Recently, I’ve taken an interest in how yoga and pranayama can help with eczema. Having had no history of eczema until this year (could be the weather, stress, who knows?), and hearing a little about how some pranayama such as Sitali and Sitkari can lower body heat, I decided to do some research into how pranayama can help with Eczema!
For starters, a yogi, Swami Ramdev, suggests doing kapalbhati breathing for half an hour, and then anulom vilum for an hour, then bhastrika, ujjai and bhramari pranayamas. After a consistent practice of this together with some tweaks to our diet, we’ll supposedly have glowing skin! Time-commitment seems to be a bit of an issue here though, but we can try.
Anyway, how can pranayama specifically help to ease eczema?
Detoxifies the body
Pranayama detoxifies the nadis (energy channels in our bodies), which are usually clogged with impurities. Once these energy channels are purified, the blood circulated around the body is one that brings about greater energy, and this also helps to improve complexion. In addition, pranayama activates the body’s lymphatic system, which is responsible for the removal of waste. The lymph nodes produce white blood cells to fight infections. I can imagine that this could lead to greater inflammation in the short-term, but a solution in the long-term.
Helps to relieve stress
We all know that yoga as an activity in itself, even if just focused on physical asanas, does help to relieve anxiety and stress levels. Being placed in an environment which encourages you to focus on your breathing, your flow, your postures, your mat and leaving your stressors outside the door (at least for the hour or so) does wonders for the mind. You leave a yoga session feeling rejuvenated and at least a little more calm.
To zoom in specifically on pranayama, In a Vogue article, Yoga guru Mini Shastri talks about how the slowing, modulating and equalising of our breath triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes the master gland of the pituitary-thyroid-adrenal nexus to harmonise. This results in a balanced hormonal system. Hormone imbalance is a primary cause of many skin conditions, including eczema, which are triggered by stress. Thus, pranayama helps to tackle this by bringing greater relaxation to the body.
Also, Kapalbhati has been said to have a positive effect in clearing the mind, and thus helping with anxiety and depression, all which contribute to, and simultaneously stem from some forms of stress in life too.
Eczema can be seen from a yogic perspective to be a dysfunction of the Muladhara Chakra, Manipura Chakra and Vishudda Chakra. Thus, yoga will help these chakras spin more effectively to some extent.