Self Help for Good Health: A Naturopathy Perspective
-Based on inputs from the National Institute of Naturopathy, Pune.
The development of any infectious and contagious diseases necessitates a certain predisposition, called as “disease diathesis.” This predisposition to infection and contagion consists in the primary causes of disease, which is designated in Naturopathy medical science as lowered vitality in the system.
To in-vigor at the body’s vitality thereby enhancing the natural defense system (immunity), which plays an important role in maintaining optimum health, the personal measures and few actions which may be helpful are indicated below. It is well understood that prevention is better than cure. While there is no medicine for COVID-19 till date, it will be good to take preventive measures which boost our immunity in these times with the following self-care measures.
For the Prevention of Coronavirus Infections and management of mild symptoms of Corona Virus infection, the following self-care measures are recommended. All these measures can be done at home without much demand from external resources.
Self Care measures for optimal immunity
Sunlight: Exposure to the sun and air in the morning and evening hours is known to reduce stress and confer immunity by improving Vitamin D metabolism.
To take sunbath, one should cover his/ her head with a wet towel, be in minimum wears exposing maximum possible body surface or should wear light cotton clothes and either lie down or sit somewhere in the sun for 30 mins between 8 am to 5 pm. Once sweating appears, cold water shower must be taken.
Sleep: Sleep and the circadian system exert a regulatory influence on immune functions. Regular healthy sleep hygiene with 7 to 8 hrs of sleep is essential to modulate immunity. To get accustomed to a healthy sleep routine, a wake-up time may be fixed and stuck with it, even on weekends or other days and should build a bed time into the daily routine to get the recommended amount of sleep each night.
Nutrition: Food rich in proteins, vitamin C and D are recommended. Lemon juice with honey, Zinc and Selenium rich foods like spinach, beans, legumes, pumpkin seeds, cashews, Flax seeds etc can be had frequently. Plenty of colored fruits and vegetables, Millet based diets, should be included in everyday diet.
Note: Opt for locally available seasonal fruits and vegetables. Try to include maximum colors (fruits and vegetables) in the plate.
Exercise & Yoga: Exercises of moderate-intensity like brisk walking covering 4 kms in an hour with an optimal frequency of three to five days a week, and activities like gardening etc for an optimal duration of 20 to 30 minutes can be done.
Yogic practices for an hour everyday including breathing practices, Pranayamas and Kriyas, play a crucial role in preventing infections and strengthening the Upper Respiratory Tract. Common yoga protocol of IDY can be practiced daily on empty stomach.
Hygiene: Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing and otherwise also. In order to maintain internal hygiene keep eliminative organs active by living close to Nature.
Stress reduction: A growing body of evidence identifies stress as a cofactor in infectious disease susceptibility and outcomes. To overcome stress and inculcate positive attitude towards life the practice of Meditation, Mindfulness, Relaxation techniques, Music therapy, engagement with nature (gardening, sun walk, star gazing, bird watching, pool sitting, bare foot walking, swimming, forest walks, mountaineering, hiking, cycling etc.), learning to sing, dance, new language, cultivating a hobby, engaging in social work, helping others or care for plants and animals and so on can be resorted. Sufficient evidence exists to justify the practices mentioned above in maintaining immunity at an optimum level.
NATUROPATHY & YOGA
Natural Measures recommended when Flu like symptoms are present:
Salt water Gargling: Salt water gargles are the recommended for symptomatic relief for sore – throat. It also helps reduce viral load by expelling it at regular intervals and more importantly before going to bed.
Procedure: Dissolve half a teaspoon of common salt in a glass of warm water, Gargle with the solution then spit it out
Use of Steam (with or without) Essential Oils: Steam inhalation is for relieving congestions & mitigating cold and flu like symptoms. Steam generated with 3-6 drops of essential oils like Eucalyptus, Rosemary, lavender, sweet orange or lemon when added to 50 ml of boiling water can help in alleviating symptoms of common cold, stress and anxiety. In case of unavailability of steam inhalation device (vaporizer), water can be heated in a pot and covering the face with towel steam inhalation can be done. Make sure to keep the eyes closed and maintain safe distance from the pot, it can be taken for 10-12 minutes
Netikriya: Jalaneti or Nasal Irrigation is the application with warm saline water, poured into one nostril and expelled through the other and then another nostril, with the help of Neti pot. It will help to reduce nasal congestion, dryness and airway reactivity. This practice should be followed by Kapalabhatikriya twice a week to reduce airway reactivity.
Hot foot immersion: A local immersion bath covering the feet and ankles at temperatures ranging from 39° – 43°C / 103-110°F can be taken to relieve congestion headache and chest congestion.
Fasting: Fasting or abstinence of food voluntarily for a certain period of time giving physiological rest can help boost immunity, decrease inflammation, and increase resistance to oxidative stress.
Procedure: Restricting the frequency of eating food to two meals a day i.e. morning meal between 11 to 12 am and evening meal between 7 to 8 pm with a window period of 8 hours and 16 hours will activate rebooting and repair of the human body. Intermittent fasting or lemon juice fasting one day a week is a simplest method to improve immunity.
Immune Boosting Kada
- Peeled Crushed Ginger- 5gm,
- Tulsi (Basil) leaves- 10 gms,
- Pepper powder- ¼ tsp,
- Crushed liquorice root- 5 gms
- Turmeric powder ¼ tsp
- Drinking water- 250 ml
Procedure: Boil the above ingredients for 15 mins, strain and serve.
Dosage: Once a day
During dry cough / sore throat
- Steam inhalation with fresh Pudina (Mint) leaves or Ajwain (Caraway seeds) can be practiced once in a day.
- Lavang (Clove) powder mixed with natural sugar / honey can be taken 2-3 times a day in case of cough or throat irritation.
Disclaimer: It is best to consult doctors if the discomfort or symptoms persist.