Pain, Mental or Physical is one of the most challenging problems in the field of medicine and allied sciences.
"It is more dreadful than death and was described by John Milton as a perfect misery – the worst of all evils man can ever face."
An alternative approach to Holistic health care is one that emphasizes the interrelationship between mind, body and spirit and considers these as one entity.
Yoga Therapy or Yoga-chikitsa (Sanskrit):
An holistic treatment of a variety of physiological, psychological or psychosomatic disorders ranging from sinusitis and asthma to emotional distress through set of yogic exercises, both physical as well as mental.
Principle of Yogic Therapy:
A person’s health condition depends on himself. It lays emphasis on physical, mental and emotional balance and development of a sense of harmony in all spheres of life.
Disease is the result of an imbalance, a disruption in the body-mind complex that creates the illness.
Here the symptoms, the pathogenic factors, are not the issue. Yoga believes that the root cause lies somewhere else.
Yoga and Health - Some Findings
1)As a result of Yoga there is a significant drop in blood pressure , An increase in red blood cells, A significant change in the hematocrit values, and Increases in hemoglobin and lymphocyte counts. ...."Science Studies Yoga," James Funderburk, Ph. D., Himalayan Publishers
2)More people reported finding relief from back pain through practice of Hatha Yoga than those who saw a neurosurgeon.
Klein in "Backache Relief " New American Library, 1985, New York
3)Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD in "Alternative Medicine: What Works" (Odonian, Press) refers to both published and unpublished studies which found evidence that certain Yoga techniques improved pulmonary function, asthma, and high blood pressure.
What we do in Yoga Therapy:
We re-establish inner balance through
1. Right Postures – Asanas
These are special patterns of postures that stabilise the mind and the body through static stretchings. The nature of asanas is psycho-physical and not only physical. The two basic principles governing the performance of asanas are stability and comfort.
Cultural Postures: For proper tone of muscles, flexibility of the spine and render back and spinal muscles stronger, To stimulate proper working of the vital organs in the thoracic and abdominal cavities and regulates endocrine system.
Relaxing Postures: To provides rest to the body and mind.
Meditative Postures: To maintain the body in a steady and comfortable condition by keeping the head, neck and trunk erect.
2. Right Breathing – Pranayama
By definite breathing techniques, we can slowdown and normalize breathing and also we can control over the respiratory impulses, which form one of the channels of the flow of autonomic nerve impulses. There are different types of pranayamas, which use different permutations and combinations of breathing techniques through one or two nostrils or sometimes inspiration through the mouth.
A simple way of changing brain dominance comes to us as the result of pranayama (breathing techniques of yogis). It is possible to activate the right brain by inhaling through the left nostril only and increase left brain activity by inhaling through the right nostril. The resulting changes can be shown on an EEG.
3. Right Cleansing – Kriyas
These are purification processes, which increase the range of adaptability of the tissues forming various organs and systems, and raise the threshold of their reactivity. Kriyas bring control on different reflexes and establish psychophysiological balance. The modes of purification in the Kriyas are air, water, friction and manipulating movements. The regions of cleansing involved in various Kriyas are nasopharyngeal, orocranial, gastroaesophageal, anorectal and intestinal.
4. Right Mindset – Meditation
This is the practice involving control of the mental functions, which starts from the initial withdrawal of the senses from external objects to the complete oblivion of the external environment. Meditation is a great tranquillizer.
Meditation and Brain:
Meditation has wonderful effect on our brain and neural functions as it increases DHEA, the harmone needed for a wide range of biological functions and ability to concentrate.
One research shows that the meditating men had a 23% higher level of DHEA as the non-meditators and the meditating women had even more %age of higher level of DHEA as the non-meditator women b/w age of 40 and 50 years
Meditation and Memory & Stress:
Since Meditation can be used for stress reduction it has also a definite effect on our memory
Much of our memory may be impaired through our stress response. To combat the stress along with adrenaline, cortisol may be released into our blood stream.Cortisol uses up glucose leading to a deficit of a fuel that is constantly required by our brain. It interferes with the balance of neurotransmitters and causes a higher production of free radicals which damage brain cells directly.the University of Montreal and McGill have proven the direct damage to our cognitive functions by cortisol.