The Moon as Healing Modality According to Ayurveda

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The cooling benefits of bathing in moonlight


by Sandra Radja

The full moon can bring out the beast (unresolved emotions) within us that leave us howling as it brings us back to our primal selves. It’s energy pulls and retreats at the female hormonal tide, and depending on how sturdy the mast, can bring to shore all sorts of rubble that lay deep within the surface. The lunar orb inspires juicy superstitions which mostly relate to the concept of fertility; the nourishing womb within the female and the nourishing moonlight cooling and softening the earth womb.

But aside from werewolves, fairies and lunatic neighbours running around your street, it can also be considered medicine in an Ayurvedic framework.

Exposure to moonlight is wonderfully cooling for the Pitta dosha and has been used in diseases such as hypertension, hives, rashes, urticaria and other inflammatory conditions. It is best to bathe in the waxing moon (from new moon to full moon) as this is considered most auspicious.

“An ideal scenario for high pitta is to apply sandalwood paste to the body, then lie in the moonlight wearing a pearl necklace and white clothes, whilst sipping cool milk mixed with rock candy from a silver cup”

— Dr Vasant Lad – Ayurvedic Textbook (Vol III)

Just as some flowers bloom at night and some in the daytime, women’s menstrual cycles may also bloom depending on whether you follow a lunar or solar cycle. Women of a Pitta disposition may be more prone to the solar cycle and become more emotional during a new moon, whereas Kapha women may be more emotional during a full moon.

The lunar essence is akin to the symbolic representation of water – cool, smooth, flowing.  It is solid, flexible, stable and adaptable. It produces Ojas (immunity) which is also cool and nourishing. In a world of excess inflammation, which western medicine are now realising is the root cause of cholesterol issues, spending time in the moons rays can be very beneficial.

Maya Tiwari, in her book “Women’s Power to Heal” suggests a practise of Moon Basking Sadhana on the second evening of the full moon where you can sit on the deck surrounded by 108 small ceramic bowls of water in a circle to collect the full moon light.

The practise is to sit in silence and bask in the reflective cooling aura of the full moon. Contraindications would be menstruating or during mourning.

She also notes the full moon is a natural time for having sex (if you’re on the moon cycle and not menstruating, which Maya Tiwari believes is the more balanced system) and incorporating nurturing practises and beautification in your daily life such as oil massage, aromatherapy and moonlight dips in water. It is also a time for eating healthy ojas (immune) building foods such as grains, dairy and sweet fruit.