Sunday, October 30, 2011

High Blood Pressure the Silent Killer.

"Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Veins, on the other hand, carry the de-oxygenated blood from the rest of the body to the heart. The arteries themselves when healthy are smooth and flexible; this insures blood flow is unobstructed. This flow puts pressure on the elastic arterial wall. The measurement of this force is what is known as blood pressure.
The pressure is not recoded as a single number, but as two, double figure digits. The higher number is known as the systolic pressure. This records the pressure in inches of Mercury when the heart beats and sends blood forcibly to the arterial wall. The lower number is known as the diastolic pressure. This is the pressure exerted in the space between the heartbeats. This is the resting phase and thus registers the relaxing pressure. A normal blood pressure would be 120/80. Higher readings such as 135/86 indicate a warning that something might not be quite right and deserves further attention. A one off reading is seldom to be trusted as blood pressure can fluctuate. For a more accurate picture, readings need to be taken over a few days to show a more precise trend. If the blood pressure is drifting off to the high side, then remedial steps need to be taken.
High blood pressure can damage the arterial and venous system and this puts the individual at increased risk of stroke, kidney failure, and heart disease and can sometimes predict a heart attack. The alarming fact is that high blood pressure is rarely discernible, and that’s why it is referred to as “the silent killer.” As a safety precaution it is necessary to have the numbers verified on a regular basis You can do this by going for check-ups with your Doctor or health care professional and to make matters even easier many pharmacies now offer blood pressure testing as an over the counter service. If you find that your blood pressure is on the high side, say 150/90 then you need to make some positive changes and you need to make them quickly!
If you are a smoker, stop a.s.a.p. Chemicals in tobacco, and there are over 600 of them can raise blood pressure. When you inhale cigarette smoke you adrenal glands get a huge kick. This shifts you into “flight or fight mode”. In sympathetic dominance your blood pressure automatically rises. Another factor is being overweight, as this has a tendency to increase blood pressure. If you are carrying a few extra kilos introduce a healthy eating program and start an exercise regime. Begin easily, and if you are very heavy seek advice so you don’t overdo things! In any case a regular brisk walk is probably good for everybody.
Another sign is “ormentum fat”, namely a spreading waistline which often becomes an unsightly beer belly. If weight piles on easily and becomes difficult to shift there is an indication you might well have a blood sugar issue. This condition is known as metabolic syndrome and warns you that insulin is beginning to lose the ability to enter cells and scoop up glucose. Alcohol is a sugar and can often lie at the root of this condition. If you find yourself experiencing some of these symptoms coupled with irritability and mood swings, go and have you blood sugar levels checked. A fall off in the production of insulin will see blood sugar levels rising and with them an increase in blood pressure. Don’t despair all of this can be addressed by altering the diet and introducing a regular exercise e regime. Oh, and it might be a good idea to reduce alcohol consumption!
Another blood pressure increaser is stress. Again the story goes back to the “flight and fight syndrome”, If we are either angry or afraid there is an adrenal response that puts our bodies in a perceived better state to deal with the increased stress, just like smoking this will result in increased blood pressure. If you find yourself getting increasingly wound up by the vagaries of life, then that is a good indication you are negatively stressed. It also warns you that the time has come to do something about the problem. There are many people qualified to help you discover techniques to bring the stress levels down. Yoga, meditation, bio-feedback, are some answers, but so are a host of therapies designed to root out the cause and bring you back on an even keel. Health Ambit Consultancy is very happy to offer advice to achieve this end, use the website to get in touch." This article appeared in the Samui Gazette of 28th October 2011
Alister Bredee
Koh Samui, October 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Exciting Tibetan Buddhist Retreat Comes to Koh Samui.

Yes, a powerful awakening event is scheduled to come to Koh Samui, starting at Yoga Thailand on the 15th of October. Here is an opportunity to join Miles Neale and Emily Wolf who are both psychotherapists from the Nalanda Institute of Contemplative Sciences in New York, where Miles is the assistant director. The Nalanda Institute was opened in 2005 by Swiss born psychiatrist Dr. Joe Loizzio, who is presently the adjunct assistant professor of Religion at the Columbia Centre for Buddhist studies. The idea behind Nalanda was to bring what had been academic programs and make them more readily available to the general public. Now we are privileged to see one of these events on homeground in Koh Samui.
The emphasis on this retreat is to explore what is referred to as “the gradual path” in Tibetan Buddhism. This awesome journey is a comprehensive approach to self-healing designed to lead people away from a place of distress where so many lodge today to a platform of self-awakening which is a much more comfortable place to be.
The workshop is presented in three distinctive phases and participants can if they so wish enroll to take the whole journey or can if they choose select a single segment. Depending on how far you have travelled towards awakening the first segment would seem the most appropriate starting place.
This first phase is devoted to self-healing. It is designed to offer insights to help bring calm into the life of the individual. To reach this place of stillness we must disengage from limited self-views, afflictive emotions and compulsive habits. These behaviours lead to dissatisfaction. The key skill taught here is the famous “Mindfulness” meditation which is rapidly beginning to occupy a pivotal role in Western Psychotherapy and is much used in hospitals and other treatment Centers, particularly in North America.
The second module is devoted to what is described as social healing. This skill is designed to remain composed amongst the ravages of environmental stress and interpersonal conflict. We simply need to glance around us to see how damaging these stresses are. The key is to avoid the familiar triggers that set off reactions to outside events. In actuality the primary knack here is love and compassion in practice. This is an exciting aspiration for every one of us and as we awaken and become more compassionate we begin to change the world for the better. As we look at the chaos threatening the planet at the moment, this must indeed be an invaluable ability.
The third and final module is described as “Creative Healing”. This is not the starting place but the finale to the process brought here to Koh Samui by Miles and Emily. Here the strands from the two preceding phases are drawn together by showing how it is possible to create a positive and functional relationship with an idealized teacher, or guru. We turn towards people who genuinely have life value skills to teach us. We learn by role modeling, visualization and by the use of natural imagery. There is a lot of material in these modules in which yoga asanas, pranayama, chanting, mediation and several other techniques are used to get the message across to all those who are lucky enough to join this remarkable awakening experience.
Everything that Miles and Emily teach in this workshop is based on the 1,000 year old “Indo-Tibetan Buddhist tradition.” Sometimes in its original form such material can be dry and uninteresting which can be off-putting to all but the most devoted of yogis. However, the teachers from the Nalanda Institute have updated their material, as both are psychotherapists .they have focused their teachings through the lens of modern psychotherapy which is presented in upbeat everyday contemporary psychotherapeutic language, mind-body medicine and cognitive neuroscience.
Clearly a workshop such as this is not for everybody but it affords a tremendous opportunity for those who are ready to attend a mind expanding experience right here without having to travel thousands of expensive miles to far and distant locations. If you would like to know more you need to contact Yoga Thailand as quickly as possible, remembering that the first module commences on Saturday October 15th. There are more details of the “Retreat” including prices on their website which is
As an added bonus Samahita Wellness Center, attached to Yoga Thailand invites participants to stay on for a few extra days to embark on Detox and wellness programs supervised by the wellness director and retreat participants can avail themselves of a 10% discount.
This article appeared in the Samuii Gazette of 15th October 2011
Alister Bredee