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By Nadia Marshall

A few weeks ago I was completely blown away by the miracle of Ayurveda and its simple, powerful remedies! Not to mention profoundly grateful. It all began with a nasty tooth extraction. The simple application of icepacks on the area for about 7 hours made a huge difference to the inflammation.... but then the pain began.

I was expecting some tenderness from the wound site as well as bruising... but I wasn’t prepared for the shooting nerve pain emanating from my jaw every 2-10 seconds - like a lightening bolt that physically made my head jolt back. This particular pain cut through panadol, codeine... everything! I have a reasonably high pain threshold but this was doing me in... and I certainly didn’t want to keep taking pain killers. A visit to the dentist offered no help and then I made the classic error of googling and found forum after forum of nightmare stories of post-tooth-extraction pain ruining people’s lives....

In Ayurveda, pain and particularly nerve pain are related to Vata. I began to notice the pain got worse during the Vata times of the day and also whenever I went to Vata-aggravating environments (like the windy beach).

Vata (Ether/Air) has the qualities of DRY and COLD... so the best antidotes to Vata pain are OIL and WARMTH. It seemed far too simple a remedy for this agony.... but I thought I’d give it a go. So each morning and evening I massaged warm medicated black sesame oil (which is heating) into my jaw then applied a hot flannel or heat pack to my face for about 20 minutes... then repeated the process.

This simple remedy instantly improved the frequency and intensity of my pain by about 90% and after a few days I had no pain at all!

I’ve been a believer in the benefits of Ayurvedic Massage and post-massage steams for years... but I’ve never directly experienced such profound pain or relief from pain like this before! So it got me thinking....if warm oil and steam can help so directly with number 9 pain... imagine the  healing effect it has on our skin, muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and nerves when applied on a weekly basis. And imagine how important this is with each year that passes as we move towards our Vata-stage of life!

So my advice, particularly throughout Autumn, the season of Vata-aggravation.... is to give yourself regular self-massages with warm sesame oil followed by a warm shower. For something that takes only a little more time than moisturising, it is amazing how spoilt you feel afterwards.... you can almost feel your nervous system breathing a deep sigh of relief!

I’ll have to get back on those forums and spread the word...

If you’re not sure where to start, Kester and I have made a how-to video, showing you step-by-step (on the right).


Nadia xx

Please Note - if you suffer from strong joint pain, ama might be involved in your condition. If this is the case, other at-home therapies like dry Pindaswed may be more appropriate than oil massage. For specific advice, see an Ayurvedic Practitioner.


Agni - the digestive fire.

Ama or Aama - undigested food waste, toxins.

Ojas- the foundation of our immune system and longevity.

Dhatus - the tissues of the body.

Srotas - the channels of the body.

Vata - the air/ether

intelligence in the body.

Pitta- the fire/water

intelligence in the body.

Kapha- the water/earth intelligence in the body.

Sattva- the quality of purity, intelligence, peace and love.

Rajas- the quality of

turbulence and activity.

Tamas- the quality of

dullness, darkness and inertia.

Rasa - the taste of a food (Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter, Astringent)

Virya - second level of digestion (either Heating or Cooling)

Vipaka - third level of digestion, the deep taste of a food (can be Sweet, Sour or Pungent)

Prabhav - the 'special effect' of a food or herb/spice

Rasa - also the name for plasma tissue

Rakta - blood tissue

Mamsa - muscle tissue

Meda - fat tissue

Asthi - bone tissue

Majja - nerve & bone marrow tissue

Shukra - sexual reproductive tissue

Healing Nerve Pain

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