How holding back your sneeze can cause disease

by Sandra Radja

According to the Ayurvedic Scripture, Ashtanga Hridayam, you must fart, poop, urinate, sneeze, burp, and cough. You must drink when thirsty, eat when hungry, sleep when tired, cry when sad and breathe heavy upon exertion.  You must yawn when tired, vomit when you feel it and ejaculate if it’s a full house.  This is your prescription for good health.

Vagbhata, the author of the Ashtanga Hridayam scripture says 85% of diseases can be cured without a doctor; only 15% of diseases require a doctor.  Avoiding the suppression of urges is one of those preventative protocols that would be wise to adopt.

In brief, it’s about how air naturally flows in the body.  When something needs to pass because there has been an accumulation of tension, it looks for a natural exit point; a path of least resistance, so to speak.  Now Ayurveda would want to look to the root cause of why these things are happening in the first place, however whilst you’re chipping away at changing your diet and lifestyle, you need to ensure that you’re letting it all pass naturally.

I have a friend that is a nurse.  Amazing, superhuman feats these nurses do every day.  I admire her dedication to her job and I know she finds it satisfying.  In conversation, I learned that her intense day consists of holding back her urine.  When they are in the theatre assisting an operation, there just isn't the time to visit the toilet and moreover, it’s not encouraged.  Therefore, she has managed to create a system where she relies on little water to be able to avoid urination.

I know folks that won't go to the bathroom at a friends house.  Holding onto a poop is not good.  You are tampering with the body's ability to give you a signal when it's due. Like a little boy who cried wolf, we need to make sure the wires are not crossed, lest the matter meant to be expelled becomes a part of us!

A way around this is rhythm.  If you eat on time and get up on time, other "times" of your body will fall into rhythm. If you do your morning routine and learn to take full breaths, you shouldn't need to "catch up" in other times of the day.

If you play music, you should get this.

Photographer Jeroen Hofman takes pics of sneezing and how the body contorts itself during a sneeze.  Cool stuff! 

Photographer Jeroen Hofman takes pics of sneezing and how the body contorts itself during a sneeze.  Cool stuff! 

Here’s a list of Natural Urges and some of the diseases that can manifest from suppression (reference - Dr Lad’s textbook) –

1.    Gas – Diverticulitis, abdominal tumour, lower abdominal distention, exhaustion, fatigue, constipation, malabsorption of vitamins and urine retention. 

2.    Feces – Similar in suppression to passing gas.  Also because of the earth element connection, suppression of feces can cause bad breath or a runny nose. 

3.    Urination – Reduction of bladder tone which can lead to urinary stones, headache, stiffness of the groin, as well as the other symptoms experienced by flatus and feces.

4.    Belch – It can numb the taste sensation and produce a loss of appetite.  It can also cause hiatal hernia and sharp epigastric pain.

5.    Sneeze – Creates headaches, stiffness in the neck and shoulder blades, sinus congestion, and possibly facial paralysis (whoa!)

6.    Thirst – Severe dehydration and dry throat, fatigue, debility, cardiac pain, depression and tinnitus. Over time it can creates deafness, low blood pressure, kidney stones, renal failure, loss of consciousness, or severe tachycardia.

7.    Hunger – Dizziness, extreme lightness in the stomach, pricking pain over the body, loss of taste sensation, weight loss and emanciation.

8.    Sleep – Heaviness in the head and eyes, lacrimation, lassitude, malaise, constant yawning, delusion, and generalized body ache.

9.    Cough – Increased urge to cough, breathlessness, hoarse voice, lacrimation, loss of taste, hiccups and even heart disease.

10.  Heavy Respiration – Aneurysm of the abdominal aorta, heart attack, blurred vision, mental confusion, fainting, tremors, transient loss of consciousness, and severe palpitations.

11.  Yawning – Stiff neck, headaches, congestion, unclear perception, and facial paralysis.  It can also cause convulsions, contractions and tremors.

12.  Tears – Runny nose, swollen eyelids, eye pain, retrobullar headache with pain behind the eyes, tightness in the heart, stiff neck, giddiness, abdominal tumour, and low appetite (suppressing tears can also suppress agni)

13.  Vomiting – erysipelas, skin conditions such as hives, rashes and urticaria, eczema, burning sensation in the eyes, anemia, fever, heartburn and headache.

14.  Semen – prostate pain, pain in penis and scrotum, swollen genitals, fever, discomfort in the heart, difficulty in urination, pricking pain all over the body, and untimely profuse discharge.  It can also cause prostatic calculi and impotency.

There you have it. 

For some of us control freaks this is bad news.  Don’t fret, Dr Lad says that what we should be trying to control are our psychological urges such as greed, envy, jealousy, hate and the desire for sex with a stranger.

One group seems easier than the other, doesn't it ?