June 6, 2011
Relief for Muscle Aches
Whether you’ve sweated through a power yoga class, or slowly invited strain to your body by doing yard work or caring for the kids, your muscle aches may be giving you important information. This is your bodies way of telling you it needs a little TLC. If your habit to take care of pain is to down a couple of pain relievers, why not try an alternative approach instead?
Ayurveda offers several natural means of relief. According to Ayurvedic principles, muscle cramps and spasms are a sign of excess vata energy. Vata qualities are cool, rough, and dry, so you can pacify vata-exacerbated muscle tension with moist heat. That means comfort can be as close as a hot water towel wrap or a bath.
While it’s not recommended for an acute strain or sprain (for which ice is a better choice), consider this more targeted Ayurvedic aid for sore muscles: Gently rub pain-relieving massage oil into the muscle, and wrap with a hot, moist towel. Mahanarayan oil is best, which is a blend of muscle-soothing herbs (including turmeric, fennel, camphor, and clove), but any massage oil will do. The oil penetrates the skin to loosen taut muscle fibers, while the heat from the towel encourages muscle release.
Regular professional massage should not be viewed as a “luxury” for the body, but rather a physical necessity for keeping the body healthy. Most massage therapists offer a hot stone variety of massage to also aid in releasing deep muscle strains. Treat your body well and schedule monthly massages as part of your health routine.