A unique element of Ayurveda is the concept of Rasayana or Rejuvenation Therapy. Although detoxification and cleansing therapies are growing more and more popular each year, the equally essential Rejuvenation Therapy is not as well known. In this article I will take you through the theory of Rasayana (rejuvenation) according to Ayurveda; along with the benefits, techniques, indications and contraindications that go with it.
What is Rasayana?
Yat Jara Vyadhi Nashanam Tat Rasayanam: “Rasayana is that which negates old age and disease.”
Rasayana, termed Rejuvenation Therapy here in the West, is an anabolic therapy that focuses on restoring, rejuvenating and rebuilding the system on a cellular level. The therapies tend to include specific diet, herbs and lifestyle implementations that focus on nourishing and nurturing the body and mind, especially when they are in a state of depletion. Rasayana can be used to prevent illness, restore the system after illness or maintain optimal health. When administered properly, Rasayana promotes longevity, strength and immunity. When it is misused Rasayana can clog the channels of the system, increase toxic build-up and promote heaviness of the body and mind.
Indications for Rasayana Therapy
Rejuvenation Therapy is the life promoting, anti-aging jewel of Ayurveda. It can be the “nectar of immortality” with the proper knowledge, and should be a routine part of one’s health maintenance regimen. Here are some common indications of when Rasayana should be practiced:
After a severe illness
After a cleanse/detox program
Vata disorders (insomnia,weakness, debility, emaciation…)
Before age 18
After age 40
After pregnancy (Postpartum)**
While breast feeding**
**Perform under a knowledgeable Ayurvedic practioner’s direct care.
Contraindications for Rasayana Therapy
Although Rasayana Therapy is the essence of nourishment in Ayurveda; if used at inappropriate times, this nectar becomes toxic. If you have any of the indications above but find you have contraindications as well, you must first treat these factors before administering Rasayana. Otherwise conditions may increase and cause more harm than health.
As a general rule, Rasayana is indicated only when the system is relatively clean and free of heavy toxins. As a great teacher of mine clearly states, “Performing Rasayana while toxins are present is like dying a dirty cloth. If you want to dye a cloth, you must clean it first in order to allow the dye to shine.”
Here is a list of symptoms indicating that you should NOT be using rejuvenation therapy:
Toxins in the system
Coating on the tongue
Congestion in the system
A chronic sense of heaviness
Parasites in the system
Fever, flu or acute illness
Kapha mental toxins such as depression, sadness and a dull/foggy mind
Benefits of Rasayana Therapy
When used at appropriate times and with the appropriate administration, Rasayana is indeed nectar to the essence of life.
Here are some of the juicy benefits of this Ayurvedic therapy:
Increases energy and vitality
Promotes intellect and memory
Repairs and rebuilds tissues
Builds and repairs muscle tissue
Increases immunity and resistance to disease
Reverses free-radical damage
Nourishes and calms the nervous system
Improves the complexion
Nourishes and lubricates the skin
Maintains a healthy physical-mental-emotional state
How to Perform Rasayana Therapy
Rasayana is all about nourishing and rebuilding, and therefore the treatment therapies need to be the same. There are many ways to put Rasayana into practice;
However they tend to fall under these four categories:
- Ahara (diet)
- Vihara (lifestyle)
- Aushadha (herbal medicine)
- Acharya (behavioral medicine)
If you feel that Rejuvenation Therapy is needed at this point in your life, try taking a couple of these options from each category and incorporating them into your daily routine. Remember that in order to obtain the greatest health benefits you must give focus to each category, as they are all important to allow a full range of healing.
Ahara Rasayana: Rejuvenating Foods
Proper food choices are a powerful way to invoke healing and restoration into your Rejuvenation Therapy. These foods listed below should be incorporated in the daily diet; although in moderate amounts to avoid toxic build-up and clogging of channels. Rasayana foods tend to be building, nourishing, unctuous (oily) and heavy by nature, making these food healing in proper amounts and toxic in excess.
AvocadoHealthy oils such as coconut, olive, sesame and almond
Coconut meat, coconut water, coconut milk
Whole grains (brown rice, buckwheat groats, oats, whole wheat…)
Sweet, juicy fruits such as peaches and mangos
High anti-oxidants foods such as blueberries, cacao and beets
Bone marrow broths
Vihara Rasayana: Rejuvenating Lifestyle
Our daily lifestyle choices make a huge impact on the state of our health and can be a powerful tool for Rejuvenation Therapy. Here are some lifestyle practices to integrate into your daily schedule during Rejuvenation Therapy:
Warm baths with essential oils
Oiling the feet and scalp with a medicated oil before bed
Deep belly breathing
Gentle Pranayama (i.e. nadi shodhana)
Gentle exercise (swimming, walking, mild/low-impact cardio)
Taking gentle walks in the fresh air
Being in nature
Observing celibacy (when appropriate)
Taking time off of work
Avoiding stressful situations
Focusing on self-love and self-care
These activities are great during a Rejuvenation Therapy, but are also essential for incorporating into the daily routine on a weekly basis. Consistent practices of self-nourishment and self-care are imperative in sustaining health, vitality and longevity!
Aushadha Rasayana: Rejuvenating Herbs
Ayurvedic herbs are an amazing gift for the therapy of Rejuvenation. There are so many options, with each herb possessing different actions and benefits. Some herbs rejuvenate a targeted system of the body such as the nervous system or respiratory system; some target a specific tissue or organ such as the blood, liver or skin; some herbs target the entire body. Most of the “Rasayana herbs” are sweet in taste since sweet is building by nature; however, there are many exceptions to this rule.
In order to prepare a potent Rejuvenating formula that is unique to your needs, one must consider the constitution (prakrtti), current state of imbalance (vikrtti), season, climate and di of the individual. Each herb possesses different healing actions and focuses on different areas of the body, so it is vital to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner in order to establish a well-rounded Rejuvenating formula to compliment your Rasayana Therapy.
Acharya Rasayana: Rejuvenating Behaviors
Behavioral medicine focuses on a person’s mental state, stress reactions, communication skills with others, relationship conduct, work habits and other areas of behavior. This is imperative for mental rejuvenation which will soon lead to physical rejuvenation. If one does not heal their mental state, true health will never manifest. Health is not just a physical state; but a mental, emotional, spiritual state as well! Here are some effective methods for rejuvenating your subtle body:
Keep good company
Avoid negative influences
Try to be positive, even during stressful situations
Do not repress emotions; instead feel them, process them and let them go
Journal and release thoughts, emotions and experiences
Avoid conflicting situations
Be truthful in words and actions
Communicate with awareness
Act with awareness
Breath with awareness
Do what you love to do in all of life
Make sure your work aligns with your passion
Make time for family and friends
Make time for yourself
Rasayana Therapy is an essential tool for sustaining health at all stages of life. Establish a complete Rejuvenation routine that is most effective for you and your needs!