Owing to the stresses of modern-day living, many of us have started to feel the aches and pains of old age creep up upon us even as we cross forty. It may be easier to be ‘resigned to one’s fate’ by saying that we’ll just have to live with it, or to just grin and bear it.
Nothing could be farther from the truth – we actually can reverse these ‘signs’ of old age that tend to take us unaware, by making small incremental shifts in lifestyle that are in tune with certain proven ayurvedic principles and practices.
A lot of importance has always been given to the care of the elderly in Ayurveda, which is the traditional Indian form of health care. Vridhopacharaneeyam is the term used in Ayurveda for geriatric care. The basic premise of ayurvedic treatment is that the body is made of seven elements or dhatus: rasa or lymph, rakta or blood, mamsa or flesh, medasor fat, asthi or bone, majja or marrow and sukla or sperm. All of these seven elements have to be maintained in perfect sync in order for one to enjoy uninterrupted good health well into one’s old age.
As the natural course of things is for the body cells to go through the cycle of growth followed by ageing or degeneration, we have to take steps to slow down the ageing process, and to maintain and rejuvenate the tissues if we are to remain strong and healthy for an extended period of time.
One of the basic tenets in ayurvedic care is to lead a regulated lifestyle devoid of stress, and to consume food in moderation. This would automatically mean that you should maintain regular timings for food, sleep and other daily activities which would include a reasonable amount of physical activity as well. It would also mean that you get out of the old habit of getting angry or frustrated when things don’t go the way you want them to. There is absolutely no point in flying into a rage when someone almost rams into your car while you’re driving. Just remember that our city roads and traffic control are really pathetic and that crazy driver didn’t have the benefit of your education or family background, so he may be excused. This in itself can ensure good health and a prolonged life span for most of us.
For those who have some age-related afflictions, one of the common therapies is Abhayangam in which the body is massaged using gingerly oil. This is excellent for preserving the eyesight and helps overcome the greying of hair, relaxes muscle spasms, and helps to rid one of fatigue and rheumatic ailments to a great extent.
Other treatments in Ayurveda include nasyam, njavarakizlii, elakizhi, vasthi, and sirovasthiwhich help to cure most of the age-related ailments. Pizhichil and njavarakizhi in particular help rejuvenate and energise. Sirodhara as the name signifies, helps nourish the head –this form of therapy focuses on bringing about harmony of the mind, body and intellect. In many cases a combination of therapies may be prescribed. It’s vital that you take Ayurvedic treatment from a reputed institution or practitioner to get the most out of this ancient form of therapy. Yoga and pranayama also go a long way to ensuring improved and continued life of good health.