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So, how are you feeling today?

Last updated on: December 29, 2014 18:10 IST
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Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, takes you through five diseases that are directly related with your state of mind.


Even conventional medicine now acknowledges psychosomatic as a valid word! With assertion of the nascent field of psychoneuroimmunology this connection between the mind and body is slowly but surely getting unravelled.

Having science to back up what most victims knew off, helps to provide a rational and practical solution to many people suffering from problems such as asthma, bronchitis, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and migraines.

While the suffering is at the physical level, with the symptoms of pain screaming in the body.

However, the triggers for many of the chronic problems can be seen as happening from outside, as well as the personality type of the victim who is more susceptible to certain provocations of stress which may leave others untouched. In a way, this empowers the sufferers from being able to deal with it more firmly.

Interestingly, a lot of alternative therapies and healers having been making this mind-body connections independently, and often with very practical and easy-to-follow solutions.

Here, Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, takes you through five diseases with a strong psycho-somatic connections to how you feel.


According to alternative healers, bronchitis usually happens due to inflamed conditions at work or home, and an inability to be able to tackle the situation.

The sense of helplessness and low social support may also weaken the immune system and create an allergic reaction to external triggers that may otherwise not be able to invade our system.

Also, during stress people are less likely to take proper care of themselves.

Backlog of uncleared waste inside our body, overload of pollution, indifferent breathing and/or eating habits -- all of which worsen during stress -- further exacerbate the condition.

Interestingly, even the lower backache, which often happen when the muscles there become contracted due to stress, further impact breathing adversely (because the nerves there service the lungs) adding to one's respiratory woes.

Relaxation techniques, regular breath exercises and a disciplined life-style management will offer immense relief in such conditions where the external conditions cannot always be changed (as an unhappy family life or a demanding boss).


Asthma is a reaction to allergens, which may not be a threat to the rest of humanity.

This implies that the victims of chronic asthma are highly sensitive individuals.

There are obviously physical symptoms and the chronic condition of the problem makes these truly sensation and terrifying, but today many sufferers have learnt to confront the problem by overhauling their life-style as well using mindfulness methods that help them get a more firm handle on their problems and triggers.

Nowadays it common to deal with triggers by having an educated and medically-supported exposure to allergens in such a fashion as to stop reacting to them.

Introducing physical exercises that exert the lungs positively and make them strong is another line of defence.

Pranayama/yogic breathing daily is also found to give more confidence to asthmatics.

Mindfulness that helps them locate emotional triggers also work towards giving more confidence to victims, and help them deal with their problems so that it does not limit their lives.


Arthritis is also an auto-immune disease where the body begins to use its arsenal of protection back on itself, in a mistaken attempt to protect itself from unperceived dangers.

In alternative therapies arthritis is often associated with highly sensitive personalities who are sensitive or reactive to the point of paranoia.

Often, they also suffer from associative shyness that further limits their lives and confidence

The Bihar school of yoga book Yogic management of common diseases by Dr Swami Karmananda lists these common emotional triggers for arthritis: psychic tension, suppressed feelings, hypersensitivity, rigidity in letting go.

The book also suggests the emotional solution: a shift towards positivity and firm attitude of initial endurance for regular physical activity which will break the pattern of pain.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Several organisations working in different fields and health issues dealing with stress have made the same conclusion: that the biggest culprit in IBS is stress.

Most of this stress is over large or vague issues, though specific events may trigger and worsen existing conditions.

It is closely related to high anxiety levels, and for some reason over future events too.

Learning meditation, overhauling the diet to make it regular and healthy, including rejuvenating and relaxing habits (like interesting hobbies, meaningful "me" time with friends) could be the retort to a condition that can have serious health impact otherwise.


Migraines are known to have several triggers -- shift in hormones, climatic changes, blood sugar woes, allergic reaction to food, amongst others.

But equally, overwrought emotions are also known to cause them.

Mainly suppressed tension is one of the root causes of certain types of headaches.

Mild fasting (with medical supervision), neti (yogic nasal wash), meditation and a regular and mild exercise that primes the body for stress at all levels are indicated for this condition.

According to alternative therapist and best-seller Louise L Hay migraines are triggered by "dislike at being driven", as well as refusing to go with the flow of life.

Her solution: learning to flow with life, by revamping the way one thinks.

Photograph: Leland Francisco/Creative Commons

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