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How to Use an Acupressure Mat

How to Use an Acupressure Mat

If you are using an acupressure mat for the first time, it is understandable if you find the concept somewhat intimidating. Lying on spikes may not sound very comfortable, and you may be faced with some initial discomfort when you first use your acupressure mat. However, that initial unease and discomfort quickly fades for most people as the incredible benefits of acupressure therapy set it.

In this article, we discuss how to effectively use an acupressure mat depending on your level of experience.

Using Your Acupressure Mat

Ideally, you should lie down on an acupressure mat with just bare skin; but this is for more advanced users. For beginners, we recommend placing a sheet of cloth (e.g. towel or any clothing) between the mat and your skin. You may wear an actual piece of clothing too, if you prefer. This practice will help lessen the pressure of the sharp points against your skin, and eventually get you accustomed to the sensation.

Acupressure mats are generally placed on a flat surface like beds, couches, or on the floor. If you are using your acupressure mat on the floor, feel free to use additional pieces of cloth in order to provide cushion, so long as you feel comfortable with the sensation. You may also use other personal effects such as pillows if you need some cushioning for your head, neck or legs. Once you lie down, make sure to comfortably position your back (or any part of the body you are targeting) evenly on the spikes.

The length of each acupressure session can also be scaled as well. For beginners, we recommend using it daily for at least 5 minutes; for intermediate users, we recommend using it daily for at least 15 minutes; and for advanced users, we recommend using daily it for at least 30 minutes. Using it multiple times a day for shorter durations is also a great approach.

The sensation produced by using an acupressure mat is known to produce a flood of endorphins. Just like exercise, the stimulation caused by the tiny spikes causes equally tiny reflexes in your skin, which in turn encourages your body to release endorphins. Endorphins are the hormones primarily responsible for making you feel healthy and happy.

As a bonus tip, you may wish to elevate the overall experience of using an acupressure mat by listening to a soothing melody, your favorite audio book, or anything that can help ease you into stillness and relaxation.

Symptoms that Can be Treated with an Acupressure Mat

One of the best things about acupressure mats is that pretty much anyone can use them with ease. If used on a regular basis, acupressure mats are sure to bring about many health benefits. Additionally, they are a great alternative to relieving various issues, as described below.

Back Pain

Acupressure mats are perfect for alleviating back pain. The tiny spikes of the mat will encourage proper blood flow, which in turn helps relax your sore muscles and relieve pain and tension. Simply place your mat on a flat surface and gently lie down until you are comfortably positioned. If your lower back is what ails you, put a towel under the mat; the mat should then gently press against your lower back. Do this for at least 20 minutes and you should notice a significant improvement in your back pain.

Neck Pain

Acupressure mats are also a great tool for relieving chronic neck pain. Place the mat on a flat surface and put a rolled cloth under the mat beneath your head. As you lie down on the mat, gently adjust your body by moving your back down until the back of your neck is firmly supported by the bump created by the rolled cloth. Keep yourself relaxed in this position for at least 20 minutes. You may also re-adjust as needed to target specific areas of your neck.

Anxiety and Stress

Acupressure mats are great for reducing anxiety and stress and helping your mind relax. In order to achieve this, take long, deep breaths while lying down on the mat. It is also helpful to keep your eyes closed, free your mind from thoughts and try to stay in the moment. Listening to a guided meditation can be a great way to ease yourself into the right mental state. It is most beneficial to use your mat for this purpose just before going to bed and this will help ensure that you get a great night’s sleep.

Energy Slump

Acupressure mats can also provide the boost you need whenever you feel low on energy, which is common during the morning or in the afternoon. To achieve this, lie down on your acupressure mat for no more than 20 minutes. Keep in mind that anything more than that will induce relaxation and may defeat the purpose of raising your energy levels.

Feet and Hands

Acupressure mats are also a great reflexology tool. Our feet and hands have many points on them that correspond to various parts of the body. For foot reflexology, place one foot at a time on the mat for three minutes. Feel free to move your foot around, or to adjust your positioning to increase pressure during this process. Once done with both feet, place them together on the mat for an additional minute. For hand reflexology, simply place one hand on the mat for one minute; once done, repeat the process with the other hand. You may also move your hand and increase the pressure as you feel necessary.

Final Thoughts

Acupressure mat treatments are a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, avoid pain, and relax the body and mind. By using an acupressure mat, you can effectively and efficiently address various issues at any time of the day, whether low energy level, difficulty relaxing, or back pain.

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The Ultimate Guide to Ayurvedic Massage

The Ultimate Guide to Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurveda can be an integral part of your health regime and a way to treat illness and rejuvenate the body. One aspect of the practice of ayurveda is known as ayurvedic massage. Ayurvedic massage is utilized as a powerful regimen for healing. It is a unique experience that focuses on complete relaxation leading to stress relief in the entire body. It uses essential oil in combination with various motions and pressure which work on specific energy fields with a view to liberating and freeing the body from stress and blockages.

Ayurvedic massages utilize a holistic approach that not only relieve physical stress, but also work at a mental level in order to restore peace to the mind. It is not merely a physical massage, but rather a holistic therapy that can relieve all the emotional stress built-up in your body, thereby restoring a sense of harmony.

Ayurvedic massage is based on ayurvedic guidelines which, if followed, can lead to increased blood circulation in the body, strengthening of the lymphatic system, and stress reduction.

Various Types of Ayurvedic Massages and their Health Benefits

In Ayurveda, there are various types of massages, some of which are better suited for certain kinds of people. Each individual is different and has a unique balance of doshas, body type and physical constitution. Ayurveda recognizes every individual as unique, hence why there are different types of massages and a variety of different Ayurvedic oils available and recommended based on body type.

1. Abhyanga

Abhyanga is a full body warm oil Ayurveda massage that can help you recharge your mind and body. A daily warm oil massage routine can help dissolve all of your accumulated toxins and stress. For this kind of massage, an Ayurvedic oil is recommended based on your dosha type and medical condition.

Abhyanga is a form of self-massage. For improved health and well-being, consider giving yourself a full body oil massage daily. It will nourish your body, balance your doshas, improve your strength and bring about more restful sleep.

How to Perform an Abhyanga Massage

  • Abhyanga is generally performed in the morning before bathing using a suitable Ayurvedic oil.
  • Put a little oil into a small vessel and put the vessel on a hot pan. Once the oil is pleasantly warmed, remove it from the pan.
  • Dip your fingertips into the warm oil and energetically massage your entire body.
  • This will create further heat in your body, which will help your body absorb the oil.
  • Use enough oil so that your hands glide smoothly over your body.
  • Use herbal Ayurvedic hair oil for your hair and scalp.
  • Use up-down strokes for limbs and circular motion for the joints.
  • 15 to 20 minutes of massage is advised, followed by a bath with an herbal ubtan, which is a powdered mix of Ayurvedic herbs and natural ingredients.

Benefits

  • Muscles get toned
  • Increased blood circulation
  • Improved mental alertness
  • Removal of toxins from the body
  • Better sleep patterns
  • Strengthens the body

Abhyanga nourishes the largest organ of your body, being the skin. It also allows the body to release toxins which will increase its functional efficiency. In fact, a pilot study conducted to investigate the effects of abhyanga revealed that it has a promising effect on reducing stress and is also helpful in reducing blood pressure.

2. Pizhichil

In Pizhichil massage, a special kind of vessel called a Kindi is used in which warm essential oil is contained. This vessel is kept a few inches above the body. Depending on the person's health condition, a suitable Ayurvedic oil is chosen. This massage works especially well for balancing vata dosha.

Procedure

Pizhichil is done under the guidance of a trained Ayurvedic physician. In this treatment, warm Ayurvedic oil is poured using Kindi with a simultaneous massage. In general, 60 to 90 minutes of massage is performed every day for a period of 14 to 21 days.

Benefits

Through izhichil, you can experience the amazing health benefits of both oil therapy and heat therapy. In addition, this type of massage:

  • Strengthens immunity
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Rejuvenates the body
  • Helps in the healing of fractures
  • Enhances muscle development
  • Helps in the treatment of nerve disorders and weak nervous systems
  • Can help treat rheumatic diseases such as rthritis, paralysis and hemiplegia.

This is a wonderful massage therapy that can completely rejuvenate the nervous system, maximize healing potential, and enhance muscle tone.

3. Udvartana

In this type of massage, a dry Ayurvedic powder or herbal paste is utilized during the massage. This dry powder massage is very beneficial for kapha dosha. It facilitates a detoxification process in which excess fat and cellulite are removed through the process of scrubbing and massaging.

Procedure

An Ayurvedic powder or paste is prepared with a mixture of different herbs. Approximately 45 minutes of massage is advised with upward strokes over the entirety of the body. This process helps detoxify the body and activates the body’s metabolism.

Benefits

  • Helps reduce body fat
  • Eliminates body odor and helps combat excessive sweating
  • Beneficial in the treatment of cellulite
  • Helps remove excess toxins from the body
  • Aids in the treatment of diabetes, obesity, skin problems and varicose veins
  • Aids with muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease

Udvartana is a great option if you are trying to lose weight and control your cholesterol level. It also helps enhance your skin tone.

4. Shirodhara

Shirodhara is a special type of head massage in which a constant stream of herbal medicated oil is poured on the scalp in a manner that stimulates the nerves in your head. Shirodhara is a wonderful therapy that relieves mental stress, improves alertness and eases headaches. Studies have revealed that Shirodhara leads to a state of relaxation as seen during meditation. Studies have also shown that it can have significant health benefits, including decrease in anxiety, hypertension and stress.

Procedure

Ayurvedic herbal oil is poured on your forehead. Initially, it is poured in a specific pattern from right to left, after which time the oil is set to pour into the middle of the forehead. This oil flow continues throughout the massage which lasts for about 30 minutes. This soothing therapy activates the cranial nerves and induces calmness.

Benefits

  • Reduces mental stress, inducing calmness and relaxation
  • Stimulates a powerful energy point in the forehead, which helps reduce anxiety Improves clarity and focus
  • Helps with better sleep quality
  • Particularly useful for those with vata dosha

Shirodhara is the best massage type for supporting overall health and wellness and mental clarity.

5. Garshana

The Garshana massage does not involve any oil or herbal powder. Instead, raw silk gloves are used to stimulate the body. This massage stimulates the lymphatic system which leads to the elimination of ama (digestive toxins) from the body. This massage also helps in the elimination of dead cells, making the skin clean and radiant.

Procedure

Garshana is a light, vigorous massage using raw silk gloves in a manner comparable to using a dry body brush. As a result, this massage type is sometimes called “dry brushing”. This massage is done using circular motion at joint areas and long strokes. Garshana massage normally ends with a shower. For an extended session and more benefits, abhyanga massage can be performed after the garshana massage is complete.

Benefits

  • Stimulates better metabolism and digestion
  • Removes ama
  • Exfoliates the skin
  • Promotes lymphatic drainage
  • Stimulates blood flow and circulation

After a garshana massage, you will typically feel lighter, more energetic and ready to be active. It refreshes the skin and helps remove toxins.

6. Njavarakizhi

Njavarakizhi is well known for increasing body perspiration. It is a form of massage that induces sweat by applying heat and warmth to the body. This massage therapy utilizes a special milk which is processed with herbs and combined with a special type of rice called njavara. This substance, combined with the massage therapy, provides minerals and nutrients to the body’s tissues.

Procedure

Before the commencement of njavarakzhi, a a full body abhyanga massage, or a shirodhara massage, should be performed. Small cotton bags filled with the special type of rice are dipped in milk and an herbal paste, which is then applied on the body. Downward strokes are used from the neck to lower back and from the hips to the feet. The application of the bags helps lead to the production of heat in the body, which in turn leads to sweating. This massage is highly effective in providing relief from pain, inflammation, and stiffness. It is recommended that this massage therapy be performed on a daily basis for 7 to 21 days.

Benefits

  • Relief from muscular pain and stiff joints
  • Helpful in the treatment of arthritis and spondylolisthesis
  • Enhances joint flexibility
  • Helps correct imbalance of doshas Improved blood circulation

Njavarakhi is done under the supervision of an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner. Proper diagnosis and skilled therapy will lead to the best results.

7. Ubtan and Elakizhi

In this Ayurvedic massage herbal products are used specifically to increase the skin quality. It enhances skin structure and revitalizes the skin. It is a beauty and skin solution that can make you appear fresh and beautiful.

Procedure

This massage is a potli treatment process where a combination of herbal leaves are tied in a cloth bag. A hot Ayurvedic oil is applied using this potli which relieves pain and stiffness. The duration of this therapy ranges from 30 to 40 minutes. Elakizhi massage is highly effective in the treatment of illnesses related to bones and joints.

Benefits

  • Relieves body pain and stiffness
  • Moisturizes dry skin
  • Enhances skin complexion
  • Helps in sprains and sports injuries
  • Increases muscle strength

Panchakarma

The types of massages described above can also be performed in conjunction with panchakarma, which is a very important aspect of Ayurvedic therapy.

In particular, panchakarma is a five step procedure which supports and facilitates a complete rejuvenation of the mind and body. It consists of steam baths, removal of toxins, a special diet known as the kichari diet, and other purifying practices. Panchakarma works at a deeper level, eliminating toxins from all channels of your body. It is an extreme detoxifying therapy that can transform you into a completely renewed person.

Panchakarma - The Rejuvenating Process

The word Panchakarma is derived from Sanskrit, which means “five actions”. It is a unique process that is designed to meet individual needs. Panchakarma begins with an initial consultation, where the therapy is determined based on your dosha, immunity, digestive strength and other health factors. You will be required to stay in the Panchakarma facility for a required time period, which ranges from 5 to 21 days.

Most commonly followed steps include:

    • Daily massage with warm oil (abhyanga)
    • Herbal steam bath (swedana)
    • Herbal enemas (basti)
    • Lymphatic massage
    • Nasal irrigation (nasya)
    • Other treatments

      Benefits of Panchakarma

      The sole purpose of Panchakarma is purification. Your body will release the toxins accumulated over many years. It is the ultimate way of balancing your doshas and healing your body. In fact, a scientific study conducted on panchakarma treatment has revealed that it reduces anxiety and brings a significant improvement in quality of life. Panchakarma acts as a preventative measure in healthy people and works as a curative therapy in illness.

      Some of the other benefits include:

      • Removal of toxins from the entire body
      • Rebalancing of the doshas
      • Improved immunity
      • Stress reduction and deep relaxation
      • Anti-aging effects
      • Body tissue rejuvenation
      • Stronger digestive system
      • Enhanced meditation and mindfulness

      Who needs Panchakarma?

      Anyone can choose to perform this detox therapy. Most of us would benefit from panchakarma, given that our bodies are continuously creating toxins and therefore in need of cleansing.

      Some of the signs which may help you determine that you need panchakarma therapy include the following:

      • Fatigue, particularly if you feel tired all day
      • Body pain
      • Bad breath
      • Flatulence
      • Disturbed or foggy mind
      • Diarrhea or constipation

      Panchakarma is a natural detoxifying therapy that brings the body back into balance and helps restore its vitality. During a panchakarma series, a variety of the Ayurvedic massages described above are typically carried out.

      Marmas and Chakras

      Ayurvedic massage brings awareness to the marmas and chakras of our body. Marmas are natural energy points that are connected to the nerve endings in our bodies. Working on these marma points can help revitalize the body. Pain and weakness assemble in these points which can then be manipulated and reduced during Ayurvedic massage.

      There are seven chakras which act as centres in our body through which our energy flows. According to Ayurveda, each chakra nourishes the body’s organs, and when a chakra is blocked illness can result. An Ayurvedic massage opens up these chakras allowing the free flow of energy and vitality.

      An Ayurvedic massage commonly ends with a body scrub with herbal ubtan, which helps nourish the body’s tissues and assists in the removal of the oil. In addition, a steam bath can be offered, which can help enhance the absorption of the oil into the skin.

      Conclusion

      Ayurvedic massage can have numerous health benefits. At a minimum, frequent Ayurvedic oil massage is recommended to remove the stress and toxins accumulated in the body. It will make your body and mind relaxed and soothed.

      If you are looking for a way to experience some of the benefits of ayurvedic massage at home, considering using an acupressure mat. You can use an acupressure mat anywhere and anytime, whether you are at home, the office, or traveling. Acupressure mats are also very easy to use; you only need to rest your body on the mat and let gravity and the mat's needles stimulate the various acupoints on your body. Learn more about the origin of acupressure mats, how to use an acupressure mat, and the benefits.

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      Eight Different Ways to Use Your Acupressure Mat

      Eight Different Ways to Use Your Acupressure Mat

      Acupressure mats permit excellent self-treatment which can be easily performed in the comfort of your own home. Although laying down on an acupressure mat may be the most popular way to use it, did you know that an acupressure mat can be used to target many other areas of the body? In this post, we discuss various different acupressure mat positions, how to best use your mat in those positions, and the positive health effects of each respective position.

      Back

      Place your mat on a flat surface, preferably on the floor. Lie down on it, and make sure that the entire surface of your back is well-rested on the mat. If you want to feel more pressure against your lower back, simply bend your knees (i.e. tent them) or place a pillow under your knees. Using the acupressure mat in this position for at least 20 minutes will relieve pain between your shoulder blades and even in the small of your back. When done prior to sleeping, this position will also help improve the quality of your sleep.

      Stomach

      Place your stomach flat on the mat, with your arms crossed under your head or on your side if you are resting on a pillow. You may wear thin clothing if the sensation is too much for you. Staying in this position for at least 20 minutes will relax your body as well as boost your digestion.

      Neck & Shoulders

      To improve the mat’s contact with your neck and shoulders, roll up a towel and place it under the mat in the area where your neck and shoulders are intended to make contact with the mat. The mat’s contact points need to align with the curve of your neck, and its pressure should be evenly distributed along your neck and shoulders. Relaxing in this position for at least 20 minutes will provide relief against neck and shoulder pain.

      Hips & Thighs

      Place your mat on a flat surface, preferably the floor. Lie down on your side, making sure that the mat is perfectly positioned under your hip and thigh. Do this for approximately 10 minutes on each side, and adjust your body to achieve the desired pressure. Not only will this position relax your hips, but it will also help reduce the appearance of cellulite if done on a regular basis.

      Lower Back & Buttocks

      Position your mat under your body in such a way that it covers both your lower back and buttocks. For increased pressure against your lower back, place a rolled towel under your knees, or bend them up (i.e. tent them) with your feet resting flat on the surface. Holding this position for at least 20 minutes will provide relief against symptoms of pain or tightening in the sciatic area.

      Buttocks & Thighs

      You can get into this position by either sitting on the floor or on a hard chair. If done on a chair, you can increase the pressure of the mat against the back of your thighs by reaching for your toes. If you have used your mat for a while and have grown accustomed to the sensation, you may also consider bringing your mat to your workplace. This position is great for providing relaxation during long hours at work.

      Face

      Acupressure mat treatments for the face can be done in two ways. The first approach is to rest the side of your face on the mat. The second approach is to gently press the mat against the side of your face, jaw and jaw-bones using your hand. Treat each side for only 1 to 2 minutes. Although direct contact is more beneficial, you may also place a thin cloth between your face and the surface if the sensation is too intense for you. This position has many benefits, including removing tension in the jaw and neck area, reducing lymph stagnation, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and giving your face a more radiant look.

      Feet

      Place your mat on the floor and stand on it, preferably with bare feet. You may also put a thin cloth on top of the mat, or wear socks if the sensation is too strong for you. After a while, gently lift one foot up while maintaining your stance; this will increase the beneficial effect of the mat on the various pressure points of your foot. Do this for a total of 10 minutes. This position provides a type of healing called reflexology and is perfect for pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

      Final Thoughts

      By now, you are likely aware of the wonders of acupressure mats and the incredible healing effects they can have on various parts of your body. Using an acupressure mat means far fewer visits to a massage or physical therapist, but more importantly, regularly using an acupressure mat will provide you with a general sense of well-being. If you are a firm believer of holistic medicine, you should make an acupressure mat a staple in your wellness routine. For more information on this subject, read our ultimate guide to acupressure mats.

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      The Ultimate Guide to the Three Doshas

      The Ultimate Guide to the Three Doshas

      Have you ever wondered why no two people are the same in terms of their disposition, refinement, appetite, fitness level, and so much more? Modern science and genetics can provide some real answers, but what about the peculiarities that make each person different from the rest, and everything relevant in between? Ayurveda, yoga’s close relative, can provide additional insights by reference to the three doshas.

      Ayurveda is a 5,000-year old system of holistic healing which refers to and studies the interconnection of the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of life. According to the ancient Sanskrit texts of the Vedas, an individual’s life force exhibits itself in three different energetic forces or doshas, which are known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. It is said that all of us possess these three life energies in varying degrees.

      Our doshas are determined at the time that we were conceived by our mothers, which purposely becomes our true individual nature. By default, these doshas are not equal – meaning most individuals can have a larger quantity of one or two doshas, which makes them truly distinct and different from others. Additionally, these doshas do not remain constant all throughout our lives, and can fluctuate as we grow older.

      Further, our doshas are interdependent with the environment in which we spend our time in, the food we regularly eat, the seasons of the year, the climate, the people we interact with, our daily habits, and many other factors. As our doshas change and move in and out of balance, our health, energy levels, general mood, and state of mind also become affected.

      In this blog post, we will discuss the functions of these three doshas, how to identify them, and what can be done if they become unbalanced.

      The Three Doshas and Their Physiological Functions

      As mentioned earlier, the doshas are energetic forces present throughout the human body and mind. Each dosha represents two natural elements and its related properties. Vata represents space and air, which are elements that govern movement and communication; Pitta represents fire and water, which are elements that govern digestion and transformation; and Kapha represents earth and water, both of which are elements of cohesiveness, structure and lubrication.

      Additionally, doshas have three states, namely balanced, increased, and decreased. Balanced means that all three doshas are present in equal proportions, and can also be denoted as a state of equilibrium. Increased on the other hand means that a dosha exists in greater than normal proportions, which can be described as being in an aggravated or excess state. Lastly, decreased means that a dosha exists in less than normal proportions, which can indicate a reduced or depleted state.

      In this context, an individual with Vata as his/her principal dosha generally has a slender figure, is flexible, and is a creative thinker. If they are in a balanced state, Vata-predominant individuals love to be active both mentally and physically, love coming up with original ideas, and enjoy travelling and meeting new people. On the other hand, manifestations of an imbalanced Vata-predominant individual are anxiety, a general sense of fear, loneliness, weariness, dry skin and constipation. The colon, thighs, bones, joints, ears, skin, brain, and nerve tissues contain the most concentration of Vata energy in the body.

      Pitta-predominant individuals are generally intense and short-tempered, and usually have a medium physical build, high endurance and strong musculature. If they are in a balanced state, Pitta-predominant individuals have a joyful presence, they’re sharp thinking, strong-willed and are very competitive. On the other hand, an imbalanced Pitta will likely show unruliness and fieriness towards others. It is also common for an imbalanced Pitta to suffer from inflammation, infection, ulcers, heartburn, fever, and loose stools. The small intestine, stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, blood, eyes, and sweat contain the most concentration of Pitta energy in the body.

      Kapha-predominant individuals are generally cohesive, understanding, loyal, and easily achieve strong frames and athletic builds just by having a regular exercise regimen. If in a balanced state, they are methodical, structured, and like sticking to a regular routine. On the other hand, an imbalanced Kapha will likely show lethargy, lack of motivation, and stubbornness. Additionally, they may also experience various physical changes like weight gain, sinus congestion, as well as mucosal infections. The chest, throat, lungs, head, lymph, fatty tissue, connective tissue, ligaments, and tendons contain the most concentration of Kapha energy in the body.

      Always keep in mind that a great number of imbalances arise from having an increased or aggravated state of one’s predominant dosha. These imbalances are most often caused by having a poor diet and carrying too many negativities and stresses in life.  The key here is balance – for instance, Pittas are easily susceptible to heartburn after eating spicy foods. By eating cool foods, they will be able to create balance and support their doshic make-up.

      By keeping an eye on your dosha and its imbalances, you may be able to detect a disease even before it manifests. Luckily, Ayurveda has tailored approaches in correcting these imbalances. In order for you to take the right approach, you must know how to identify your dosha constitution first, which will be discussed in the next section of this post.

      Getting to Know Your Dosha Constitution

      In general, most individuals often have a primary dosha, followed by a secondary dosha. It is also possible, although rare, for an individual to equally possess the three doshas. Below is a comprehensive questionnaire to help you identify your dosha constitution. However, keep in mind that self-assessment may not fully provide all of the answers you need. Thus, consulting with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner may also be helpful.

      We recommend answering this questionnaire twice – the first set of answers should reflect your life’s trend in general, while the second set of answers should reflect how you feel today. The first result will reflect your underlying birth constitution, while the second result will reflect your imbalance.

      0-1 Doesn’t apply

      2-3 Sometimes applies

      4-5 Applies most of the time

      Vata - Physical Characteristics

      1. I am slender and don’t gain weight easily.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      2. I am taller or shorter than average.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      3. “Thin” describes many of my bodily features (like hair, fingers, and lips).

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      4. My energy fluctuates and often comes in bursts.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      5. My appetite is variable (i.e., high one day and low the next).

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      6. I have a tendency to become bloated, gassy, or constipated.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      7. My skin frequently becomes dry.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      8. I tend to have cold hands and feet.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      9. I am a light sleeper and often have difficulty falling asleep.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      10. I prefer warm, moist weather to cold or dry weather.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

       

       

       



















                   

      Vata - Psychological Characteristics 

      1. I am creative and imaginative.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      2. I enjoy artistic forms of expression.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      3. My mind is active and often restless.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      4. I learn quickly but also forget quickly.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      5. I become “spaced out” quite easily.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      6. I have a tendency to feel anxious, nervous, and insecure.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      7. I speak quickly and use hand gestures.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      8. I am always on the go.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      9. My lifestyle and daily routine are irregular.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      10. My dreams are active and colorful.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       


      Pitta - Physical Characteristics

      1. I have a medium build and gain or lose weight easily.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      2. My height is average.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      3. My physical features are sharp or pointed (such as my nose, chin, and teeth).

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      4. My energy and activity levels are high.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      5. My appetite is strong; I can eat large quantities of food. 

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      6. My bowel movements are regular; I occasionally have diarrhea.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      7. I perspire quite easily.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      8. My skin is oily and has a reddish tone.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      9. My eyes are penetrating and light in color.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      10. I prefer cooler weather and become irritable in hot weather.

      0 1 2 3 4 5



       
          

      Pitta - Psychological Characteristics     

      1. I am goal oriented and achieve anything to which I put my mind.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      2. I have a good sense of humor.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      3. I have a strong intellect and enjoy learning new things.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      4. I have a natural ability to lead others.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      5. I am a perfectionist.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      6. I tend to become irritable, impatient, and angry.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      7. I am critical of myself and others.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      8. Many people think I’m stubborn.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      9. I become irritable if I skip a meal.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      10. I enjoy competition.

      0 1 2 3 4 5



                   

      Kapha - Physical Characteristics

      1. I gain weight easily and lose weight with great difficulty.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      2. I am short and stocky or tall and sturdy.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      3. “Thick” describes many of my bodily features (such as my hair, neck, fingers, and lips).

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      4. I have abundant strength and stamina.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      5. My digestion is weak and I often feel heavy after eating.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      6. My bowel movements are highly regular.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      7. My skin is smooth and oily and tends to be pale.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      8. I sleep deeply and soundly.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      9. I catch colds quite frequently.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      10. I prefer hot weather over cold or damp weather.

      0 1 2 3 4 5


              
            

      Kapha - Psychological Characteristics

      1. I have a big heart and prefer to focus on the good in the world.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      2. I am calm in nature and not easily angered.  

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      3. I prefer a slow, relaxed lifestyle.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      4. I don’t learn as quickly as others, but my long-term memory is excellent.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      5. I become sentimental quite easily; I often think about the past.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      6. I am methodical in my actions

      0 1 2 3 4 5        

      7. I am highly protective of myself and family. 

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      8. I let negative emotions build up rather than addressing them.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      9. I usually let others take the lead.

      0 1 2 3 4 5

      10. I am a natural listener and frequently help others with their problems.

      0 1 2 3 4 5


       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       






       

       

       

      Balancing Your Dosha

      Now that you have a better understanding of your doshic constitution, it is time to learn how to maintain or bring it back into sync in order to stay healthy and happy. In the next section of this blog post, we will further discuss the causes of dosha imbalances, and how to balance them through diet and lifestyle.

      Ayurveda states that our body has its own inner intelligence, and that we desire foods that are good for us when we are in a balanced state. However, if our mental, physical, and spiritual aspects are not in sync, this intelligence may not manifest itself. When this happens, we engage in destructive habits both in our diet and lifestyle choices. Unlike modern, one-size-fits-all nutritional practices, Ayurveda states that there is no single eating pattern that can be healthy for all individuals.

      As a general guideline, your predominant dosha may increase or decrease in the nature of the concept of like attracts like. In this regard, your predominant dosha will always have the tendency to increase or be aggravated unless you choose something that can oppose or balance it. The following sets out the major signs and causes of doshic imbalance (as well as ways to resolve those imbalances):

      Major Signs of Vata Imbalance

      1. Light and interrupted sleep.
      2. Muscle spasms.
      3. Dry skin.
      4. Constipation and bloating.
      5. Loss of body weight.

      Major Causes of Vata Imbalance

      1. High consumption of Vata-aggravating foods such as pungent, bitter and astringent foods. Examples of pungent foods are chilies, radishes, turnips, raw onions, and many spices; bitter foods are the likes of kale, dandelion greens, collard greens, bitter melon, artichokes, burdock root, eggplant, and dark chocolate; astringent foods include adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans and soybeans.
      2. Irregular schedules of daily activities.
      3. Not eating enough or eating too fast.
      4. Suppressing bodily urges like sneezing, passing gas and excretion of waste  such as stool and urine.
      5. Staying up excessively late.

      Ways to Counter Vata Imbalance

      1. Consume foods that are naturally sweet, sour and salty.
      2. Follow a daily regular routine.
      3. Engage in gentle and calm forms of exercise such as yoga.
      4. Eat in a peaceful environment; thoroughly chew your food and take a deep breath after your last bite.
      5. Enjoy relaxing places or simply listen to soothing music.

      Major Signs of Pitta Imbalance

      1. Appearance of skin inflammations such as cold sores, acnes and rashes, as well as the inflammation of other parts of the body, especially the joints.
      2. Various digestive issues such as heartburn, gastric or peptic ulcers, acid reflux and diarrhea.
      3. Nausea or discomfort upon missing meals.
      4. Uncomfortable feeling of heat in the body.
      5. Negative emotions such as frustration, anger, and irritability, as well as judgment, impatience, criticism and intolerance.

      Major Causes of Pitta Imbalance

      1. High consumption of Pitta-aggravating foods such as pungent, sour and salty foods. Pungent foods are the likes of chilies, radishes, turnips, raw onions, and many spices; examples of sour foods are grapefruit, lemon, pickles, dough breads, yogurt, juices and most fermented foods; salty foods are the likes of celery, seaweeds, cottage cheese, tuna and most spices and flavorings like table salt, soy sauce and tamari.
      2. Eating while emotionally unwell.
      3. Overconsumption of coffee, black tea and alcohol.
      4. Overworking.
      5. Being overtly aggressive and competitive.

      Ways to Counter Pitta Imbalance

      1. Consume foods that are naturally sweet, bitter and astringent.
      2. Consume your meal in a peaceful environment. Take a deep breath after swallowing your last bite and going on to your next activity.
      3. Consume cooling foods and beverages, and aim to keep yourself cool in both mind and body.
      4. Follow a regular routine for eating, working and sleeping. Always make time for leisure and relaxation as well.
      5. Engage in moderate forms of exercise like yoga, swimming or biking and avoiding exercising during the hottest time of the day.

      Major Signs of Kapha Imbalance

      1. Sudden weight gain which is often a result of slow digestion of food, as well as swelling or retention of water in the body.
      2. Increased frequency of infections such as colds, cough and nasal congestion, as well as the presence of excess mucous.
      3. Increased triglycerides, cholesterol and sugar levels in the body.
      4. Feelings of lethargy, slowness, dullness and heaviness, as well as difficulty rising up in the morning.
      5. Becoming easily attached, possessive, complacent and stubborn.

      Major Causes of Kapha Imbalance

      1. High consumption of Kapha-aggravating foods such as sweet, salty and oily or fatty foods. Sweet foods include bananas, mangos, sweet potatoes, rice, coconut, almonds, as well as spices like vanilla and tarragon; salty foods are the likes of celery, seaweeds, cottage cheese, tuna and most spices and flavorings like table salt, soy sauce and tamari; oily or fatty foods include fatty cuts of meat, dairy products, and tropical oils.
      2. Eating heavy meals or overeating.
      3. Drinking too much cold and carbonated drinks.
      4. Having little to no physical activity or exercise.
      5. Excessive sleep.

      Ways to Counter Kapha Imbalance

      1. Consume foods that are naturally pungent, bitter and astringent.
      2. Consume light, dry and warm foods. Use only a small amount of oils. Avoid cold and carbonated drinks.
      3. Follow an energetic daily routine and avoid stagnation as much as possible. Engage in vigorous exercises such as jogging, hiking, biking or challenging activities like martial arts at least five times a week.
      4. Keep warm and dry at all times.
      5. Listen to energizing music, and always choose lively experiences and company.

      Conclusion

      Ayurvedic practices and principles are ageless. By knowing your dosha, and by being aware of your body’s tendencies, you can make wiser decisions in respect of your diet and lifestyle. It is never too late to start – follow these simple principles and always be in harmony with your mind, body and spirit to remain happy and healthy. Also consider acupressure as another treatment to help keep your doshas in balance.

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      Using Your New Acupressure Mat

      Acupressure is an ancient Ayurvedic treatment which is similar to massage, acupuncture, and reflexology. Acupressure works by massaging and stimulating key points on the body to promote deep relaxation and healing. Acupressure mats benefit the body by relieving tension, soreness and pain in the back, head, neck, shoulders, hips, feet, and other parts of the body.

      Benefits

      Studies have shown that acupressure mats can have incredible health effects, including the following:

      1. Reduction of pain and soreness

      2. Deep calm and relaxation

      3. Reduction of stress and anxiety

      4. Improved sleep

      5. Weight-loss

      6. Increased circulation

      7. Rejuvenation of the skin

      8. Improved digestion

      9. Increased energy levels

      10. Reduction of cellulite

      11. Alleviates arthritis

      12. Alleviates fibromyalgia

      13. Aids myofascial pain syndrome

      14. Alleviates sciatica pain

      15. Faster recovery after workouts

      16. Lower cortisol levels

      Learn more about the benefits on our homepage and blog.

      How to Use

      You can use your acupressure mat in a variety of ways. For example, you can lay down on the acupressure mat, roll it up underneath your neck, stand on it, or sit on it against a chair or couch. As you become more comfortable using your new acupressure mat, try these eight different ways to use your acupressure mat.

      We recommend using your acupressure mat for between 15 to 20 minutes at a time. After only a few minutes of use, you will feel a soothing warmth radiating through your body and amazing feelings of calm and relaxation. After 15 or 20 minutes of use, your pain and tension will wash away and you will be left with a profound sense of well-being.

      For the greatest benefits, we suggest allowing your skin to come in direct contact with your acupressure mat. If you are a beginner and find the sensation too intense, then you can use your mat while wearing thin clothing until you become accustomed to the sensations.

      Charity

      We are very proud of the fact that Dosha Mat is a social enterprise. Our goal isn't to make our bank account as flush as possible, but, rather, to do our part to make the world a better place.

      We achieve that goal by donating 15% of our profit to several non-profit organizations that work to provide exercise programs like yoga to youth in need. Learn more about our giving back program.

      Questions

      Have more questions about your new Dosha Mat acupressure mat? Check out our FAQ or send us an email!

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