International Week For Breast Feeding



The first week of August is dedicated to Breast feeding. Sharing a Blog of mine, —“But the overwhelming number of mothers who think they have too little milk have babies who are taking plenty of milk and are gaining weight well. These mothers have based their conclusions on misinformation or a misinterpretation of their babies’ behavior.”
― Kathleen Huggins, The Nursing Mother’s Guide to Weaning

Originally posted on dr.d'scribe:

courtsey image WBW courtsey image WBW

Breast feeding

The world breast feeding week (WBW) was in the first week of august.

Yes my blog did not commemorate the event, simply because I realize that ground reality varies.

Most women today are aware of the need to nurse their child. But challenges are many. The woman could be working in the formal, or non-formal or home setting but she should be empowered to claim her and her baby’s right to be breast fed.

In 1993 WBW had a campaign on Mother-Friendly workplace initiative.  There has been viable improvement achieved over the past 22 yrs. There are laws in place and there are women who are not satisfied with the law. There are also women who abuse the law.

The 1990 Innocenti Declaration recognized that breast feeding provides ideal nutrition for the infants and contributes to their health, growth and development. There is much that…

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Wheel of Balance.


Summer is the time when the rooafza advts come out. And every beverage worth his salt begins to peddle beat the heat so do the cosmetic companies.

If winter cravings are to do with fried and spicy food to fortify ourselves for the winter, the summer asks for coolants. Of course the first thing I do is to strike milk off my because I find it rather too heavy.  But when I see the articles and hear debates about balanced diet as someone who has had training in Ayurveda (jiva) and what I have heard from clinicians before me, that is my father and grandfather I know that balanced diet is not about the percentage of protein that my diet contains but about the nutrition required to bring my body back to its functional optimization.

A balanced diet is the one that gives my body the nutrition that it needs to function properly. In order to truly get balanced nutrition you should obtain the majority of your daily calories from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein

What effects our nutritional needs have a lot to do with where we live, what is our lifestyle, what are the season’s need and our own constitution?

Ayurveda classifies the constitution of the body, as vata, pitta and kapha.


– Air+ space responsible for movement like respiration, circulation and thought. On an emotional level creativity, flexibility m fear and anger.


Fire+ water responsible for metabolism including digestion of food, hunger

Emotionally courage, anger, ambition, pride.


Water+ earth cohesion and body structure govern emotions like love devotion, greed and jealousy.

These doshas are essentially body energies activity, diet and lifestyle effect the doshas.

Pitta increases with hot spicy food, anger and strong summer.

Kapha increases with heavy cold food, inactivity dampness and winter.

Vata increases with dry light food, overwork and autumn winds.

The knowledge of our prakriti helps us to maintain by altering our activity, lifestyle and diet according to our constitution.

Imbalance of these elements leads to ill health. This is called vikriti. Health is restored by balancing the doshas


If doshas deals with physical component Guna deals with Psychological constitution…

These are again 3 in classification

Sattva  harmony and purity

Rajas    agitation and vitality

Tamas darkness and ignorance

These are perceived but are deduced from our actions.

The combination of doshas and gunas give us our individuality. The guna’s can be influenced.


Apathetic, lazy, dishonest, insensitive and prone to addiction. Avoids work, lack of willpower and discipline.


Ambitious, dynamic, and often dominate others. Spire for power, wealth and status. Their positive feature is strength, bravery and leadership.

On the negative aspect it is cruelty, manipulation, egotism, and anger.

Foods that encourage Rajas quality are: fried, spicy and greasy food.


A person displaying the characteristics of pure Sattva is a saintly figure and they are very few and far between. Sattvic qualities include intelligence, compassion, generosity, and kindness. Sattva -dominant people concern themselves with humanitarian and spiritual activities. They possess mental clarity, humility, enthusiasm, and joy.

The diet that increases Sattva includes fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds, milk, ghee, and buttermilk. Sattvic food should be freshly cooked and eaten in a peaceful environment. Discipline, cleanliness, spiritually uplifting, and selfless activities—all increase Sattva.

Many of us are a combination of the three and this may fluctuate at different stages of our lives. Pressures of modern life make it difficult to incorporate ideal Sattvic qualities into our lives; but over time, and regardless of physical constitution, if we make efforts to modify our lives appropriately—we will surely experience long-term enhancement of health, happiness and content


In Ayurveda, food (ahaara) is the prime preventive medicine. Proper diet and eating habits are considered the source of both physical and mental health. You can not only maximize your health through the application of dietary guidelines, but also treat sickness. Once your understand the properties of various foods and herbs, you can apply these principles to your daily diet as well as on those occasions when you feel unwell.

There are dozens of remedies that can be prepared easily in your own home using common foods and herbs. At home, the pharmacy is really no further than the kitchen cupboard or the refrigerator.

In order to be balanced, cheerful, and calm in disposition, it is essential to emphasize Sattvic food in your lifestyle and minimize rajasic or tamasic foods. Regular use of Sattvic food items helps prevent disease and maintain good physical, mental, and spiritual health. According to Ayurveda, eating Sattvic food and practicing a Sattvic life style is the best preventive medicine.

Sattvic food is fresh, pure, and vegetarian. In terms of nutrition, this includes increasing the amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, salads, pure fruit juices, herbal teas, water and milk, nuts, seeds, and honey. Food should be eaten freshly prepared. At the same time, foods that are processed, pre-prepared, preserved, fermented, canned and packaged, frozen, micro waved, fried or barbecued, high in sugar or spices, or containing artificial flavours or colours should be minimized. Mushrooms, onions, spices and garlic should be avoided, as they are tamasic and/or rajasic. Consumption of alcohol, caffeine and meat should be moderated or eliminated for the same reason.

Foods that have a naturally sweet taste are sattvic. This does not include refined sugar products, but refers to anything that has a sweet taste without any additives, such as grains (rice, wheat and barley), breads, honey, and fruits. Milk, herbal teas, pure fruit or vegetable juices, and water are also included in this group. Organically grown foods are preferred, as fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals and preservatives are tamasic.

A number of clinical studies in India have demonstrated that increasing sattvic foods increases sattvic qualities. For example, animals fed mostly vegetarian food in laboratories became calm, peaceful and alert. In contrast, those fed stale or frozen foods, meat and other tamasic or rajasic food became violent, restless, and agitated (Joshi 1997:138). The hypothesis that food creates behavioral and mood changes has been replicated in studies in the West, where dietary links to behaviour (body-mind) have been observed in controlled studies of children.


Like static dietary considerations, mind balance and static qualities can be enhanced with activities that are static in nature. These are calming, quiet, inspiring, and mentally invigorating. They may include meditation, yoga or other forms of gentle exercise, listening to peaceful and classical music, enjoying nature and the outdoors, gardening, creative or artistic pursuits, or reading good quality literature. Meditation is calming and helps balance emotions, so passion, anger, fear, and extreme emotions are minimized.

Dealing effectively with stress and anxiety is the role of the mind. Managing stress through classic Ayurveda concepts like meditation, breathing and relaxation exercises that control and calm the mind, are now accepted as scientifically valid. Such practices stop the flow of hormones associated with stress; lower the heart rate and blood pressure. All of these factors have a significant positive effect on health.

The lifestyle regime proposed in Ayurveda encompasses spiritual and psychological aspects. The guidelines are based on living according to static principles, including adopting personal ethics and a code of morality such as speaking the truth, serving humanity, not exploiting others, respecting elders, and devotion to spiritual growth. Practicing exercise (yoga) and meditation, regulating sleep, and controlling negative emotions (greed, envy, anger and violence) further enhance the mind and body.

The lifestyle routine is based on balance in all things. Eating, sleeping, and sex are undertaken within natural limits; and working, socializing, exercising, and relaxation are engaged in with a balanced attitude. No one activity should be engaged in excessively and one area of life should not be sacrificed for another. Moderation is the key to health and happiness. check this link out, it helps you create the ideal diet for you

Grasping the gasp.


wowBreathlessness is  gasping for breath, usually due to exertion.  It could also be stifling still, or not being stirred by any wind or breeze, like  the warm breathless air.

There are people who experience this on a day to day basis, either when they run or when they decide to climb up the stairs.  Physiologically as we breathe we take in air, that travels the trachea, goes to the alveoli in the lungs through the bronchi. From where it gives in oxygen to the system and gives out carbon dioxide.  The oxygen is used by the system for metabolic activity.

Breathlessness is lack of oxygen and lack of oxygen of few seconds can damage the brain, irreversibly.

Mild difficulty in breathing is not really a cause of concern, but breathlessness that comes on suddenly and unexpectedly or that gets worse with time is actually a warning sign of a medical condition and is termed as dyspnoea. Some causes for breathlessness could be problem with lung or airways, like choking, or something is stuck in the throat.  This is quite easily handled able. Then there are conditions like Asthma that need medical attention. Breathlessness that comes and goes or it is accompanied with wheezing it is a red flag for asthma.  Then there is pulmonary embolism where arteries of the lungs are blocked by blood clots, fat cells or tumour cells. This could manifest with chest pain attached. There are times when low grade fever is present too. Then there is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that is better known as COPD, the lungs are partially blocked by mucus here.  Persistent gradually increasing breathlessness that worsens with even slightest activity, difficulty in catching your breath, wheezing, cough with or without mucus, fatigue are all symptoms of COPD. Pneumonia the lung infection caused by streptococcus pneumonia.  Here the breathlessness is accompanied by chest pain on breathing in, fever, cough and sputum production. –

Disorders like angina, heart attack, arrhythmia congenital heart diseases can all cause Breathlessness Due To Cardiac Compromise. These symptoms show up incidentally. Symptom is caused the decreased ability of the heart of fill and empty.  This causes an increased pressure of blood around the lungs. The breathlessness is more here when the person is lying down. Symptoms include wakefulness at night, with shortness of breath, cough at night or when lying down, breathlessness with activity swelling of ankles or legs, unusual fatigue with activity and fluid weight gain.

Anxiety could causes breathlessness too. This is due to hyperventilation or over breathing. This happens when our body goes into fight or flight mode. The rapidity in oxygen intake and letting go of carbon dioxide sends the body feedback system the message of inadequacy, this causes hyperventilation.

Allergies and dust in the environment can also cause breathlessness.  This is the response of the immune system to threat.  This happens because the allergens block the airway.

Obesity, results in decreased function of the respiratory muscles because the muscles are stressed. Moreover the obesity changes the signals from the brain regarding the patterns of breathing.

Rapid spreading of cancer cells puts pressure on the airways causing narrowing of the of the airway and it becomes difficult for the air to pass through, resulting in breathlessness.  Cancer patients tend to find this breathlessness, frightening, disabling and restricting.  If the cancer is in either the ovary or liver it tends to build up fluid in the abdomen, and pushes against the diaphragm causing breathlessness.

Then there are the man made interventions like surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, can cause breathlessness as a collateral damage.

In all, being breathless though sounds great in a thriller or a romantic novel in every day biology it is worrying.


image courtesy internet

image courtesy internet


The familiar feeling of the effort to take in air. It was as if the lung was being pressed down by a great weight. Suhana’s breathing became rapid, pain in the chest was unbearable  the muscles of the neck and chest tightens,  her breathing sounded like her lung was whistling both as she took in air and breathe out. Suhana’s mind prompted,”its called retractions… the tightening of chest.”

Only this time round the familiar triggers of dampness was not there, it was triggered by the advent of her mother-in-law, aiyee as everyone called it was not as if Aiyee was a Lalitha pawar clone but it was her very subtle way of making things stressful. The soft whispering of Aiyee to  Suhana’s husband Ananth,  for example “oh! Your wife didn’t this or the right way to something is the way I do it.”

The coughing had begun when she realized that her Mother-in-law was coming over and it refused to stop. Suhana’s breathing was shallow and rapid. Once her mother-in-law arrived it went into inability to speak, and anxiety and panic.

Have you ever experienced this collapse of your system where the airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus, breathing is so difficult and triggers cough, wheezing and shortness of breathe. The days when I was suffering from chronic asthma attacks I used to feel so unclean with all the mucus and awful sound that my breathing made. I was adamant I would not succumb to the inhaler. Suhana was at that state where she had to constantly carry the inhaler.

Physiologically the muscles that surround the airways are trigged to tighten, this tightening is the brochospasm. During the attack the lining of the airway becomes swollen or inflamed and the cells lining the airways produce more and thicker mucus than normal.

Treating asthma immediately becomes very important as the severity of the disease escalates rapidly to reach a state called Status Asthmaticus.  Bronchodilators help to make breathing easy salbutamol being a popular one.

If untreated then cyanosis or bluish tinge begins to appear in the nail bed, and around the mouth. This is due to less oxygen.

Asthma if present in the infant stage usually gets under control at puberty this is not a rule but by and large so. But many times it is a chronic condition that requires care.

One experiment we carried out was treating the asthmatic with agnihotra which actually may be irritant, but when we followed the prescribed home, and used the prescribed sahitya  or ingredients in the prescribe quantity  and order what we realized that the fumes carried sublimated alkaloids that were  bronchodilators by nature. These would be inhaled into the pulmonary pathway and act topically and directly to cause bronchodilator. Unfortunately it was not sustainable. And more than one exposure during the day acted a trigger instead of solution.

wowI do not know how many of you have heard about the live fish therapy in Orissa and how found relief from asthma swallowing a live fish in a single gulp..  Many cases asthma is an impression of the dying thought or cause of death in another lifetime when the live fish is swallowed the throat relives the entire physio-pathology of being choked, breathless, but now the body experiences comfort after swallowing so the new message is learnt, that breathing can be easy.

In many cases like Suhana’s asthma was the flight response to authority and the feeling of suffocation.  When we did couple of therapeutic sessions she overcame the tendency to asthma.

Reverse Mortgage…an aid for senior citizens

image courtesy internet

image courtesy internet

Elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. India has maintenance and welfare senior citizens act.

Here the links to some articles that I wrote last year

What happens in the Indian context is sometimes abuse happens unintentionally, sometimes it is perceived. In the Indian context abuse is experience as

  • Disrespect
  • Neglect
  • Verbal abuse.

Interestingly sons are perceived as perpetuators and abuse is reported by relatives. The kind of abuse and prevalence is quite different with socio-economic conditions and interestingly even religious and cultural background. Muslim community has the least leader abuse both perceived and actually as the tenets are ingrained and community steps in. Though with increasing migration syndrome there has been financial abuse, leading to the creation of an elder protection legislature.

image courtesy internet

image courtesy internet

This has come up with increased life expectancy and increased medical treatment costs. Seniors have a lack of regular income. Though Baghbaan the movie is touted as elder abuse, I would say it is rather a movie of bad financial management. Many seniors don’t live with their children.  What I notice is we a society is not really elder friendly; in the sense our cities and towns do not have spaces for the seniors to walk. Other than Hyderabad railway station getting into a train or a bus is next impossible for a senior. The sidewalks are non-existent.

But an emerging new worry is the younger flock that has migrated, very silent sells away the assets of the seniors. Lack of regular income or financial support from children causes financial crisis in seniors if they need medical aid which has become obscenely expensive in this country.

To allow the seniors a life of dignity the Union government has come up with the reverse mortgage system in 2007. This is opposite of a conventional back loan. This enables a senior citizen to receive a regular stream of income from a lender against the mortgage of his home. He continues to reside in the property till the end of his life and receives a periodic payment on it. The amount is decided upon on the basis of the demand for the property, current property prices and the conditions of the house. The bank then disburses a loan amount to the borrower in form of periodic payments after considering a margin for interest costs and price fluctuations. The periodic payments also known as reverse EMI and are received by the borrower over fixed loan tenure. With each payment whether monthly or quarterly the equity or the individuals interest in the house decreases.

The RBI of course has certain guide lines for this. The reverse mortgage loan becomes due when the last surviving borrower dies, or if the borrower chooses to sell the house. The bank first gives an option to the next of kin to settle the loan along with accumulated interest without sale of property. If the next of kin is unable to settle the loan the bank then opts to recover the same form the sale proceeds of the property.

Any residual amount after settlement of the loan with accrued interest and expenses through the sale of the property will be passed on to the legal heirs.

If the loan is prepaid then there is no prepayment penalty or charges. And the burrower is allowed to prepay it.

If the borrower outlives the tenure of the loan he can continue to stay in the house, and lending institution may however cease the monthly payments.

If one of the spouses dies the other can continue to live there only when both the partners are dead will the settlement of loan take place.

In India like everything else lengthy documentation makes the entire process tedious. And the payouts are monthly fixed amounts. There is no provision to increase this amount in the case of emergency or contingency.

indichangeThis has somehow not really become very popular in India, probably because it was marketed adequately. Also the banks have sealed off the maximum amount to 50 lakhs or 1 crore. Many times children have resentment to reverse mortgage as they see it as giving away their family home or legacy.

The Indian mind set looks at owned property as a family asset and usually becomes an inheritance, and liquidating it would the last resort.  Again elders are given lot of importance in the Indian cultural context so property owning senior citizens are generally assured of care and support in their golden years.

Protecting the protector– skin care



Skin is one of the largest organs of the body. It defines our space. I shall not go into too much details of the anatomy of the skin. All the same here are some basic functions of the skinskin

Protection – Primary function of the skin is to protect us from trauma and impact. It also forms the first defence against invasion from pollutants and micro-organisms. Tanning is a way that our skin protects us from UV rays. It is also the way our skin activates VitminD3 from its precursor form Vitamin K.

Regulation – through the sweat glands and hair follicle, the skin regulates our body temperature so that we are in harmony with environment. The skin detoxifies the body by throwing out some of the metabolic waste.

Sensation – it is the neurons in the skin that ell us of the various sensations like heat, cold, pain and touch.

Normally the skin stays hydrated due to the sweat. The constant detoxification adds to keeping the skin soft and healthy, because the body is physiologically designed for this. When we feel sweaty and grimy just water splashed takes care of the griminess without nullifying the moisture. Let’s look at what turns the skin dull…

  • Exposure to dust and pollutions.
  • Exposure too much make up
  • Over exposure to sun, it forms a tan that gives the skin a rough wrinkly look and accelerates the aging manifestation.
  • Improper diet, results lack of nutrition to the skin.
  • Improper sleep disturbs the biorhythm causing an impaired repair and rejuvenation cycle.

face washIf I were to speak metaphysically skin represents boundaries, it also represents visibility, and most importantly its fundamental function is protection so it reflects our own sense of security. So blocked sebaceous glands resulting in acne or gits simply means that there is something that is blocking the toxic emotions, or experience from leaving us and this is making us insecure.  It also means that we are not being seen the way we would like to be visible. Or that we feel our personal space is being encroached on.

Oil you face gently, wash with a mild soap or  chickpea powder (besan) take an ice cube and wrap it in a cloth run this round your face.

Once week oil your face with whatever cooking oil used at home.   Working on areas

  • Place your middle and third fingers between your eyebrows and glide them upward and outward as if smoothing away lines and wrinkles
  • Gently apply pressure to the temples this is soothing, and relaxing effect. It also helps to relieve tension and headaches. It make the eyes look less tired
  • Circle the third finger out and around the eyes starting at the inner point of the eyebrows and using a gentle gliding action.
  • Apply acupressure at the beginning of the brow; meddle of the brow, corner of the brow and the outer corner of the yes. This improves lymphatic drainage.
  • Guide the middle finger along the nose line and massage the sides of the nose with the middle fingers in a circular motion to present the appearance of fine lines.
  • Apply pressure to the acupressure points just outside the nostrils. This helps to clear blocked nose and prevents fine lines from appearing around the nose.
  • Using middle and third fingers massage outward in a spiral motion from the chin to below the earlobes, from the corner of the mouth to the ears and from the middle of the nose to the temples.
  • Apply pressure to the acupressure points just below the ear. This stimulates blood and lymph flow to the lower jaw area.
  • Starting from the centre of the chin use the middle finger to massage around the mouth, working upward to smooth out expressions lines and wrinkles.
  • Apply pressure to the acupressure points at the side of the mouth, above the centre of the top lip, the dimple just below the lower lip and of the centre of the chin. This helps to prevent lines forming around the mouth.

viccoOne great face mask that worked for me was ½ turmeric, 1 tbsp. Besan, and 1tbsp. Cream made to a paste and applied on the face, this is rinsed off after half an hour.



smokerrsThe 31 st of May was worldwide celebrated as World No Tobacco Day .

Chewing  and smoking tobacco is commonly practiced worldwide .Many get addicted to cigarette smoking .The use of Tobacco , either by chewing or smoking can lead to increased risk of various health hazards.There are more than 4000 harmful chemicals present in tobacco  smoke  like nicotine , tar , formaldehyde , benzene , carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. Due to its high content of nicotine, tobacco becomes addictive .Once a person gets addicted to chewing or smoking tobacco then it is very difficult to give up .The trigger factors are stress , waking up, after a meal , when angry or in the company of certain people e.g. friends, colleagues.The possible cause of cigarette smoking could be if a person is suffering from major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder or panic disorder .

The effects of chewing and smoking tobacco are life threatening .The use of tobacco increases the risk of, cardiovascular  and respiratory diseases and is a leading cause of  lung cancer and oral cancer . In order to  prevent the diseases caused by tobacco , one should stay away from these unhealthy habits. Its never too late to quit smoking and stop tobacco use .

Dealing with tobacco cravings  the homoeopathy  way :

  • The best medicine prescribed is Tabacum  to reduce the craving for tobacco specially in those  who are discontinuing the use of Tobacco .
  • Plantago  especially to produce  disgust or aversion  to  tobacco in habitual tobacco  chewers
  • Caladium  Seguinum – modifies  the craving for tobacco
  • Arsenic  is specially indicated for  ailments from tobacco chewing

Techniques to quit smoking include Behavioral techniques and mental techniques . Behavioural techniques include – awaiting  for an increased amount of time before lighting up , Substituting smoking behavior with eating carrot sticks,eating gum, cereal , exercising. Keep a smoking diary , list 5 reasons why you want to stop smoking, Make a list of all other things you will do when craving a cigarette. Give yourself a positive reward once a day if you do not smoke .

Mental techniques  include emphasis  on focused smoking – while smoking imagine negative consequences  and cognitive rehearsal – rehearse what you will say when offered a cigarette  at a social gathering -……’No thanks I am a non smoker’.

Always remember , there should be no compromise, where health is concerned . After  all , health is wealth ! so free yourself on  this day from tobacco not only  on   world no tobacco day  but everyday . It is said , ‘Self is the only prison that can ever bind a soul’ .


Stop smoking – change your life —-!

Article by Dr. Zoya João, Homoeopathic Psychiatrist , Public Health Specialist , Bainfol , Assolna, Salcete , Goa . 403701. For free counseling – mail me on