How to manage autoimmune disease? Automimmunity, where your (immune) defense system mistakenly attacks and damages your body, is on the rise in our neighborhoods and our country. In its various forms, it touches many lives. It has touched my life. My daily routine is one of the tools I use to be well and stay well on a daily basis.
My morning doesn’t start with a coffee, a bagel and TV news. I try to start each day with actions that will make me feel good all day.
Dina Charya (Ayurvedic daily routine) is a series of habits that I have put in place with guidance and much patience from my teachers and myself. It is simple to look at as a list, but has profound effects on each day. I appreciate, protect and hold my daily routine dear because of the value it brings to my health and wellness.
Dina Charya is a fundamental plank, or platform, in the construct of Ayurveda. It is particularly helpful in promoting stability and wellness. The discipline of this practice organizes each day in a way that shines forward and keeps health priorities much clearer over the course of the entire day. It is a base level approach to facilitate healing for a wide variety of conditions.
Following a daily routine means getting to front load each day with elements to promote balance and health before the pull of the world is strong. Continue to draw on self care as you interact with the world to stay centered.
Early to bed and early to rise resets circadian rhythms. Over time this rhythm will promote an optimal and most natural hormonal environment. This promotes accuracy and resilience in our immune system. (1)
70+% of our immune system have a gut address. Regular detoxification is critical for a healthy gut environment. Build up of ama can weaken ojas and weaken and disturb our immune response. Healthy gut flora, interact and modulate our immune response, support consistent ojas.
Meditation has been shown to reset the nervous system over time, promoting healthy hormonal and immune response. It is successfully used in pain management, to lower blood pressure and now to support lower symptom load in autoimmunity. The Center for Mindfulness founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn at University of Massachusetts Medical School, is a successful program working within the Western medical model.
The nervous system is also calmed by daily regular movement. In addition, moving your body moves your rasa dhatu. Rasa, or lymph, does not have an independent pump like the heart. The flow of lymph is supported by muscle movement to lymph nodes. Lymph nodes filter pollutants as well as inflammation by-products (ama) that are transported by the lymph out of our tissues. If the filters get clogged or circulation is impaired, inflammation increases.
Managing inflammation is a key aspect to modulating the symptom load of autoimmunity. Regular exercise, hydration, oil massage, skin brushing and hot baths or sauna all move lymph and improve access for our body to remove ama.
Dry brushing and oil massage also keeps the body’s first line of defense- the skin, lubricated and healthy. At a fundamental level it supports healthy kapha and ojas. In addition it helps apana vayu, balances vata and relaxes the nervous system.
Eating regular whole food meals, rather than grazing on empty snack food calories, supports sama agni. Healthy digestive fire transforms the food into the constituents the body can use to heal and rebuild. Sama agni generates more nutrients and antioxidants for the tissues. More complete digestion reduces ama and the strain on the liver and lymph system.
Eating an early, light dinner sets the body up for restful sleep. The discipline of daily routine shores up sleep rituals as well promoting consistent, sufficient and truly restful sleep. Since sleep is the time the body does much of its healing, a well rested body is crucial in the effective management of autoimmunity.
A strong supportive daily routine can improve quality of life for those with autoimmune conditions. Let Ayurveda be the balm to help soothe and manage your or a loved one’s autoimmune disease.
1. Mercola, Dr. Joseph. “How Sleeping Can Affect Your Immune System.” Mercola.com. Mercola, 2 June 2012. Web. 30 June 2017.
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