In a Yogic Healing class I took this past year I learned a lot about what we can do for ourselves to keep ourselves healthy. Many of our pains can be prevented or aided by certain simple ways of living. Most amazingly, if we can only do this one thing we might never be in pain again. Our body heals itself if we are in an alkaline state. Unfortunately most of what we love eating, white bread, pasta, sugar, meat and alcohol creates an acid state in our body. Our bodies’ innate ability to heal itself is quickly compromised when our daily routine includes mostly these addictive foods.
So what do we do if we already have the pain? Many times a change in diet can help tremendously. But at first, it’s mighty hard because taking a few bad items out of the daily rotation doesn’t create an alkaline state. So at first it is necessary to eliminate these foods until you feel better. Then, of course, going back to old habits will lead you back to where you started, uncomfortable and in pain.
One of the most common complaints of my Yoga students throughout the years has been back pain, especially sciatica. This is the first of several heal yourself blog posts. You might notice a common denominator – leavy greens yes—sugar, white flour, alcohol—no. Here’s to a new healthy, happy year.
These are my suggestions for sciatica that I learned at the Yogic Healing class and some online research.
At the first sign of pain, apply a cold compress to the lower back for fifteen to twenty minutes. Repeat this action every two to three hours. Continue to keep the area cold for as long as possible for twenty-four to forty-eight hours.
After applying a cold compress for a couple of days, switch to using a heat pad. Use some type of heating pad to the affected area for fifteen minutes at a time. Every hour, repeat the process until it seems to lose its effectiveness. When you apply heat to the muscles, it relaxes them, while helping to reduce spasms. Circulation is also increased and toxins around the nerves are flushed away.
When treating sciatica, make sure that bowel movements remain regular. If you do not have regular bowel movements, try using a mild natural laxative, or an enema. However, if you chose laxative, do not continue to use it for more than a couple of days, because your bowel movements could become dependent on the laxative. After a couple of days of using the laxative, resort to a high fiber - low fat diet to continue having regular bowel movements naturally.
Getting plenty of sleep is also very important. Studies have shown that the body does the majority of healing while we sleep (also in sivasana at the end of a Hatha class.) Lying on our back is best, however, if the pain is too immense and keeps you awake; try raising your knees with a small pillow. Doing this will take some pressure off the nerves. If you must sleep on your side, curling up and putting a pillow between your knees will work just as fine.
If you can, go for a walk. Walking is known to be one of the best exercises for sciatica. Exercise helps to relieve and prevent it. Walking keeps muscles loose, while improving circulation throughout the body, including the area of the damaged nerve.
Coming up soon--- Kale, not Just a Plate Decoration (recipes for those who don’t think greens are yummy)
I hope that has helped you or someone you love. Drop me a line if you have a specific ailment that is stopping you from living your life with gusto. I’ll look into my healing files and try to come up with something you can do to heal yourself.
With lots of love, light and healing for the new year!
P.S. Many thanks goes out to my fabulous teacher, the honored and respected Yoga teacher and Director of the Integral Yoga Institute, Margabandhu Martarano.
For more information about Margabandhu and his classes check out http://www.iyinj.org.