by Avani Sukhadia Robinson —
Whether we are parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts or well-wishers of children, we want to see our little stars shine. Ayurveda has a specialized branch of pediatric medicine known as Balatantra or Kaumarabhritya. This ancient science offers some simple, natural wisdom to keep kids healthy and happy in today’s fast-paced world.
Establish a consistent daily routine — Waking early, sleeping early and eating meals in harmony with nature’s rhythms are the foundations of good health. Children feel a sense of security, confidence and stress reduction when they know what to expect from day to day.
Provide a daily warm oil massage — A daily abhyanga massage before bath time greatly boosts children’s immunity, calms their nervous system and provides a layer of protection from germs. A drop of sesame oil in the ears prevents ear infections. These few minutes of gentle touch enhance the bonding and affection kids seek and inherently need.
Serve freshly cooked, wholesome foods — Feeding kids warm, nourishing meals such as hot cereals, stewed fruit, vegetable soups and kicharee (an Indian dish made with curry) provides them with nutrients that are easy to digest. Introduce small pinches of digestive spices like cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon and turmeric to clear toxins from the body.
Use a honey-and-ginger home remedy — Raw, organic honey helps to expectorate excess mucus and ginger juice keeps agni, or digestive fire, strong. A daily teaspoon of this combination (plus a pinch of turmeric) can ward off common colds, flu and allergies.
Serve warm milk — Ayurveda recognizes the nurturing qualities of milk to induce ojas, the ultimate refined result of digestion, metabolism, absorption and assimilation. Raw, nonhomogenized, organic, whole milk cooked with spices like cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron, natural date sugar and a dab of ghee or clarified butter is easily digested. One cup before bedtime balances emotions and induces sound sleep.
Be attentive to sensory impressions — Over-stimulation from TV, movies, computer games and advertisements leaves lasting impressions on kids’ minds. Their delicate sensory organs should be protected from these assaults which burrow deep into their psyches and disturb prana, affecting their emotional and spiritual growth.
Encourage free play — Playing with children stretches their bodies and provides exercise, while developing their creativity and imagination. Most of all, their souls are satisfied by the love and attention they crave from caretakers. Grandparents in their vata stage of life are the best companions for those little kapha angels.
Each child is born with their own unique proportion of vata, pitta and kapha. To best understand an individual’s dosha and specific health concerns, please consult with a certified Ayurvedic practitioner.
Avani Sukhadia Robinson is a certified Ayurvedic practitioner and owner of Authentic Ayurveda, Holistic Health Center & Spa in Sedona, Ariz. www.ayurveda-sedona.com or 928-284-1114.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 4, August/September 2007.