Our heart is the most important organ of the body. It is responsible for maintaining the flow of blood and oxygen in the body. Everyone wants to live more to spend some more time with their loved ones. A healthy heart is a major gift for long life.

But we often miss out to take proper care of our heart. Some cardiac problems arise due to age, modern lifestyle or maybe other reasons. There are some other health problems, which are not directly linked with the heart but have indirect effects on it.

Timely and proper care of heart health can help you prevent and fight off these problems. Hridaya Basti is one such treatment that helps in the management of cardiac diseases by improving cardiac strength.

In ayurveda, heart is given much importance because it pumps the blood. The blood supplies oxygen and nutrients to the various parts of the body. It further carries carbon dioxide and other wastes, so it also plays an important role in the elimination of toxins.

Our heart is filled with vital energies, which not only enlightens our body but is also related to our soul. Our heart needs much care to carry on its beatings, which reflects life.

What is Hridaya Basti?

Hridaya Basti

In Sanskrit, the word ‘Hridaya’ means ‘the center or the one which holds and gives’. Holding oil in a ring-shaped compartment made of black gram flour on the chest for a fixed duration is called Hridaya Basti or Uro Vasti. According to ayurvedic Science, its therapeutic effects appear on the heart, lungs and Vata Dosha. It is mainly used when Vata Dosha aggravation affects the circulatory and respiratory system. The main indications include:

  1. Non-productive cough
  2. Chest pain
  3. Breathing difficulty
  4. Palpitation
  5. Preventive and supportive care in heart diseases
  6. Stress and anxiety
  7. In different phobias

This is one of the most effective treatments in ayurvedic medicine system to fight against Vata diseases affecting the heart, lungs and diaphragm. It helps in rejuvenating the heart and making it more efficient. This therapy also helps in reducing the chances of a heart attack.

Benefits of Hridaya Basti

Hridaya Basti works well in the hridaya Marma region, the area that covers the heart and the lungs. In some cases, this therapy also works well for certain lung-related diseases. The benefits are as follows:

Hridaya Basti

High Blood Pressure

Our heart is responsible for the supply of blood through blood vessels in our body. At times, the heart forcefully pushes the blood into these blood vessels, which may make its work harder. This condition is known as high blood pressure or hypertension. According to ayurveda, this condition occurs due to Vata aggravation. However, Hridaya Basti is not the main treatment for hypertension, but it acts as supportive therapy. Internal herbal medicines may also require managing high blood pressure, but Hridaya Vasti reduces the Vata aggravation and lowers the chances of heart diseases due to hypertension.

Respiratory Diseases

The process of Hridaya Basti has proved to be helpful in case of some respiratory diseases like cough, asthma and bronchitis in which Vata dosha is more dominant. Traditionally, there is no cure for asthma but only control measures are undertaken. This therapy can be undertaken to limit the number of recurring symptoms like shortness of breath, tightening of the chest and excessive coughing. Diseases like bronchitis are caused due to inflammation in the mucous membrane. Hridaya Basti is a hot oil therapy, which helps in reducing inflammation in such areas. However, internal herbal medicines are also required in these conditions.

Chest Pain and Angina

Angina is not a heart disease but can be a sign of it. It involves constant discomfort and pain in the chest, which is generally caused due to, reduced supply of oxygen in the heart. The symptoms of angina may include chest pain, pressure on the chest, and difficulty in breathing and stiffness in the chest. According to ayurveda, these symptoms primarily occur due to Vata vitiation. Hridaya Basti is a rejuvenating treatment that helps in better functioning of both the lungs and the heart by pacifying Vata Dosha.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

CHD is a condition where plaque builds up in the coronary arteries of the heart. These arteries are responsible for the transportation of blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. This plaque built up causes blockage and narrowing of coronary arteries. This situation may lead to blood clots, angina and heart attacks. According to new research studies, low-grade inflammation in coronary arteries is responsible for plaque build-ups. Hot oil therapies like Hridaya Basti help in fighting against low-grade inflammation in the body and ensure free passage for blood throughout the body by balancing vata dosha.

Cardiomyopathy

There is a wide range of diseases that affect the heart muscle, which comes under the name of cardiomyopathy. The symptoms may vary depending upon the type of disease, but common symptoms may include irregular heartbeat, fainting and tiredness. Though the treatment varies depending upon the type of disease, Hridaya Basti can be used to cover all of them under a supportive treatment. Different composition of oils can be used to treat different types of ailments. Hence, Hridaya Basti covers all heart problems in one therapy.

The procedure of Hridaya Basti

Making Flour Ring

Making Flour Ring

Stage-1 (prior to the treatment)

This is the starting stage of the treatment. The patient is requested to undergo ayurvedic consultation, to explore about his health conditions and the severity of the disease, based on ayurvedic principles. This step is very important as the whole therapy and selection of ayurvedic oils will depend upon this.

The patient is made familiar with the treatment by an ayurvedic doctor, this includes information about the duration of treatment, the process of the treatment and its benefits.

At times your doctor may advise you to take some precautionary steps before a few days from the start of the treatment. These precautions totally depend upon the condition of the patient and should be followed strictly for desired results.

Preparation

Preparation

Stage-2 (during the therapy)

This is the step where the actual process takes place. The patient asked to lay on his back with his chest in the upward direction. Then a circular ring-like structure is formed with wet black gram flour on his heart region. The height of the ring is about 4-5 inches.

The ring is made enough big to cover the whole hridaya marma. It is properly fixed on the chest skin by using some water. After ensuring no leakage, warm oil is poured into the ring or compartment.

The choice of oil for the treatment depends upon the specific requirements of the person. The oil should be kept on a certain temperature. It should not be too hot and must not be cold. Warm oil is preferred. The oil needs to be changed at regular intervals to maintain the constant temperature of the oil. It enhances the efficiency of treatment.

The therapy generally takes 30-45 mins, after which the oil is removed. The treatment duration depends upon the severity of the patient’s condition.

Hridaya Basti

Stage-3 (post treatment)

After the completion of the therapy, the ring-like structure made from flour is removed from the patient’s body. The oil is stored for reuse in the future. But this oil is used on the same patient.

The patient is then given a gentle chest massage for the better absorption of oil. This massage helps in relaxing the muscles of the chest and help in regulating the flow of blood. The massage may last about 5-15 mins and after an hour or two, the patient may take a bath with lukewarm water.

Benefits of Hridaya Basti

  • It improves the circulation of blood and eases breathing.
  • This therapy helps in relieving muscle tension and inflammation.
  • Helps to achieve proper functioning of heart by balancing Vata Dosha functions and strengthening heart muscles and tissues.
  • It also helps in lungs diseases especially cough due to aggravated vata dosha.
  • Hridaya Basti can help in eliminating the risk of cardiac arrests and heart failures.
  • It gives energy to the Anahata Chakra near the heart, which brings a sense of positivity in the mind and body.
  • It helps to relieve muscle pains in the chest region.

Necessary Precautions

Ayurvedic therapies are well suited for everyone but some precautions should be taken before going through and such treatments. Following are some points you should consider before Hridaya Basti:

  • The temperature of the oil is needed to be kept constant. Therefore, the timely replacement of oil is desired. The oil should not be too hot.
  • The best time for this therapy is considered early in the morning but this can also be conducted in the evening or anytime according to the convenience of the patient.
  • Before going in for therapy you must get the perfect knowledge about the procedures, benefits and complications of the therapy.
  • Always visit a trained ayurvedic practitioner because such therapies need to be conducted with proper care.

Side Effects of Uro Vasti

Ayurvedic therapies are considered best because they do not have any adverse effect on the body. This therapy is natural and non-invasive and thus has no such side effects.

People don’t necessarily need to be ill to go through these therapies. One to make their body feel fresh and rejuvenated can also use them.

Further Readings
  1. Kati Vasti
  2. Janu Vasti
  3. Greeva Vasti