Ayurvedic pain relief part 3: Tips for natural pain relief

When prana is flowing without interruption, your body has everything it needs to heal itself (see the first in this series on pain relief to learn more about prana). Pain, whether mental or physical, cannot take hold in a body with an easy flow of prana. When prana is blocked, pain can become so much to bear that people often look to drugs or surgery to cope. But these methods of pain relief dull your body’s natural intelligence and further disrupt the flow of prana that is the key to healing. On the contrary, herbs and Ayurvedic treatments work with the body to address the root cause. As prana comes back into the body, the doshas regain balance and health follows. 

Ayurveda is not meant to be used allopathically, meaning it is not a one-dimensional, one-size-fits-all approach. While this science offers many ways to relieve pain, it’s wise to pause before you add anything or do anything to your body to relieve pain (even herbal remedies, such as turmeric) and approach pain relief in a holistic manner. As you use Ayurvedic remedies for pain, create an intention to look at the emotional reason the pain is arising (the second post in this three part series on pain relief offers tools for meditation to support that process). Partner with a trusted Ayurvedic practitioner to understand how your diet or lifestyle are creating imbalances. Then, begin to trust that you can live without physical pain. These steps, combined with treatments and herbs, will bring you greater healing than doing any of them on their own. 

​Pain by doshic imbalance

Ayurvedic healing is based on the principle of balance. When pain exists, one or more of the three doshas is imbalanced and needs to be brought back. 

Keep in mind that regardless of your prakruti (constitution), any of the three doshas can be out of balance. You can read more about the doshas and how they work in your body here

The type of pain you are experiencing can tell you a lot about which dosha is out of balance:

  • Vata pain travels. This is the type of pain associated with nerves or bones.

  • Pitta pain is sharp and often accompanied by inflammation or heat.

  • Kapha pain is dull, as in a sinus headache.

Some illnesses and diseases may result in pain that reflects one or more dosha imbalance. Don’t try to diagnose, just observe your experience as pain comes and goes and use a wellness journal to determine what kinds of changes you can make to reduce or eliminate pain from your life. 

​Ayurvedic remedies for pain relief

Now that you have a sense of how Ayurveda approaches healing from the inside out, you can begin to bring in practices for self-care using the principle of “like increases like, and the opposite brings balance.” We have several posts on ways you can reduce excess vata, kapha, or pitta, but here is a quick summary to heal pain by dosha:

  • Vata is cold, dry and moving. To bring it to balance, focus on adding warmth, moisture and stillness. Abhyanga with ashwagandha bala oil is especially powerful for balancing vata dosha, as are Ayurvedic treatments, such as snehan.

  • Pitta is hot, oily and sharp. Balance pitta pain with cooling and soft practices. This could include applying bhringaraj oil to the pain and eliminating warming foods, such as chili peppers and coffee. The Ayurvedic treatment of shirodhara (a peaceful flow of oil running over the head in a continuous manner) calms and releases anger that can cause pain.

  • Kapha is cold, wet and heavy. You can balance it by getting more active in your body. Gentle asana is great, and you can also use Banyan Botanicals’ Joint Balm to bring relief and warmth.

Whether it is pain in your body, anxiety or a diagnosis that creates fear, remember that you don’t have to let an imbalance define you. Ayurveda offers a well of wisdom for healing. You have the ability to turn back the clock at any point in time by committing to making the changes that will point you in the direction of the life you want to live. 

Ayurvedic treatments offer profound pain relief by addressing the dosha imbalance behind it. Our Ayurvedic treatment training offers you a chance 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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