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@ I cut back my mental health medicines

Second report (1) from a young man who practiced the technique from my handouts. He did not attend my classes  and I did not give him detailed instructions. When I met him occasionally on business, I used to encourage him. 

” I work in a stressful job where even taking time to walk away from a situation wouldn’t calm me down. At one point I was on three different medications for more than 2 years (3). I decided to try practice ‘focusing on breathing’ (2) because it was simple and I figured what could it hurt?

I started practicing it at night, so I could get proper sleep, then gradually moved my practice into my day. I made it a daily thing, even if it is just for a few minutes a day. I even found I was doing it with out thinking about it.

I could calm my mind more easily. Then I could go back to deal with a particular situation more clearly.

After a time of using the finger modes of the breathing technique (2), I was able to cut back one out of three of  my mental health medications. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a cure all. I am still on one medication but one is a lot better then three (4). Plus with a clearer mind, I find my life in general more manageable, and I am finding I can enjoy my life again.”

(1) His previous report on insomnia
(2) How can I focus on breathing? 
(3) Xanax – 10 mg – for Anxiety;    Wellbutrin 20 mg for Depression and   Prozac 60 mg for Depression
(4) Stopped Xanax and Wellbutrin. Now only on Prozac – 60 mg

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* Burping and itchy skin cleared by quitting dairy milk

I am sharing my dairy milk experience.  I am  a vegetarian as are my family members.  All my life, my diet was  white rice,  vegetables, lentils, home made yogurt and fruits, two half cups of black tea with sugar and milk and occasional sweets, a typical Asian Indian diet.

While in India for 60 years, I consumed about 2 table spoons dairy milk added to black tea brew, twice a day (less than 60 ml). After settling down in the USA, my daily breakfast was a big bowl of milk (250 ml) with cereal, an increase of 300 %.  Moreover, in India I was not eating any cheese. Here I was eating cheese in Pizza and many other foods regularly, though not daily. My physical activity also was drastically reduced.

After being in the USA for some time, I had severe burping. I had several large dark patches on my lower legs, which itched badly and I had to scratch them compulsively. I ruled out stress as a cause for both of these non threatening problems. I was not inclined to take any medications. On a hunch, as an experiment, I stopped all dairy milk consumption since one year. In its place I consumed soy milk.

I experienced remarkable results:
No more burping. The itching is reduced by 99%. The colored scaly patches on my legs gradually cleared up, showing smooth normal skin.

My subsequent reading of some books (1) confirmed the adverse impact of dairy milk on some people.

Did excess milk cause my prostrate cancer (2), which is seen very rarely in India? Probably. Read the web page at (3).

(1) Nutrition – Books and Journals
Cancer – managing with, control and prevention – Books
What’s Eating Your Child?: The Hidden Connection Between Food and Childhood Ailments
(2) At age 66, I was diagnosed with prostrate cancer. I was in good health overall, not having any of the common problems at this age – Heart disease, Hypertension and Diabetes. I was also not on any medications.  I had cryosurgery to destroy the prostrate gland using ultra low temperature. Due to rising PSA (Indicator of likely prostrate cancer  growth) within two years, I had Radiation therapy to totally destroy the cancer cells. None of the three  doctors who treated me over many years told me that my diet had any impact on my cancer recurrence, even when I asked them. That was when I started taking interest in the field of nutrition.
(3)  ‘Milk consumption and prostrate cancer’ by Neal Barnard M.D

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* No more insomnia or headaches

Feedback from a client who attended 4 of my classes (3) over last one and half months.

“I had some anxiety issues and sleep problems. I was looking for solutions for these issues not willing to take any medications. So, it was a blessing to come across the countingbreaths.com website and get to meet CS (Suryanarayana Chennapragada).

I used to have headaches almost everyday, due to my anxiety. The more I worried about my headaches, the more intense they became.

I had sleep problems as well. Once I got into bed, it used to take me about 3 hours to fall sleep. Thanks to the breathing techniques,  those problems were fading away gradually. I use the ‘segment mode’ of the technique to fall sleep (1). Now it only takes me 10-15 minutes to fall asleep!

Every time I feel a little stressed I use ‘counting mode’ (1). It helps me to feel more relaxed. The ‘911 technique’ (2) helped me to cope better with my anxiety issues. Since working with CS and using the techniques he has taught me, I feel I have a better quality of life. I feel great, no more anxiety, no more headaches and I sleep better!”

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(1) ‘How can I focus on breathing?’ using different modes.
(2) 911 mode
(3) Seminars and classes

Related pages
Relief from insomnia – Success stories 
How to enjoy quality sleep and conquer insomnia by ‘Focusing on breathing’

* I am thrilled at my progress

Here is the remarkable feedback from a practitioner who attended 7 of my classes over last 4 months. It is reproduced verbatim, followed by other comments she made during the classes.

“I would like to start by saying that I am a retired hair dresser of 35 years of experience. I have diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, over weight and a lot of other issues.

I was referred to CS (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) by a diabetes educator, of all the people. I know it sounds strange but she completely understood when I told her that I had seen many dietitians over many years, that there wasn’t much she could help me with, if I did not put my knowledge of diets to work. I knew portion sizes, sugars and all of it. I was wrong. She did help me by listening to what I said. She then asked if I was open minded about talking to a man who had helped her in her life. I don’t know if it was the right time to make a change in me or if it was something else but whatever be the reason, I will be forever grateful to both of them.

CS began by explaining that if you do not give yourself time to breathe, you can not heal inside or out. Your brain needs oxygen in order to deal with life’s every day problems. He gave me some breathing techniques, as explained in his web site to try (1) and asked me to do them while I was in his office. He left me in the room alone to try them. I was amazed that I could sit still long enough to do this but I did and felt pretty good. I continued to see him on a weekly basis. I started in Oct 2011. It is now Feb 2012. I am now going every 2 weeks and I am thrilled at the progress I have made. So are my  husband and daughter.

I am not nearly as stressed about everything. I have learned that I do not have to take care of every one else in my life. I am not responsible for other people’s choices, only mine. I now understand the power of focusing on breathing. My family noticed that I am now calmer. I smile more and I laugh. I now enjoy taking a vacation. I do matter. CS gives you small things to try and that bring big results. I know that it will take time for me, to complete my journey but as CS says “Small Steps”.  I say to every one that will listen “BREATHE”.

To CS, thank you for doing what you do so well and by that I mean CARE about all of us.”

Some more developments she shared during the classes –

  • She was suffering from severe insomnia for many years, not able to sleep for more than 3 – 4 hours a night, that too a very disturbed sleep, in spite of taking strong sleep medication ‘AMBIEN’. Now she is able to sleep undisturbed, for at least 5 hours while still taking the same medication. She has now dared to asked her doctor to switch to half the dosage of the same medication. She is now determined to try this lower dose, bearing all the disturbances.
  • When she visited her endocrinologist doctor recently, the doctor spontaneously commented “You were somewhere, for past many years. You are now a different person”
  • Before practicing these techniques, she had severe anxiety whenever she had to undergo a treatment at her dentist’s office. She had to take an anti-anxiety medicine, to be able to go through the visit. But her recent visit to the dentist was all done without any such medication. She was herself surprised how this happened for the first time!
  • Before these practices, she was a compulsively controlling person. She wanted things done yesterday and her way! Now she lets others manage their affairs, as they like. She does not feel the compulsive urge to control them any more.
  • When she organized a birth day party recently, she was calmly interacting with people, unlike her usual self. This change was noticed by her family  members and they commented about it.
  • Her goal is now to “get off the insulin”. She is hopeful she can do it eventually.
  • She is surprised that she is now cooking smaller quantities and eating smaller portions. Her husband is surprised at this remarkable change.
  • Having made a beginning with going to the YMCA when her daughter gave her the gift of trial membership, she enrolled herself in the Y and going to the gym 3 days a week. She walks on the track every time she goes there. She is happy with meeting many other like minded persons there.
  • Due to more awareness and self control, she stopped snacking on chips at night. Instead she eats an apple.

Her previous feedback
My family  can’t believe the change in my attitude.

(1) How can I focus on breathing?

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* I always leave your class feeling better

Report from a woman who attended my classes

“I want to thank you for taking all the time you have, to talk with me and look into my health problems. You have really taken an interest in me. You have given me a lot of very good advice in all areas of: physical health, mental health andrelaxation methods. You have also been a good friend to talk to, whom I trust to tell all my problems to and I always leave your class feeling better.You have been better for me than any doctor or therapist I have ever had. I have learned a lot from you and have benefited from all you have taught me. I really enjoy our conversations and hope we can stay friends for a long time.” Rita 45 years (Not her real name). Rita attended 7 of my classes over a period of 4 months. She is under disability and taking regular medications for epilepsy, lupus, poor memory and paranoia for many years. For the first time she feels some hope that she can work on her problems.”