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Ayurveda may be the oldest documented medicinal practice. Like many things in Indian culture the medicine is based on the Vedas. This style of health maintenance and healing focuses on a holistic approach and aims to balance mind, body and spirit.
Emphasis is placed on prevention of disease through healthy lifestyle. This healing modality touches on the food that we eat, herbal remedies, yogic practice and meditation.
There are five main elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. These elements combine in various combinations in different types of person. There are three main doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Balancing doshas produces optimal health. We explain each type briefly below.
Ayurveda also believes that we have energy centers in the body and if they become blocked then some disease may manifest. There are seven main chakras in the body, if you do yoga you are probably already acquainted with them. Energy healers often also work to move stuck energy within the chakral system. They are outlined below.
Many of the treatments offered in Ayurvedic practice focus on the main tract of our body - that's right, the one where food goes in and comes out. So food is medicine and gut health is important. Remedies like teas, tinctures and herbal decoctions may be ingested or used as enemas. We'll try to explore some of these briefly for breast health, but we're not Ayurvedic practitioners, so if you are really interested in this type of medicine we suggest wholeheartedly that you explore further.
We're all different so in order to figure out how balanced your doshas are take a quick online quiz.
All of us have some qualities of each dosha - some will resonate more true with you than others. Determining your dosha constitution will determine which remedies might work best for you as well as which types of food can be used for medicine for you.
This body type is generally light, flexible and slender. It is the most delicate of the dosha types. People that are predominantly vata typically prefer warmer weather and foods that provide heat. Their personality can be a bit erratic if they are not well grounded.
Vata dosha is associated with the bones, ears, skin, large intestine and thighs.
Vata contributes to emotions like fear, pain, anxiety and most other nervous emotions.
For this dosh type breasts tend to be on the smaller side and may prone to dry or chapped areas on the breast or areola.
Vata problems tend to arise with ductal blockages.
Pitta dosha people have a strong constitution, generally of average physical build with steady metabolism and healthy appetite for food as well as life. They are energetic and have the capacity to excel quickly.
This dosha is associated with the secretory glands (like sweat glands), lymphatic system, eyes, skin, blood, small intestine and the stomach.
Emotions like anger, hatred, jealously or anything else fiery would be attributed to Pitta.
Pitta breasts are average size, but can feel oily. Excess Pitta or Pitta imbalance can cause areas of inflammation, superficial infections or abscess, areas od pain/tenderness and nipple discharge of varying colors.
Kaphas are stocky and hardy with well developed muscles, sometimes hidden under a layer of fat. They hold on to their weight but have great strength and stamina if they choose to be athletic rather than lazy. This dosha type is very well grounded and generally reliable.
Kapha dosha is associated with the chest, lungs, spleen, the cerebrospinal fluids and fat.
The personality of Kapha is typically calm and this dosha is associated with love and forgiveness.
Kapha's have supple bosoms with healthy skin. Imbalances can lead to the presentation of lumps, swelling and sometimes discharge as well.
Seven main centers/wheels for prana (energy) in the body. Brief outlines only.
This chakra sits on the crown of your head and it is the connection to the rest of the cosmos. It is the center of your spirit, enlightenment, wisdom and connection to higher guidance or cosmic consciousness.
It is represented with a cool, purplish white light color.
This is your connection between the physical, etheric and divine.
Third Eye Chakra
Your third eye is located between your two eyes and a bit higher up, where your pineal gland would be. This is the energy center responsible for your intuition and being able to see that which is otherwise unseen. This area is the center of our own perception and the way in which we connect to our world.
It is represented by a deep indigo blue and is the link to our subconscious mind and Brahman - the cosmic principle(s).
Vishuddha represents truth, speaking your truth and communication. The throat chakra is represented with a calming shade of blue.
The throat chakra governs the mouth, tongue and neck. Much like nourishment needs to pass through the throat any energies from higher chakras must pass through the throat so this is an important energy center to keep open and balanced.
The heart chakra is associated with the heart, no surprise... it's also located where your heart is. It is also associated with the lungs, lung tissues and breath and also the breasts. It's color is green.
It is associated with feelings of love and compassion, but also governs our relationships and the way we relate to others.
We have extensions of our heart chakras in the palms of our hands and that is how we relate to the world through our physical interactions and touch.
Solar Plexus Chakra
Yellow is an optimistic and powerful color that relates to sunshine and happiness. The solar plexus chakra positioned above the navel is your power center and source of your inner energy. It symbolizes personal will and inner strength.
The solar plexus chakra is connected to the nervous system and transmits your inner light throughout your body.
Located in the region of the female uterus this is the chakra associated with creation (new life and other types of creativity). It is also responsible for governing our emotions and sexuality. The sacral chakra governs our genitourinary organs as well as the adrenals.
Svadhisthana is represented by the color orange which is associated with warmth, fun, stimulation, creativity and sexuality.
The root or base chakra is our connection to the earth and our lineage. The color of this chakra is red - for survival, earth energy and nourishment. It is associated with our bones, bone marrow, blood production and circulation.
It also is where we feel security on multiple levels, safety in our environment as well as a safety net in our bank accounts.
The root chakra is located at the base of the spine near the root like structure of the cauda equina.
Yoga means unity.
There is more to yoga than contortions - poses called asanas.
There are different yogic practices that you can explore, including: Vinyasa, Hatha, Iyengar, Bikram, Kundalini, Ashtanga,Yin, Anusara, Jivamukti, Restorative, Pre-Natal, etc.
Then there is the breathwork to consider - pranayama.
Can't get enough of yoga during your waking hours? Try Yoga Nidra which aims to use guided meditation to put you in a state of consciousness between awake and asleep.
We are not aiming to explain yoga - maybe writing about it will motivate us to practice ourselves. We do want to explore yoga for breast health and how it can help those diagnosed with breast cancer during and after treatment.
Studies have shown that women participating in yoga practice feel better whether or not they have breast cancer.
Yoga for Breast Health
In Hindu art we see images of fierce bear chested women, we see the sacred nature and the strength of our bosom through these deities. So how can we get to a place where we appreciate our breasts as the center for compassion, strength and inner ferocity with our personal yoga journey?
We recommend setting an intention at the beginning of your yoga practice, if it happens to be about loving your body and breasts then good for you. We know that a well rounded practice will benefit your entire physical body. Yoga reduces stress and stress reduction is absolutely good for your breast health and reduction of breast cancer.
The aim of our practice exploration is to focus on breasts health. Include asanas that expand the heart center and promote circulation of blood and lymph though the chest areas. The twists and warrior variations are good for opening the chest.
If you are having trouble finding breast yoga routines, find one for opening the heart chakra - there's a ton on YouTube for your to peruse.
Physical activity and movement though your asana practice is great, it can be elevated further with pranayama.
Pranayama can facilitate the flow of oxygen to help restore and balance the oxygen and carbon dioxide in our bodies. If our breast tissue become under oxygenated it becomes vulnerable and disease can set it. Properly oxygenated tissues contain more antioxidants and cells remodel at the appropriate rate.
Breath retention exercises like pranayama have been show to boost healthy inflammatory response, increase metabolism, lengthen telomeres, and increase neuroplasticity. So exercise your diaphragm and work on those inhales, holds and exhales.
Breast Cancer Benefits
All of the aforementioned reasons in Yoga for Breast Health are still very valid here.
Research with cancer patients has show that yoga can improve quality of life and physical function as well as reducing fatigue, anxiety, depression and stress. You may also sleep better and connect with another group of people to support your on your cancer journey.
Treatment for breast cancer can take a toll on your physical and emotional body, not to mention how it may make your spirit feel. Yoga serves as a restorative practice that will hopefully help to promote optimum healing in your body and make you feel more like yourself.
Make sure that you check in with yourself before and after your practice and please know your limitations. If you are attending formal practice with a certified yoga instructor ensure that you disclose where you are in your treatment. A good yoga will be able to tailor the asanas to your capability
Rasa dhatu is made of the primary element of water and refers to the liquids in the body such as: lymph, interstitial fluids, breast milk, blood plasma, and menstrual fluids.
If you have too much Vata or Pitta dosha energy your rasa dhatu will deplete. Too much Kapha and fluid retention will become a problem.
Healthy rasa dhatu is dependent on what we intake for fluids and food as well as our digestion and gut health.
Since rasa dhatu is responsible for lactation, milk production, and the lymphatic system an imbalance here can manifest with breast problems.
To maintain healthy and vital rasa dhatu, eat properly and get plenty of fluids. Ayurvedic breast massage can help to improve motility of the rasa dhatu to reduce stagnation and balance our breast health.
Breast massage is meant to move rasa dhatu, not to replace clinical breast exams by a care provider.
It will allow you to become more acquainted with the feeling or your breasts and may also make you feel more comfortable with your body.
Breast Massage - DIY
1. Bring your palms together at your heart's center, between your breasts in prayer pose. Take a moment here to be grateful for your body and your bosom.
Relax and take a few breaths here, try not to allow any background disturbances distract you from the present moment. Observe your mental state.
2. If you prefer to use oils in your practice warm some sesame, jojoba or almond oil in your hands. (Do not put essential oils directly on your skin's surface unless instructed explicitly by an aromatherapist to do so.)
3. Place your finger tips on your nipple area and begin moving your fingers in a circular motion, making larger circles as you move further away from your nipple. The recommendation is to make at least 100 circles per breast daily, this number will change if you have recently had breast surgery or are recovering from radiation in that area.
4. Once you have massaged your breasts in this fashion work your way up into the armpits in larger strokes following your breast tissue pattern up into the collarbone and shoulder area.
5. Place your hands over your chest and breath for a few more moments. Check in again with your body and emotional state.
Full Body Massage - Self Abhyanga
Before you begin, make you sure you will be in a comfortable space, uninterrupted for some me time. Have some oil warmed and ready to use. Jojoba is a good carrier oil and works nicely for all dosha types. Adding only a drop or two of your favorite essential oils may also be beneficial.
Work your fingers in a top down manner, beginning at your crown chakra with a scalp massage in a circular fashion and clockwise direction to stimulate prana (energy) in your sahasrara. Spend a few minutes dedicated to your scalp before moving down your body to your face.
Massage your temples, forehead, jaw and chin in a gentle circular motion. Don't forget about your ears!
After a few moments on your face move further down through the throat and into the chest and abdomen. If you want to incorporate your breast massage here is the time to do it. Do your best to cover the entire area, moving in clockwise circular motions. Through your abdomen work up the right side of your body and down through the left to follow the direction of your intestinal tract and aid with digestion.
When you massage your limbs move in long fluid strokes, paying a bit more to the joint areas. For your knees and elbows make smaller circles and work your way larger to promote mobility in these areas.
Your feet and hands are also very important so don't forgo giving them a rub as well.
If you have a partner willing to help with your massage - take advantage of that and have them address your back and upper buttock - areas that you might have difficulty massaging on your own. Bear in mind that you may need to repay that favor.
When you have completed your massage, sit or lay for a few moments in relaxation before rinsing off in a warm shower.
a small list to get you started
Food and Herbs
for breast health
Kombu, nori, spirulina, etc.
Broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
better if cooked
inhibits free radicals
vitamin c boost
D-limonene found in lemon oil may be anti-cancer
better if cooked
Collards, chard, kale, etc.
blocks free radicals
promotes gut health
garlic, onion, scallion, etc.
Apple peels block cancer pathways
good dietary fiber to clear gut toxins
enhances bioavailability of other foods
A treatment in which warm buttermilk or oil would be dripped on to your forehead for a period of 30-45 minutes.
Aiming to reduce stress and calm the nervous system.
Enemas tailored to your constitutional type by your ayurvedic practitioner.
Either an oil enema or herbal decoction enema would be administered to balance your doshas.
Based on your constitution water therapies can be effective in restoring balance to unbalanced doshas.
This must be practiced under the supervision of a well versed practitioner.
Medicinal ash prepared from powdered diamonds and rosewater.
A small amount consumed twice daily is meant to have the effect of rapidly eliminating cancer cells.
Bitter herbal tonic that breaks down malignant deposits.
Specifically targeted for the liver and liver metastases from breast cancer.