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If you’re undergoing treatment for Lyme disease or have recently finished treatment, you can use Ayurveda to support your system. Ayurvedic support and rejuvenation focuses on decreasing vata—the dosha, or subtle energy, comprised of air and ether. When vata is out of balance, you’re more likely to experience symptoms such as stiff muscles, achy joints, anxiety, restlessness, memory problems, trouble concentrating, fatigue and weakness, insomnia and other sleep problems, and poor digestion. These are all symptoms that will sound familiar to many people who are dealing with Lyme— and Ayurveda can help. However, always be sure to work with medical and healing professionals when recovering from Lyme disease.
Follow a Few Ayurvedic Diet Rules
Follow a whole foods, plant-based diet as much as possible, to reduce inflammation and rebalance agni (digestive fire). Limit refined, processed foods, such as simple sugars and gluten, as well as dairy. The fewer simple sugars you have available in your system, the harder it is for bacteria and yeast to reproduce after antibiotic treatment.
Support Your Microbiome
Maintaining a healthy gut is important for everyone, but it’s even more important for people who are fighting Lyme. The microbiome produces vitamins, enzymes, antibodies and hormones that keep the body in homeostasis and promote healing. That’s why it’s important to take a probiotic that repopulates your microbiome with healthy flora during antibiotic treatment. A Lyme-literate doctor or health practitioner with experience in integrative medicine should be able to help you find the right formula for your particular needs. Fermented and/or cultured foods are good for feeding the microbiome, too.
"When vata is out of balance, you’re more likely to experience symptoms such as stiff muscles, achy joints, anxiety, restlessness, memory problems, trouble concentrating, fatigue and weakness, insomnia and other sleep problems, and poor digestion."
Maintain Sleep Hygiene
Sleep is an essential key to healing, but lots of people have trouble sleeping when they’re living with Lyme. To sleep better, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. For a natural sleep aid, drink half a cup of tart cherry juice or eat two kiwis before bed (both proven to help with insomnia).
Tame Vata with a Warm Oil Massage
An Ayurvedic self-care practice called abhyanga can decrease vata, reduce anxiety and lubricate the muscles, tissues and joints, especially when Lyme manifests as musculoskeletal pain. Do a self-massage before bed or in the shower, using warming oils such as sesame or a vata-balancing oil blend.
Practice Gentle Yoga and Belly Breathing
A body that’s recovering from Lyme is stressed. Gentle yoga and belly breathing increase the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system (the “rest and digest” system) and, from an Ayurvedic viewpoint, balance vata.
It’s important to deal with the mental and emotional aspects of Lyme, too. Work with a counselor who is familiar with the effects of the disease, or join a Lyme support group, in person or online.