Catch Dryness Before it Catches You!

Fending off illness this time of year can be a challenge.  Dr. Vishnu Aragona, from Stillpoint Ayurveda, offers some easy to follow Ayurvedic guidelines that can help boost your immunity and keep you in action all winter long.

It is with great urgency and passion that I write this current article to help prevent any further health distress this time of year as I’ve seen many people and treated many patients with colds, virus’, digestive issues such as gas and constipation, and other upper respiratory ailments.  All of these conditions can be prevented if we know where and how to catch it from starting. Frankly, it’s quite simple! The main culprit is dryness. Dry membranes and orifices; ranging from dry eyes, dry ears, dry noses, dry mouths, dry skin, dryness of the vagina and dryness of the rectal opening. According to Ayurveda, when dryness is experienced in these areas it is a result of the air element imbalance, otherwise known as Vata Dosha vitiation.

Here are some quick and immediate considerations as far as diet and lifestyle:

  1. STAY AWAY from anything cold, raw and frozen! (In general, but especially this time of year.)
  2. STAY AWAY from ICE!’s a no brainer! If it’s cold outside, don’t put any cold into the body! Period!
  3. Foods that are warming, generally through a spicy (pungent) nature and not too heavy, this time of year are ideal. Soups are amazing for many reasons. Spices such as cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, fresh or dry ginger, basil, fenugreek, turmeric, black pepper, chili flakes/powder and cayenne. Sweet and Savory (combination of sweet and salty), in moderation, helps to moisten the tissues.
  4. Lubricate the eyes, ears, mouth, nose and skin. Ayurveda has numerous practices that are highly effective in addressing this. A simple drop of oil, like ghee, here and there goes a long way. Add a drop of ghee in the eyes. Sesame, a drop or two, in the ears. Sesame oil for oil pulling/gargling. A drop of ghee or sesame for the each nostril.
  5. Hydrate with teas like licorice and Tulsi, or Cinnamon and Turmeric with a few drops of coconut oil or ghee. Remember, demulcents! Demulcents such as licorice, slippery elm, marshmallow, gokshura, shatavari, cinnamon and flaxseed.
  6. OIL and FOMENTATION: Warm oil massages are essential for immunity boosting in Ayurveda. Kapha predominant types require a very light coat of oil, Pitta a medium coat and Vata can benefit from more oil; always warm though (never cold or room temperature). Then, fomentation is imperative. Dry heat is better for Kapha and moist heat is better for Vata. Pitta predominant individuals need to be exposed to heat for a few minutes.
  7. Cover your head, ears and neck. According to both Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, there are two specific points in the back of the head where the wind can enter very easily and will wreak havoc throughout the nervous system.
  8. Proper rest! Meaning, get to bed no later than 11 and up earlier, not long after sunrise, ensures that the digestive system is working more optimally and supports immunity.
  9. For other recommendations around supporting physical and mental health this time of year click here.

Remember, once dryness gets in, it’s tricky to get out, so Ayurveda says prevent it from coming in and from going deeper which can cause problems in other parts of the body and mind, and affect overall health.

For an expanded version of this article with more details click here.

Dr. Vishnu Aragona AD, LMT, is one of Philadelphia's leading experts in Ayurveda, with over 20 years of experience in holistic training. He has been recognized by NAMA (National Ayurveda Medical Association) as meeting the requirements as a Doctor of Ayurveda. Vishnu has a Master's Degree in Ayurveda and a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. Vishnu is also a licensed massage therapist, practicing various other modalities. He has been practicing for 22 years and teaching classical yoga rooted in Ayurveda for over 15 years. His Ayurveda, Yoga, and Massage center, Still Point Ayurveda is the leading Ayurvedic Center in Philadelphia. Visit to find out more and to schedule appointments.

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