Inflammation is a natural response of the body to fight infection. However when inflammation gets beyond control and starts causing pain it needs to be controlled. Pain is often accompanied by swelling. Ayurveda defines pain as an excess of vata or air in the body. Where there is swelling and pain there is excess vata. Increased Vata moves freely between the joints causing pain and inflammation and at times blocking the normal functioning of the body.
To reduce this inflammation ayurveda prescribes a reduction in air within the body. Air is considered as drying, rough, cooling so eating foods that are the opposite of these qualities will reduce the free movement of air in the body. So instead of dry foods opt for oily foods like ghee, butter and milk. Favour cooked foods over raw foods as raw foods are considered rough and increase the vata element. You can go back to raw foods once the vata is balanced i.e the inflammation goes away. Eat freshly cooked food and avoid kept food even if the food is reheated, it is considered cold.
Move it on Out
Opt for Yoga asanas that stretch the body and reduce swelling. Go at a slower pace. Slower paced yoga will move fluids like lymph and blood at the right pace. Movement is important otherwise there will be water retention. Water retention tends to put additional pressure on the capillaries. Practice the asanas in a cool room - not heated or cold. Some postures or asanas help increase strength and flexibility of the joints. These are:
Half spinal twist (Supta Baddha Konasana)
This pose opens the pelvis, belly, chest, and throat. By supporting the legs, circulation and blood flow within the pelvic region. This increases flexibility and improves digestion. This is also an excellent pose to get relief from migraines.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Tadasana stretches the entire leg muscle and provides a gentle stretch to the arms and shoulders. It helps with inflammation of the feet due to bad footwear, long periods of standing, general wear and tear, bunions or even sorenes. By stretching the arches you provide relief to the feet. Tadasana separates the toes creating room for circulation and stretches the arches.
Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana)
This pose is fantastic for the knees as the stretch relieves chronic knee pain due to inflammatory or degenerative bone disorders. Since the ankle is neutral, there is no stress on either the toes or arches. This pose strengths the arches. It also opens the shoulders so if there is inflammation due to a frozen shoulder, this pose helps.
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
In the trikonasana the front ankle is extended which helps to ground the foot as well as the big toe. Great if swelling is in the big toe as to reach the ankle you have to keep the mound of the toe grounded.
Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)
The tree pose is a gentle way to stretch the arms. It also increases circulation around the knees, ankle and elbows. Increased circulation results in lessening pf inflammation.
Bridge Posture (SetuBandhasana)
Great for the knees as most of the pressure is taken by the shoulders and back
Follow up the yoga asanas with pranayama to cool the body and bring balance. Pranayama calms inflammation and soothes the body. By bringing cooling breath and oxygen to the body, you also calm the mind.
Fuel the Solution
Add a few ingredients from the kitchen shelf to restore balance to the body and reduce inflammation. If Sinus inflammation has got you down then drink plenty of water flavored with spices, to cleanse the sinuses of toxins and to allow the toxic waste that has built up to flow out. A drink made from boiling herbs like mint (8 leaves), lemongrass (one shoot), peppercorns (2-3), basil (4 leaves), ginger (2-3 thin slices) will soothe the inflamed areas and bring relief from pain. Boil the ingredients with a glass of water till the water reduces to half. Sip this warm tea three times a day for a couple of days. Other spices that warm the body and reduce inflammation are spices like Ginger, garlic, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, cumin and cardamom. Try incorporating these in your diet and see the inflammation reduce over a couple of days.
Make changes in eating habits. Eliminate saturated oils completely from your diet. Omega-6 fatty acids found in corn, soybean, and cottonseed oils increase inflammation in the body. Trans fats commonly found in baked goods like shortening and margarine should also be avoided. Instead opt for omega-3 fatty acids naturally available in fish. Keep refined carbohydrates and refined sugar at a distance as these increase the blood sugar which may result in more inflammation.