As a lifetime sufferer of eczema, I searched everywhere for a cure.
Years of going to doctors and dermatologist for my eczema left me feeling utterly hopeless. They could only offer temporary relief. The drugs they prescribed had insanely detrimental side effects, like bone brittleness, necrotizing angiitis, pulmonary edema AND depression.
What was I to do… live in constant and embarrassing discomfort or ease my itching while risking my life? It seemed like an unwinnable battle and a cursed life.
Determined to beat this thing, I began researching the cause of this autoimmune disease. After finding conflicting information from medical journals and “experts,” I stumbled onto natural cures and holistic health.
Unfortunately, most of the holistic health websites were vague, confusing or marketing ploys to sell a “magic pill.” Once again, I felt like a peaceful existence was out of my control. Persistent almost to a fault, I refused to give up on my search for a cure to this agonizing ailment.
I spent hundreds of dollars on soaps, lotions, bath salts, teas, and detox kits… none of that worked.
Ironically, it was my interest in Eastern religion and philosophy that lead me to my answer. I rented a DVD on Hinduism that mentioned an ancient practice called Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word meaning knowledge of life. In essence, it teaches us how our lifestyle affects our health.
The wonderful book in the above link changed my life and my way of thinking about health. Previously, I thought of my health and wellbeing as a mystery that should only be solved by people with letters like MD or PHD after their name. To the contrary, Ayurveda simplified the complexities of life into an extensive series of do’s and don’ts.
What Causes Eczema?
According to Ayurveda, eczema is caused by excess Vata dosha. This excess can be caused, but is not limited to the following:
- Exposure to cold
- No routine in your life
- Eating too much dry, frozen or leftover food or food with bitter, pungent, or astringent tastes
- Too much traveling
- Too much or inappropriate exercising
- Overstimulating the senses i.e. too much TV or computer usage
- Too much sex
- Not oiling skin
- Too little sleep
- Worry fear, anxiety, grief and repression of these emotions
Vata types need to introduce regularity into their lives and maintain it. Eat regularly and establish a routine for getting up and going to bed. When you are running on overdrive – unable to pay attention to your current task, frantically doing three things at once or talking fast and frequently, slow down and give yourself time to think. You can still achieve all you need, but you will be less tired.
Vata’s are naturally drawn to fast action and new experiences. However, they should spend time doing calm, gentle, creative pursuits such as painting. Vatas also benefit from saunas due to their warm and moist qualities. They are also attracted to vigorous exercise such as aerobics or jogging, and often exercise to the point of exhaustion. However, exercising to this level increases vata. Instead, have regular amount of gentle exercise every day. Yoga, walking and swimming are ideal.
Food and Diet-
For 5,000 years, Ayurveda has taught that what we eat plays a big part in determining health. The immediate connection between the qualities of food and their impact on your health is not always obvious, due in part to the complexities of Western diets and the effects of the digestive products of food.
Learning how to classify your food as increasing or pacifying Vata gives you the starting point to make changes. Check out the link below to find out how foods influence Vata.
Vata Pacifying Food Chart
My Cure- How did I do it?
I simply avoided the bad and added more of the good. I started by creating a routine:
- I woke up around the same time every day; meditated for twenty minutes followed by yoga or jogging, depending on the weather and/or my mood.
- Practiced oil pulling
- Oiled my skin using sesame or coconut oil before showering
- Ate an appropriate breakfast per my constitution
- Packed the lunch that I prepared the night before
- While at work, I refused to be stressed or engage in any negative behaviors as this increases vata and pitta
- When I returned home, I cooked dinner/tomorrow’s lunch
- Unwound with a book or by enjoying the company of friends
- I made a point to go to sleep at a consistent time as well
After two to three weeks of this routine, my skin blotches began to clear, I was more productive, and I felt great. Over the past four years, I’ve stuck to this routine with an exception here and there and my eczema remains controlled.