Sick? Tips for prevention and treatment

So many of you have been and are sick right now. As an expert in Ayurvedic medicine, I have found that there are various considerations that provide us both with an understanding of how sickness forms and how it can be prevented. It is the time of year where we have to be

extra diligent in maintaining health. Once our immunity is compromised, we are more susceptible to other types of infections.

With colds and flu/viruses brewing this time of year, here is some food for thought to prevent or reduce your risk for sickness:

1. Hydration: Are you drinking enough water (not cold or ice water)?

2. Keeping warm: This means keeping the body warm from wind and preventing the cold from getting into the body by avoiding intake of cold foods/raw foods and cold beverages.

3. Staying moist: This happens by avoiding intake of cold foods/beverages because the natural oils in the body dry up with anything cold, since cold is astringent.

4. Air quality: Homes are often dry because of the heat being on, especially as it mixes with night air, which provokes dry sinuses, which can eventually bleed. Have a cool-air humidifier, especially in the bedroom (unless there is wall-to-wall carpeting).

5. Staying up late: Being awake past 10 or 11 p.m. negatively affects the liver and provokes dryness and inflammation. This also reduces the quality of sleep, which is fundamental and necessary to maintain optimal health.

6. Smoking: Smoking any product increases dryness and causes reactive mucus to form, which invites bacterial formation and infection. Reduce or cease smoking.

7. Coffee: Drinking coffee is drying and affects the nervous system negatively. It also fuels inflammation and can thereby weaken immunity. Reduce or eliminate coffee.

8. Stress: Overworking, over-exercising and overdoing anything can deplete our adrenals, weaken immunity and dry us out. Don’t overdo it.

9. Travel: Reduce or eliminate traveling during this climate.

Other simple remedies:

1. Eat more soup, such as chicken and/or veggie.

2. Sip hot water and teas (like Tulsi, ginger and lemon) throughout the day and with meals.

3. Moisturize with a warm oil massage before bathing.

4. Increase oils such as coconut, flax and ghee in the diet. Include nuts.

5. Line the nasal passages (and this is crucial) with an Ayurvedic herbalized oil. Perform this daily and throughout the day.

6. Home yoga practice is excellent for maintaining lubrication, warmth, digestion, respiration and immunity. You can enhance the benefits by knowing what the correct regimen is for your constitution, per Ayurveda.

7. Spices are natural digestive enzymes that encourage metabolism. Pungent spices increase warmth in the belly and absorption of nutrients so that cells receive this information to keep the body happy and healthy.

Doing all this will strengthen health. We tend to think of ill health as an inconvenience when in fact it’s a gift that at least shows us how we can live more mindfully and healthy. Good health is at our finger tips — when we aren’t making other choices to compromise it.

Vishnu M. Ayu (Antonio Aragona), BA Psy., LMT, CSP, E-RYT, CS2, is a licensed massage therapist with more than 15 years of experience and has a master’s degree of Ayurveda Yoga from the Hindu University of America. He is the owner of Hidden Health Center at the Camac Center in 12th Street Gym. To learn more about Ayu, Ayurveda or his practice at the Camac Center, visit or