Insight on An Aspect of Ayurveda

We practice Ayurveda techniques at Optimal Wellness, and there is a lot of history behind Ayurveda. Did you know the spice tumeric can be used in this system? This article points out that our skin can benefit from it in many ways. Along with being a great contributor to many entrees, you can now understand how it has medical powers too!

You’ll find it in curries, you’ll find it in salad dressings-you’ll even find it in teas and lattes. Turmeric is right up there with kale as one of the trendiest foods around right now. Turmeric, though, is nothing new-especially not to the South Asian and Middle Eastern communities. As a spice, turmeric is a staple of Indian cuisine, and it’s used as a dye in both foods and fabrics. Ayurvedic healers have also been using turmeric as a medicinal plant for at least 2,500 years.

[Read Related: “Haldi-Doodh Turns Into Hipster Trend with Turmeric Lattes“]

But what is turmeric?

Turmeric is a close relative of the ginger plant. Though native to southern Asia, the plant is now cultivated throughout the world in India, China, Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean. Turmeric has broad, dark green leaves and brilliant pink flowers, but the plant is chiefly prized for its root or rhizome. Initially, the rhizome was used to preserve food.

Archaeologists have discovered traces of turmeric in pots that date back to 2500 BC. Turmeric began to emerge as an important medicine in Ayurvedic healing around 500 B.C. The spice was most commonly used to purify the blood and skin, but it was also used to treat conditions as diverse as epilepsy, diarrhea, and urinary infections. Ayurveda is a traditional healing system that’s still practiced widely throughout India today.  Its name is derived from the Sanskrit words for life (“ayur”) and knowledge (“veda”).

According to Ayurveda, the system has three doshas, or energies, corresponding with human physiological systems. Vata is aligned with the nervous system, pitta with the digestive system, and kapha with the lymphatic system. Only when these three energies coexist harmoniously will a person enjoy good health.

Turmeric plays a reoccurring role within this system. Powdered turmeric was frequently used as an insect repellant. Turmeric pastes were used to alleviate skin conditions like eczema, ringworm, and other parasitic skin conditions. Turmeric juice applied topically was believed to help heal wounds, and turmeric poultices were applied to help relieve the swelling and pain associated with ankle sprains. A popular cold remedy consisted of milk simmered with turmeric and sugar.


Turmeric was also used in Ayurvedic beauty routines. For centuries, Indian brides owed their glowing complexions on their wedding days to the use of a traditional Ayurveda turmeric facial mask. Many of these routines-both medicinal and topical-are still practiced in India.

In fact, the multi-faceted uses for turmeric are being acknowledged and applied the world over with so many modern day studies with scientific data supporting its power. Modern day scientists have identified a number of chemical compounds in the turmeric rhizome, many of which have powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. For example, curcumin is a chemical that blocks an enzyme called cyclooxygenase-2, which appears to be implicated in the growth of many types of tumors.

Animal studies have shown that curcumin may successfully block the development of skin cancers and also appears to inhibit the spread of certain types of breast cancer. Research also indicates that curcumin may have some benefit for patients affected by Alzheimer’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and hemorrhagic strokes.

Turmeric proves that many ancient remedies have a lot to contribute to modern medical science.

Turmeric is more than just a food fad. Using it on a regular basis may be able to improve your health and help you look better.


Take Time to Relax

There are certain techniques that are excellent for relaxation. If you feel stressed or anxious you might need to take a step back from your everyday activities and truly relax the right way. This article points out how your body can benefit from relaxation too. Using these tips along with getting services done like massage will help you to feel more calm and centered!

Everyone experiences stress in one form or another, but the way that it affects each person differs. Some people may need to reduce their stress, and relaxation techniques are one option for doing this.

In stressful episodes, the nervous system is forced into a “fight or flight” response. This response triggers the release of certain chemicals within the body, including adrenaline, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine.

During this release of chemicals, the body is immediately affected by many physical symptoms. These symptoms include an elevated heart rate, increased respiratory rate, blood vessel narrowing, and muscle tightening. The long-term presence of stress can weaken the body.

Using relaxation techniques to reduce the physical response to stress may aid in producing the “relaxation response.” During this period of deep relaxation, the body can experience the following:

  • A fall in heart and breathing rates
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Improved energy and focus
  • Pain relief and healing

When are relaxation techniques used?

As everyone experiences stress differently and with varied symptoms, finding the relaxation method that works for the individual is important.

People should be sure to find what works for them so that they can stick to a relaxation program with ease. It is important to be able to add relaxation into a daily routine to keep stress levels under control.

Relaxation techniques can be used in a variety of stressful conditions such as:

There are certain conditions for which relaxation techniques may prove helpful. These conditions include:

  • Childbirth: Guided imagery, self-hypnosis, progressive muscle relaxation, and breathing techniques may help with reducing the pain experienced during labor.
  • Depression: Relaxation techniques have not been proven to be as helpful as cognitive behavioral therapy in treating depression. However, studies report that people with depression who use relaxation techniques experience more symptom relief compared with people receiving no treatment.
  • Heart disease: The use of relaxation techniques has proven to have short-term benefits in people with high blood pressure.
  • Insomnia: People with long-term insomnia may benefit from practicing relaxation techniques, coupled with proper sleep hygiene and other sleep-related strategies.
  • Nausea: For those undergoing cancer chemotherapy and using antinausea medications, some relaxation techniques like guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation may offer symptom relief.

Anxiety and relaxation techniques

A reduction in anxiety related to health problems or medical procedures can be attributed to the use of relaxation techniques. However, researchers have yet to prove that people with generalized anxiety disorder benefit from the use of relaxation techniques.

Older adults with anxiety do benefit from relaxation techniques. Again though, research shows that in this group, the long-term effects of anxiety reduction are best in those who receive cognitive behavioral therapy.

Medical News Today spoke with Board Certified Art Therapist and Mental Health Counselor, Deb Smith, about the use of relaxation techniques in treating general anxiety disorder.

“For those suffering with general anxiety disorder, the use of relaxation techniques coupled with cognitive behavioral therapy may prove beneficial. At times, patients may require the use of anti-anxiety medications, which can be prescribed by psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and general practice physicians.”

Deb Smith

Examples of relaxation techniques

There are a variety of relaxation techniques which can be used for certain medical problems or health issues. Examples include the following:

  • Autogenic training: This method of relaxation focuses on concentrating on physical body sensations, including warmth, heaviness, and relaxation throughout the whole body.
  • Biofeedback-assisted relaxation: Relaxation is taught by using electronic devices to provide body function measurements.
  • Deep breathing or breathing exercises: This method of relaxation focuses on deep, slow, even breaths that can be used alone or in combination with other techniques.
  • Guided imagery: Also referred to as visualization. Guided imagery focuses on replacing negative feelings with positive, pleasant images, touches, smells, tastes, and sounds.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: This method of relaxation requires the ordered tensing and release of muscle groups. It may be used in combination with other methods of relaxation.
  • Self-hypnosis: During self-hypnosis, relaxation is enabled through a state of focused attention.
  • Rhythmic movement: Mindful physical activity, such as running, swimming, or dancing leads to a relaxation response by the person both engaging in their activity and being fully present in the moment.
  • Body scan meditation: This relaxation technique requires paying close attention to and focusing on the sensations felt in various parts of the body.
  • Mindful meditation: During mindful meditation, people are encouraged to be in the present, which can be achieved through daily activities such as meditating, eating, or walking.
  • Yoga and Tai Chi: While yoga uses a series of movements and poses, Tai Chi uses rhythmic, flowing body movements. Both are used as relaxation methods.
  • Massage therapy: Massage therapy, either through self-massage or with a massage therapist, can relieve stress, pain, and muscle tension.

Benefits of using relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques offer many benefits, such as:

  • Lower heart rate, blood pressure, or breathing rate
  • Reduced stress hormones
  • Raised blood flow in major muscles
  • Relief of muscle tension and pain
  • Improved mood, concentration, and confidence
  • Reduced tiredness, anger, and frustration

Considerations for using relaxation techniques

For most healthy people, there are no risks involved with using relaxation techniques.

Increased anxiety, intrusive thoughts, or fear of losing control have been reported. Additional concerns include the possible worsening of symptoms linked with certain medical conditions such as epilepsy and certain psychiatric conditions.

People should speak with their healthcare provider before starting any program for relaxation, especially those with heart disease.

Helpful tips

Below are some helpful tips to aid in practicing relaxation techniques:

  • Schedule daily practice
  • Practice mindfulness with exercise
  • Avoid practicing relaxation techniques when tired
  • Don’t be discouraged during the process