Do you know that very silently, a very debilitating disease called Fibromyalgia is creeping into the world? At present, the disorder affects around 6% of the population of the world. And India is also not untouched and already has more than 10 million known cases. In reality, this number is much more because medical community is still battling to identify the symptoms of this new disease of the century (in my case too it took more than four years for doctors to diagnose).
Fibromyalgia is an extremely frustrating, painful and a depressing disease. Apart from chronic pain, the disease also brings along many other issues like extreme fatigue, IBS, insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, neuropathic pain (burning of peripherals) and many more. While modern medical science is still unable to understand the cause of this disease, Ayurveda will tell you the reason behind it so that you can take precautions and not fall prey to it. The blog will also explain that how can you get relief from this disease.
To begin with, you will be surprised that the primary reason for this pandemic is the indiscreet use of foods/drinks like green tea, turmeric, chocolates, onion, garlic, tea, coffee, alcohol which are highly astringent and/or highly vasodilating (being bitter). It doesn’t mean that all these foods are bad. It just means that we are using these foods unscrupulously without understanding how much to be used, in which weather to be used, in what condition to be used and what constitution should have it and which constitution should totally avoid it.
Here is an example…. We all know that turmeric has been used in Indian cuisine for thousands of years. Being astringent (one that constricts or shrinks our tissues and cells), turmeric neutralizes the negative effect of sour foods that we eat (because sour foods expand and do the opposite of shrinking thus neutralizing the effect of astringency) and that’s why despite being essential, it is used in very small quantity in the food. The problem comes when because of the blind following of modern fads, we start going overboard on using them. One of the examples, is that ever since turmeric has been stamped as wonder spice, there are cases of people asking all their family members to consume rhizomes of raw turmeric as first thing in the morning. Another example of rat race is that turmeric has started replacing café latte in the west in form of Turmeric latte (it doesn’t mean that even coffee in excess is good). Similar is the story about another fad, the green tea, which became a style statement for staying fit and healthy.
So, what do these foods do in our body especially if taken indiscreetly? Because of their vasodilating and/or constricting effects, these foods alter the flow of blood in our body. They increase something called as vata imbalance (Vata is Ayurvedic term and to understand concepts of Ayurveda and how these foods work inside our body do watch THE ROOT CAUSE series videos click here to watch and for detailed understanding pick up a copy of THE ROOT CAUSE BOOK ). As a result, the mind becomes low on blood (as compared to lower body) thereby initially creating alertness, creativity and even loss of weight due to more active mind but as the time progresses, this state of overactive mind leads to insomnia and less blood volume due to high metabolic rate of the upper body courtesy hyperactive mind. Now since lower body is high on blood, it gets more food than upper body and is therefore low on metabolism vis a vis upper body. Apart from upper body, the blood stops reaching even the peripherals thus staying more inside the core and less outside towards muscles. This difference confuses body and in such cases, when a person eats, in order to settle high energy demand of the upper body which is high on metabolism, he/she overfeeds the lower body which is low on metabolism and doesn’t need so much of food. To keep the pain in control, the patient subconsciously reduces pitta increasing foods as this reduces inflammation of the muscles which are getting lesser blood. All this leads to obesity, hypertension, insomnia, high cholesterol, diabetes, chronic fatigue and many more issues. This condition in today’s medical language is called as metabolic syndrome where pockets of high and low metabolism are created in the same body leading to production of toxins. Since this also leads to erratic circulation of blood in the body, these toxins begin getting deposited here and there and generate chronic pain which keeps moving from one place to another where there is blockage of blood flow.
The only way to get relief from this debilitating disease is to :-
(a) first of all quit the reason which is causing the disease that is all these vasodilating foods and also astringent foods unless astringent foods are accompanied with sour foods (of course weather plays a huge role in deciding the amount of astringency and sourness to be taken e.g. one must increase sourness in winters and astringency during summers as we read in the previous blog).
(b) stay away from refined sugar, very spicy and highly stimulating foods.
(c) perform yogasanas and body massages (especially through panchkarma therapy of Ayurveda) that increase peripheral blood circulation.
(d) meditate to silence mind whenever fibromyalgic pains set in because during such times, there is paucity of calming neurotransmitter in the brain and body, since brain due to less peripheral blood flow doesnt get enough nutrients and remains overactive leading to hyperactive body and more inflammation thereby triggering pain.
To Sum it up:-
- It is essential to understand the working of fundamental forces of Ayurveda i.e. vata, pitta and kapha on which the entire body works and how six tastes present in various foods manifest vata, pitta and kapha in our body, to remain healthy and fit forever.
- There are no superfoods for all and ones nectar could be another’s poison.
- Even a healthy food can turn unhealthy if taken in quantities more or less than required and this can be understood only by understanding the principles of Ayurveda. One more example to reiterate this concept is of the western world going crazy on licorice (mulethi) and consuming it as candy for health reasons. Whereas the fact is that licorice mimics steroids produced by our body and thus slows down our metabolism by reducing pitta and vata thus helping to repair an unhealthy body. However in an healthy person, the effect of indiscreet use of licorice is thickened blood due to high kapha leading to poor blood circulation and again diseases related to it like high BP, diabetes and even fibromyalgia.
- Foods like tea, coffee, onion and garlic are the major contributors of debilitating diseases related to metabolic syndrome like Fibromyalgia and other issues like high cholesterol, addiction to sugary food, indigestion and even obesity, as they push a person to overeat to settle high metabolism of the upper body due to low blood supply there (which is called as vata in Ayurvedic terms).
- Even most of the blood pressure medicines are vasodilating and cause same issues in the long run.
- Most importantly, modern science of nutrition is incomplete and illogical unless it incorporates the understanding of all six tastes that Ayurveda has been talking about.