ABC: Self-Help Made Simple

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR


Acne — pimples in common phraseology — is a ‘universal’ inflammatory skin disorder.

Apart from being a cosmetic glitch, acne represents a certain elevation in the body’s production of the sex hormones, especially at puberty. This stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce excess sebum — the fatty oil that lubricates the skin. As a result, the glands become blocked and inflamed. A source of awkwardness for either sex during the teenage years, acne in its severe form can leave scars and pitting — including suicidal tendencies.

The condition is, of course, not confined to adolescence. It can also affect adults subject to excess stress.

Symptoms. Small pimples and blackheads on the face, shoulders, back, or chest. The pimples may be filled with pus, and present with an inflamed, painful cystic appearance.

Things To Do

  • Use over-the-counter [OTC] Ayurveda creams and lotions
  • Keep the face absolutely clean
  • Avoid oil-based, chemical cosmetics
  • Do not pick, or squeeze, acne spots — this can only lead to larger and more inflamed pimples
  • Avoid sunbathing
  • Eat a healthy diet, with good amounts of fibre
  • Consult a professional Ayurveda physician, if the problem does not respond to simple measures.

Useful therapies also include homeopathy, hydrotherapy, facial steam treatment, light therapy with UV, relaxation and breathing techniques. Speak to a therapist in the relevant area and evaluate options that could help you deal with the problem effectively.


A psychological state, characterised by extreme restlessness, or fear, anxiety can affect anyone at any age.

Symptoms. Anxiety, nervousness, lethargy, weakness, tiredness, headaches, tension, nervous anticipation, irritability, depression, unexplained pains/aches, dizziness, sighing breaths, panic, or palpitation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, frequent urination and sleeplessness.

Things To Do 

  • Take Ayurveda, or homeopathic, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant pills, in consultation with a professional physician
  • Exercise is excellent remedy for anxiety — especially walking and swimming. Exercise helps release endorphins, the body’s feel-good hormones
  • Practice yoga and meditation regularly for at least 15-20 minutes every day
  • Give up smoking and reduce/avoid alcohol use
  • Seek a specialist’s advice when things seem to go out of control.

Other useful therapies include acupressure, aromatherapy with lavender oil, breathing and meditation, yoga, biofeedback, massage, psychotherapy and counselling. Speak to a therapist in the relevant area and evaluate options that can help you deal with the problem effectively.


A typical symptom of back pain is often felt in the lower back. This may manifest itself from the spine, muscle, nerve, or other structures in the back. Sometimes, the pain may also radiate from your mid- or upper-back. Problems such as a hernia in the groin, or a testicular ailment, or a problem in the ovaries can also trigger back pain.

Most often, back pain is felt when you —

  • Lift a heavy object
  • Move suddenly, or hastily
  • Sit in a particular position for long hours
  • Suffer an injury — a fall, or an accident.

Symptoms. Symptoms, in general, may be, tingling or burning sensation, accompanied by a dull, aching and/or sharp pain. This may be accompanied by weakness in the legs, or feet. It must be understood that any one symptom, or event, could manifest as the underlying cause of back pain. Therapists suggest that there is often an accompanying history of having done a few things incorrectly, or improperly, including regular, routine duties, such as standing, sitting, or lifting — all, or one, of these, over a long period of time. Also, a simple movement gone wrong, or suddenly, can lead to back pain.

Things To Do

  • Try to alleviate your symptoms [using an Ayurveda balm, liniment etc.,] and reduce any inflammation in the area of the pain in the first few days by way of reduced activity
  • Try to sleep in a curled-up, foetal position with a pillow between your legs
  • For individuals who prefer sleeping on their back, a pillow, or rolled towel, may be placed under their knees
  • You may apply ice-pack to the painful area, for the first 48-72 hours. Thereafter, you can use heat
  • Please remember that conventional pain-killers should not be used by people who have stomach ulcers, stomach inflammation, or liver disorders
  • If you do not get relief, in a couple of days, it is time to speak to your doctor.

Other useful therapies include homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic, yoga, reflexology etc. Speak to a therapist in the relevant area and evaluate options that can help you deal with the problem effectively.

Common Cold

One of the most common of illnesses, the common cold, or coryza, is a viral infection that affects the lining of the nose, sinuses, throat, and large airways. There are dozens of viruses that cause colds — the most common being rhinoviruses. Over 200 types of rhinoviruses are implicated in the cause of a cold.

Symptoms. Sneezing. Clear, or watery, secretions — these discharges can be frustratingly abundant. Secretions slowly become thick, dense, yellowish-green, and less profuse. This may be accompanied by cough in some individuals. Symptoms usually disappear in 4-8 days, while the cough may, sometimes, extend for a fortnight, or more.

Things To Do 

  • The best measure is prevention — and, first-class cleanliness. Because cold viruses are spread through contact with an infected person; anyone living in close proximity, or working closely in an office set up, should wash their hands frequently
  • Cold sufferers should always sneeze and cough into tissue, or hanky, which should be carefully disposed of, or washed
  • Also, drinking fluids and inhaling steam, or mist, from a vaporiser, in the good old way, is useful — they keep secretions loose and easy to expel
  • Ayurveda herbs, such as tulsi, vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D3 supplements, may be used to alleviate and hasten recovery time and/or control colds on the advice of your physician.

Other useful therapies include homeopathy, yoga, and relaxation techniques. Speak to a therapist in the relevant area and evaluate options that can help you deal with the problem effectively.


This occurs when the conjunctiva, the delicate membrane that covers the whites of the eyes and the inside of the eyelids, becomes inflamed. Dubbed as ‘pink eye,’ most cases of conjunctivitis are caused by bacterial, or viral, infections, although environmental irritants, or foreign body in the eye, tobacco smoke and aerosol sprays may also be implicated. In its infected form, conjunctivitis is highly contagious.

Symptoms. Red, sore eyes with accompanying irritation, and dryness. Also, watery, or pus-like discharge, with swelling and puffiness of the eyelids.

Things To Do

  • Do not touch your eyes when you are suffering from the disorder
  • Do not allow others to use your napkin/towels/pillow
  • Use sunglasses, if you find daylight irritating
  • Bathe your eyes in tepid water, and blink your eyes a few times
  • Use Ayurveda eye drops to fight infection
  • Consult your eye-doctor if you have any difficulty of vision, or severe pain in the eyes.

Other useful therapies include hydrotherapy using cold compress, aromatherapy, and homeopathy. Speak to a therapist in the relevant area and evaluate options that can help you deal with the problem effectively.


Constipation occurs when you have trouble having bowel movements. In the condition, your stools may become hard, and you may have some difficulty to pass them. It leads you to strain. You may also sometimes feel that you need to have another bowel movement to clear the residing matter from your body.

Common causes of constipation are: not heeding to the call to pass stools, not drinking enough fluids, or not eating enough fibre, laidback lifestyle, lack of physical activity and anxiety. The disorder may also be the result of aging, loss of muscle tone, or pregnancy. Some medications and habitual use of laxatives and iron pills can also lead to constipation.

Symptoms. Infrequent, difficult bowel movement, pain when stools are passed, weight loss, swollen tummy, sometimes headache, followed by lack of appetite, coating on the tongue, and gas.

Things To Do

  • Do not struggle, or force yourself, to have a bowel movement every day
  • Allocate a time for bowel movement. A good time may be after your morning cup of tea/coffee, breakfast, or a meal.
  • Eat more fibre. Eat 2-4 servings of fruits and 3-5 servings of vegetables a day. Start slowly, if you are not eating/adding enough fibre [e.g., flaxseed] to your diet. This will prevent gas and acidity
  • Drink plenty of fluids — 8-10 glasses of water a day. You may also take juices, soup, tea, and other non-cola beverages
  • Do not get into the habit of taking laxatives regularly. This is habit-forming and not a good practice
  • Use Isapgol husk, if you so wish: 1 tablespoon, in a glass of water — last thing before bed-time
  • Exercise and/or get involved in some kind of physical activity. Try yoga and meditation
  • Walk for at least 20-30 minutes, 4-5 times a week.
  • When simple measures do not work, speak to your Ayurveda physician.

Other useful therapies include homeopathy, acupuncture, yoga, reflexology, and massage. Speak to a therapist in the relevant area and evaluate options that can help you deal with the problem effectively.

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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