The most common reaction when something we don’t expect or like appears on our body is to experience fear and rejection, then mask them, hide them or try to eradicate them quickly. Depending on their size, lipomas are a prime example of this. These lumps or accumulations of fat tissue below the skin layers — the most common form of non-cancerous soft tissue growth– are a kapha condition that affect Vata, Pitta and Kapha people alike. They can appear on the arms, legs, neck, back, head, breasts and pretty much anywhere else. What causes them is not known but the tendency to develop them is inherited. Ayurveda treats this condition with natural ingredients, an approach that is in stark contrast to allopathic medicine’s as you will see below.
Lipomas are easy to identify by yourself, by others or by a doctor.
• They are usually small (1 to 3 cm) and felt just under the skin.
• They are movable and have a soft, rubbery consistency.
• They do not cause pain.
• They remain the same size over years or grow very slowly.
They show up equally in women and in men, and can form at any age but do appear most often between 40 and 60 year old.
Doctors usually say that lipomas don’t need to be treated because most of them don’t hurt or cause problems. However, they may be removed by surgery if they are painful, get infected, or bother you for esthetic reasons. Unfortunately, removing one or several doesn’t prevent others from emerging later.
Dr. Shamna Prajith* says that lipoma treatments aim to liquify the fat accumulation with a warm herbal poultice or a dry massage. The treatment remains the same whether your own dosha is Vata, Pitta or Kapha. Here is her description of the treatment.
1. Make into a paste and warm it up as a hot pack.
2. Apply liberally and cover with some cotton or cheese cloth overnight (or any time) for 10 to 12 hours.
My grandma used cabbage leaves as a covering but I find that a plastic bag and warm towel will keep keeps it warm longer. Don’t wear your nicest night gown as the paste could leak and stain.
3. Wash off.
4. If the skin on the lipoma gets dry, apply aloe vera gel.
5. Do it regularly.
Even portion (eg. 1 tsp each of)
– dry ginger
– flax seed
– chickpea powder
– neem powder
– 1 pinch of salt
1. Mix them all and use this powder (as you would an oil) to do a dry massage daily.
2. Wash off.
3. If the skin on the lipoma gets dry, apply aloe vera gel.
Given that everyone is different, it is not possible to determine how long this treatment will need to be.
*Dr. Shamna Prajith holds a 5-year Bachelors’ degree in Ayurveda from the Parassinikkadavu Ayurveda Medical College, Kannur, Kerala, India. She offers medical consultations on Skype to international patients.