Stoking the fire.
But not too much….
Inflammation is at the root of many problems; anything with ‘itis’ means inflamed. Arthritis inflamed joints, tonsillitis inflamed tonsils. Inflammation is also part of the problem in some gut disease (chrohn’s, ulcerative colitis etc), heart disease, diabetes, lung conditions and dementia.
As we age we become more inflamed which is probably partly why we get more aches and pains and why older age is associated with more heart/joint/lung/brain diseases.
We were taught at college that inflammation has four components rubor (redness); calor (heat), tumor (swelling) and functiolatia (lack of function). Think about hurting your knee, it swells gets hot and red and doesn’t work so well.
Why is it there?
Redness is the increased blood supply to the area bringing lots of lovely nutrients to heal the tissues; ditto, swelling which is also protective. Heat comes because of the increased blood supply and functiolatia because the joint is swollen. It stops us using the joint normally (as does the pain) which is PROTECTIVE.
So why do we try so hard to get rid of it as quickly as possible?
Because it’s inconvenient mainly; I often wonder what would happen if we didn’t knock back anti-inflammatory meds or use ice/warmth etc
The other part of the picture is the amount of inflammation that develops; this will have something to do with the degree of injury but also how irritable the persons system is. Someone who is healthy and not too stressed will react differently to someone who is living with, for example, chronic lung disease and a poor lifestyle.
If your tissues are not well they don’t react/recover well or quickly.
How do we try to manage the more hidden generalised inflammation?
In yogic thinking there is a principle called Tapas, no, not what you eat in Spain 🙂 it means work/discipline and is related to the element of fire. Fire is the third chakra which relates to the solar (there is a theme here!) plexus, digestion,(combustion of food to produce energy), adrenals (adrenaline gets you moving), diaphragm (gets oxygen into the lungs and blood which is petrol for the body). This gives us a pointer towards being less inflamed. Firstly, a good diet, lots of fruit and veg, less sugar, alcohol and ultra processed food. This helps your gut function and improves your gut biome damping down inflammatory processes.
Secondly, exercise, burning up calories, mobilising your joints and getting more oxygen into your lungs.
Thirdly, a combination of the above will help you produce more ‘feel good chemicals’ lessening your stress and improving your well-being.
You don’t have to climb Mount Everest or run a marathon a regular daily walk will do.
Even if you are a bit sore and achy just moderate the amount; don’t stop!
Pay a kindly disciplined attention to yourself, get into regular good habits without being martyred or overly critical. You’ll keep the home fire burning without having to deal with sudden bushfires!