PTSD Professional Perspective: Healing Mind, Body and Spirit Part 3
Posted Jun 17 2011 6:01am
The last two weeks Keesha Ewers has been giving us daily routines to help heal the mind and body. This week we conclude the series with work for the spirit.
Daily self-massage, or Abhyanga, of the entire body using vata reducing oils like sesame oil or almond oil helps to relax the body and the mind and is considered an important part of the daily Ayurvedic routine. Massage releases a hormone called oxytocin, which is the “happy, nurturing” hormone and precursor to serotonin. A nightly bath in warm water with baking soda, Epsom salts, mineral salts, ginger, and jojoba oil is very soothing and aids a good night’s sleep.
Pancha Karma (or five actions) is an Ayurvedic system employed to remove built-up toxins (or Ama), which can be detected by a thick coating present on the tongue. Pancha karma is a purification process that includes massage, steam, shirodhara, nasya, and bastis, which help reduce anxiety and reset the nervous system. Procedures like shirodhara have a wonderful sedating effect, but should never be performed without medical supervision or without the other pancha karma procedures to support it. You can use medicated oil or ghee (nasya) daily by putting 5 drops in each nostril to remove accumulated doshas in the head, sinuses, and throat. Rub brahmi oil on the soles of your feet and on your scalp at bedtime for a restful, nightmare-free night.
Finally allow yourself to laugh and to cry. Pent up grief and sadness can be washed away with a good cry and is an excellent release for emotions. By the same token, laughter is the best medicine. Even forced laughter can turn into a good belly laugh that will boost the immune system, lower anxiety, and brighten your mood. Try laughter yoga or rent a comedy!
Essential oils and aromatherapy are highly utilized in Ayurvedic medicine as they have a powerful affect on the doshas. Lavender, rose, sandalwood, bergamot, neroli, and chamomile can be used under the nose for emotional crisis, or placed in the nightly bath, used in sesame oil for massage, or placed in a nebulizer to fill the room with their soothing aroma.
The use of color and gemstones in Ayurveda is also widely known. The rose quartz is a heart opener and can reduce fear. Amethyst can be used for protection and smoky quartz is grounding, or vata reducing. Wearing soft, warming colors like orange, yellow, and red will also help to reduce vata and elevate the mood. However, there can be too much of a good thing. Painting your bedroom red, getting red bed sheets, and wearing red everyday will actually create a feeling of hostility; balance is always the key in Ayurveda.
Tarpana, or relationship healing, is an Ayurvedic ritual that is useful for keeping what we want to learn from the people in our lives and leaving behind the painful parts that continue to wound us in the present. Robert Svoboda’s book, Prakriti, contains an excellent, simple tarpana exercise.
The treatment of PTSD from an Ayurvedic perspective takes in the body, mind, and spirit, and is really about changing the mind and how it gets stuck in habitual negative patterns. This ancient science offers a comprehensive list of options and tools for growth and change.
Keesha Ewers, ARNP, Masters of Ayu. Sc., and host of Healthy YOU! Radio program ( www.healthyyouradio.com ) has been in the medical field for over 24 years. After being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis-an incurable disease according to Western medicine-she began exploring alternative modalities, which led her to Ayurvedic medicine and a complete cure.
Keesha is a Certified Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) with a specialty in primary care and family practice (FNP). She has a Master’s degree in Ayurveda, extensive functional medicine education, and has traveled the world studying indigenous ways of healing. She is an herbalist, Reikki Master, trained Shaman, Angel Therapist, certified medium (Doreen Virtue), and yoga teacher.
Join Keesha and her guests live every Wednesday morning at 1 pm Pacific time on KKNW 1150 AM on Healthy YOU! Radio or listen to archived shows direct from the website: www.healthyyouradio.com .
The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. To contribute to ‘Professional Perspective’ contact Michele .