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Seize the Sneeze

This article was originally published here on TNIE on 25 March 2023.

A sneeze is not just another symptom of change in seasons; it can signify an underlying imbalance in the body’s kapha and pitta doshas. When these functional elements are disturbed, it can lead to excessive mucus production, sinus congestion and headaches. For the past six months, Joy Varghese, a 25-year-old IT professional from Aluva, Kerala, suffered from incessant sneezing bouts—at least 50 times a day—especially in the mornings. He also had a runny nose all day long. During a consultation, he shared being allergic to dust as a teenager, a condition that worsened when he started working, as it required him to sit in an air-conditioned environment for 8-10 hours.
In ayurveda, this condition is called brshakshavathu/peenasam, and falls under the spectrum of allergies, which can be easily be managed with a few lifestyle modifications.

Meals: Human body is an intelligent system that communicates any immiment problems through signs and symp- toms. Untimely food intake or skipping meals affects the doshas in a negative way. It is advisable to have dinner before 7 pm, especially for those suffering from allergies. Food items, such as sweets, yoghurt, sour food, black gram or anything that takes longer to digest, should be avoided or had in moderation. This is because these tend to worsen kapha and pitta.

Bathing: One may think of it as just another daily ritual, but taking a shower at the right time has a significant impact on our metabo- lism. Head baths, especially, should be had before 8 am or between 5-6 pm, when the sun is neither too high nor too low. During this period, the body’s metabolic state is in a transition and should not be disturbed by external stimulation like bathing.

Sleep discipline: Late-night activities can trigger allergic responses by disturbing our natural circadian rhythm. Hitting the bed early and at the same time every day, thus, is essential.

Hair oils: Ayurvedic oils such as tulasipatradi keram, triphaladi keram and nirgundyadi tailam can help manage allergies responses better. You should, however, consult an ayurvedic practitioner to know the right one for you.

Ritu shodhana: If the condition is deep-rooted, panchakarma, a process of purification, is recommended. Seasonal purification such as vaman (therapeutic emesis) and virechana (therapeutic purgation) can be done for thorough cleansing.

Disclaimer: The above article is for general awareness and informational purposes only. It should not be taken as medical advice. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult with your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.