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+ Anxiety medication stopped & more

Nicole (name changed), a patient of my daughter Padma Sripada in her low forties had severe anxiety, sleep disturbances, chronic pains, obesity, grief, panic attacks, smoking addiction and acute fear of upcoming hip surgery (1). She attended her first class at our office (2). After 2 weeks of practicing focusing on breathing, she reported what and when practiced and the benefits (3).

“The breathing meditation is going good. I use it each day, first time in the morning, after work and before bed.

  • I feel less depressed.
  • Sleeping for 6 hours since starting the breathing meditation. I am feeling better being able to sleep longer than 3 hours (4).
  • I am less stressed at my job.
  • No anxiety medication since I started the breathing meditation (5).

My health insurance company approved my hip surgery. I am reluctant to schedule a date because I am scared of being in severe pain after surgery.

I would like to schedule a time to meet with you soon. Any advice and instruction you can teach me, I appreciate.”

(1) Padma Sripada MD
(2) Classes at my office
(3) Focusing on breathing
(4) Relief from sleep problems
(5) Relief from Anxiety
(6) Before and after surgery

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@ Relief from Depression, Addictions, Anger and Disturbing thoughts

Feedback from a client whom I was meeting periodically on business. He initially practiced the technique from my handouts on his own. He was thanking me for the help he was getting from the  technique. On seeing the remarkable improvements he reported like resolving insomnia and even getting off one of the three medications for depression, I persuaded him to attend my classes. His report –

“I have been using the finger segment technique (1) for about six months and now taking classes (2) to expand upon that foundation.

  • As a result I went from 3 anti depressants to 2.
  • I have found my desire to self medicate with alcohol and tobacco lessen. It is not to say that I don’t slip up. But I have gone from several drinks a day, to may be a few per week. Smoking is all but eliminated with the exception of the occasional pipe tobacco but cigarettes  are done. I can’t stand the taste anymore. (3)
  • The biggest change is that I no longer get angry as easily as before. When I do get angry, I don’t hang on to that anger. (4)
  • My disturbing thoughts and feelings are all but gone. It feels as though a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. (5)
  • Now I am working on my weight problem (6) and making life changes to live happier and healthier.
(4) Reducing or eliminating Anger – Success stories
(5) He had recurring thoughts of hurting others or himself, from his teen age causing him lot of distress.
(6) His original weight was 300 Lbs for a height of 5’7″, which is a BMI of 46.  He is making great changes in diet and exercise habits and started caring for his health like going to a doctor for an annual physical and getting blood work done for the first time on my prompting. When he was in deep depression, he had no inclination for improving his health or having goal for his life, even though he was under 3 medications. Now he has started sort of a new chapter in his life.

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@ Seminar at the East Greenbush Library

The sixth introductory seminar at the East Greenbush community library was on Jan 30, 2013, 7  to 8.30 pm. 16 persons registered and 10 turned up. One of the participants was my past client who motivated and brought two of his friends to the seminar. He is a staunch advocate for this technique, having derived remarkable benefits from it. 

Scanned images of the completed feedback forms.

The feedback collected from the participants is summarized below.

The seminar was …

  • Very useful – 9
  • useful – 1

I will use this technique to relieve my (concern)

  • Asthma – 1
  • Meditation, possibly smoking – 1
  • Help with sleeping, anxiety& meditation – 1
  • Sleep and waking up
  • Better breathing
  • Anxiety
  • Stress, Breathing
  • Reduce stress in every day life
  • Sleep aid
  • Overall health

Comments/ Suggestions (about the seminar)

  • Very nicely done. Thank you
  • Very thought provoking
  • I believe this will help me. Thank you.
  • Very much like Silva Mind control.
  • Very relaxing
  • Thank you. I am going to use them daily.
  • The teacher was wonderful.
  • Fantastic teacher – thank you for sharing your talents.
  • Wonderful presentation – charming, impossible not to like.
  • Good. A+
How did they come to know about the seminar? 
  • Library website – 5
  • Library newsletter – 2
  • Through friend Kent Pugliese – 2
  • I have been before

At the end, the seminar organizer of the library said the people leaving the seminar were happy with it.

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Related pages
Seminars at Libraries

* Risk factors for death from ‘Cancer’

Many of us are aware of the risk of ‘Heart disease’, know its risk factors like smoking, cholesterol, LDL, stress etc. and take them seriously. But the risk for ‘Cancer’? Not so serious? Wait!

You may be surprised from the US Government data for 2009. According to Center for Disease Control (1), Cancer is the second highest cause of death in the USA, very closely following heart disease. In 2009 heart disease caused 599413 deaths as #1 and Cancer was a close 567628 as #2. Cancer deaths are 95% of heart disease deaths, in spite of all the advances in screening and treatment! How less likely is death from cancer compared with death from heart disease? Hardly any difference.

If cancer is almost as likely to cause death as heart disease, do we know its risk factors? Can we do anything about the risk factors, rather than wait for it to be detected too late, as a death sentence?

I found from my personal experience that these are the popular beliefs and practices

  • Most cancers are genetically influenced and can’t be prevented. Exceptions are caused by smoking, exposure to asbestos and some chemicals.
  • Screening can’t detect all cancers. In some cases, by the time it is detected, it may be too late and it may not be possible to save life, only prolong it by a few years.
  • When it strikes, the treatment options are surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. After successful treatment, its recurrence is very likely and is a life long threat.
  • During and after treatment, hardly any self care prescriptions are given about what a patient can do, to reduce the risk factors and try to prevent its recurrence.

In this context, the book “The Cancer Survivor’s Guide – Foods that help you fight back” (2) by Neal Barnard M.D (3) may deserve your attention. The author cautions that you should involve your doctor in making any dietary changes. Other experts focus on the role of Smoking cessation, Environmental toxins, Exercise, Stress management and Social support in preventing and fighting cancer. Some links are at (4).

I also recommend the guide on “Prostate cancer prevention – Nutrition and Exercise” published by the Prostate cancer foundation (5).

Diet related suggestions from many sources are following. Diet is one of the key factors. Other equally important factors from other sources are exercise, relaxation and social support.

  • Enhance Fiber and cut down Fat: Diets high in fiber and low in fat, reduce the amount of estrogens (female sex hormones) circulating in the bloodstream, reducing the likelihood that cancer cells will multiply or spread. Fiber prevents colon cancer. It strengthens the immune system.
  • Avoid Dairy Products: Typical dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, and so forth) are high in fat and cholesterol. Dairy products appear to play an important role in cancer risk. The Physicians’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study found that men who frequently consume dairy products had a higher prostate cancer risk.
  • Avoid Meat: Many research studies have shown that cancer is more common in populations consuming diets rich in fatty foods, particularly meat, and much less common in countries with diets rich in grains, vegetables, and fruits. This is partly due to the high-fat and fiber-free characteristics of meat compared to plant foods. When meats are cooked, cancer-causing chemicals called heterocyclic amines form within the meat.
  • Increase Antioxidants: They are powerful cancer fighters mainly found in vegetables and fruits. They assist in halting free radical damage, which can otherwise lead to cancer development.
  • Immune system’s role in fighting cancer: Beta-carotene, vitamin C, and zinc can help the immune system recognize and destroy cancer cells. Foods rich in fat and cholesterol can interfere with immunity. Studies show that vegetarians have approximately double the natural killer cell activity (natural killer cells engulf and destroy cancer cells) compared to non-vegetarians.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight: Healthy weight control is essential for warding off a variety of chronic diseases, and studies have shown that slimmer people are less likely to develop cancer. In addition, trimming excess weight may also improve survival after cancer has been diagnosed.

(1) CDC
(2) The Cancer Survivor’s Guide – Foods that help you fight back
(3) Neal Barnard
(4)  American Institute for Cancer Research
(5) Prostate cancer prevention – Nutrition and Exercise (Full text)   Abstract of key points

Related Pages

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* Only doing works, not just knowing

I learned this lesson from a funny experience in our kitchen area.

The trash can has been in the laundry room which is adjacent to the kitchen for many years. All our family members must have made thousands of trips to it by now. Sometime back, we had to temporarily relocate the trash can a few feet away , by the side of the kitchen island. This was to create space around the washer for opening it and replace some parts. Getting the parts and replacing them took about 10 days. We had been seeing the trash can in its new location, several times during the day. During this period , I learned the lesson that we can’t do the right thing, just by knowing what is to be done and how. Knowing is simply not enough. You won’t believe it unless you experience something like this. Read on …

After the trash can was moved, every time we had to drop something in it, we quickly walked to its original location, only to find it missing there, recollect its new location and walk to the new location. After this happened a few times on the first day, I cursed myself for forgetting the fact of its new location, even though I saw it in the new location several times while walking in the kitchen area. I thought my brain would guide my feet to the correct location, at least from the second day. But no! Not only the second day, but for several more days, I continued walking to the  original location, cursed myself and walked over to the new location. The first few times, it was a funny experience. Then it was very frustrating and irritating. After a few days, I gave up all my negative thinking. I realized that an action repeated thousands of times, can’t be changed just by knowing the revised action intellectually. The intellect, with all its knowledge about the new location of the trash can, could not make my feet walk to its new location. It was incapable of redirecting my feet.

My stupid action of walking to the wrong location of the trash can corrected itself, after about 7 days. I would still walk towards the old location, half way through suddenly realize that it is at a different location and redirect my feet. I was happy for this huge improvement. Before my habit corrected itself 100%, the washer repair was done and the trash can went back to its good old location.  Not surprisingly, I quickly went back to the long established habit of walking to the old location. I might have walked to the new location only a few times. I was sort of relieved and happy to get into the old groove.

Now I fully sympathize with any one trying to change an old habit. If walking to the trash can can be so difficult to change, it is no wonder people find it so difficult to give up addiction to overeating, smoking, alcohol and angry outbursts and such habits, even after realizing their negative consequences.

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* ‘Focusing on breathing’ helping three generations

Here is a wonderful feedback from a woman narrating how this simple technique is helping her, her daughter and her mom, all three generations

“Well I guess I should start out by saying that I am a 31 year old single mother that needed a little assistance with some unneeded stress in my life. Being a mother of two has been a wonderful, trying experience. I work full time and had a part time job to make ends meet. I was first introduced to the breathing (1) by my co-worker C S (Suryanarayana Chennapragada). I’m a very open minded person so I was willing to try anything to reduce the production of any grey hairs. On top of me being a full time mom and employee, I also had other added issues that needed to be attended too.  I have arthritis in my lower back which causes me a lot of pain.  I started the breathing mainly for this reason.  I would start breathing at night before I would fall asleep.   I noticed it didn’t take me more than 5 mins to pass out. I was able to clear my head and focus on sleeping instead of the 15 million different things I had to accomplish the next day or week. As I continued to do the breathing and speaking with C S, I was able to then use the breathing other times for many different things. I use it for when I’m stressed out and going through difficult situations.  I can see a difference with my attitude and how I carry myself and just how I feel. It’s been very uplifting for me so far………so I decided to share with my children and with my mother.

I have two children who are 12 and 8 years of age. The breathing didn’t go over so well with my 12 year old due to the fact that she isn’t that open minded and set in her ways. Now my 8 year old definitely needed the breathing. She was having problems in school with friends and her attitude along with taking instruction from her elders.  I started the breathing with her before she would fall sleep. She first found it to be a game that would buy her a little quality time with mom plus allowed her to stay up longer. After about a month of doing it together she would take it upon herself to do it alone. I could see the change in her attitude when she woke up and with her attitude in school. It was nice for a change, to receive positive reports from her teachers, instead of the usual negative ones. As time went on, I would catch her midway into the breathing and she must have fallen asleep before she got done counting the breaths.  I’d catch her with her finger stuck at a segment. She is also doing much better now with her relationship with her sister. They haven’t stopped fighting totally but the arguing has calmed down a lot.  She just is much more pleasant and fun to be around. The progress still continues……

On to my mother. My mother has many different health issues. Some that she has brought upon herself and the others she has developed.  For many years of living in the same house, she just always seemed to be very tense and unhappy. Plus she is a heavy smoker that smokes 4 packs of cigarettes a day.  I told my mother about the breathing and I also mailed her some flyers. She didn’t really believe that it would have an effect on her.  She put it off for a while until one day that she had to face a tough issue head on. She would call me up on a daily basis to inform me that she tried the breathing and she felt like a new person when she got up in the morning. From then on, she was doing it on her own. She realized that she could also use it with her daily lifestyle as well. This made a world of a difference. My mother always had a short fuse. My father has even given me his input. He called me thanking me for sharing this technique with my mother because she was so much nicer and easier to get along with now.  When we do spend time with my parents, I noticed it myself. She isn’t so quick to jump to conclusions and start yelling.  She still hasn’t tried to change her smoking habits but this is a bridge that I’m still trying to cross with her.  She at least listens to me talk about stopping smoking and how the breathing would help but she isn’t quite ready for that big step yet. I will continue to encourage the breathing for my family and friends. I figure if it worked for me then it can work for anyone………”

(1) How can I focus on breathing?

Related pages
Training children in ‘Focusing on breathing’
How to quit smoking by ‘Focusing on breathing’

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