BENGALURU : Obesity, which is defined as the accumulation of excess fat in the body, is fast becoming a health problem worldwide. People who are obese are more likely to develop complications like high blood pressure, diabetes, gall bladder disease, heart disease, and cancers of the prostate, breast and colon.
Yoga and naturopathy are two alternative systems of medicine that are effective in treating the most common causes of obesity. The treatments, if administered properly, help promote weight control, control blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease, and decrease stress.
By correcting physiological and psychological abnormalities, these practices help restore the health of the individual. Let us take a look at some of the naturopathic and yogic interventions for obesity.
Fasting therapy: Intermittent fasting is the most commonly prescribed method for weight loss. It also improves metabolic health in the long run. Alternate day fasting, time restricted eating, 24-hour fast, and twice a week are popular intermittent fasting methods. Your naturopath will recommend the best course based on an assessment.
Hydrotherapy: The treatment usually consists of procedures like enema, abdominal packs, immersion baths, hip baths, under water massage, and wet sheet packs. Steam baths and sauna baths, which are also quite common, help speed up the body’s basal metabolic rate, burn fat, and flush out toxins.
Mud therapy: Mud packs help absorb and eliminate toxic substances from the body, break down fat cells, promote blood and lymphatic circulation, relieve pain and soreness, improve joint mobility, and reduce inflammation. Applying a mud pack on the abdomen also helps improve digestion and improve the body’s metabolism.
Massage therapy: Studies show that combining a healthy diet and exercise regimen with massage therapy can help promote weight loss faster. A massage is essentially a scientific and systematic manipulation of the tissues and organ systems of the body. It helps improve blood circulation, strengthen the muscles, lower blood pressure, and reduce fat deposition.
The quality and quantity of our diet play a major role in determining our weight. When we plan our diet, we should consider the appropriate calorie levels, nutritional balance, and sustainability. Make sure you have regular meals at fixed intervals. Practise mindfulness and avoid distractions during mealtime.
Ditch unhealthy snacks like biscuits, cakes, and fried snacks for healthy alternatives like fruits, vegetables, and sprouts. Control your carbohydrate intake, and try to stay physically active. Avoid smoking and drinking completely. If you feel hunger pangs in between meals, go for a fruit or vegetable salad. Avoid carbonated and sweetened beverages, and replace them with healthy alternatives like water, green tea, skimmed milk, and coconut water.
Practise surya namaskara every morning followed by kapalbhati and kunjal kriya. Kunjal kriya will purify the upper digestive tract and digestive system, and help rid the body of accumulated toxins. Yoga poses that are effective in promoting weight loss include tadasana, pavanamuktasana, matsyasana, sarvangasana, halasana, dhanurasana, bhujangasana, paschimottanasana, supta-vajrasana, arsdha matsyendrasana, and shavasana.
Each of these poses target specific areas, making them a useful addition to any weight loss programme. However, you should practise these poses under the tutelage of a qualified yoga instructor till you master them. Signing up for an online class offers you the flexibility. If you suffer from co-morbid conditions, make sure you consult with your physician before you sign up for a class.
(The author is the assistant chief medical officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute)
Benefits of yoga
Naturopathic treatments and dietary interventions for weight loss are effective when combined with yoga. Practising yogic kriyas and asanas helps burn body fat, develop muscle tone, eliminate toxins, improve metabolism, digestion, develop mindfulness, and improve sleep quality.