November 2015 By Rosemary D’Sa Singh An almanac of maladies, Know Your Ailment, A ready recliner, Ravi Bapat, M.S and Kamaxi Bhate, M.D, Indus Source Books, INR 299; 266 pages Leading a healthy lifestyle can mean different things to different people. For some, health is living a disease-free life. For others, it may mean a well-being that extends from the body to the mind and spirit. Whatever the definition, it cannot be denied that a healthy lifestyle is a fundamental component of a life of happiness, achievement and success. In their book, Know Your Ailment: A Ready Reckoner, drawing upon decades of clinical experience, Dr. Ravi Bapat and Dr Kamaxi Bhate present a practical and user-friendly guide to everyday ailments. The doctors write in a friendly, helpful voice, and have given a detailed account of all the major everyday ailments in an easy and comprehensible manner, without resorting to medical jargon. Besides listing common-day ailments and their symptoms, the doctors delve into the causes of the ailment, thereby giving the patient or reader a better understanding of the ailment. This facilitates not just the treatment of the ailment but also its prevention. For instance, unsurprisingly, psychological stress and strain is said to be behind most ailments. Though some amount of stress is valuable in taking us beyond our comfort zone, prolonged and severe stress can cause major damage to the mind and body. In order to supply adrenalin to the system, blood is diverted from the digestive system, while the immune system shuts down. This is why most people succumb to cold, fever or flu at the end of a stressful period. The other contributor to ailments is viruses. Mostly brought on by climatic changes, viruses can be combated by one’s own immune system providing of course that stress has not shut it down! Know Your Ailments is designed for quick and easy reference with separate chapters for each ailment. However, I was left wondering why yoga was recommended as treatment in just the initial five chapters that cover aches and pains. The later chapters have no mention of any kind of remedies for the ailments. This useful guide should be kept close at hand for frequent consultation. However, resist the temptation to self-medicate. That might do more harm than good.
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