Holistic approach for a healthy heart: Universal healing programme

Contributed by Dr Priya Chudgar
Jupiter Hospital,
Thane, Mumbai

Coronary heart disease is not only a physical ailment but also has psychosocial and spiritual aspects. Treatment is not complete unless all the aspects are given due consideration.

Management of coronary heart disease is done by medical therapies, vascular interventions, surgical procedures, dietary manipulations and exercise. However, stress management, positive attitude, meditation and yoga including shavasana and abdominal breathing are equally important. If we combine both these approaches superior results could be obtained.

One such program, which is widely popular, is “Universal healing programme”.

It claims to complement the conventional approach and enhance the benefits of medications and interventions. It is based on practice of India’s age old philosophy of Yogic practice of Shavasana and meditation, in addition to main stream medical management. This perfect combination of spirituality and science is the brain child of Dr. Ramesh I Kapadia. Being a cardiologist by profession who has treated many patients of coronary heart disease in the Indian subcontinent, he successfully formulated this comprehensive programme which has the potential to heal the society as a whole. Hence the term ‘Universal healing programme’ was coined. Dr. Lareey Dossey and Dr. Dean Ornish were amongst the main inspirations, along with Mahatma Gandhi. Multiple centers and thousands of patients are spreading the flame of this life changing idea.

Some of the proposed ideas, practices and suggested benefits from the programme include:

  • Progressive deep relaxation-‘Shavasana’: Shavasana is method for complete relaxation of muscles of body. Shavasana provides the way and means of controlling the mind so as to channel it towards present activity.
  • Meditation: Meditation is awareness of each moment. With only three minutes of meditation, oxygen consumption is reduced by 20% as compared to 8% of oxygen consumption after 6 hours of sleep. Rate of wear and tear drops and vision expands following meditation. It refreshes mind, relaxes the body and achieves perfect balance between spiritual and physical well-being.
  • Visual imagery and autosuggestion: Focused, direct and active visualization is performed by giving direct commands. This not only relieves stress but also expands inner faith.
  • Abdominal breathing:  Abdominal breathing is one of simplest and most effective stress management technique.  Breathing through abdomen results in proper ventilation of both lower lobes. It immediately calms sympathetic system and activates parasympathetic system, reduces heart rate, systolic blood pressure, oxygen requirement of heart and viscosity of blood
  • When an individual practices ‘shavasana’, meditation and abdominal breathing, peace of mind of follows which leads to greater power of healing. There is production of alpha activity and sense of empowerment.
  • Physical and social measures:  Regular walking, giving up tobacco, reduction in dietary fat and animal proteins are few of well-known physical measures. Moderate exercise like walking on level surfaces for 30-40 mins is also advised. Other life style changes are obtained with group discussion and sharing. Self-centeredness, hostility and cynicism are said to be toxins to the heart, while friendly attitude and sense of giving could achieve enormous positive results.

Details of programme are available on www.universalhealing.org.  

A free app is also available on google play, which guides in detail about this programme.