What is vata?
Acccording to ayurveda principles the activities of our body are governed by tridoshas . Tridoshas keep our body healthy when they are in balanced condition. Disease is the result of imbalance in these doshas. Tridoshas (three dosha)are vata, pitta and kapha. Five mahabhutas (pancha mahabhuta = akasha, vayu, prithvi, jala and agni) combine in pairs to form three dynamic forces called doshas. Vata is made of vayu (air) and aakasha (ether). Pitta is made up of jala and agni (water and agni), kapha is made up of jala and prithvi ( water and earth).
As vata dosha is made up of ether and air, it is light , dry and moves fast. It needs clear spaces to move. Any obstruction in its path causes vitiation and imbalance of doshas. Vata carries other two doshas with it and enables them to function normally. Hence when vata is in balanced condition it keeps body healthy.
Vata governs breathing, movement of muscles, tissues, movement of signals in nerves etc. All movements of body fluids, voluntary and involuntary movements, activities of brain, spinal cord and complete nervous system are controlled by vata. Vata is mainly located in large intestines, pelvic cavity, thighs and bones
How erection occurs
The two chambers of penis (corpora cavernosa,) which run throught the organ are filled with spongy tissue. The corpora cavernosa are surrounded by a membrane, called the tunica albuginea. The spongy tissue contains smooth muscles, fibrous tissues, spaces, veins, and arteries. The urethra, which is the channel for urine and semen runs along underside of the corpora cavernosa..
Due to sensory or mental stimulation, or both, the erection begins. Due to impulses from brain and local nerves the muscles of corpora cavernosa relax and allow blood to flow in and fill the spaces of spongy tissue.
The flow of blood creates pressure in the corpora cavernosa, making the penis expand. The tunica albuginea helps trap the blood in the chambers, thereby sustaining erection. When muscles in the penis contract to stop the inflow of blood and open outflow channels, erection recedes
In ayurveda physiology of erection and ejaculation is described as follows.
Vrishunow basthimedram cha naabhyuuru vankshnow gudam|
Apaanasthaanamantrasthaha shukra mootra shakrunti cha||
The “apaanavayu” one of the five types of vayu is located in the testicles, urinary bladder, phallus, umbilicus, thighs, groin, anus and colon. Its functions are ejaculation of semen, voiding of urine and stools”.
Shushruta explains the process of erection and ejaculation as “ When a man has desire (iccha) to have sex, his response to touch increases ( Vayu located in skin causes flow of signals from skin to brain, thus causing sensation of touch). This causes arousal or “harsha” . Arousal or Harsha intensifies actions of vayu and at this moment highly active vayu liberates the “teja “or heat of pitta. Thus tejas and vayu increase body temperature, heart beat and blood flow causing erection
How Erectile Dysfunction occurs ?
Erection requires a sequence of events. Erectile dysfunction can occur when any of the events is disturbed. Nerve impulses in the brain, spinal column, around the penis and response in muscles, fibrous tissues, veins, and arteries in and around the corpora cavernosa constitute this sequence of events. Injury to any of these parts which are part of this sequence ( nerves, arteries, smooth muscles, fibrous tissue ) can cause ED.
How vata affects erection ?
As vata governs nervous system , vitiation of vata can disturb flow of impulses from brain to genital organ leading to loss of erection.
Blood flow in arteries is controlled by vata. Any obstruction in arteries like plaques or deposits disturbs blood flow in these tissues thus causing erectile dysfunction.
Injury is a cause for vitiation of vata. Injury to genital organ viatiate vata leading to failure of erection.
Teja or pitta which gets liberated due to action of vata can be correlated to testosterone hormone. When vata gets vitiated it fails to produce testosterone hormone sufficient to maintain erections
How vata can be balanced to prevent erectile dysfunction
- Maintain a regular routine. Eat at regular intervals, sleep at regular time and exercise regularly. This is very important to keep vata in balanced condition.
- Massage your body with herbal oils to reduce vitiation of vata.
- Avoid unnecessary popping of pills.
- Sleep for sufficiently long hours in night and avoid sleeping in day time.
- Say no to junk foods and aerated drinks.
- Stop drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Addiction to these stuffs vitiates vata and can cause irreversible changes.
- Reduce stress by practicing yoga and meditation. Reduced stress level balances vata and prevents erectile dysfunction.
- Use foods such as: warm milk, cream, butter, warm soups, stews, hot cereals, fresh baked bread
- Avoid cold foods like cooled drinks, ice creams etc. As cold foods and exposure to cold weather increases vata.
- Deep fried foods like chips, spicy foods vitiate vata. Hence avoid these.
- Over weight causes vitiation of vata as fat blocks the channels of vata. Weight reduction is very important to balance vata.