Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Natural health: Sattva, rajas and tamas

Though a naturopath, my specialty is Ayurvedic medicine. It’s the world’s oldest written form of indigenous medicine (over 5,000 years old). Much of what we find even in traditional Chinese medicine has its roots in Ayurveda.


Acupuncture is one example of this. Acupuncture was developed after the Chinese discovered Ayurvedics using gold and silver needles on patients over 4,000 years ago. This practice is called “marma.”


But enough of Ayurveda for now. Let’s talk about some general principles of wellness.


When the very young child walks into the kitchen and mommy is sweeping the floor s/he may ask: “Mommy, why are you creating all this dust in the air?” Obviously mommy knows something the child does not. And that is this: One must get rid of the old and dirty in order for the new and clean to emerge. And then some general maintenance should take place before the next cleansing.


These three principles of creation hold true for the kitchen, home, yard, town, city, country and, indeed, the entire universe. In Ayurveda we call this universal process sattva, rajas and tamas: creation, maintenance and destruction. In sociological terms its called thesis, synthesis and antithesis (create, maintain and destroy).


So you ask, “What does this have to do with health?” Everything.


Would you wax a dirty floor? Would you clean an already clean floor? There is an order to creation that makes things work best.


I’ll wax politically for a moment. We get rid of one president and at least some of his policies in order to replace those policies with new and (hopefully) more workable and beneficial ones. We maintain the new policies until they prove unworkable or unsuitable and then the process starts all over again.


Now here’s my point. Job No. 1 for greater experience and realization of health and vitality is to clean out the “pipes” of the system. Clean out the toxic waste sites before we rejuvenate the system.


And what are the main toxic waste sites of the body? The liver, colon and kidneys. Can toxins, parasites heavy metals, bacteria and fungus be elsewhere in the body? Absolutely. But cleaning these main transformers and processors of nutrients is vital. They can easily become clogged and be overwhelmed by the above invaders and eventually cause disease and even life threatening situations. Taking even the finest herbal rejuvenate without first cleansing will often only push toxins deeper into the tissues.


So first consult with an experienced natural health professional and s/he will then give you an herbal/nutritional protocol that will 1) detox and cleanse. Then 2) rejuvenate and, finally, 3) maintain with healthy eating instructions as well as lifestyle practices such as meditation, yoga, breath work and appropriate exercise.


And remember, health is a lifestyle.


To your health!


Steven West, ND is a Kelseyville- based naturopath and nutritionist. He graduated form the Institute for Natural Health Studies and has been in practice in California for 18 years.


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