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

Spirit Attachment


image courtesy internet

One of the biggest challenges I had learning Hypnotherapy was acceptance of the existence of spirits, like I have said before, it became acceptable only when I could tell myself that these were energies that had nowhere to go. Or the energies that could not have the  ascension experience. To put it more clearly, if we accept that our human experience is a combination of a body, soul and a mind. With death the body perishes, the complex of soul and mind leaves to cross the Bardo, if this energy does not cross the Bardo then we have it floating around looking for release. One could call these are spirits. These are earth bound until they are released. Just as virus and Bacteria invade our physical body, the spirits can invade our energetic body. We then call it an attachment, this could occur in many ways, from recurring negative thoughts to compulsions and addiction. Unfortunately the host mistakes these for their own excesses.  The individual exhibits sub personalities that are not stable, they may even be Bizarre and unsettling. Many times, the existence of these attachments lead to the individual being diagnosed as Dissociative Identity Disorder During a hypnotherapy session’s spirits get discovered without going on a search for them. But it is also true that unless the spirit is ready to leave it will not manifest. How Does The Attachment Occur? Our body has a protective aura field; if this field weakens then the spirit can enter the aura space. This could happen if—

  • There is a tremendously lonely child
  • A sick child
  • Parents with attachments
  • An physical intercourse,
  • Drug and alcohol abuse.

These are just to name a few. It is possible for these spirits to released and the procedure is very simple through hypnotherapy

  • Discovering the attachment this usually happens during the course of addressing some issue.
  • Having a conversation with the attachment
  • Letting the attachment know that it has better place to be.

Interestingly Dr.Tanya Shah of Lahore I do not remember the university name, presented a paper on the Kalasaaya in 2001 at The international conference of religious studies in Bangkok, she had photographs of the Kaala-saaya and how they turned white on chanting the prescribed prayers for 15 days.


World Homeopathy Day


World Homoeopathic Day – 10 th April 2015


Every year the 10 th of April is observed as World Homoeopathy Day . Its  the  day on which  people across the globe commemorate the birth day of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann , the German Physician ,  who is the founder of Homoeopathy .

People around the world require medicines at one time or the other. Some people use direct medicines like antibiotics  etc. and others opt for alternative therapies like homeopathy, ayurveda, siddha , unani and other therapies.

Homeopathy is an alternative method of treatment, based on the nature’s Law of Cure, namely ‘Like Cures Like’. Homeopathy is the revolutionary, natural medical science. It is gentle and an effective system of medicine. The remedies are prepared from natural substances to precise standards and work by stimulating the body’s own healing power.

homeopathy Homeopathy is highly scientific, logical, safe, quick and extremely effective method of healing. It offers long lasting to permanent cure, treating the disease from its roots, for most of the ailments. It is the most rational science with respect to its concepts of health, disease and cure. Homoeopathy does not treat superficially by just driving away the symptoms but heals the patient from within.

Homoeopathic medicines are prepared from different sources like vegetable kingdom, minerals, chemicals, compounds, healthy tissues, infected tissues, the source is always in the form of the existing substances available in nature.

This system of medicine has stood the test of time since it was commissioned for the cure of patients in 1790, because it has been able to adapt to the demands and the intrinsic worth, credibility of the principles are close to the human metabolism and understands the wisdom of the symptoms expressed by the human body.

The human body is a wonderful organism and has an innate capacity of self preservation. Whenever it sees that there is something harmful which seems to gain its way into the system, the immune system rises to the task and expels, neutralises the harmful substance.

But in certain circumstances the internal mechanism is under duress of the harmful agent and the disease sets in. This is when the system in its wisdom cries for help in the form of symptoms. These have to be corroborated by the Homoeopathic Physician in seeking the most similar drug and since internal protective force of the body responds to it and wakes up to the call, it subdues the disease and its symptoms.

The concept of disease in homeopathy is that disease is a total affection of mind and body, the disturbance of the whole organism. Individual organs are not the cause of illness but disturbance at the inner level (disturbance of the life force, the vital energy of the body ) is the cause of illness. Therefore homeopathy does not believe in giving different medicines for different afflicted parts of body but  the homoeopaths prescribe  one single constitutional remedy which covers the disturbance of the whole person. It treats the patient as a whole and not just the disease Homoeopathy believes in holistic, totality and individualistic approach.

The feeling of well being is the most beautiful gift the physician can give to their patients. It always re-establishes their positive outlook and attitude towards the others around them. This feeling of well being is most gratifying when bestowed upon a child. They are our future and their wellbeing will ensure a healthier tomorrow.  A well selected  Homeopathic medicine has excellent curative properties; it heals from within and establishes the balance at spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical and pathological levels with a non – invasive non toxic dose. Most of the children’s ailments like Cold, Cough, Fever, Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Colic, Tonsillitis, Bronchitis, Asthma, Measles, Chickenpox, Mumps,  Dentition problems, etc., could be very effectively and quickly treated with homoeopathy without producing any side effects whatsoever. Homeopathic pills do not hamper digestion, nor lower body’s resistance. Neither do they cause any allergies nor cause any damage even if taken over a long period. Homeopathic pills being sweet in taste, is willingly ingested by children. Besides, homeopathy is effective also in temperament and behavioral problems seen commonly in children like irritability, obstinacy, temper-tantrums, fears, phobias, destructiveness and thumb- sucking, nail biting, bed-wetting; as well as in mentally & physically backward children.

It has treated effectively  most of the infectious disease such as Sinusitis, Tonsillitis, Gastro-enteritis, Urinary Infections, common cold, influenza, Swine flu etc.. In modern life infections have diminished and various allergic disorders have grown rampant.

To obtain the best results and full benefits of homeopathic science, one should resort to homoeopathy in the early phase of sickness. Because of ignorance and lack of awareness among the general public about the usefulness of homeopathy in all kinds of diseases ranging from Cold to Cancer, many patients approach homoeopathy late. By this time the disease process advances to an incurable stage and homoeopathy can offer little then, to the otherwise curable disorders. However timely given homeopathic treatment could be a blessing to the ailing humanity.  Homeopathy is not limited to certain diseases but is universally applicable to all kinds of diseases. Everyone  must avail of  the benefits of homeopathy in various day to day diseases, as it can positively help  in treating many  of the diseases  that we have today, thereby generating  a happier and healthier world. So experience the magical cures of Homoeopathy !!And my  greatest wish is to see people become healthier .

Dr.Zoya Joao

Dr.Zoya Joao

by :

Dr. Zoya João, Bainfol, Assolna , Salcete , Goa .

For more information, counselling , consultation call or email :

0832-2773333 ( from 7pm till  9 pm) , drzoe1234@gma