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‘THERE IS NO SEASON FOR MEDICAL MIRACLES’
By M. P. RAVINDRA NATHAN, MD, FACC
When Henry felt a little indigestion and chest discomfort, he decided to pay a visit to the emergency room (ER), just to be sure; he didn’t think there was anything seriously wrong. Just as soon as he sat down to give the details at the registration counter, the intake clerk noted that his eyes were rolling upward and that he had suddenly stopped breathing. “Next thing, he lies in a heap on the floor!” the clerk told me later. A ‘code blue’ (for cardiac arrest) was called and the emergency team responded stat. Henry’s heart had stopped and he looked pale, cold and clammy. For all practical purposes, he was dead at that moment.
After almost 15 minutes of resuscitation efforts, including chest compressions, multiple shocks to the heart and intravenous infusions of cardiac drugs, his heart started beating again, the color returned to his face and, he began breathing on his own. Henry had suffered a heart attack and “died” albeit for a short period, but was successfully revived. Subsequent cardiac catheterization showed two major blocks in his coronary arteries and with a couple of ‘stents,’ he eventually went home happy and grateful.
Would you say this was a miracle? For Henry, it certainly was. Is this an every day phenomenon in our hospitals? Most certainly, yes! Our paramedics working in the field, doctors and nurses working in the ER and intensive care units (ICU), regularly perform such heroic acts. All without any fanfare or media attention. If Henry didn’t get the right treatment at the right time and if the ‘code blue’ team had not persisted with their efforts, he could have been another statistic like the 300,000 or so sudden cardiac deaths that occur annually in USA. I can cite many more such examples I have been involved in:
· A 72-year-old lady develops severe bleeding from the stomach and her hemoglobin drops to alarmingly low levels. With several units of blood transfusions and cauterization of the bleeding artery, she recovers.
· A 28-year-old substance abuser stops breathing after a drug overdose and is brought to the hospital by his buddies. He spends several days in the ICU on a ventilator teetering between life and death, but eventually gets well.
· A 76-year-old develops a stroke and gets the new “clot buster” treatment, which unclogs the blocked artery in his brain, averting a debilitating paralysis of his body.
· A 10-year-old boy suffering from incessant seizures and going into respiratory arrest is stabilized and his nervous brain controlled with proper intervention, which pulls him through at the nick of time.
These are real-life miracles happening in our local hospitals and nationwide such miracles take place almost on a daily basis. The line between life and death is being shifted slowly but surely in our favor. Today, new methods of diagnosis using modern technology and new treatment regimes with high-tech interventions are saving more lives more than before. By inducing hypothermia (chilling the body), you can “cheat death,” buying valuable time to treat the seriously ill patients who had a cardiac arrest or cerebral bleed. CNN recently aired a segment on “Cheating Death” by Dr Sanjay Gupta whose latest book with the same title has already become a New York Times best seller. A review of this book will appear in the next issue.
Certainly, we live in a dangerous and turbulent world, punctuated with uncertainties. If you walk along the floors of our hospitals, you will witness diverse images of joy and sorrow, conflicts and resolutions, fear and hope; yes, hope. The doctors, nurses and ancillary staff make ‘hope’ as the defining characteristic of their mission “Health is wealth” is an oft-quoted mantra, but people often neglect their own body, precipitating calamitous illnesses. Without being judgmental, our physicians, nurses and other paramedical personnel go to work as a team and bring their unique expertise to manage these patients. Sometimes, we sing and dance as we celebrate the recovery of a patient felled by a near-fatal illness. At other times, we cry with the relatives of a patient whom we couldn’t save from the jaws of death. Both bring comfort to those who need it badly.
For many of us, it is a personal crusade to watch over your health problems and we want to do our best. In the media, you hear news of medical errors, neglect in the nursing homes, etc., more frequently than about happy ending medical stories. Yes, they need to be addressed and rectified but let us also appreciate the good work of the medical and paramedical personnel that brings hope to millions all over the world.
The average life span of Americans has increased from about 37 years at the turn of 20th century to 80 or better at the present time. Molecular biologists, geneticists and physician scientists are at present working on how to predict the nature and time of occurrence of future illnesses by studying the genomic map of a person. In other words, when you go for your annual check up, your doctor can tell you if there is a heart attack or cancer in your future and if so, how to prevent it by taking proactive measures!
Sounds like science fiction? No, it is the exciting future of medicine. Happy New Year to all of you.
Dr. M.P. Ravindra Nathan is a Brooksville cardiologist and director of the Hernando Heart Clinic.
THE BENEFITS OF MASSAGE
By ACHUT MASHRUWALA
We all know the health benefits of exercise. I have been introducing many different ways to exercise and the benefits of it. However, exercise can be even more beneficial and prevent many injuries and illness as well as improve overall life when balanced with nutrition and massage.
Many people are not aware of THE benefits of massage and massage therapy. Massage is as important as exercise and a well-balanced diet to have healthy, pain-free, well-functioning body.
When we exercise, our body’s activity is at its peak. The blood pressure, heart rate and metabolism rates are at their highest. Well, that’s what we want when we perform cardio exercise. We trained our body to work well under stress by cardio and endurance exercises. We also want our body to learn how to relax.
That’s when massage plays an important role. General massage treats soft tissues (muscles, skin, tendons, etc.). These parts of the body are not included in your exercises. The massage application to your soft tissues energized the blood vessels, nerves and fibers to observe nutrition, blood and oxygen. Massage application help to prevent injuries such as torn muscles, or muscle pull, or overstretch of muscles during or after exercise.
All of us feel pain 24 hours after heavy weightlifting. Massage application removes that pain and rejuvenates your muscle conditions by relaxing them after contracting through exercise. The exercise and massage combination works great with athletes and people who are determined to increase their muscle strength and muscle mass.
Dara Torres, the oldest U.S. Olympic swimmer, told in her exclusive interview the benefits of massage that she received and played a huge role in her success as a swimmer. The perfect combination of exercise and massage prevented her back injury from pregnancy and helped tremendously to become an athlete that she is today.
Massage has its stereotypes. Most people see massage as a pleasurable experience. True introduction of massage is therapeutic, physical and spiritual applications to a body to create a positive energy flow throughout the body.
The general benefits of massages:
- Increase circulation, allowing the
body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.
There are many types of therapeutic massages:
Lymph drainage massage: Helps regulate the function of lymph nodes. The results help in treatment of caner and lymphatic diseases.
Cranio sacral massage: This is a spiritual massage. It actually helps to increase brain functions.
Sports massage: Pre-event sports massage helps athletes increase the performance level and post-event sports massage helps athletes to relax and calm aggressive behavior.
Consult your massage therapist to find out the appropriate massage application to cure your headaches, backaches or muscular injury.
Achut Mashruwala,a Certified Fitness Trainer and a Licensed Massage Therapist, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I UNDERSTAND THAT ANGER IS A PART OF THE LIVING PROCESS, IS THAT CORRECT?
By SADHGURU JAGGI VASUDEV
Anger must be a very beautiful thing, because a lot of people have taken to it, like Coca-Cola. Probably more people are into anger than Coca-Cola, isn't it? So it must be a great thing that so many people have chosen it. But they have not chosen; they have helplessly fallen into it, that's the problem.
They have fallen into it or in a way they have chosen it unconsciously because the most intense moments in their lives is either pain or anger. These are the only two intensities that they know and every human being always longs for intensity. So, today watching such sports has become a big thing because you could never watch a battle like that before.
You remember the film “The Gladiators,” these gladiators – it is still a sport, a wild sport; war was a sport. Because it is not the violence, it is not the blood, it is not the killing that people like; people want to see something intense. Now, why are all these thrillers, action movies and sports events so popular? It is because people want some intensity, somewhere. They don't know how to be intense. Either through physical action, or through anger, or through pain – this is the only way they know how to be intense.
The reason drugs and sex have become such a big factor is because they want to experience some intensity, at least for a few moments. It is the intensity, which draws them. And as you know, I am always talking about intensity because that is the only thing that man is seeking, and that is the only thing that will liberate man from his present bondages.
Anger has enormous intensity; it is an intensity, which hurts you. It's an intensity, which can get you into a lot of trouble. It's an intensity, which can destroy the people around you and yourself, in so many ways. It's an intensity, which gets you into absolutely stupid states of action. So, your attachment to anger is not just anger, it's just that you like the intensity of it. Though you know it causes so much damage, here and there you want to get into anger.
And people like the angry man. For example when you watch a movie if your hero – the Hollywood man - is a calm and quiet you're not so interested in him. But, if he's an angry man, who stands up and does things in anger, not peacefully, you like him because he's got intensity. So, you would like to do the same thing but you pay a big price trying to be angry in the situations in which you live; because people around you are going to get even angrier with you, and they will get back at you.
So, don't worry about your anger. At least in anger, you're becoming intense. It's time to transform this intensity into higher levels of intensity where it's beautiful. At least, somebody's able to get angry, I'm happy. I can't bear with the people, who eat eight meals a day and are lethargic, nothing happens within them; they don't even get angry. If anger is happening, at least some life is cooking within you; life is still kicking, you know?
Sadhguru Vasudev is a yogi and mystic with profound mastery of the ancient science of yoga. At his home in southern India, Sadhguru oversees Isha Foundation, a volunteer-run, nonprofit service organization dedicated to cultivating human potential through yogic science. At the core of the foundation's initiatives is a customized system of yoga called Inner Engineering – a set of programs and practices specially designed to address the challenges of modern living.
The Inner Engineering class is scheduled to be held at the Museum of Science & Industry, 4801 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, from Dec 9-15. There is a free introductory talk open to all from 7 to 8 p.m. on Dec 9. For more information, visit http://www.ishayoga.org/ or call (813) 413-1661 or email email@example.com
YOG, NOT YOGA: THE ORIGINAL LIFE SCIENCE – PART 4
By ACHALA K. RAO
Namaste readers! Wishing happiness to everyone, everywhere as the year 2010 begins.
This column covers the remaining four limbs and completes the introduction to Patanjali’s Astanga yog. From next column, we will focus on different aspects of its practice and benefits.
5. Pratyahara or drawing the senses inward
When the mind’s focus immerses with the breathing and the movement of the body, it is so focused that you become unaware of the outside situations. Your focus becomes inward and you are no longer distracted by the outside events. The mind becomes non-reactionary to the perceptions of the five senses; sight, sound, smell, touch and taste, and a nonjudgmental self-awareness arise.
6. Dharana or concentration
Dharana is training and directing the mind to focus without any distraction. To achieve this, you can focus your mind, engaging all five senses and self awareness, into an object at a time, for a specific time period, such as a candlelight, a picture, a task or on your breath with complete mindfulness. In a non-reactionary way, the nonjudgmental self-awareness expands, and insights or knowledge about your self and your object is gained. This serves as a preparation for meditation.
7. Dhyana or meditation
Meditation is the practice by which there is constant observation of the mind. There are two stages of the practice.
One is getting there. There are countless techniques, visualizations, imagery, Kriyas and guided meditations to train the mind to become still and one-pointed focused. The mind becomes clear.
Second is, once you gain a one-pointed focus, then sustaining and retaining your focus. This unwavering state can’t be achieved; it happens naturally with a diligent and dedicated regular practice. In this steadfast, Achal – state – the nonjudgmental self-awareness expands, perceives and recognizes its real nature, and experiences oneness, the union, the Yog. There is no separation between the observer and the object. There is only nonjudgmental awareness experiencing itself, arising above all the emotions and residing in blissfulness, a state called, Sat_Chit_Anand. It is an uninterrupted flow of concentration, heightening one’s awareness of oneness with the whole creation.
8. Samadhi or enlightenment
This is the ultimate goal of the eight limbs of Yoga. It is characterized by the state of ecstasy and the feeling that you and the universe are one. It is a state of peace and completion, awareness and compassion with detachment. There is no more self-identity.
Briefly, reviewing the whole eight limb system of Patanjali’s Astanga Yog:
1. Yamas - Your attitude toward others and the world around you.
2. Niyamas - How you treat yourself or your attitude toward yourself.
3. Asana - Body awareness, physical movements, poses.
4. Pranayama - The breath awareness and breathing exercises.
5. Pratyahara –Mind’s perceptions of the five senses without judgment or reaction.
6. Dharana – Concentration of the mind.
7. Dhyana – Meditation, unwavering – Achal – focus of the one-pointed mind.
– Enlightenment, no personal identity.
To be continued …
Achala K. Rao is a certified Integrative Yoga Therapy
instructor, Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and energy healing
practitioner in Valrico. She can be reached at 813-716-7026 or e-mail
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