Mind Over Matter

It is a pity that the rate of separation amongst couples has increased due to sexual dissatisfaction. I recently got a call from a friend whose wife asked for separation on the basis of the husband’s inability of physical love.

Unfortunately, the stress of ‘sexual performance’ is mostly on men. And one of the common issues faced by men is pre-mature ejaculation. This common problem has a common solution- in one’s mind itself!  Before we delve into that-

Let us understand the anatomy: The penis has two chambers called the corpora cavernosa, which run the length of the organ and contain a maze of blood vessels shaped like cavernous spaces (like a sponge).The urethra, or channel for urine and sperm, which runs along the underside of the corpora cavernosa erectile tissue, which surrounds the urethra, two main arteries and several veins and nerves. The shaft, the longest part of the penis; the head (glans), which is at the end of the shaft, the meatus, or opening at the tip of the head where urine and semen are discharged

The erection happens when the blood vessels of the corpora cavernosa relax and open up, blood rushes in through the cavernosus arteries to fill them. The blood then gets trapped under high pressure, creating an erection.

An erection begins with sensory and mental stimulation. During sexual arousal, nerve messages begin to stimulate the penis. Impulses from the brain and local nerves cause the muscles of the corpora cavernosa to relax, allowing blood to flow in and fill the open spaces. The blood creates pressure in the corpora cavernosa, making the penis expand and creating an erection.

Ejaculation is a reflex action controlled by the central nervous system. Sexual stimulation and friction provide the impulses that are delivered to the spinal cord and into the brain. It is triggered when the sexual act reaches a critical level of excitement. It has two phases.

In the first phase, the vas deferens (the tubes that store and transport sperm from the testes) contract to squeeze the sperm toward the base of the penis and the prostate gland and seminal vesicles release secretions to make semen. At this stage, the ejaculation is unstoppable. In the second phase, muscles at the base of penis contract every 0.8 seconds and force the semen out of the penis in up to spurts.

 

Premature ejaculation mostly happens due to the psychological factors. But, I am describing biological factors also for the readers’ benefit.

 Psychological Factors

  • Anxiety about intercourse,
  • Being in a situation in which you hurry towards a climax,
  • Cultural guilt related to sexual pleasure,
  • Erectile dysfunction,
  • New partner,
  • Problems or lack of understanding between you and your partner,
  • Long time since last ejaculation.
  • Injury or trauma.
  • Sexual abuse
  • Guilt
  • Depression
  • One or combination of factors

  Biological Factors

  • Long-standing illness
  • Hormonal problems with the thyroid gland or abnormal levels of sexual hormones in the body,
  • Problems with neurotransmitters in the brain, which therefore fail to carry right signals to the pleasure centers of the brain,
  • Problems with the reflex mechanism of your ejaculatory system,
  • Infection in the urethra or prostate,
  • and
  • Damage to the nervous or sensory system due to either surgery or trauma.
  • Side effects of some drugs.
  • One or combination of factors

There are no physical or biological complications of premature ejaculation. But it might strain your relationships. Many men also find it humiliating due to our social construct. Occasionally, premature ejaculation may cause fertility problems. If you have been ejaculating too often or too prematurely, your sperm count may be low. Ejaculating prematurely may also prevent fertilization from taking place.

What can you do?

Enjoy.. sex is not a race! Premature ejaculation gets better on its own with time and experience. Relax! Look at intercourse as something pleasurable and not a trophy to be won!

 Talk it out- Talk to your partner about your anxieties if it helps. It is ok to not be comfortable and feel stressed. Talking might help you feel ‘lighter’.

You might wish to take therapy from a sex therapist who will undertake a physical examination, talk to you and your partner about your sexual life to understand the root of your sexual problems. You could be prescribed medications along with techniques to delay orgasms. While the therapy ensures that your sexual encounters are stress-free, medications ensure that your hormonal levels are in check and that you are healthy enough to have normal, pleasurable intercourse. While antidepressants and topical anesthetics are used, none of these drugs are medically approved for specifically treating premature ejaculation.

Kick the stress out: One of the best ways is to be happy and stress-free. Keep your “mind” in check. Relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing relieve stress and gradually it settles down anxiety of intercourse.

If you have a lot of stress or if you are depressed as well, your doctor may advise cognitive behavior therapy. This is a psychological treatment for you to be more open and less anxious about sex. Counseling and cognitive therapy are usually used in conjunction with drugs like antidepressants or mood enhancers.

 Try the “Start-Stop” Technique. This is by far the simplest technique and can be done alone or with a partner. The technique involves stimulating the penis and stopping just before you feel you are about to ejaculate. Stop the stimulation for 30-60 seconds and start again once you feel that you have regained control. Repeat this process 4-5 times, stopping and “resting” every time you feel that you are about to have an orgasm. Finally, let the ejaculation occur so that you can identify the “point of no-return”

“Squeeze” Technique- works by squeezing the penis in the area between the shaft and the glans (for about 30 seconds), just before you are about to ejaculate. This stops the ejaculation, but may affect your erection, at least until you are stimulated again. You should then repeat this process 4-5 times until you decide not to delay orgasm anymore. To be effective, this method has to be used for several months and it requires great perseverance from the man and his partner. The idea behind the “squeeze” technique is that, after a while, you are able to recognize the “point of no return” and may be able to delay future ejaculations.

Ayurveda prescribes gentle message of the penis with 1 ounce of sesame oil, 5 to 10 drops of mustard oil 1 hour before intercourse. Wash it off thoroughly before intercourse.  You can also use medicated ghees like brahmi ghee, shatavari or ashwagandha ghee to message the pubic bone and the glans penis before making love.

 

Yoga Asanas as answers!

Matsayasan- Fish pose Helps improve posture, strengthens the upper back and back of the neck muscles, stimulates and stretches belly and front of the neck muscles.                                       

 Vajrasan relieves stress and tones the body.

                                                                                                                       

Bow Pose stimulates the spine, expands the shoulders and chest, strengthens the lower back, hip’s gluteus, hip flexors and hamstrings. It helps strengthen the low back musculature which plays an important role during intercourse. This pose can stimulate organs of the neck and tone the abdominal organs

 

Ustrasana- Camel Pose helps improve the posture, strengthens the back muscles and stretches the hip, groins, ankles, chest, abdomen and the entire front body

 

For optimal results take deep 5 breaths in each asana. These asanas are not only effective in premature ejaculation but are also known to increase the libido.

There are numerous reasons for premature ejaculation and the most common of these being the cluttered mind. The issue is over once you gain confidence. Hopefully, the above-given techniques will be of help to you all.

 

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“Haldi” for Health

A number of basic foods available in the Indian kitchen have superb benefits. One such product is the turmeric

Bablu disliked ‘Haldi Dhoodh’ (Turmeric Milk) to no extent. He could endure anything but turmeric powder in his milk. But alas, his mother insisted and as a child he could not do much about it. Bablu’s mother believed that turmeric is a wonder ‘drug’ for numerous ailments. As he got a bit older he also got aware and realised during winters he never succumbed to common ailments like cough and cold. His immune system was stronger than many of his friends. He enjoyed his health! But, always wondered how!

Turmeric is derived from the rhizomes of the plant Curcuma longa, which is a member of the ginger family. It has the compounds with medicinal properties which is Curcumin. Even though Curcumin is 3% of turmeric, the use of turmeric is not lessened. Curcumin is the most active component of turmeric and has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This is precisely the reason that Haldi’(turmeric) finds a special place in India (Ayurveda) for many ailments.

Turmeric is Anti- inflammatory

  • Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds including six different COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation).
  • External application of turmeric is beneficial for sprains and swellings because of the Curcumin compound.
  • Due to its anti-inflammatory properties and pain relieving properties, Curcumin and turmeric is used for arthritic pain.
  • Because inflammation is closely linked to tumor promotion, Curcumin with its potent anti-inflammatory property is anticipated to exert chemopreventive effects on carcinogenesis. Hence, the past few decades have witnessed intense research devoted to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Curcumin.

Turmeric Prevents

The antibacterial and anti-viral action of curcumin makes it the best remedy to treat cough and cold naturally. The anti-inflammatory action of curcumin aids in relieving the chest congestion that develops in people suffering from chronic cough. It is advised to include turmeric in a daily diet during winters to prevent viral and bacterial infection. The dosage could be –one tsp turmeric with a glass of warm milk.One can also have a 1-2 tsp of turmeric powder without mixing it for the same effect.

Turmeric Prevents

Turmeric Heals

  • Curcuma has natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties and can be used as an effective disinfectant in-case of cuts and minor burns. Turmeric also helps repair damaged skin and may be used to treat psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
  • Turmeric with other constituents has a great effect- Having haldi (Turmeric) mixed with mustard oil and onion juice every hour stops rectal bleeding in piles in most of the cases.
  • As a rich source of iron, turmeric is valuable for anaemia.
  • Curcuma has a protective action on intestinal flora. Curcuma is beneficial in Crohn’s disease (an ailment that affects the digestive tract) and ulcerative colitis.

Turmeric Boosts General Health

  • Curcumin Detoxifies the liver- It helps in stimulating bile production in the liver and encouraging excretion of bile via the gallbladder, which improves the body’s ability to digest fats.
  • It balances cholesterol levels, fights allergies, stimulates digestion, boosts immunity and enhances the complexion.
  • Studies suggest that curcumin has several properties that could make it effective at preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

Turmeric is Anti- cancer

  • Curcumin powder mixed with pure cow’s ghee(Clarified Butter) might wade away cancer cells in most cases and also regenerates new cells in the body.
  • Curcuma has been demonstrated to inhibit tumour growth and stimulate apoptosis, an intracellular mechanism for cells of all types to “kill” themselves. It neutralises those substances and conditions which can cause cancer.
  • It directly helps a cell retain its integrity if threatened by carcinogens.

Turmeric is an Effective Cosmetic

  • Turmeric paste mixed with aloe vera, water and milk will clear your skin as well. Turmeric mixed with liitle gram flour (besan) is an effective & a cheap scrub, and is known to clear tan. 

So if you say yes to your health, haldi  (Turmeric) has to find some space in your scheme of affairs! 

The 12 Commandments of Sun

Avinash, 40 years is hypertensive, diabetic and obese. He has a hectic lifestyle involving lot of travel. His dietary habits are ill-disciplined and there is no physical activity. He visited me to tell him a mantra which can be followed easily and anywhere for his health. There are many people like Avinash who are concerned about their health but busy life style is a huge road block.  For such people the practise of Surya Namskar- Sun Salutation is ideal habit to inculcate. It is a dynamic exercise which can be formed by anyone, at any age and the minimum time to practise this is not more than 10-15minutes.

Sun is the basic source of energy on the basis of which everyone exists. The importance of sun and the energy it provides is revered in various traditions. The energy of the sun has tremendous healing power, if tapped in the right way the results are miraculous in physical and mental ailments.

Surya namaskar is a set of 12 poses (steps), if performed in sequence every day with correct breathing is the best gift one can give to one’s own self.  Ideally, these poses should be done empty stomach, at the time or just before sunrise. I will introduce you to each of these poses and the significance of each.

  1. Pranamasan- Stand erect with feet together. Join the palms together in front of the chest in a ‘namaste’ pose. Usually your hands will fall around your heart. Inhale and exhale slowly and gradually. This posture helps to induce a state of relaxation, calmness, gratitude and love.
  1. Hastauttanasana- Join your hands together again, inhaling stretch both arms above the head, palms facing upward. Arch the back and stretch the whole body backwards. This posture stretches the chest and the abdomen and lifts the energy to the upper parts of the body propelled by inhalation. It is an excellent stretch for the back muscles making it stronger.
  1. Padahastasana – Bend the body down while exhaling and keep the spine straight. Keep the legs straight and perpendicular to the ground. The knees should ideally be straight; don’t force yourself, but try touch your feet. In due course you will!

This posture impacts the abdominal organs- liver, kidneys, pancreas, adrenals, uterus and ovaries. The power of digestion increases and female disorders such as prolapse and menstrual irregularities are relieved. A healthy flow of blood is sent to the spinal nerves as they are stretched and toned. The hamstring muscles at the back of the thigh and calf muscles are stretched and toned.

  1. Ashwa Sanchalanasana – While inhaling, extend the left leg back and drop the knee to the ground. The right knee is bent and kept between the hands and the right foot placed flat on the ground. Lift the spine and open the chest. Concentrate at the eyebrow center. This posture tones the abdominal organs and gives flexibility to the leg muscles during stretching. It is a balancing posture because the spine lengthens upwards while the hands are grounded.
  1. Parvatasana (Mountain posture)- On the exhalation bring the right leg back to join with the left leg. Simultaneously raise the buttocks and lower the head between the arms, so that the body forms a triangle with the floor and you look like a mountain! Try to place the heels flat on the ground.

This posture strengthens the nerves and muscles in the arms and legs, stretches the calf muscles and Achilles’ tendons and makes the spine straight and taut. It relieves varicose veins and tones spinal nerves. Parvatasana pulls up all the abdominal, pelvic and side muscles, stretches the spine and ribs, loosens the hips, stretches and exercises the usually inactive waist zone and helps to reduce a fat, flabby and protruding abdomen. It also aids correct breathing.

  1. Ashtanga Namaskara – Exhaling gently drop both knees to the ground and slowly slide the body down at an angle as you bring the chest and chin to the ground. All eight limbs – toes, knees, chest, hands and chin touch the floor. The buttocks are kept up. You can hold your breath. . This posture develops the chest and strengthens arms. It sends additional blood to this area helping to rejuvenate the nerves. It works and improves the muscles of all the 8 limbs involved.
  1. Bhujangasana- On the inhalation, lower the hips while pushing the chest forward and upward with the hands, until the spine is fully arched and the head is facing up. The knees and lower abdomen remain above the floor. This pose expands the all organs of the chest and abdomen, relieving many ailments such as asthma, constipation, indigestion, kidney and liver problems. It is very helpful in relieving tension in the back muscles and spinal nerves.

 

From here on, you will do the poses in a reverse action.

  1. Parvatasana (Mountain posture) Exhale and get back to posture 5
  1. Ashwa Sanchalanasana- Inhale and swing the right leg forward between the hands. The left leg remains back. Resume posture 4.
  1. Padahastasana (Hand to foot posture)- Exhaling, bring the left foot forward. Join both legs and resume posture 3
  1. Hastauttanasana (Raised arm posture)- Inhale, raise the trunk up and bend backward. Resume posture 2.
  2. Pranamasana (Salutation posture)- Straighten the body and bring the hands in front of the chest. Resume posture 1.

These simple set of 12 exercise postures ensures that you begin your day with a bang! As a person understanding the science of human body, I believe these set of exercises are a boon. Every posture in surya namaskar has a corresponding effect on our internal organs as described above. For best results, one should practise these steps with deep inhalation and exhalation. You can also do each pose quickly and have 2-3 cycles of namaskar, but for best results, take deep breaths- 5-8 for each pose.

It is not only beneficial for the physical body, but it leads to mental and spiritual growth if done regularly. In ancient literature even Patanjali describes it as a complete exercise- involving every muscle, joint and organs. It balances all the systems of the human body- it rejuvenates the cells of the body leading the body to an ideal health state. The above mentioned benefits are just a few of the huge list of advantages.

Salute the Sun! Salute your Health!

You can respond on the comment box or write to me at drviralthakkar09@gmail.com if you want skype sessions/ online tutorship.