Our body is ingeniously designed to identify disease processes taking place within. No disease is silent. There are always signs and indications. They may be subtle, but nevertheless they are always there! Eczema is one of those hard to miss indications given by our body. It is an indication that something within your body is not quiet right . It is not a disease in itself, but a reflection of the inner state of your body, especially your gut. The inflammation that ensues within our gut, if not contained in time creates this massive malfunction of immune system- the eczema!
Understanding how eczema develops is the key to understanding how to get rid of it! There are a lot of incidents/cases wherein a person on steroid seems to have got temporary relief with steroids, but after reducing or stopping the usage of such creams, the eczema flared up pretty quickly and with much more intensity than before. Hence, its important to understand that –Eczema has no quick fix. It has to be dealt by attacking the root cause of the problem!!
Continuing the blog on ‘Dealing with Eczema :Part 1’ , let us look at some of the key factors that influence eczema and ways to deal with it.
Here are some factors which help in holistic management of Eczema:
1. Weather: Dry and cold weather usually aggravates eczema. However, hot and humid does not help either. Also, it is not something that you can change much. However, taking care of your skin helps. Make sure your skin remains moisturized and does not go dry. Drink plenty of warm water and fluid to keep your skin well hydrated. Organic cold pressed Coconut Oil, cocoa butter etc. are great for moisturizing the skin. They have natural anti-inflammatory qualities and help in healing the skin.
PS: DO NOT use Paraben based moisturizers and cosmetics – even when you don’t have eczema. Unless your doctor is able to identify and recommend a natural and safe option, it might take a bit of ‘trial and elimination’ approach to identifying a moisturizer that suits your skin. Make sure to read the ingredients label before you buy and try. Buy Organic products where possible !
2. Body Type : In Ayurveda, the body and mind of an individual are looked at holistically rather than as 2 separate entities. These two together form the ‘Personality’ of an individual. Profiling of an individual’s personality is known as Prakriti. Prakriti means “nature” in Sanskrit. However, when referring to a human body, Prakriti would mean, the unique physical and psychological nature of an individual.
Based of your body type the symptoms /signs and the therapy of eczema varies. For examples
- Vata– Dryness, cracked skin, thin fragile skin
- Pitta- Redness along with dry skin, burning sensation
- Kapha- Water or pus discharge, intense itching, thickened skin patches
Each person has a unique Dosha dominance which warrants unique nutrition, lifestyle and therapy. Identifying your Dosha enables you and your doctor to determine suitable diet, exercise and lifestyle for controlling eczema.
3. Food : As Hippocrates said “Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine be Thy Food“. Nothing is more true than this !! There is Indian proverb which goes like – ‘One who knows to control his tongue knows no enemy and one who knows to control his food knows no disease’! Similar saying goes in the bible too – Proverbs 15:2
Food is THE important factor in controlling eczema. Knowing WHAT to eat, HOW to eat and WHEN to eat – is the key to manage eczema.
Most disease states cannot exist when the body’s pH is alkaline. Imbalances like eczema stem from acidic pH inside our body. Here are some tips for balacing your body pH:
- Choose only organic foods that are GMO-free to avoid pesticides, chemicals and other contaminants
- Eat alkaline foods like most fruits and vegetables. They sustain the body’s pH on a daily basis.
- Reduce all kinds of meats and refined sugars and flours. These foods contribute to an acidic state.
- Combine highly alkaline foods in a meal with foods that are acidic to create better balance and maintain alkaline pH.
- Drink one or two glasses of organic apple cider vinegar and water daily. Mix one to two tablespoons of vinegar in eight ounces of water.
- Make a pH drink by combining two tablespoons lemon or lime juice with half a teaspoon of baking soda. After foaming has subsided, add 8-12 ounces of water and drink immediately.
- Consume foods high in potassium like lemons, bananas etc.
- Drink lots of warm water daily to flush the system of waste. Drink based on your body needs. identify when you are thirsty and consume water accordingly. Here are some tips regarding drinking water
4. Medicine : Food can be medicine as described above. However, its a long term and slow process. It can help you regain good health and maintain it. If the body is currently, not in state to absorb the nutrients from food , control damage and recover – then it needs additional help in the form of medication. Medicine and food need to focus on arresting the damage and start the recovery process. PS: Corticosteroids are good at suppressing Eczema in short term – however the damage steroidal creams cause are HUGE. The real cause of eczema is NOT addressed by Steroids and creams. There are enough references in medical world and on the internet on HOW damaging steroids have been to the body. Perhaps more than GMO foods !
5. Yoga & Lifestyle : Modifying Lifestyle based on your cultural and ethnic background, Body Type, Dosha’s and living conditions and Nature of Work/Work-Place etc. helps. Practicing Yoga which compliments your nature of complaints and body type also helps in reducing severity of eczema and in healing.
Note- Eczema behaves differently from person to person. Hence, healing eczema is different for different people.Each one requires a detailed analysis of past medical history, current medical conditions etc. Ayurveda treats every individual as unique. hence, therapy of eczema varies. Please consult your Ayurvedic physician before opting for any Ayurvedic therapy.