Why do we ask gout patients to abstain from meat and alcoholic drinks? Why do we experience relief in knee pain when our bowels move well? Why is smoking prohibited in cases of intermittent claudication (cramping pain in the leg caused by arterial obstruction) and coronary heart disease?
There is no controversy about the fact that the body has its own resistance, and it fights against all diseases. Why then do we not adopt methods and means to increase the body’s own resistance? There is much abuse of drugs. Patients suffering from pain for years are put on strong, stronger and the strongest drugs till they fall victim to him. They experience many side-effects such as a peptic ulcer, gastritis, and deteriorated liver and kidney function.
Food has a great role to play in causing and alleviating pain in different diseases. The father of modern medicine, Hipprocrates, said: ‘Let medicine be thy food, and food, thy medicine.’ Proper food helps in stopping the abuse of drugs. The use of water, the sun, natural food, a correct diet, physical exercise and yoga is a help in providing relief in various diseases. Osteopathy believes in treating the body as a whole.
A vegetarian diet, as well as the inclusion of fruits, green vegetables and salad in our food are vital. Fried food and spices should be avoided as far as possible. Physical exercise keeps unhealthy. Drinking a lot of water helps to flush the kidneys. Fruits, vegetables and salad in our diet provide vitamins and minerals and help in bowel movement.
Water is used in its three forms: ice, water and steam. We apply ice to bleeding vessels; they constrict and the bleeding stops. When a steam bath is given to a patient with a backache, it relaxes his muscles and offers pain relief. This is what we call hydrotherapy.
Tension does have an effect on headaches and cervical spondylosis. Tension and worries tighten the muscles of the neck and the upper back and shoulders, and this aggravates the pain by increasing the lesion at the level of the cervical spine. Therefore meditation is of prime importance to learn to relax the mind and body.
Yoga has been used for millennia in India. It is an excellent antidote against the ills brought about by too much stress. Excessive stress can cause many psysiological problems. Yoga has proved its efficacy in tackling such problems, and is becoming increasingly popular even in the west. A system of self-treatment, the malfunctioning of the body system due to bad habits, incorrect food intake, and a faulty lifestyle can be cured with yoga.
If yoga asanas are done as a routine throughout life, the muscles will not grow. Digestion will improve, sleep will be sound, sight will become sharp, and hearing will become more sensitive. This will happen because asanas assist the nervous system and endocrine glands to improve their functioning. To sum up, a healthy daily routine and a proper diet protect one from disease and promote good health.