Book Review: Healing Mantras: Using Sound Affirmations or Personal Power, Creativity & Healing

Healing Mantras: Using Sound Affirmations or Personal Power, Creativity & Healing
by Thomas Ashley-Farrand
Wellspring/Ballantine (1999)

Thomas Ashley-Farrand, Namadeva Acharya, (1940-2010) was one of the Western world's foremost authorities on the application of Sanskrit Mantra to life's problems. In December 2008 and June 2009, he and his wife received empowerments from Satguru Rama Mata, their lineage holder, to be gurus. In 1968, Ashley-Farrand began having experiences of a mystical nature, which over the next few years became more intense and profound. He began to read the spiritual literature of the East, where he found eloquent explanations of his specific experiences in the Upanishads. In 1972, he received Kriya initiation from the Self Realization Fellowship. Mr. Ashley-Farrand began practicing extensive mantra-based spiritual disciplines in 1973, when he became a student of Sadguru Sant Keshavadas and Satguru Rama Mata. He has published several books on mantram yoga and has lectured widely.
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ATRIAL FIBRILLATION: Cautions on a Common Part of Aging

Every year around 75,000 Americans learn that they have atrial fibrillation (popularly known as AFib), the most common type of arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm. While the abnormal heart rhythm itself isn't generally serious, the abnormal blood flow and strain to the heart it may cause can result in serious medical consequences. And having AFib doubles a person's risk of death. Over the past decade, both the incidence and prevalence of atrial fibrillation has markedly increased and, with it, the total number of patients potentially requiring long-term care. In 2009, the estimated number of atrial fibrillation diagnoses in the United States was 2.6 million with an equal distribution between men and women and well over three quarters over age 65. AFib can be either sporadic, in which case it is called paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, or chronic.

Causes of A-fib

What causes A-fib? When the heart beats, the atria (the two upper chambers of the heart) and the ventricles (the two lower chambers) alternately contract and relax in a rhythm to pump blood to your lungs and the rest of the body. These contractions initiate in a bundle of cells in the right atrium called the sinoatrial (SA) node, which then spreads electrical impulses through the atrial walls.
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KUNDALINI SYNDROME: The Dangers of Unpreparedness

Kundalini in yogic theory is a primal energy, or shakti, located at the base of the spine.

Different spiritual traditions teach methods of "awakening" kundalini for the purpose of reaching spiritual enlightenment. Kundalini is described as lying "coiled" at the base of the spine, represented as either a goddess or sleeping serpent waiting to be awakened.

Many individuals whose Kundalini has been unexpectedly unleashed do not know what is happening, and the prevailing social ignorance about this multidimensional transformative process makes it hard to find medical or alternative health practitioners or spiritual advisors who recognize the symptoms, particularly when they are strongly physical.
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Ayurvedic Herb-Drug Interactions

It is always a concern for Ayurvedic and other holistic health care practitioners to be fully informed by their clients as to what pharmaceutical substances, either prescription or over-the-counter medications, they may currently be taking. Nutraceuticals and herbal medicines are also of concern if one is to safeguard against the possibility of adverse events in the form of drug-herb interactions. I routinely ask clients to either produce a list of such substances that they are taking (or have taken within the preceding 6 months) or, better, bring in the actual containers with the substances to their initial consultations so as to eliminate any error on their part in transcribing the names and potencies of their medications.

While such interactions are relatively rare and usually of a mild level of intensity, this is not universally the case. I was taken aback not too long ago when I leaned that one instructor in an Ayurvedic training program had informed her students that Ayurvedic herbs in general, and the herbs that she had taught in her first year course in herbology in particular, had no side-effects, cautions or potential drug interactions. Those herbs included the following, amongst others.
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Herb of the Season: VAMSALOCHANA (Bambusa arundinaceae)

Ayurvedic energetics:
Rasa (taste) – Madhura (sweet); Kshaya (astringent)
Vipaka – Madhura (sweet)
Veerya – Shita (cooling)
Doshic signature – KPV- / K+ in excess
Gunas – Laghu (light, easy to digest), Rooksha (dryness)
Dhatus affected: Plasma, Blood, Nerve
Srota entered: Respiratory, Nervous
Other Names: (Hindi), Vans Karpoor, Vans Sakkar, Tavaksiri (English) Bamboo Manna (Mandarin) Tian Zhu Huang

Bamboo grows all over India, especially Assam. Although all parts of the plant are now used, actual Vamsalochana itself, the most medicinally active part of the plant is silica-like paste secreted into and collected from inside the hollow internodes of bamboo. Vamsalochana means bamboo eyes which is eye-like crack in the bamboo plant. Vamsalochana plants are deep rooted and tall so it is difficult to harvest but it is very common grown although, owing to difficulties in harvesting, it is commonly adulterated and produced synthetically. The genuine natural substance is a white, crumbly product.
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Dealing with Respiratory Infections Ayurvedically

It’s now nearly half-way into the school year. The holidays are behind us, homework is keeping everyone up too late, the weather is getting cooler and the season for upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, coughs, colds and even influenza is indisputably here. It’s been an unseasonably warm fall overall, but still pediatricians are warning parents to be especially vigilant.

Upper respiratory infections (URIs) are the most common acute complaint seen in the ambulatory health-care settings and are also the syndrome most consistently mismanaged by primary care providers. Variably described as homely, prosaic and plebian in the medical literature, the topic is rarely perceived as exciting or controversial. Nonetheless, it is clear that physicians continue to overuse antibiotics in the treatment of URI and that this "prescriptive promiscuity" has directly contributed to the widespread emergence of antibiotic resistance.
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Book Review: Ayurveda Revisited

Ayurveda Revisited
by Sharadini Rahanukar & Urmilla Thatte
Popular Prakashan Publishers Ltd. (1993)

Indians have always been rightfully proud of their rich heritage, a vast legacy of medical knowledge in Ayurveda, our traditional medicinal system. Today, however, Ayurveda in India does not enjoy the same status in the scientific world as it did during the years of Sushruta and Charaka. There are several reasons for this: the canonical language in which it was written (Sanskrit), the fact that certain claims made and teachings enunciated by Ayurveda are not backed by experimental proofs which are essential in today’s science, and the fact that Ayurvedic therapies are considered by many if not most Allopathic Physicians to be alternative medicine to which the conditions that modern medicine has failed to treat are relegated.

Paradoxically, one finds that Ayurvedic drugs and treatments are widely prescribed in India and her neighboring countries today, indicating that Ayurveda has never been uprooted and still enjoys wide popularity. It has been very difficult to get a contemporary view of Ayurveda because Indian doctors, most of whom are trained in Allopathy, are so westernized in their approach to medicine that they have lost touch with the deeper meaning of Ayurveda. At the same time, most contemporary commentaries on ancient Ayurvedic texts have been written by Ayurvedic physician-scholars who, with a few notable exceptions, have little training outside of their discipline and whose works have the disadvantage of being written by people closely involved in the subject, thus lacking a degree of “arms-length” detachment and objectivity.
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Herb of the Season: Sahijan (Moringa olifeira)

Ayurvedic energetics:
Rasa (taste) – Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter), Madhura (slightly sweet)
Vipaka – Katu
Veerya – Ushna (hot)
Doshic signature – KV=P+
Gunas – Laghu (light, easy to digest), Rooksha (dryness), Teekshna (strong, piercing)
Other qualities: Kshara – Has alkaline properties; Shobhanjana – Very auspicious tree; Teekshnagandha – Strong and pungent odor

Other Names: Munaga (Hindi), Munagai (Tamil), Nugge Mara (Kannada), Nugge kayi (Kannada), Sahijan (Hindi), Sahjna, Saijan, Saijhan, Sajna

Sahijan (Moringa) is a plant that is native to the sub-Himalayan areas of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan but currently is also grown throughout the tropics. The leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds, and root are used to make medicine. Traditionally, Moringa is used for “tired blood” (anemia); arthritis and other joint pain (rheumatism); asthma; cancer; constipation; diabetes; diarrhea; epilepsy; stomach pain; stomach and intestinal ulcers; intestinal spasms; headache; heart problems; high blood pressure; kidney stones; fluid retention; thyroid disorders; and bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic infections.

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Using Ayurveda to Tame Gastric Reflux

Acidity is related to heartburn (also known as ‘Reflux’ or GERD) and gas formation in the stomach. In acidity, acid reflux or gastro-esophageal reflux disease, or as it is known in Ayurveda urdhva gata amalpitta, there is a movement of gastric juices from the stomach into the lower esophagus. This is a condition which is caused when the highly acidic contents of the stomach (mostly hydrochloric acid) move upward into the esophagus through an improperly closing valve.

In Ayurveda this condition is considered to be caused by the aggravation of pitta dosha which is responsible for the burning sensation felt in the chest region.

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Ayurvedic Treatment of Varicosis (Varicose Veins)

Ayurvedic Treatment of Varicosis (Varicose Veins)

Varicosis, or varicose veins, caused by weakened valves in the veins of the legs, refers to a condition in which the veins of the legs become varicose, i.e. they appear swollen and bulging and can be discerned beneath the surface of the skin. Varicose veins may be dark in color or may retain their original color, ranging from a light purplish-red to an almost navy blue. They are nearly always painful. In case of prolonged varicose veins, they could be accompanied by skin peeling and skin ulcers may be seen to develop.

Varicose veins are caused due to excessive pressure brought to bear on the legs or the abdomen. These are brought on by advancing age, obesity, pregnancy, hormonal changes and a host of other factors, which may include genetic or epigenetic factors as varicose veins often run in families. Standing for long periods of time increases pressure on leg veins and promote varicose veins.

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