Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Health Live @ Seniors Today with Dr Monika M Dass, Leading Psychologist

On 3rd April’21, Seniors Today hosted its 5th edition of the monthly counselling forum at the health live webinar with Dr Monika Dass.

Dr. Monika Dass is a Chartered Psychologist, a Chartered Scientist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, UK. Professionally, she has counselled over 12,500 individuals in a span of 20 years and has published several papers in both Indian and international journals.

A trained pianist and vocalist from the Trinity College of Music, London, Dr Dass has influenced many lives with the joyful learning of music. She has been actively involved in several popular musicals such as The Sound of Music, Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and so on…with her expertise in developing children through drama. She firmly believes that any extracurricular activity can help tap into one’s potential and bring out the best in an individual.


 – Clapping your hands helps you build immunity, explains Dr. Dass. 

We clap our hands when we’re happy, when we want to cheer somebody or encourage somebody, it has been scientifically proven that clapping is effective in curing several diseases. It activates receptors in your palms which are obviously connected to the rest of our body and this causes activation of a large area of the brain which leads to improvement in your general health. There are 39 different acupressure points for almost all organs in our palms and the action of clapping removes obstacles from the main and the collateral channels which forms a network of passages through which vital energy moves around and circulates. Clapping expels cold toxins from our body. It enhances circulation, as a result of which your immunity levels improve. 

Life threatening heart conditions, hypertension, diabetes, depression, asthma, common cold, arthritis, headaches, insomnia, and hair loss can be cured with clapping. 

  • Before you clap your hands, you need to apply some mustard or coconut oil on your palms and put on a pair of socks and leather shoes. The socks and the leather shoes help control leakage of energies which are generated through the body. And then you just strike both your palms from right to left. You need to keep your palms straight. You need to do this for 10-20 minutes a day. It seems like a long time, but if you’re watching television or chatting with a family member you could do this exercise simultaneously. You can set an alarm if you need to. In the long run, you will start to see an improvement in your general body health in terms of feeling better. 
  • Learn to unclutter your mind. 
  • Get busy and move around. 
  • Improve circulation in your body by rolling over from side to side on your back.
  • Tackle your negative thoughts head on 
  • Pranayama and meditation do help with negative thought and in uncluttering your mind.
  1. Since the number of covid cases have increased I have been getting exceedingly nervous and I don’t really know what to do?
  2. Please try out a couple of exercises that Dr. Dass has spoken about (for instance- pranayama, meditation, clapping). Listen to the news, no one is stopping you from that, but know that the numbers going up is not going to help you or your mind but the fact is that you still need to keep yourself healthy and you need to keep yourself busy. Please do not sit around for hours at end in the house, move around, do stuff, do some household chores. Just keep busy. 

Dr. Dass strongly suggests, as long as it is safe, do step out and go for a walk. Physical activity is very important, so is keeping in touch with your friends and family. If you have a couple of friends (1 or 2) who are physically keeping well and you feel safe enough to meet them, in your building, society or a place nearby- meet up. Human relationships are very important and we all thrive and survive on that. From time to time, over the weekend just catch up with your friends over a cup of coffee or a drink or anything that you’re comfortable with. Spend 1-1.5 hours together. 

Obviously social distancing and masks will still be required. But that energy, the time that you spend together is what revives and refreshes you for the next week. The main idea is to beat the monotony of staying at home.

  1. Could you please elaborate on the clapping exercise? 
  2. Before you put the oil on your palms put on your socks and leather shoes. Leather shoes, not rubber, not sneakers, not chappals. Once you’ve done that, you start doing whatever you’re doing, for example watching televisions or some other activity. You apply mustard oil or coconut oil on the palms of your hands. And then you clap. You have to clap straight. Don’t go down, don’t do anything different. Keep your hands as straight as you can and slow clap in a way all your fingers, including your fingertips connect all the time.
  3. Leather soles is what I understand is important, please confirm.
  4. Yes. Just a clean pair of leather shoes. 
  5. You said that clutter in the room brings negativity, which is true. You asked us to take it head on, could you please tell us how?
  6. Take the negative thoughts head on. The moment a negative thought comes in, deal with it. 
  7. Can you please mention about rolling over? 
  8. If you’ve got a rug in your room or a carpet. Anything which is soft, even a razai will do on the ground. Just lie down and twist your body over from side to side. The action of rolling increases your circulation. It is the same circulation that helps in uncluttering what’s in your mind. It does work, but you need to do this consciously without thinking too much. Roll over, come back and roll over to the other side again. It is difficult to roll over fully, it’s difficult to do a clean roll which is why you should roll over from one side as much as you can and then come back to the other side. 

Someone suggested that we can do the clapping to the tunes or with a bhajan, which Dr. Dass agrees is a superb idea. 

This was followed by a couple of clapping exercises led and taught by Dr. Dass and all the attendees joined in enthusiastically, for better visualization, please refer to the video attached-

Exercise: hitting your wrists right to left, for 1 minute

Exercise 2: hitting your wrists from left to right, for 1 minute

The intensity is supposed to be slow. You are stimulating the connecting in the palm and your wrist. 

Exercise 3: clapping, as explained earlier, for 1 minute

  1. Over the last few years every time I meet a doctor, I am advised various medicines and the doctor also tells me about the various medical ailments that I have. I think I have become some kind of a hypochondriac or that’s what my wife and kids say. How do I get rid of this situation? 
  2. The main thing with drug dependency, once you’ve recognized that you’re dependent on it and if you’re going to a doctor who is perhaps giving you very heavy medication, my first instinct will be to move out of this way, but you will have to find an alternative. Homeopathy is extremely good, there are Ayurvedic doctors. Alternative therapy may work for you. Don’t get into the habit of heavy medication. If you find yourself sleeping a lot during the day, it means that whatever is being given to you is a sedative. You need to be careful because you also want your senses alert. You want to be aware of what’s going on.
  3. Dr. Dass is it a better idea to do yoga or is it a better idea to do aerobics or some heavy physical exercise for overall mental health? What do you recommend that one does first thing in the day?
  4. Sir/madam, I don’t know your age, but with age we need to be very careful with doing very heavy exercise so gymming is not a good idea particularly if you haven’t been doing it for many years. Walking definitely, an early morning walk, you can start with 2.5-3 kms and then increase it to about 5 kms. Dr. Dass always recommends yoga. She finds that yoga invariably just doesn’t tone your body it also tones your mind. Your reflexes are sharper, your thinking is sharper. So if you can find group sessions where they can teach you yoga, that’ll be good if you’re comfortable with it. Walking and yoga are 2 things that you should do more as you grow older. Just don’t let go. 
  5. Dr. Dass everybody says that I must meditate but I am just not able to do that. Every time I try to meditate I think of 10 different things. How do you do it?
  6. Meditation is not easy. I follow Paramahansa Yogananda, he is from Ranchi and they have ashrams all over the world. If you’re interested, they send you about 182 lessons where they teach you energizing exercises, meditation techniques and kriya yoga. What Dr. Dass found very interesting with the lessons is that it was a very practical way of teaching all of us meditation. They go through it step by step so it is done very carefully. And finally you find that you too can sit down to meditate. One thing that Dr. Dass suggested, as a beginner, is to just concentrate on your breathing. Just do it for a minute. 
Dr Noor Gill
Dr Noor Gill, MBBS, deciphers the space between heartbeats, figuratively and literally. Powered by frequent long naps and caffeine, she believes that “knowledge without giving back to society is meaningless” and works to make caring cool again.

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