Why Ayurveda Works For Stress Reduction In HSPs

As a highly sensitive person, I experience a lot of stress.

Most highly sensitive people do.

It is not a choice. Our nervous systems are sponges for the stimulus around us.

We become flooded and overwhelmed. If we are not careful we can drown and become unable to function.

Stress Reduction: A Necessity For Highly Sensitive People

Stress reduction is as much a necessity for highly sensitive people as air is for everyone. We simply cannot live without it.

When the pace of the world was slower, highly sensitive people could manage the stresses of their nervous systems better. Now that there is so much activity in our social space, the challenge of stress reduction for highly sensitive people has become more difficult and even acute.

Highly sensitive people require:

  • the opportunity to process whatever they take in
  • rest when their nervous systems are overtaxed
  • a lifestyle that supports their stress reduction requirements
  • work that supports their health and quality of life.

How Stress Reduction Problems Become Worse

Highly sensitive people can suffer more when their lifestyles do not support their needs or make their health challenges worse.

The demands of being highly sensitive require that we commit a certain amount of our energy to it. When our energy is too low or diverted elsewhere, then we will suffer and most likely become sick.

The following can make it more difficult for us to handle our sensitive natures:

  1. water, air, and noise pollution
  2. processes food
  3. food with additives
  4. GMO foods
  5. leftover foods
  6. fried and fermented foods
  7. meat which is harder to digest than other foods
  8. staying up too late
  9. lack of exercise
  10. an irregular schedule which will upset the nervous system
  11. work that is too high pressure or too much drudgery
  12. relationships that are unsupportive, competitive or demanding

Much of the modern Western lifestyle is aggravating to highly sensitive people. It is not a fault of highly sensitive people but is is a reality we have to deal with.

Why Ayurveda Makes Stress Reduction Easier For Highly Sensitive People

There are so many challenges in modern life that make life hard for highly sensitive people.

I have tried many different methods to become healthier including juicing, vitamins, supplements of various kinds, meditation, Ayurveda, reiki, affirmations and the Sedona Method. I have read many books about health and well being.

I have discovered that most methods are a form of “managing the symptoms.” I did not just want to manage symptoms. I wanted to be healthy.

Being healthy is a different goal than not having symptoms of illness. I have learned that few approaches really get the job done.

Only one that I have found has really helped me to become well and that is Ayurveda.

Why Ayurveda Works For Stress Reduction In Highly Sensitive People

As a highly sensitive person, I need to simplify whenever I can.

Health can be complicated since we are complex beings – particularly if you are highly sensitive.

Ayurveda is the one discipline that actually lets me simplify my health regimen because

  • it is a group of health practices customized to support the highest well being of each individual
  • it is holistic and total.
  • it offers a set of daily practices that let me be at my best
  • its diet strategies ensure that the problems of food in our current world are not my problem
  • TM, the Ayurvedic meditation practice is easy. It relieves stress, heals the nervous system and supports the higher self. I have been doing it for almost 20 years and love it..
  • Ayurveda has a magnificent understanding of food and herbs. Their herbal remedies have helped me immensely.

There is a lot to learn in Ayurveda. Frankly I consider myself a student and always will.

Implementing Ayurveda

I have been integrating Ayurveda into my life slowly over time. I have noticed, however, that the more I do the less I am affected by stress.

I use the following Ayurvedic practices:

  • TM has been especially helpful since I find I am less affected by drama around me after practicing TM for so long. I have been told that it works on the nervous system and heals it, which I have found to be the case.
  • I find that the daily schedule has helped me reduce stress. I like to go to bed around 9PM and rise between 5-6AM.
  • I also like the daily massage, called Abhyangha. It is self massage using oil. It helps with detoxification and stress reduction.
  • the diet is very soothing. When you eat food that is wrong for you, it creates stress in the body. The digestive system becomes weaker and toxins build up in the body. The Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle work to prevent that outcome.
  • There are times when I have had difficulty maintaining the diet for schedule reasons. I have however, maintained a regimen of herbal remedies that support me and help me detox in spite of dietary lapses. The two herbs that I use religiously are triphala and neem.
  • Ayurveda offers herbs for stress. Ashwaghandha is the best known and I take it for stress relief.

I highly recommend Ayurveda for highly sensitive people for relieving stress and putting themselves onto a path that can work to achieve quality of life: something we deserve.

I believe that it is better to put your effort into becoming adept at a health system that eliminates problems that to continually try to fix that which does not work. Micromanaging health symptoms is not the same as becoming healthy.

The best book for learning about Ayurveda as a beginner is Deepak Chopra’s book, Perfect Health. It is a very accessible introduction to an old and skillful health tradition.

I love Ayurveda and hope you will give it a try.

17 Bitter Foods For Cleansing

The American diet is unbalanced.  It consists of predominantly sweet and sour foods according to MAPI, the Ayurveda health center in Iowa.  As a result, our bodies are unbalanced and we often feel sluggish and unwell.

Bitter foods promote a natural cleansing of the body.  By including some of the bitter taste in our diet, whether in specific foods or herbs like turmeric we are cleansing our bodies each day.

The Six Tastes For Each Body Type

Ayurveda recommends that we include all six tastes in our diets: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent. Although we need to have some of each taste for balance and to avoid cravings, each body type needs more of some tastes and less of others.

The balancing tastes for each body type are as follows:

Vata body type (thin build): sweet, sour and salty

Pitta body type (medium build): sweet, bitter and pungent

Kapha body type (heavyset build): bitter, pungent and astringent.

A healthy diet for each body type would focus primarily on foods that balance them, but ensuring that the other tastes are represented through spices and seasonings.

What Bitter Foods Do For You

Bitter foods as you can see from above are important for people with medium and heavy builds.  They are less critical for people who are thin.

So what does the bitter taste do for you? According to well known Ayurvedic doctor  Vasant Lad,

  • the bitter taste is anti-toxic. It is antibacterial and antiviral so it helps with cleansing the body
  • the bitter taste kills germs
  • the bitter taste relieves burning and itching sensations and helps with skin disorders
  • the bitter  taste reduces fever
  • the bitter taste improves the firmness of the skin and muscles
  • the bitter taste helps digestion and relieves intestinal gas.
  • the bitter taste dries the system and reduces fat, bone marrow and elimination.
The bitter taste also affects our emotional and mental state. It causes us to withdraw from worldly concerns and become more introspective and less attached. Too much bitter taste can lead to aversion and cynicism.

Bitter Food List

The following is a list of 17 bitter foods:

Jerusalem artichoke

bitter melon

burdock root

dandelion greens

eggplant

kale

sesame seeds

castor oil

sesame oil

chocolate

dill

cumin

fenugreek

neem leaves

saffron

turmeric

coffee

The Bitter Taste And HSP’s

Bitter foods are a great way to naturally cleanse the body.  However, in excess it can lead to increased isolation which HSP’s do not need.  Therefore unless you are on a weight loss diet which bitter foods can help, eating the bitter taste through herbs and spices may be most helpful.

Why Food Is Medicine: The Secret Of The Six Tastes Of Ayurveda

Have you ever questioned your relationship with food?

Do you ever wonder why we humans seem to be so unhealthy?

Most people eat to avoid hunger, because the food tastes good, for social reasons or to deal with difficult feelings.

The most important function of foods, however, is the one we have lost touch with. Foods are medicine.

Why Food Is Medicine

When I say that foods are medicine, I mean that food sustains our life force or diminishes it, depending on what we eat, when we eat and the quality of the food. Food is the single greatest source of nourishment for our life force that we have. So poor food choices are a major factor in creating illness in our bodies.

Modern medicine does not give food the attention it deserves as a factor in our health. Food is not just something to put in our stomachs so it does not growl. Food is not just for fun, something to tickle the taste buds. Do you think that hospital food is helping you become healthy or increasing illness in your body?

How To Know Which Food Is Right For Us

Ayurveda has catalogued all foods so that we have the knowledge of which foods help us be healthy and at our best. It starts with the understanding that foods are primarily medicine. One way to start understanding how food is medicine is to start with the Ayuvedic concept of six tastes.

The six tastes are a recognition of the subtle energies of foods and how they impact the subtle energies of each person’s bioenergy or dosha. This is the information we need to select the foods that are best for our bodies. Ayurveda is as customized an approach to health as exists in the world. By understanding the subtle energies of foods, Ayurveda knows how to help an individual achieve optimum health.

According to Dr, Vasant Lad, an eminent Ayurvedic physician and teacher, Ayurveda has an integrated view of foods. Many century ago, it started its knowledge gathering by investigating and cataloguing the qualities that each food has. This information was used to understand the six tastes of food which are tailored to each body type to create healthy eating.  There are 20 or 10 pairs of opposites:

  1. heavy or light
  2. oily or dry
  3. stable or mobile
  4. slimy or rough
  5. gross or subtle
  6. cold or hot
  7. slow or sharp
  8. soft or hard
  9. dense or liquid
  10. cloudy or clear

The Six Tastes And Why They Matter

Each food has certain qualities. These qualities have an affect on the doshas or bioenergies. What that means is that food affects not only the body but the mind and emotions as well since the doshas are holistic and include the mind and emotions as well as our physical constitutions.The six tastes are:

  1. sweet:  has the qualities of oily, cooling and heavy. In moderation it promotes a strong body and good health.  In excess, it increases congestion including colds, diabetes, obesity and tumors.
  2. sour: has the qualities of liquid, light, heating and oily.  In moderation, it is invigorating, and good for the digestive system.  In excess, it creates excessive acidity, heartburn, ulcers and various skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema.
  3. salty: has oily, heavy and heating qualities. In moderation it promotes growth and maintains water electrolyte balance.  It improves digestion and elimination and is so strong that it can overwhelm the other tastes.  In excess, it thickens the blood, and causes hypertension and aggravates skin conditions.
  4. pungent: has the qualities light, drying and heating.  In moderation, it helps digestion, and clears the mouth and sinuses.  It improves circulation and breaks up clots.  It removes obstructions and helps perception.  In excess it causes sexual debility, overheating, diarrhea, heartburn and nausea. In vata dosha, it causes giddiness tremors, insomnia which HSP’s need to be concerned about.
  5. bitter: has the qualities of cool, light and dry.  In moderation, it is anti-toxic, so it relieves heating conditions, skin diseases, and reduces fat.  In excess, depletes the various elements of the body including muscles, bones, and marrow and creates weariness.
  6. astringent: has the qualities of cooling, drying and heaviness. In moderation, it absorbs water, heals ulcers and causes clotting. In excess it can lead to neuromuscular disorders which HSP’s need to be concerned with, increases constipation, and circulatory issues.

This is a short overview of the qualities in food and how they affect the body. HSP’s can benefit from the Ayurvedic approach to food since it enables them to be more precise in their food choices and minimize inadvertent health problems caused from eating the wrong food.

The attributes and qualities of food affect the taste and the tastes can have a balancing or disturbing effect on an individual. If we are not eating the right foods for our bodies, we may be helping create depression, anxiety and other mood disorders in ourselves. We may make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. We may have trouble digesting the food and therefore become malnourished.

It is so important that we eat the right foods for ourselves in order to be healthy. By understanding our constitution, (see Ayurvedic Healing), and what foods support us, we have a chance to experience great health with little effort.

Note:  Although some of the information comes from my own knowledge, many of the details were taken from the work of Usha Lad and Dr. Vasant Lad: Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing, The Ayurvedic Press, Albuquerque, 1994, 2002, p. 31-37.  His work provides even more detail about the Ayurvedic understanding of food and the elements and is an important book for individuals interested in Ayurveda.

Meditation Increases Self Discipline And Self-Acceptance

You know the drill.  You are sensitive and therefore it is assumed that you are unstable.

And so you get marginalized. After all, sensitivity means you are not tough enough. It means you are unreliable.

NOT SO!

Researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough discovered a link between sensitivity and self-discipline in their study about meditation. The study demonstrated that meditators were more accepting of their emotions which impacted their performance.

The Effect Of Meditation On Emotions

“Willpower … may relate to ‘emotional intelligence’,” said Michael Inzlicht, associate professor of psychology at UTSC. According to the study, meditators were more open to their emotions. This “emotional intelligence” has a strong impact on the ability of an individual to be disciplined on tasks.

When you meditate, and I am speaking from my 15+ years of experience with Transcendental Meditation, thoughts come and go. You do not attach to them. Sometimes they subside or stop. There is a flow to thoughts and feelings and the more you let the flow happen, the less likely you are to see them as part of your identity.

When you detach your identity from your thoughts and emotions, it is easier to accept them as part of the flow of life. You then take thoughts and emotions less personally and you become emotionally freer. Meditation promotes emotional freedom so that you can apply your energy to a task and stay with it because your emotions are not getting in the way so much.

Emotional Acceptance Trumps Mindful Awareness

According to the article, ” the researchers asked participants about their experience meditating, and gave tests that measured how mindful they were of the present moment, and also how aware and accepting they were of their emotions.

The researchers then hooked up participants to an electroencephalograph and gave them something called the Stroop test. In the test, participants are shown the name of a color written in letters of a different color – for instance, the word “red” spelled in green letters. Participants are asked to say the colour of the letters. The test requires them to suppress the tendency to read the word, and instead to concentrate on actual colors.

Meditators were generally better than non-meditators at the test… Looking further, the researchers found that the best performers were those who scored highest on emotional acceptance, and that mindful awareness – the more cognitive aspect of mindfulness ­– had less to do with success on the test. ”

Implications For Highly Sensitive People

Being highly sensitive means being aware of emotions. You cannot escape them. Being in touch with your emotions can be overwhelming and you quickly discover that you cannot respond to each one.

Although you have to process your feelings and make the wisest action choices that you can make, if you see them as part of the flow of life it will be easier to do so.

Whether you meditate or not, over time the practice of processing feelings and making decisions can become a practice that helps you develop both wisdom and self-discipline.

That is quite a gift from the supposed problem of being highly sensitive.

Add Love To Your Life With Abhyanga Daily Oil Massage

The good news is that you do not need an elephant to have a great massage.

Massage is actually something that you can do for yourself every day.

The massage I am referring to is an oil massage which feels luxurious – like a dose of love – and detoxes as well.

Abhyanga

One of the most valued daily health practices in Ayurveda is oil massage called abhyanga.

Abhyanga, the Sanskrit word for oil, is the practice of pouring herbal oil on the body and massaging the oil into the body to help restore and maintain balance. It is a daily massage practice for promoting general health or it can be part of the Ayurveda detoxification program called panchakarma. Sesame oil is the most commonly used oil for self-massage.

From a health perspective according to The Ayurveda Encyclopedia, abhyanga benefits the lymphatic system which carries nutrients to and removes toxins from the cells. Increasing nourishment and reducing toxins helps highly sensitive people by supporting their sensitive nervous systems from unnecessary toxic overload.

Health Benefits of Abhyanga

The Ayurveda Encyclopedia lists the following additional benefits of abhyanga:

  1. reverses and prevents aging
  2. releases fatigue and stress
  3. heals and prevents nervous system disorders
  4. helps vision
  5. nourishes the body and improves sturdiness
  6. remedies insomnia
  7. promotes electrochemical balance in the body
  8. prevents dehydration in the skin
  9. strengthens nerves
  10. helps the electromagnetic field of the body
  11. strengthens the immune system by increasing antibodies.

These important benefits of a daily oil massage provide help for highly sensitive people because the oil goes into the skin, tissues and the nerves providing relief for stress, insomnia and fatigue which we are all affected by.

When the massage is done daily, it helps prevent the buildup of stress and nerve damage in the body. Unlike medication for stress and nerves, oil massage doesn’t have any side effects. A daily abhyanga practice keeps skin supple and helps reverse the aging that comes with the buildup of toxins.

How Abhyanga Makes You Feel

When doing your daily oil massage, the first step is to warm the oil.  When you put the oil on your skin and scalp you can feel the warm nourishment of it. When you massage the skin you are making sure that the medicated oil is absorbed to benefit as much of your body as possible. It takes 5-10 minutes depending on how much massaging of the oil you decide to do.

When you complete the massage, you shower or bathe and groom your hair.  Your hair will feel silky and healthy.  The massage on your skin will give you a feeling of joyful lightness as you go through your day.  I think that the self-massage feels like you have received some love and as a result, you have the feeling of being protected during the day.  It causes you to feel better, have a more positive outlook, and therefore have a better day.

For highly sensitive people who need every help they can get, oil massage is an easy way to obtain many health benefits, reduce stress and strengthen their nervous systems.  It detoxes, and because it is a great form of self-care, it can be thought of as an affirmation. The Ayurvedic practice of abhyanga is a perfect way for HSP’s to take excellent care of themselves.

Turmeric: 18 Ways To Good Health

It is amazing how great health can be as close as our kitchen spice rack.

For thousands of years, food and herbs have been used for their healing properties. Some herbs are almost worshiped for their healing gifts.  Turmeric is one such herb.

Some herbs are valued solely for their medicinal properties. Neem would be an example of a plant used primarily for medicinal purposes.

Turmeric is different, however. It is an important cooking herb as well as a medicinal remedy.  In India, curry is one of their most common dishes and it usually includes turmeric.

Why is turmeric such a wonder herb? Turmeric is one of the few healing herbs in the world that has such a comprehensive list of benefits that it is considered a pharmacy unto itself. (Neem is also.)

Turmeric is a purifier. It is most frequently used to purify the blood which helps prevent blood clots. Since the blood circulates the entire blood, all of the purification capabilities of turmeric removing bacteria and free radicals mean that more oxygen and nutrients can get to the cells and the lymph system can do its job of removing wastes better.

Turmeric has the following effects on the body:

  1. alliterative.  It doesn’t just treat a medical condition, it also restores health.
  2. analgesic.  It reduces pain.
  3. anti-inflammatory. It is used extensively to heal wounds and improves arthritis symptoms.
  4. antibacterial. It has many properties which help with wound healing.
  5. anti-tumor, which means that in cleaning the body, tumors are less able to grow.
  6. antiallergic. It help with food and other forms of allergies.
  7. antioxident. It has the ability to clean up the free radicals created through stress and lifestyle choices.
  8. antiseptic. This is another of turmeric’s wound cleaning properties.
  9. antispasmodic. It relaxes muscles which reduces digestive and menstrual cramps.
  10. astringent. It dries out the tissues removing toxins, fat and excess fluid.
  11. cardiovasular. Since it cleans the blood, the heart will be pumping cleaner blood and staying healthier over time. It’s anti-inflammatory properties reduces the occurrence of platelet clumping, which can cause blood clots and other problems.
  12. carminative, which means it reduces gas in the body
  13. cholagogue, which means it stimulates the gall bladders production of bile.
  14. improves digestion. It stimulates a sluggish digestion causing food to be properly digested and preventing the toxic buildup of undigested food.
  15. diuretic. It has astringent properties that remove excess fluid from the body.
  16. vulnerary, refers to the ability to heal wounds.
  17. cleans the blood.
  18. supports the reproductive system.
Turmeric has strong wound healing properties and has been used to treat the following serious modern illnesses:
  1. arthritis
  2. cancer
  3. std’s
  4. alzheimer’s
  5. diabetes
  6. MS
  7. HIV
  8. illnesses related to the digestive system including IBS, indigestion, URI, kidney infections, gallstones, hemorrhoids, liver disease and food poisoning
  9. illnesses from blood toxins
  10. skin diseases including leprosy.
Turmeric is an herb that is safe and inexpensive to use and can be a very useful herb for keeping toxins from taking hold in your body, which can set the stage for chronic disease and fatal illnesses like cancer. It is a great way to help heal existing diseases like arthritis, diabetes and digestive problems.
When combined with the Ayurvedic herbs tulsi and triphala for long term use, turmeric offers deep cleansing and rebalancing of the body.
Turmeric is a phenomenal herb that is worth taking every day to maintaining great health.

In The Zone With Ayurveda

The easiest way to be healthy and physically happy is to live naturally in the zone with ayurveda.

Being in the zone has been often associated with sports – the place where you are operating in a free and effective manner. In the zone is an expression that came out of the work of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, who investigated and wrote about flow as the state of being totally one with whatever you are doing. It is a state where your entire being is focused on an activity so that there is no separation between any aspect of yourself and the activity. It is a state of oneness.

Applied to health, flow would be a state where all aspects of the body, mind, emotions and spirit operated in harmony. Ayurveda is designed to make that possible. The way Ayurveda helps an individual achieve flow is by identifying the original states of the individual and then providing the health practices and diet recommended to achieve that flow. It sounds simple but it is actually very sophisticated because it balances all of the qualities in an individual’s bioenergy or dosha by using dualities.

Dualities are opposites. Dark and light, hot and cold, hard and soft are all pairings of opposites or dualities. If an individual naturally has the quality of coldness, warmth is balancing for that person. That same idea is applied to all the various qualities in that individual’s makeup. Since these energies are a part of the person’s biology, mental and emotional state as well as spirit, the entire being of a person is brought into balance or an optimum state. When an individual is in balance all the energies of the body work together in harmony and a feeling of well-being, bliss and flow can be achieved.

These techniques are available to HSPs and non-HSPs.  Anyone with the suitable Ayurvedic health regimen can achieve a state of flow or be in the zone with Ayurveda.

7 Things You May Not Know About Food For Good Health

Food may be one of the most misunderstood facets of our lives and it is one of the most important.  Since we do not run on automatic pilot, we have to get our energy from somewhere and one of the most important sources of energy we have are foods.

In our complex busy world no one can survive without the nourishment necessary to meet their daily life demands.  Therefore, we need to make good use of foods to sustain ourselves. In order to do so, here are some food awarenesses you need to have:

  1. There are three sources of life energy according to Ayurveda: sunlight, air or oxygen and ground or food.  Early human civilizations benefited from 35% oxygen content in the air.  We now have about 20%.  Foods, as a result, become even more important.
  2. Just because something is called food, doesn’t mean that it is. Real foods have to have some capacity to nourish you. Often what we call food is really “faux food”: sugar, fat and other chemicals packaged with flavoring that can fill the stomach but not only fail to nourish you but actually clog your body with toxins.
  3. The simplest way to view food is to realize that everything you eat either supports your life force or it does not; either promotes health or disease.  Therefore when you eat anything processed, you are essentially consuming chemical toxins which disrupt the energy in the body.
  4. Modern eating habits and food sources are created with convenience in mind, not health. In our current modern lifestyles when we eat and what we eat has very little to do with health.
  5. Our chronic diseases and health care bills are rising not because of our genes although they can be an influence.  They are rising because we have lost sight of what health is and how to create it. Food is an important part of creating health.
  6. You cannot micromanage your way to health.  We are healthy when we nourish ourselves by living in harmony with nature.  Overwork, eating too often and eating the wrong foods are prescriptions for disease.
  7. One of the most important health habits according to Ayurveda is to eat according to your body type.  In my case that means that since my body is naturally warm, I need to eat foods that cool the body in order to be healthy.  People who tend to be cold need to eat food that are heating to the body.

The knowledge of food and its effect on the body is best found in the Indian health care system called Ayurveda, which is at least 5000 years old.  In India for thousands of years Ayurvedic experts have been working with and documenting the effect of all foods and herbs on the body and the individual body constitutions called doshas.

Ayurveda makes nutrition recommendations on the basis of their accumulated knowledge of health value. In order to be healthy, we need to understand the relationship between health and food and what our individual body needs.

Letting food support our health does not have to be difficult.  It requires some investigation into our body’s needs and informing ourselves on how best to do so.  A great beginning is Deepak Chopra’s book, Perfect Health which I found very helpful when I was starting to learn more about healthy eating.

When you have a harmonious relationship between your body and food, your body feels happy.  There is a tangible difference in how you feel when you are getting what you need.  It is worth the effort to feel better and function well so that you can enjoy life.

 

How To Take Charge Of Your Health: 10 Health Factors From Ayurveda

Ayurvedic practices are a comprehensive system of health techniques and information which asserts that we need to take into account 10 key health factors in order to enjoy good health.  These factors are foundational understandings about how we create health. Too often in Western society, we have a restricted and limited view of the factors that govern health.  Some food, vitamins, a little exercise, a trip to the dentist and we think we are in good shape. Not so.

To understand the 10 health factors, it is important to understand the ayurvedic body types called doshas. These body types represent aspects of nature that are part of our physical nature. They are Vata: air, Pitta: fire, and Kapha tissue and structure. Each person has the three doshas but in a different combination.
You could say that we each have a unique dosha signature. Some people have one dosha that is very strong and other two weaker, others have two that are equally strong and the third weaker, and a few have all three doshas in balance. Once you know your body type you can start to live in harmony with your body. To find out more about your body type, you can take this Dosha Test.

Dr. Vasant Lad, of the Ayurvedic Institute and  one of the most important Ayurvedic doctors in the United States today, has written extensively about ayurvedic medicine and health.  In his book, The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies,p. 32-38,  he elaborates about the 10 health factors. They are:

  1. Like increases like.  This is an important concept and an easy check on healthy habits.  Whatever your biological tendencies are, likes will create imbalance and opposites will create balance. One example is the Pitta body type. Pittas who represent fire and digestion are naturally warm. They become imbalanced in heat and stabilized in cool weather.
  2. Eating foods for health.  The right foods will create balance in the body, depending on your dosha type.  The Kapha dosha is a moist dosha and benefits from food that are light and drying.  Cornbread would be an example. The Vata dosha is light and moving and needs heavier food.
  3. Seasons and health.  Ayurveda has 3 seasons – one for each dosha: vata in autumn/winter, kapha in spring, and pitta in summer.  The most challenging time of year will be that time that is related to your body type(dosha) because the factor – like increases like – applies with the seasons.  Vata will have difficulty in winter which is dry, Kapha in spring which is moist, and Pitta in the summer which is hot. Therefore, health practices need to be adjusted for the seasons.
  4. Exercise and health.  Exercise is good for everyone; however, we do not all need the same amount, type and intensity of exercise.  We should not all be runners. Vatas need light exercise, Pittas, moderate and Kaphas benefit from strenuous exercise.
  5. Age and health.  Each stage of life corresponds with one the body types. Childhood is a Kapha time – a time of building the body; adulthood, a Pitta time  – a time of ambition and competition, and old age corresponds with the vata dosha. Individuals needs to adjust their habits to be in sync with their stage of life.
  6. Mental and emotional factors. Each of the doshas is susceptible to different unhealthy emotions when they are out of balance: Vata – fear and anxiety, Pitta – anger, hatred and jealousy, and Kapha – possessiveness, greed and complacency.
  7. Stress.  Stress is one of the plagues of the modern age, and a particular difficulty for highly sensitive people.  Following the best practices for your dosha type can be a kind of insurance policy against stress.
  8. The senses.  The senses have a role in balancing our body type since they affect our biochemistry.  A good example is the affect of listening to loud music, which disturbs the ears and potentially our balance.  Another is staying in the sun too long.  Everything we do involves our senses and affects our body chemistry which is why  we need to be careful about our choices of activities.
  9. Acting against our nature.  Sometimes we act contrary to what we know we need. We fail to get sleep when we need it or  eat something that does not agree with us. These actions always cost us.  Even in the short term, we are harmed but in the long term we are creating disease.
  10. Relationships.  Relationships can be a joy or source of stress and unhappiness. Because relationships can often be long term, it is particularly important to make sure that they are healthy, because relationship problems can be one of the biggest causes of illness.

Highly sensitive people have many health challenges.  Taking on the ten conditions for creating health can help HSPs master their health.  The 10 health factors may seem restrictive, but in reality they will free HSPs to be their best.

Why HSPs Need Oil Massage

Highly sensitive people can benefit from one of the best health practices in Ayurveda: oil massage called abhyanga.

Abhyanga is the practice of pouring herbal oil on the body and massaging the  oil into the body to help restore and maintain balance. Abhyanga is a daily massage practice for promoting general health or it can be part of the Ayurveda detoxification program called panchakarma.

According to The Ayurveda Encyclopedia abhyanga benefits the lymphatic system which is used throughout the body to carry nutrients to and remove toxins from the cells. This role gives the lymphatic system an important place in maintaining the nourishment of the body and detoxing as well.

The Ayurveda Encyclopedia lists the following additional benefits of abhyanga:

  1. reverses and prevents aging
  2. releases fatigue and stress
  3. heals and prevents nervous system disorders
  4. helps vision
  5. nourishes the body and improves sturdiness
  6. remedies insomnia
  7. promotes electrochemical balance in the body
  8. prevents dehydration in the skin
  9. strengthens nerves
  10. helps the electromagnetic field of the body
  11. strengthens the immune system by increasing antibodies.

These important benefits of a daily oil massage are very beneficial for highly sensitive people in several ways. HSPs can help their nervous system because the oil goes into the skin, tissues and the nerves providing relief for stress, insomnia and fatigue.

When the massage is done daily, it helps prevent the buildup of stress and nerve damage in the body. Unlike medication for stress and nerves, oil massage doesn’t have any side effects. A daily abhyanga practice keeps skin supple and helps reverse the aging that comes with the buildup of toxins.

One of the most important things you can do everyday for your health is detox.  You cannot escape the need.  Even if you eat pure organic food every day, it is impossible to escape the toxins from pollution and stress.  Abhyanga is a kind of immunization from toxins if done daily. For highly sensitive people who need every help they can get, oil massage is an easy way to obtain many health benefits, reduce stress and strengthen their nervous systems.  Oil massage is perfect for HSPs.