Spine – A general introduction
Ayurveda is an ancient medical practice prevailing nearly for three thousand years. Since the dawn of Ayurveda, it has been evolving with generation of different concepts and therapies useful for curing diseases and sustaining health. Spine Vasti is one of those modified practice that has evolved from the basic concepts and therapies described in Ayurveda.
The human spine consists of thirty-three vertebrae stacked upon one another with adjacent bones being separated by the intervertebral discs. They range from the lower part of the skull to fit in between the two hip bones.
Spine is attached with different muscles (mostly muscles of back and few abdominal muscles) and bones (skull, ribs and hip bones). The stacks of these bones form a cavity called spinal canal which encloses the spinal cord. All the spinal nerves arising from the cord exit out of the facets between the stack of spine.
Spine plays main role in keeping our body erect during sitting and standing postures. It provides support for thorax and abdomen and protects the delicate spinal cord from injury.
What is spine vasti?
Vasti means to accumulate. In simple words, spine vasti can be understood as pooling of medicated oils over the region of spine. Amongst the varieties of Vasti therapy, previous therapies given in the region would include Griva Vasti, limited to cervical region or neck region of spine and Kati vasti, limited to lumbosacral region or waist region of spine.
Spine vasti is an extended form of Griva and Kati vasti which utilizes the whole length of spine. Furthermore, Griva and Kati vasti are sometimes included under the subheading of spine vasti.
How is spine vasti given?
The procedure for spine vasti is all similar to Griva and Kati vasti, only the region being applied is lengthened.
The patient is laid on the vasti table over his or her abdomen. The vasti provider cleans the the whole region of spine with a clean cloth dipped in warm water. Gentle oil massage is given on the back region and then the region is well fomented with steam.
In practice, different dough structures are prepared from black gram flour of varying diameter as well as length. The two structures are round similar to the ones prepared during the Griva and Kati basti and are placed on neck and lumbosacral region respectively. While the lengthy one is placed over the remaining length of spine.
Warmed medicated oil is poured into the dough structures. Once the oil gets cooled, oil is taken out, reheated and poured again into the dough structures.
The duration of single session of spine vasti is usually completed within 30 to 45 minutes.
Benefits of Spine vasti
- Relieves back pain
- Improves range of movement of back by relieving stiffness
- Relieves tingling and numbness sensation as it helps in soothing the affected spinal nerves exiting out of spine
- Improves spinal blood circulation
- Medicated oil nourishes the tissues and muscles of back
Concepts behind Spine Vasti
Bony structures in Ayurveda are considered to be the prime location of Vata. Vata is physiologically associated with movement, respiration and sensory motor response while pathologically it is related primarily with pain. Oil is considered to be the best medicine for pacifying vata.
Spine being a bony structure is considered a prime location of vata and hence there is higher probability of vata being aggravated. Application of spine vasti is thus logical from Ayurveda point of view to protect spine from aggravated vata.
Vasti procedures in general helps to enhance blood circulation in the region where it is being applied. Increased blood circulation in the vasti applied region helps in the exchange of nourishing and pain relieving compounds to metabolic wastes and inflammatory mediators. In this way spine vasti helps to relieve pain and heal injured tissue of the back.
Spine vasti is thus an Ayurvedic treatment which primarily focuses on pain management on spine. Not only in the management of chronic back pain and degenerative issues of vertebrae. But also the individual concerned about their spine health can apply this to prevent the spine from such ailments.