreams!

” Get a good night’s sleep – the ayurvedic way  ”

http://traditionalhealthclinic.com/clients/6709/documents/TFL_0312_Sleep__amber1_.pdf

©Copyright 2012,  By Amber Lynn Vitse  - tasteforlife Magazine,  march  2012

 


Change of seasons

How can we best manage these wild transitions from one season to another? Transition is a component of movement and Vata (we all have the 3 Doshas; even though we may be dominant in 2 of the 3 doshas) governs movement. Therefore, easing our way through transitions is all about pacifying Vata. Most of us could use a little Vata pacification anyway because we are so out of balance in this Dosha due to our hectic, constantly mobile lifestyles. Pacify your vata and enable your body to cleanse by consuming warm, cooked foods. Lightly flavor your food with mild carminative spices like cumin, coriander, ajwan, and fennel to assist your digestion. Sip tea warm or room temperature water during a meal.

Make certain you consume an adequate amount of good quality oils for your doshic type to facilitate the elimination process and keep your body lubricated. These include coconut, sesame, olive, grape seed, flax, and nut oils. For the outside of the body, exfoliating daily with a dry brush or loofah improves circulation and promotes detoxification through the skin. Follow with Abhyanga, (self massage) with oils to pacify your dosha: Vata calming, Pitta cooling, Kapha warming. You can also use grounding essential oils in your home or office to keep you centered. Clary sage, rosewood, sandalwood, cypress, lemon grass, or lavender can help to calm and re-focus the mind. Massage will release toxins stored in the subcutaneous layers beneath the skin.

“ Change of seasons  ”

http://www.pranaayurveda.com/Prana_Ayurveda/Blog/Entries/2009/10/6_Change_of_seasons.html

©Copyright 2012,  By Amber Lynn Vitse  – Prana Ayurveda, October 6, 2009

 

 

What is “agni” in Ayurvedic medicine?

Agni is the most important concept in Ayurveda for our health

It refers to “digestive fire,” not only the kind that breaks down the things we eat and drink, but also the kind that transforms: molecules into messages, sensations into perceptions, observations into awareness, information into wisdom, and so on.

Balanced agni results in a disciplined mind, sharp intelligence, a clean and regular digestive tract, glowing skin and hair and nails, and a fresh-smelling body.

Overactive agni causes irritability, skin rashes, excessive sweating, loose or frequent bowels, and sour-smelling breath or body odor.  This can be modulated using a pitta-reducing diet; by drinking tea with cumin, coriander, and fennel; by engaging in mental practices that reduce frustration, anger, rage, and dissatisfaction; and by rest or vacation time that is peaceful in a lovely setting.

Underactive agni leads to mental fatigue, disinterest, a dull complexion, constipation, and accumulation of toxins, causing fetid breath and body odor. Agni can be improved by eating smaller meals and chewing food thoroughly andby sipping warm water or ginger tea with meals, (as opposed to gulping large icy drinks). Vatas can take a bit of fresh ginger mixed with salt and lemon before a meal; pittas can take gentian or Swedish bitters before eating and include fresh parsley or cilantro in their meals; and kaphas can use a pinch of the spice blend trikatu with about 1/4 teaspoon of honey before their meals.

These practices will give you a foundation of health and well-being that will help you glow from the inside, making you naturally attractive and magnetic.

By: Amber Lynn Vitse

“What is “agni” in Ayurvedic medicine? ”

http://www.remediesmagazine.com/content/web-extra-what-agni-ayurvedic-medicine

 

©Copyright 2012,  By Amber Lynn Vitse  – Remedies For Life Magazine,  September 4, 2012