The rise in air pollution, coupled with lousy lifestyle habits, is causing a spike in respiratory diseases. According to a Lancet report, the contribution of chronic respiratory diseases in India increased from 4.5 per cent in 1990 to 6.4 per cent in 2016. With respiratory issues on the rise, there is an increased demand for natural solutions to treat such issues. Instead of conventional medicine, people are turning to alternative medical therapies to find cures for ailments.
Common Lung Disorders
Bronchitis is a health condition that causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs. This leads to narrowing of the air pathways and excess mucus causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. It is a chronic condition that interferes seriously with daily life.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
It is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that obstructs the airflow to the lungs. Symptoms of COPD include breathing difficulty, mucus (sputum) production, coughing, and wheezing. It can result from long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. Those affected by COPD are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other conditions.
This is another variation of COPD. Bronchitis causes a similar build-up of mucus that can cause inflammation and coughing. The lungs' airways are constantly inflamed as chronic bronchitis often lasts for months on end. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include incessant coughing, whistling sounds while breathing, wheezing and a tightening of the chest.
It is said that the cure for all ailments is available the natural way. Here are some of the alternative medicine approaches to treat respiratory disorders.
Alternative Medicinal Approaches to Treat Respiratory Disorders
Asthma is one of the most common lung diseases. One of the primary causes of asthma is allergies, which often result from the food consumed. It is crucial, therefore, to first prepare a diet that is suitable for an individual. Often, dairy products, meats, and certain nuts can increase the production of mucus.
Foods like these must be avoided. Also, antioxidants can prevent damage resulting from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Diet is important in this regard, as fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins A, C, and E can improve the condition of COPD patients.
Yoga and Exercise
Treatment of lung disorders often involves the use of the lungs to promote healthy breathing habits. Exercises like cycling, swimming, yoga etc. that create a need for full capacity breathing are of great importance. Exercising the diaphragm is important and simple activities can go a long way in the treatment of the same.
Pranayama, the practise of controlled breathing, is an integral part of alternative treatment for people suffering from respiratory issues. This extensive breathing practice helps to expand the lungs and improve the capacity of the lungs, which helps an individual breathe more freely.
Nasal irrigation systems like JalNeti using a Neti pot can help to rinse the sinuses, which may provide some relief from symptoms of respiratory allergies.
The traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate certain parts of the body. According to a study published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, people with allergic rhinitis who were given acupuncture treatments twice a week for eight weeks had fewer symptoms than those administered placebo.
It is important to remember that no one complementary or alternative therapy works well for everyone with respiratory issues. Therefore, a proper assessment is done before deciding on the approach to the treatment plan. For those considering alternative medicine for their respiratory problems, it is recommended to speak to an expert first and discuss the approach that may work best. (Vinoda Kumary, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute)
Read More► Heartfulness Meditation Helps in Reducing Stress, Reveals Study
Different seasons of the year bring with them unique benefits for the mind, body and for our moods. It may be easier to wake up in the mornings during summer versus waking up in the winter which is much harder to do. When it comes to exercising, motivating yourself during cold days to get out of your cosy and comfortable bed will be a task in itself. However, for those who are aspiring to lose weight and get fitter here is some motivation for you to keep going with your exercise during the winter season.
Exercising during the winter can actually burn more calories than when you exercise in summer. Your endurance can also be increased during winter because the heart needs to work less you also sweat less making your workout more efficient.
Himalayan Siddha Grand Master Akshar shares 6 ways that you can exercise and keep up with your fitness game even during cold winter days.
Walking/ Running/ Jogging
Start your exercise routine with a brisk walk or maybe you could take a jog or run around your neighbourhood block. These are cardiovascular activities that pump up your heart rate and get you ready both mentally and physically for your upcoming workout session.
After your jog or run make sure that you spend a few minutes on stretching. Experts recommend that you stretch before and after your workout as this readies your muscles keep them safe from injury and also effectively improves your chance of getting leaner and more toned.
In yoga, Surya Namaskar also known as the sun salutation is considered to be a complete body workout. The Surya Namaskar is comprised of eight different postures that are sequenced in a 12 step flow. It starts from the right side and needs to be completed on both sides for a complete cycle. If you are a beginner you can start with 3-5 cycles and gradually increase it to 11, 21 and so on. Practising this sequence early in the morning will boost vitamin D in your body d and bring many physical as well as mental health benefits.
Pranayama is a breathing exercise that can be performed to gain many health benefits for both mind and body. During winter techniques such as Kapalbhati Pranayama and Khand Pranayama are suggested for you.
There are many meditation techniques that you can practice regularly such as Sthiti Dhyan, Swaas Dhyan, Aarambh Dhyan etc. Here is a simple and powerful meditation technique to build positivity.
Prarthana Dhyan (Prayerful Meditation)
Sit down in any comfortable posture
Join your palms in front of your chest to form Pranam Mudra
Straighten your back and close your eyes
Frame and repeat positive affirmations aloud or silently
End your workout session with complete mind-body relaxation in the form of Anandasana. Relaxing the body is as important as exercising as this gives your body the chance to rest, recover and recoup.
Formation of the Posture
Lie down in a prone position on a comfortable surface or on your yoga mat.
Close your eyes.
Let your legs relax completely and place them at a distance that is comfortably apart.
Let your ankles drop, and keep your toes are facing sideward.
Place your arms alongside your body and slightly apart. Make sure your palms are lying open to the sky and facing upwards.
Starting from your toes, bring your attention to every area of your body. Use deep breaths to lull your body into a deep state of relaxation.
Maintain awareness so you do not fall asleep in the process.
To recover from the posture, gently roll to one side (right) with your eyes closed. Slowly push the floor to come 9. up and sit in Sukhasana.
Anandasana can be done after you complete your physical practice, and when you are tired, it helps to completely relax your body. This pose requires you to concentrate, and focus on your breath. When you are in this posture, try to take deeper and faster breaths.(By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
Read More► Yoga As a Self-Care Ritual
A very common tip to improve heart health is to exercise regularly. But what form of exercise is best for the heart and how much exercise is too much? There have been several myths about the impact of exercise on the heart, while some sound reasonable, there are many that are inaccurate. One such myth is that one should avoid exercising after a heart attack.
Avoiding exercise for the first few weeks after a heart attack may be advised. However, studies show that supervised exercise helps in improving the outcome for all patients. It is important to note that after a heart attack, one should begin a regular activity program to reduce the chance of additional heart problems. Most patients are provided with a prescription for cardiac rehabilitation which entails an exercise program, diet instruction, educational classes on lifestyle changes and emotional support through a peer support group.
While everyone recovers at a different pace, here are a few guidelines that one may follow to get started:
Consult your doctor before starting exercise. Based on your heart disease, condition, heart function (ejection fraction), rhythm etc. Your doctor will give you an exercise prescription.
It is best to start slow. Once, you get used to walking regularly, you can increase your pace gradually over time. If shortness of breath is felt, it is best to slow down the walking pace.
Exercise should always be done in 3 phases warm-up, peak exercise and cool down, please.
What helps is walking at a moderate pace for the first 10 minutes the first time and each day tries to a few minutes more. At the end of the month aim to walk for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
It is important to keep in mind that one should cool down after finishing the exercise by gradually walking at a slower pace for the last 3 minutes.
If the patient walks outside the house, as a precaution they should walk with someone or in short distances close to home so they do not get too far away.
One should drink a glass of water to prevent dehydration before you start walking.
Choose an exercise or an activity that you enjoy doing. For example, walking, cycling, aerobics, etc.
Doctors' advice should be taken before lifting heavyweights.
Exercise should be done regularly to ensure benefits. 6 days a week of exercise is advisable.
Exercising at the same time daily is important to establish a habit. It also minimizes any variable that may impact the exercise.
If any symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest discomfort, palpitation occur and does not go away, one should stop the exercise and notify the doctor.
There are several changes that take place after a heart attack like energy levels and medications. This affects exercise tolerance. Therefore it is important to keep the exercise expectation day to day as one goes through the healing process.
If a patient does not go through cardiac rehabilitation, they should begin with gentle exercise after a heart attack. The amount of exercise that is advised to each patient will depend on how active the patient was before the cardiac event and how severe the event was. Overall, one must keep in mind that they should start exercising as soon as they can after a heart attack to get the energy and strength back.
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We know that exercising is the best way to keep the body and mind fit and healthy. But exercise does more than that! It also acts as an immunity booster. The good news is that you do not have to do heavy exercises for long hours to strengthen your immune system.
Here are five simple exercises recommended by InterMiles that can get the job done. Check out these impactful immunity-boosting exercises to do at home:
If you find it difficult to fit an hour-long workout in your schedule, but want to keep active, add this simple exercise to your daily routine. Walking has several health benefits the heart stays fit, muscle endurance is improved, bones get stronger, body fat is reduced, high cholesterol can be managed and the body's defense mechanism gets better. People of any age can participate in this without any difficulty. Opt for power walking to reduce fat, a casual stroll for a more relaxed feel or marathon walking for high-impact results. With so many health benefits, walking undoubtedly ranks high on the immunity boosting workout checklist.
Jumping jacks are an amazing workout to boost immune system. It is one of the easiest workouts to do from the comfort of your home. All you need to do is add a bit of variation to this immunity power exercise to boost up your fitness regime. Doing so will not only promote stability but also strengthen your immune system. Here are some variations for you to include in your fitness plan: step jack, basic jumping jack, press jack, squat jack, plyo jack, crossover jack, skier jack and seal jack. Adding 20 minutes of this session to your routine will be enough.
Squats are one of the most popular exercises among fitness enthusiasts. When done regularly, this exercise can tone your legs and strengthen your glutes and muscles. There is no better exercise to work your lower body than squats. In addition, this activity also boosts blood circulation in the body. All you have to do is get the posture correct. Once you excel in the form, you will never skip a leg again. Switch it up with some variations to have a lasting impact. Overhead squat, landmine squat, front squat, split squat and jump squat are some of the more popular ones that you can try. Add some weights to your squats and you will burn calories quicker than ever.
Any list of exercises for the immune system is incomplete without Pilates. They are great for building flexibility, strength and immunity. Pilates promotes muscle development, flexibility, core strength, energy, weight loss and increases joint motions. That is not all! It also improves body posture. A pilates workout can generally take anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour to perform. But you can also perform the shorter ones when you are short on time. Although optional, you can get hold of a yoga mat for better comfort.
Not many workouts engage so many muscles at the same time as a plank does! It is also the best exercise to tone your abs. Beginners or experts, this simple exercise is for all of us to strengthen our arms, shoulders and backs. This activity can be completed within a minute or two. Just balance your body and hold it in position for a minute. If you are someone who can do it longer, go for it! Or you can take breaks and start afresh. Although a bit challenging, with practice you can do it in one go. Include its variations for a fun routine. Side star plank, reverse plank, extended plank and low plank arm reach can be the best ones to begin with.
Now that you have a list, try taking out some time for these exercises from your daily schedule and do them at home. For an even more comfortable and fun time, you can shop online and invest in some workout equipment.
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New York, Aug 16 (IANS) Regular exercise, even performed in areas with air pollution, can reduce the risk of death from natural causes, a new study suggests.The study, published in the journal CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), indicates that a higher level of regular exercise compared with inactivity was beneficial, even in polluted areas, although less exposure to pollution was better."Habitual exercise reduces the risk of death regardless of exposure to air pollution, and air pollution generally increases the risk of death regardless of habitual exercise," said researcher Xiang Qian Lao from the Chinese University of Hong Kong."Thus, habitual exercise should be promoted as a health improvement strategy, even for people residing in relatively polluted areas," Lao added.For the study, the team conducted a large study, over 15 years from 2001 to 2016, with 384,130 adults in Taiwan, seeking to understand the effects of regular exercise and long-term exposure to fine particle matter on the risk of death from natural causes. "We found that a high level of habitual exercise and a low level of exposure to air pollution was associated with lower risk of death from natural causes, whereas a low level of habitual exercise and a high level of exposure was associated with a higher risk of death," the researcher said.This study adds to several other smaller studies conducted in the US, Denmark and Hong Kong that found that regular exercise, even in polluted areas, is beneficial.The authors said that "further studies in areas with more severe air pollution are required to examine the applicability of our findings". "Our study reinforces the importance of air pollution mitigation, such as to reduce the harmful effects of air pollution and maximize the beneficial effects of regular exercise," the team said.--IANSvc/rs
Yoga can help you manage stress, and the best part is it does not take a lot of time. You don't have to spend hours on the mat or invest years in learning complicated postures. Instead, by simply taking out a few minutes every day, you can reduce your stress levels and improve your quality of life. A key component of yoga is that it empowers you to manifest these changes in your breath.
By changing the speed, pace, and quality of your breath, you can calm down your nervous system, thereby moving your body from a state of stress to one of relaxation. Namita Piparaiya, Yoga and Ayurveda Lifestyle Specialist, Founder -- Yoganama, shares three simple techniques that can help you:
1. Start with the Palming Technique
Palming is very useful for eye fatigue and stress from looking at a screen for long hours. Rub your palms together to find some heat, and then gently cup your eyes, creating a hollow dark space around them. Relax your forehead, eyes, and neck as you hold this for a few breaths.
You can follow this up with a gentle head massage, particularly focusing on the eyebrows, temples, and forehead. Then bring your hands in front of you as you open your eyes with a few gentle blinks looking directly at your palms. If you're doing this outdoors, you can also look far into the distance. Taking a few moments to look outside, preferably at some greenery or standing by the window and looking outside in natural light, is also very helpful.
2. Do Some Deep Breathing
When you are emotional, stressed, or physically tired, your breath becomes shallow and loses its rhythm. The good thing is that this is a two-way street. By consciously relaxing your breath and bringing it to an even pace or rhythm, you can reduce your stress levels. This is important because we spend a lot of our modern-day life in a stressed and hyper state, making it even more necessary to make time for activities that counter stress. Deep belly breathing or Diaphragmatic is just the technique you need as you can do it anytime you're on an empty stomach. Just remember not to become overly conscious of the breath and start forcing it to breathe deeply. By paying attention to the breath, you will naturally slow it down. Immerse yourself in the beautiful experience for 3 minutes, three times a day.
3. Practice Stillness
After some deep breathing, the mind naturally comes into a calmer state, and that's a great time to practice meditation. You can do this by choosing an object of meditation; it could be a deity, a symbol, an affirmation, a mantra, a chant, or even your breath. And try to spend at least 3 minutes observing the nature of your object, introspecting on its meaning, or simply trying to maintain your attention on it. For example, if you've chosen the breath as your object of meditation, try to take five slow breaths without getting distracted. If you do get distracted, which is very normal, start again at one and repeat till you've taken those five breaths with your attention intact.
In this way, you can integrate yoga into your everyday life. These techniques are simple, don't require any equipment, and can be done anywhere. But they are immensely powerful, and you will start to see the difference within a couple of weeks of practice.
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