When we use the muscles that can voluntarily be controlled, such as those of our arms and legs, they alternately contract and relax as they move. Muscles that support our head, neck, and trunk contract similarly in a synchronized fashion to maintain our posture. A muscle (or even a few fibers of a muscle) that involuntarily contracts is called a spasm. If the spasm is forceful and sustained, it becomes a cramp. A muscle cramp is thus defined as an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle that does not relax. This causes a visible or palpable hardening of the involved muscle. Muscle cramps can last anywhere from a few seconds to a quarter of an hour or occasionally longer.
- Massage the area of muscle cramps and spasm with sesame oil.
- Cramps in the foot can be relieved with a ginger soak. Put 1 or 3 tablespoons of salt, ¼ cup ginger powder and 2/3 cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water and soak the foot. This is an effective way for relaxing muscles.
- If an abdominal cramp is caused by gas or indigestion, use this herbal antacid formula: Mix ¼ teaspoon guduchi, ½ teaspoon shatavari, and a pinch of shanka brasma. Take this 1 or 2 times a day after eating.
Diet and Lifestyle:
- Avoid excessive intake of salt, chilies and spices, sour items, pickles, junk food, carbonated drinks, and other poor dietary practices.
- Go to bed early every evening.
- In the mornings, have an oil massage using sesame oil, almond oil, or olive oil; massage the entire body and then take a warm bath.
- Regular meditation, yoga, and gentle exercise such as walking are highly recommended.