Tara Nozaki, born and brought up in Japan had atopic dermatitis for many years and remembers having those terrible urges to scratch places like the creases in her arms, legs, neck, and hands.
|came with an open mind to learn yoga and pranayama and a readiness to change her diet and thought process, to get her system in better shape and rid of psoriasis
Atopic dermatitis is a very common, often chronic (long-lasting) skin disease, which is also called eczema, dermatitis, or atopy.
There is a known hereditary component of the disease, where the skin becomes extremely itchy and inflamed, causing redness, swelling, cracking, weeping, crusting, and scaling.
Some of the most common triggers are environmental, such as allergic reactions to pollen, drugs, dry air, and dust mites, chemicals in cleaning products, detergent, soaps, and perfumes.
After reading on how Dr Renu Mahtani’s psoriasis was healed, Tara approached her. Renu explains, “Eczema and psoriasis are the two most prevalent dermatological diseases people suffer with daily.
The diseases are common, with children being more susceptible to eczema and adults to psoriasis. With many people living with the discomforts of the diseases, they try numerous methodologies for relief and cures.”
Now in her 30s, Tara had dry hands of a 50-year old and a “chickenskin” neck with discoloured creases. When she was put on oral steroids, it helped but side effects made her stop them.
She had tried corticosteroid creams, local treatments, with some relief but they would prove to be a temporary fix. “She realised that to bring a change, she needed a change, and thus she came to Pune. She knew she needed a natural detox regimen as her skin pores were the exit points for ridding the body of toxins,”adds Renu.
From the yogic perspective, both psoriasis and eczema are a result of high stress levels and toxins. During stressful situations, the inflammation in the skin worsens aggravating the skin and the disease tends to spread.
Internal factors, besides stress, are allergic reactions to food, poor functioning liver, and a week immune system. The cures for eczema and psoriasis involve a whole body treatment or a more holistic approach to relief.
The breath is inhaled slowly, deeply and evenly through the nose. The lower abdomen, lungs, and chest are filled with air. After holding for four counts, one exhales slowly releasing air from the chest, lungs, and then lower abdomen.
Longer exhalations are beneficial as they allow the body to work towards an alkaline state as opposed to an acidic state. Alkalinity brings rejuvenation and relief to the body. Taking 10 such breaths every hour benefit the body and the mind too.
All postures help but those that improve the endocrine system and massage thyroid and parathyroid glands are sarvangasana, halasana, marjarasana breathing. These should be practiced with deep breathing, holding postures for three-five breaths. Tara decided to do 12 rounds of Surya namaskaar everyday and continues to do so.
Eat to Balance:
Pitta dosha and some foodstuffs to avoid are meat, fish, sea food, eggs, fermented foods, nightshades (eggplants, bell peppers), overly sweet or spicy foods.
Addition of Vitamins E, D, A, B12, green tea, flaxseeds helped ease symptoms of eczema. Vaman Dhouti or yogic vomiting is one of the shatkarma or yogic cleansing methods. Vaman Dhouti balances by relieving the stomach of pitta and symptoms like heart burn and acid flux.
Pranayama and Medition:
The most common and effective yogic remedy is meditation through pranayama as it not only detoxifies and energises the body, but also fine tunes the mind towards introspection, self awareness and healing.
With your hands resting on your knees and arms stretched straight, close your eyes and inhale deeply through nostrils. Follow this with exhaling deeply till you empty out all the stale air inside your lungs.
Take an exhalation and an inward stomach movement per second. For results, depth of abdominal movement is more important than the speed. Also, the practice should be as noiseless as possible.
You can start off slowly; maybe do it continuously for half or one minute, stop and enjoy its relaxing effects on the mind, and then start again. You must work towards doing it for 5 minutes, three times a day.
• Baahya Kumbhak:
This is holding the breaths after a full exhalation. Learning this should be with a teacher, who will share how to apply the three bandhas with it. There is now enough scientific proof to the benefits of this practice, which the yogis recommended many years ago.
• Anulom Vilom Pranayama:
Close the right nostril with your thumb and inhale deeply, without any exertion, through the left nostril. Allow exhalations slowly and smoothly, but deeply, without exertion from the right. followed by inhalation through the right nostril. The cycle has to be repeated for 10 minutes, as slowly as possible, giving more time to exhalations.
• Agnisaar Kriya:
Inhale deeply and exhale deeply right thereafter, pulling your stomach muscles inward, as if trying to pull your stomach in as close to your back as possible. Hold your breath here and move your stomach in and out vigorously as many times as possible, before releasing it and allowing air to fill up your lungs. Do it three times daily to tone the liver and digestive system.
• Bhramari Pranayama:
Close your eyes and touch your tongue lightly to the roof of your mouth. After a smooth deep inhalation, hum like a bee and feel the vibrations travelling deep inside. The humming has special significance and generates energy.
At this moment one gets thoroughly charged. Stay in this position for two to three minutes. While doing the breathing exercises direct the energy generated towards the affected parts of the skin by thinking about its well-being.
► Every alternate week Dr Renu Mahtani will bring us case studies of patients who recovered with the help of yoga