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The world’s ancient systems of healing have prevailed despite the saturation of modern conventional medicine for one reason… they work. And because of this, they have been incorporated into the everyday lives, spiritual philosophies, health habits, and cultural customs of billions of people on the planet. Perhaps in no other healing tradition is this more evident than in the ancient practice of Ayurveda.
Let’s explore what Ayurveda has to say about the very modern dis-ease of cancer and look at the ayurvedic treatment for cancer.
Ayurveda’s Herbs Are Already Being Studied
A quick look through the National Institutes of Health research database at studies that have investigated the most common Ayurvedic herbs tells the tale. To date there have been close to 500 studies conducted on cumin, 650 on fennel, and 2,500 on ginger.
Interestingly, there have been just under 10,000 research studies done on turmeric and curcumin − including 3,500 studies on how turmeric alone and in combination with other herbs can help fight cancer.
Most health-conscious individuals are aware of the healing power of these Ayurvedic spices and may even be aware of some of the other principles around Ayurveda. However, few grasp how these individual modalities are part of a cohesive and complex system of medicine that has been in existence for over 5,000 years.
The Basic Principles of Ayurveda
The term Ayurveda translates to “the science of life.” Thus, Ayurveda does not just deal with the treatment of the physical body. It also focuses on balancing and harmonizing all aspects of a person’s mind, body, and spirit as well as that of society as a whole.
In Ayurveda, a person is seen as being made up of five primary natural elements: ether (or space), fire, water, air, and earth. These elements manifest and combine in the body in certain physiological ways. How these elements express themselves are called Doshas − Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Dosha-balancing is at the very heart of the Ayurvedic healing system.
In basic terms, each Dosha is responsible for specific functions in the body. Vata, for example, is associated with the air and ether. It is responsible for movement − including circulation, respiration, elimination, and nerve impulses. Pitta is said to be associated with water and fire and is responsible for metabolism, including cellular metabolism. Finally, the Kapha Dosha is governed by water and earth. It is responsible for growth and protection, including the protection of the cerebral and spinal fluid and the mucosal lining of the stomach. It is also responsible for the growth of new tissue.
How Ayurveda Sees Cancer
In Ayurveda, any imbalance in the body system is caused by the overexpression or under expression of one or more of the Doshas. Hence, all disease begins with them. Dosha imbalance can lead to dis-ease according to the following basic stages:
Accumulation − where one or more of the Doshas has increased
Aggravation − as levels increase for one Dosha, this causes the remaining Doshas to become imbalanced
Overflow − the accumulated Dosha spreads into the body carrying Aama, or toxic waste products
Localization − the Dosha settles at a weak site in the body
Manifestation − i.e. symptoms
Disease − this would be the point where a conventional doctor would make a diagnosis of dis-ease, such as a particular kind of cancer
According to Ayurveda, unbalanced physiology (Doshas) leads to faulty inherent intelligence leading to malfunctioning of genes and gene behavior leading to diseases like cancer,” says Dr. Virender Sodhi (MD, ND) of the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic in Washington State.
“We all make cancer cells every day but our immune system is very sharp and not only recognizes the bad faulty cells but also sends its own army to destroy it. That is why the balance of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health is a very important part of healing.”
For Ayurvedic Treatment of Cancer, Prevention is Key
Of course, the concept of prevention is not strictly relegated to Ayurveda. Changing your lifestyle to include more live foods, vegetables, and organic, grass-fed meats while reducing processed foods is part of it. In addition, reducing stress, getting adequate amounts of sleep and exercise, reducing your toxic burden, and fortifying the body with quality supplements are all good practices for health and vitality no matter who you are.
These days, more people are learning about ancient systems such as Ayurveda in order to provide an overall game plan for preventing cancer. They are doing this not only for their physical health, but for a quality life in general. Today in the U.S. and all over the world, thousands of people practice yoga and take healing herbs associated with Ayurveda every day.
There may be some Ayurvedic modalities you may not be as familiar with, however:
Abhyanga: Abhyanga means massage and is a key part of Ayurvedic therapy. It usually involves oils prepared with specialized Ayurvedic herbs and essential oils for lymph drainage, detox, and relaxation.
Shirodhara: Shirodhara is a kind of massage that is done by gently pouring warm herbalized oil over the forehead. Shirodhara is said to synchronize brain waves patterns and help to coordinate and calm the body as well the mind. For those who wish to prevent breast cancer, Stanya Shodhana massage uses castor, coconut, olive, or other herbalized or non-herbalized oils to gently massage the breast area. This is for detoxification and to help immobilize accumulated toxins in the mammary glands.
Swedana: Swedana is an herbalized steam bath. In this procedure, the head and heart are kept cool while gentle hyperthermia is applied to the rest of the body. This procedure is said to remove both physical and emotional toxins lodged deep within the tissues.
Garshana: This is dry lymphatic skin brushing. This procedure helps increase circulation and cleanses the pores of the skin.
Basti: Basti is an enema using Ayurvedic herbs in order to pull toxins out of the colon.
Panchakarma: Panchakarma means “five treatments.” It is designed to use up to five of the above modalities (and others not mentioned) in order to engage all five senses for a deeply detoxifying experience for mind, body and soul. Panchakarma is individually tuned to each individual’s health needs. Check with an Ayurvedic center near you to see if they offer this service. Basti (enema) is usually performed at the end of a Panchakarma treatment in order to get rid of loosened impurities. It is also used to introduce Ayurvedic medicines into the blood and tissues in the most effective way possible.
By Dr. Veronique Desaulniers
(Image: Representation only)