Heartfulness meditation, a simple heart-based meditation practice aimed at attaining a balanced state of mind, helps in reducing stress and improving the quality of sleep, revealed a study.
The mixed-method study was conducted by US researchers during the Covid-19 pandemic and was published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, said Heartfulness Institute, which has its global headquarters in Hyderabad.
Heartfulness meditation was associated with significant reduction in perceived stress and improvement in the quality of sleep of participants who completed the online-based meditation programme.
Kamlesh Patel, also known as Daaji, the guide of Heartfulness meditation, underlines the need to immediately address stress in one's life.
"The simple focus of life is to become better and better each day. To achieve this we need to be in a state of complete awareness about our self and raise our consciousness in tune with our true nature. Stress is the modern day ill created by our inability to focus on things that matter. Stress and its negative impact on our overall wellbeing has slowly but steadily taken control of every individual," he said.
"While we know Covid-19 as the pandemic, the build-up of stress and its ill impacts is the bigger pandemic and equally a bigger health crisis. Stress needs our urgent attention as well and in consistent practice of meditation we have the most effective vaccination to ward off stress and is the visa for living your life in joy," he added.
The study was conducted by Dr Kunal Desai, Dr Priti Parikh and Dr Alpa Desai of the Department of Internal Medicine, Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright University, Ohio, and Prof Dr Pratibha Gupta, Food Nutrition and Health Agricultural Research Development Programme, Central State University, Ohio.
Stress and lack of quality sleep are considered serious public health challenges despite modern lifestyles, comforts, and technological advances. The Covid-19 pandemic has genuinely brought attention to this pre-existing stress problem by making it significantly worse.
The study aimed to investigate whether using a virtual heart-based meditation program is associated with improved stress levels and quality of sleep. The researchers enrolled 63 participants to receive an eight-week virtually conducted Heartfulness meditation program. Of these, 36 (57 per cent) completed the entire eight weeks of the Heartfulness meditation programme.
The participants were recommended to attend a minimum of two out of a total of eight virtual trainer-guided group Heartfulness relaxation and meditation sessions each week. These sessions, conducted by one of the authors and a Heartfulness trainer (KD), included 5-7 min of relaxation followed by 20 min of meditation.
They were also provided instructions on using the phone application called 'HeartsApp' on their phones. They could connect as an anonymous seeker with a Heartfulness trainer through the application and meditate without any audiovisual interaction. They were also suggested self-practices to the best of their abilities.
"Our study showed that following Heartfulness meditation practice, PSS and PSQI improved significantly in the participants from different parts of the United States. About 31 per cent were healthcare professionals, and the entire programme was conducted virtually. Based on these observations, we propose that meditation programmes offered via virtual platforms can offer a convenient, helpful, and easily accessible tool to a large community at once to help improve the psychological wellbeing of individuals," said Dr Kunal Desai, who led the study.
"The results of qualitative analysis in our study bring a unique perspective to this aspect as we were able to show that the participants' subjective experiences strongly supported the results of the survey findings. Thus, these results enhance our understanding of how Heartfulness meditation practice helps reduce stress and improve the quality of sleep. Our qualitative analysis suggests these effects could be because a simple heart-based meditation brought a 'calming effect' in our participants, resulting in an 'inner peace'. Such an effect also resulted in inner changes in our participants, including positive thinking, accepting and empathic attitude, and an increase in awareness of one's own emotions and the needs of others."
This study adds to the existing literature supporting the benefits of Heartfulness practice, as reported by some previous studies showing the benefit of Heartfulness relaxation and meditation to reduce stress, burnout, loneliness, and improve the quality of sleep.
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After a sombre year, people all over the world are finally ushering in the festive season with more joy and hope. For many, it will also be the first time they see their extended families and loved ones in over a year. Family gatherings obviously come with feasting, food and drink, however, if you are breastfeeding your baby, then there are some foods that you might want to steer clear of.
The key to a good breastfeeding diet is simply to be on a nutritious and healthy meal plan. After the rigorous process of watching what they eat, new mothers can finally relax and eat almost everything they had to give up for nine months. But this must be done in careful moderation because a newborn baby's diet is still entirely dependent on their mother's milk. Hence, it is important to make sure that mothers eat meals that are rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin D.
The list of foods to avoid during pregnancy is long, but thankfully breastfeeding moms can eat almost anything as long it is in moderation. The following foods should be consumed in small amounts if a woman is breastfeeding.
All food items with alcohol and caffeine content should be kept to a bare minimum. Alcohol especially is tricky, because even after having waited for 2-3 hours after the consumption of a drink, a baby can be exposed to it through breast milk, and this could potentially harm an infant's development, growth, and sleep patterns. And as for caffeine, while it is much safer than alcohol, it is recommended that nursing mothers limit their intake to about 300 milligrams per day.
Chocolate can be included back in the diet, as long as it is consumed in small quantities. This is because chocolate does contain theobromine, which is a stimulant and there is a small possibility of it leading to a breastfed infant being restless and fussy. Since any nutrient from the food the mother consumes gets transformed into breast milk, care should be taken to consume avoidable food items in very small amounts.
Stress producing foods or high calorific foods should be avoided: Carbonated beverages, Caffeine, packaged fruit juices with excess sugar, Peppermint or gums, salad dressings with high sodium should be completely avoided. Processed foods are quick and easy to prepare especially when you have a baby.
However, these foods contain preservatives and additives that are toxic for the baby which should be avoided. An expecting mother is suggested to get proper rest and keep stress at bay. While postpartum stress affects many new mothers, experts suggest that managing stress and anxiety is crucial to the well-being of both the mother and her infant. Stress may lead to reduced lactation and breastfeeding issues.
Avoid binge-eating during this time, despite the erratic hours that new parents are bound to experience. Carbonated drinks and junk food cravings should be substituted with healthier food options like nuts and fruits.(Rohit Shelatkar, VP at Vitabiotics, Fitness & Nutrition Expert)
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When you become a mother, you tend to forget about your own needs because you are so focused on your child. With the baby keeping you busy all day and night, your skincare takes a backseat. It's not always changing in skin texture and looks post-pregnancy are a bad thing, but not taking care of your skin may lead to acne, melasma, stretch marks, puffy eyes, and even dark circles.
Here we are sharing simple and easy tips for you to follow, to get a glowing post-pregnancy.
As you sleep, your skin goes through a renewal cycle, by dispensing toxins and debris. So you only need a light-textured cleanser to wash your face with a face wash that is suitable for your skin type.
Take steam for 2-3 days a week, it will help you to open up your clogged pores.
Scrub & Face Pack
Use a face scrub, to remove the dead skin cells, scrub your face for like 5 minutes and wash it with normal tap water. It will help you to make your skin softer and radiant, leave the mask until it dries off.
Toner & Moisturizer
Apply toner to your face, look for clarifying toners that rebalance your pH to maintain the pH value of your skin. In the end, you only have to moisturize your face, to give hydration.
Steal Baby Products
Baby products are always mild in nature so that the baby's sensitive skin doesn't have to compromise. They are created to lock moisture in babies skin. So, you can also use them. Whether it's a body oil, lotion or cream, apply some on your skin every time you're applying them on your baby. If you do this, you can flaunt your skin, this way, you don't have to dedicate a specific time every day for your skincare.
Keep All Skincare Needs in One Place
Organize all your skincare products in one place, this organization will help you way much better than anything. Make use of your "me time" and devote it properly to pamper yourself.
Streaming Your Routine
Make a proper timetable, for your week how many days you are going to deep cleanse your skin in a week. If we talk about the baby skincare routine this is important too. As the baby's skin is too sensitive and they are interacting with such a harsh environment pollution, high temperature etc. Don't worry there are some simple and easy enough tips. Here, what you should know, with regards to bath, diapering, selecting items and that's just the beginning.
Babies need two to three baths a week in warm, not hot water to stay clean. The initial step to an extraordinary child shower is to track down the ideal temperature. Tip: Fill the bath without any more than 2 to 3 creeps of water. To keep your child from getting cold while you wash them, routinely pour cupfuls of water over their shoulders.
There are a lot of things you'll have to do for your little one when they're an infant, like changing your baby's diaper regularly, cleaning tenderly however completely each time with child wipes. Make the surface saturated yet dry simultaneously as well. There are countless myths around diaper rashes that it is caused because of the usage of diapers. But no, it is due to a lack of attention and knowledge about the correct time to change the diaper. Else it will get worse for your child.
Awareness of Products
Always read the product label before purchasing products for your infant. It's ideal to avoid chemical and alcohol-based products. Use products that are made explicitly for infants.
Newborn babies are so delicate, requiring a lot of care and attention. A single mistake or slip of mind can make things worse. Keep your infant's skin saturated, as well, so consistently have a stockpile of moisturizers around. But excessive oil can cause cradle caps, and dryness can create painful scenarios. If your child is facing such issues you need to consult a certified dermatologist.
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London- A team of researchers has discovered that the more severely a mother is infected with Covid-19, the more likely she is to experience preterm birth.
The researchers reported that the rate of preterm birth in nearly 1,000 pregnant women, who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, was a function of the severity of infection.
"The more severe the SARS-CoV-2 infection, the greater the risk of preterm birth," said researcher Roberto Romero from the Wayne State University School of Medicine in the US.
"There was a dose-dependent relationship between the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the risk of prematurity," Romero added.
For the study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the team included data from 14 National Health Service (NHS) maternity hospitals in the UK to assess the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy.
The excess rate of premature birth, they report, is largely due to medically-induced preterm birth brought about by concerns for health of the mother, such as preeclampsia.
Preterm birth, the leading cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality worldwide, is defined as one that occurs before 37 weeks of gestation.
Two-thirds of preterm births are due to the spontaneous onset of preterm labour. The remaining third is due to medical conditions that affect either the mother or the unborn baby that necessitate delivery.
The more severe the Covid-19 infection, the greater the risk of preeclampsia, a sudden increase in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy.
The condition is responsible for 76,000 maternal deaths and more than 5,00,000 infant deaths every year.
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Bhopal- A team of scientists at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have in a review identified the biomolecular relationships between Covid-19, ageing, and diabetes.
The review, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, presented that existing drugs used to treat diabetes, obesity and ageing can potentially be used to treat Covid-19. Similar naturally existing biomolecules were also explored in combination for the Covid treatment.
"There are classes of compounds such as polyphenols found in plant-based food, curcumin (found in turmeric), and resveratrol (found in grapes), have been shown to not only slow down the ageing process, but also possess anti-viral properties," said Dr. Amjad Husain, Principal Scientist, and CEO of Innovation and Incubation Center for Entrepreneurship (IICE), IISER Bhopal, in a statement.
Some other polyphenols that the researchers have identified as being useful for both Covid-19 treatment and comorbidity conditions such as diabetes and ageing may include catechins (present in green tea, cocoa and berries), procyanidins (found in apples, cinnamon and grape skin), and theaflavin (found in black tea).
The researchers also present evidence of some existing potential anti-ageing drugs such as Rapamycin that can be explored for the Covid-19 treatment because of the common biochemical pathways associated with these diseases. Another such example is a drug Metformin , which is usually used to control blood sugar.
The review showed that at the molecular level, there are intersecting pathways that are common to diabetes, ageing, and Covid-19. All three conditions are associated with oxidative stress and lowering of the immune response and complications arising from them lead to the onset of numerous other diseases such as cardiovascular disorders, eye diseases, neuropathy (nerve diseases), and nephropathy (kidney problems).
The researchers believe that an ideal therapeutic candidate for Covid-19 should be able to target the pathways that are common to diabetes, ageing and the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Further, computational studies showed that lipids present in cell membranes play an important role in coronavirus infectivity.
Natural compounds such as polyphenols may affect the binding of the virus to host receptors and the molecular interactions required for virus replication and release, thereby stopping the infection in its early stages, the team explained.
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In comparison to adults, children are prone to getting traumatized by troubling events easily, and this makes it important for parents to help their children when the times are tough. It could be a brutal accident, an unprecedented pandemic, a violent crime, or other disasters but with the right parental support, children have a higher chance of coming out stronger from an awful situation.
few tips wherein you can assist your child when tough times comes calling:
Every child responds differently to disturbing events: What children feel about a current disaster in their life and how they react to it can come and go in waves. Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. There's no absolute "right" or "wrong" way to feel after a traumatic event so make sure not to dictate what your child or how your child should feel and react to the event.
Encourage your child to be transparent: Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. The unpleasantness will pass if your child opens up about it and that the phase is temporary. While many teens may be reluctant to talk about their feelings with a parent, encourage them to confide in another trusted adult such as a family friend, relative, or a counsellor and teacher. It's important to talk even if it's not with you.
Deter your child from reliving the disturbing event: Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. However, to negate such things from happening encourage activities that keep your child's mind occupied so they're not obsessive about the event. You could encourage your children to read, play games together, or simply watch an uplifting movie.
Cocoon your child with warmth: In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. Teens may try to be tough through it and avoid being held, but they still need proximity.
Maintain routines: Establishing a predictable structure and schedule for your child's life can help to make the world seem more stable again. Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. Make sure your child accommodates time and space for rest, play, and fun. Keeping up with a schedule can help countercheck the obnoxious feeling of stress and worry in children about the future being dark, hopeless, and unpredictable.
Acknowledge and validate your child's concerns: The disastrous events in life may give place to unrelated fright and concerns in your child. However, understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child. If at any point the child blames himself for the event make sure to make it clear and crisp the event was not their fault, you love them, and it's okay for them to feel upset, angry, or scared but not guilty.
Irrespective of the age of your child: it is vital for parents to offer that extra support and assistance following an unsettling event. The traumatic event may bring up unrelated fears and issues in your child. However, by accepting their thoughts and replacing their fear with your love and direction, the ominous feelings will start to fade away. Eventually, the child will be able to return to a normal and healthy life.
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