Some meditation practices are general in nature and meant for everybody. There are over 7 billion people in the world and we all are unique individuals. We each have our own goals, dreams, and desires that we wish to pursue and see fulfilled during this lifetime. When every single person has his or her own unique fingerprints, then it is quite obvious that we will also differ in personality. So accordingly, there will be meditation techniques to suit different moods, different needs, and requirements.
Meditation techniques such as Swaas Dhyan or Breath meditation is a simple and easy method to bring yourself back into alignment. By focusing on your breath you can easily start to build the connection between the mind and the body through this singular point of focus. This meditation requires you to sit in any comfortable position with your spine held upright. You can keep your eyes gently closed or even keep them open as you feel comfortable. Once you are settled in this position simply begin to focus on your inhalation and exhalations. If you find that your mind is wandering which is natural, you can bring it back to focus gently. Through this technique of meditation, you can slowly work on improving the way that you breathe.
The practice of Sthithi Dhyan helps to build awareness within oneself. Many people have a problem where they lack focus and awareness of their surroundings. What this practice does is that it builds your observation power and helps you to take better notice of things situations of people that you are surrounded by. This helps you to live in a more mindful way which makes you connected to the present.
SIDDHO HUM DHYAN
Siddho Hum Dhyan is an ancient yogic practise that is a meditation technique. It is considered auspicious to begin, and end your practice with Siddho Hum Dhyan. You will reap the most benefits when you practice this in a natural environment like a forest or in the mountains. It is essential to maintain a level of personal cleanliness before you sit down for this meditation technique.
This is also a highly recommended practice as this influences the rate at which your body can heal itself. Meditation techniques can improve your mood, calm your mind and help relax you. To practice this, seat yourself on a peak of the mountain in Sukhasana or any other comfortable pose that gives you the shape of a pyramid. In this position, you need to visualise a reverse triangular shield in your chest and then meditate. During the meditative process, with every inhale, this shield allows you to welcome all the positive energies of the world into you. And, as you exhale you release unwanted toxins, miseries, and negativity from within you.
It is always better to adopt a healthy sense of optimism and positivity in one’s life. But this might not always be the case with many people. Despite being blessed with an abundance of health, wealth, love, and relationships some people are constantly dissatisfied. Instead of being content with what they have, they are constantly seeking more to fill that void within them. To address and heal this issue and to make the person more positive and grateful you can practice Aarambh Dhyan or Beej/Seed Meditation. This particular technique requires you to imagine two holes. One is white representing light and the other is black representing darkness. Exhale negativity and emotions like guilt, fear, shame into this black hole and inhale lighter emotions such as gratitude, joy, and peace from the white hole.
AAKASH GANGA DHYAN
Aakash Ganga Dhyan or Galaxy Meditation is a technique where you imagine yourself as an earthen pot filling yourself up with the cosmos and becoming one with this entire universe. Similarly, there are many other techniques such as Agni Dhyan, Jal Dhyan etc. Tratak Meditation can be done either on a candle flame, the sun, moon, an object or even a black circle on a wall. In this way meditation is a universal practice for the benefit of mankind and there are so many to choose from depending on your particular requirement.
The writer is an internationally acclaimed spiritual yogic master, author and TEDx speaker.
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REPURPOSED DRUGS FOR CORONAVIRUS: PHYSICIANS PROPOSE AND WHO DISPOSES
Horace Greeley said once, “Common Sense is very uncommon!” This is all about the recently published interim report of the extended solidarity trial published in NEJM on 2 December 2020.
The article “Repurposed Antiviral Drugs for Covid-19” reported that antiviral drugs (hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, lopinavir, interferon) failed to win the race when compared to the placebo, in an assigned group of patients. WHO does not trust drugs like ivermectin, Doxy etc. Many senior microbiologists, intensivists would laugh it out arguing that these drugs would only help in controlling parasitic infestations. Harrington et al., therefore, appropriately chose a title (“A Large, Simple Trial Leading to Complex Questions”) for their argumentative editorial. They wrote- “No intervention acts on two persons in an identical fashion: patients present with different risk factors, are treated in different health care settings, and begin treatment at different stages of illness. In particular, the effectiveness of an antiviral agent can depend on whether a patient presents early (during viral pathogenesis) or later (when immunopathologic conditions or other complications may be more important).” They also pointed out the usefulness of the result of the ‘solidarity trial’ in denying the role of antiviral agents in patients who have entered the second phase of illness described as the cytokine storm. Rightly, they asked “what is a more effective timing for the use of remdesivir, and should it be used in combination with other agents? How is the course of hospitalisation affected by the type and level of care delivered in particular settings?”
This is the question of common sense: why not to use an antiviral agent when the virus is replicating? What role can they play once the war for life has entered a phase where the virus itself has been cornered?
This is the argument extended in the recovery trial against an early use of steroids, so that, not to time it with the viral replication phase. The results of the Recovery trial, however, support the use of the steroids in the late 1st and 2nd week when evidence of lung involvement is evident by rising oxygen requirement and falling SPO2 <95%. In various articles, it has been shown that viral replication in the upper respiratory tract, to a larger extent, is immunologically inert. Once the virus climbs down to the pneumocyte type II cells, its pathological journey starts and gets reciprocated by the dysregulated immunological response sequentially leading to diffuse alveolar damage, inflammatory infiltrates, microvascular thrombosis resulting in a simulating picture of adult acute respiratory syndrome. No wonder, classical findings of rising levels of interleukins 10/6, TNF α, evidence of lymphocyte exhaustion and lymphopenia, come almost hand in hand.
Drugs like Doxycycline and Ivermectin have been used rampantly in every nook and corners of northern-western India. Interestingly, ICMR is playing once bitten and twice shy. Because India was the first country that boldly adopted HCQ prophylaxis and was thoroughly criticised by Americans. The criticism came in the wake of deaths reported in Covid patients receiving HCQ. The analysis says, HCQ and also azithromycin are the potential drugs that may adversely affect the conduction system; at least 60-70% of patients with late-phase Covid, may have myocardial edema, making them a substrate for arrhythmia. Cautious use is needed. It is the CDC that allows almost no medicines in the first week of illness. India has improved in its recovery rate, remarkably from 60% to 95%. How? I keep on talking to many of my friends who were partying hard, and one after another, the whole group became Covid positive. They consulted a local physician and got a prescription of Ivermectin 24 mg, Doxy 100 mg twice a day, Zn, vit D, vit C and even favipiravir, as soon as the report was received, and recovered completely. Many patients presented with anosmia. Those who were treated with the Ivermectin, recovered within 7-10 days. I came to know about this in March but experienced it now when I became Covid-19 positive. Globally, people are experiencing good results of ivermectin use.
Therefore, there is evidence that many repurposed antivirals, antiprotozoal, anti-bacterial drugs have hidden talents to combat Covid-19 at least partially. These drugs are less harmful when one compares them to the 5-10% chance of having serious lung, heart, kidney and brain complications. Probably they need cardiac care, LMWH or antiplatelets, statins for a longer period. In nutshell, patients who recover the second or third phase, obviously are not the fittest to survive.
Jeon et al wrote, “Among the 48 drugs that were evaluated in our study, 24 drugs showed potential antiviral activities against SARS-CoV-2, with IC50 values in between 0.1 and 10 μM, few of them are as follows- tilorone, cyclosporine, chloroquine, mefloquine, amodiaquine, proscillaridin, salinomycin, ouabain, cepharanthine, ciclesonide, oxyclozanide, anidulafungin, gilteritinib, berbamine, ivacaftor, bazedoxifene, niclosamide, and eltrombopag.”
It is common sense that the first 5 days are of viral replication and subsequently a 10% chance of having an immunological vicious storm. Conversely, it is logical to use repurposed antiviral drugs when the virus is replicating and steroid only when the body is brewing cytokines, to bring a storm and lymphocytes in the backfoot.
Vaccines are illusionary, in view of the fact, the duration of trials has been accelerated too fast. Tinkering with the immune system is always a double-edged sword. Oral Polio was introduced in the 70s and fear was expressed about its association with autism. It took >20 years to convince the government in the US. Till now, the flu vaccine is not considered the safest and efficient vaccine for various reasons. We must remember that natural infection has failed to ensure long-lasting immunity. There are articles suggesting that the virus may co-exist with IgG in patients asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients.
The writer is a Pediatric cardiologist, Manipal Hospital, Delhi.
WAYS TO USE TULSI IN YOUR SUMMER SKINCARE ROUTINE
For people who hate the damp and depressing winter months, the onset of the warm weather is a time to relax and enjoy. Summer is here and it’s time to store away the heavy baggage of winter clothing, say goodbye to sweaters and jackets and usher in the pretty summer dresses. However, despite the welcome change in wardrobe and freedom to eat as much ice cream as you want, the summer season is peculiarly harsh on the skin. The scorching heat and sun exposure compounded by dust and pollution can leave your skin tanned, scarred and jittery. Most of us resort to quick bleaching sessions or use chemical-laden cosmetic products for instant tan removal. However, it is also useful to pamper and indulge your skin daily with some refreshing and nourishing home face packs ideally made of tulsi.
WHY TULSI IS BEST FOR SUMMER
Tulsi in Sanskrit means the incomparable one, and rightly so! Tulsi stands out from other herbs mainly because of the number of benefits it offers. You’ll be surprised to know that this miracle plant is not only good for our health but also for the health of our skin and hair. Owing to its healing, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, tulsi benefits the skin by preventing blackheads, acne and relieves skin infections, to name a few. Rich in vitamin K and antioxidants and packed with vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and phytonutrients, tulsi is the go-to ingredient for healthy hair and skin.
FOR DEEP CLEANSING
Environmental factors such as pollution, heat, dust and grime as well as beauty products daily can take a serious toll on the health of your skin. And, when you don’t give your skin extra care and attention by cleansing it twice a day or you carelessly sleep with your makeup on, it adds up to your skin woes, clogging pores and giving birth to several other skin-related issues such as acne and pimples. Tulsi benefits the skin by providing it with a deep-cleansing effect. It not only thoroughly removes dirt and impurities but also excess oil. If you have oily skin, then this aromatic herb is your best bet. Take a handful of tulsi leaves, crush them and add some water to make a paste. Combine an egg white to the paste and apply the mixture all over your face. Let the paste sit on your face for about 10-15 minutes before rinsing. Use this remedy twice a week for clean, clear and glowing skin.
If you have oily or sensitive skin, then protecting it from acne can be a big challenge. The antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of tulsi help purify the blood and remove toxins and bacteria from the skin. Prepare a simple face pack at home by mixing one tablespoon of tulsi leaves, one teaspoon of sandalwood powder and a few drops of rose water. Apply the pack on your face and leave it on until it dries completely. Rinse with cool water. Repeat this at least two to three times a week for effective results.
LIGHTENS YOUR SKIN TONE
Over-exposure to the sun, pollution and harsh UV rays are the main causes of uneven skin tone or hyperpigmentation. But, the good news is that tulsi can effectively lighten your skin tone. Its detoxifying effects gives relief from pollution, heat, stress as well as certain skin conditions. Tulsi contains essential oils which help nourish and moisturize the skin and improve the skin complexion. To prepare a mask, mix some tulsi leaves, gram flour and water. Apply the mixture all over your face and allow it to dry completely. Rinse with cool water. Repeat this regularly for effective results.
PREVENTS EARLY SIGNS OF AGEING
Exposure to the sun is the number one cause for accelerating the ageing process. When the skin’s natural oils get washed out, the skin tends to lose elasticity and fine lines and wrinkles start to appear. But, did you know that tulsi benefits the skin by reversing the effects of premature ageing? Yes, you read that right. Tulsi neutralizes free radicals and rejuvenates the skin, reviving the youthful glow. All you need to do is boil a few tulsi leaves in water and consume them every morning. Or, you can crush the leaves once the water cools down and have it to get the same result.
The writer is Chief Consultant & Cosmetic Surgeon, 9Muses Wellness Clinic.
CAN COVID-19 CAUSE FATAL BLOOD CLOTS?
It has been over a year and still, the entire nations continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. Are you one of them who are infected with Covid-19? Then, you will have to take extra precautions as Covid-19 can not only affect your brain, heart, or lungs but even lead to the formation of blood clots.
Many post-Covid patients encounter long-Covid symptoms after recovering from the infection. Insulin resistance, pneumonia, lung fibrosis, heart problems, and brain fog are commonly seen among post-Covid patients. But, now many people are experiencing blood clots after getting infected with Coronavirus. Yes, that’s right! Many have encountered blood clots problems and get paranoid due to it. You will be shocked to know that blood clots can lead to fatal strokes, heart attacks, and even pulmonary embolism.
Why blood clots are formed after recovering from Covid-19?
· Did you know blood clots are serious and cause damage to the brain, heart and lungs, if not treated at the right time? Moreover, one may also encounter long-term complications owing to blood clots.
· One may get blood clots when the virus causes a large amount of damage in the endothelial cells that triggers your body’s clotting mechanism. One may be at the risk of blood clotting due to the damaged tissues in the endothelial cells because of the viral infection or even the body’s immune response. Clotting is seen when the inflammatory molecules in the immune system produce a response to viral infection.
· Clotting happens in the vessels connecting to the muscles that pump the heart and cause a heart attack. Clotting forms in the visceral arteries that supply blood to various internal organs like kidneys and even the intestine. Moreover, clotting affects the limbs and can lead to loss of limbs if there is no blood circulation owing to the formation of clots. The clots tend to develop in the arteries and form in the blood vessels carrying blood from the heart through the neck to one’s brain inviting a stroke. You will be shocked to know that the clots in your veins will go up to the heart and lungs leading to pulmonary embolism.
WHO MAY ENCOUNTER THIS PROBLEM?
Those who are severely ill due to Covid-19 and are hospitalised may develop blood clots. Once having comorbidities such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity can also encounter this problem. Hence, you will have to be careful and follow all the instructions given by the doctor.
COMPLICATIONS RELATED TO BLOOD CLOTTING
Stroke due to blood clotting will lead to paralysis or pulmonary embolism wherein an artery in the lungs will get blocked due to a sudden drop in blood pressure and blood oxygen levels. Even limb ischemia is the clot in the artery of legs, deep vein thrombosis that is blood clots in veins present in the legs which cause pulmonary embolism are some of the complications seen in the patients with blood clots.
Blood thinners or an anticoagulant will prevent the formation of blood clots. However, your doctor will recommend the right kind of treatment for you. Do not self-medicate or try home remedies.
TIPS TO PREVENT BLOOD CLOTS
You will have to keep moving from time to time, to avoid blood clots. Do not sit for a longer time or avoid sitting in one position for an extended period. Don’t forget to exercise regularly and stay healthy. Maintain an optimum weight to prevent blood clotting. Bid adieu to smoking and alcohol as smoking will give a tough time to your lungs causing blood clots.
The writer is a General Physician, Apollo Spectra Nehru Enclave, New Delhi.
CUSTOMISED BEAUTY SOLUTIONS AS ‘YOU ARE ONE OF A KIND’
Ayurveda originated in ancient India more than 5,000 years ago and is an intricate system of health and well-being. It believes that well-being can be achieved through mind-body balance and promotes natural ingredients and a balanced lifestyle. The word Ayu means life and Veda means knowledge. So literally the word Ayurveda means the knowledge of life.
The core of Ayurveda is customisation. Ayurveda believes that every person has a body constitution that is specific to him or her. Ayurveda gives a personalised solution to each individual based on prakruti, doshavastha (condition the doshas), and dhatus (tissues in the body). According to Ayurveda, prakruti is defined as body constitution or nature. It is formed by tridoshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) and is genetically determined by various factors.
By leveraging technology to capture information related to individual prakruti, new-age brands can offer the same level of customisation that was so far offered by an ayurvedic expert in an offline environment. Brands like ours have tied up with Ayurvedic experts to create a detailed questionnaire that allows them to identify individual prakruti and match it with the right product. This allows customised beauty brands to reach millions of customers all over the country without establishing a costly and time-consuming offline presence. Ayurveda as a thesis for designing beauty products has got a high level of acceptance in India and even globally. But generic Ayurveda inspired products can’t deliver efficacy. It is the customised approach of Ayurveda that distinguishes it from the rest of cosmetic beauty brands on a shelf both digital and virtual.
The journey of customising beauty regimes would begin with customers taking questions that give brands insight into their actual skin and hair problems. Sometimes the doshas fall out with each other due to the quality of water, location, the air we breathe in addition to our lifestyle. If we have to leverage tech, the data inputs have to be precise and hence the questions have to be extremely well-framed so that with each answer, the Ayurveda expert gets to know you better.
This has to be followed up by a rigorous feedback cycle. Unlike offline environments where the feedback cycle is often very long and in many cases broken, online brands can collect feedback faster and use them not only in further improving the product efficacy but also quickly identifying emerging problem areas and creating new Ayurvedic products. Many D2C brands are taking this approach as it gives them the flexibility of making changes in their products, and learning directly from the customer without increasing operational expense. Once you have understood your market and customers well, D2C brands can also explore the marketplace route as by then you would have reached a certain maturity in your business cycle, stabilised cost of running operations, and clocking revenues along with being a well-known brand name.
We believe, customisation doesn’t stop at hair or skincare, overall wellness of the body and a healthy mind form the basis of Ayurveda inspired customised beauty regime. There is a legit opportunity in customised wellness regimens which should consist of a personalised range of detox and gut health supplements to suit individual prakruti. We believe the future of wellness will be anchored around customisation as not everyone needs the same combination of herbs and in the same dosage.
The global beauty and personal care market is worth close to $500 billion and is expected to grow at a 5% CAGR by 2025. At $80 billion, the herbal beauty industry is about 17% of the overall industry. However, the share of herbal products should increase driven by demand for such products as customers embrace a more sustainable lifestyle. Increasingly consumers are demanding products that are made to suit their skin/hair/body type. Ayurvedic formulations, with their focus on herbal ingredients and a view toward customisation, are well-positioned to leverage this trend.
Therefore, while Ayurveda might be 5,000 years old, it is more than ever relevant in today’s age because of its potential to create customised beauty and wellness solutions that leverage herbal and natural ingredients.
The writer is Business Head, Vedix.
70:30 & STEP DIET: THE NEW FITNESS MANTRA
Have you been looking for ways to lose weight on Google? You need not do so anymore as the answer is quite simple – follow a ‘Step Diet’ plan. Basically, this means that you have to ‘move more and control portions’. The step diet requires you to walk 10,000 steps each day. It permits you to eat most things that you relish but you have to cut down on portion sizes by 30%. One can begin by walking 2,000 steps a day (15 minutes walk) and gradually increase the pace to 10,000 steps per day (burning a minimum of 400 to 500 calories per day). By walking on the treadmill at a speed of 4.5 mph for 30 minutes, the average individual would burn about 150 calories. Eating more consciously is an important part of this diet. For example, by skipping guilty pleasures such as that extra bowl of ice cream at night, a serving of aloo pakoras, or coke, one would further cut down their calorie intake by 300 to 375 calories. A simple way to maintain fitness is by following the 70:30 principle – i.e., fitness is 70% of what we eat and 30% of exercise.
The daily calories intake for a normal individual, as recommended by the USDA, is 2000 calories/day. For a successful weight loss of 0.5-1 kg, a calorie deficit of about 500 to 1000 per day is recommended. For healthy weight loss, exercise sessions should be a mix of strength training and cardiovascular training, not only cardio. Both modes of exercise burn calories, which in turn leads to stored fat being used as a source of energy.
By walking 10,000 steps a day and by making small dietary changes, we can address the obesity of our nation. Moreover, in the current Covid pandemic situation, as most of the citizens are advised to remain home, one tends to turn into a couch potato. Research shows that people who are leading a sedentary lifestyle (< 5000 steps/day) or are almost inactive (<2000 steps/day), are at a higher risk of severe Covid-19 disease.
THE STARVATION MODE
People often experience a point in their weight loss journey when the needle on the weighing scale stops falling lower and they get demotivated and give up. This phase is called ‘the starvation mode’ where the body tends to resist weight loss as we are eating lesser than earlier. The brain thinks that it might not get sufficient food and would have to starve and starts to conserve the food that we eat in the body. It instructs the body to store food in the form of fat, which is why weight loss plateaus after the successful shedding of a few pounds. To avoid going into ‘starvation mode’, strength training is essential. It speeds the metabolism back up and one keeps losing weight steadily.
Hence, by walking 10,000 steps a day and a minimum of 15 minutes of strength training, at least four times a week, one can push past plateaus and achieve the ultimate goal of weight loss, instead of a fad crash diet which helps to shed more of water and muscle weight (protein) initially but leads to a relapse of lost weight once the diet is terminated. It is quite straightforward if followed routinely. One need not run marathons to control weight, rather, strap on a smartwatch, lace up a pair of sneakers and put one foot in front of the other. Yes, you need to be more active!
The writer is Senior Physiotherapist, Aster RV Hospital.
HOW TO MANAGE HAEMOPHILIA PATIENTS DURING PANDEMIC
The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has hit full force. Apart from people infected by the condition, those with diseases, particularly rare ones like haemophilia, have been particularly affected. This is because most hospitals are occupied with Covid-19 patients and visiting them in these times is fraught with risk. The onus, therefore, falls on the patients and their families at home to take precautions and manage the condition. Apart from keeping their vitals under check, they should also consult their healthcare providers in case of any Covid-19-like symptoms. There is a need to raise awareness about haemophilia as well as managing it during the ongoing pandemic.
Haemophilia is a rare genetic bleeding disorder in which the blood does not clot properly. As a result, a person suffers from spontaneous bleeding and may bleed for a longer time following an injury. This occurs due to the absence of clotting factors that are required to stop the bleeding. The intensity of the condition depends on the amount of clotting factor present in the blood.
Haemophilia is of three types: A, B, and C, and the difference between the three lies in the deficiency of a specific factor.
Females are carriers of haemophilia. It is not a life-threatening disorder unless the bleeding extends into a vital organ. However, it can be severely debilitating and there is no known cure for this disorder. About a third of new cases are caused due to a new mutation of the gene in the mother or the child. In cases where the mother is a carrier and the father does not have the disorder, there is a 50% chance of the male child having haemophilia and a 50% chance of the female child being a carrier. One should see a doctor in case the following symptoms show up – a severe headache, repeated vomiting, neck pain, blurred or doubled vision, extreme sleepiness, and continuous bleeding from an injury.
Under the current scenario, patients with haemophilia should also practice preventive measures against Covid-19. This includes rigorous hand hygiene and social distancing to avoid any external contact. For children with haemophilia, parents can undertake home therapy with guidance from their specialist through teleconsultation. This becomes important for both the treatment and prevention of bleeding. This will not only reduce the existing burden on healthcare centres but also allow patients to stay away from the risk of acquiring infections. In case of any emergency situation, it is imperative to keep the bleeding disorder card/disease status handy.
Some other general tips for haemophilia patients are as follows:
• Adequate physical activity can help maintain body weight and improve muscle and bone strength. However, avoid physical activity that can cause injury and resultant bleeding
• Avoid blood-thinning medication such as warfarin and heparin. It is also better to avoid over-the-counter medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen
• Clean your teeth and gums thoroughly. Get tips from your dentist on how to do this without making the gums bleed
• Get tested for blood-borne infections and get your doctor’s advice on hepatitis A and B vaccinations
In case of any complications, one should reach out to the treatment centre so that bleeding episodes can be managed. The centre can also help provide inputs on preventing Covid infection.
The writer is President, Medical Services, Portea Medical.
Under the current scenario, patients with haemophilia should also practice preventive measures against Covid-19. This includes rigorous hand hygiene and social distancing to avoid any external contact. For children with haemophilia, parents can undertake home therapy with guidance from their specialist through teleconsultation. This becomes important for both the treatment and prevention of bleeding. This will not only reduce the existing burden on healthcare centres but also allow patients to stay away from the risk of acquiring infections.
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