One in 14 people now waiting for operations as demand on NHS soars

NHS England figures show number of people awaiting non-urgent surgery is at highest level since December 2007

Demand for medical care is rising so fast and hospitals are so busy that one in 14 people in England are now waiting to have a non-urgent operation.

NHS England figures released on Thursday show the number of people awaiting hospital treatment reached 3,754,961 in October – the highest level recorded since December 2007.

However, the real figure is 3.9 million, NHS England said, as five hospital trusts did not submit data. With England’s population now standing at 54.79 million, that means about 7% of them are now on the NHS’s referral to treatment (RTT) waiting list for operations such as cataract removal, hernia repair or hip or knee replacement.

The latest grim set of monthly NHS performance statistics also revealed other evidence of serious stress on the service as it heads into what many doctors fear will be a very difficult winter. More patients than ever are trapped in hospital despite being fit to leave, often because of inadequate social care, and the number of patients not treated in A&E within four hours is one of the highest ever.

Prof John Appleby, the chief economist and director of research at the Nuffield Trust thinktank, said: “These figures reveal just how tough things are for the NHS as winter approaches. With one in 14 people in England now on a waiting list, we are getting to the point where no family is immune from the growing pressures facing our health service.”

In October 360,255 people were not treated within the 18-week maximum supposedly guaranteed by the NHS constitution – the largest number since the 370,308 forced to wait beyond 18 weeks in October 2008.

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Ayurveda – An invaluable gift by ancient sages

It is the duty of every person to keep his body and mind healthy. Ayurveda is a very effective medium which is being used since ancient times for this.

‘Ayurveda is a Veda related to life. Whichever materials are necessary for getting relief from diseases and for a healthy life, are incorporated in Ayurvedic medicines. Ayurveda describes very well the effect of food and materials having sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and acidic taste on dosha (Disorder), dhatu (Humour of the body as phelgm, wind, bile) and mala (Feculence/excrement).

‘‘न अनौषधं जगति किंचित् द्रव्यं उपलभ्यते’’

चरक सू २६-१२

Ayurveda states that, ‘There is not a single substance in the world which cannot be used as a medicine.’

Place occupied by Dhanvantari Deity and prayers in Ayurveda

Dhanvantari Deity who destroys disease and offers health, occupies a special place in Ayurveda. Prayers have been regarded as having immense importance at every stage, that is, while selecting any herb orplant, processing and consuming it.

Understand the importance of Ayurveda

Nowadays, people start allopathic treatment even for a simple unrest. ‘Importance of Ayurveda’ as told by ancient sages is conveniently disregarded. Allopathic medicines may have side-effects or some other complications may arise. There is no possibility of any such risk in Ayurvedic medicines. Hence a person can become healthy and live long by taking a Ayurvedic medicines. Having realised the importance of Ayurveda, now foreign countries are trying for a ‘patent’ of Ayurvedic medicines.

Modernisation of Ayurvedic medicines

There is a conception that Ayurvedic medicines start showing effects on the patients after a long time; hence they are not of much help in treating severe and critical diseases. So tablets and injections should be made by separating active components namely alkalides, glycosidesfrom these medicines.’

O children, Ayurveda is an invaluable gift given to us by our Sages. Remember, you have to shoulder the responsibility to preserve this rich heritage of Hindu culture.


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How Overnight Cooked Rice Can Be a Healthy Breakfast

In olden days, farmers and laborers, especially of South East Asia, who did a lot of physical work ate fermented rice for breakfast. Fermented rice is called pazhankanji or vellachoru in Malayalam, pazhaya saadam in Tamil and paaniwala chawal in Hindi.

Traditionally rice is cooked in the afternoon and excess water is drained. After the rice cools down to room temperature, it is soaked fully in water and stored in an earthen clay pot. This covered pot with soaked rice is left overnight at regular room temperature. The rice would ferment by the next morning and is eaten for breakfast. Traditionally, it is eaten with a side dish, raw onion or green chili. Some prefer to drain excess water and eat it with yogurt and a slight sprinkle of salt.

The lactic acid bacteria break down the anti-nutritional factors in rice resulting in an improved bioavailability of micro-nutrients and minerals such as iron, potassium and calcium by several thousand percentage points. For example, after 12 hours of fermentation of 100 grams of rice, the availability of iron changed from 3.4 mg to 73.91mg (an increase of 2073%).

In the agrarian communities of South East Asia, fermented rice played a big role in the lives of people. It gave the energy, the nutrition and the cooling effect that they needed for a full day of manual labor. Unfortunately, people moving up the food chain (or wealth chain, rather) looked down on fermented rice as the pauper’s food and ignored the great nutritional value it provides.

Food scientists who researched on the food practices among various regions in the world and concluded that the South Asia’s tradition of consuming the previous day’s cooked rice soaked in plain water overnight, in the morning next day, as break-fast, is the best. It has the rare B6 B12 vitamins which are not otherwise easily available in other food supplements. This rice generates and harbors trillions of beneficial bacteria that help digestion and has many disease fighting and immunity developing agents. The bacteria that grow in the intestines due to this rice safeguard the internal organs and keep them fit and ready. Consuming this rice helps quicker digestion and wards off ageing, bone related ailments and muscular pains. Brown rice is the best for this as its nutrients are retained intact.

American Nutrition Association has listed the following benefits if you stick to the practice of consuming such soaked rice.

  • Consuming this rice as breakfast keeps the body light and also energetic.
  • Beneficial bacteria get produced in abundance for the body.
  • Stomach ailments disappear when this is consumed in the morning as excessive and harmful heat retained in the body is neutralized.
  • As this food is very fibrous, it removes constipation and also dullness in the body.
  • Blood pressure is normalized and hypertension subsides appreciably.
  • Body feels less tired due to this food as a result of which one feels fresh throughout the day.
  • This removes allergy induced problems and also skin-related ailments.
  • It removes all types of ulcers in the body.
  • Fresh infections are kept at bay due to consuming this rice.
  • It helps in maintaining youthful and radiant look.

Consuming this takes away your body’s craving for tea or coffee. This is the richest source of vitamin B12 for vegans. So, do not throw away that extra rice you had cooked. It could be the healthiest breakfast you will ever have.


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I Don’t Smoke or Drink, I Eat Well & Exercise. How Did I Still Get Cancer? An Oncologist Answers.

Dr. Vishal Rao, an oncologist and head and neck surgeon at the Bangalore-based HealthCare Global (HCG) Cancer Center, writes about the debate on food safety in India and how it is related to cancer.

A 45-year-old man presented himself to an oncologist with the typical symptoms of stomach cancer. His worst fears came true, the biopsy reports showed positive results.

He led an extremely healthy lifestyle; exercised regularly, maintained a balanced diet and did not have any addictions. Yet, cancer had managed to conquer his system. The distraught man asked the doctor, “Why me?” The visibly uncomfortable doctor was speechless.

A lot of their patients may have maintained a healthy lifestyle and yet, end up succumbing to cancer. It may not be just tobacco; we have tons of other carcinogens, which have unfortunately entered our diet chart.

Some of the reports on food exports from India show we rank among the top in agri-food rejects to USA & EU as per the UNIDO reports. The key reasons for rejects implicated in the reports were – mycotoxins, microbial contamination, veterinary drug residues, heavy metals, unauthorised food additives, product composition and pesticide residues.

Ever wondered if this was the quality for exports, what could be the standards of internal consumption for us Indians? The Maggi trial that India witnessed recently opened the much-needed debate on food safety, exposing just the tip of the iceberg.

Let’s reflect on a few aspects of such safety issues. Why do we stand where we stand today?

Current status of food quality

“Diet and nutrition are two different aspects of food.” Is the current state of food quality in India a matter of implausible conjecture or a reality yet to dawn in the Indian mindset? Pesticides, preservatives and wasted calories seem to be the trends of the new Indian recipes.


Recently a patient of mine walked into my outpatient clinic for a follow up visit. He brought with him a basket of fresh fruits as a token of his gratitude. While he handed it to me, he exclaimed, “Doc, these are not the regular ones which I keep for sale, these are ones grow for my own consumption.”

The larger question – is our farmer well educated about balancing the quantity of pesticides to be used for safe and optimal yield; or does he believe that more is better! (Dilution and mixing of pesticides in regulated quantity is key.)

A growing concern among consumers is the question – do we have too much pesticides in our food? Are these really harmful? Is there a way to prevent this?

I have heard that often export rejects from various countries look at India as a potential market — be it tyres, automobiles or food products. Thanks to poor consumer awareness and implicit trust of the consumer in the manufacturer to abide by ethical practices. This is further compounded by extremely poor vigilance and enforcement by government agencies.

The Endosulfan Tragedy in Kerala has killed over 4,000 people and many have been affected since the 1970’s. Endosulfan is an internationally banned insecticide that was earlier used in cashew plantations to increase the product yield.

The progeny of many of the survivors still suffer from conditions like macrocephaly, intellectual disabilities and cancer. Despite the ban made by UN, Endosulfan is still being used in India. Recent reports in media highlighted traces of endosulfan found in several vegetables. Personal interactions with farmers confirm their use of these banned pesticides owing to a quick, sustained and stable yield.

Yes, pesticide residues in food are a growing concern. It is, however, vital to consume healthy and nutritious food after washing them thoroughly. Avoiding fruits and vegetables in fear of residue pesticides would be more harmful that the consumption of minimal residues themselves in causing cancer. Organic foods from reported and accredited farms may be the way forward and needs encouragement from the agriculture department. Educational programmes for farmers from NGO’s and departments would pave the way in foundation of food safety in farms.

Insecticide act of India 1968 is awaiting amendments. The amended act awaits clearance in Rajya Sabha.


Traditionally, preservatives were introduced into food products for keeping them safe and edible for long periods. Salt, sugar and vegetable oil are classical examples, which preserve food and provide the body with nutrition when consumed at required amounts (class 1 preservatives).

As technology and research has advanced, we have moved to synthetic preservatives which help store and protect food from spoilage for extremely long periods (class 2 preservatives). While they may protect the food, they’re definitely harming us. Studies suggest that synthetic food preservatives like Sodium benzoate and Sodium nitrite can cause hyper reactivity in children and have been linked to gastric cancer as well. These preservatives are commonly found in cold drinks, processed meat, canned food and most importantly, ready-to-make food products.


Food colourants are another group of chemicals quintessentially placed in the “cancer causing family.” Natural food colourants like pure beet/ pomegranate juice, carrot juice, spinach powder, parsley juice, turmeric powder, blueberry juice and cocoa powder can be used at home and in industries. Their shelf life may be low but they add nutritive value to the food product as well.

Red 40, Blue 1 and Yellow 5 are common synthetic food colourants used in industries even though they have been proven to cause long-term health problems. Indeed the palak gravy you may be having may be onion based gravy with green colourant.

Adulterants range from chalk powder (common in milk), saw dust (found in chilli powder), non-permitted dyes (common in turmeric powder) to coal tar (found in tea powder). Vegetables like green chillies and green peas are coated with malachite green (highly carcinogenic and are used as dyes to study bacteria) to enhance the colour and fruits like apples are coated with wax give them a glossy finish.


Street food is a delicacy for the Indian palate. Microorganisms are responsible for more deaths than cancer every year. Typhoid fever, botulism, amoebiasis, etc. are common food and waterborne infections. An unhygienic condition maintained by street vendors and eateries is a key factor behind the spread of these infections. Vehicular emission, carbon dioxide and air pollutants from the roads are also absorbed by these food items. The basic practice of washing one’s hands before touching any food ingredient is unspoken of. H. Pylori is a growing cause of gastric cancers. Can this be a cause of increasing contamination and adulteration?

Degreening Agents:

As our storage methods are not effective enough, fruits and vegetables cannot be stored for a long time. They are harvested when they are raw and treated with de-greening ripening agents like calcium carbide and ethylene. They make the fruits colourful and appealing to the customer. By consuming these fruits, the consumer has unknowingly reduced his/ her life expectancy.

Looking into the current scenario of food safety makes us wonder – how have we reached here and where are we heading?

Today’s times would be rightly called “instant, unlimited and more” era. Man is in search of instant – coffee, pizza, burger, food and even success instantly. Unlimited food seems to be the most attractive and sought after option to make a dining choice. The more the better is our current attitude. It would not be surprising to witness buy 1 and get 3 free at the current pace and times.

The implicit trust placed by the Indian consumer on manufacturer advertisement and tall claims is appreciable. However, the food industry is rapidly and exponentially growing. We hope to have food that is given instantly, lasts as long as possible and in sufficient quality that satiates the palate. The industry, in an attempt to satisfy the customer, would need to resort to best methods to prolong life, improve revenues and combat competition simultaneously. Would all of these steps be feasible without compromising food safety? Is it not time for the manufacturers to reinstate this trust in the consumer and lay ethical guidelines to protect the consumer?

Food standard and safety act of India is a comprehensive act. The paradox is the regulation and implementation of this act. These bodies have largely remained to provide and regulate license. We have hardly come across brands being suspended owing to poor quality compliance. Would it not be ideal to have monthly checks of 100 random food products, selected from random shops in random areas and scrutinised for food safety? Is it not time for us to amend and strongly enforce Insecticide act of India 1968 to protect our future generations and secure food safety standards?

“Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake”

(Written by Dr. Vishal Rao)


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Common pain killer ineffective for back ache: Study

Commonly used pain killers, such as ibuprofen, provide little benefits against back ache and cause side effects such as stomach ulcers and bleeding, a new study has warned.

Researchers at The George Institute for Global Health in Australia found only one in six patients treated with the pills, also known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), achieve any significant reduction in pain.

Earlier research has already demonstrated paracetamol is ineffective and opioids provide minimal benefit over placebo.

The study highlights an urgent need to develop new therapies to treat back pain which affects 80 per cent of Australians during their lifetime, said Manuela Ferreira, associate professor at The George Institute for Global Health.

“Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is commonly managed by prescribing medicines such as anti-inflammatories,” said Ferreira.

“However our results show anti-inflammatory drugs actually only provide very limited short term pain relief. They do reduce the level of pain, but only very slightly, and arguably not of any clinical significance,” said Ferreira.

“When you factor in the side effects which are very common, it becomes clear that these drugs are not the answer to providing pain relief to the many millions of Australians who suffer from this debilitating condition every year,” Ferreira added.

Researchers, who examined 35 trials involving more than 6,000 people, also found patients taking anti-inflammatories were 2.5 times more likely to suffer from gastro-intestinal problems such as stomach ulcers and bleeding.

“Millions of Australians are taking drugs that not only do not work very well, they are causing harm. We need treatments that will actually provide substantial relief of these people’s symptoms,” said Gustavo Machado from The George Institute.

“Better still we need a stronger focus on preventing back pain in the first place. We know that education and exercise programs can substantially reduce the risk of developing low back pain,” he said.

Most clinical guidelines currently recommend NSAIDs as the second line analgesics after paracetamol, with opioids coming at third choice.

The study was published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.


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Yoga and Ayurveda

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Yoga and Ayurveda are vast topics, particularly when one considers both their traditional and modern developments, and the great variety of topics and practices that each can cover. Yoga is not just asanas and Ayurveda is not just herbs, however important these may be! They cover the whole of life.

Both Yoga and Ayurvedaare historically closely related and have developed in parallel since ancient times. They have diverged in modern times, over the last hundred and fifty years, particularly outside of India, in which Yoga without Ayurveda was for a long time the norm. However, Yoga and Ayurveda are becoming reconnected again, not only in India but throughout the entire world. Their reintegration is the reintegration of consciousness, life, healing and transformation!

Origins of Yoga and Ayurveda

Yoga begins historically with the Mantra Yoga of the Rigveda, the oldest Vedic textthat originated over five thousand years ago. These mantras of the Rishis promote a Yoga or union with the higher powers of consciousness in the universe, providing the basis for the Self-knowledge and cosmic knowledge that we find in later Vedanta and the Vedic sciences.

This connection of Yoga and mantra is reflected in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali that emphasizes OM, the main mantra from which the Vedas are said to have originated, and in Patanjali’s work as great grammarian.

Vedic mantras, along with corresponding rituals and meditations, were commonly used both for spiritual development and for helping gain the outer goals of life, invoking the Devatas or the Divine powers behind nature and the soul. These cosmic energiesare defined mainly as four in the Vedas as Agni (fire), Vayu or Indra (air and electrical energy), Surya (sun) and Soma (moon). Their light forms are symbolic of yet deeper inner powers of Agni as speech, Vayu/Indra as Prana, Surya as Atman (soul), and Soma as the mind. A variety of such formulations exists in Vedic texts.

Veda means knowledge or science and Yoga, meaning work or practice, arose as a term for its application. Veda or true knowledge implies Yoga or the work of integration with the greater conscious universe.

Ayurveda arose in the Vedic context as the Upaveda or supplementary Vedic text that focused on healing and well-being for both body and mind. Ayurveda first arose as an application of Vedic mantras, not as a separate discipline. All Vedic teachings have a potential Ayurvedic or healing application, especially Vedic rituals and mantras. Many Vedic practices are said to grant ‘sarvayur’, meaning not only longevity but the fullness of life, as one of their primary goals. They are still used in this manner today. Healing and longevity are considered to be natural results of Vedic practices, with someVedic practices specifically related to these.

Ayurveda is usually considered to be a branch of the Atharva Veda, which contains the most mantras aimed specifically at healing. However, aspects of Ayurveda can be found in all the Vedas and are inherent in the Vedic deities (Devatas) and in the Vedic cosmology.

‘Vedic Yoga’, such as we find in the Svetsvatara Upanishad, emphasized how the Vedic Devatas or cosmic energies like Agni, Vayu and Soma work in the psyche as forces of internal integration and self-realization.

Note the following versesSvetasvatara Upanishad II.6,8:

Where the Agni (fire) is enkindled, where Vayu (the wind) is controlled, where Soma overflows, there the mind is born.

This is perhaps the key verse that helps us understand the yogic and Ayurvedic implications of the main Vedic deities. Here Agni, Vayu and Soma, the great Vedic deities of Fire, Air and the Moon refer to their internal counterparts of will, prana and mind and are indicative of the practice of Yoga. The Fire is the Kundalini fire. Control of wind refers to Pranayama. Soma here is the bliss of meditation or samadhi. In these the higher mind or consciousness is born.

Making straight the three places, balancing the body, merge the senses along with the mind into the heart, by the boat of Brahman the knower should cross over all the channels that bring us fear.

The three places are the navel, heart and head, indicating a straight spine, usually in a balanced sitting pose. The channels that bring us fear are the nadis of the subtle body that keep our energy caught in duality, particularly the lunar and solar or Ida and Pingala nadis.

Ayurveda takes the same Vedic Devatas and looks at them at a biological angle with Agni as Pitta Dosha, Vayu as Vata Dosha, and Soma as Kapha dosha.

This means that both Yoga and Ayurveda arose as complimentary applications of the same universal forces, which they both help us connect to.

Yoga became eventually more defined as one of the six darshanas or six systems of Vedic philosophy, the systems that accepted the authority of the Vedas. Yet this is Yoga as a special system, while different aspects of Yoga pervade all Vedic teachings and darshanas.

Yoga emerged in more specificity in texts like the Bhagavad Gita and the Mahabharata of which the Gitaispart, which covers the topic Yoga of in many various forms. The MB mentions not just the Yoga Darshana or Samkhya-Yoga, but also Shaivite Yoga called Pashupata Yoga, and Vaishnava Yoga.  These were interrelated but had their differences. Yoga as Samkhya-Yoga was said to be the system initiated by Hiranyagarbha, passed on to the Rishi Vasishta. Patanjali is not yet mentioned.Ayurveda is also mentioned in the Mahabharata, as well as Vedic astrology. As stemming from Dhanvantari, an avatar of Vishnu, Ayurveda often has marks of Vaishnava thought.

Later specific texts for these different systems emerged, with Charak and Sushrut Samhitas for Ayurveda and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras for Yoga. Many other such early texts probably existed that were lost through time, and they were followed by a proliferation of divergent teachings and commentaries. Curiously in terms of language and culture, Charak and Sushrut Samhitas, one should note, appearlargely earlier than Patanjali, though they mention Yoga. However, compilations like Charak and Sushrut reflect a labor of many centuries, and even Sutra works like the Yoga Sutras may have undergone slight changes over time.

The Shaivite yoga also continued to developed.This includedeventually the systems of Hatha Yoga and Siddha Yoga, which had its own Raja Yoga, as well as other Tantric Yoga systems. Much Ayurveda isthere in the Shaivite yoga as Shiva is the deity of Prana. This is the Ayurveda and Yoga of the Himalayas where Shiva is the prime deity.Vaishnava schools Yoga also continued to develop along devotional lines as in Narada’s Bhakti Yoga Sutras.

In all these expressions of Yoga and Ayurveda, we find a common language and philosophy. Yoga applied for health of body and mind reflects Ayurveda. Ayurveda applied for the development of higher awareness crosses over into Yoga.

Modern Yoga

Modern Yoga is a development of the last one hundred or more years that is global in nature. Though it began with the basis of classical Yoga and Vedanta through Swami Vivekananda at the turn of the twentieth century, and though this spiritual Yoga has continued to develop,most of modern Yoga has become progressively physical in nature. The main practice of Yoga has moved from the mantra and meditation of classical yoga primarily to asanas or Yoga postures. Yet this has also allowed Yoga to reach a much larger and more popular audience, and to broaden its base considerably, to every corner of the planet.

Modern Yoga consists primarily of group asana or public ‘yoga’ classes, rather than individualized sadhana or spiritual practiceas is the case with classical Yoga. It has entered the world of exercise, fitness and health, including gymnasiums, and become a progressively a bodily concern and expression.In this process modern Yoga has dialogued, influenced and been influenced by other modern trends in health and fitness, diet and exercise. Yet modern yoga retains some of the aura and practices of classical Yoga, extending at times to mantra and meditation, as well as chanting or kirtan, pranayama and Yoga nidra. Modern Yoga has created an entire Yogic culture of Yoga classes, Yoga retreats, Yoga vacations and Yoga intensives. Yet this is often connected to the traditional Yoga culture of ashrams, pilgrimage and special sadhanas.

Physical Versus Spiritual Yoga

Some people look at Yoga more for its physical benefits, others more for its spiritual benefits. Sometimes these two groups differ or even clash. Some physical Yogis call the spiritual Yoga something else, like devotion or meditation. Some spiritual Yogis call the physical Yoga, something else, like a mere fitness movement. Both use the Yoga word for what they do but have a different meaning for it, Yoga as Asana versus Yoga as Union with the Divine. Both types of Yoga of course can go together, and need not be contrasting views. Yet we should acknowledge the origins of Yoga more at a spiritual than a physical level. In any case there are several models of Yoga in the world today and we should allow each its place, though recognize that Yoga cannot be limited to any single group or definition.

Ayurveda’s view of Yoga combines it with treatment of both body and mind, affording it both physical and spiritual dimensions. Yet Ayurveda broadens the physical and health concerns of Yoga from exercise to overall life-style, diet and herbs, extending to the mind.

Yoga Therapy and Ayurveda

Modern Yoga as an exercise practice has created its own healing approach, which is usually called ‘Yoga therapy’. This modern Yoga therapy, though a highly diverse phenomenon, is usually a kind of physical therapy and used along with other physical manipulations and massage. It largely consists of using asanas to treat physical problems, diseases, or injuries, as a kind of adjunct physical therapy. Yoga asanas can be very helpful in this manner and their benefits can extend to all the systems and organs of the body. Sometimes we get the impression that there is a special signature asana for every disease, which can at least contribute to its cure!

When Yoga first came to the West and went global, Ayurveda did not come with it, perhaps owing to the fact that the British had closed down Ayurvedic schools during the colonial era, and Ayurveda was regarded as a backward and unscientific subject. The result of this long term trend is that many western Yoga groups have learned Yoga and Yogic healing apart from Ayurveda. Such modern Yogic healing has been a combination of yogic methods with modern methods of massage, physical healing, or even psychology. Some of modern Yoga therapy does not want to be connected with Ayurveda in any primary manner as it has already developed along its own lines. Yet in recent decades Ayurveda has come back into the Yoga world, starting a new dialogue, and a new possible integration of Ayurveda, not only with classical Yoga but also with modern Yoga.

The term Yoga therapy seems to imply that there is a special Yogic system of medicine in its own right, and that nothing else but Yoga may be required for health, wellness or the treatment of disease. Yet Yoga practice by itself, if we look at it carefully, is not a system of medicine but a form of treatment (Chikitsa), a set of healing activities. A system of medicine requires an understanding of how the body works,a system of diagnosis, and treatment methods of all kinds, including diet, herbs, and clinical procedures.

Actually there is no yogic system of medicine other than Ayurveda. If we take the prime principles of Yoga and Samkhya philosophy from Purusha and Prakriti or soul and nature, down to the sense and motor organs and five elements, and then add the factors of physical or bodily existence, we will arrive at the three doshas and seven dhatus of Ayurveda.The doshas manifest from Prana and the five elements.

Ayurveda is the physical counterpart of classical Yoga and provides the basis of a complete medical system in both theory and practice that reflects yogic point of view. This is what the ancient sages of India did. They developed Yoga for realizing a higher consciousness and Ayurveda for health and well-being.

Chikitsa proper or therapy is a topic of Ayurveda or a healing system, such as we find as a chapter heading in most Ayurvedic texts like Charak and Sushrut which have their Chikitsa Sthanas. Chikitsa or treatment rests upon Nidana or diagnosis, which Ayurveda also provides. Every Ayurvedic text has its section on Nidana. There is no classical Yoga Nidana apart from Ayurveda either. A yogic type of diagnosis would have to consider the pranas, Agni, the doshas and the other factors of Ayurveda. This means that Yoga Chikitsa was originally part of the Chikitsa approach of Ayurveda and may still work best along with it.

Traditional Yoga therapy is usually aligned with Ayurveda, such as we find in classical Yoga texts. Modern Yoga therapies may not be overtly so, but all can be brought into the scope of Ayurvedic considerations, with Ayurveda providing a point of integration for all healing therapies. For this we need to understand Yoga as a treatment and Ayurveda as a medical system.

Yogic and Ayurvedic Life-style

Ayurveda is not merely a medical system aimed at the treatment of disease, but a healthy and natural way of living, and of developing one’s highest potential in life. Ayurveda begins with right life-style, including daily and seasonal health regimens, designed for each individual based upon their nature, constitution, environment and life-circumstances.

Yoga alsobegins with a certain life-style, most commonly defined through the yamas and niyamas, the principles and practices of a yogic way of life. The eight limbs of classical Yoga form the practices of a higher life-style promoting prana, creativity, higher development of the senses, mind and awareness. They are helpful, if not essential for any higher well-being for the human being.

An Ayurvedic life-style implies Yoga or conscious living, and a yogic life-style implies Ayurveda and living in harmony both with nature and with one’s own nature. The two inherently go together.

What Ayurveda provides for Yoga

Ayurveda provides many benefits for enhancing Yoga practice. Yoga first of all requires adaptation at an individual level for its maximum efficacy. Ayurveda provides the principles of individualized adaptation primarily through its theory of the three Doshas of Vata, Pitta and Kapha.Knowing one’s doshic type helps one in the application of the Yoga practices, asanas, pranayamas and other factors. Ayurveda also helps us adapt diet, herbs and clinical practices to compliment our practice of Yoga. We could say that Ayurveda provides a basis for Yogic living or Yoga life, which is Yoga according to Ayus. Yoga/Ayus.

What Yoga provides for Ayurveda

The benefits of Yoga for Ayurveda are similarly enormous. Yoga provides for Ayurveda an entire line of life-style, physical, psychological and spiritual treatment measures that help bring out the higher dimension of Ayurveda.Not only does asana have tremendous healing benefits that need to be explored, so does pranayama.

We can call asana the external medicine of Yoga, much like external treatment measures in Ayurveda like massage that similarly works on the musculo-skeletal system. We can call pranayama the internal medicine of Yoga, much like the taking of herbs, which has a more primary effect upon the circulatory, nervous, respiratory and digestive systems. Pranayama helps us increase our energy and vitality and can help correct other pranic imbalances in the body and mind.

Pratyahara or Yogic relaxation aids in Ayurvedic healing, showing how we can draw in our mental, sensory and physical energy for rejuvenation. A good example of this is the practice of Yoga nidra.

Dharana or Yogic concentration is the main way to develop our intelligence, buddhi or prajna, so that we can avoid mistakes of judgment that can end up causing disease and suffering. Increasing our attention span, it can aid in our work and study, particularly in the computer age.

Meditation or dhyana is the sovereign way to take care of spiritual suffering, which is rooted in the disturbances of the mind.

Raja Yoga, which implies all eight limbs of Yoga, is particularly good for psychological ailments and also is a great aid for rejuvenation of both body and mind. That is why to practice Yoga effectively, one may need to remove the toxins or doshas of the body and mind through Pancha Karma.

Shadkarmas of Yoga and Pancha Karma of Ayurveda

Hatha Yoga offers its six detoxification methods or Shadkarma. These however can be harsh, particularly the swallowing of cloths. They are mainly for those who are young and strong. They can easily disturb Vata dosha and are hard to do. They can cause depletion for those who are older or weaker in constitution.

Ayurveda offers its five detoxification methods or Pancha Karma. These are based upon an individual diagnosis and a monitored treatment over an extended period of time. The doshas are systemically brought into the digestive tract for their removal. These methods are safer, better organized and arguably more effective than the Shadkarma. Of the Shadkarma methods, Neti, Trataka and strong Pranayamas are the safest.

Yoga and Ayurveda for Wholistic Living

The human being is a whole person, which extends to the entire mind, body and beyond. Even if we may somehow be physically limited or impaired, we still want to be treated like a whole person. This principle of wholeness is the Atman or Purusha, the higher Self that pervades and upholds both body and mind. It is that same consciousness principle that is the principle of wholeness in the world of nature and is responsible for the integrity of the ecosystem and the linking together of everything in the universe like a single organism.

Yoga begins with the principle of wholeness as establishing consciousness as the foundation of all that we do.Ayurveda recognizes the wholeness and integrity of body, mind and the natural world through the power of Prana. Wholistic living implies living in the wholeness of our own nature, which is linked to the wholeness of the entire universe.

A New Integration of Yoga and Ayurveda

A new integration of Yoga and Ayurveda must consider both the traditional and modern bases and applications of both systems. It should take an integral mind-body approach, and aim both at primary well-being and be capable of the treatment of specific diseases as well.Yet it begins with Yoga/Ayur or Yogic living, which is Ayurveda. This integration of Yoga and Ayurveda can revitalize each of these great Vedic sciences, and help humanity enter into a new era of healing. Yoga and Ayurveda can help us heal ourselves and our world, nature, mind and spirit.

One in 3 stent implants in India is possibly unnecessary

Several senior cardiologists in India have raised concern over rise in the cases of unnecessary implant of stents in India. They say if an audit of stent implant cases was done, over a third of the elective procedures could turn out to be needless.

A few years ago in the US, which has better monitoring and oversight of medical procedures than India, studies had found that only half the non-emergency cardiac stenting procedures were appropriate. Several cardiologists and hospitals were forced to cough up millions of dollars in penalties for unnecessary stenting. Stent companies too paid heavy penalties to settle charges of giving kickbacks to doctors.

There is no regulation of hospitals in India, especially in the private sector where a majority of urban Indians seek healthcare. “At least 25-30% of the stenting done in this country is inappropriate. There are cases of stents being used in absolutely normal patients. External audit of every cath lab and all cardiac procedures is urgently needed. Every state government ought to have doctors with calibre and integrity comprising an audit committee. And doctors caught doing inappropriate stenting ought to be jailed for fraud to set an example,” said Dr T S Kler, head of the department of cardiology in Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.

In 2007 a study in the US that tracked patients over five years showed that in people with stable coronary artery disease, stents were no better than drug therapy. Until this finding, doctors had claimed that stenting in such cases showed excellent results.

In India, there are hospitals that boast of conducting up to 25,000 angioplasties a year and several cardiologists are too close to stent makers and suppliers for comfort. In the absence of any monitoring or oversight, patients in India have no protection from unnecessary use of stent.

“I agree that a significant percentage of angioplasties are inappropriate. I think the Cardiology Society of India should bring out guidelines and create a mechanism to audit themselves rather than giving a chance for an external body to be created. Such an audit is needed as society has lost trust in doctors because of such inappropriate use,” says Dr Devi Shetty, chairman of Narayana Health.

In 2009, an expert panel of cardiologists in the US published criteria for appropriate use of stents. A study preceding the publication looked at 2.7 million stenting procedures in 766 hospitals. It showed that inappropriate stenting in non-acute cases, fell from 25% in 2009 to 13% by 2014. Equally significantly, the total number of stenting in non-acute cases fell by about a third. As a result, the total number of cases of inappropriate stenting fell from 21,000 to just 8,000.

While there is broad consensus among cardiologists that stents can save the life of a patient with symptoms of heart attack, the decision to use stents on an elective basis is far more complicated. With the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority revealing that hospitals make the highest profit on stents, it seems obvious why hospitals are not pushing for audits to curb inappropriate use.


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Young physicians: Don’t repeat my generation’s mistakes

My generation of physicians was much like yours.

My were also “the best.” We’d risen to the top of every academic pyramid: middle school, high school, college. We could be anything we wanted to be.

We chose medicine, partly for noble reasons. Our bodies were wondrous and we got to help people. But also for some not so noble reasons: the money was good, everyone would look up to us, and we’d never have to deal with the compromises and corruption of business. After all, who would ever put a price tag on life and death?

So we also put in our seven or more years of sleepless nights and accumulated mounds of debt. No problem: The endgame was a lifetime of respect, doing good for society, and financial independence.

Our cloistered academic training reinforced our sense of superiority and uniqueness. We emerged feeling we were chosen, exempt from the rules of the outside world.

Then we entered practice and reality struck in so many ways.

First, our patients often fought us. They wouldn’t lose weight even if the alternative was insulin shots. They wouldn’t stop drinking even as their skin turned sallow. They wouldn’t stop smoking even when we outlined that dreaded spot on their chest X-ray.

We’d imagined a life filled with satisfying “saves.” Instead, we woke up every day to a continuing ever eroding holding action.

Second, we get bored. Most of our day was spent reassuring patients, taking blood pressures, and taking care of paperwork. Daily practice lacked the intellectual excitement we’d expected.

The money was good; the respect was good … but in our hearts the prestige felt out of sync with the mundane nature of our work.

Third, medicine suddenly became a business, and that changed everything.

Nobody cared about our life and death stakes anymore. The “suits” only cared about how much you made them, how much you cost them, and how easy you were to replace. And we knew deep down, we too often could be replaced. It had been a long time since we’d practiced at the top of our license.

Suddenly men in cubicles were telling us how long our patients could stay in the hospital, what medications we could prescribe, and most galling how much we’d be paid. We’d never been treated in such a heavy-handed manner.

We asked ourselves, “What happened?” We were always the smart ones. Suddenly our peers who failed academically were telling us what to do. We couldn’t admit that they often had other skills we might have lacked: risk-taking, questioning authority, the ability to inspire others. In this new ugly business of medicine, those qualities now reigned supreme.

So we entered the grieving process.

First, denial. (“My world is not going to change. I’m the one saving lives. My patients will never allow this to happen.”) Then, anger. (“I’m going to quit the profession!”) Then, bargaining. (“OK. I know I may have abused my authority when I was in control, but I’ll be better if you give me another chance.”) Then, depression (“I was the best. Why did they change the rules?”) And finally, resignation. (“Just a few more years and I can retire.”)

Almost every doctor of my generation is now working through various stages of this process. Almost none of us have recommended the profession to our children.

Personally, I don’t blame my generation for feeling betrayed. I blame an academic system that taught us having a knowledge base could somehow bypass the give and take, compromises, and people skills of almost any other profession. I blame a system that taught us being the best meant the best at taking tests.

It has been excruciating to watch my generation of physicians pay the price for these false promises.

All we can do is pass down this moral: Make sure your generation of physicians is better served.


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These Diseases Are All Caused by Microwave Ovens, and You’ve Probably Ignored Them!

The magnetron is a special tube which produced microwave power created by two scientists in World War II.

In combination with the radar system of Britain, these microwaves had the capacity to locate the Nazi airplanes and foiled an attempted bombing.

After few years, these microwaves were found to be able to cook food, by Percy LeBaron Spencer, a member of the military industrial complex known as Raytheon Company. Namely, radar waves melted a candy bar he kept in his pocket.

This eventually led to the creation of the Radar Range, which was the first microwave oven, in extremely large proportions.

The reason we speak about the beginnings of microwave ovens is that they explain a lot about their nature, and indicate why numerous researchers object against their use nowadays.

To clarify this, microwave ovens have around 2.45 billion hertz, which are not dangerous only if the microwave does not leak.

Regarding the fact that it has been proven that the frequency amount which endangers health is just a measly 10 hertz, you should always make sure you are not near your microwave when it is on.

These are the side-effects of microwaves, confirmed by numerous studies:

Weakened immune system

Greater susceptibility to illness

Birth defects


Reduced resistance to viral and bacterial infections


On the other hand, these are the effects of microwave ovens to food:

The Swiss scientist Hans Hertel conducted a study which showed that microwave ovens eliminate the nutrients from our food

The radiation from these ovens deforms and destroys the food molecules, leading to the creation of harmful radioactive compounds

In 1992, a study from the Search for Health conducted a study in 1992 which showed that microwaves led to the following issues in participants:

Reduced hemoglobin which led to an anemic-like conditions

Significant rise in cholesterol levels

Increased leukocytes, indicating cell damage and poisoning

Fall in white blood cells

The structure of the microwaved Infant formulas was greatly damaged, and the components of amino acids were altered, leading to immunological abnormalities

Microwaved breast milk was deprived of 96% of its antibodies

Therefore, even though you are sure that your microwave oven is completely sealed, you are again exposed to dangerous levels of electromagnetic fields, or EMF, which enter the body and lead to severe health issues.

Undoubtedly, these ovens pose an extremely great risk to your health. The recommended maximum exposure by the EPA is about .5mG – 2.5mG of EMF. Note that just being 4 inches away from the microwave while on makes you exposed to 100 – 500mG, while a distance of 3 feet away exposes you to 1 – 25mG.

We cannot deny that microwave ovens are the fastest and convenient way to cook your food. Yet, your own health and the health of your family should always be your priority, and it has been proven that these ovens significantly damage it, so you should focus on reducing or completely eliminating their effects.


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Menu cards are 100 times dirtier than toilet covers

Ever wondered why you suffer from digestive issues after a nice meal at your favourite restaurant?

The actual problem could lie in the menu card rather than the food itself, warn city doctors. The neat-looking and well-laminated menu card is the breeding ground of harmful drug-resistant bacteria, which could upset your stomach causing problems as simple as loose motions to complicated blood infections.According to experts in infectious diseases, the menu card is about 100 times dirtier than the toilet seat cover, to be precise.

City doctors suggest that the next time you visit a restaurant, make sure to wash your hands after touching the menu card. “First order your dishes and then wash hands,” they advise. The bacteria present on menu cards like Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli are capable of surviving for almost two days. Dr Suneetha Narreddy , infectious diseases consultant at Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills, points out that ketchup bottles, salt and pepper shakers and chairs in restaurants are also home to harmful germs. “Spillage of food on menu cards, chairs and tables is quite common. Cleaning them with disinfectants will reduce the number of bacterial colonies and thus the chances of infection,” Dr Suneetha explains.

Dr KS Soma Sekhar Rao, senior medical gastroenterologist and heptalogist, says, “Various types of disease causing germs like Salmonella typhi (typhoid), Vibrio cho lerae (cholera), E coli and enterobacteria (gastroenteritis) have been found on menu cards during recent examinations. Viruses that cause acute viral hepatitis like hepatitis A and hepatitis E have also been found on menu cards.”

Consultant gastroenterologist Dr Naveen Polavarapu says the bottom of the menu card is highly contaminated.The left and right sides also contain bacteria. “These bugs are transmitted from paper to hand and then to paper. E coli and S aureus have developed resistance to many antibiotics. Lack of personal hygiene by staff is also a contributory factor,” he cautions.


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