Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Some Popular Medical Myths

Myth : Do not Eat Immediately Before Swimming.
There is a widespread belief that if a person takes a meal immediately before swimming one is likely to get cramps. This is entirely incorrect. Cramps are not related to food at all. Any sort of violent activity after an enormous tuck-in is bound to cause discomfort but you can certainly have a leisure swim immediately after a moderate meal. The normal body can easily cope with the swimming and the meal, provided there is no excess.

Myth : One Can Put On Weight As One Grows Older
The popular concept that it is normal to have a gradual weight gain every year is not true. In the older age groups, it is a definite health hazard to weigh 10 or 15 kilograms more than what one used to weigh when one was, say, 21, because, with ageing, there is a decrease in muscle mass and increase in the fat content of the body. The ideal weight in old age should be one's weight when one was about 21 years old.

Myth : Extra Protein Gives Immediate Extra Strength
A normal body has such large reserves of proteins and fat that it normally does not need any food supplements in the way of extra protein. The average diet normally gives the body all the food it requires and no special diet is necessary for special bodily activity. But what often happens is that if any food is taken on the assumption that it will help, it usually does result in better physical performance. But this is not due to the food at all - it is entirely psychological. In fact, extensive tests have established that the kind of food you eat before you undertake any special physical activity makes no differences-whatsoever in your performance.

Myth :
Extra Hours Of Sleep Help
This is not at all correct. You cannot store sleep. The body just needs a certain amount of sleep and no more. In fact, a long bed rest has a de-conditioning effect.

Myth :
Never Take Fluid While Exercising Or During Meals
This is entirely wrong. The body needs fluid while exercising. When one exercises, one becomes thirsty and dehydrated. Fluid then becomes very necessary. In fact, it is harmful not to have fluid while you are exercising if you are thirsty. One should drink until one's thirst is quenched but not in excess. Drinking water during meals is all right and does not dilute the digestive juices to the extent of harming digestion, as long as no excessive water is drunk.

Myth : Sugar Taken Before Exercise Raises The Energy Level
This is probably not correct. In fact, excessive sweet-taking over along period of time makes demands on insulin production which the body may not be able to cope with: this might eventually lead to diabetes. Although it is not completely established it is unlikely that extra sugar gives direct extra energy.

Myth : Put On A Sweater After Exercise
There is no danger in being comfortably cool after you have exercised. So it is not at all necessary to put on a sweater after exercise. In fact, it is far better to leave your sweater off after exercise and let your body slowly come back to its normal stage. The best clothing for hot weather exercise is the naked skin. When you no longer feel hot and your sweat has subsided, you can then put on your sweater but only if you feel cold.

Myth : Take A Cold Shower After A Hot One To Close Your Pores
This is entirely unnecessary. So many people put themselves to the discomfort of a cold shower after a hot bath under the entirely false belief that it will close their pores and prevent them from getting a chill. This is incorrect. Pores don't have to be closed.

Myth : Sex Should Be Avoided Before Athletics
The popular notion that sexual abstinence keeps one strong and gives one strength has no scientific foundation whatsoever. Infact, it has been found that athletes seem to perform better after sexual intercourse, even when they have had intercourse on the morning of a competition.

Myth : Big Muscles Make You Stronger
Big muscles are all right if there is need for a massive body to push against a heavy load; but today's champions accept the fact that small muscles are the best. The major objective today is not big muscles, but to develop a high-quality body possessed of vigour and the capacity to resist stress and strain.

Myth : Never Exercise In The Hot Noon Sun
There is a widespread belief that you will come to harm if you exercise in the noon-day sun; but this is incorrect. In fact, if the sun is directly overhead, perhaps all you require is a hat to protect your head. In mid-morning or mid-afternoon there is no way to protect your body from the sun's rays which come to it at an angle. Exercise as much as you like in the hot noon-day. It will do you no harm as long as you do not feel uncomfortable.

Myth : Women Who Exercise Lose Their Femininity
This is utter nonsense. In fact, exercise usually gives women more attractive contours. They move with greater grace. Exercise gives a delicious feeling of well-being and relaxation which can be most seductive.

Myth : Stress And Pace Of Modern Life Increases Some Illnesses
The theory that relates the prevalence of certain illnesses today to the rapid pace of modern life does not take into account two points:

  1. Have the illnesses, in fact, become commoner or are we just better at recognizing them? And are there not many illnesses today which one did not have in the old days simply because people today live much longer?
  2. Has stress really increased? The life of a doctor, say in London today, is surely much less stressful than that of a peasant in the Ganges valley in the old days with the ever-present menace of flood, hunger, pestilence and war. It could therefore easily be argued that present-day life is much freer from stress and tension than in the old days.

Monday, January 14, 2008

How to Overcome Tension And Stress

Find the Cause
An attempt to identify the cause of stress and anxiety is an important and necessary step in solving the problem of stress and tension. One should try to discover the cause of the tension. Once having established the cause of the stress, it is greatly reduced if one talks about it with friends or counselors. This is perhaps the main task of psychoanalyst, they spend hours probing the cause of tension. They often have to go back to the childhood of the patient. Once the cause of the stress is known, it then becomes much easier to find a solution. Often just talking about it helps to find a cure. The system adopted by Catholics of confession with trusted and trained priests is very much on these lines. Talking about intimate and personal problems with a sympathetic priest during confession, or with a friend, tends to reduce the cause of the tension and anxiety.

Present Life Situation
More and more doctors now believe that for successful treatment of any disease, and specially when one caused by stress and emotion, they must investigate the patient's history and present life situation, as a high percentage of illnesses are psychosomatic. The cure for such illnesses is not medicines at all but an entirely different way of thinking and a complete readjustment to the environment.

The Power of Faith
The famous pilgrimage centres of Lourdes in France and Shirdi in India, among others, are places where miraculous 'cures' have been affected. It is felt by many, however, that these cures result because of the great faith of the people that visit these places of pilgrimage. In the mind of many of these pilgrims there is a conviction that they will get well and so they get cured. Faith is a great factor in healing, that is why many doctors sometimes often give just colored water as medicine.

Appreciation And Love Help
Appreciation, love, and respect, is another area where the body and the mind have a close relationship and can affect the whole personality and bearing of a person. If you give plenty of love to a person, you may even bring about a complete physical transformation in the person.

Doctors have found that some of their patients have not only lost their muscular difficulties, but also the pains of arthritis under psychotherapy. This just gives you an idea of the power of the mind in the treatment of disease.

Effect Of Continuous Repetition
The famous Frenchman Coue based his whole theory of cure on repetition. He used to get his patient to repeat again and again and again that he was cured until the patient was convinced that he was cured — and he was actually cured! This is another example of the power of the mind for healing.

Youthful Mind And Its Effect On Body
Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, Somerset Maugham, Michelangelo and Winston Churchill are just some examples of people whose youthful minds and imagination kept their bodies
young and active long past the normal span of aging. A strong intellectual interest can work wonders for the body. To ward off aging, an entire change of work, say, every 10 or 12 years, is often necessary, or may be an absorbing hobby can be pursued. All this helps to keep the body and the mind young and alert. Psychological aging is an important factor and often begins much before physical aging. The signs are clear: one becomes dogmatic, one does not want adventure for the sake of adventure, one dislikes change, and sex becomes a habit like brushing one's teeth. Watch out for this. Your mind plays a very big part in your aging process.

Another way of overcoming tension is to practice both physical and menial relaxation and this is done best by the ancient yogic exercise Shavasana. The Shavasana exercise if practised correctly can contribute a great deal towards reducing stress.

Change In Routine
It is always best to have a holiday: this makes a break in the stress pattern. Often just doing something continuously, day in and day out, develops stress. A complete change helps to dissolve this stress. If you normally lead a comfortable and luxurious life, go for a simple life in the wilds. If you live in the polluted atmosphere of a big town, go to the countryside where the atmosphere is not polluted. An interest entirely different from one's normal work also helps to reduce stress. Omar Sharif plays championship-standard bridge, Winston Churchill used to lay bricks and paint, F.D. Roosevelt collected stamps, Henry Ford was very interested in collecting antiques. Some such unwinding technique is essential.

Live For The Present
Many people who are drowned in worries, tension and stress are in this position because they are always thinking about what might happen in the future or about past difficulties. But the time that really matters is now, today — this is the true reality. There is no point becoming tense about something in the future; the important thing is the present: that is what really matters. Do your utmost to savour and enjoy the present — the future will certainly look after itself. This frame of mind will lessen any amount of stress and tension