News on Health & Science

Help, I Can’t Breathe…

More and more people today are complaining thus, be it summer, monsoon or winter. And it’s not surprising ; the global incidence of asthma is steadily rising. In India, between 5 and 25 per cent of the population is affected. The wide variation is because statistics are difficult to come by. There is very little unbiased documentation about the true incidence of asthma using instruments and lung function tests...… & see
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Asthma — now called reactive airways disease — tends to run in families prone to allergy. Some members wheeze, some sneeze while others may have itchy, red skin lesions. Wheezing may be present all the year round with varying degrees of severity. Attacks may also come and go, precipitated by cigarette smoke, chemicals in the air (mosquito repellents, room fresheners), infections (particularly viral), medication (aspirin, ibubrufen) or food additives (dyes, preservatives), with symptom-free intervals… & see

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Air enters the body through the main air vessels — the bronchi, which branch out into the lungs as bronchioles. If they are irritated, they secrete mucous which narrows them. In normal people, the bronchioles relax when this occurs so a slight cough expels the obstructing plugs of mucous. In allergic people, the bronchioles constrict further, trapping the mucous and causing a feeling of suffocation… & see

Symptoms usually start with a tight feeling around the chest and a cough. But there is no sputum, the cough is ineffective and fails to relieve the feeling of breathlessness and suffocation. More severe, hacking and ineffective cough then sets in.

Doctors do not like to tell a patient or a parent that there is “wheezing” — the latter tend to equate it with asthma and fear chronic lifetime debility. Others confuse it with tuberculosis or primary complex. Neither is true. Wheezing is treatable and the person can lead a normal life.

The mainstay of treatment is bronchodilators, which open up the narrowed bronchi. If a direct delivery system is used, the drug goes straight into the lungs. Nebulisers, inhalers and rotahalors are freely available and efficient. Nebulisers require electricity to work and are not portable. Inhalers and rotahalors can be carried around. Inhalers, unlike rotahalors, require a certain amount of breathing co-ordination to be affective. In young children and the elderly, they become efficient only when combined with a spacer and facemask.

For an acute attack, salbutamol is usually sufficient. If there are repeated attacks, interfering with sleep at night, long-term treatment is needed. There are long-acting medications like salmeterol. When delivered to the lungs, it opens up the airways. This must be combined with a steroid like fluticosone. It prevents the local inflammatory reaction, decreases mucous secretion and helps keep the airways open.

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Tablets and syrups do work eventually to control wheezing. They need to reach the stomach, get absorbed, reach the blood and eventually the lungs. They are more likely to produce side effects like nausea, vomiting and tremors. The onset of action is also slow.

Some lifestyle modifications may help to control the disease. Obesity contributes to the severity and frequency of attacks. The “pot belly” reduces the capacity of the lungs, as it tends to push them upwards. The BMI (body mass index) — weight divided by the height in metre squared — must be as close to 23 as possible.

Aerobic exercises like fast walking, jogging, swimming, skipping or stair climbing improve lung function and capacity.

Avoid known allergens that are likely to precipitate attacks. It may be airborne chemicals, like those in mosquito mats, coils and liquids. These should not be used anywhere in the house, as the smoke tends to permeate easily. Some allergens may be present in food or medication. If an attack seems to be precipitated by ingestion of a particular substance, it’s better to avoid it than search for a cure. Desensitisation is offered in some clinics but it’s a laborious and expensive process.

Stop smoking and as far as possible stay away from smokers.

People with reactive airways have poor breathing technique. This can be improved with exercises taught by physiotherapists and yoga teachers. Videos are available on the Internet. Proper breathing techniques go a long way towards improving lung capacity and reducing the duration, frequency and severity of attacks.

Hand-held devices called spirometers are available to measure the amount of air you breathe in and out. These are inexpensive. By documenting the readings daily, it is possible to anticipate an attack and take prophylactic action.

Always use the nebuliser, inhaler or rotahalor as directed. Sometimes a single dose at night may prevent lung damage and keep the lung capacity at a satisfactory level.

Source:The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)


Meditation(Mental Exercise)

According to Swami Vishnu Devananda, meditation is  .a continuous flow of perception or thought, just like the flow of water in a river.” A practice wherein there is constant observation of the mind, meditation brings awareness, harmony and natural order into life. It helps you dig deep into your inner self to discover the wisdom and tranquility that lie within.

Principles of Meditation

The basic points to be kept in mind in practicing meditation are :

1.Have a special place and specific time for meditation. Try doing it daily.

2.Choose a time when your mind is not clouded with worries.

3.Sit up straight with your back, neck and head in one line. Facing north or east.

4.Condition your mind such so as to remain quiet for the duration of your meditation session.

5.Regulate your breathing. Start with 5 minutes of deep breathing. Then gradually slow it down.

6.Follow a rhythmic breathing pattern – inhale and exhale.

7.Initially let your mind wander. It grows more restless if you force to concentrate.

8.Then slowly bring it to rest on the focal point of your choice.

9.Hold your object of concentration at this focal point throughout your session.

10.Meditation happens when you reach a state of pure thought. Even while retaining an awareness of duel self.

Followed diligently you will soon be able to attain a super-conscious state.

Tips on Concentration

1.At the outset, it is hard to keep your attention to keep focussed on one object.

2.So it is better to start off by limiting your field of concentration to a category of objects.

3.Choose your objects with care e.g. any four flowers, fruits, trees…etc. You must feel at ease with what you choose.

4.After concentrating on one, you can move on to the next, if & when your mind starts wandering.

This style of meditative exercise will help you control your mind down to a finer focus, teaching you the principle of single point concentration.

Meditative Postures:-

Yoni Mudra

Yoni Mudra:…….CLICK  &  SEE

1.Close your ears with thumbs.

2.Cover your eyes with your index finger.

3.Close your nostrils with your middle fingers.

4.Press your lips together with your remaining fingers.

5.Release the middle fingers gently to inhale and exhale while you meditate
Frontal & Nasal Gazing:-

1.Gaze at a point between your eyebrows, seat of the ‘Third Eye’ or at the tip or your nose.

2.This would improve your level of concentration. At the same time, strengthening your eye muscles. Nasal gazing has a positive effect on the central nervous system.

3.Remember not to strain your eyes. Start with one minute of gazing and then slowly build it up to ten minutes.

Candle Gazing

1.Place a candle at eye-level in a darkened, draught-free room.

2.Close your eyes and hold an after-image of the bright flame.

3.The practice steadies the wandering mind, leading you to focus with pin-point accuracy.
Meditation is an ancient technique to revive your weary soul and help you deal effectively with stress, and helps you rediscover a sense of profound peace and inner calmness.

Meditation is a state of consciousness that can be understood only on a direct, intuitive level.

Ordinary experiences are limited by time, space, and the laws of causality, but the meditative state transcends all boundaries.

Meditation is a natural state of consciousness that isn’t learned, any more than one learns to sleep. When the mind becomes one-pointed and steady, it will naturally go beyond the normal mundane awareness into the state referred to as Meditation.

How to Meditate ?


Please sit down comfortably, spine erect, head straight. Hands on the top of the knees or in the lap, wherever comfortable. Eyes closed. For a few moments become aware of the whole body from the top of the head to the toes. Experience open space within the body.

Imagine the whole body to be in the form of flame. First see the symbol of the flame in front of the closed eyes; see the flame in chidakasha.

Gradually experience the radiating light of the flame spreading throughout the body, purifying the body, illuminating each and every part of the body. The whole body becomes one with the light. Each and every cell of the body becomes one with the light. There is no part of the physical body where darkness can exist. Each and every cell of the body is infused with the light. Experience the whole body in the form of pure light.

At first this is a process of imagination, but with concentration, the feeling develops. The body then responds to that feeling and one can actually see the radiance internally. Try to experience and feel that radiance now within yourself. See yourself filled with light internally and surrounded by light externally. Continue to observe yourself in the form of light and mentally repeat the mantra OM with every inhalation and exhalation. With total awareness repeat the mantra internally. Do not miss a single breath and repeat the mantra OM with every inhalation and exhalation. Merge yourself completely in the repetition of the mantra and the experience of light within. Now inhale deeply and chant OM three times.