Workshop: Eating well & Improving Digestion (āhāra & agnibala)

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Manasa Ayurveda Workshop

Theme: Eating well & Improving Digestion (āhāra & agnibala)

Venue: The London Buddhist Vihara, Chiswick, London, W4 1UD

Time: Tuesday evening, 16th April (18:00-20:30)

Cost: £25

CLICK HerE TO BOOK

In a safe, friendly and respectful space with a small group (around six to eight people), you'll learn how to look after your well-being using a personally tailored Buddhist Ayurvedic approach. The theme of this workshop is eating well and improving digestion (āhāra & agnibala)*

During this workshop you will learn:

  • How to remove toxins (ama) and improve your digestive strength (agnibala)

  • How to eat well according to our own mind and body (āhāra)

  • How to practice mindfulness of breathing (ānāpānasati)

  • How to select and blend our own personal herbal teas (phanta kalpana)

  • How to apply Ayurvedic self-massage for the hands (hastaabhyanga & udvartana)

*This stand-alone workshop also forms session 1 of the full Manasa Ayurveda 8-week Holistic Well-being Course.

Face-to-face consultation: blood sugar levels

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Our Manasa Ayurveda consultations are undertaken by registered healthcare professionals and as well as using traditional Ayurvedic methods also include professional physical health checks. One of these checks is of your blood sugar levels.

Why do we do this?

Sugar levels in our body fluctuate depending on what we eat and drink and how active we are. They can also be affected by some medicines and how stressed we feel. High levels of sugar in the blood can happen if we have too much food and there is not enough insulin in the body to balance blood sugar. This can make us feel tired and nauseous. Low blood sugar can happen if we have not eaten enough or there is too much insulin in the body to balance blood sugar and can cause shaking, a fast heartbeat, sweating, tiredness and irritability. Changes in blood sugar may be a sign of diabetes. Over a long period of time high sugar levels can damage blood vessels and can lead to heart disease.

What happens?

  • A glucose strip is inserted into a glucose monitor

  • The tip of one of your fingers is cleaned

  • Your finger is pricked using a sterile lancet and a drop of blood squeezed onto the test strip

  • The glucose monitor reads the test strip

  • You are given some cotton wool to clean your finger

  • Your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will tell you the result and record it on a chart

What do the results mean?

In general, for the majority of people a normal blood sugar level is around 4-7 mmol/L, but this depends on the time of day when the test is done. It will usually be lowest in the morning and higher after meals, a normal target would be under 8.5-9mmol/L 2 hours after a meal. If your blood sugar level is unexpectedly high or low, we can repeat the test and may suggest that you also inform your GP of this result so that further blood tests can be done if required.

Ayurveda has many therapy options which can be used to help with managing blood sugar levels. Contact us to find out more.

Long pepper treatment (pippali-vardhamana)

Pippali/Long pepper

Pippali/Long pepper

Pippalī-vardhamāna is a kind of treatment in which (pippalī) long pepper corns are taken in increasing and decreasing quantity.

This treatment is excellent for detoxing body and also for mental health and wellbeing.

These benefits of this treatment have long been recognised:

  • The Caraka Saṃhitā is one of the classical texts of Ayurveda, it is dated to between the first and second century CE. In this text, pippalī-vardhamāna is described as a rejuvenation therapy which is nourishing and a promoter of a long life and a healthy mind.

  • The Bower Manuscript is an ancient Buddhist text, also dated to around the second century CE. In this text, various healing potions, similar and sometimes identical to those of the classical Ayurvedic texts, are described. The Bower Manuscript also mentions pippalī-vardhamāna and describes it as suitable in the treatment of mental health problems.

Hindrances to mental well-being: A Buddhist view

[Note: This is a slightly edited extract from a piece of academic writing which formed part of an MA Buddhist Studies]

Hindrances/defilements take many forms, the Vatthupama Sutta, for example, lists sixteen cittassaupakkilesa (‘defilements of the mind’). Hindrances/defilements are grouped in the suttas in a multiplicity of ways, and are given metaphorical names suggestive of their affects: samyojana (‘fetters’), bandhana (‘bonds’), ogha (‘floods’), and so forth. Both Theravada and Mahayana traditions commonly summarise pañcanīvaraṇāni (‘five hindrances’): 1) abhijjha (‘longing’) orkamacchanda (‘desire for objects of the five senses’), 2) vyapada-padosa (‘ill-will’), 3) thina-m-iddha (‘sloth and torpor’), 4) uddhacca-kukkucca (‘restlessness and worry’), 5) vicikiccha (‘doubt’) and it is argued that ‘all defilments are included in the attachment to the five hindrances’ (p.40, Shaw,2006; Vim.92). At the root of the five hindrances are the triakusalamulas (‘three unwholesome roots’): lobha (‘greed’), dosa (‘hate’) and moha (‘delusion’).

The hindrances/defilements have often been described within Buddhist thought as mental illnesses. The Buddha stated that: ‘…apart from those whose taints [hindrances/defilements] have been destroyed, it is hard to find people in the world who can claim to enjoy mental health even for a moment’.

Both the ancient Indian medical text, the Caraka Samhita and an early Buddhist Āyurvedic text, the Bhesajjamañjūsā mention ‘greed’ and ‘hatred’/‘anger’ as examples of mental illness, and focusing on the Sallekha Sutta, Dhammasami (2012) stated that the Buddha referred to ‘forty-four of the numerous illnesses that afflict the human mind’ (e.g. uddhata (‘agitation’) orvicikiccha (‘doubt’), issuki (‘jealousy’)).

Nandisena (2012) also equated the meaning of mental illness with hindrances/defilements, but conceptions of mental illness within Buddhist traditions do not universally suggest a hindrance/defilement-based reductionism. Nissanka (2002) argued that it is the way in which hindrances/defilements are handled that distinguishes mental illness, and whilst Galmangoda (2012) explained hindrances/defilements as ‘the psychological basis’ for mental problems, this does not mean it is the only basis (p.3, Galmangoda, 2012).

Understanding the hindrances/defilements is an important way of understanding and recognising some of the barriers to our mental wellbeing.

Face-to-face consultation: breathing rate & peak flow

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Our Manasa Ayurveda consultations are undertaken by registered healthcare professionals and as well as using traditional Ayurvedic methods also include professional physical health checks. One of these checks of your rate of breathing and how fast you can breathe out.

Why do we do this?

Both increased and decreased breathing (respiration) rate can be a sign that there may be something wrong in the body. Our rate of breathing can increase or decrease due to a heart or respiratory condition, fever, infection or dehydration, whereas our breathing can be slowed down by drinking too much alcohol, a head injury or some medicines for pain such as codeine or morphine.

Measuring how fast you can breathe out (peak flow) gives a better understanding of what’s going on in your lungs if you have any issues with breathing. It can help to see how open your airways are.

What happens?

To measure your breathing (respiration) rate, your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will simply observe how many times you breathe in and out in one minute. One full breath in and full breath out counts as one respiration.

To measure your peak flow, you may be asked to take a deep breath in and blow as fast as you can into a small, hand-held plastic tube called a peak flow meter. The measurement taken is called your peak flow.

The lungs are the organs that receive oxygen that we breathe in through our nose and mouth. According to Ayurveda, the lungs are an important site of kapha dosha, the force in the body which is governed by the elements of water and earth. According to Ayurveda, most disorders of the respiratory system are a result of imbalanced kapha dosha. To see how well your lungs work you may also ask you to breathe into a peak flow meter (a white plastic tube)

What do the results mean?

The normal respiration rate for an adult is about 12-18 breaths per minute. If your rate of breathing is lower or higher than this, your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will talk with you about this and may suggest that you also inform your GP.

Your peak flow score – also known as your peak expiratory flow (PEF) – will be displayed on the side of your peak flow meter. This is given in litres of air breathed out per minute (l/min).

What's considered a normal score depends on your age, height and gender. Your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will inform you of what would be considered a normal score for you and may suggest that you also inform your GP.

Based on these checks, particular Manasa Ayurveda therapies may be suggested for you such as certain herbs, therapies and breath control (pranayama) exercises.

NEW Manasa Ayurveda Interview on UK Health Radio

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Today our latest interview with UK Health Radio was released. We spoke about the introduction of the new Buddhist Ayurvedic well-being course, being introduced for the first time in February this year at the London Buddhist Vihara.

Click here to listen to the interview

NEW Manasa Ayurveda Well-being Course

Click Here to Enrol

How often do we meet?

2 ½ hours per week for 8 weeks

(plus personal consultation - online and face-to-face)

Who is the course for?

General public (over 18s)

Where is the course?

This course will be at the London Buddhist Vihara

How many people on each course?

6-8

COURSE BACKGROUND & SUMMARY

In a safe, friendly and respectful space with a small group of six to eight people, you'll learn how to look after your well-being using a personally tailored Buddhist Ayurvedic approach.

Starting with an online consultation, and a face-to-face consultation on the first session, you'll develop well-being through physical self-care, behaviour change, meditation and mindfulness.

Session 1: Detoxing & eating well (ama pachana & ahara)

  • How to remove toxins (ama) and improve your digestive strength (agnibala)

  • How to eat well according to your own mind and body (ahara)

  • How to select and blend your own personal herbal teas (phanta kalpana)

  • How to practice mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati)

Session 2: Exercise & sleeping well (vyayama & nidra)

  • How to look after your wellbeing using exercise (vyayama)

  • How to sleep better using an Ayurvedic approach (nidra)

  • How to apply Ayurvedic self-massage for the feet (padaabhyanga)

Session 3: Strengthening & controlling the senses (indriyabala & indriyabhigraha)

  • How to strengthen and control your senses

  • How to practice the four foundations of mindfulness (satipatthanas)

  • How to embrace the reality of impermanence (anicca)

  • How to apply Ayurvedic nasal drops (nasya/sirovirecana)

Session 4: Taking care with actions & developing loving-kindness (sila & mettabavana)

  • How to clarify and commit to what you want your life to stand for (vrata)

  • How to act in the ways you value most - in body, speech and mind (sila)

  • How to develop loving-kindness towards self and others (mettabhavana)

  • How to practice mindfulness in everyday actions (sampajanakarin)

  • How to keep a merit book (puñña-potthaka)

  • How to apply Ayurvedic self-massage for the hands (hastaabhyanga)

Session 5: Developing compassion & generosity (karunabhavana & dana)

  • How to practice the perfection of giving (dana parami)

  • How to develop compassion for self and others (karunabhavana)

  • How to practice mindfulness meditation on the four body postures (iriyapatha)

  • How to apply Ayurvedic self-massage for the head (shiroabhyanga)

Session 6: Practicing mindfulness & experiencing joyfulness (ittanupassana & muditabhavana)

  • How to practice helpful activity (veyyavacca)

  • How to develop empathic joy (muditabhavana)

  • How to practice mindfulness of mental states (cittanupassana)

  • How to deal with the reality of unsatisfactoriness and suffering (dukkha)

Session 7: Developing equanimity & working with hindrances (upekkhabhavana & pancanivaranani)

  • How to develop equanimity (upekkhabhavana)

  • How to practice mindfulness of mental activity (dhammanupassana)

  • How to deal with mental obstacles and hinderances (pañcanivaranani)

  • How to embrace the reality of non-self (anatto)

  • How to apply Ayurvedic herbal oil compress for the head (shiropicu)

Session 8: Developing wisdom (paññabhavana)

  • How to practice breath-mindfulness (anapanasati)

  • How to see impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and non-self as characteristics in all our lives (anicca, dukkha & anatta)

Face-to-face consultation: pulse examination

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Our Manasa Ayurveda consultations are undertaken by UK registered healthcare professionals qualified as Ayurvedic therapists and consultants. As well as using traditional Ayurvedic methods of pulse examination we also use contemporary professional healthcare methods of pulse examination.

Why do we do this?

From the contemporary healthcare professional perspective, we check your pulse to measure your heart rate – how many times your heart beats in a minute. Our heart rate can be affected by things such as too much activity, anxiety, side effects of medication, too much tobacco, caffine or alcohol, heart disease, dehydration or an overactive thyroid gland.

From the traditional Ayurvedic perspective, pulse examination (nadi pariksha) can be used to obtain a range of additional information including:

  • Present state of the doshas (the three principle conditions)

  • Present state of the tissues in the body (dhatus)

  • Any kind of disturbance in channels of the body (srotas)

  • Present state of the different organ systems

  • The state of the ‘digestive fire’ or metabolic principle in the body (agni)

  • The state of any toxins in the body (ama)

  • Your basic body type or constitution (prakrti)

  • The current overall state of health (vikriti)

What happens?

  • The Manasa Ayurveda therapist will examine your pulse by placing three fingers on the inside of your wrist.

  • The arm where your pulse will be examined will be held resting on the arm of your therapist and your wrist join slightly bent and held comfortably (for men this will be the right arm, and for women the left arm)

  • According to Ayurveda, taking pulse is an art of meditation, both the therapist and patient need to be calm and relaxed.

  • The pulse will be examined at different levels so will be held tightly and gradually more softly

  • Once the examination is completed, the Manasa Ayurveda therapist will tell you the results and document findings on a pulse examination sheet

What do the results mean?

Most adults have a resting heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The fitter you are, the lower your heart rate will be.

According to Ayurveda, your pulse examination together with other consultation methods can give much information and results will be explained to you following the examination.

Herbal Ghee (ghrta) for the mind and mental health

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Ghee is one of the medicines which the Buddha recognized, and the use of ghrita (ghee) for mental health problems is very common within the Ayurvedic texts, it continues to be regarded as ‘the best drug of oleation’, and assimilates the properties of substances accompanying it. Medical uses of ghrita include drinking it, nasal drops, massaging on the body, bathing in it and various other applications.

Classical Ayurvedic texts give around 20 different recipes for types of herbal ghee recommended for the treatment of mental health problems. Recent initial small scale research in India using randomised placebo controlled clinical trials is beginning to show that the total effect of Brahmi ghee is statistically highly significant compared with placebo for conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Manasa Ayurveda carefully produces our own herbal ghee using special combinations of herbs traditionally recognsised as highly effective for the mind and mental health.

Añjana (collyrium therapy) in Buddhist Ayurvedic Psychiatry

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Añjana refers to instillation of medicine into the eyes and eye ointments. It is listed as ascyotana (eye drops) in the earliest Buddhist teachings, and use of ointments for this purpose was allowed by the Buddha:

I allow, monks, these ointments [añjana]: black collyrium, rasa-ointment, sota-ointment, yellow-ochre, lamp-black
— Vin.I.203

The Ayurvedic texts instruct the use of a dharani (invocation) of a healing Buddha when preparing an añjana (collyrium). Añjana (collyrium therapy) is recognized as a treatment for mental health problems according to Ayurvedic texts and a number of recipes for añjana in the treatment of mental health problems are given.

Contact us to find out more about traditional Buddhist Ayurvedic treatments for the mind, mental health and well-being.

Face-to-face consultation: tounge examination (jihva pariksha)

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Our Manasa Ayurveda consultations are undertaken by registered healthcare professionals and as well as using traditional Ayurvedic methods also include professional physical health checks. One of the Ayurvedic methods we use is tounge examination (jihva pariksha).

Why do we do this?

The tongue is the only internal organ that can be seen externally. Ayurvedic tongue examination is part of the personal face-to-face consultation for two main reasons:

  1. It enables the therapist to see how the ‘digestive fire’ (agni) is working throughout the body

  2. It clearly shows progress of improvements in health during a therapy programme

According to the ancient practice of Ayurvedic tounge examination (jihva pariksha), different areas of the tongue (marked 1-5 in the diagram above) relate to different organs and areas of the body. Observations in these different areas help to identify current, or potential health issues.

Tongue examination is used not only to enable the Manasa Ayurveda therapist to have a better knowledge of your health, but also to inform of any further questions that may need to be asked.

What happens?

  • You will be asked to put out your tongue with your mouth open for around 20 seconds

  • The Manasa Ayurveda therapist will use a small hand-held examination light to look at your tongue (there is no physical contact with the tongue)

  • Observations made will be written down immediately on a record form

  • For the full examination this process is usually repeated 3-4 times as needed

What do the results mean?

According to Ayurveda, tongue examination can give information about:

  • Your basic body constitution (prakrti)

  • Any general current imbalances within your body (vikruti)

  • How the ‘digestive fire’ (agni) is working throughout the body

  • Current or potential issues with the functioning of certain organs

  • Current or potential health issues in general

Buddhist Ayurvedic Herbs for the Mind and Mental Health

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The Buddha allowed monks, if there was a reason, to prepare medicines using a (lower or small) grindstone, pestle and mortar and sifters, and allowed monks, if there was a reason, to make medical use of whatever there are of medicinal roots, astringent decoctions, medicinal leaves, medicinal fruits, medicinal resins and medicinal salts (Vin.I.201-202).

The most important group of ausadha (drugs) employed within Ayurveda for the treatment of mental health problems, are the medhya rasayanas.

An especially notable herb is haritaki, a type of fruit used in a variety of medicines. Haritaki fruit is a well-known healing substance in both in Buddhist and Ayurvedic medical tradition. Its use with milk and honey is advocated for mental health problems in an Indian Buddhist text preserved in Chinese translation.

In some early Buddhist texts haritaki is thought to represent ‘blessings from unseen realms’. The Buddha Bhaisajyaguru (medicine Buddha), is usually seen holding haritaki in his right hand and the healing properties and affects of haritaki on both body and mind indicate the comprehensive nature of the medicine Buddha’s healing power (p.83, Birnbaum, 1989).

Haritaki is used as an ingredient in some of the therapeutic products available on a not-for-profit basis in our online shop (restricted to Manasa Ayurveda clients only).

Are you sweet enough already?

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In the UK we eat too much sugar, on average 700g or 140 teaspoons a week per person.

Research has shown that a higher sugar intake is associated with worse mental health, but it is not always easy to know when we are eating sugar.

There are lots of different ways added sugar can be listed on ingredients labels. If you decide to reduce the amount of sugar you eat, look out for these ingredients (all of them are sugar!):

  • sucrose

  • glucose

  • fructose

  • maltose

  • fruit juice

  • molasses

  • hydrolysed starch

  • invert sugar

  • corn syrup

  • honey

Face-to-face consultation: taking your blood pressure

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Our Manasa Ayurveda consultations are undertaken by registered healthcare professionals and as well as using traditional Ayurvedic methods also include conventional physical health checks. One of these checks is of blood pressure.

Why do we do this?

We measure blood pressure so we can see how well this part of your circulatory system is working. Your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will measure your blood pressure during your consultation and during therapy sessions where monitoring is helpful.

A blood pressure that is too low can lead to fainting and falls, whereas a high blood pressure, if untreated for long periods may cause problems such as kidney damage or stroke. We usually cannot tell if our blood pressure is too high as there are no obvious signs and symptoms. The only way we know is by measuring it.

What happens?

We measure blood pressure by hand (manually) for the most accurate readings:

  • We will ask you to sit down with your arm supported on a table. Sometimes we will check your blood pressure laying down or standing up.

  • A cuff is placed on your upper arm.

  • The cuff is tightened and you will feel tightening.

  • The air is then slowly let out of the cuff.

  • Your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will then place a stethoscope on your arm just below the cuff and listen to your pulse whilst the air is being let out.

  • It is best to do this three times to get the most accurate reading.

  • The therapist will tell you the result and write it down on a chart.

What do the results mean?

  • Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). Ideally blood pressure should be lower than 120/80 mmHg.

  • The first number is called the systolic blood pressure. It is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats.

  • According to Ayurvedic principles a systolic blood pressure of less than 95mmHg may be associated with vāta, whereas a systolic blood pressure of over 130mmHg may be associated with pitta.

  • The second number is called the diastolic blood pressure and is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.

  • From your blood pressure, your pulse pressure (PP) can be calculated (systolic – diastolic) and this is pressure is known as bala (force) according to ancient Ayurvedic understanding.

We can make helpful suggestions to help you manage high or low blood pressure using an Ayurvedic approach, including diet, exercise, sleep and meditation practices and may also recommend that you inform your GP so that they also remain informed of your health condition.

Face-to-face consultation: checking the amount of oxygen in your blood

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Our Manasa Ayurveda consultations are undertaken by registered healthcare professionals and as well as using traditional Ayurvedic methods also include professional physical health checks. One of these checks is of the oxygen levels in your blood.

Why do we do this?

The amount of oxygen in our blood is affected by such things as smoking asthma or dehydration. We need to know if the blood is carrying enough oxygen throughout your body, but particularly to your brain and heart.

What happens?

We take an estimate of the amount of oxygen in your blood (also called oxygen saturation) by placing a small device (called a pulse oximeter) on one of your fingers. The device shines a light through one side of your finger and a detector measures the light that comes through the other side. Blood cells that are full of oxygen absorb and reflect light differently than those with not enough oxygen. Anything that absorbs light can give a false reading (such as dark nail varnish). Also movement can give a false reading so you will be asked to keep your hand still while the oximeter is clipped to your finger. Your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will tell you the result and record your results on a chart.

What do the results mean?

Normal readings are 94-100%. If your reading is below this we may advise that you also inform your GP.

The amount of oxygen in your blood may be related to various factors including your respiratory system. The lungs are the organs that receive oxygen that we breathe in through our nose and mouth.

According to Ayurveda, the lungs are an important site of kapha dosha, the force in the body which is governed by the elements of water and earth. Most disorders of the respiratory system are a result of imbalanced kapha dosha.

From an Ayurvedic view, oxygen is closely related to the subtle force of prana (vital life force). Breathing exercises which increase oxygen would also increase prana and vice versa. It is said that in the form of oxygen, prana takes its energy, or that oxygen is a manifestation of prana and that prana is most easily sensed in breathing. But prana is considered more subtle than the breath or the oxygen contained in the air. Prana is not oxygen, but is in oxygen (and also food). Prana is a life force that is in all things.

Face-to-face consultation: cholesterol levels

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We recommend that all adults should get a cholesterol check – no matter what your age or how healthy you feel
— Heart UK, the cholesterol charity

Our Manasa Ayurveda consultations are undertaken by registered healthcare professionals and as well as using traditional Ayurvedic methods also include professional physical health checks. One of these checks is of your total cholesterol levels.

Why do we do this?

Cholesterol is a type of fat. The body needs cholesterol to help make certain vitamins and hormones and can make enough cholesterol of its own. We also get extra cholesterol from the foods we eat.

Too much cholesterol can lead to serious problems like heart disease. A high intake of animal fats such as meat, eggs and cheese are the main cause of excess cholesterol. It’s not just eating too much fat that causes high cholesterol; smoking contributes to it, as does having high blood pressure, diabetes, or an underactive thyroid. Also, some medications such as antipsychotics may increase cholesterol levels.

What happens?

  • A cholesterol test strip is inserted into the testing meter

  • The tip of one of your fingers is cleaned and dry

  • The tip of your finger is massaged

  • Your finger is pricked using a sterile lancet and a drop of blood squeezed onto the test strip

  • The meter reads the test strip

  • You are given some cotton wool to clean your finger

  • Your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will tell you the result and record it on a chart

What do the results mean?

This test measures total cholesterol (TC), this refers to the overall level of cholesterol. As a general guide a healthy total cholesterol level should be below 5mmol/L.

The total cholesterol level found in our test will provides a general guide, and informs will inform our recommended therapies and dietry suggestions, but it’s not just total cholesterol that’s important…

‘Good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol (HDL & LDL) - an Ayurvedic perspective

Blood carries cholesterol around the body on proteins known as high density lipoproteins (HDL) or ‘good cholesterol’, and low density lipoproteins (LDL) – ‘bad cholesterol’.

HDL cholesterol helps your body, but LDL cholesterol can cause blood vessels to become narrowed or blocked, leading to serious health problems and six in ten adults in the UK have LDL cholesterol levels which are too high.

From the ayurvedic perspective, LDL (the harmful kind of cholesterol) is caused by ama, or toxins in the fat tissue. Ayurveda explains ‘simple ama’ as a sticky, foul-smelling waste product of improper digestion which can block the channels of the body, such as the arteries.

When this ‘simple ama’ is present for a very long time and is not flushed from the system it can lead to amavisha, a more reactive, dangerous type of ama. When this starts to spread throughout the body, it can mix with the body tissues (dhatus) and waste products (malas). Once amavisha mixes with the fat tissue, it is said to lead to problems such as high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.

Following our general test of total cholesterol you may wish to have a further, more in-depth test to determine your specific HDL and LDL levels, particularly if your total cholesterol level is above 5mmol/L. Heart UK, the cholesterol charity provides helpful information on this.

Face-to-face consultation: weight and height

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Our Manasa Ayurveda consultations are undertaken by registered healthcare professionals and as well as using traditional Ayurvedic methods also include professional physical health checks. One of these checks is on your weight and height.

Why does this matter?

Being a healthy weight helps to control our blood pressure and blood glucose (sugar) levels, and helps reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It is not unusual for people to gain weight when first starting medicines for mental health problems.

To check if you are a healthy weight for your height, your body mass index (BMI) can be calculated. This is an estimate of body fat. The higher your BMI is, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

What happens?

Your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will measure your weight (in kilograms) and height (in metres).

Your BMI is worked out by dividing your weight by your height

Then dividing the number you get from this by your height again to give you a BMI score

Your therapist will tell you the results and record it on a chart

What do the results mean?

Your BMI score gives you an idea if you need to take action about your weight.

There are slightly different guideline depending on your ethnic group. Most of the research about the health effects of BMI scores has been carried out with people from an Asian background. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Department of Health recommend that people from an Asian background need to take action when their BMI score is slightly lower than people from a white European background.

Underweight (you may need to put on weight):

Asian population: Below 18.5

White European population: Below 18.5

Normal (this is generally ideal, you should aim to stay this way):

Asian population: 18.5-23

White European population: 18.5-24.9

Overweight (it may be a good idea to try to stop further weight gain or lose some weight):

Asian population: 23-27

White European population: 25.0-29.9

Obese (losing weight will improve your health):

Asian population: 27.5 and above

White European population: 30.0 and above

BMI and Ayurvedic body type

Rotti et al. (2014) completed a study which found that people with certain Ayurvedic body types (prakruti) are naturally more likely to have a higher or lower BMI. People with a lower BMI (less than 20) are most likely to have a vāta body type, and people with a higher BMI (greater than 25), are most likely to have a kapha body type. So different people may naturally have a higher or lower BMI.

Face-to-face consultation: waist size

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Our Manasa Ayurveda consultations are undertaken by registered healthcare professionals and as well as using traditional Ayurvedic methods also include professional physical health checks. One of these checks of your waist size.

Why do we do this?

Research has shown that people with a vāta body type may be more likely to naturally have a lower BMI and people with a kapha body type may be more likely to naturally have a higher BMI. So a larger or smaller overall body size may not always be related to potential health problems.

Rather than just measuring overall body size, in recent years experts now think that measuring waist size may be a better way to predict if we are at risk of getting diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This is because fat stored around our middle is unhealthier than overall body fat.

What happens?

  • A Manasa Ayurveda therapist will wrap a tape measure around your waist.

  • To accurately measure this, the tape measure is wrapped around your waist halfway between the top of the hip bone and the lowest rip (it usually crosses your belly button)

  • You will be asked to breathe out and hold your breath whilst the therapist takes the measurement

  • They will tell you what the results are and record this on a chart

What do the results mean?

The higher the waist size, the more at risk of developing heart disease and diabetes in the future. As with BMI scores, there are different guidelines depending on your gender and ethnicity.

Asian women: take action if your waist size is 80cm (31.5in) and above

White European women: take action if your waist size is 80cm (31.5in) and above

Asian men: take action if your waist size is 90cm (35in) and above

White European men: take action if your waist size is 94cm (37in) and above

If you fall into this risk category and would like help to reduce your weight and waist

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Herbal tea for the current state of your body & mind

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The use of herbal teas as beverages, as substitutes or alternatives for coffee or tea, has become very common. Yet without proper understanding of constitution and condition, the use of such herbal teas may not be entirely health promoting.

Following your personal consultation we can recommend, blend and send the perfect herbal tea for the current state of your body and mind...

Face-to-face consultation: taking your temperature...

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Our Manasa Ayurveda consultations are undertaken by registered healthcare professionals and as well as using traditional Ayurvedic methods, can also include physical health checks which are used within NHS hospitals. One of these checks is taking temperature.

Why do we do this?

According to Ayurveda, body temperature can be affected by the three “doshas”. For example, an excess of “pitta” is often connected with more heat in the body, and this may be associated with symptoms such as, acne, heartburn, skin rashes and diarrhoea. Temperature can also be affected if you have an infection, by taking certain medicines, if you are dehydrated and if you are very emotional. We need to know if your temperature is too low, normal or too high, because this can help us plan the therapies we offer.

What happens?

A professional Manasa Ayurveda therapist will take your temperature during the face-to-face consultation. We will check your temperature using an electronic thermometer which is placed in your ear for a few seconds. Your therapist will write down what the result is on the chart. During your therapy programme we may continue to monitor your temperature if this is found to be an especially important factor for you.

What do the results mean?

Normal temperature is around 35-37°C. According to Ayurvedic principles, cooler temperatures may be associated with aggravation of vāta and warmer temperatures associated with aggravation of pitta.