Whether you're a yogi, an athlete or a couch potato, it's likely that you occasionally suffer from some type of joint pain. Joint pain is so common that sales of the best-selling natural remedy for joint pain, glucosamine/chondroitin, are estimated at $2 billion! I'm happy that helps some people, but I find the traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulas and oils for joint health to be more effective and more healing of the root condition. Here's Part 1 of the Ayurvedic breakdown of the different types of joint pain so you can determine which one you have and what you can do to keep your joints in optimal condition. Part 1 will cover Vata type, while Parts 2 and 3 will cover Pitta and Kapha types.
Vata is the wind principle and its qualities are mobile, dry, cold, and rough. Vata manifests in the joints as dull pain that moves around and comes and goes. Vata in the joints produces cracking and popping sounds because of the dryness in the synovial fluid and the increase in air and space elements. Vata joint pain improves in warm, humid weather and gets worse in cold, dry, or windy climates.
While people who are of Vata constitution are more prone to this type of joint pain, anyone with a Vata imbalance may suffer from this type. People over 60, which is Vata stage of life, almost always have this type. Also people who live in Vata climates, like our dry, high-altitude climate here in Santa Fe, usually suffer from this type. People who lead a Vata aggravating lifestyle, with a lot of stress, caffeine (which is dehydrating), travel, and too little sleep, also tend to experience Vata type of joint pain.
Ayurveda recommends following a Vata soothing diet to reduce Vata in the joints. For this specific condition, raw vegetables and dried fruits should be kept to a minimum, and iced drinks should be avoided altogether. Popcorn and white potatoes should be eliminated, and the focus should be on warm, steamed vegetables, whole grains, and raw dairy products. Ghee and healthy oils such as olive, coconut, and sesame should be used liberally to produce more lubrication in the internal joint spaces and connective tissue. Nuts and spices are good, while stimulants such as sugar and caffeine should be avoided. For a complete Vata food list according to Ayurvedic guidelines, click on the "Food Guidelines" link here .
is the traditional Ayurvedic herbal formula for Vata in the joints and muscles. This remedy removes Vata from the joints and also strengthens the connective tissue. Guggulu is a tree resin that has been used for thousands of years to detoxify and rejuvenate the blood and the digestive system. It has the ability to penetrate deep into the tissues, so when combined with the other herbs in Yogaraj Guggulu it is able to target the internal joint spaces for healing.
External application of the correct type of Ayurvedic oil will actually promote internal lubrication of the connective tissue and muscles. Ashwagandha and bala are two Ayurvedic herbs that not only pacify Vata, but also serve to strengthen and build. should be heated up slightly and then massaged into the joints where there is pain. You can do this before the shower or bath, or before or after exercise. People experience a tremendous amount of relief from using this powerful oil.
Next week I'll discuss Pitta type of joint pain and its treatment. The following week I'll describe Kapha type. If you have any questions about which type you have or how to treat it, please leave a comment below. In case it isn't obvious, you can click on the highlighted links above to purchase the Ayurvedic products I recommend from the highest quality source. Look for Parts 2 and 3 of the Ayurvedic treatment of joint pain coming up in the next few weeks!