If you have ever dealt with a physical injury perhaps you can remember how areas of your body compensated to deal with the injured part. If you had a knee injury maybe you limped for some time, one side of your body becoming stronger, tension and aches resulting in some areas while other areas became more flexible. This is what happens with a physical injury. What about an emotional one?
Body structure changes with both physical as well as emotional trauma. With a physical injury, though apparently local, a systemic effect results with changes in neural activity, blood and lymph flow, and muscular contraction. Since the body acts as a unified whole, collectively responding to injury, any minute change will have a profound effect on the structural function of all aspects of the body.
When an emotional trauma exists, the body likewise responds in this manner. All emotions have a correlated physical response. When you are angry is there not a physical response of tension? When you are sad does your chest not cave in as you hunch over and deal with the emotional pain? These structural changes, if profound and extended enough, become a physical memory and pattern which severely limits all movements, including inspiration, which usually involves extension of the entire spine. With these limitations the body is shortened and movements confined, all resulting from the emotional responses that then become psychological patterns. In this state an individual is physically living his daily life through an emotional memory.
With these significant physical changes and deep-rooted psychological responses or attitudes, a quick fix is hard to come by. Emotional memories stored in connective tissue or other areas of the body need care to be worked out of the body so that the body can return to a natural and ideal postural state in which the communication networks and systems of the body are balanced. From an Ayurvedic perspective, there are many ways to approach and resolve these issues, to bring about the optimal state of functioning which an individual may want to achieve:
1) Yoga asanas/practice- Yoga is a close parallel system to Ayurvedic Medicine and its physical practice is often recommended to clear the channels of the body. According to Ayurvedic Medicine, there are 13 channels in men and 14 channels in women which account for the flow of specific bioenergetic information and substances throughout the body-mind. Blockages in these channels, whether due to emotional or physical causes, results in illness. Yoga helps to resolve these blockages. Since psychological attitudes are embedded in physical structure, the repeated practice of postures intended to maintain flexibility in the muscles and fascia of the body would help to address areas of injury (physical or emotional) and release tension.
2) Herb therapy- All substances carry an energetic nature. What is unique to Ayurvedic medicine is that herbs are used according to the energetic nature of the body. Each organ and organ system carries a specific frequency. Likewise, each disease state within those organs or organ systems also carry a specific frequency. What can be deducted from modern research is that the intuitive system of Ayurved constructed a manner with which to counteract these disease frequencies within the individual with the specific frequencies found in herbs and herb formulas.
Other practices such as meditation and snehana therapies such as shirodhara (pouring of herb-infused oil on the forehead), abhyanga (massage), and nasya (application of oil through the nostrils) would also be involved. The importance here is recognizing the energetic nature of the body and the way that emotions play a part in the overall health of the body, as well as recognizing the significance of gravity in the health of the body, internally and externally. By utilizing physically manipulative therapies along with energetic therapies, practices found within Ayurved may help to rework the physical, and therefore, the emotional structure of the body. Doing so can result in holistic, long-term health in which the individual is awakened to a state and level of health which he or she did not realize was possible after living in the reality and the gravity of chronic disease.