Massaggio Shirodhara

venerdì 29 luglio 2011

Alternative healing techniques for Insomnia

( People suffering from insomnia know what it is like, to spend endless nights with little or no sleep. Apart from feeling tired and cranky through the day, with little or no energy left, insomnia also brings in series of ailments disrupting the entire body system. Alternative healing offers several remedies, with little or no side effects, for sleep deprived people. These techniques may not have an immediate impact, but will surely improve the condition in a matter of time.
Yoga is one of the best tried and tested alternative remedies for insomnia. Here are few yoga techniques that specifically help in achieving better quality of sleep.
Kriya Yoga: Kriya Yoga, a form of meditation, is an effective remedy for stress-induced insomnia. Apart from getting rid of any obstructions involving mind and body, this form of meditation brings in calmness and controls mind and body. According to research, patients with insomnia reported improvement in quality of sleep, total sleep time, sleep latency, total wake time, sleep efficiency, and other such parameters when practicing this form of meditation.
The Spinal Roll: The exercise, also called ‘rocking exercise’, strengthens the vertebrae, keeping it youthful and flexible. It is helpful for people suffering from insomnia, and also helps in awakening from a state of drowsiness that insomniacs face when waking up every morning. After several practice sessions, this technique can also be combined with deep breathing exercises for more benefit.
Yoga Nidra: Also known as the ‘sleep of the yogis’, Yoga Nidra is an ancient practice of consciously relaxing the body, allowing it to remove stress and relax completely. Apart from helping in complete relaxation, it regulates the breathing process, as it restores balance in the body’s energy centers and brings in harmony.
Few other simple stretches done on daily basis, such as Standing Stretches, Whole Body Stretches, Gentle Swings, can all help ensure that a moment invested on yoga is, after-all, that much less time taken for falling asleep.
Other alternative remedies for insomnia:
Herbs: Lavender, Neroli, chamomile, valerian, are some of the essential oils or herbs that can be massaged or burnt in diffusers, or served as tea, as they are known to promote tranquility, thereby reducing stress levels.
A cup of chamomile tea, in particular, is recommended an hour before bed time, as it is a wonderful tranquilizer for stress and anxiety induced insomnia.
The valerian is an herb commonly used to treat stress and insomnia, and can be consumed as capsules or as tea.
A few drops of lavender oil can be added to the pillow at bedtime, as it’s calming and pleasantness will render a relaxing effect.
Flowers and Seeds: The celery seeds have medicinal value and can be used as a relaxant or tincture. They are used in treating insomnia, anxiety and nervousness and contain Vitamin A, B, and C. They are available in the form of fresh or dried seeds, capsules, oils and extracts.
All parts of the Passion Flower plant bear medicinal value, as the narcotic properties of the flower help in relieving stress and inducing sleep. It can be used as tea, or in the capsule form or in combination with other herbs.
Healing Crystals: If well-cleansed and energized, they can be placed by the bedside or under the pillow. These ideal soothing stones, including amethyst, agate, blue lace, chrysopase and green tourmaline, help in relieving anxiety, improving relaxation.
Healing Colours: Choose soothing pastel shades for bed linen and walls, as they bring in relaxation to the mind. Such colours, including pink, green, mauve, peach, light green and sky blue are colours that resonate at a higher level, bringing in energies into balance.
Acupunture: Acupuncture has been traditionally used by Chinese practitioners in treating insomnia. The procedure involves planting of needles on the skin at specific acupuncture points. This is considered a good method to cure insomnia.
Other relaxation techniques: Meditation is a simple, but effective technique in curing insomnia. It is an age-old way of calming the mind, relaxing the body, and allowing it to unwind, thereby helping with a better night’s rest after a stressful day.
A minimum of 45minutes of physical exercise in a day is a must. It could be walking, cycling, swimming, aerobics or sports that you are comfortable with.
Try to maintain the regular sleep pattern, adhering to a regular sleep and wake up time, listening to soft music, reading an interesting book, cutting back on caffeine, just before bed time, are other tips to be taken care of. (by

Soooo…much for Pomegranate Juice!!!!

( The benefits of Pomegranate Juice are plenty. It helps prevent Prostate Cancer, cuts Alzheimers risk and protects arteries, and relieves arthritis, reveal series of new studies.
During the study, the researchers observed a total of 48 participants over a six-year course. The participants were given eight ounces of pomegranate juice daily.
The findings of the study suggest that pomegranate juice can effectively reduce the growth of prostate cancer, following an unsuccessful treatment.
A representative of the American Urological Association (AUA), Dr. Christopher Amling, confirmed that the finding, apart from the other current researches indicate that pomegranate juice is an effective prostate cancer preventative agent as well.
Another research carried out on mice at the Loma Linda University, United States, revealed that drinking pomegranate juice can help cut risk of Alzheimer’s by atleast 50 percent. The mice that drank pomegranate juice experienced 50 percent less degeneration of the brain, compared to their counterparts who consumed just sweetened water.
In yet another study carried out by the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Israeli researchers confirmed that diabetics when given 60ml of pomegranate juice every day for three months witnessed lower levels of absorption of bad cholesterol and their arteries remained protected.
Finally, another research conducted by Case Western Reserve University, Department of Medicine, Cleveland Ohio, shows that oral consumption of pomegranate extract helps reduce inflammation. Hence alternative medicine makes use of pomegranate extract as a remedy for patients suffering from arthritis.
With these many benefits of pomegranate juice, why wait for more new findings?? (by

Simple measures to treat hair-loss

( Hair-loss although seems like a common problem, the reasons behind the problem could be plenty. Anything from hormonal changes to too much tugging at hair, lack of mineral or vitamins, lack of sleep could all lead to hair-loss.
Although people consider medication or hair transplant as an immediate solution to the problem, it is a fact that medication and surgery involves risks and harmful side-effects.
The safest and best form of therapy is the natural hair-loss treatment, which includes a combination of healthy-diet, exercise, herbal remedies and good hair-care.
‘Intake of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties is essential to maintain healthy hair. Lack of such fatty acids could lead to rapid hair loss. These fatty acids are available in plenty in walnuts, spinach, sardines, tuna, soy, canola and sunflower oil.
A healthy diet should essentially include wholesome vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, beans, nuts, seeds fish, and eggs, packed with vital nutrients required for hair roots. Although reducing intake of chocolate, tea, excess sugar and salt may help, take care not to skip any meals.
When washing hair, try avoiding shampoos with strong chemicals. Natural herbs such as nettle root extract, liquorices extract, psoralea seeds, horsetail, green tea, ginger, apple cider vinegar, rosemary and sage tea are best in prevention and treatment of hair loss.
A home-made herbal shampoo with 100g each of Amla (Indian goose berry), Reetha and Shikakai, boiled in two litres of water, until the liquid reduces to half, helps reduce hair loss and improves quality of hair.
Most importantly, exercise regularly for better blood circulation, and practice yoga and meditation to reduce stress, as stress is one of the main factors contributing to hair loss. (by

giovedì 28 luglio 2011

Remain well hydrated this summer with these natural coolants

( There are many natural ingredients that are also excellent body coolants. Watch out for any signs of dehydration such as tiredness, nausea, hot and dry skin, headache, quickening of heart beat, dizziness and acute thirst, and keep your-self hydrated this summer, with these natural coolants.
Kokum Factoid – is an evergreen herb, found in the western coast of South India. The fruit of the herb, that is purple in color, is usually deseeded and dried before cooking. Kokum is rich in anti-oxidants and has good cooling properties, and is also a remedy for diarrhea and is a good liver tonic.
Khus (vetiver) – is a good cooling agent, soothes the nerves and is a blood purifier. The essential oil of vetiver, often referred to as the ‘oil of tranquility’, is used to cool the skin during summer and is used in aromatherapy. The Khus sharbat forms a refreshing summer drink.
Mint – is a good body coolant, aids digestion and calms nerves. Mint is available in plenty during summer. Mint could be consumed in any form, either added to iced tea, or fresh lemon or watermelon juice.
Cumin – Bring back the age-old fashion of drinking cumin water, for good. Else, cumin seeds and a marble sized ball of tamarind could be soaked in warm water, strained and added to water, flavoured with rock salt and mint. Cumin also aids digestion, prevents flatulence, quenches thirst and relieves nausea.
Rose extract – is also a popular cooling ingredient, which could be stocked at home, and added as and when required to cold desserts, chilled milk, shakes or lassis.
Yogurt – Is a huge fad in the west these days, due to its pro-biotic qualities. It is a great way to meet adequate calcium that the body needs, and is suitable even for those who are lactose-intolerant. Yogurt, consumed in any form is an excellent body coolant. Even the regular salted buttermilk, served in India, with a dash of ginger, coriander, curry leaves forms a good accompaniment to a meal. (by

Yoga helps tackle severe menopausal symptoms

( Yoga could be of immense help to women going through severe menopausal symptoms, as it appears to improve mental functioning, while reducing night sweats and hot flashes, suggests Indian researchers.
To investigate this fact, about 120 women of the age group 44 to 55 years, with physical and cognitive symptoms of menopause, were randomly assigned yoga exercises such as simple stretching five days a week for eight weeks.
The postures such as meditation and breathing too were included in the yoga intervention, as they are believed to develop mastery over modifications of the mind. Women in the yoga group were also allowed to listen to lectures on how yoga helps in stress management and other such topics. Those in the control group, however, heard lectures on exercise, diet, and physiology of stress and menopause.
After eight weeks, women in the yoga group reported significant reduction of night sweats, hot flashes and sleep disturbances, while women in the control group did not report any such changes.
The study lead, Dr. R. Chattha of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana in Bangalore, India, explains that although both groups showed improvements in concentration, the improvement in yoga group was considerably high.
During the performance by the groups on memory and intelligence with 10 components, the yoga group scored eight, while the control group scored six. Even during the seven subtests, the yoga group showed remarkable improvements in comparison to the control group.
This study shows that yoga is even superior to other physical activities in enhancing cognitive functions which could be due to the focus that yoga lays on breathing, synchronization of breathing with body movements, and relaxation, the researchers conclude. (by

Healthy lifestyle habits lowers heart risk even with late-starters

( Leading a healthy lifestyle even if later in life, could lower the risk of developing heart disease and premature death within years of changing habits.
Researchers of Medical University, South Carolina, tried to find out if late-starters could actually gain the rewards of healthy habits like eating fruits and vegetables, quitting smoking, controlling weight gain, and walking thirty minutes a day.
Once the tracking process began, nearly sixteen thousand people in the age group of 45 to 64 years, only about 8.5 percent were following all the four healthy habits mentioned above. Among the other adults, 8.4 percent began practicing the four healthy habits within six years after the beginning of studies.
The middle-aged who began including five or more vegetables and fruits every day, exercising for atleast 2.5 hours a week, keeping tab on their weight gain, and gave up smoking, decreased their risk of heart diseases by thirty five percent and the risk of premature death by fourty percent within four years after they started. Their rate of heart attacks and death rates matched with those who had been following the healthy lifestyle habits all through their lives.
The results indicate that picking up all four habits eventually leads to a sharp decline in heart disease risk, and death from any cause. However, to gain health benefits, it took all four habits to be incorporated, as including only three healthy lifestyle habits, resulted only in a modest decrease in overall risk of death, and in no significant decrease in heart disease. However, the results do not necessarily mean that one can wait until they turn 40 to 50 to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. (by

How to Live with Muscular Dystrophy

The following article has been submitted by
Ayush Muscular Dystrophy Society India
( Muscular dystrophy is a bundle of severe debilitating conditions in which the muscles that control movement progressively weaken. In some forms of this disease, the heart and other organs are also affected.  Currently there is no cure for any form of muscular dystrophy. Some modern medicines, ayurvedic remedies and therapies can slow the course of the disease.  This article introduces with a main thrust complementary program of care through research on Muscular dystrophy with a focus on Ayurvedic Panch Karma and Yogic approach of treatment. The Ayurvedic Mamsagni Rasayana herbs have shown definite protective influence and longer survival upon muscular dystrophy.
Muscular dystrophies are a group of more than 20 different genetic neuromuscular disorders, some more debilitating than others. The most common, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) affects 1 in 3500 boys. There is a problem in the chromosome that codes for a protein called dystrophin which maintains the integrity of the muscle cell wall. Eventually irreversible destruction of the muscle cells occurs. In early school years, it may just seem that DMD boys are slower and clumsier than their peers. The disease progresses such that the majority will be wheelchair bound by 10-14 years.
Muscular dystrophies are inherited. Each disease is transmitted by a different genetic trait. DMD is inherited in an X-linked recessive transmission. That means that females may be carriers but do not have any debilitating symptoms. A female carrier has a 50% chance of transmitting the faulty gene onto her children. There is no  satisfactory treatment in any system of medicine. It is a progressive muscle-wasting disease due to a mutation in the dystrophin gene and the consequential protein deficiency in muscle. It results in chronic inflammation and severe skeletal muscle degeneration. How the lack of the sarcolemma protein dystrophin gives rise to the final disease status is still not clear.
The genetic disease conditions are diagnosed through genetic testing, a physical exam, a family medical history, and some specific tests. These might include: A muscle biopsy (the removal and examination of a small sample of muscle tissue)
  • DNA (genetic) testing
  • Electromyography or nerve conduction tests (which use electrodes to test muscle and/or nerve function)
  • Blood enzyme tests (which may reveal muscle damage)
For DMD and BMD, muscle biopsy may show whether dystrophin protein is missing or abnormal, and DNA Test is used to analyze the condition of the related gene. (by

Ayurveda in American Perspective

( We are practicing Ayurveda in 21st century. In the last few decades, there is remarkable popularity seen in international community regarding clinical potential of ayurvedic medicine. The Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia contains hundreds of listings, uses and preparations. Many of these have been in continuous use for several thousand years. Although these medicines are trusted by those in India, from western modern “double blind clinical trial” perspective they are unproven to be safe and or effective.
In the Western scientific paradigm it is customary to identify a traditional therapy and medicine, isolate the active ingredient, standardize the potency and clinically test its safety and efficacy outside of the remedy’s traditional use. What needs to be studied is the authentic cultural treatment as a system of healing, not whether an isolated compound can be grafted into our modern medical system. We need to study the difference between an ingredient’s chemical identification and its physiological medicinal and / or toxic properties. The first study should be whether a therapy and its medicines are toxic as traditionally used. Then follow with a study of its efficacy.
Some Ayurvedic formulations contain herbs that are natural forms of drugs or substances generally considered toxic in their customary forms. We need to study Ayurvedic remedies, formulations, and therapies in a way that satisfies our Western scientific method while preserving those therapeutic elements considered important by Ayurveda. We should not simply study isolated compounds but the medicines, therapies and medical system as a whole.
There are unique preparations in Ayurveda that intentionally combine specially prepared minerals with botanicals for the purpose of increasing the effect of the botanicals. It is these formulas that are the most suspect to our Western eyes as they often contain mercury, lead and / or other ingredients that have been proven to be toxic in forms we are familiar with. These Ayurvedic formulas have long and complicated preparation methods often lasting months or even years. They are believed to have amazing curative powers in the treatment of uncontrolled ailments of modern era, but are they toxic as well? They are traditionally believed to be safe when properly prescribed, prepared and taken. They address serious medical problems like cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, kidney problems, mental and brain function disorders, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophies and other serious Neuro-muscular diseases, etc. But it is important that we insure and determine proper preparation and whether there is any risk of toxicity when prepared and used properly. The preparations with lead and mercury are not currently approved by the US FDA and therefore can not be used by people in the United States until proper studies are done.
In the West they have very high standards for purity and the means to test for it. It could be said that they have these high standards because they can test for positive identification of ingredients and the presence of unwanted substances. It is especially important to consider the possibility that indigenous medicines may be prepared in ways that western scientists do not fully understand and the difference between medicine and poison may not be uncovered by modern chemical analysis, no matter how sophisticated. They must also establish uniform testing protocols for heavy metals in Dietary Supplements that include sample preparation, testing methodology and acceptable daily dose.
In summary, Ayurveda uses hundreds of substances therapeutically. It is important to assess Ayurvedic herbal medicines according to Western scientific standards and investigate them for levels of toxicity and contamination that are unacceptable. We must also differentiate between products that are manufactured in the USA under FDA guidelines and regulations and those that are manufactured in other countries never intended for export and brought into USA. At the same time, we must, keep a scientific and open mind about the Ayurvedic preparations and medicines that have intentional ingredients we have come to regard as toxic by Allopathic standards but which have undergone special preparatory procedures that have yet to be documented by Western scientific standards. It may be that these very medicines hold the promise of cure for diseases modern Western medicine is currently unable to adequately address. (by

Now get health insurance even under Ayurveda

If until a while ago health insurance policies would cover only allopathy treatment, now its good news for those who opt for alternate medicines and want policies to cover them for their expenses. Under limited conditions, some companies have started providing insurance cover for those seeking ayurvedic  treatments too. However according to New India India Assurance only to the extent of 25 per cent will be covered under ayurvedic, unani or homeopathy provided they avail the treatment at a government hospital.
Likewise even Star Health covers non allopathic treatments except naturopathy under its Unique Health Insurance policy. Again under Cholamandalam MS General Insurance the company has decided to design a product to cover treatments under Ayurvedic hospitalization as it is the most popular of the alternate treatments.
It is important to note that no one cover is large enough to completely cover alternative treatments. One has to buy a standard health insurance from select insurance companies and others that offer coverage for Nonallopathic treatments.
Yet to be on the safer side before going for an alternative and make a claim, do check if treatment is indicated in the document of insurance. (by

Home Remedies for Thyroid Disease, Natural Treatment

( Thyroid is a gland located towards the front part of the neck, just below the thyroid cartilage.
Thyroid in fact is the largest endocrine gland in human body. It produces two types of hormones:
thyroxin (T4) and triodothyronine (T3). These hormones help in the body's metabolism. The part
called Hypothalamus in human brain produces the TRH or thyrotropin-releasing hormone. The TRH
reaches the Pituitary gland, also situated in the brain. Under the impact of TRH, the pituitary gland
then starts releasing TSH or thyroid stimulating hormones.
The TSH then reaches the thyroid gland, stimulating it to produce T4 and T3. A certain quantity of
Iodine in diet also regulates the production of T4 and T3. The pituitary gland therefore regulates
the production of hormones by thyroid gland. When the thyroid glands release too much hormones
in to the blood, automatically TSH production by pituitary glands is reduced in order to lessen the
production of T3 and T4 by the thyroid gland. However at times, some defect may occur in the
system of regulation, leading to problems like Hyperthyroidism or Grave's disease (over production
of thyroid hormones) and Hypothyroidism (low production of thyroid hormones).


Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

1. Loss of body weight
2. Muscle weakness
3. Too much sweating in small work
4. Protruding eyes
5. Insomnia - sleeping problems
6. Shivering
7. Joint aches
8. Nervousness
9. Frequent bowel movements
10. Irregular Menstrual cycles
11. Panting and Breathing trouble

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

1. Weight gain
2. Hair loss
3. Fatigue
4. Difficulty in cold seasons
5. Numbness of upper limbs
6. Constipation
7. Hoarse voice
8. Depression
9. Dry skin
10. Puffiness around eyes

Home Remedies for Thyroid Disease
These days, apart from the conventional medications, effective natural remedies are being used to
tackle the disease.

1. Black walnut is rich in iodine, and is the best natural remedy for thyroid problems.
2. Irish moss strengthens thyroid functioning.
3. Bladderwrack has high iodine contents, and is very good for thyroid functioning.
4. Kelp sea weed is rich in iodine, and can help the gland to function properly.
5. Primrose oil is a useful natural remedy for thyroid malfunctioning.
6. Vitamin B Complex induces oxygenation in the cells, and energizes thyroid functioning.
7. Black cohosh improves thyroid functions.
8. Intake of food rich in iodine and Vitamin A can help.
9. Sea weeds can help a lot in gland care.
10. Zinc, calcium, copper, magnesium, silicon are thyroid stimulants.
11. Coconut oil can combat hypothyroidism.
12. Drinking a lot of hot ginger tea can help.

Earn inner confidence and chuck out depression

A depressed person stands with his chest sunken, shoulders drooping and eyes dull and withdrawn. Even it a normal person were to mimic such a physical stance, he too within a few moments would get that sunken, hopeless feeling. 
It is said that failure is stepping stone to success. But, as an individual who has just stumbled on this stone of failure, for him there seems to be no step forward! In this competitive world, there are as many stories of failure as of success. 
Failure could be an inability to achieve a goal set by a society, peers or by out own selves either on the professional or emotional front. Failure is naturally accompanied by a feeling of gloom and sadness. 
However, this feeling of despair could lead to emotional depression which in turn brings an intense feeling of hopelessness, unhappiness, an unwillingness to do things, sluggishness and a feeling of wanting to be ‘away’ from the world. There have been awful instances albeit rare, where individuals in such an intense state of depression have brought an end to their own lives. Depression is becoming more common in today’s world with young school kids unable to cope with exams, young adults failing n their love lives and in some cases adults unable to withstand financial pressures and falling prey to it. 
The key to fighting depression is to improve one’s physical, emotional and mental endurance and tolerance. It is to develop the capability to have faith in one’s own abilities and not be a victim of circumstances. Yoga naturally develops endurance as well as inner confidence and therefore it is uncommon for regular practitioners of yoga to become a victim of depression and even if they do, they manage to get out of it quickly. What ever be the cause of depression, it has its typical physical manifestation. The body, mind and emotions are intricately connected such that state of the emotions and mind are expressed in the body.  

Thus instead of working ‘directly’ on the mind and emotions that are already weak, one can work on them through the medium of the body. In most asanas, the chest is well expanded and broadened, in contrast to that of a ‘depressed’ individual and this stimulates the mind and emotions.
Furthermore, asanas where the chest is raised higher than the head uplifts the emotional centre, the heart. These asanas include Purvottanasana, Supta Virasana, Viparita Dandasana, Sirsasana, Sarvangasana, Setu Banda Sarvangasana Viparita Karani.  
Youngsters can be made to do a lot of backward bending asanas like Viparita Dandasana, Urdhva Dhanurasana and Viparita Chakrasana where the chest is elevated and the head lowered. These asanas immediately stimulate the brain and the woes are forgotten initially transiently and later for a long time to come. (by

Ayurvedic Hair Restoration

Hair restoration is now a necessity. Earlier, there was hardly any option for hair restoration, except surgery alone. But with more awareness, medical advancement, and inclination towards natural procedures, people now prefer to solve their hair loss problems without surgery. Moreover it is important to realize that most hair restoration products available in the market may not work in the same manner for all. A couple of different methods, need to be tried out, before arriving on what suits you the best.
These ayurvedic remedies prevent hair loss, and promote hair restoration in case of hair loss.
  • Supplements of Evening Primrose oil, is one alternative therapy that has been found to be useful in alleviating hair loss caused due to thyroid imbalance. Even Aromatherapy has been found effective for such a condition, wherein essential oils of lavender, rosemary, thyme and cedar wood oil are blended and applied to the scalp to encourage hair growth.
  • Bhringaraj or Brahmi oil has been used to treat hair loss due to thyroid conditions. These are applied to the scalp regularly for three months to help hair restoration. Apart from this, herbs such as Ashwagandha and Amla will be given as supplements.
  • The Indian gooseberry/Amla has been consistently showing great results. Hence Amla oil is an excellent tonic for hair growth.
  • The juice extracted from fresh leaves of Amarnath, can be applied to the scalp for hair growth and hair restoration.
  • A paste of liquorice, made by grinding liquorice pieces with milk, adding a pinch of saffron, can be applied to the bald patches at night, before retiring to bed. This is effective for hair restoration in cases of alopecia.
  • A mixture of spinach juice and lettuce, if taken up to half a litre per day, helps in hair growth.
  • Another valuable home remedy is to use seeds of black pepper and lime, grind them to a fine paste, and apply it on the patches. This stimulates hair follicles to grow strong hair and promotes hair growth and helps in hair restoration.
  • A decoction made from leaves of margosa tree will be useful, as it prevents hair loss and stabilizes them into their roots.
  • Onions have been beneficial in patchy baldness and hair loss. The onion juice stimulates hair follicles and prevents hair loss.
  • Even a good olive oil massage onto the scalp and affected area, helps conditions of mild alopecia and hair loss, promoting hair restoration. (by

mercoledì 27 luglio 2011

Pure fruit juice may not lead to overweight children

Contrary to popular belief, drinking hundred percent pure fruit juice does not lead to overweight kids after-all, says new research studies. Pure fruit juice will actually supply the required essential nutrients to children, and may actually help the children in maintaining a healthy weight.
Contradictory research findings had earlier led to arguments and confusions about probable associations between hundred percent fruit juice, overweight in children, and nutrient intake.
According to recent studies the researchers analyzed the amount of juice consumption among 3618 children aged two to eleven years. It was noticed that even among kids who consumed maximum juice, there was no association to being over-weight or at risk to being overweight. In fact, more than half the children never consumed hundred percent fruit juice at all, and the average consumption of juice in the studies was only 4.1 ounces. It was also found that children, who drank hundred percent fruit juices, consumed less saturated fat and total fat, added sugars and added fat. They also consumed more who fruits like apples. Consumption of hundred percent fruit juice also led to higher intake of nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, iron, and magnesium.
Hence the bottom line is that “100 percent fruit juice consumption is a valuable contributor of nutrients in children’s diet and it does not have an association with being over-weight”. (by

Grape juice proven to be the best heart tonic

Beginning the day with a glass of grape juice, may be particularly good for the heart. Purple grape juice has proven effective in preventing heart attacks, angina and strokes, a research has revealed.
Drinking purple grape juice boosted the nightly dip in blood pressure, offering the heart and veins vital rest, revealed reports of 64 adults in the study.
Such a conclusion has been arrived at because, there already exists evidence that “non-dippers” who do not experience it, are more prone to developing cardiovascular problem.
According to Dr.Joseph Vita and his team in Boston, US, the juice showed favourable effects on nocturnal blood pressure regulation in humans.
An earlier study had revealed that drinking eight to ten ounces of red grape juice a day has potent effect on blood cells called platelets, reducing the tendency to form clots, as clots can lead to heart attacks.
This study also revealed that red grape juice may be even more potent than aspirin, and is widely recommended as a way to prevent heart attacks. Even when one is actually suffering from a heart attack, grape juice treatment tones up the heart and is effective in cardiac pain and heart palpitation.
The researchers also compared the results of grape juice with orange and grapefruit juice, but, arrived at the conclusion that grape juice is the best heart tonic.
Grapes also have several other health benefits, unknown to many. The rich content of glucose in grapes makes it the most valuable fruit. Glucose is pre-digested food, absorbed in the body soon after consumption. It supplies heat and energy to the body within short time and is thus considered a magic fruit for re-energizing the body.
Grapes are rich in Iron, Copper, Manganese and Potassium, but low in sodium. Although grapes are high in acids, they have an alkaline effect on our body. The high potassium and low sodium chloride content makes it good for all kidney problems. Grapes act on the Kidneys and Liver and promote elimination of waste and toxin matters from the system. Moreover, the high iron content helps in improving anaemia too.
The excess alkalinity of grapes and raisins helps by dissolving uric acid and is considered good for arthritis and gout. It is also beneficial in cases of Asthma, Cancer and migraine, wherein the patient is put only on grape juice diet for days. The large sized seeded grapes, when dried, are also used in treatment of anaemia and constipation. (by

Arthritic pain may be correlated to climatic conditions

On comparison of a data study of patients suffering from knee arthritis among U.S. adults, researchers found that the pain shoot-ups were associated with changes in weather and barometric pressure.
The findings that were published in the American Journal of Medicine, revealed that while many arthritis sufferers felt that changes in weather, had something to do with the intensity of their pain, some say that their pain increases during cold weather or rain.
However, there has not been any definite scientific evidence for the condition. To solve this problem, researchers of the Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston used data from an earlier study that investigated glucosamine for knee arthritis.
Two hundred adults were studied based on their pain levels at different points of time, over a three month period. Researchers compared the data with the meteorological information from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration on the same days in the patient’s local area.
On the whole, they found that the symptoms of pain in patients worsened when the temperature dropped, or in other words, when the barometric pressure increased.
Dr. Tim McAlindon and his colleagues reported that “Our data confirms the general assertions by people with Osteoarthritis that weather conditions do influence their pain.”
The researchers were of the opinion that even the general notion that arthritic patients would fare better in warm and sunny climatic conditions all through the year could be “partly correct”.
McAlindon’s team suggests that it is not fully clear as to why the temperature or barometric pressure would influence the arthritic pain. Cold temperatures could possibly affect joint range of motion, or the flow of synovial fluid which lubricates the joints.
Barometric Pressure is the weight of the surrounding air, which fluctuates with changes in weather or altitude. Atmospheric pressure plays a role in the stabilization of the joints in the body. (by

Pumpkin extract may be a source of oral medication for diabetics

Recent studies conducted by Chinese experts bring a new ray of hope for diabetics.
Researchers, led by Tao Xia, China Normal University, have found that the extract of pumpkin is a potential treatment for diabetics which could reduce the intake of insulin quantity that diabetics need to take.
Xia’s team found that diabetic rats, when fed with pumpkin extract had only 5% less plasma insulin, and 8% lesser insulin-positive (beta) cells, when compared to normal healthy rats. It was thus concluded that pumpkin extract is a very good product for pre-diabetics, as well as for those who already have this disease.
“Pumpkin extract prevents the progressive destruction of pancreatic-beta cells. However, it is impossible to say whether the Pumpkin extract would promote regeneration in humans. The protective effect of pumpkin is considered to be due to antioxidants and a molecule D-chiro-inositol, which neutralizes insulin activity.” said David Bender, Sub-Dean, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London.
David Bender stated that this could also be a source of oral medication for diabetics. (by

martedì 26 luglio 2011

Mindfulness meditation helps retard HIV progression

There is still no fool-proof cure that has been discovered to combat the deadly HIV (Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus), which has claimed several thousands of human lives year after year. But, scientists have now discovered that mindfulness meditation can actually retard the progression of AIDS in the body.
Mindfulness meditation is a type of meditation which involves focusing one’s mind on the present. To be mindful is to remain aware about one’s actions and thoughts in the present without judging yourself.
David Creswell, the lead of the study, said “This study is the first to indicate that mindfulness meditation stress-management training bears a direct impact on helping to slow down HIV disease progression.”
The HIV attacks the body’s immune system and gobbles up CD4+T lymphocytes that help the body fight against harmful attacks. It has been noticed that stress could significantly contribute to the reduction in level of CD4 T cells. Scientists believe that meditation helps reduce stress.
The mindfulness meditation programme is a cost-effective group-based treatment. In case the initial finding in this study gets replicated in larger groups of people, then meditation could form a powerful complementary treatment for HIV disease alongside medications.
This particular study involved 48 HIV positive adults from Los Angeles, few of whom participated in the 8 week mindfulness-based stress reduction meditation programme. The rest were only made to participate in a one-day mindfulness-based stress reduction seminar.
On comparing both the groups, it was found that participants who attended the 8 week programme did not lose the CD4 T cells, while patients in the other group had a significant reduction in cells.
“Given the benefits of stress-reduction through mindfulness meditation programme, these findings imply that there can be health protective effects not only in people with HIV, but for all those who suffer from daily stress,” Cresswell concluded.
The study was published in the online edition of the journal ‘Brain, Behaviour and Immunity’. (by

Basilico: Aromaterapia che combatte i malanni dell’inverno

Si abbassano le temperature e il freddo si comincia a sentire, con l’inizio dell’inverno tornano anche raffreddore, tosse, bronchiti, asma, febbre e dolori reumatici.

Un rimedio del tutto naturale, ce lo suggeriscono alcuni ricercatori del Poona College of Pharmacy di Poona in India.

Parliamo di basilico, pianta utilizzata nella medicina ayurvedica per disinfettare i luoghi colpiti dalla malaria, usato come antidoto per i morsi di insetti e serpenti e per la cura di malattie respiratorie.

In medicina sono adoperati due tipi : il Basilico Ocimum tenuiflorum e il Basilico Ocimum americanum il loro impiego si è rivelato ampiamente valido ed efficiente, pari ad un farmaco antinfiammatorio, efficace nel ridurre il gonfiore, le infiammazioni delle artrite e le malattie della pelle.

Allevia emicrania e cefalee dovuti alla cattiva digestione, è adatto per le persone che soffrono di ipertensione arteriosa, agisce sul sistema nervoso ,utile in casi di ansia ed esaurimento.

Alcuni pratici suggerimenti per tosse e catarro:
• Mettere 8 gocce di olio essenziale di Basilico in una bacinella di acqua bollente. Con il capo coperto da un asciugamano inspirate i vapori per 5 minuti, riprendete aria per 2 min e poi inspirate ancora per altri 5. Ripetete le inalazioni due volte al giorno. Per il catarro prima di coricarvi massaggiate il petto con 3 gocce di essenza insieme a un cucchiaio di olio di germe di grano, fino al completo assorbimento.

Per calmare dolori muscolari e reumatici:
• massaggiate la parte indolenzita, con un composto di 40 gocce di olio essenziale di Basilico e 250 ml di olio di germe di grano.

Per il mal di testa:
Eseguire , molto lentamente movimenti circolari sulle tempie e sulla fronte, con i polpastrelli unti di olio essenziale di Basilico.

Per la digestione:
• Massaggiate lentamente fino al completo assorbimento su addome e stomaco, con un preparato di 6 gocce di essenza di olio al basilico, miscelato a 2 cucchiai di olio di germe di grano. 

Dalla lingua possiamo riconoscere le malattie

Tutti conoscono l’aspetto della lingua dal tipico color fragola o mirtillo durante la scarlattina. Come nel caso di questa malattia, i cambiamenti della lingua possono anche essere il segno di altri problemi e disturbi dell’organismo. Nella medicina tradizionale cinese e secondo l’ayurveda questo è noto già da millenni e l’analisi visiva della lingua viene ancora utilizzata come metodo diagnostico. Una lingua sana è formata dalla superficie dorsale, la radice, la superficie ventrale (quella inferiore) morbida e la punta.
La lingua ha un colore rosa pallido ed un aspetto brillante perché umida di saliva. Solitamente è ricoperta di una patina giallo-biancastra, che si può rimuovere facilmente usando un pulisci lingua. Il momento migliore per leggere la lingua come un libro è subito dopo il risveglio, ancora prima della colazione.
Lingua ruvida: mancanza di vitamine, infiammazione
Se sentite la lingua come avesse dei peli o fosse ruvida, forse può dipendere dal fatto che le papille sono ingrossate. Una causa possibile è la presenza di funghi o batteri. Anche la mancanza di vitamine può provocare la cosiddetta lingua pelosa o villosa. I disturbi possono subentrare anche dopo un trattamento a base di antibiotici oppure dopo una serata in allegria per l’abuso di alcol.

Lingua con patina: infezione micotica
Vi guardate la bocca allo specchio e vi spaventate. Sulla lingua si è formato uno strato spesso e biancastro? Lo si può eliminare facilmente con un bastoncino di ovatta o con lo spazzolino da denti. Notate degli arrossamenti e dei piccoli sanguinamenti? È dunque probabile un’infezione micotica, che può essere scatenata da farmaci (ad es. cortisone per inalazione, antibiotici) ed anche da un sistema immunitario indebolito.
Bruciore alla lingua: intolleranza, carenza di ferro
Se all’organismo manca vitamina A o vitamina B12, spesso reagisce con un’infiammazione della lingua e scatena una sensazione di bruciore. Anche una carenza di ferro si può presentare in tal modo. Una lingua dolente può essere provocata semplicemente da un’intolleranza al dentifricio o al collutorio utilizzato. Altrettanto possibile è anche un’allergia al materiale del dentista (ad es. per la cura di una carie). Probabilmente che ne è colpito soffre di un disturbo del metabolismo.
Lingua gonfia: ipotiroidismo
Se la lingua è gonfia e si vedono chiaramente le impronte dei denti sulla superficie dorsale, questo potrebbe essere il segno di ipotiroidismo.
Per essere sicuri dei sintomi e diagnosticare malattie serie, si dovrebbe consultare il medico quanto prima se si notano evidenti cambiamenti della lingua. (by

Terapie alternative per la salute della schiena

Il mal di schiena si può curare anche con il ricorso a terapie alternative alla medicina tradizionale, che utilizzano metodi naturali per riportare l'individuo al benessere e all'equilibrio.

L’osteopatia è una tecnica terapeutica manuale che mira a eliminare blocchi articolari o stiramenti muscolari attraverso manipolazioni. Dopo aver escluso tutte le possibili alterazioni patologiche della colonna vertebrale, si individuano tramite palpazione sia le zone in cui esiste una contrazione della muscolatura profonda a stretto contatto con l’articolazione bloccata, sia eventuali cause localizzate lontano dal punto dolorante. Tramite la manipolazione è possibile ristabilire l'equilibrio della zona compromessa che, in caso di protratto disturbo, può portare a complicazioni motorie e posturali a livello della colonna vertebrale. La scelta del numero di sedute dipende dal disturbo da trattare, ma soprattutto dalla risposta della persona al trattamento.

Alla base di tale diagnostica ci sono disturbi energetici dovuti a blocchi e situazioni di eccesso o deficit del sistema dei "meridiani" (canali energetici presenti in ogni individuo). Questa terapia utilizza particolari aghi per riattivare la circolazione energetica nei diversi "meridiani" e, intervenendo nei punti giusti, determina una progressiva riduzione di disturbi e dolori.

Questa disciplina si concentra sul trattare le cause che provocano i problemi fisici invece di trattare i sintomi, partendo dall’assunto che i problemi strutturali del corpo, in modo particolare quelli della colonna, possono generare disfunzioni all’intero organismo, e soprattutto al sistema nervoso. Il chiropratico tratta il paziente che accusa mal di schiena cercando di individuare una “sublussazione”, ossia una minima alterazione dei rapporti tra le vertebre (invisibile alle radiografie) sufficiente a provocare il dolore.
Alle cause “tradizionali” del mal di schiena (traumi, posture scorrette, malocclusioni ecc.) la chiropratica aggiunge un possibile mal funzionamento di organi "viscerali", come stomaco, reni, intestino. Questo accadrebbe perché nel midollo spinale contenuto nelle vertebre passano anche nervi appartenenti al sistema nervoso vegetativo, che regola il funzionamento di tutti gli organi. La manipolazione vertebrale correttiva dello specialista mira quindi alla risoluzione del dolore locale e a ripristinare il corretto funzionamento degli altri organi coinvolti.

Medicina ayurvedica
L’antica medicina indiana, Ayurveda, o scienza della vita, considera corpo e mente come un’unità inscindibile, le terapie sono quindi volte a mantenere o ristabilire l’equilibrio dell’organismo in termini di salute fisica e mentale. Secondo la medicina Ayurvedica, lungo la colonna vertebrale nascono e si dipartono i chakra, centri energetici che presiedono alle funzioni vitali. La schiena sarebbe quindi un “asse di comunicazione” tra corpo e mente che segnalerebbe, con il dolore, uno squilibrio in atto. Il massaggio ayurvedico con oli aromatizzati scioglie dolcemente tensioni e rigidità, rilassando l’intera colonna attraverso frizioni, impastamenti e sfioramenti. (by

Even fruits can contribute to obesity!

Here’s another theory to prove that consuming excess of anything, even if it is the healthier option such as fruits, could leave a negative impact on the body.
A study has confirmed that fructose, the natural sugar found in fruits, can also contribute to obesity. Most fruits contain high sugar content, and munching them all day, may eventually lead to obesity, particularly in the abdominal area.
A nutritionist and diet consultant at Fitness One, Lekha Ahuja, explains that there exists a difference between foods with sugar content and fattening food. For instance fruits such as the apples, oranges, pears, bananas and others may not be fattening, but have plenty of natural sugar content in them, which is good, when consumed in moderation. However, the problem arises when one exceeds the recommended serving of 1-3 pieces a day.
The other items that one needs to keep a tab on, are, the jams and juices, which also carry high fructose content. Although people feel that they are on the safer side when opting for a fresh fruit juice, rather than soft drinks, they are actually continuing to add up fat.
A general physician and nutrition consultant at Wellness Hospital, Dr. Dhiraj Palena, has mentioned that fruit juices contain the same quantity of carbohydrates and energy, as in sweetened cold drinks. In fact, a typical fruit juice contains 11.5g of carbohydrate per 100ml, while a sweetened cold drink contains 10.3g per 100ml. Although fruit juices include additional fibre and vitamins, energy and carbohydrates are identical.
According to Lekha, by adding artificial sweeteners to the otherwise naturally sweet fruit juices, people are inviting trouble. A fruit by itself is not harmful. But when sugar is added to fruits in salad or juices, the sugar levels in that particular dish becomes high, causing fattening problems. However, eating a fruit that has vital nutrients, keeping the skin on, will balance the sugar content.
However, although fruits may be as fattening as junk food, it should be noted that fructose found in fruit is less harmful than sucrose (table sugar). Sucrose actually makes bodies go out of sync, as the sugar gets processed in the body very quickly, while fructose on the other hand, is broken down slowly, giving the body more time to react. (by

Bilberry extract prevents hardening of blood vessels

Bilberry extracts can prevent the build up of plaques in the arteries, thereby preventing hardening of blood vessels and boosting overall heart health reveals a new study in France.
In the study, the fermented bilberry extract, out-performed the standard extract, prompting the French researchers to suggest that yeast fermentation produces new bioactive compounds with heart health effects.
Researchers performed the study on mice, segregating them into three groups. All groups were fed with standard control diet, but two of the groups received one of two bilberry extracts. One rich in anthocyanin extracted from untreated bilberries, and the other extracted from yeast-fermented bilberries.
After 16 weeks, it was noticed that there was considerable inhibition in development of plaques pertaining to atherosclerosis in both bilberry groups.
Lead researcher, Aurelie Mauray, said that the yeast-fermented bilberries extract exerts more effective anti-atherogenic activity than the anthocyanin-rich bilberry extract, which suggests that fermentation generates new compounds with better health-boosting properties, in comparison to the anthocyanin-rich standaridized extract.
Atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) is the major cause for cardiovascular disease.
Bilberries are closely associated to the North American blueberry, but contain a distinct anthocyanin profile. Both leaves and the ripe fruit of bilberry have been used as folk remedy for treating diabetes since ancient times.
Bilberry was recommended for diabetics, as the constituents in berries help in improving the strength and integrity of blood vessels and reduces damage to the vessels associated with diabetes and other diseases, such as atherosclerosis. The berries contain flavonoids, the compounds found in the pigment of several plants. The flavonoid anthocyanin protects body tissues, particularly the blood vessels from oxidizing agents in the blood.
Bilberry preparations are also useful in treating eye conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, degeneration, night blindness, and degeneration of macula. (by

Yoga and Ayurvedic cure for constipation

Constipation is the result of malfunctioning of digestive system. There are several reasons attributed to constipation, the main ones being wrong eating habits and unhealthy sleep patterns, and emotional stress. These tend to disrupt the free flow of ‘prana’ (Sanskrit word for ‘vital life’) in the body. As this flow gets disrupted, prana gets accumulated within the body, which, in-turn, disturbs the movement of ‘apana vayu’ (which governs the eliminative functions) thereby disturbing the bowels.
Yoga and Ayurveda offer natural cure to constipation. These simple yogic poses could help in healing constipation when practised regularly.
Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation): Surya Namaskar is an ancient system of Indian exercise. It is more of a prayer in motion. Surya Namaskar consists of a sequence of 12 poses performed together continuously with synchronized breathing.
Surya Namaskar activates almost all the glands of endocrinal system. Due to this internal activation, the pituitary, thyroid, pancreas, adrenal and other glands begin secretion of respective hormones in normal way. This posture rectifies any disorders of pancreas and liver, while curing constipation, indigestion, acidity, flatulence and intestinal disorders. It also takes away extra weight of abdominal area and strengthens spinal cord.
Dhanurasana (Bow pose): The asana is so named, as when performing this asana, the body takes the shape of a tensed bow. This asana has several benefits and is a combination of two asanas (Bhujangasana and Shalabasana). It helps strengthen kidneys, back muscles, thigh muscles, and is extremely beneficial for diabetics and for constipation problems. This pose clears the toxins in Kidneys, with even the urinary tract getting cleared due to removal of toxins. The digestive system is stimulated, relieving problems of digestion, thereby clearing constipation problems, flatulence and other digestion-related problems.
Agnisaar Kriya: This is a cleansing technique, which draws its name from Agni (fire), saar (essence) and kriya (action). Fire is the essential element of digestion, and this cleansing action stimulates this fire for digestion to work at optimum level.
To perform this asana, stand and bend forward slightly from the waist while keeping back straight. Rest your hands on your knees or just above in such a way that the back is not strained. Ensure that arums are straight. Breathe deeply. Exhale by fully contracting the abdomen so that air is expelled. Hold breath in this position, contract or ‘flap’ abdominal muscles in and out. But, this should be done rapidly in exhaled position without inhaling. Do this as many times as possible, and take a slow, deep breathe inside.
Agnisaar Kriya is excellent for health of abdominal organs and the digestive system. It works wonders for sluggish liver and kidneys, removes gastro-intestinal complaints such as hyperacidity and indigestion, massages abdominal organs, and is an excellent practise to develop control over the sluggish abdominal muscles and diaphragm.
Other specific recommended asanas for relief from constipation are Pavanamukta Asana, Trikonasana, Halasana, Tadasana, Mastyasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Pranayama – Bhastrika with kumbhaka, Uddiyana Bandha, and Mulabandha.
Apart from the said asana and pranayama, practice of yoga nidra, concentration and meditation, yields best result.
Ayurveda recommends the following as good aids for relief from constipation.
Take the pulp of the Amaltas fruit and equal quantity of tamarind (half a teaspoon each) and soak them overnight. Mash them in the residue water and remove the seeds. Filter the preparation and drink the liquid one hour after dinner. This when done at a stretch of one month, relieves constipation.
Supplement your daily diet with coconut oil. Coconut oil could be used for cooking or baking or can be added to salads and dressings. This is considered as the easiest constipation cure.
Drinking plenty of water, green leafy vegetables, fruit, sprouted cereals, grapes, guava, papaya, orange, dates, spinach, coconut, methi seeds, cabbage, apple, cucumber, beetroot, carrot, tomato are the best diets for constipation.
Raw spinach juice when taken in the morning regularly cures even chronic constipation. Other home remedies include Triphala powder, raisins, wheat grass juice, lemon juice in warm water, Wood Apple, Figs and Walnut, all help in clearing motion. (by

lunedì 25 luglio 2011

Eyes – Main Windows to the Brain

The eyes are the windows to the brain is a very profound statement that was once made by Guruji Iyengar. This one statement opened my eyes to the way I looked at my own self as well as the world. 
We generally associate our eyes with the ability to see the outside world. But, we rarely realize that a lot can be perceived about ourselves through our eyes. An emotional turmoil or anger is easily communicated through our eyes. Calmness and tranquility in the hearts and minds of evolved beings is also expressed through their eyes.  
A stern glance by the mother can stop the child from mischief. Eyes indeed do communicate much more than words! The eyes see what is happening around us as well as let others perceive what is happening within us. But the eyes are much more that a two-way doorway of communication. 

It is through the eyes that we can control the brain and enhance our powers of concentration. As the eyes express our emotions and state of the brain, we can even ‘alter’ the state of the brain and the emotions through the medium of the eyes. Parents and teachers are working hard to get children to concentrate on their studies. But, it is not always possible to get the child to concentrate. 

The child can sit in front of a book for hours but nothing may be observed by the child. ON the other hand, he can be focused and study the same thing in a span of few minutes. Always remember that when the eyes are focused, then the brain is also focused. 

Various asanas teach us the art of focusing the eyes and through that the brain. Take the example of Vrikshasana or Virabhadrasana III. Both these asanas involve balacing the body on one leg. If the eyes wander then the individual finds it very difficult to balance in this asasna. He can learn to balance for longer durations of time by keeping the eyes focused at one point. 

Developing this ability to focus the eyes through the practice of asnas, teaches one how to converge ones attention to a point. Then, one learns the art of living in the present and not reminiscing about the past or dreaming of the future. Philosophers talk about living in the present but we need to learn the methodology of living in the present. As Guruji says Yoga teaches us to live in the moment and not in the movement of the moment. 

Gradually, as the art of focusing is learnt, one naturally becomes more efficient in one’s work and children in their studies. Thus, the quality of learning to focus on the task at hand can be cultivated with the regular practice of yoga. 

Concentration (dharana) is also an integral part of ashtanga yoga. Sage Patanjali satates desa bandha chittasya dharana which means that concentration is the fixing of attention on one point or region within the body or outside the body. Asana practice teches us to fix our attention to a point. 

One is to develop the art of focusing through the medium of the eyes as described earlier. Secondly, the power of concentration can be developed with the ability to perceive and observe carefully. All and sundry can observe gross things but it requires a special faculty to observe the subtle. This faculty can be cultivated. For example, while practicing even a simple sasana like Tadasana, we need to observe how the feet are placed. Are both the feet kept in line? Is the touch ob both the feet uniform on the floor? If so, is the contact of the inner and outer edges of the feet uniform? 

IS the weight of the body distributed uniformly on the entire foot? Mist often, one tends to be more on the frontal part of the foot and the frontal part of the thigh. Such observations develop the power of focus. These observations should be reflected and then acted upon. If we observe that the weight is not uniformly distributed on the front and the back of the foot in the simplest of asana, Tadasana, then one needs to act to get it uniformly distributed. 

Similarly, one can observe and feel the alignment in the rest of the body. Such reflective actions cannot be performed if the mind is wandering. The practitioner automatically develops the quality of concentration. The faculty of focus and concentration in the practitioner is enhanced as one works in a similar manner in the more difficult asanas. This is how one can become more efficient in the task at hand by regular practice of yoga. (by

Music Therapy effective in tackling neurological disorders

Music Therapy is slowly gaining ground in India, as a potential supplement for management of neurological disorders, across major hospitals.
Dr. Krishnamoorthy Srinivas, Chairman-Emeritus, Institute of Neurological Sciences, Voluntary Health Services, during his lecture on ‘Music and Brain’, said that although the practice of healing with music may not be well entrenched in India, as it is in the west, “we are surely on the way”.
He also endorsed the recommendation of Liver Sacks, the neurologist-author of the revered “Musicophilia’, about establishing Music Therapy clinic at all major hospitals. Although the benefit of Music Therapy is more real than illusory, it would be a myth to consider it as a panacea.
Pointing out to Western studies, and to his own research on neurology patients, he reinstated the clinical utility of music. A Harvard study demonstrated that children who turned into music did better in their academic performance, while a Chennai-based study led by Dr. Srinivas himself, revealed that exposure to music prompted a set of willed actions, such as the need to be attentive, to perform specific tasks, and to exercise choice. The result is true for any form of music, which the listener finds soothing enough.
Another finding as revealed by the UK-based Journal of Clinical Nursing, suggests that Music Therapy can reduce psychological stress among pregnant women.
To prove this fact, researchers from the College of Nursing at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan, randomly assigned 116 pregnant women to a music group, while 120 pregnant women were assigned to a control group. At the end of the study period, the music group showed considerable decrease in their stress, anxiety and depression levels, within just two weeks, while the control group showed only a much smaller reduction in stress, anxiety and depression levels.
According to Prof. Chen, the study lead, pregnancy is a unique, stressful period for many expectant mothers, as they suffer anxiety and depression due to the prolonged time period involved. Hence any intervention that reduces these problems is to be welcomed.
“Our study shows that listening to suitable music is a simple, cost-effective and non-invasive way of reducing anxiety, stress and depression during pregnancy,” he added.
The value of Music Therapy is slowly being realized in several clinical settings, and Complementary and Alternative Therapies are increasingly being used, agrees Dr. Graeme D. Smith, Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh.
Several potential health benefits have been gained by closely incorporating Complementary and alternative therapies into conventional health care. Even the National Health Service is including several types of Complementary/Alternative therapies that are part of its delivery of integrated services.
“Patients have felt immense benefits even by incorporating half an hour of relaxing music into their daily routine. In this world of sophisticated medical advances it feels nice to see that something as simple, and inexpensive, can be so effective,” says Prof. Chen. (by

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