Part One of this series on keeping your joints healthy with Ayurveda focused on Vata type of joint pain. Moving on to Pitta type, I'm sure many of you will identify with this category because almost every joint or muscle injury results in the Pitta type of pain. The pain may or may not become chronic, but certainly in the initial stage following an injury, Pitta rules and causes swelling and inflammation. Let's discuss how to diagnose this type and then how to treat it.
Pitta is the fire principle, and it's qualities are hot and sharp. Pitta type of joint pain manifests as a fixed, stabbing kind of pain. Pitta pain is easy to recognize because there will be inflammation. Often the affected area will feel warm to the touch. The sore spot may look reddish and swollen because of the excess of fire and water elements. Ice packs and cool weather make Pitta joint pain feel better, while heat makes it worse.
While Pitta type of joint pain is most common immediately following an injury because of the initial inflammation, chronic Pitta in the joints is more likely to occur in people of Pitta constitution or excess Pitta imbalance. People who tend to run hot, who get angry or frustrated easily, and who endure a lot of stress are candidates for this type.
Ayurveda recommends a Pitta soothing diet to treat this type of joint pain. Spicy, acidic, and greasy foods should all be avoided to cool the systemic Pitta heat that is lodged in the joints. Alcohol and coffee also tend to aggravate this condition of inflammation. A Pitta soothing diet focuses on cooling foods such as leafy greens, cucumber, watermelon, coconut, raw dairy products, whole grains and sea vegetables. For the complete food list for a Pitta soothing diet, click on the "Food Guidelines" link .
is the traditional Ayurvedic herbal formula for reducing Pitta in the joints and muscles. The Ayurvedic herbs in this formula detoxify and also strengthen the musculoskeletal system and cool the excess heat caused by Pitta. Guggulu is used to cleanse the blood and penetrate to the deep tissue levels as in other joint formulas.
For external application, both and also Pitta massage oil are excellent. Mahanarayan oil acts as an analgesic to stop the pain and as an anti-inflammatory, and so is effective for all types of pain. This Pitta massage oil contains herbs that help to actually cool the Pitta lodged in the tissue. This oil should not be heated before using, as I recommended for the Vata oil in Part one.
Next week we'll look at both the Kapha type of joint pain as well as what is called Ama type. Ama means toxins in Sanskrit, and in the case of rheumatoid arthritis there is actually Ama lodged in the joints that needs to be cleansed for the pain to be relieved. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!
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