Saturday, 8 September 2007

The Healing Bath: Bathing In The Ancient World

Author: Unknown

People find different ways to beat back the blues. Some listen to music, others seek solace in natural beauty, and still others comfort themselves with food. And then there are those who simply take a bath. It cleanses their body, they say, and lifts their spirits every time.

Ayurveda, too, sees bathing as a therapeutic activity. A leisurely bath relaxes tense muscles, irons out a creased brow, opens clogged pores, restores moisture to the tissues, and adds a healing dimension to your day.

If preceded by a luxurious all-body massage, your bath can be a truly divine experience.

Bathing in the Ancient World
Bathing has always been accorded the status of an intimate, sacred activity in Indian life. During their explorations of ancient India’s Indus Valley Civilization in Mohenjo Daro, archaeologists unearthed a large pool-like structure with steps leading down at both ends. This is believed to have been a public bath. In addition, homes in this surprisingly advanced civilization had their own private baths and an elaborate drainage system.

Not just India, but several other world cultures have treated the bath as a healing activity. In ancient Greece, water was regarded as a gift of health from the gods themselves. In Rome, ruins of hot and cold sunken baths can still be seen at Pompeii. Napoleon’s wife Josephine Bonaparte’s bathtub is said to retain its musk perfume, more than 150 years after it was built.

Bathing as luxury
As the world discovered the comfort and pleasure a bath could bring, new ways were found to make it a luxurious experience. Ancient ayurvedic texts speak of royal baths featuring rose petals, milk, honey, and turmeric. The Roman baths at Pompeii were resplendent with mirrors, marbled walls, and silver faucets. Mary, Queen of Scots, used wine in her bath.

Today, of course, we have an amazing range of bath accessories to choose from. Put together, bath sponges, loofahs, pillows, salts, and lotions can make even the simplest bathroom resemble a beauty boutique.

But there’s great news for those who don’t believe in or cannot afford such indulgence. A truly luxurious bath that leaves you feeling like a million dollars can be part of your daily routine-all you need is a good-quality herbalized massage oil, some paper towels, and a mild herb-based soap.

That Million-Dollar Feeling

The ayurvedic daily self-massage is called Abhyanga. It does a number of things to make you feel great. Massage helps to release impurities and toxins that accumulate in the skin.

It endows you with energy.

It calms the emotions.

It helps you think clearly and stay focused. It placates Vata dosha, which in turn helps calm the other doshas-Pitta and Kapha.

Massage moisturizes and strengthens the seven types of body tissue.

Eight powerful steps to be healthy

Publication: Ayurveda AHC
Author: Dr. Jayashree Nataraj

One who follows these eight powerful steps, will lead a quality life and keeps the diseases at a distance.

Hitha ahara- consuming food which is congenial to the constitutions, adequate for the age, appropriate for the balanced state of doshas and dhatus. Suitable combined, processed, and consumed in a pleasant atmosphere.

Hitha vihara- Physical exercise to keep the body fit, exercises should be selected according to the age, profession, constitution, and season.

Samikshyakari- an attitude with which one can analyze and discriminate between the beneficial or non beneficial - is the basic requisite either to select a food or an activity, even more so the thoughts.

Vishyeshvasakthah- achieving anything is the desire of the sensory organs. When this desire becomes an ambition/greed, the stress is more both physically and mentally, and becomes the cause for disease. Thus, to be healthy one needs to have control over the senses.

Datha- willingness to share helps in keeping away from self-centeredness, and improves social health.

Samaha- treating every one equally without any prejudice. This brings in social well-being.

Sathyaparah- Truthfulness keeps the individual relaxed.
Apthopasevi ?caring for others. Serving friends (who are our guides, philosophers and well-wishers).

As diseases are caused by psychosomatic reasons, these eight steps shall have the impact on all the components of one’s health.

Prakkruti According to Date of Birth

Publication: Ayurveda AHC
Author: Suyog Dandekar

To achieve of our aims in life it is necessary that our body remains healthy. For this we need to know about food habits, environment, rest, sleep, exercise and vices. In the same way we also need to know how our basic prakruti is formed. means from the time of conception when the fetus grows in the mother?s womb to the time the body dies, everything in nature affects the body. The mother is nurtured by the food and water present in nature and the fetus is nurtured by the blood formed from that food so what is consumed in those months as well as environment then plays a major role in the formation of the fetus.

Conception takes place by fusion of the male sperm and female egg 9 months before birth. It is at this time that PRAKRUTI of that person is determined and later on in 7 months rasa rakta etc 7 dhatus are formed.

If we look at this retrospectively and see which dhatu is formed in which month the treatment part becomes easier. For this we have made a chart to explain it in a better way.

E.g. suppose a person is born in January we can see from the flow chart which Dhatu has been developed in every month and so we can decide how each Dhatu is to be treated.

There is one more method by which we classifying PRAKRUTI according to the birth date ?
1) KASHAR DHARMI - (Hot) (Alkaline)
2) AMLA DHARMI - (Acidic)
3) SAMA DHARMI - Neutral Prakruti.

Overall, people who are born in between 15th Nov. to 15th Feb. are conceived in the summer i.e. hot season so these people are known to have SHAR PRAKRUTI. Our body often craves for what is deficient so people with Kshar Prakruti often like cold or mild things like milk, ghee, rice and tend to consume them more.

People born in between 15th Feb to 15th June are often conceived in the rainy season and have AMLA PRAKRUTI. These people suffer from hyperacidity and reflux disease. These people crave for hot spicy food. They like to eat hot food.

People born in between 15th June to 15th November are often conceived in winter and such people have neutral or Sama Prakruti. These people like sweet as well as spicy food.

A good understanding of nature and keen observation goes a long way in treating diseases.

Suppose a person is born at the end of May. His conception has occurred in September. This is the month for formation of Rasa dhatu. In this month it rains form time to time. It increases the dilution of the Rasa dhatu. At the end of the 1st month of fetus acquires a solid shape.

The 2nd month is October. This month has hot days and cool nights. It increases the heat and in turn the pitta dosh. In this month the Aagasthi star rises in the sky. The acidity of the rainy season is gone and the water becomes pure and crystal clear. Nature is bountiful because of the recent rains and in this month the Rakta dhatu is formed. Organs like the liver spleen and intestines are fomed.

Because the water contains no impurities and is very pure Ayurvedic medicines are prepared in this month.

In November the sun starts its course to the south ? i.e. DAKSHINAYANA. It is the time when the cool rays of the moon are very powerful and it is the beginning of winter. Cool breeze starts blowing and people tend to remain healthy. Their apetite increases and the muscles i.e. MANS DHATU develop in this month e.g. the heart.

In December the Kapha dosha increases and so does its properties. Natural strength of the body increases and MEDA dhatu develops in this month forming tendons and nerves. The kidney develop from the Meda Dhatu. From the 4th month towards pregnant woman starts craving for certain food apetite increases and the fetus develops nicely.

(ASTI DHATU) Bone formation takes place in the month of January and the bones start becoming strong (asthi).

The 6th dhatu majja develops in February. Because of the properties of Kapha the majja dhatu is nourished and memory, intelligence etc increase.

In the seventh month the extract of all Dhatus shukra is formed i.e. Oja in March. The properties of Kapha and shukra being similar the Kaph which is in the body becomes liquid because of the heat and good quality Shukra dhatu is formed.

In the eighth month the ?oja? is intermittently in the fetus and the mother?s body. So either of the two live if the delivery takes place in the eighth month.

After birth the child is taken care of by the parents till he understands what is good for him.

If proper steps and proper care is taken before conception occurs we can give rise to a newer generation that is healthy. To achieve this the male sperm and female egg are overall needs to be of good quality. The signs of this is given in Ayurveda. The parents should get themselves examined from a Vaidya before planning to have a issue and plan so that the abnormalities of the parents do not affect the baby and conceive in the given month as advised.