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Dr K K Aggarwal

Exercise impact on the knee

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Different exercises produce different impacts on the knee joints. The best and safest exercises causing minimum impact on the knee for patients post knee replacement or knee arthritis are walking, biking, hiking, riding an exercise bike, riding an elliptical trainer and walking on the treadmill. In sports, you can play doubles tennis and not singles. You can also participate in downhill or cross–country skiing. The maximum stress–producing exercises are jogging and golf swings.Impact

  • Biking generates the least force, producing impact of about 1.3 times the person’s body weight.
  • Treadmill walking producing forces of 2.05 times the body weight.
  • Walking on level ground generates forces of 2.6 times the body weight.
  • A game of tennis produces forces of 3.1 to 3.8 times the body weight; serving produces the highest impact.
  • Jogging produced forces of 4.3 times body weight.
  • Golf swings produces forces of 4.5 times body weight on the forward knee and 3.2 times body weight in the opposite knee.

Neti-Neti (Not This Not This): The Main Principle of Knowing the Truth

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The main figure in the Upanishads is sage Yajnavalkya, known as one of the greatest philosophers. Most of the great teachings of later Hindu or Buddhist philosophy are derived from him. He taught the great doctrine of neti-neti, the view that truth can be found only through the negation of all thoughts about it.

Brhadaranyaka Upanishad is the oldest and the most important of all the Upanishads. Its name actually means the great forest-book.

Sage Yajnavalkya’s dialogues with his wife, Maitreyi are featured in the Muni Kanda or Yajnavalkya Kanda. The doctrine of neti-neti suggests the indescribability of the Brahman, the Absolute. Yajnavalkaya attempts to define Brahman.

Atman is described “neither this, nor this” neti-neti. The Self cannot be described in any way. Na-iti – that is Neti. Through this process of neti-neti you give up everything – the cosmos, the body, the mind and everything – to realize the Self.

Once the Atman is defined in this manner are you become familiar with it, a transformation takes place as realization dawns that the phenomenal world and all its creatures are made up of the same essence of bliss.

Brahman is infinite, amorphous, colorless, characterless and formless Universal Spirit, which is omnipresent and omnipotent, and like cosmic energy, is pervasive, unseen and indescribable.

  1. Neti-neti Meditation:The principle of neti-neti has been used in meditation involving gnana Whenever a thought or feeling comes to mind that is not the goal of the meditation, or is not the soul or the inner self, the meditator simply has to say, “Not this, not this,” and dismiss the thought, image, concept, sound, or sense distraction. Any thought, any feeling, is patiently discarded — again and again if necessary, until the mind is clear and the soul/or the self is revealed.
  2. Neti-neti and the mind:When you get into the habit of neti-neti, you can also discard thoughts of worry, doubt, or fear, and become established in the light of your inner self. You can, then, look back at worries and fears with deep insight and handle them.
  3. Neti-neti and the medical profession:One of the basic medical teachings is to diagnose a condition by way of excluding other similar conditions. This is called differential diagnosis and this is the mainstay of allopathy. This also makes one investigative-oriented but is the only scientific way of knowing the truth.
  4. Neti-neti and multiple-choice questions:In any modern exam today, the principle of neti-netiis A question has about four nearly similar answers and the student has to answer the correct one. He can only answer by the principle of negation.
  5. Neti-neti and police investigations: This principle is also used while handling a criminal case. Everyone is a suspect in the crime initially, till a process of elimination clears them.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

Walk 2000 extra steps to lower your risk of heart disease

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Walking 20 minutes at a moderate pace each day is associated with improved cardiovascular outcomes in patients with impaired glucose tolerance, according to a study published in The Lancet.

People who walked 2,000 steps more per day at baseline had a 10% lower risk of cardiovascular death, paralysis or heart attack during an average follow–up of 6 years, according to Thomas Yates, PhD, of the University of Leicester in England, and colleagues. And those who increased the amount they walked by 2,000 steps per day from baseline to 1 year had a similar reduction in risk of cardiovascular events.

The findings from NAVIGATOR trial support both the promotion of increased ambulatory activity, and the avoidance of decreased ambulatory activity irrespective of the starting level, as important targets in the prevention of chronic disease.

What is the difference between smile, hug and laugh?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Smile is a sign of joy while hug is a sign of love. Laughter on the other hand is a sign of inner happiness.

Neither of them are at the level of mind or intellect. All come from within the heart. They are only the gradations of your expressions of your happiness.

It is said you are incomplete in your dress if you are not wearing a smile on your face.

Hug comes next… and laughter the last. Laughter is like an internal jogging and has benefits similar to meditation.

But be careful we must know when not to laugh. The most difficult is to laugh on oneself.

Tips to take care of your teeth and prevent tooth decay

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Brush your teeth twice daily. Brushing helps in preventing the build-up of plaque and bacteria which can cause tooth decay and periodontal diseases.
  • Floss every day as flossing helps clean the crevices where the brush can’t reach.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Avoid sugary and starchy foods as sugar in such foods reacts with the bacteria in saliva to form an acid that erodes the tooth enamel leading to tooth decay.
  • The tongue too harbors bacteria. Therefore, it is a good idea to invest in a tongue scraper and clean it each time you brush your teeth.
  • Consult a dentist if your gums are inflamed or if they bleed. Do not ignore any pain in the teeth and/or gums.
  • Get your teeth checked every six months. Dental cleaning and check-up twice a year is imperative.

Never hurt the ego of a person

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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It is a well known Vedic fact that if you hurt the ego of a person, he will never forgive you, especially, if you have insulted or implicated him in character assassination, cast implications, financial embezzlement or in public, you call a woman as old or a man as impotent. For example, if I hurt the ego of a chowkidaar, the next time a patient comes to the hospital gate and asks where Dr. KK Aggarwal is, he only has to whisper, “Which Aggarwal, whose cases never survive?”

Also never hurt the ego of a person who is drunk. Under the influence of alcohol, a person loses his capacity to judge persons and situations. If you provoke him, he can be destructive and aggressive.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own)

Women beware of heart disease

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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More women die of cardiovascular disease than from the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. Over 80 percent of cardiac events in women can be prevented by modifying diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking. The following may be the warning signals of heart attack:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • Chest pain or discomfort is a presenting symptom in women, but they are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

In presence of any of the above one should not wait for more than five minutes and get to a hospital right away.

Prefer Meditation and Not Medication

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Meditation and not medication should be the first line of treatment for most lifestyle disorders. The very fact that our body has a receptor for each and every drug means it has the capacity to produce that drug. God never made these receptors for pharmacological agents or drugs. The key lies in achieving the undisturbed state of consciousness, which can be obtained by either controlling the disturbed state of mind or bypassing it by using the mantra. The subject of spiritual medicine should be included in schools, colleges and medical sciences.Confession and communication are two easy modes to control a disturbed state of mind. As darkness is absence of light, negative thoughts are absence of positive thoughts. To reduce negative thoughts, one should inculcate positive thoughts, actions and behaviors. One cannot hate a stranger. One can only hate a person whom he or she has loved. Hatred is therefore withdrawal of love, and it can only be removed by bringing the love back. By the process of meditation, it has been shown that diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, paralysis, asthma and acid-peptic disease can be kept under control without or with minimal medicines.

High fat diet, prostate cancer prone

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Diets high in saturated fat increase the risk of prostate cancer.

As per a report from University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston published in the International Journal of Cancer, men who consume high saturated animal fat diet are two times more likely to experience disease progression after prostate cancer surgery than men with lower saturated fat intake. There is also shorter “disease–free” survival time among obese men who eat high saturated fat diet compared with non–obese men consuming diets low in saturated fat.

Men with a high saturated fat intake had the shortest survival time free of prostate cancer (19 months). Non–obese men with low fat intake survived the longest time free of the disease (46 months). Non–obese men with high intake and obese men with low intake had “disease–free” survival of 29 and 42 months, respectively.

Take home messages

  • High saturated fat diet has been linked to cancer of the prostate
  • Reducing saturated fat in the diet after prostate cancer surgery can help reduce cancer progression.
  • Cancer prostate has the same risk factors as that of heart blockages and both are linked to high saturated fat intake.
  • With an increase in number of heart patients, a corresponding increase in prostate cancer patients is also seen in the society.

Dealing with Stress

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Stress may be broadly defined as comprising of three components, namely a “known situation, interpretation of a situation and the physical and mental reaction to that interpretation of the situation”.

Stress is a situation: There cannot be a stress without a situation. One cannot be stressed about some event occurring in USA without knowing the person or the situation. The situation requires familiarity with the particular sensory object (known situation)

.Stress is an interpretation of a situation: Without interpretation, stress is not possible. The same situation can be interpreted differently by different people. A stimulus may be stressful to one but not to another

.Stress is a physical and mental response to the interpretation of the situation: Stress manifests because of a chemical imbalance resulting due to sympathetic overactivity, which manifests as mental and or physical symptoms.

Stress, therefore, is the body’s physical and mental response to the interpretation of a situation. Management of stress, therefore, involves either changing the situation, changing the interpretation of the situation or making the body resistant to physical and mental changes in the situation.

Practicing Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga via living a yogic lifestyle, adhering to the various Dos and Dont’s in life as taught in various religious teachings, and learning to meditate help our body to resist these sympathetic–activating changes and handle the stressful situation. These involve proper diet, exercise, meditation and relaxation exercises.

Changing the interpretation of a situation involves counseling. Cognitive behavior therapy used in counseling is one such example. Change in interpretation requires deeper understanding of the problem and removal of the obstacles. This can be done by using Ganesha’s principles of stress management, Rosenburg’s Principle of Non–Violent Communication, or the principles of counseling from Bhagwad Gita.

Change of the situation is the final resort for solving the problem, even though this may not be always possible. For example, in a dispute between husband and wife, divorce should be the last choice, after all counseling efforts have failed to resolve the issue.

3 diet changes to help lower cholesterol levels (Harvard)

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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If you have high cholesterol (a total cholesterol level of 240 milligrams per deciliter of blood or above), taking steps to lower it can greatly reduce your chances of having a heart attack. For every 10% drop in your cholesterol level, your heart attack risk falls by 20% to 30%.

  • Choose healthy fats. Avoid saturated fats, which increase unhealthy LDL levels and steer clear of trans fats, which both raise LDL and lower protective HDL. Instead, substitute healthier unsaturated fats found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
  • Go with whole grains. Whole–grain breads, pastas, and cereals help prevent a blood sugar roller coaster and make you feel full longer. Many of these foods contain fiber, which can help lower LDL levels.
  • Make other healthy choices. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Ideally, substitute these for processed foods and sweets. Choose fat–free milk instead of whole milk. Opt for low–fat yogurt and pick brands that are not loaded with sugar.

Why dont we touch papers, books and people with our feet?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In every traditional gurukul, no studies start without chanting the following

Saraswati namasthubhyamVarade kaama roopiniVidyaarambham karishyaamiSidhirbhavatu me sadaa

“O Goddess Saraswati, the giver of Boons and fulfiller of wishes, I prostrate to You before starting my studies. May you always fulfill me.”

Indian Vedas consider knowledge about self as the supreme knowledge and all tools for the same are considered sacred and divine and must be given respect. The traditional custom is not to step on any sacred educational tool.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

Follow these tips for a healthy meal

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Eat less and enjoy your food by eating slowly
  • Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoid oversized portions which can cause weight gain.
  • At least half of your grains should be whole grains.
  • Limit consumption of food high in trans fats and sugar.
  • Choose healthy fats. Use fat–free or low fat milk and/or dairy products.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Avoid foods that have high sodium levels such as snacks, processed foods.
  • Above all, balance your food choices with your activity level.

Vedic principles behind cognitive behavior therapy

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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1) What is counseling?A: The mental process involves generation of a thought or idea, which is analyzed and then acted upon. Thought, analysis and action therefore are the primary three processes of human mind. Counseling involves action at all three levels.

2) What are different types of counseling?A: Counseling involves basically two principles: Cognitive counseling and behavioral counseling. Behavioral, when the concentration is only on the actions and cognitive, when the concentration is on the changes in either the thought process or in the interpretation of the thought process.

3) What is cognitive behavior therapy?A: As against a pure behavior therapy where a person is counseled to do pre–defined things on regular intervals, cognitive behavior therapy involves changing the actions by changing observations of the interpretation of a particular situation.

4) What is the origin of counseling in India?A: The origin of counseling goes back to Vedic era. Upanishads were basically text books on counseling based on the original knowledge of Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda and Atharvaveda.

5) Is there a relationship of Bhagavad Gita with Counseling?A: Bhagavad Gita is counseling done by Krishna to resolve the conflict in Arjuna’s mind whether to fight or not. At that time there were no doctors and hence counseling was done by the elders in the family.

6) Are the principles of Bhagavad Gita followed today?

A: All the principles of cognitive behavior therapy today are basically principles that have originated from Bhagavad Gita.

7) What is the first principle?A: The first principle is that “counseling cannot be done in 1 or 2 sessions.” It requires up to 18 sessions which is what Krishna did in Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita contains 702 dialogues in the form of Shlokas therefore a proper counseling involves in–depth conversation between the counselor and the patient.

8) What is the second principle of counseling?A: The second principle of counseling is to listen to the patient in the first session in great detail and this is what Krishna did in Bhagavad Gita. In Chapter 1, only Arjuna speaks and Krishna does not utter a word. A patient listening is half the healing done.

9) What is the third principle?A: As per the third principle, the second (first interactive) session between counselor and the patient should be the longest one. Chapter 2 of Bhagavad Gita is the gist of Krishna’s counseling.

10) What is the fourth principle?A: The fourth principle is that after giving a detailed counseling in the second session, it is expected that the patient will be confused. This is what happens in start of Chapter 3 where Arjuna says to Krishna “I am confused. Sometimes you are talking about one path and other time you are talking about another path. Guide me again.” The third counseling session therefore, is the most important where one has to counsel slowly and in great detail.

11) What is the fifth principle?A: The next principle is to give reasoning to the counseling. One should not take the patient for granted. Krishna discusses each and every aspect of life with Arjuna in great detail giving scientific reasoning at every stage.

12) What is the sixth principle?A: Reassure the patient again and again. During counseling Krishna assures Arjuna on multiple occasions that you did your job and do not worry. I am with you.

13) What is the seventh principle?A: The seventh principle involves creating some fear in the patient’s mind. This is what Krishna does while showing his virat swaroop. This especially works in patients of addiction. Some degree of fear with re–assurance from the counselor always works.

14) What is the eight principle?A: The summing up counseling session should be as long as the second session. The Chapter 18 of Bhagavad Gita is as big as Chapter 2 where the whole Bhagavad Gita is summarized again.

15 What are the ingredients of counseling?A: Counseling basically involves in-depth knowledge of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. They are greatly described in Dharmashastra, Arthashastra, Kamasutra and Upanishads through various Vedas.

16) What is stress?A: Stress is the reaction of the body or the mind to the interpretation of any situation.

17) How can stress be managed?A: Stress can be managed by either changing the response of the body through yogic living, or changing the interpretation by understanding the principles of counseling or change the reaction by willful actions.

18) Are different nitis of our scriptures based on counseling?A: Yes. Vidur Niti was the counseling given by Vidur to Dhritarashtra and Chanakya Niti was based on how to rule a country. Yoga Vashishtha was the counseling given by Vashishtha to Rama to acquire higher levels of spiritual knowledge

How to Remove Negative Thoughts

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Darkness is absence of light and similarly negative thoughts are absence of positive thoughts. The answer to negative thoughts is to bring back positive thoughts. An ideal mind is a devil’s workshop and will always think negative.Here are some ways by which you can remove negative thoughts.

  • Think differently as taught by Adi Shankaracharya. Once Menaka approached Arjuna with lust and said that she wanted to have a son like him with him. Arjuna said that why wait for 25 years consider me as you son from today.
  • Think opposite as taught by Patanjali. For example if you are having a thought to steal, silently start thinking of charity.
  • Think positive as taught by Buddha. Make a list of positive actions to be done today as the first thing in the morning and concentrate on that list. Divert your mind to the pending works. It’s a type of behavioral therapy.