Is your hairfall stress related? Krya shares some insights from Ayurveda that can help

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Reading Time: 13 minutes

“Hi, Is there any product that can help my hair? I am 23 years old. I have a stressful job and my hair is greying very rapidly”.

“Hi Team Krya. I am a B school graduate and I am just 25. I have a travelling stressful Sales job, and I have been losing hair at an alarming rate. For the last year, everytime someone meets me, this is all they talk about (how quickly I seem to be losing hair). Can Krya’s products help me?”

“Hi Preethi, I was extremely overweight until a year ago. Over the last year, I started a very good exercise programme with good quality foods and managed to lose about 15 kg. I eat very well and good quality fruits and vegetables. Inspire of this, my skin is now looking dull, sallow and aged. Can you help”?

 

In our last blog post on Stress, we spoke about how stress can affect hair growth and hair fall. For human beings, stress takes about 180 days to show up on hair, so when we receive complaints of sudden, inexplicable hairfall, we try and trace events that occurred about 3 – 4 months back to understand the cause.

Stress appears to excessively stimulate our androgenic hormones, perhaps to help with our flight or fight response. While the physical pathway of how stress works continues to be unravelled, its net result on hair and skin is quite certain. In times of stress, your hair’s Anagen phase abruptly shifts to Catagen phase. In normal hair, atleast 85% of hair is supposed to be in Anagen phase at any point of time, and only 1% transitions to Catagen phase.

1. stress and hairfall

 

This ratio is altered in times of stress, as a large proportion of Anagen phase hair shifts abruptly to the Catagen phase. This causes a sudden loss of much larger amounts of hair. We also saw the currently accepted stress scale the Holmes Rahe scale. This scale lists 43 events that have been researched to cause stress, and surprisingly, this list includes even happy events like pregnancy, a job promotion as events that are likely to cause stress.

 

The Mind body connection that is acknowledged and celebrated by Ayurveda and Siddha

Ayurveda and Siddha, our two forms of traditional medicine have always consistently acknowledged the role of the mind and its connection to the body. It is this mind body connection that gives you Ayu and Ayush: and a healthy body along with a healthy mind and a long life has always been the goal of traditional medicine systems.

2.mind-body connection

 

The Sutrasthana section of the Charaka Samhita recognises 3 origins of disease:

  1. Innate
  2. External (exogenous)
  3. Psychic

Innate diseases are that which arise from combinations of the doshas in the body. Externally caused diseases are those caused by Bhuta (micro organisms, bacteria, and bad energy), poisoned air, poisons (visha), accidents, trauma, etc. Psychic illnesses are categorised as those caused by unfulfilment of deeply held desires and when faced with undesirable circumstances.

 

3 types of therapy that are practiced in Ayurveda: Spiritual therapy, Rational therapy and Psychological therapy. In many illnesses as the mind and body are interlinked, the physician prescribes a combination therapy which involves some elements of Spiritual therapy or Psychological therapy along with the rational therapy. We will see some examples of this below.

 

How each dosha plays a role in physical and mental well being

Pitta dosha

Every dosha in Ayurveda is linked not just to a physical set of attributes but also to a set of mental attributes.

Pitta dosha is the dosha related to Agni in the body. It brings about digestion, helps the body assimilate and absorb nutrients, helps form blood, and gives vision, and colour and lustre to the complexion. So when pitta dosha is strong and not in excess, it brings about the qualities of leadership, focus, clarity, and prowess and an ability to get things done.

3.pitta dosha

 

But when this dosha becomes vitiated it brings about an inability to see the bigger picture, a tendency to lose your temper, dominate the people around you and get your way, no matter what. Similarly when this dosha is greatly reduced, it brings about confusion, fear, an inability to focus and bring things to fruition, besides giving you poor or impaired digestion.

 

Vata dosha

When vata dosha is strong and not in excess, it holds up the systems and organs , initiates all upward and downward movements in the body, employs all sense organs, causes the formation of all the dhatus in the body, promotes speech, etc.

A strong vayu dosha is the source of exhilaration, courage, creativity, movement and physical lightness and well being. When strong, vayu improves strength, complexion, and valour, normal development of the musculoskeletal structure, improvement of knowledge and maximum expanse of life span.

4. vata dosha

 

When vayu is vitiated in the body it affects strength, complexion, happiness and even the life span. Aggravated vayu agitates the mind, affects the sense organs, and produces fear, grief, confusion, anxiety and even delirium. Perhaps because of this all pervasive nature of vayu and its deep seated effects when it goes out of order, Vayu is variously called “PrajaPati”, Aditi, Vishwakarma and even Yama in Ayurveda. Vayu is both the producer and the indestructible. Vayu brings both happiness and misery and brings positivity and an all pervasive negativity as well.

 

Kapha dosha

Kapha dosha is the dosha of Prithvi (earth) and Jal (water). It is the dosha that builds the dhatus, muscles and allows growth of the body. When strong and not in excess or depleted Kapha dosha provides fertility, strength, firmness, patience, good humour and enthusiasm for life.

An un-vitiated kapha dosha promotes detached attachment towards material objects, promotes generosity, loyalty, commitment, and the ability to form deep nurturing relationships.

5. kapha dosha

 

When kapha is in excess, it shows as excess weight, an ability to accumulate mucous quickly, a greater love for earthy pleasures like food, material objects, a high attachment to objects, a tendency to relax and sleep much more, indolence, etc. When kapha is reduced, there is inability to put on healthy weight, reduced fertility, a feeling of instability and an inability to stay grounded, etc.

 

Balance and peace: the key to leading a life of health and well being

We have seen the inherent strengths and qualities each dosha gives us. Many times we are asked what the ideal combination of doshas is. Or what is a good proportion of doshas to have? And this is very obviously, a difficult one to answer.

 

Ayurveda understands and respects our individuality: and every one prakriti is unique. It is made up not just of the combination of doshas that we receive when we are conceived, but also the environment with which we are brought up, the food we eat, the experiences we receive and of course our response to all of this.

 

Ayurveda also tells us to seek our own balance within the framework of our life, and how we seek to find this balance is also unique. A Vaidya will always give each of her patients a unique programme that recognises the individual’s unique prakriti.

6. path to balance

The central framework behind this approach in Ayurveda is the belief that each one’s balance is achieved differently. For a spiritually inclined person, their balance may come with chanting certain mantras, and praying to their Ishta devata along with certain changes in their diet. For a person who is much more rationally inclined, their treatment may come from diet and lifestyle changes alone.

There is no one formula or combination to achieve balance. Ayurveda teaches each of us to find our very own recipe for balance.

 

How the body affects the mind and vice versa: Ayurvedic insights into pregnancy

The connection between the mind and the body is extremely well explored in Ayurveda’s treatment of pregnancy. From the 4th month onwards with the formation of the foetal heart, Ayurveda believes that the foetus is able to communicate its deep seated desires to its mother.

 

This is why, Ayurveda calls the Pregnant woman the “Dauhridini”, the woman with the 2 hearts. Many of the pregnant women’s cravings for certain kinds of foods are explained in Ayurveda as the desires of the foetus. At this stage, Ayurveda says the foetus carries some of its unfulfilled desires and dreams sometimes from its previous births, so it is imperative for the family of the pregnant women to treat her food cravings with care.

7. dauhridini

 

Not allowing the foetus to fulfil its wishes leads to deep seated psychological harm, so Ayurveda insists that the Dauhridini’s peculiar  cravings or wishes be fulfilled with unconditional love, support and tact.

 

How the body affects the mind and vice versa: Ayurvedic insights into the post partum state

Post partum depression is recognised as a reality today for most mothers. This is a subject that is not openly acknowledged or treated or even spoken about. It will come as a surprise to no one that Ayurveda spoke about this and devised an elaborate post partum care programme to help improve not just the mother baby bond and also the father baby bond.

 

Recognising that post partum depression can come due to severe vata derangement post birth, most Ayurvedic practices centre around bringing vata back to balance. The new mother’s meal timings and sleep timings are strictly regulated and external and internal oleation is strongly practiced to bring vata dosha back to normal.

8.post partum care

 

In addition to regulating vata through diet and regimen, Ayurveda also uses spiritual and psychological therapy to help with vata imbalance. The nursery is ritually purified and special homams or ritualised prayers are held post delivery. At the beginning of vata periods like late evenings, the nursery is fumigated and strong devotional music is either sung or played outside the nursery door. Vata carrying winds are warded off and the nursery is kept warm to bring down vata influences.

Here we see an example of how mental well being is attended to by addressing the physical body and the surroundings.

 

How the mind affects the body: Ayurvedic insights for students and calming mental stress

We were at a specially organised organic event last week, and I met a consumer who wanted me to help with her daughter’s recent hairfall issue. She was studying for her board exams and had been attending a series of coaching classes for the last year to help her pass her engineering examinations. This meant that her sleep and eating timings were erratic. This also meant that she was under a high amount of mental stress and strain surrounding her exams and her future.

 

Believe it or not, Ayurveda addresses the problems of students as well! (Even if we believe that CAT, NEET and IIT entrance examinations are a modern student’s problem, I am sure an ancient student also had to pass oral or written examinations to be allowed to study with the Guru of their choice). Ayurveda recognises that nutrient assimilation is especially poor in times of stress. When this is compounded with erratic sleep, then no matter how healthy your diet is, your body will not be able to utilise the nutrients in your food.

 

This is why Ayurveda augments external application products for children and teenagers with certain types of herbs. For example, the Krya Kids hair oil utilises nervine herbs like Brahmi (Bacopa monnerii). Not only is Brahmi a great aid to memory, it also helps calm and soothe down overwrought nerves and aids good sleep. This is especially useful when you are dealing with a stressed out teenager which has been burning the midnight oil and is too wound up to sleep properly.

 

In the case of the exam stressed teenager, the reason for her hair fall was the mental stress she was facing. So she was advised to use hair oil with Brahmi which would help soothe the stress and also advised to increase her intake of cow ghee. Cow ghee is very useful in periods of mental stress when the brain has to work very hard. The brain comprises almost purely of fat, so Ayurveda uses another good quality, pure fat like ghee to support the brain during periods of strain. In addition, we also recommended pada abhyanga (foot massage) atleast thrice a week to calm down vata and aid sleep and rest.

 

So here we see how working on the physical body through external application and food helps work on the mind and calm it down.

 

How the Dinacharya prescribed in Ayurveda work on our mind and body:

Many dinacharyas given in Ayurveda also combine 2 – 3 types of therapies and this is why they work in such an eerily wholesome manner. We have, for instance, been hearing from a lot of consumers who have been doing an Abhyanga. While it was suggested by us as a general practice to balance doshas and pacify aggravated vata, we found, unexpectedly that it seemed to somehow improve the functioning of the thyroid gland.

 

The functioning of the thyroid gland can be broken up into 3 parts: improvement of metabolism, maintenance and upkeep of breath and cardiovascular system and upkeep of normal developmental activities. At the right level, the thyroid gland also helps maintain normal sleep, rest and sexual activities.

 

So by their action the thyroid hormones help assimilation of nutrients, help move it around to where it is needed, increase oxygen consumption in the body, maintain heart rate, help growth in children, brain development. Most importantly, the literature says that when the thyroid hormones are in excess, there is said to be an increased generation of thoughts but a sharply decreased focus.

 

Going by the working of the thyroid glands, it makes sense to look at it as an organ of vata dosha. So when over stimulated it gives typical vata aggravation symptoms like weight loss, an inability to shut down, excessive and hyperactive thoughts, delirium, an inability to stay calm, etc. When it is in low quantities, all the normal workings of vata dosha are affected: so the strength and lightness of the body, the mobility, the creativity and the exhilaration and courage given by vata dosha are all in short supply.

9.abhyanga

Given this, it makes sense that an Abhyanga twice a week seems to work so well to balance the workings of the thyroid gland. Warm oil is the counter to vayu and it helps keep vayu in check and present at healthy levels by stimulating and balancing all the 3 doshas.

 

Why is an abhyanga a self massage and NOT an assisted massage in Ayurveda?

Many people often ask us if we mean an assisted massage when we use the term “Abhyanga”. A massage given to us at a spa or by someone we love does seem much more relaxing than something we do for ourselves. However, the central idea of an abhyanga in Ayurveda is a self massage. It is assisted only in the case of babies and small children and the infirm and the old who lack the strength to give themselves an Abhyanga.

 

The obvious reason behind this is that the Abhyanga helps generate heat and when done vigorously by you are a form of exercise in itself. This gives the body the heat and the circulation required to help the oil penetrate, manage excess vayu and cool down excess pitta and stimulate excess kapha.  It also helps you understand the proper functioning of your body. You gain a greater appreciation of the workings of your body, are able to understand its subtle signals much better and start to understand its signals and signs of overwork much better.

 

An even more subtle reason is that the 5 sense organs are ruled by Vayu. And the sensation of touch is very enjoyable and strengthening to Vayu in the body. Self love and self belief are an essential part of health and well being. So it is no wonder that Ayurveda forces you to touch your entire body, lovingly massage it with oil, listen to its complaints and protests and give your mind and body a sense of union.

 

Many of us grow up, especially in the adolescent years feeling a sense of outrage and irritation towards our physical bodies. Our heads carry an idealised picture of beauty and physical appearance that our bodies struggle to respond to. The dosha which promotes union in the body is Vata dosha. So Vayu by its mobility and ability to travel across subtle and gross spaces and unite the functions in the body helps promote this sense of union between your head, heart and body.

10. touch

The Acharyas tell us that this Union gives us a firm sense of self. It helps us chart our path and move forward with courage and conviction. It is wonderful to me that we can approach such a mystical thing as this union through a simple everyday practice of the Self Abhyanga.

 

We are not a collection of organ systems!

Through this post we wanted to illustrate and highlight just how deep and complex the workings of the human body are. We are not simply a collection of organ systems that can be “repaired” with mechanical adjustments. Ayurveda teaches us that when we approach our body as a whole and treat it with attention, care and sensitivity, we are able to achieve much better, deeper and longer lasting results. Ayurveda also teaches us how to access our mind by the workings of our body and how to harness our mind by directing and controlling our breath.

 

It is also our experience that when we start doing the dinacharyas prescribed in Ayurveda like the Abhyanga or the Gandusha, our practice is rewarded by deeper insights into how our body functions. We learn what disturbs it, how we respond in periods of stress and from these insights we begin to understand how to look after our body and our mind and how to achieve that state of union we all desire.  Our fundamental belief in Krya is that external well being and beauty springs from a well spring of health and balance. Simple external application or the use of superficial products cannot help you achieve what you are looking for. But a deeper exploration of health and a willingness to make fundamental changes can get you to your goal much faster.

 

Through our work and the products we offer, we hope to help you move towards that well spring and experience health, balance and joy and well being for yourself.

 

Do you suspect that your hairfall is being caused by mental stress?

Talk to us (075500-89090) . OR send us an email and we will do our best to help.

Here are some products that can help:

  • Krya harmony hair oil with Brahmi & Vetiver
    1. Recommended if you have high mental stress, or have trouble switching your brain off and going to sleep
    2. Helps in healthy hair growth and reduces hairfall brought on by mental stress and anxiety

12.harmony hair oil

5. womens abhyanga system

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When stress causes hairfall – Insights from Krya on how your hair bears the brunt of grief and stress

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

3 months.

 

This is the time that it takes for your hair to display signs of the stress you are facing.

 

If you are losing hair today by the handful, then we have to dial back to what happened roughly 180 days before.

 

You can lose hair by altering the balance of pitta dosha, by chemical treatments, by increasing your shampooing frequency, and by imbalancing your vata dosha. You can also lose hair when your stress levels suddenly change. And we are going to explore this in detail in today’s blog post on stress related hair loss.

 

The 4 phases of normal hair growth:

All of us have between 90,000 – 150,000 strands of hair on our head. On any given day, depending on your state of health, weather and state of mind, you could lose anywhere between 20 – 100 strands of hair. As long as your hair loss stays within this range, and as long as you have 90,000 – 150,000 strands of hair, and your hair has the right proportion of growth and loss, this hair loss is considered normal.

 

Every strand of hair grows through 4 phases:

  1. Anagen phase (active growth phase) – In this phase, the hair is in its most active growth phase. The duration of the Anagen phase varies for different kinds of hair. For the hair on our heads, the Anagen phase can last anywhere between 2 – 8 years. Those of us who genetically are predisposed to long hair, have a much longer Anagen phase allowing our hair to grow really long.

Your eyelashes, on the other hand, have a much shorter Anagen phase of 30 days.

anagen phase

 

The 2 take-aways here are this:

  • The longer the Anagen phase, the longer the hair growth
  • When the Anagen phase is atleast 2 years long, it means that the hair is being allowed the right level of nutrition, and mental health to grown normally

In normal hair, atleast 85% of your hair is supposed to be in Anagen phase.

 

  1. Catagen phase – (transition phase) – In this phase, the hair prepares for hair fall by beginning to detach itself from the skin (the dermal papilla). This phase lasts 2 – 4 weeks. This phase marks the beginning of normal hair fall

Only 1% of your hair is supposed to enter Catagen phase at any point in time. While the hair strand is detaching itself from the dermal papilla, the blood supply is cut off from the hair strand.

catagen phase

 

  1. Telogen phase – (Resting phase) – In this phase, the hair completely separates from the dermal papilla and prepares for falling out. This phase lasts between 2 – 4 months. As the hair is completely cut off from the dermal papilla, the epidermal cells of the scalp form temporary bindings around the hair, anchoring it on your scalp until it is time for it to fall.

telogen

 

When the hair follicle, which remains dormant in the Telogen phase, starts to re-grow, the hair that has been anchored in place by your scalp will break from its root and fall out. This is the normal process of hair shedding. Even as the hair is shedding, the follicle below it has already started re-growing – this ushers in new hair growth within 2 weeks, when the hair and scalp are in normal health.

In normal hair and scalp, 10 – 15% of the hair strands are in Telogen phase.

 

Changes in the 3 phases of Hair growth under stress:

Studies among Mice indicate that in times of stress, like exposure to a high degree of noise, hair moves abruptly from the Anagen phase to the Catagen phase, in large numbers.

 

A similar response is researched to be true in human hair. In times of stress, your hair’s Anagen phase abruptly shifts to Catagen phase. In normal hair, atleast 85% of hair is supposed to be in Anagen phase at any point of time, and only 1% transitions to Catagen phase.

stress effects

 

This ratio is altered in times of stress, as a large proportion of Anagen phase hair shifts abruptly to the Catagen phase. This causes a sudden loss of much larger amounts of hair.  Literature review suggests that hormones like cortisol, which are used by the body to combat high periods of stress, may be triggering this shift. An analysis of Rhesus monkeys with hair loss found that there is a high level of cortisol in the blood stream.

 

How long does it take for this stress to show up on hair?

For human beings the hair on the head takes 180 days to show as hairfall from the time of the stressful event. This could be after a physically stressful event like trauma, surgery, or after emotional stress like a divorce or a change of job.

 

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hair growth:

Chemotherapy drugs work on attacking cells that replicate fast – cancerous cells are typically covered by these drugs. However, other, normal fast replicating cells are also attacked by these drugs like the hair follicles.

Therefore, chemotherapy drugs, depending upon the dosage, inhibit new hair growth and can also determine how severe the hair loss is after treatment.

Radiation therapy, especially on the head (seen in brain tumours) can severely affect hair follicles. Hair shedding can start within 2 weeks of beginning radiation therapy where hair follicles quickly enter the Telogen phase.

 

The Holmes and Rahe Stress scale

Here’s the thing about stress: It gives us a feeling of being inadequate or unable to cope with the demands that are being placed on us. And the level and type of stress we can cope with, without feeling inadequate varies for each person.

In order to standardise this , atleast to some extent, and to understand what level of stress can make us ill, The Holmes and Rahe stress scale was developed in 1967 by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe.

This scale was developed by researching the stress faced by 5000 patients. Holmes and Rahe arrived at a list of 43 stressful events that can occur in anyone’s life and gave each stressful event a weightage. If a person is undergoing several types of stress at the same time, these combined scores could give your doctor a sense of how high or how low your stress levels are.

Many surprising life events find their way into the Holmes Rahe stress scale – these include even happy events like pregnancy, a promotion, and moving to a new home.

holmes rahe scale

Every day, modern stresses like a long commute, high noise levels, constant television / media consumption, high use of the Smartphone, late night working, do not find their way into the Holmes Rahe scale – we can argue that this is because this scale was devised at a much gentler time when these devices, and even the now common phenomena of working women were not this prevalent.

All of us live in a world with aggravated stress levels. If you add to this any of the 43 stressful life events that further push up stress, it is no wonder that stress related hairfall is now such a huge phenomenon.

 

The effect of stress on skin:

The American academy of dermatology also has many peer reviewed papers that explore the link between cortisol and your skin. Higher levels of cortisol means higher or unregulated sebum production on skin.  This means that greater stress could cause a sudden flare up of acne on your skin. Obviously, connected with this is the fact that many of us when stressed, tend to eat oily, rich or sweet foods that could easily trigger acne.

skin stress

A 2001 study called “Psychological Stress Perturbs Epidermal Permeability Barrier Homeostasis” found that stress can also cause higher degree of water loss from your skin. This water loss reduces the ability of skin to heal itself after an injury – so you could have dry or flaky skin, or blemishes and scars that do not go away.

 

To conclude:

How do we cope with this stress? Ayurveda discusses specific techniques that are suitable for different kinds of people including colour and aroma therapy, use of certain herbs and imbibing certain Dinacharya to help the brain calm down. We will discuss these in tomorrow’s post on coping with different kinds of stress.

Is your stress high? Should you be making some changes in your life? Is your life / job hassling you at a dangerous level? No stress scale can help you conclude, but this is a good place to start.

 

 

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The Krya ten point programme to help you heal, revitalise and repair chemically damaged hair

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We have been receiving a lot of excellent feedback on the Krya Damage repair hair revitalising system lately. We have also been receiving a lot of queries on just why chemical treatments like hair colouring, hair re-bonding, smoothening and treatments like the Cysteine treatment and the Brazilian damage hair.

 

Many of our consumers come to us after several years of chemical colouring with a few texture alteration treatments thrown in. At this point their hair is written off by the very parlour that damaged their hair, as too damaged for any more beauty treatments !

 

This is a subject that is very close to my heart, as someone who has gone through all these damaging treatments herself, and has painstakingly restored her hair health – my hair volume is still not as good as what I used to have, but despite my prolonged damage, I have reached a happy situation where my hair growth is good, texture is excellent and strength and elasticity is very good.

 

Just why are these chemical treatments so damaging to our hair? What about treatments advertised to “repair” hair damage like the cysteine treatment?

 

For the real truth on why you should run and not walk away from your hair stylist and your parlour, and how you can begin to heal damaged hair, do take a look at our presentation on this today .

 

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The Ayurvedic alternative to a shampoo and conditioner – Krya explains why a synthetic shampoo and a conditioner worsens hair fall, decreases hair elasticity and increases hair breakage.

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Reading Time: 12 minutes

“I can’t believe the difference just 2 months of using the Krya extra conditioning hair system has made to my hair,” said SB of Delhi to us this morning. My hair used to break, was dull and lifeless and I had almost given up hope on it”, she added.

 

Why are synthetic shampoos and conditioners so similar to Lex Luthor and his evil sidekicks? We have been discussing hair, how dosha imbalances affect it , and how what we eat, and do can severely affect our hair. Here’s a post on something else we do that affects our hair – our consistent use of synthetic shampoos and conditioners.

 

In this post, we will see how synthetic shampoos and conditioners, in their very design, can damage your hair, dry it out, increase hair breakage and slow down hairfall.

 

Why are synthetic shampoos so harsh on hair?

Harsh surfactant

Synthetic shampoos use only one grade of cleanser, the synthetic surfactant to clean hair. The synthetic surfactant like SLS / SLeS is basically a modified detergent which strips hair of oil and dirt.

1. industrial car cleaner

 

Unfortunately, SLS and SLeS do not have any safeguards – so even if the weather is dry, and your scalp really needs the sebum, a synthetic surfactant will still remove oil aggressively. This is why scalp gets either very dry, or reacts like the less mild mannered Hulk and over compensates by producing huge amounts of sebum in response to this aggressive cleansing.

 

SLS and SLeS have also been implicated in contact related allergic reactions on scalp and skin. Most people who use synthetic shampoos do not rinse their hair well and will have traces of SLS and SLeS lingering on the scalp. As scalp and skin sensitivity increases, you may find your scalp flaking aggressively (dandruff), developing excessive itching (mild dermatitis) and even resulting in conditions like boils, and scalp psoriasis.

2. scalp itching

 

One of the other ways synthetic surfactants damage your hair is by reducing its elasticity. The elasticity of hair is an important property where the hair shaft is able to cope with varying changes on hair. For example, hair elasticity comes into play when hair is combed, brushed or tugged. If your elasticity is good, your hair can handle pulling and snap back to place easily without damage. If your hair’s elasticity is poor, the slightest pulling, tugging or even wetting can instantly snap and break your hair.

 

Poor elasticity comes from excessive dryness and cuticular damage – this is the reason for extreme hair breakage and split ends. And synthetic surfactants are the primary cause of poor elasticity. The second cause for poor hair elasticity is chemical treatments like straightening, perming and hair colouring.

 3.chemical colouring damage

 

Silicone based conditioning agents that mask damage

If I shampoo and do not condition my hair, it is a mess”

 

How many times have you said this?

Is the conditioner repairing your hair? No, it is simply hiding damage. One of the side effects of using synthetic shampoo is that your hair’s cuticular structure is damaged. Some of the scales are ripped off, and some are broken or misaligned. As a result your hair will feel coarse, rough and look dull and lifeless.

 

To hide this damage, a synthetic shampoo is formulated with a silicone based conditioning agent. This is also the main ingredient in synthetic conditioners and gloss enhancing serums and spray on products. The silicones form a thin coating over the damaged cuticular structure – this is similar to a plastic wrap on your hair. As light falls on your hair, it reflects off this thin coating, making your hair look glossy and shiny. However, under this layer, the damage still exists. This is why every time you shampoo, your hair continues to feel rough. The silicones are simply hiding the damage done by the shampoo, and fooling you into believing your hair is healthier than it is.

 

Why are Krya’s hair washes better for you?

The Krya hair washes are designed differently from synthetic shampoos to cleanse in 3 different ways:

  1. a) through a natural surfactant
  2. b) by adsorption
  3. c) by the use of natural plant acids.

5. 3 types of cleansing

It is this combination of using 3 types of cleansing that makes the Krya hair washes milder, gentler, and better for the hair’s cuticular structure and helps us reduce hair breakage due to scalp dryness, and chemical treatments.

 

Natural surfactants

Krya uses biological surfactants like Soapberry and Shikakai for their oil removal and dirt cleansing effects. A mature, organically harvested soapberry contains 12% saponin content. A mature harvested Shikakai contains 6% Saponin content. The saponins in Soapberry and Shikakai are biologically and chemically unique. When we add 3 – 4 different kinds of detergent plants, we get a rich cornucopia of cleansing properties which complement each other.

 

Acacia concinna (Shikakai) at Krya

Acacia concinna alone contains several saponins, of which atleast 5 types have been chemically isolated. Apart from saponins, chemical analysis reveals that the Shikakai pod also contains acids like tartaric acid, oxalic acid, and  acacic acid, ketones like lactone, and natural sugars like glucose, arabinose, etc.

6.acacia

 

Ayurvedic texts like the Raj Nighantu classify Acacia concinna as laghu (light), tikta (bitter) and kasaya (astringent). It cures vitiated kapha and pitta dosha, which is why it works so well across Krya’s anti dandruff products like the Krya anti dandruff hair wash and the Krya Anti dandruff hair mask. It also cures leprosy and other skin diseases so it is classified as a “Kushta” herb and also heals oedema due to wounds which is why it is classified as a vrana-sopha herb.

 

Soapberry at Krya

Krya has a long and delightful history (and experience) of using Soapberry in our cleansing formulations. We use upto 3 species of Soapberry at Krya, and always try and introduce Soapberries from different geographical terrains in order to imbibe their varying properties across these places.

7.soapberry

 

Soapberry is recorded in the Raj Nighantu as having tikta (bitter), ushna (hot), katu (pungent), snigdha (oily) properties. It is a vatahara herb (reduces vata), and is kapha-hara (reduces kapha) as well. This is why the soapberry is indicated in both vata conditions like dry scalp and kapha conditions like psoriasis, itching, boils, etc.

 

The soapberry is therefore used at Krya in hair washes, ubtans and in certain formulations meant for difficult skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. We use 2 different species of Soapberry in Krya’s hairwash formulations: the South Indian Soapberry, Sapindus trifoliatus and the Himalayan Soapberry, Sapindus mukorossi.

8. soapberry 2

 

Sapindus trifoliatus grows across South and Western India and is found upto Orissa. We source Sapindus trifoliatus from Tiruvannamalai which is a dry region in south India and from the forests in Orissa which are much more moist, have greater tree cover with much higher bio diversity. The “tikta” content of Sapindus trifoliatus is much more than the Himalayan soapberry, which is why it has greater prescriptive use in therapeutic conditions.

 

Sapindus mukorossi grows across hilly terrains, and is native to the Himalayas and Nepal. We source Sapindus mukorossi from Uttaranchal and Punjab which have slightly differing heights and differing biodiversity. Sapindus mukorossi is a less pungent herb compared to Sapindus trifoliatus, so we use this for some of our sensitive hair products like the hair washes that are made for babies and toddlers. The foam produced by the Sapindus mukorossi is also different technically from what is produced by the trifoliatus herb. We find that a judicious combination of the two helps improve cleansing and detergency across our formulations.

 

Adsorption based cleansing herbs

Apart from natural surfactants, Krya’s hair washes also use several adsorption based cleansing herbs. These work differently from surfactants. They adhere to oil and grime on the hair and create a bond between themselves and these substances. So when the hair is washed, this oil, dirt and adsorbent layer is gently removed from the hair. Adsorption based cleansing herbs have always been used in Ayurveda and traditional medicine as a complementary cleansing aid to surfactant plants. Clays, muds, and certain kinds of lentils and grains form a part of this adsorption based cleansing family.

 

At Krya, we use special adsorption based cleansing lentils and grains. These are documented for their pitta hara (heat reducing) properties in Ayurveda, so they are very helpful in hair and scalp formulations. They are also very gentle and soothing in their action, and do not strip hair aggressively of sebum.

 

Why we do not use Muds and Clays at Krya

At Krya, we generally do not use muds and clays in our products. In our testing, we have found that several forms of clays and muds come highly contaminated with E.coli and other organisms that are commonly found in excreta. With arable land becoming scarce, there is a lot of animal and human contamination across land, so previously uncontaminated muds and clays have now become contaminated with these micro organisms.

9.clay

The use of muds and clays also comes with a great deal of environmental hazards. If we use river soil, we tend to take the richest river soil which could be put into better use for farming or growing of food. If we take top soil, we are again disturbing the land, without planning for replenishment of this soil.

 

Even though certain kinds of clays are documented in Ayurveda to have good skin and hair properties like Multani Mitti, because of bacterial contamination and environmental issues, we tend to avoid these ingredients at Krya.

 

Fruit and plant acids for hair cleansing, restoration of acid mantle and hair health

The pH of our skin and scalp is 5.5. This mildly acidic pH is healthy for us as it allows our skin and scalp to form a strong barrier function for our whole body to keep out harmful bacteria and other micro organisms. This acidic pH also helps our body secrete mildly acidic sebum which coats our hair and skin giving it moisture, gloss and a protective cover to keep it from drying out in harsh wind or cold weather.

 

Unfortunately by using harsh synthetic shampoos, we break this cycle of producing this precious sebum on our hair and skin. Because of the harsh way in which shampoos over cleanse hair and scalp, the body is left dry and has no acidic sebum either for its protection of for hair and skin health. This is why when we over use shampoo, we find that our hair becomes extremely oily within a day or two of washing.

14.samosa

 

Krya’s hair washes use a harmonious combination of fruit and plant based natural acids in our hair washes. When used along with the natural plant surfactants and adsorption based cleansers, these plant acids restore the acid mantle of hair and scalp, help the cleansing process and strengthen the hair.

 

One of our go-to fruit acids is the Amla (Indian gooseberry). The Amla is a famous rasayana Ayurvedic herb which promotes good health, longevity and youthfulness. It is used across Krya’s skin and hair formulations in our powders as well as our oils. The amla helps strengthen hair, works to restore the hair’s acid mantle, improves cuticular strength, and reduces hair breakage.

10.amla

 

Apart from the Amla, Krya uses a wide range of acidic fruits and herbs across our hair formulations like Haritaki, Vibhitaki, Orange, Sweet Lime, Lemon, Rose, Bhringaraj, Hibiscus, etc. Each one of these herbs come with unique hair nourishing properties apart from their acidic nature. They variously help improve hair gloss, improve the strength of hair, increase its elasticity, improves its ability to grow and help its health.

11. acidic herbs

 

The Use of hair oils and hair masks for good hair health

Krya recommends the use of generous hair oiling and the application of hair masks to improve hair health. Hair oiling is a practice traditionally recommended in Ayurveda. It helps balance pitta and vata dosha, removes excess heat from the scalp, and provides the scalp with a frequent dose of health giving herbs.

 

Hair masks are another part of Krya’s recommended hair regime to give hair strength and improve the texture, manageability and gloss of hair. Different herbs respond better to different ways of application. Some herbs are best used in hair oils where the slow boiling and processing help them release their properties. Also hair oils tend to use herbs that are beneficial when left on hair for a much longer time.

12. herbs for oils

 

Certain herbs are best use in extremely short applications like hair washing. Herbs like Shikakai, Soapberry, etc are short use herbs – they are best use in wash off applications where they can work intensively on the scalp and hair and give you immediate results.

 

Certain herbs are best used for an in-between application like a mask. We have found that herbs like orange flower, fenugreek, curry leaf, are also excellent when applied directly to hair as a paste and left on for a while. In this, the curry elaf is an extremely versatile herb, lending itself to all 3 formats. When herbs are used as a (short) leave on mask, they help strongly improve hair manageability, improve cuticular structure and vastly improve hair’s elasticity, gloss and smoothness.

13. curry leaf

 

The Krya hair systems – better as a whole rather than single products

To many of our consumers who come to us for recommendations of a good hair oil and a hair wash, we often suggest the use of a complete Krya hair system which includes a hair oil, a hair wash and a hair mask. Our hairwashes are designed to be used only along with our hair oils. Similarly, using a synthetic shampoo after using our hair oils, takes away from the good the hair oil can actually have on your hair.

 

Our hair systems have also been designed to be used as a whole. Our systems use a principle of layering and complementary abilities where each product works in harmony with the next to improve the effects on your hair. So a classic hair oil works along with a classic hairwash and a classic hair mask to reduce heat, dryness caused by heat, delay premature greying and improve health. Here’s a testimonial shared by a consumer who used this entire system and how her hair grew after the use of this system.

 

Similarly, the Krya conditioning hair oil reduces vata related dryness and works with the conditioning hair wash and hair mask to reduce vata related hair breakage, improve hair gloss and improve hair elasticity.

15. conditioning hair oil

A previous blog post written by a consumer, shares her experience with the Krya anti dandruff hair system. In this, she shares how use of all 3 products help treat her previously stubborn dandruff problem.

 

It is important to understand which of our systems will suit your hair best and then use them as a complete system. We have consistently found that use of all three of these products in conditions as varying as dandruff, pitta related hair fall, vata related hair dryness and chemical damage related hair breakage and dullness, use of all 3 products together, gives a much faster hair transformation.

 
A happy hair day everyday with Krya

We have been sharing personal transformation hair stories this last month on Krya, and how even severely chemically damaged hair has been restored to health using one of our hair systems. We receive a call / email amongst every single day from grateful consumers who cannot believe the transformation in their hair after mobbing out of synthetic solutions to our holistic, natural hair systems.

Almost every one of them uses the word “magic” when they describe the change our systems have wrought in their hair.

 

Is it magic?

 

Magic exists in the body’s propensity towards health and its willingness to heal itself. We have often said that hair and skin is supposed to look good. And when the body is in a state of health, this health radiates as hair that has a great hair day every day.

 

Even if our body is healthy, by the consistent use of unhealthy, synthetic products on our hair and skin, we create a state of ill health in our hair and skin. When we switch from using these ill health creating synthetic products, to holistic, natural products, we immediately start the natural healing process in our bodies.

 

Are you having a perpetually bad hair day? Are you looking for a change?

 

Your search ends here:

  1. Krya Classic Hair nourishing system – useful if you have straight – wavy hair, are seeing premature greying, have hair that is fluctuating in its oiliness, and hair tends to be dry or break due to excess ushna / heat production

 

  1. Krya Conditioning Hair system – useful if you have wavy to curly hair that is inherently dry, and are seeing manifold issues of dryness like dull un-glossy hair, hair that has split ends, lots of static when you comb hair, and are facing issues of aggravated vata dosha

 

  1. Krya Anti Dandruff hair system – useful if you have large flaky, itchy dandruff which is persistent and nearly chronic, which could sometimes be accompanied with a fungal infection of the scalp

 

  1. Krya Damage repair Hair system – useful if you have hair that has been persistently chemically treated – coloured frequently and regularly, has been permed / straightened or exposed to treatments like the Brazilian, Keratin, etc. This kind of hair is described as straw-like – is extremely coarse, ragged, dull and frizzy. This is the kind of hair that requires heavy application of silicon based conditioners to get it into any kind of manageable shape (and this is this way because of chemical damage and not its inherent nature)

 

  1. Krya Intense Hair system – useful if you have medication and illness based hairfall.

 

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14 reasons for hair dryness , split ends and hair fall according to Ayurveda. Krya shares deep insights and simple remedies to help you tackle hair breakage and hairfall.

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Reading Time: 21 minutes

“Dear Team Krya,

My hair is dull, dry, coarse and brittle. It breaks very easily. If I don’t use a lot of conditioner on it, it generates a huge amount of static. It also tangles very easily and breaks when I comb it brush it or wash it.

I wash my hair very frequently and apply special conditioners and serums on it. It has been more than 3 years since I applied any hair oil – my stylist told me that this will cause dandruff, so I stopped doing it.

I work in an IT job and I usually get back home quite late. I do tend to eat out quite a bit. In addition, I feel quite dull and lack energy at times. I also tend to get joint aches in my lower back and catches in my neck.

Despite spending a huge amount of money on spa treatments for my hair, the quality of my hair just hasn’t improved. What do you think could be the problem?

Can Krya and Ayurveda help? “

 

We have been speaking about the 6 causes of hairfall, hair breakage and hair damage this week on the Krya blog. We started on Monday with our post on pitta aggravation and how it is a leading cause for common hair problems like thinning, a receding hairline, premature greying and hair fall.

 

As a company based on Ayurvedic first principles, it is very insightful and enlightening for us to see how the Acharyas of yore have approached many common skin and hair problems we see today. The interlinkages between what we eat, the kind of jobs we work at, how our day is structured (or unstructured), the pressures we go through, and what we put on our bodies is fascinating and very deep.

These are the interlinkages we will explore today in our blog post, as we describe how Vata dosha, when aggravated by our diet, lifestyle or our habits, can wreak havoc on our hair and skin.

 

The importance of Vata Dosha and why it is vital to our healthy functioning:

Vata dosha is made up of Vayu (wind) and Akash (space) and is an extremely powerful dosha in the body. It is the only dosha capable of movement, so it carries pitta and kapha dosha to their respective places to help them function. Without a properly functioning vata dosha, none of the other 2 doshas can do their work.

 

When vata dosha is unvitiated and balanced, it holds up all the systems and organs, initiates all normal upward and downward movements of the body, leads and controls the mind, employs all the sense organs well, carries all sensations to the brain, causes structural formation of all muscle, bone and joint tissue.

1.balance key

Healthy vata dosha promotes the coherent working of the body, promotes proper speech, is the seat / origin of touch and sound, is the source of courage and exhilaration, stimulates digestion, throws out ama and toxins from the body, shapes the foetus and maintains the ayu / life span of each individual.

 

In nature, Vayu is said to hold up the earth itself, kindles fire, makes clouds, makes rain, initiates streams, helps plants, flowers and fruits sprout and grow, strengthens seeds and helps in normal transformation.

2.vata creates life

 

What are the qualities of Vata dosha?

The Charaka Samhita describes the qualities of vata dosha as follows:

“RookshaLaghuSheetaDarunakaRavishada “. – translated as rough, light, cold, hard, coarse and non unctuous.

In Ayurveda, like promotes like. So any food, habit, behaviour, or circumstances that have the characteristics of vata dosha, increase vata dosha in the body. Similarly, foods, habits, behaviours and circumstances that have the opposite characteristics of vata dosha help reduce it or balance it.

 

What happens to skin, hair and our body when vata dosha is aggravated?

Acharya Vagbhatta says that 50% of all diseases are caused by aggravation in vata dosha. At Krya, we have observed that almost 75% of the people who write to us with skin and hair disorders have aggravated vata dosha.

 

Skin and hair when vata is aggravated

When vata dosha is in excess, your skin will have unexplained darkening or tanning. It will feel coarse and flaky and look dull and lifeless. Aggravated vata dosha can also cause deep heel cracking where you can actually see the underlying layer of flesh as the cracks are so deep.

3.heel cracks

 

When vata dosha is in excess, your hair and scalp will suffer from extreme dryness. You may see scalp flaking where pieces of your scalp are getting dislodged when you comb or brush your hair. The scalp flakes will be white, powdery and dry.

 

Hair suffering from aggravated vata dosha tends to be much more dry and frizzy compared to normal hair. This hair breaks easily and lacks elasticity – so it will break when you brush it, comb it, towel dry it, plait it or even wash it. This kind of hair is also very high in split ends, and will generate static when you comb / brush it. The hair tends to look dry, lifeless, and coarse and lacks gloss and shine.

4. vata hair

 

Joint aches and dullness in the body – when vata is aggravated

As vata controls all joints and organs of movement, when vata is aggravated, you may notices catches, aches and pains in any part of the skeletal structure or in the legs. Lower back aches, neck catches, calf aches, ankle aches, knee pain and an unexplained dullness, and lack of energy may be noticed when vata is aggravated.

 

Vata dosha helps you stay longer, much like the energiser bunny. When it goes out of control, you might find yourself unable to switch off, having difficult falling sleep, have disturbed sleep where you wake up easily, and a general feel of ennui, and depression and dullness during the day.

5. depression

 

Vata prakriti – some clues

We have said before, that doshas can be aggravated because of your inherent nature / tendency towards that dosha or because of your activities, lifestyle and general regimen.

 

When we identify Vata prakriti, we look for a tendency towards movement and overuse of any of the vata rules organs. For example, you could be a very active sportsperson, someone who loves to exercise frequently, a runner, or even a professional singer.

 

Vata dosha encourages lots of mobility and creativity, excitement and love for variety and new things. So if you are talking to us with a lot of energy, talking nineteen to the dozen, and display an inherent creativity and love for new things, we think your vata dosha could be prominent.

6. vata creativity

Just like the texts say people with Pitta dominant prakriti make good leaders, and gravitate towards causes and missions and bring a single minded focus to what they do, the texts are also descriptive about vata dominated prakritis. They are extremely mobile, love creative pursuits, are said to be very intelligent and also display the qualities of air in their mental makeup – they are comfortable with ambiguity, creative and quick.

 

A predominant vata prakriti is usually thinner and lighter than their pitta and kapha counterparts. They have a tendency to lose weight easily, especially if vata is aggravated

 

Here is a great truth about vata dosha in particular: almost all of us have a tendency to aggravate it easily. So even if you are not a vata prakriti, if you live in the city and are leading the highly driven, clock watching life, you are probably prone to vata aggravation. We will see just below the causes of this vata aggravation, and explain why this is of concern to everyone, even if their basic prakriti is not that of vata.

 

The 14 Causes of vata aggravation

Raise your hand if this applies to you:

“My morning routine means that I wake up a bit late, rush around getting ready, gulp down a cup of coffee, and quickly eat a bowl of cornflakes with milk or instant oats. I then grab my car keys and I am out of the home in 30 minutes flat!”

Speed is a vata trait. Unfortunately eating foods that cook quickly or easily means that they are also vata dominating in nature. Rushing around and doing things very quickly is also a vata trait. So when vata eats vata and behaves vata, your dosha gets aggravated.

 

We will see below the 14 vata aggravating foods, practices, and lifestyles that can wreak havoc on your skin, hair and health.

 

  1. Dry, hard and crisp foods are vata aggravating

Any dry, hard, coarse, crisp food can be classified as having vata dominant properties. Many new age health foods satisfy this criterion. There is a disturbing movement towards eating unnatural, highly processed foods which are labelled as fat free or low calorie.

 

I used to be a fan of roasted soy sticks and ragi sticks in my youth. These foods were marketed towards people losing weight and were made with very little oil and were roasted dry to be low calorie. However, over-eating this increased my vata which was already aggravated due to the nature of my work.

 

It is far better eat a small quantity of a regular homemade fried snack, than eating large amount of commercially processed, weird additive filled low calorie snack. Please remember oil controls vata – so if you are carving fried food, eat a traditional preparation which uses oil, ghee or butter. Of course, even this is not good for you, so try and control your craving!

7. old fashioned

 

 

  1. Light, airy foods are vata aggravating

Foods that are light and airy in texture and tend to float like cornflakes, millet flakes, poha, are all high in vata as well. This is why it is a far better idea to eat cornflakes with whole milk instead of eating a granola bar for breakfast. When you add milk which is high in kapha and cooling to a vata based food like cornflakes, you are reducing its vata properties. However, if you are eating a plain baked granola bar as is, you are aggravating vata much more – and this is despite the nutritional benefits of the granola bar.

8.cornflakes

 

When we see vata aggravation at Krya, we normally recommend a switch to traditional, freshly cooked foods, especially at breakfast. While we can reduce vata present in cornflakes by eating this with warm milk, it is a far better choice to eat a wholesome, freshly cooked breakfast like pongal, upma, cheela, etc, if your hair is very dry and coarse.

 

  1. Lentils , nuts and seeds are high in vata

Many of you would have observed that soaking lentils overnight releases bubbles of gas in the vessel. This is applicable to any dried lentil like whole moong, whole urad, rajma, chole, etc. This is why Ayurveda classifies all dried lentils as vata promoting.

9.lentils nuts and seeds

 

However in this definition, lies a nuanced gradation of how much vata each lentil can produce. Split Mung dal is the least vata aggravating of all lentils. Rajma and channa are extremely vata aggravating.

 

Depending on how much your vata is aggravated, at Krya, we advise a few changes in the lentils you consume. If your hair is extremely dry and coarse, we advise switching for some time to split Mung dal as the lentil of choice. Even this lentil should be cooked with ghee or atleast eaten with ghee to reduce its slight vata aggravating properties.

 

If you cannot avoid eating heavy lentils like rajma or channa, we advise consumption taking a few precautions. Eating these heavy lentils with rice is better for you versus eating them with dry breads. They should be eaten with ghee. They should be eaten warm, as this is the opposite of vata’s cold nature. Lastly, they should be eaten at noon, because this is when your digestive fire is at its peak, so your body is much more capable of digesting this at this time.

 

  1. Vegetables and foods that are traditionally considered “gassy” are high in vata

Potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, cabbage are all considered high in vata. Many vata aggravated people tend to over consume these vegetables over other vegetables.

 

Does this mean that Ayurveda says we should never eat potatoes or cabbage? No, of course not!

 

It means that Ayurveda says we should eat sensibly, with a reasonable rotation of vegetables, and take care to understand the nature of these vegetables and cook them appropriately.

 

For example, cauliflower and potatoes and other similar vegetables should be cooked with carminative and warming spices like jeera, pepper and dhania. This helps reduce the gassiness of these vegetables. These vegetables must be eaten as fresh and hot as possible – eating them cold means their vata aggravating nature is more pronounced.

 

Vata aggravating vegetables should not be eaten in a fried form – this increases their vata nature. They are best made as a liquid gravy based dished and not a fried dish. (So bye bye French fries and Gobi Manchurian!)

10. gobi manchurian

 

  1. Baked goods are considered vata promoting

Baked goods are considered vata promoting as they are dry, and sometimes crisp in texture. Again in this there are gradations. A soft bread made with whole wheat and plenty of fat (perhaps in the form of butter, milk or oil) is less vata aggravating compared to a maida based, crisp and dry lavash or bread stick.

 

11.lavash

 

If your hair and skin is dry, and you find yourself constantly reaching out for biscuits, cakes and breads try and impose some regulation on these foods. As a start, avoid commercially processed baked goods as much as possible as they are high in sugar and bad fats and E numbers.

 

Even if eating a healthily made biscuit, warming it before eating helps bring down vata. Adding a small amount of melted ghee to it further brings down the vata. Eating this when your digestive fire / appetite is strong is also a good idea.

 

Similarly, when eating bread based meals, avoid Maida based breads. Eat breads after warming / toasting them with a fat (preferably ghee, or desi butter). Eat this with a warm liquid preparation that uses vegetables like carrots, or beets that are unctuous. Bread and potatoes do not make a good combination.

 

Most importantly eat this at a reasonable time – do not eat bread / baked goods late into the night.

 

  1. A special note on Maida – and why you should avoid it strongly

Among grains, Maida is the lightest, airiest and therefore most vata aggravating. Maida also has a second dreaded quality – of being “abhishyanadi” in Ayurveda. This means that it has a tendency to coat your system, clog the fine nerve endings, and take a very long time to digest and assimilate. Besides being vata aggravating and abhishyanadi, commercial Maida is also a chemical nightmare – it comes pre-loaded with several E Numbers, raising agents and other additives especially when it is used in baking.  So it would make a lot of sense if your hair is suffering vata aggravation to completely steer clear of anything to do with Maida.

 

12. maida

 

Maida has been written separately about, because we see so much Maida in everyone’s diet charts these days.

 

A consultation I just finished mentioned that the person writing to me had eaten Maggi noodles for dinner continuously for 3 months – she was showing very high dryness, scalp thinning and hairfall.

 

If Maida should be avoided, then Maggi noodles (and all other brands of Instant noodles) should be very specially avoided. Maggi noodles is made from commercial Maida, filled with additives and pre-fried in suspicious fats, so that it can magically transform into noodles in 3 minutes.

13. instant noodles

 

Not only is this vata aggravating, it is also abhishyanadi, and very bad for health as you are eating a junky, chemical filled substitute that is very very far away from anything resembling real food.

 

Please remember: if you are eating commercial pizzas and Maggi noodles as a staple, your hair will fall. It is extremely logical.

 

  1. Drinks that remove water from your body are vata aggravating

Tea and coffee have become a ubiquitous part of urban life. This is our new addiction and coffee and tea parlours are extremely well designed, with great odours and the easy availability of baked goods to satiate our sugar craving. As per Ayurveda, both tea and coffee are vata aggravating. However, they react in a way that is very specific to their properties. They aggravate Vata by removing moisture from your body.

14. tea and coffee

 

Vata aggravated bodies are already low on water and moisture – so when you drink large and frequent cups of tea and coffee and “pee away” the water in your body, you are doing your hair, skin and body a great disservice.

 

Colas are also extremely vata aggravating as are commercially processed fruit juices (besides being high in sugar). These drinks remove biological water from your body.

 

As a part of Krya’s questionnaire for vata aggravation, we ask about the number of cups of tea, coffee, commercial fruit juices and cola that is drunk every day. Once we figure this out, we usually advise a gradual reduction (unless things are in very bad shape) in certain drinks, and the easiest way to do this is to reduce your cup size.

 

Many of us are addicted to our tea and coffee, and it gives us a lot of stress to contemplate doing away with them altogether. So we suggest starting by halving your consumption. An attractive tiny espresso / tea cup will help you feel good about the way you are drinking your tea / coffee while reducing your consumption.

 

When it comes to colas and commercial fruit juices, we advise a strict ban. In our considered opinion colas are nothing but poison for the body. Innumerable studies show their bone leaching effect, extreme acidity, effect on diabetes and other dis-eases. There is no safe dose of poison. So please throw away / flush your cola stash down the toilet – this is the safest place for it.

15.cola

 

Many commercial juices claim to be a healthy substitute to tea and coffee. If you attempt to replicate the process and make your own orange / tomato juice at home, you will understand the amount of sugar taken to make the drink taste so sweet. The existing properties of the fruits are long gone before they reach you – as all of us are aware, it takes a special amount of preservation to make an orange juice last for 6 months without refrigeration. Again, like the case of colas, avoid completely.

 

16. unreal

 

  1. Eating at irregular times every day is vata aggravating

At the beginning of this piece, we described the properties of Vata and how it loves variety and mobility. Therefore, Ayurveda advises that a rigid schedule helps control vata, and a variable schedule aggravates it. Many people, who come to us with vata aggravated hair, also tell us that their schedules are very variable. They tend to eat dinner at varying times everyday and often have a weekend schedule which is even more variable compared to their weekend schedule.

17.binge eating

 

 

If you are nodding as you read this, here is a simple fact: your body does not know that it is Sunday. Or Wednesday. It is designed to expect food, of a particular nature at a similar time everyday. If you keep varying your eating time, it will bring down your ability to digest food properly. It can give you gastric issues. And pertinently for this post, it will aggravate vata, leading to poor skin and hair.

 

  1. Being unplanned and chaotic is vata aggravating

Just like being over planned and having a rigid need for control can aggravate a pitta prone person, being unplanned, chaotic and unscheduled can aggravate vata in your body, especially if you are already prone to it.

 

Some amount of ambiguity is good for creativity. However, when your life descends into chaos, at the stage when you have really no idea what you are going to be eating in your next meal, or when you are going to be eating it, then your vata will go out of control.

18.chaos

We see a lot of creatively oriented people at Krya, complaining of vata aggravated skin and hair disorders. The very nature of creativity is vata driven – so it makes sense that very creative people, or people in creative professions like music, films, and entertainment, strongly harness vata dosha.

 

But when this vata inspired creativity is further surrounded by a lack of schedule and chaos in your basic day (unplanned eating, sleeping, living), this completely throws your doshas out of balance.

 

If you are prone to vata, then we recommend you start by bring atleast one part of your day under rigid control. It could simply be the time you eat dinner, or the time you go to sleep, or doing an abhyanga once a week. This simple act of bringing one part of your life under control will act as a counter to unbalanced vata.

 

A person in a creative position or a vata dominated person may never achieve the rigid control a Pitta person can. But we suggest you choose a few areas of your life and bring order only to this as a matter of habit. This will rein in agitation and the excesses of vata, without changing your basic nature or profession.

 

  1. A high amount of physical activity aggravates vata dosha

Vata is the dosha governing movement and mobility. It therefore stands to reason that if you are using movement and mobility often and in high doses, you could end up aggravating vata dosha.

 

Many sportspersons and long distance runners have the classic vata build – they are lean, and have much darker skin colour compared to their youth. They also tend to succumb quickly to disorders involving vata related organs – joint and skeletal injuries for example. While Western sports medicine would argue that this is a simple case of overuse, Ayurveda would say that this is because vata is aggravated and the body is full of dryness.

19. running

 

 

Acharya Charaka says for example, that it is far easier to break a dry and brittle stick than it is to break a stick that has been oiled every day. External oleation is strongly recommended when you do extreme, frequent physical activity to rein in excess vata. The body is less injury prone, much stronger and remains youthful despite the physical effort.

 

At Krya, we have seen several case of hairfall related to vata aggravation after a new exercise routine has been taken up. For example, a young man came to us for hairfall advice – on investigation we found that he had started marathon running as a hobby 8 months prior to the hairfall.

 

Does this mean Ayurveda is against running or any extreme physical activity?

 

Again the answer is no. Ayurveda deeply recognises the connection between your mind and your body and is always encouraging of activities that give you deep satisfaction and happiness. So if marathon running makes you happy you must continue to do.

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However, you must prepare your body for this activity by ensuring you do regular abhyangas, by eating foods that pacify vata and controlling chaos in other parts of your life. This will ensure you neither lose hair nor health in your pursuit of happiness.

 

  1. A high amount of mental activity and use of electronic devices agitates vata

We have seen this at Krya. Sudden extreme hairfall after a promotion, during a job change or when someone is doing a difficult project. One can of course blame the late nights, coffee and lack of routine for this excess. But an agitated brain that will not shut down easily, a high use of electronic devices, a high amount of talking and mental activity will aggravate vata.

20.excited mind

 

Vata dosha is excited by stimulus. So using your mobile phone all the time, working late into the night, having frequent agitated conversations over cups of coffee and putting in a month of late nights will give vata dosha enough stimuli to push it over the edge.

 

Mental vata aggravation has to be tackled in three ways: one is to ensure that your diet does not further stimulate your vata during this stressful time, so choosing dal-chaawal over a burger will help.

 

Second is to physically calm the brain at night by oiling the scalp – at Krya we have recommended specific hair oiling for this kind of vata aggravation where herbs like Brahmi and Usheera (vetiver) are used. These herbs soothe the nerves and are excellent for stress related vata aggravation.

 

The third and important thing to do in stress related Vata is to follow an electronic cut off time and set up an electronics free zone for yourself. Restraining the use of electronics and imposing rigidity around this, again helps control aggravated vata dosha.

 

  1. Speaking for long periods on your mobile phone / telephone is vata aggravating

Vata’s secondary seat is your ears. If your job tends to involve long and frequent phone calls, then your overuse of a vata seat can aggravate vata. Many people who are in jobs which involve long phone calls tends to have the characteristics of aggravated vata – they speak a lot, are unable to focus or concentrate, experience skin darkening and have dry and coarse skin and hair.

21.long calls

 

 

At Krya we advise a good massage of your ears everytime during your abhyanga. In addition if your job involves overuse of your ears, doing a daily ear massage with warm oil will be very helpful. A Gandusha (swishing of water in your mouth after every meal and drink) is also very good for strained vocal chords. As is oil pulling once a week with Sesame oil.

 

  1. Raw food and vegan diets tend to be vata aggravating

Raw food diets by their very nature tend to be vata aggravating. Raw food satisfies many of the criteria of vata dosha like being dry, crisp, hard, light and non oily. This is why many people on a raw food diet could end up experiencing vata aggravation symptoms like joint aches, back pain, dry skin and poor hair.

22. raw food

 

Vegan diets, while excellent from an ethical perspective, are vata aggravating as per Ayurveda. Because of the high dependence on lentils and nuts (for nut milks and dressings), the food can severely increase wind and dryness in the body.

 

I am unable to offer any improving perspectives from Ayurveda for either raw food diets or a vegan diets. All the Ayurvedic weapons of controlling vata like ghee, cooking food and milk are not of use if you are a vegan or someone who eats raw food. I have often said that Ayurveda and being vegan do not go together, and I have learned this through direct personal experience. If you are leaning towards Ayurveda, and you are finding dis-ease in your current life having been on a raw food or a vegan diet, do re-examine your choices.

 

  1. Air travel and long commutes aggravate vata

Vata is the dosha which governs space and mobility. So it stands to reason that physically transporting yourself over a long distance every day or a super long distance frequently can aggravate the dosha of mobility and space.

23. the long commute

 

Many times a commute is out of our control, unless you are fortunate enough to work for yourself. So we advice a few precautions to be taken if you are in for a long commute everyday or frequent air travel (either everyday if you have a long commute or 3 – 4 days before air travel)

  • Eat an early dinner (before 8:30) and go to sleep exactly 2 hours later
  • Reduce your tea and coffee intake by halving your cup size
  • Keep yourself warm on the flight – warm is the opposite of vata dosha
  • Cover your ears and head if travelling in public transport. Reduce the AC if travelling in car –and keep the windows partially closed to reduce draughts of wind from settling on your person.
  • Stick like a maniac to your abhyanga schedule – this will bring down the stress of your commute and plane travel excesses

 

Krya recommendation for reducing vata aggravation

Our rather long post has examined 14 ways you can aggravate vata through food choices, lifestyle and certain behaviors. I hope you are not feeling disheartened or helpless at the end of this post. As I have mentioned, Ayurveda allows for everyone to lead a unique and tailor made life as per their needs. Ayurveda is never drastic (except in drastic circumstances) and always advises preparedness and moderation to handle the excesses of life.

Our post aims to put control back into your hands. None of us are helpless if we know exactly what we are going through and know how exactly to tackle these problems.

If you are experiencing vata aggravation due to any or all of the 14 vata aggravating foods, habits and lifestyles, here is a good recommendation from us to help you balance your doshas:

  1. Add melted desi cow’s ghee to your diet – atleast 1 teaspoon per meal. Ghee is universally acknowledged in Ayurveda as being tridoshic , balancing to all doshas and is especially useful to control aggravated vata
  2. Reduce the amount of tea, coffee, you are drinking – halve your cup size and ban colas and juices altogether
  3. Ban colas and commercial fruit juices completely from your life
  4. Control your meal times – we recommend breakfast at 8:30 am, lunch at 12:30 pm, a snack if you are hungry at 4:30 pm and dinner at 8:30 pm. As we have explained controlling one part of your life, particular meals, greatly helps control vata.
  5. Add a pada abhyanga if your mental stress, commute is very high – we recommend a thrice a week pada abhyanga (foot massage) – This is to be done atleast one hour after dinner and atleast 45 minutes before sleeping. Massage your feet with warm Krya abhyanga oil and massage the soles of the feet very well. After 15 minutes, wash off with Krya Men’s ubtan or the Krya Women’s ubtan. Dry the feet well, before sleeping. The pada abhyanga reduces stress, balances vata dosha, and calms the body down and prepares you for sleep.
  6. BE a MANIAC about your abhyanga: We recommend atleast once a week or ideally twice a week abhyanga for everyone. Tuesdays and Fridays are good for abhyangas for Women and Wednesdays and Saturdays are good for Abhyangas for Men. Do the Abhyanga with warm oil – 50% Krya Abhyanga Oil and 50% sesame oil (preferably cold pressed and organic). Warm the Sesame oil with Maricha (pepper – 1 corn), and Jeera (1/2 teaspoon). Filter out hot oil and add equal quantity of Krya Abhyanga oil to this. Apply as hot as possible on skin and massage very briskly using long up down strokes. The massage should generate heat and sweat. After 20 minutes, wash off with Krya Men’s Ubtan or the Krya Women’s ubtan.
  7. In times of great mental stress, we have found Hair oiling to be very beneficial to calm down jangled nerves. Apply ¼ tsp of Krya Classic Oil or our newly launched Krya Vata reducing Hair oil directly on the scalp and massage well. Do this at 7 pm to give the excess heat in the body enough time to come out. This will help you stay calm and focused and balances vata dosha.
  8. Of course, one of the key things to do when you have vata aggravated hair fall, is to look after your hair well. It needs to be oiled religiously 3 – 4 times a week, washed only with a gentle hairwash that will not further dry it and aggravate it. Our consumers swear by the health giving properties of our hair oils and how gentle yet effective our hairwashes and hair masks are. Like all Krya products our hair systems are synthetics and toxin free. You can try our classic hair system, or our conditioning hair system depending upon the texture of your hair. We also have a special hair system to address dryness caused by chemical damage (excessive colouring, perming, straightening, etc).

We hope this article was useful to you to help you understand the leading cause of urban hairfall and hair damage. Stay tuned for the next article in this series on how unbalanced Kapha can aggravate hairfall of a particular kind – we will be discussing hairfall related to PCOD in this post as well.

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