Sunday, 17 November 2013

INPUT: Ayurveda > > OUTPUT: Healthy Baby's Growth & Development

Humans are not the only ones making a comeback; so are herbs :)

The world over, there is a renaissance and movement towards the 'natural'. 

So, this post will take a look at Ayurveda & products derived from Nature and their contribution to a baby's growth and development.  We will also understand the role, importance & methodology of oil massage in a baby's early development & growth. 


Its only apt that I write this post from the native land of the traditional medicine - India is home to Ayurveda.  It is a traditional system of medicine (now known as 'alternative medicine') which prescribes medical preparations, surgical procedures and lifestyle habits for a life that is 'one' with Nature and hence abounds with health and longevity.  Ayurveda is not just a system of medicine.  It is a botanical healing system. 

Did you know that over three-quarters of the world population relies mainly on plant and plant extracts for healthcare? [Source]

Therefore, I for once, don't even understand why we debate natural systems of medicine versus the modern system (Allopathic) - because, ultimately, Nature is the genesis of all life & therefore, ought to be so, for medicine as well.

Today, many of us use allopathic medicine for emergency healthcare. But, in good old days, even emergency healthcare was deftly rendered with natural herbs.  The earliest I can illustrate is from 'Ramayana'.  When Lord Rama's brother Lakshmana's life is at stake, Lord Hanuman is deputed to fetch the 'Sanjivini' herb to save Lakshmana.  Since Lord Hanuman is unable to locate which exact herb is Sanjivini in a short span of time, legend has it that he lifted a whole mountain to the scene of emergency care - and thus, Lakshmana's life was saved.

Basic Principles of Ayurveda:

Ayurveda draws from the five elements of Nature and their impact on our physical and mental health:

Home Remedies - at the root of Ayurveda:

Well, those of us brought up in the Orient are well used to our grandparents and parents treating us with home remedies oh so very often.  Ayurveda is but an extension and refinement therefrom.

Some of the chief & effective home remedy ingredients:

Black Pepper
Cumin Seeds
Rock Salt

Forget using these specifically as 'remedies', Oriental (Indian & Chinese) cuisines incorporate these as a 'way of life' resulting in lasting health benefits.

This survey discovered very high levels of awareness in India of home ingredients and their usage in treatment of common ailments:

Top 20 Ayurveda medicinal ingredients:

Derived from simple home remedies and Natural extracts, here are the top 20 Ayurveda medicinal drugs:

A range of ailments are popularly treated with and by Ayurveda; I have highlighted in Red boxes the ones i think babies and children are especially and frequently prone to:

Ayurveda and Baby's Growth and Development:

In my view, three factors position 'Ayurveda' as a 'go to' system for a baby's growth and development:

1. Ayurveda is a 'holistic' system of medicine - looks at physical and mental development.

2. Ayurveda is known to render long term benefits - it is not a fly by night operation.  It is application of Natural principles & ingredients in a slow & steady manner, resulting in lasting, long-term wellness.  It is therefore, ideal for a growing baby's needs.

3.  Ayurveda comes with zero side effects.

Oil Massage:

Well, needless to say, we have all grown up to beneficial oil massage :)

Ayurvedic texts refer to massage (called 'Abhyanga') with oils from herbs.

Ayurveda lists herbs like Country Mallow (Bala) and Sesame (Tila) to protect baby’s skin against topical infections. Bathwater should also be disinfected with herbal extracts of Sandal (Chandana) and Banyan Tree (Vata), which are fragrant and possess antimicrobial properties respectively.

Mental development of a child is extremely important in Ayurveda. The concept of Balagraha lists herbal solutions for common mental and psychosomatic disturbances that could affect children. Inclusion of aromatic herbs such as Rasana (Pluchealanceolata) and Spikenard (Jatamansi) are recommended in massage oils and bath water to soothe, relax and calm young children. Tonics orrasayanas like Chyavanaprasha, which contains Thyme-Leaved Gatriola (Brahmi) and Indian Pennywort (Madukaparni) amongst others, enhances a child’s concentration ability and intelligence. In fact, recent research studies have found that Thyme-Leaved Gatriola and Indian Pennywort are indeed beneficial in maintaining cognitive functions, improving memory and learning abilities.

The holistic interpretation of health propagated by Ayurveda ensures that child is healthy, both mentally and physically.


Benefits of Oil Massage For Babies:

Oil massage for babies has been in vogue from time immemorial and thus, is its own testimony for its effectiveness.  That is why this post is titled 'Input: Ayurveda >> Output: Healthy Baby's Growth & Development'.  I meant that from time immemorial right on to today's Information Age, Ayurveda as a system of medicine & healing as well as oil massage as a component of baby's growth and development have stayed indispensable. 

Oil massage not only has physical or physiological benefits for the baby, but also very vital psychological implications.

The 'Touch' sense is the earliest that develops in babies and oil massage helps the mother bond with the baby.

Baby also feels very secure & find massages very relaxing and therapeutic.

Babies who are regularly provided oil massage have improved digestion and blood circulation and they sleep very well.

Its important to know and follow Baby Oil Massage good practices and tips:

Make the massage a daily routine :)

Be gentle :)

Choose an area and time you and the baby are comfortable with!

Most importantly, choose the right oil - For example, Dabur Lal Tail is clinically proven to result in 2X (two times) faster physical growth.

Oil Massage Method: one of the recommended methods is as follows:

Start with the legs: The legs are the best part to start the massage session because they are less sensitive than other parts of the body. Glide your hands in a circular motion from thighs to the ankles of the baby. 

Move to the tummy: Tummy is a great source of distress as their digestive systems are immature and it takes a lot of time to get used to the breast milk. Tummy massage strokes can help in getting rid of the digestive problems like gas and constipation. 

Press the pressure points lightly: Massage the soles of your baby's foot to stimulate body systems. Massage the toes also helps in teething problems. 

Move to the back: Massage is a wonderful addiction for the babies as it relaxes them to sleep well. So, massage the back of the little one using slow and rhythmic strokes.

Legs and feet. Hold your baby’s heel in one hand; with your other hand, start at the top of the thigh and slowly stroke all the way down to the ankle, gently squeezing the leg as you go, as if you were milking a cow. Reverse the motion and go from ankle to thigh. Then rub the feet with your thumbs, gently uncurling and stroking the toes. Switch legs. You can do these same strokes on the arms and hands.

Head. Start with your hands on both sides of your baby’s head, then run your hands down both sides of his body, from his head to his toes. Next, draw tiny circles on your baby’s head with your fingertips.

Face. Fold your hands (as if you were praying) on your baby’s forehead, then gently push outward from the center. Next, use your thumb to draw a smile on your baby’s face by stroking from one cheek, across the upper lip to the other cheek. Repeat on the lower lip.

Chest. Fold your hands on your baby’s chest, then push out to the sides, as if you were smoothing the pages of an open book.

Tummy. With your fingertips, draw an oval below your baby’s belly button. (Move clockwise, to follow the natural path of digestion.) Next, “walk” your fingertips from one side of your baby’s belly to the other, on the diagonal, as if you were making an “X.”

Back. Stroke his back side to side and then up and down.

That brings us to the end of this post.  Hope you find it useful.  Kindly share your best practices and views in the comments section. I will certainly use these for my baby when I become a mother :)

Here's to happy parenting and a galaxy of healthy, oil massaged babies growing at 2X speeds physically and many times that mentally :)

Cheers :)

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