How can you improve your health with Ayurveda? Start small and simple, and you’ll still see big results. We chatted with Ayurvedic Wellness Coach Erica Snyder for her take on what steps to take first and also what you can expect from an Ayurvedic consult.
Can you really improve health with Ayurveda? What are some easy starting steps that are quick?
There are so many ways we can improve health with Ayurveda and feel better. Really, what to do for each person depends on what they walk in the door with, what their goals are, and what type of time and energy they want to spend on themselves. But there are some simple things I recommend for every women to start seeing results quickly.
1. Scrape your tongue to get rid of bacteria and other toxins
One of the first things I tell women is to start tongue scraping. Get a tongue scraper. It literally expels the toxic ama from your body. Ama refers to all of the things you’re ingesting that aren’t good for you: what you eat, what you watch, and what you’re consuming from a news and media perspective. Tongue scraping is super simple and makes a really big change fast.
Not all of these steps are truly only Ayurvedic-specific. But they all are part of Ayurveda. Ultimately, to achieve better health and wellness, we want to have an awareness of what’s happening in our body. Ayurveda can help counteract imbalances and bring better balance as a whole.
2. Try daily breast massage to move lymph and more
Oil is always going to be your body’s best friend. Another way women can improve health with Ayurveda is through oil and massage. Abhyanga is popular and it’s great, but it can take 20 minutes–and most of us don’t have the space in our daily routine to include this on the regular. (In abhyanga, warm oil is massaged over the whole body from head to toe.) Sometimes we just don’t have time for it every day, especially at first.
Instead, I recommend daily breast massage. Chances are, you can take five minutes after your shower for it. Find a really yummy oil, and spend 2-3 minutes per side. You’re encouraging ama to leave and you’re physically facilitating this with your hands. Massage is great for moving lymph and encouraging its flow, so you can help remove toxins and support your immune system. Daily breast massage also activates the heart chakra, which is energy center right in the middle of your chest. When we activate the heart chakra, it can help us process emotions and feelings.
3. Stop with the ice water
A lot of women fill their cups with ice, but Ayurveda does not like ice in liquids. Why? So, if you think about it, you have a digestive fire. We call this agni. (Your agni is how well your body processes foods and other things you take in.) If you put ice in your drink, you’re reducing your digestive fire. Some people can handle this better than others. But in general, it’s not a good idea. If your digestive fire isn’t good or is cooled down, you won’t be processing foods or absorbing nutrients as well. Then your liver works harder. And, if your liver is working harder, your hormones can go out of balance. Most people will do best with room-temperature water and hot water for teas is fine.
4. Work on the mental and emotional side plus the physical
Taking physical steps, like massage and tongue scraping, to improve health with Ayurveda are great because we feel like we’re doing something and we see the benefits quickly. But I tell people: you can take all the herbs, the right herbs, even–and do all the things. But if you’re not working on stress, thoughts, and emotions, then those are just herbs. They won’t have their full effect unless you’re taking steps to help yourself mentally and emotionally, too.
Is Ayurveda a substitute for Western medicine?
People come with a lot of stuff. We all do. Western medicine has a place. But, whenever possible, if there’s a way to help someone also feel better more naturally, I’m always in that camp.
What’s an Ayurvedic consult like?
In that first face-to-face or screen-to-screen, we try to figure out where you are physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our main goal at that point is to pinpoint something tangible we can do–something we can start with–to make a change quickly.
With me, consults are about 90 minutes. We get a lot of background information and begin to assess where you are at with your health, mindset, and daily routine. I don’t really recommend just doing a single consult. Yes, we get some good information out of it, but it’s really just the start of where you can take your health. Working together for at least 3 months seems to bring the most changes to women’s health. It’s really the shortest amount of time to see results but that is also realistic.