The five senses (pancha tanmatra) are the doorways of perception. When healthy impressions are ingested, one experiences harmony and good health. When unhealthy impressions are ingested, one experiences disharmony and is more susceptible to disease. Just like consuming junk food creates disease in the physical body (and eventually the mental and spiritual body), the intake of low quality things such as loud music, violent movies and negative conversations directly affect our mental and emotional states.
Tanmatra Chikitsa is one of the many Ayurvedic therapies used to restore the body to health. It focuses on how impressions such as sound, touch, images, food and aromas can either contribute to imbalance or can restore balance to body, mind and consciousness. According to Dr. David Frawley, director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies, “The mind is very sensitive to impressions. Our impressions feed our life-force and motivate our actions.”So it is very important to take in positive impressions.
Positive impressions can help restore balance to the three doshas, The doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) are the three basic types of energies that are present in everyone and everything. Vata, Pitta and Kapha are combinations of the five elements (space, air, fire, water, earth). The doshas create and maintain balance in one’s body. If disturbed, they lead to the start of the disease process.The doshas can be rebalanced through the subtle therapy of Tanmatra Chikitsa, as well as other Ayurvedic therapies such as Panchakarma, massage, diet, yoga, pranayama and meditation.
Below are some of the ways each dosha can be balanced using Tanmatra Chikitsa.
1.Sound: Listening to soft, quiet music. Avoiding excess use of iPods. Silent Meditation. Chanting the seed syllable “AIM”.
2.Touch: Using blankets and bolsters in yoga poses. Keeping head and neck covered in cold weather. Gentle massage with sesame oil. Marma massage.
3.Sight: Avoiding scary movies. Favor colors such as red, yellow and green. Watching nature, especially trees.
4.Taste: Warm nourishing foods like soups and kitcharis. Foods with sweet, salty and sour tastes.
5.Smell: Stopping and smelling the roses. Burning incense that is clearing and calming, such as nag champa and sandalwood. Use of grounding and warming oils like orange, amber, and pines.
1.Sound: Listening to cooling and calming music. Avoid being around argumentative people. Meditation near flowing water. Chanting the seed syllable “HRIM”.
2.Touch: Wearing light colors in summertime. Spritzing rose water on skin in hot weather. Soft massage with cooling oils like coconut.
3.Sight: Wearing sunglasses. Limiting PC use, especially at night. Avoiding hot colors such as red and oranges. Gazing at full moon.
4.Taste: Cooling foods. Avoiding spicy foods, especially in summertime. Favor foods that are sweet, bitter and astringent.
5.Smell: Using sweet and cooling incense and oils. Favor flower fragrances such as rose and jasmine.
1.Sound: Listening to upbeat, energizing music. Mediation to music or verbally guided meditation. Chanting the seed syllable “KLIM”.
2.Touch: Strong, vigorous massage followed by steam bath or hot shower.
3.Sight: Favor warm colors like red, orange and yellow. Spending time in sunshine.
4.Taste: Light, crunchy foods like salads. Tart fresh fruit. Minimal sweets. Favor foods with spicy and bitter tastes.
5.Smell: Using light, warm and penetrating oils like eucalyptus, rosemary, oregano and orange. Burning incense like myrrh to stimulate senses.
Health can be restored using the simple and effective therapies suggested in Tanmatra Chikitsa. Harmony between ourselves and the external world can be maintained by becoming more aware of what we are allowing in through our doorways of perception.Ayurveda teaches us that the intake of impressions through the five senses determines our well being. It is up to an individual to choose what they will or won’t allow to enter through their doors of perception. By practicing Tanmatra Chikitsa on a daily basis one can restore and maintain health in the body’s tissues and organs, clarity in the mind, and peace in the spirit.