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Feeling uneasy or in pain? Hold your partners hand as a new study suggests that when a partner hold hands of their partner in pain, their brain waves sync and pain subsides.

The study found that the more empathy a comforting partner feels for a partner in pain, the more their brainwaves fall into sync. And the more those brain waves sync, the more the pain goes away.

“We have developed a lot of ways to communicate in the modern world and we have fewer physical interactions. This paper illustrates the power and importance of human touch,” said lead author of the study Pavel Goldstein, from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

For the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers recruited a group of heterosexual couples, aged between 23 to 32 who had been together for at least one year.

The researchers put them through several two-minute scenarios as electroencephalography (EEG) caps measured their brainwave activity.

The scenarios included sitting together not touching; sitting together holding hands; and sitting in separate rooms. Then they repeated the scenarios as the woman was subjected to mild heat pain on her arm.

Merely being in each other’s presence, with or without touch, was associated with some brain wave synchronicity in the alpha mu band, a wavelength associated with focused attention. If they held hands while she was in pain, the coupling increased the most, the researchers said.

The researchers also found that when she was in pain and he couldn’t touch her, the coupling of their brain waves diminished.

“It appears that pain totally interrupts this interpersonal synchronization between couples and touch brings it back,” the researchers said.

“You may express empathy for a partner’s pain, but without touch it may not be fully communicated,” they added.

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With hectic lifestyles and work pressures, stress is here to stay. To deal with it, most wellness experts swear by aromatherapy. Dermatologist Dr Rashmi Shetty says, “If you religiously opt for aromatherapy, or head massages using aroma oils, it has a calming effect, plus it is the most effective de-stress technique.” And you don’t need to book a spa date. Pick these three aroma oils to de-stress at home.
LAVENDER LOVE
It is a great stress-relieving aroma oil and acts as a healing aid against cold, flu and migraine. It aids hair growth, attacks dandruff and is a good hair conditioner. A lavender oil massage will relax your muscles.
How to use: Rub a few drops in your palms. Then, cup your hands and take a deep breath. Then, rub it on feet, temples, wrists, for a calming effect.
BERGAMOT BASICS
A citrus-scented essential oil, it works wonders to cure problems like acne, anxiety, boils, depression, cold and sores. It soothes your scalp too.
How to use: Apply it to your skin while showering, rinse and pat dry. Apply to the feet at bedtime or use with coconut oil for a massage.

ROSEMARY RULES
From preventing hair fall to repairing hair health, rosemary addresses all hair issues.
How to use: Add 3-4 drops to 1 tbsp carrier oil like jojoba. Rub into the scalp and leave for a few hours. Mix with peppermint oil for hair growth.

How essential oils help...
It relaxes your body, and helps to calm your mind.
It boosts your mood, and generates positivity.
It helps in increasing your concentration levels.
For curing headaches, massage essential oil on your temples. Take a deep breath and rest for a bit.
Add aroma oil to bath water to de-stress.

Here are simple ways to stay more alert

Take a break
Breaking your head to find a solution but failing abysmally? Step back, take a break and focus on something else. When you can’t seem to figure out the right solution, it is a good idea to pry yourself away from your laptop and cell phone and step out for some fresh air.

Have dark chocolate
Instead of munching on bars of regular chocolate, have some dark chocolate, which contains flavonoids — brain-boosting chemicals that enhance cognitive skills by creating new neurons in your brain, improves ability to make memories, and increases blood flow to brain.

Look at nice pictures
Find babies or animals cute? Look at their pictures! Experts say even looking at pictures that make you feel good and bring a smile to your face can do wonders for your alertness levels.

Chew some gum
Experts say chewing gum not only helps reduce the formation of bacteria and improves jaw muscles, it also makes you feel more alert. Mint-flavoured gum reduces feelings of tiredness and improves memory.

Learn to sing
Music has long been associated with a host of benefits. And learning how to play an instrument or even singing is a challenging workout for your brain, giving it a much-needed boost.

Work it out
Doing high-energy cardio gives your brain a high.
Play video games
While this may seem a dubious inclusion in this list, research says playing video games exercises your mind, improves memory, alertness and the ability to switch between tasks more quickly.

Have conversations
When was the last time you had a really stimulating conversation? Well, here’s some news that will interest you. According to research, when you isolate yourself from people, you’re setting yourself up for declining mental function in your later years. Humans have been equipped with a range of communication skills, which need to be used. The wider your social contacts, the lesser cognitive decline they experience with ageing.

Caffeine's is a serious addiction. Ever reasoned why some people have a harder time quitting it?

It was only few years back when the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders considered caffeine intoxication and withdrawal as a diagnosis for mental disorders implying that people under caffeine intoxication or withdrawal may experience symptoms similar to signs of other mental disorders.

So what exactly is caffeine withdrawal? It obviously suggests a person to have been consuming high doses of caffeine on a daily basis - more than the recommended 400mg requirement in a day - and a sudden tapering of it, which in most cases leads to triggering a host of physiological symptoms.

Usually people experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms within a day of stopping or reducing their caffeine intake, some of which would include the following:
- Splitting headaches
- Difficulty in sleeping or insomnia
- Feeling fatigued and drowsy
- Lack of attention and focus
- Irritability
- Mood swings
- Symptoms similar to flu
- Depression
- Muscle cramps or pain
- Nausea

Experts suggest a person must experience at least three of the above mentioned symptoms or an inability to carry out daily activities. No two people can process and metabolise caffeine in a similar fashion; while some may find it easy to gulp down multiple caffeinated drinks in a day and still feel fine, others may end up spending the entire night wide awake after having a strong cup of coffee.

How to avoid caffeine dependence
- Do not make it a habit, avoid consuming it daily or consume in irregular intervals
- Also try decaffeinated versions
- Alternating between tea and coffee may help
- Monitor your overall caffeine intake that may stem from other caffeinated drinks, chocolates, medication, etc.

While cognitive decline is a process tied to age-related degeneration, there are ways and means to slow the process or delay it.

According to a study published in the journal Science, a certain chemical messenger in the brain may influence the learning ability in adults.

The study was conducted on mice module wherein it was found that limiting the supply or the function of a chemical called adenosine in the brain could preserve the ability of adult mice to learn.

Much as young children pick up language simply by hearing it spoken, when adenosine was reduced or the A1 receptor blocked in the auditory thalamus, the adult mice responded to the tone much stronger when it was played weeks or months later than before.

While brain development is at its peak during childhood, certain activities and proper diet can help ensure full-blown cognitive development and enhanced brain power.

Playing Sudoku, solving puzzles and indulging in analytical reasoning are some of the most common ways through which brain can be exercised and kept agile.

Learning a new skill or a language is also helpful. A proper diet can also go a long way in increasing brain power.

Food items like nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables and foods rich in iron and omega 3 are often associated with increasing brain power. Something as simple as sniffing the aroma of rosemary oil may benefit the memory.

Rosemary oil is believed to have an impact on the electrical activity in the brain.

Dr. C  L Garg
Dr. C L Garg
MBBS, Family Physician General Medicine Physician, 46 yrs, Pune
Dr. Palavi Gholap
Dr. Palavi Gholap
BAMS, Ayurveda Family Physician, 9 yrs, Pune
Dr. Kalpana Dongre Ladde
Dr. Kalpana Dongre Ladde
BAMS, Ayurveda Family Physician, 11 yrs, Pune
Dr. Bharat Oza
Dr. Bharat Oza
BAMS, General Surgeon Proctologist, 9 yrs, Pune
Dr. Geetanjali Ghule Karad
Dr. Geetanjali Ghule Karad
BHMS, Homeopath, 9 yrs, Pune
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