If you're looking for a natural alternative to help you achieve your weight loss goals, Ayurvedic massage, one element of Ayurvedic medicine, may be the solution. Ayurvedic medicine, also known as Ayurveda, means "the science of life" and it originated in India. Ayurveda is one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world. Though used as the primary medical system in some parts of the world, Ayurveda is categorized as "complementary and alternative medicine" in the United States and is not a substitute for conventional medicine.
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According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, over 200,000 Americans had used Ayurvedic medicine in the previous year. Ayurveda aims to bring the entire person back into harmony. Ayurveda does not have a one size fits all weight loss treatment. The unique aspect of this medicine and Ayurvedic massage is that each treatment is custom tailored to the individual needs of the patient as determined by the treating practitioner.
It is difficult to separate Ayurvedic massage from Ayurveda. Any Ayurvedic treatment will include advice and cooperation from the patient regarding diet, lifestyle changes and herbal treatments. Ayurveda and Ayurvedic massage are in no way meant to be a rapid weight loss plan. Your therapist may also suggest earlier bedtimes, yoga, meditation, exercise and stress management. Ayurveda maintains that only long-term lifestyle changes can bring the body into balance and provide lasting health and long term weight loss success.
Ayurveda and Excess Weight
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an alarming number of Americans are overweight. Unfortunately that number is increasing every year even among children. Ayurveda considers excess weight as a body imbalance.
Ayurveda teaches that individuals fall into three body types base on the elements pitta, or fire and water; vata, or ether and air; and kapha, or water and earth. An individual can also be a combination of two elements. Based on this combination, people will have different strengths and weaknesses that will manifest in their health. For example, kapha types are usually overweight, pitta types are usually medium in frame but can suffer from poor digestion, and vata types are usually thin and have difficulty absorbing nutrients from their food.
Ayurvedic massage is best combined with other lifestyle and diet modifications based on your specific body type. Only your practitioner can determine your element and treatment needs. Your full body massage will focus on eliminating impurities by stimulating the digestive and respiratory systems in order to improve immunity, decrease stress and increase harmony of your body and mind.
Plants are used in Ayurvedic massage for panchakarma, the process of helping the body to eliminate toxins or ama. Ama is undigested food or toxins that remain in the body and cause weight gain. Ayurvedic massage removes ama using specific plant-based oils designed for your body type and imbalance. Other techniques such as enemas, nasal sprays, or herbal remedies may also be suggested to complement your massage.
A study by The Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy and Colorado University showed a panchakarma treatment to eliminate up to 50% of the detectable toxins in the blood. More research is needed to confirm the safety and efficacy of Ayurvedic massage.
Ask your doctor before beginning any weight-loss regimen that includes Ayurvedic massage. Certain pre-existing conditions and prescription medications may make Ayurveda an unsafe treatment option for you. Only your doctor can make these determinations. It is best to see a licensed and experienced Ayurveda massage therapist than to risk injury. While individuals properly trained and licensed in Ayurveda may provide effective care for your condition, it is in no way a substitute for the health care provided by your doctor.
Ayurvedic massage is not a substitute for the care your doctor provides or a quick weight loss technique. Conventional and complementary physicians and practitioners agree that the safest and most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is a permanent, healthy lifestyle change. This lifestyle modification should include a healthy diet, exercise and stress management techniques. Ayurvedic massage may be an excellent complement your weight loss regimen, but should always be performed in a professional setting and periodically monitored by your doctor.