Ayurvedic pain relief, part 1: The role of prana


Pain, whether chronic or infrequent, mental or physical, is a greatly misunderstood part of the human experience. Most people want more pleasure and less pain, but when you tune in to the messages that pain is attempting to show, it can become a tool to reach moksha, or liberation in life. 

The practice of Ayurveda offers a fresh perspective on how to manage pain in your life. By seeing yourself as a holistic being, you’ll see how the mind, body and spirit work together to create pain, and how you can use all these parts of you to heal from the inside out.

​This is the first in a three-part blog series on how to reframe your perspective on pain and natural pain relief. In each, we’ll share Ayurvedic wisdom on pain and offer simple techniques to help you feel better for your entire life. 

​More prana, less pain

When people experience pain, the first response is fear. Fear creates more pain and leads us toward tamas, or inertia, which makes it harder to see the truth of a situation. The fear of pain and the desire to make the pain go away as quickly as possible, no matter the side effects, is the reason so many people resort to drugs or surgery.  

In Ayurveda, we understand that no part of our bodies and minds can function without an effect on the whole. Drugs and surgery may cover up the pain, but they cannot address the root cause: a blockage of prana, or lifeforce, in your body, mind, and spirit function. 

When prana flows freely through your body, you can live your truth and walk your path with ease. Your body has everything it needs to heal and small imbalances go away quickly. However, the cumulative effect of modern living causes prana to become blocked or absent from parts of the body, leading to pain and other ailments.

The old saying, “You are what you eat,” might be describing prana. We take in prana through air, food and drink. If you take in poor quality prana (or no prana at all) through processed foods, polluted air and treated tap water, it will create stagnation and blockages in the energetic channels in your body and mind. Just like a drain clogged with debris, when prana cannot flow, pain and other illnesses take hold. 

The remedy for this modern ailment (and the aim of all Ayurvedic treatments, herbs and practices for pain relief) is to reintroduce the natural flow of prana. Sometimes all you need to do to make the pain go away naturally is take in better forms of prana. This looks like cooking your own food with organic ingredients, buying a filter for your tap water and enjoying more time relaxing in nature. With simple changes like this, your body and mind will be able to function according to the intelligence that nature allows. Healing will take root and pain and illness will no longer become a part of your daily experience. 

More prana flowing throughout your body and mind will cause the vital energies in your tissues to awaken, leading to greater awareness and enthusiasm for life. You will begin to make choices that move you toward sattva, balance and harmony, and away from tamas and fear. When pain does arise, you will be able to use it to guide you toward physical and mental health by observing the cause and effect of your decisions. This is how you can turn pain into prana.  

​Marma point therapy for pain relief

In addition to making better choices about how you eat and live, the sense of touch awakens stagnant prana in your body. This is why people find great natural pain relief in Ayurvedic treatments. In the traditional practice of these treatments, the technician uses a specific amount of pressure and precisely directed movements to invite prana back to those parts of the body where the flow has been disrupted. As the client receives the gift of this divinely guided touch, she can release blockages and heal.

Marma point therapy is a commonly used Ayurvedic treatment for pain relief. Similar to acupuncture points, marma points are found in the junctures in the body: ligaments, tendons, veins and bones. Applying gentle pressure to the marma points reopens the channels of prana and offers natural pain relief without drugs. It takes training to learn the 107 marma points (we offer training on marma point therapy in our Ayurvedic treatment training and marma bodywork certification), but you can learn some simple sequences to practice on yourself.   

The marma point sequence below is designed to increase the flow of prana in your body. Using one finger with gentle pressure, hold each of these marma points for at least a minute (more if you experience acute or chronic pain). As you do this, breathe slowly and consciously. Practice this sequence daily and you’ll experience a greater flow of prana, less pain and more enjoyment out of life. 

Marma point sequence for increased prana:

  1. Start with adhipati, just in front of fontanelle

  2. Then move to ajna, the sixth chakra in the middle of your forehead

  3. Next, go to krikatika, the back of your neck where your skull meets your spine

  4. Then move to jatru, at the top of your sternum (between your breasts)

  5. End with nabhi, your navel

Learn Ayurvedic treatments in New Zealand

Ayurvedic treatments offer profound pain relief by addressing the dosha imbalance behind it. Our Ayurvedic treatment training offers you an opportunity to learn these ancient techniques through hands-on education. As you give and receive treatments in this training, you’ll see firsthand the balancing and calming effects they have on mind, body and spirit. Learn more and apply today.

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