SDBP Cafe International, August 20, 2014 ·

Western sciences vs. Eastern medicine

In the month of “juniores”, meaning the younger ones, at SDBP Café we combined the young with the old, attempting to get more insight into new science and the knowledge of thousand years, or, more particularly, what eastern and western science and knowledge has for us to get healthier physically, mentally and emotional.

Mr. Marko Strbad, PhD, the director of BioBanka had shared with us his vast array of knowledge of what is happening in the world of stem cell science today highlighting the clinical application of numerous versions of stem cells and how they are applied throughout medicinal use that is reachable and works – from complete finger restoration, to bone regrowth, heart tissue restororation and whole organs such as bladders and heart-valves grown in laboratories.

Although some of us naively thought stem cells only come from new-born baby umbilical cords, they are just ordinary cells found in different parts of every one of us. However, with age, they are less easy to rejuvenate new healthy cells. There are two ways to harvest stem cells for clinical treatments – by donor cells or by our own cells.
“Our philosophy is to give every newborn child as well as adults the opportunity to have their stem cells cryogenically stored in a safe manner. We believe that the future of medicine lies in regenerative treatment and cell therapies based on stem cells.”

So what are stem cells really all about? Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the ability of self-renewal, the potential of asymmetric division which leads to differentiation, and plasticity – development of the specialized cells in different tissues, not only those from which they originated. Their primary function is to replenish cells lost from normal turnover or disease in the specific organs and tissues in which they are found or regenerate damaged tissues.

Although certain types of stem cells have been used in clinical applications for decades, the use of human derived stem cells has recently emerged as an attractive tool not only for research but also for cell-based therapy. The present clinical application of stem cells is limited to the fields of haematology and oncology, a rising number of studies show potential for further application in the treatment of non-hematopoietic diseases. Nowadays, if the samples are collected and frozen at the time of birth (umbilical cord blood stem cells) or later in life (adipose tissue, dental pulp, bone marrow), they represent a valuable and reliable source of cells for treatment of different malignant blood diseases, haematological disorders, complex neurological diseases and conditions, immune deficiencies, or could be used for regenerative or aesthetic purposes.

The way we think about medicinal treatments today will change with the coming of every new generation. It is quite possible the world will stop aging so fast and that one day we will be one of those civilisations we see in sci-fi movies, where one person is 200 years old and… looks 25.

Perhaps, a 25-year-old look is not the most inspiring but the belief that some of the most experienced yoga masters following Ayurveda principles indeed can live significantly longer compared with the average age in the Western cultures. For a reason it is said that stress is one of the main causes of many 21st century diseases and shortens our lives.

Dr Ajith Chakrapani Somarajan, a practicing Ayurveda specialist at Thermana Ayurveda Wellness Center Laško, presented how Ayurveda can greatly assist in pursuing stress-free lifestyle in today’s fast-moving world. Ayurveda, the science of life which explains the knowledge of various guidelines to be followed in order to make a healthy living, has emerged out as the branch of Atharvana veda dates back over 5000 years means the branch of science which deals with the knowledge of life. As we were presented, the main objectives of Ayurveda are to establish prime health in every living being, physically, mentally and spiritually as well as to maintain equilibrium in the action of doshas, dhathus, malas, and agni accompanied by a sensation of well being of body and sense organs, mind and soul.

On the other hand, stress is a normal physical response to events which make you feel threatened or upset. When you sense danger – whether it is real or imagined – the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as ”fight-or-flight” reaction, or the stress response. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic and alert. In emergency situations stress can save your life – giving you extra strength to defend yourself. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships and your quality of life.

Although stress can have both internal and external causes, stress overload can have significant signs. Cognitive symptoms include various memory problems, poor concentration and judgement, seeing only negative or constant worrying; moodiness, irritability or short temper, inability to relax, sense of loneliness and depression or general unhappiness are among emotional signs; physical symptoms usually are expressed by various aches and pains, diarrhoea or constipation, nausea or dizziness, chest pain or rapid heartbeat, loss of sex drive or frequent colds while eating more or less, sleeping too much or too little, isolating yourself from others, using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax or some nervous habits like nail biting etc. indicates behavioural symptoms. Finally, if one starts facing any kind of pain, heart disease, digestive problems, sleep problems, depression, obesity, auto immune disease or skin problems such as Eczema or Psoriasis, these are important signals of overstress and should not be overlooked.

Therefore, Ayurveda focuses on lifestyle management and address not only physical aspects and consequences of stressful lifestyle but also psychologic and emotional ones helping to lead balanced life. For everyone who wishes to remain healthy, physically as well as mentally Dr Ajith adviced to adopt three key steps, namely, lifestyle according to Ayurveda, do Ayurvedic procedures like Shirodhara (pouring medicated herbal oil gently and steadily on forehead in a continuous stream using a special rhythmic swaying movement for deep relaxation), Nasyam (excess bodily humors or toxins accumulated in the sinus, throat, nose or head areas is eliminated through nose) at least once a week and finally practice some yoga and meditation. Some of simple yoga excersices SDBP Cafe guests could try at the spot being lead by Yoga instructor Mr Pratheem from Thermana Laško that brought some additional relaxation and positive senses before closing the last SDBP Cafe before the summer break.

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