What is Microbiome?
What is Microbiome? You have heard the word many times now. Skin Mircrobiome. Gut Mircobiome. Maybe you have heard the word microbiota, microorganisms, and microbial genomes? Though you know somehow they are important to you, at this point in time you are wondering if they are that important? More so, just how microbiomes relate to your health and wellbeing, and more importantly how they relates to the Ayurveda Philosophy of wellbeing?
The philosophy of Ayurveda sees health as through the eyes of a holistic being (body, mind, spirit) and within that, are the dynamic energies that maintain and sustain balance. So too, that which maintains balance within (intrapersonal) and between (interpersonal & environmental): there is more to us then that which is first apparent. This principal never more the case than that of the human mircrobiome.
So again we ask, what is microbiome? Though not entirely “us” , they are an influential part of us. As holistic beings, we are a complex system in which we, much like the rhino needs the oxpecker, have a symbiotic relationship with the microorganisms (microbiota) that live in us and on us. The full array of these microorganisms being called the microbiome, and they affect us in many more ways than you may first expect.
So, How Does the Microbiome Effect Me?
Rob Knight (2014) conceptualized the microbiome quite well by pointing out that these little critters (microorganisms) play an essential role in the most fundamental aspects of our lives: they literally influence every aspect of body, mind, and spirit. Mircrobiome are dynamic entities that have a vital effect over our genetic diversity, our digestion and our immune responses, our dispositions, emotions, and behavior, as well as our metabolic processes: thus affect the unique energy within us. What is more fascinating and significant, and indeed where we will place our focus today, is just how, of the twenty million microbial genes that make us more unique then our human genes do, the skin and gut microbiomes are dynamic and interrelated entities that can be influenced and manipulated to change our holistic wellness.
What do you mean the Skin Microbiomes and the Gut Mircobiomes are interrelated?
As Ayurvedic wisdom highlights, wellness is a delicate balance. This is never more true than with the skin and gut microbiome colonies. That is to say, maintaining the bacterial balance on our skin and within our gut is imperative for optimal wellbeing. Our gut microbiome facilitates an adequate balance of individualised nutritional breakdown and absorption in order to provide us with the energy and protection we need, and so too does the skin microbiome.
More specifically, when the gut microbiome or the skin mircrobiome is unbalanced, systemic inflammation occurs. Indeed, unbalanced gut mircrobiome influences skin immune responses and can lead to conditions such as rosacea, acne, psoriasis, eczema, or dermatitis to name a few (there is a wealth of information relating to the gut-skin axis here, here, here, here, here, and here). So too is there evidence that skin microbiome penetrates to the lowest levels of the dermis, thus having the ability to alter the defense mechanisms the skin provides to the body.
Basically, just as Ayurvedic wisdom has provided us with for thousands of years, modern science now proves: we are holistic beings in which inherently and circumstantially differential processes are the life flow that creates the interconnectedness of dynamic energies.
How can I affect my mircobiomes for holistic wellbeing?
Knowing that there is an inherent connection between the balance of microbiomes and our wellbeing allows us to acknowledge the imperative reality that “everything from our diet… to the antimicrobial hand soap we use… to our use of antibiotics…” (Knight, 2014) has the ability to alter (positively or negatively) our holistic health. In this acknowledgement, we can begin to make change as based in Ayurvedic philosophy.
The best way to attain optimal microbiome balance, and to avoid dysbiosis, is to stay nourished from the outside in, and from the inside out:
- Eat organic, avoid toxins from processed foods
- Eat Organic fresh fish
- Eat colourful, fresh fruits and vegetables. Each colour presents different nutrients that feed and maintain healthy microbiome
- Avoid animal fats
- Consume healthy vegetable and nut fats
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet for your unique constitution
- Strengthen digestive power
- Stay hydrated
- Work up a sweat
- Avoid harsh chemicals when cleaning or laundering
- Get dirty! And don’t over clean/scrub the skin
- Avoid unnecessary commercial creams and moisturizers
- Wash the dishes. Yes! Studies have shown value to the hygiene hypothesis
- Stay in check with your stress levels
- Get a pet and play with it (not quite sure a fish would cut it though)
- Look after your gut motility
- Recognize that antibiotics have a huge impact on microbiome
- If you are thinking about having children or a pregnant be aware that:
- The way a child is born has significant impact on their microbiome
- Colostrum and Breast milk provide necessary microbiome to newborns
- Skin to skin contact encourages healthy mircobiome colonies
- Microbiome change over development
Most importantly is the understanding that you are a holistic being designed for optimal wellbeing though food, environment, movement, and compassion. Stay connected as over the weekend Celia and Samantha will be offering a retreat on great gut health! Aimed to bring awareness of the dynamic energies within that sustain body, mind, and spirit, this retreat delves into gut health as it relates to the digestive system, as well as the fascinating importance of the body’s microbiome.
If you would like to understand more about a holistic living and wellness, movement, meditation, or simply a retreat to presence in some of the most beautiful surrounds in Brisbane, join Celia Roberts at her retreat in Brookfield, Brisbane, Qld. Celia offers Yoga or meditation retreats, as well as shared Ayurvedic Medical appointments. Held throughout the year, these retreats (or classes) enable you to experience and to learn how to cultivate holistic living in the company of a senior teacher