Sunday 20 March 2016

Lifestyle Intervention Program (L.I.P.) – Lifestyle Medicine for Lifestyle Diseases

WHO states Health as: “State of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. It is quite clear that health goes beyond physiology of the body and covers mind as well as factors external to the body. The term given to the new era of ailments effecting physical, mental and environmental faculties of human beings is “Lifestyle Diseases”.

Health is a dynamic condition resulting from a body's constant adjustment and adaptation in response to stresses and changes in the environment for maintaining an inner equilibrium. Unmanaged Stress and disturbance in the inner equilibrium is a result of the lifestyle that does not respond changes in internal and external environment.
This Unhealthy lifestyle leads to variety of modern day ailments that are now on top of the WebMD charts as most resource consuming ailments such as Obesity, Cancer, Heart Diseases, Metabolic Disorders, Mental Disorders, Back Problems and COPD.
A very cost effective way to treat Lifestyle Diseases is through Lifestyle Medicine. If a comprehensive Lifestyle Intervention Program can be created that uses one’s own body mechanism to fight lifestyle diseases, the cost as well as efficacy of the treatment can be maximized.

At Yogaksema, all these aspects of lifestyle intervention are taken care to achieve health through a Lifestyle Prescription.

6 main Components of Life style prescription:
1.      Yoga therapy:

a.     Focuses on mental health and stress management
b.     Disease specific yoga therapy
                                               i.     Body and breathe synchrony
                                             ii.     Cardio respiratory endurance
                                            iii.     Muscle stretching
                                            iv.     Voluntary regulated breathing
                                              v.     Guided relaxation
c.     Therapy is Evidence Backed and very specific  
2.     Clinical nutrition:

a.     Focuses on physical health and disease reversal and management
b.     It includes:
                                               i.     Functional foods: foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition. Proponents of functional foods say they promote optimal health and help reduce the risk of disease
                                             ii.     Nutritional Supplements:
1.     Nutrient shortfalls have health consequences that could impact daily life and overall wellbeing
2.     Prevent deficiency and its consequences on health
3.     Disease management
                                            iii.     Herbs: contain unique anti-oxidants, essential oils, vitamins, phyto-sterols and many other plants derived nutrient substances, which help equip our body to fight against germs, toxins and to boost immunity level. 
Herbs are, in fact, medicines in specific dosages – subjective
                                            iv.     Meal Planning: The rational use of supplements, combined with a healthy menu plan and diet will contribute substantially to health promotion and disease prevention.

3.     Manipulative Therapies and Ayurveda:
a.     Focus on physical health and disease management and prevention through different means of therapies
b.     Using body’s own energy channels to work for its own innate healing
4.      Pain Management:
a.     Through Clinical Acupuncture – improves pain threshold
b.     Management of Musculoskeletal Disorders
5.     Naturopathic Remedies:
a.     Focus on long term self management of symptoms related to specific diseases
b.     Natural adjustment to lifestyle by making environmental factors around you, work for you
6.     Structured Routine and Leisure 
a.     Focus on to maintain the achieved health for longer time which is obtained through all the above therapies

b.     Making adjustments to the lifestyle where leisure and relaxation become part of the routine and not a burden

Biofeedback – Learning Mind and Body Interaction for Positive Health

We are all too aware of a deep connection between mind and body and their interactions. However it is interesting to know and decode the voluntary and involuntary interactions and their impact on Mind and Body.
During eating, hands reach out to the plate, lifts up the food, takes it to the mouth; the food is chewed and then swallowed. There is a conscious “awareness” of the motions that are under “voluntary” control. What is not noticed are the subtle things that follow like the salivary and gastric juice secretion or the peristaltic movements of the digestive system.

These actions are regulated by the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) that does not require any conscious control. ANS consists of:
·      Sympathetic Nervous System – Simply speaking ‘Fight or Flight response’ generated by Nervous System for any Stress encountered 
·      Parasympathetic Nervous System – Simply Speaking ‘Rest and Digest response’ for the maintenance of Homeostasis once the Stress encountered has subsided
These two components of ANS regulate the involuntary functions like Heart Rate, Respiratory rate and the activity of various glands together but act at different point in time and have different impact on the same functions.
Biofeedback is a technique that helps gain more control over these normally involuntary functions. The idea behind Biofeedback is that, by harnessing the power of your mind and becoming aware of what's going on inside your body, you can gain more control over your body functions and thereby own health. This feedback helps focus on making subtle changes in body, such as relaxing certain muscles as well as to achieve desired results, such as reducing pain and to make the breathing pattern more deep, long and slow which automatically reduces the heart rate.
Biofeedback is very effective in improving Health, Performance and the Physiological changes that occur in association with Emotions, Thoughts and Behaviors. The goal is to eventually learn to manipulate the body functions without the help of the Biofeedback.
To start Biofeedback training session, electrodes are attached to the skin and a respiratory belt is wrapped to the chest. A specialized machine attached to a computer captures the electrodes and Respiration belt signals. These signals are sent to a TV monitor that shows wave patterns of heartbeat and respiration moving across a grid. During the session specific Relaxation techniques and Breathing practices are taught. The effect of these techniques is seen real-time in the TV monitor in front where one can see before and after wave patterns of Heart Rate and Respiration.

Biofeedback, or in other words Biofeedback Training can be used to manage various physical and mental illnesses like – Anxiety disorders, Asthma, Chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, Hypertension, Headache, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome etc. Biofeedback is considered be safe and no negative side effects have been reported till date. This technique is non-invasive, and in many cases has reduced or eliminated the needs for medications. It helps people to take charge of their own health.

Integrative Medicine – An Approach to Evidence Based Functional Medicine

Integrative Medicine

Simply speaking, Integrative medicine would mean bringing together various systems of medicine as wholesome and healing-oriented medicine that takes into account complete health of a person. WHO defines health as not mere absence of disease but complete, social, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. Thus by definition a complete medical solution should encompass all aspects of life of a person. Integrative Medicine emphasizes the relationship between various systems of medicine and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional (aka Allopathic Medicine) and Traditional (e.g. Yoga & Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Nutrition etc.).
Conventional medicine is often expensive and invasive but a preferred choice in acute care and surgical corrections. To fill the lacunae left by Conventional Medicine there is a need for another type of medicine that is a complete system of medicine in itself and can be complementary to Conventional Medicine. Traditional Medicine systems world over have now been in focus because of active research going on that now has provided enough evidence that it can act as a partner to Conventional Medicine in creating an Integrative Medicine eco-system. These traditional systems of medicines are closer to nature, affordable, less invasive and are proven to be more effective in chronic disease management. The basic criteria for choosing which system of medicine to integrate are:
·      Evidence Backed in treatments for chronic ailments
·      Possibility of Functional Integration of therapies based on what best therapies each system can bring rather that taking all therapies from one system alone.
·      Non-Pharmacological, Less Invasive, more natural and use body’s own healing response
·      Focused on Prevention and Positive Promotion of Health than only curing a disease
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) defines Integrative Medicine as – that combines mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness. Thus endorsing the fact that where Modern Science can back up Traditional Medicine, they can play a major role in Integrative Medicine.
Components of Integrative Medicine at Yogaksema:
1.     Conventional medicine or Allopathic Medicine
2.     Herbal medicine such as Ayurvedic Herbs and Naturopathy based Nutrition
3.     Mind body medicine such as Yoga & Naturopathy.
4.     Energy medicine such as Ayurveda Therapies, Acupuncture and other manipulative non-invasive therapies.

Key Features of Integrative Medicine At Yogaksema:
1.     “Do No Harm” to the Patient
2.     Functional integration of various systems of medicine, provided under one roof, that is evidence based, authentic and prescribed.
3.     Physician driven where patient and physician work together in the process of healing
4.     All factors that influences health and disease are taken into consideration i.e. body mind and soul
5.     Evidence based and Disease Specific practice that is accepted Globally
6.     Focus not only in healing but also prevention and development of skills for effective self-care that can be adopted throughout the life.
Areas of integration:
1.     Integrative Oncology
2.     Integrative Neurology
3.     Integrative Endocrinology
4.     Integrative Cardiology
5.     Integrative Rheumatology

6.     Integrative Psychiatry

StressMetrix™ - A Predictive Test for Stress Related Ailments


A classic dictionary meaning of Stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” However, According to yoga, stress is “an imbalance at the mental, physical or emotional level. Stress is not the cause of our ills rather the cause is our inability to cope with a changing condition”.

Simply speaking, when the body is challenged by anything, from getting out of bed in the morning or running up a flight of stairs or having to stand up and give a talk, the brain activates the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) – consisting of Sympathetic and Para-Sympathetic Nervous System. Stress is body's Automated Method of reacting to that challenge. It consists of Stress Response – Ability to react to a stressful situation and Relaxation Response – ability to come back to the relaxed state after over coming the stressful situation. Stress Response is regulated by Sympathetic Nervous System and Para-Sympathetic Nervous System regulates Relaxation Response of the body.
Under a stressful situation the Heart Rate, Respiratory rate and Blood pressure get impacted along with other physical manifestations. StressMetrix™ is a test developed by Yogaksema; to assess the balance between Stress Response and Relaxation response that can be a Predictor for Stress related ailments. It involves measuring the Heart rate, Heart Rate Variability (HRV - Physiological phenomenon of variation in the time interval between heartbeats) and Respiratory rate.
Any stimulation to Sympathetic Nervous System (aka Stress Response) leads to an increase in heart rate and respiratory rate. This is indicated as Low frequency waves which in-turn is an indicator of Stress Response. On the other hand, High frequency waves are generated when a person is Stress free and symbolize a restful relaxed state (or activation of Para-Sympathetic Nervous System). The ratio of High and Low frequency bands quantifies the overall balance between the Sympathetic and Para-Sympathetic systems that is of utmost importance to maintain equilibrium within the body.
The Respiratory pattern under Stress will be shallow, jerky and involve withholding of breath in between inhalation and exhalation. The rate of breathing also increases in Sympathetic Stimulation (aka Stress Response). Deep and long breaths indicate a relaxed state of mind.

Results of StressMetrix™ can be analyzed and used as a predictive marker for Stress related ailments such as Heart Attacks, Anxiety Disorders, Hypertension and prognostic marker for recovery from these ailments. This test helps us to know the very root cause of such diseases and eventually know how to effectively treat the same.

Featured post

Biofeedback – Learning Mind and Body Interaction for Positive Health

We are all too aware of a deep connection between mind and body and their interactions. However it is interesting to know and decode the v...