A key cornerstone of Ayurvedic Medicine is digestion, and it is believed that as humans we digest everything and it is done through each of the 5 senses: touch, sight, taste, smell, and sound. Everything that the senses take in is digested by the body and can have a profound effect on a person. In Eastern Medicine, students are consistently, “taught natural healing methods...that the digestive and detoxification systems are well-engineered to keep us healthy, but they must be kept in balance,” (Junger, 41-42). Each of the 5 senses contributes to these systems and must be kept in balance so that bodily functions work seamlessly, ensuring optimal health is experienced. Balancing the senses specifically prior to going to sleep at night is vital to having a healthy night’s sleep and restoring the body for the next day. Both Clean 7 and Clean 21 cleanses are fantastic programs to allow one to focus on improving digestion and balancing the senses.
Explore more about Ayurveda in Dr. Junger’s book, Clean!
Healthy touch is incredibly important, especially before bed. There are a few things that can be done to balance this sense, such as investing in a nice set of sheets that feel luxurious against the body or going to bed next to someone that you love and feel safe with. In Ayurvedic Medicine, healthy touch is often associated with a practice called Abhyanga. This is a type of massage where oil is applied and massaged into the entire body, and the focus of the exercise is reducing stress, improving the health of the skin, and lowering blood pressure. Beyond those benefits, it also promotes lymphatic drainage, which promotes detoxification and supports the digestive system. Furthermore, Abhyanga also invites the practice of healthy touch which can be a catalyst for internal healing. This is a fantastic ritual to practice before bed to reap all these benefits and relax the body before falling asleep.
One’s skincare regimen also affects the body, the ability to detox, as well as the digestive system. The skin, “needs to be intact to serve its protective purpose, that of filtering what gets inside,” (Junger, 104). In this sense, one eats through the skin, soaking up any oils, lotions, or other potions applied to the skin before bed. The skin absorbs all these ingredients, and they are directed through the digestive system. Therefore, Ayurvedic Medicine puts emphasis on using natural ingredients that protect the skin, such as cold-pressed oils made without hexane, which is a cleaning agent.
Learn all about the best oils for stress relief from a previous blog post.
In this modern age, devices give us the ability to constantly be connected to those around us. While this can be a beautiful thing for social change and human connection, it can be detrimental in many ways, especially to sleep. The energy that the brain exerts to remain connected through a screen, “keeps it from being available where it is needed in the body,” (Junger, 95). Therefore, it is best to limit the use of these devices before bed. Dr. Junger explains, “The radiation from power lines, cell phones and headsets, computers, and all the electrical objects that surround us daily is considered by some in the scientific and healing worlds to cause the same sensitivity and symptoms that chemical toxins do,” (Junger, 50). For example, the blue light emitted from devices such as a smartphone prevents the body from producing enough melatonin to make the person drowsy and fall asleep.
The same can be said for the emotional reaction to what one sees before one attempts to go to sleep. For instance, if someone watches a movie in the horror genre right before going to bed for the night, the body digests that adrenaline fear, which then bleeds into the digestive system and nervous system. Therefore, it is key to limit tech use before bed and be mindful of what is taken in by the body, even the movies and tv shows watched close to bedtime.
Discover more about the connection between devices and digestion in the Clean book.
One’s sense of smell can be inhibited by several factors, from allergies to what one is drawn to consume. One practice that is extremely beneficial is breathing exercise or meditation. This allows the body to digest fresh air and natural oils that are beneficial for everything from relieving stress, clearing sinuses, and promoting digestion by relaxing the intestinal tract. In Ayurvedic Medicine, “a heavy, toxic substance that accumulates in the body amma and doesn’t distinguish whether the source is physical or mental,” (Junger, 73). The body can store up this negative energy caused by stress, an unhealthy lifestyle, and many other factors. Deep breathing and meditation allow the mind to calm and for amma associated with the mind and emotion to detox from the body. In fact, the build-up of amma can cause digestive issues, due to the tightening of the intestinal muscles from things such as emotional stress and processed foods (Junger, 157). In order to fully detox this toxin build-up in the body, a cleansing period is necessary. Clean 21 and Clean 7 are great opportunities to focus on this and promote whole-body health.
It may not be the first sense to come to mind, but sound and hearing are also attributed to digestion. Being in a chaotic space surrounded by loud noises can hinder digestion. Like how what one sees or watches prior to sleeping affects sleep patterns and the digestive system, as does what one listens to. Ensuring that one is in a quiet space without sounds that are correlated to apprehensions, such as phone notifications and horror movie sound effects, is ideal. Therefore, listening to calming music or watching a tv show that promotes a feeling of contentment is a good practice as well as silencing any devices that receive numerous notifications throughout the night that may disrupt sleep.
Explore ways to create a healthy sleep environment by visiting this previous post on our blog!
The typical American diet contains a lot of processed foods, which are harder for the body to digest. In Ayurvedic Medicine, the act of accumulating amma through eating processed foods suppresses digestion (Junger, 157). “The quality of food you eat directly translates into the quality of your body...the food you choose to eat becomes the building blocks of your architecture,” (Junger, 57). Replacing these manufactured foods with healthy, natural sources of nutrition through a cleansing detox period will clear out all the negative amma built-up over time and regulate the body's systems. Dr. Junger further explains, “By enhancing the elimination of mucus during Clean (Clean 7 and Clean 21), you will stop craving the foods that perpetuate it,” (Junger, 58). In addition to consuming healthy meals consisting of leafy greens, fruits, and plant-based proteins, Ayurvedic practices such as eating meals while sitting on the floor, mindful eating, and participating in a regular detox program such as Clean 21 are fantastic ways to support the digestion system.
Learn more about cleansing with Clean & healthy eating in Dr. Junger’s Clean book.
Strengthen Each Sense
To support digestion, it is vital to balance and strengthen each of the 5 senses. This will create equilibrium within the body that allows it to function to its full potential, including regular and natural detoxes.
Start holistically healing with Clean 21, a 21-day detox created by Dr. Junger, today!