Embracing Ayurveda pre- and post-surgery.

14 09 23 Ayurvedic

Translated, Ayurveda means life knowledge. An ancient Indian science of health, awareness and self-realization, Ayurveda continues to grow in popularity here in the Western world due to the help of guru Deepak Chopra and celebrity devotees like Madonna and Sting. But it’s not just a fad: Ayurvedic beauty treatments (ever heard of oil pulling or Indian head massage?) are gaining a following simply because they work, as well as increased awareness about health and wellness.

Ayurveda’s main principle is to create an inner connection between mind and body; to get in touch with what your body needs and wants and, more importantly, what it doesn’t. In Ayurveda, there are three different body types, or doshas—pitta, vata and kapha. Many people are a combination of two—for example, I fall under the pitta-kapha categories, with pitta as my primary dosha. Andrea Olivera, an Ayurvedic expert and guru based in Toronto, provides us with an exclusive Ayurvedic guide for healing post-cosmetic enhancement procedures.

Every body is different, so prior to a procedure one must prepare and recover in a way that agrees with your body.

1) Vata: Space and air, creative and lively.

14 09 22 GwynTypical physical traits: light, thin frame; small appetite; thin, dry skin.

Celebrity Dosha: Gwyneth Paltrow


Those who fall under the vata dosha are likely to experience anxiety about the procedure or may change their mind several times about whether the surgery is a good idea at all. To calm restless nerves, give yourself a daily facial massage with calming essential oils, such as lavender, jasmine, or ylang-ylang, that act as a natural form of anti-anxiety therapy, and help sedate the mind.  Or, try a body oil for the vata constitution, specifically tailored to ease the vata mind, such as the Vata Scalp and Body Oil ($75, ayurvedictouch.com). Massage helps to release tension and anxiety towards your upcoming procedure.

Vatas typically experience dry or flaky skin tied to their tendency towards anxiety, so prepping your skin for surgery by adding a daily full-body oil massage, Abhyanga, to your morning routine will be very beneficial. This practice is proven to increase circulation to nerve endings, increase mental alertness, and help you to sleep better at night.

Herb to try: Brahmi, known as the “herb of the mind,” clears the mind and allows for calmfing meditation and reflection. 

Post-Surgery Routine:

Vatas are aligned with air and space, so it’s not surprising that they often suffer from gas and bloating. To expel excess gas, chew on cardamom pods and fennel seeds for a more comfortable recovery. To prevent gas, stay away from foods like broccoli and cauliflower and lean towards grounding and nourishing foods like sweet potatoes and yams that won’t provoke gas or irritate stitches.

2) Pitta: Fire and water, intellectual and warm.

14 09 22 jenTypical Physical traits: medium, proportionate build; bright eyes with a penetrating gaze; sensitive combination skin.

Celebrity Dosha: Jennifer Aniston


The pitta dosha is the most sensitive of all three doshas. Pittas are perfectionists and, when it comes to cosmetic surgery, they often have an image in their mind of exactly how they want to look post-surgery. They have a tendency to seek control, so a major struggle for pittas is to allow themselves to surrender to the expertise of their doctor. To pacify the pitta mind, it is important to follow a structured routine that you enjoy. Start your day with full-body massage and abhyanga, with warm sesame or coconut oil. Allow yourself reflective meditation at this time: Set an intention for your day and for your upcoming surgery. Focus on your breath—recite “let” on the inhale and “go” on the exhale. 

Pittas are prone to infection and inflammation after surgery. To prepare for a smooth recovery, your pre-surgery routine should focus on providing coolness and stability internally and externally to avoid any angry inflammation or infection. Eat foods like cucumber, melons and natural organic yogurt, and avoid red meat, caffeine and anything too pungent
and fiery.

Herb to try: Fennel. The cooling vibrations of fennel emit a powerful antioxidant that fights inflammation. Try brewing fennel tea to balance pitta.

Post-Surgery Routine:

Prone to infection and inflammation, pittas need citrus-based foods that cleanse the organs and a bland diet to avoid irritation. Stay away from hot and spicy foods that can cause bloating and an upset stomach, and reach for cooling foods and drinks like coconut milk or water and melon.

3) Kapha: Water and Earth, steady and calm.

14 09 22 BeyonceTypical phyiscal traits: larger frame; clear, glowing skin; thick, usually dark lustrous hair.

Celebrity Dosha: Beyonce


The outstanding characteristic of the kapha dosha is a general heaviness. Their tendency towards sturdiness extends to the mind, making those who are kapha naturally calm and thoughtful individuals. A kapha would not seek cosmetic surgery, but they may seek procedures to help with weight control, such as a tummy tuck or liposuction. To prepare, the kapha must focus on detoxifying the body of toxins to ensure that all internal organs are cleansed and prepared.

Kaphas are prone to water retention, so to diminish bloating, gas and unnecessary toxins, begin your day with a full-body dry massage. Since kapha skin is naturally oily, it’s not necessary to use any additional oils. Massage increases circulation to help push the toxins out of your body. Chew on juniper berries before and after surgery to prevent water retention.

Herb to try: Triphala, a miracle herb that aids digestion and circulation, reduces high blood pressure and contains proven anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.

Post-Surgery Routine:

Kaphas need stimulating, aromatic foods with spice and heat to wake up their organs and push out the toxins. Stay away from sweets and salt, but pile on the chili peppers and ginger.  Try a traditional Ayurvedic healing and restorative meal of khichdi: a mix of mung beans, rice and vegetables spiced with turmeric and cumin.