At one point or another, just about all of us have tried to lose weight. With almost 75% of the American population either overweight or obese, this challenge is becoming seemingly more insurmountable every day. The typical quick diet programs and colon cleansings rarely provide any long-term benefit as the weight lost during those programs is usually gained back within weeks.
One of the main reasons for not being able to lose weight effectively is because the body`s metabolism is not up to speed. According to Ayurveda, the body`s main digestive fire, or Agni, is responsible for the remaining 12 sub-types of digestive and metabolic processes at various levels. Metabolic disruption in any of these can impede weight loss and overall health.
In conditions which cause an excessive accumulation of adipose or fatty-tissue, the medo dhatu agni (fat tissue metabolism) is invariably compromised. To reactivate it, there are a number of Ayurvedic therapies which can be done both internally and externally. Here are some of the easiest ones to try at home:
1. Add one teaspoon of Trikatu, Pancha Kola, or Hingu Ashtaka powder to meals
These powders are three of the best classical digestive appetizers. They promote the main digestive fire (Agni), which then helps to stimulate metabolism throughout the body. They also help to metabolize remnant toxins (Aama) in the digestive system and purify the alimentary canal. These powders can be added to a bowl of soup or rice and used for flavoring.
2. Massage your body with sesame oil and sit in the sun
Over time, the accumulated adipose or fatty tissue begins to harden, making it all the more difficult to remove. Sesame oil helps to penetrate the micro channels of the skin and increases circulation to the underlying tissue, thus promoting metabolism and the removal of toxins. Self-massage should be done for 15-30 minutes in a warm room, and then the body should be exposed to moderate sunlight until it sweats. Cover the head with a hat, and only stay in the sun until comfortably warm. Then rest for 10 minutes in the shade before taking a warm shower.
3. Take a hot salt-water bath once a week
Generalized swelling throughout the body can impede the removal of toxins, particularly from the lymphatic system. Usually this is due to an accumulation of the Kapha dosha (liquid element) in the body. Bathing once a week in a hot, salt-water bath helps to draw out these toxins through the sweat glands. The body, but not the head, should stay submerged until you feel comfortably warm and you sweat. After the bath, wear enough clothes to continue sweating and increase the excretion of toxins.
4. Dry massage with Triphala powder
Triphala powder is one of the greatest Ayurvedic remedies for a wide range of conditions. Its ability to break up toxins and scrape them away can be very useful to reduce fatty tissue all over the body. Take a warmed handful of powder and rub it firmly over the area against the direction of the hair follicles. Repeat this for up to 45 minutes and then brush the remaining powder off of the body.
5. Drink hot water
One of the simplest, most inexpensive, and effective ways to increase metabolism is to drink plain hot water. You can also spice it up by boiling the water for a few minutes with ginger, clove, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper. Keep a hot flask of this water readily available in the kitchen or office. Clear green tea is also good but can cause excessive hunger when taken frequently.
Sources for this article include:
- Charaka Samhita, Sutra sthana & Chikitsa sthana, Chowkhamba Publishers (Sanskrit text and translation by Dr. RK Sharma and Dr. Bhagawan Dash)
- Ashtanga Hrdaya, Sutra sthana, Chowkhambha Krishnadas Academy (Sanskrit text and translation by Dr. K.R. Srikantha Murthy)