ROLE OF YOGA AS THERAPY INANO-RECTAL PROBLEMS
Therapist, Yoga, BHIMS, Bombay Hospital, Mumbai 400 020.
Day by day the incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is increasing in leaps and bounds. These NCDs include Killer diseases like hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, diabetes, varieties of cancer and disabling diseases like spondylosis, indigestion, acidity, colitis, constipation, depression etc. It has also been found that in most of the people who suffer from NCDs, they have both the killer diseases and disabling diseases in different combinations.
The research in the causes of NC diseases shows that they are not due to any germs or deficiency. They are directly related to life-style, namely food habits, exercise rest pattern and mental status. Out of the above reasons mental status is the main cause. These NCDs are also called functional disorders or psychosomatic diseases. Psychiatrists estimate that 80 to 85% of todays ailments (other than accidents) are 'stress and diseases' says "the slippery slope between health and disease is determined by stress". Prolonged emotional disturbances lead to digestive problems like acidity, peptic ulcer, colitis, mucous colitis, constipation, intestinal cancers and also hypertension, IHD, low backache, depression etc. Hence in treating these diseases, the father of modern medicine Hippocrate said, "It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease (emotional status) than what sort of disease a person has".
Based on the above facts a new approach, psychoneuro-immunology (PNI) is becoming important in the management of NCDs. PNI means the relationship between the psychological aspect an individual mental make-up the response of the brain and immune system. The emotional state of an individual plays an important role in determining one's health.
YOGA AND EMOTIONAL STATE
Yoga is an ancient Indian science which mainly helps us to understand oneself to the core of reality. It has a message to the body, a message to the mind and the message to the soul. It explains what is life, why to live and how to live. It gives guidance regarding all the dimensions of life - namely food, exercises, rest, thinking, actions etc. It is said man is what he eats and thinks. In short, it guides a person how to live moment to moment in a tranquil way, i.e. how to avoid mental tension or emotional imbalance which is the main problem of modern man.
ANORECTAL PROBLEMS AND YOGA AS THERAPY
It has been proved scientifically that regular practice of yoga Kriyas (Asanas, Pranayam, meditation, some cleansing processes) supported by proper diet, exercises and rest strengthens the neuro-musculo-glandular axis (NMG axis) which is responsible for the homeostasis or immunity of a person. This immunity works against any force that tends to produce a disease in the body, namely due to germs or NCD.
It has been proved that yoga is a science of normalising the functions of the body and mind together. Any disease is an outcome of the failure of the body and mind to work together harmoniously and efficiently. Hence regular practice of all yogic Kriyas assure health and good immunity against all diseases including psycho-somatic type. Hence, Ano-rectal problems are not exceptions to this. Therapy means to make the abnormal - normal. Hence, yoga acts as therapy in all NCDs including Ano-rectal problems.
THE COMMON ANO-RECTAL PROBLEMS ARE
2.Irregular bowel habits
3.Irritable bowel syndrome, (Proctitis)
4.Varieties of colitis - namely mucus, ulcerative, chronic colitis.
5.Piles, fissure, fistulas.
6.Polyps, cancer of ano-rectal regions.
YOGIC THERAPY IS HOLISTIC IN NATURE AND IT INCLUDES
1.Proper diet and water intake.
2.Proper exercises and rest.
3.Regular practise of asanas, pranayam, meditation.
4.Practise of Yama and Niyama in day to day life.
5.Learn to live moment to moment with awareness.
6.Regular practise 'Laughing Yoga'
One should remember that yoga therapy is not just practising a few asanas or breathing exercises but it is an art of total living in such a way that one learns to live free of mental tension.
In yoga one is advised to take whole grain vegetarian food, plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. Food should be taken at the proper and regular time, it should be chewed and masticated properly (drink the solids and chew the liquids) and in quiet and tranquil atmosphere. 'No hurry, no worry - no fury'. We should also take adequate amount of water everyday (2-3 litres for adults per day).
This prescription of food in yoga along with other yogic Kriyas acts as preventive and curative treatment in problems. In yogic constipations, piles, fissure and all GI tract problems. In yogic diet one is strongly advised to refrain from refined food, bottled drinks, strong chilli, spicy and fried food and also avoid tobacco, liquor and animal food other than milk.
The modern concept of high fibre, low fat diet is exactly like this.
PROPER EXERCISES AND DIET
In yoga therapy, along with asanas and pranayam, one is advised regular exercises like surya namaskaras, brisk walking (30-40 min) swimming, PT exercises etc.
YOGASANAS, PRANAYAM, MEDITATION
It means if one practices pranayam and other aspects of yoga namely asanas etc. properly than all varieties of diseases disappear.
According to the yogic philosophy the health of the body depends on the harmonious flow of specific vital energy which is called as "Prana". Any obstruction in the flow of the energy produces disease. Regular practice of Pranayam along with Yogasanas, Mudras assures free and harmonious flow of energy and hence health.
Modern science has proved that the regular practice of yogasanas:
1. Improves the tone and reflex activity of all the muscles in the body including visceral organs like heart, liver, intestines, lungs.
2. Improves the venous and lymphatic drainage of all the intra - abdominal and intra - thoracic and intra - cranial organs avoiding chronic congestion. This improves the functioning of all the visceral organs in the cranium, chest and abdomen including the endocrine glands.
3. It improves neuro-muscular co-ordination. As far as ano-rectal problems are concerned along with routine asanas the specific yogasanas advised are :
1. Pavanmuktasan, Bhujangasana, Shalabhasana, Vakrasana, Nauli, Uddiyan and Ashwini - mudra, Tadasan (working). However, in yoga therapy the concept is to treat the diseased person as a whole rather than the disease only. Hence every person is advised to do the whole course which takes care of all the body parts in general and the diseases part in particular.
Different varieties of pranayam and especially Bhasrika (Below breathing) is known to tone up the diaphragm, anterior abdominal wall and colons. In addition to influencing the venous and lymphatic drainage of all intra-abdominal and intra-thoracic organs, pranayam also helps to control and soothen the mind. It helps to control the aimlessly wandering mind and improves concentration. This is turn helps meditation.
Meditation and Shavasan
Meditation is attention without tension. It is to learn the art of living moment to moment without producing tension. Meditation, if done properly produces a state called as the 'Relaxation Response' Dr. Herbert Bension after assessing the effect of regular practice of meditation has shown that.
1.It lowers down the increased blood pressure.
3.Threshold of reaction to stimuli is slowed down.
4.Endorphin levels in the blood improve.
5.Alpha wave pattern gets established in the brain
Alpha wave pattern is known for promoting healing and anabolic processes in the body.
However, one must know that meditation doesn't mean merely repeating specific words like 'Aum' or chanting particular mantras or concentration on some figures or idols. It is an art of witnessing reality i.e. experiencing a thing without producing a feeling of attachment or aversion.
Shavasan is meditation lying down. For therapeutic benefit one should do shavasan at least two times a day for 10 minutes each time.
The author of the article suggests that one should practice Vipassana type of meditation along with asanas, pranayam, and adopt proper diet, exercise rest and refrain from tobacco and liquor. For last 15 years, the author is taking regular group, yoga therapy sessions where in persons suffering from various varieties of NCDs participate. So far he had the opportunity to treat more than 15,000 people of various age group, either sex and different nationalities. Though their outward problems where different, affecting different systems the main reason is wrong attitude which produces mental tension. This uncontrolled mental tension affects the internal system depending upon their genetic procoding. Some mental tension can produce in one person colitis and in some asthma or hypertension.
- Yogic way of living which include taking proper food, rest, exercises, practising yogic procedures regularly and abstaining from vices can prevent majority of psycho somatic diseases.
- Yoga therapy is total holistic approach.
- Yoga aim in treating person as a whole. It not only keeps to get rid of some disease, but helps to improve the quality of life.
- It is not a substitute for established disease but can be supporting one.
- In yoga therapy there is active participation of the patient in doing different yogic procedures and regularly following proper life style. It is not just passive receiving of medicines.
- By yogic therapy one not only get rid of disease, but improves person as whole and enjoy the jubilent feeling of well being at physical, mental, social, and spiritual level - the real definition of heaven.