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April 26, 1996     Cape Gazette
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April 26, 1996
 

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- . . - , , HEALTH &00FITNESS Frazer world certified teacher of Chopra's meditation By Kerry Kester Beebe Frazer, nurse/midwife, is one of only 45 people in the world certified to instruct primordial sound meditation, Deepak Chopra's meditation technique. She is now sharing that mental health technique with Cape Region residents. "Regular practice of meditation allows us to bring the kindness, compassion, bliss and creativity of our purest essence into our daily lives," said Frazer. "Our bodies rest, renew and heal. Our emo- tions are soothed. Old, destructive habits change. Health and rela- tionships improve." Frazer's interest in Chopra's teachings began several years ago, when she picked up one of his books from a friend's coffee table. "I said, 'Wow, this is what I believed all my life.' And I love the way he writes," said Frazer. Chopra, a board certified endocrinologist and medical direc- tor of the Sharp Institute of Mind- Body Medicine in San Diego, Calif., has developed a combina- tion of western medicine with Ayurveda, the Indian science of life, which promotes good health. Frazer had practiced transcen- dental meditation (TM) for ten years prior to her introduction to Chopra's philosophy of primordial sound meditation (PSM). Chopra's technique differs from TM in that although both use mantras to reach a full meditative state, mantra selection in each is different. Frazer said primordial sound meditation is also "easier to learn and to teach." Frazer said the concept of PSM is for people to find inner peace, which promotes the connection between the mind and body. "Pri- mordial sounds, in the form of a personal mantra, take our aware- ness from the active mind to qui- eter levels - beyond individual mind to universal spirit. It's a place of perfect stillness - of pure spirit - that exists in all of us. "The same spirit that connects everything in nature is found inside each one. The primordial sound vibration is soothing to the physiology and creates a quiet res- onance in the mind," said Frazer. "Because the mind influences every cell in the body, human aging is fluid and changeable. It can speed up, slow down or even reverse itself. "Our cells are constantly eaves- dropping on our thoughts and are being changed by them. A bout of depression can wreak havoc on the immune system. Falling in love can boost it. Joy and fulfillment keep us healthy and extend life. There is no line between biology and psychology." Frazer said a common miscon- ception of the philosophy is that it is a religion. "I've heard some people say that it's anti-Christian," she said. "For me, meditation is a natural extension of my own Christian religion. Paul obviously believed in an inner sanctuary of infinite peace. He writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19, 'Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?'" Meditation, she explained, "is a spiritual practice because it takes our awareness to the level of spirit. This is the same spirit that con- nects everything in creation," said Frazer. "People of many different religions practice meditation with- out any conflict in their religious practices. Meditation helps enrich all aspects of our lives, from play- ing sports, to harmonizing rela- tionships, to strengthening our religion." Frazer said that everything peo- ple think will make them happy is brief, but practicing meditation offers a long-lasting happiness. "One of the concepts I like best is...do less and accomplish more," said Frazer. "Flowers don't try to bloom, and fish don't try to swim. We get in our own way by trying too hard. "When you're in a relaxed state, your mind doesn't work as hard to Beebe Frazer is seen with Deepak Chopra following one of the Primordial Sound Meditation training sessions earlier this year. get where you're going. Ideas come more quickly, ways to accomplish your goals...you gen- erate ideas with less effort. It's within you all the time, so you call it forth rather than chase it around the world." To earn her certification to teach the practice, Frazer took two classes with Chopra in March of 1995. Both classes also required home study and were prerequisite for the training course she completed in March of this year. She also took another class in November of 1995 to pre- pare her for this year's study. Last month Frazer, along with 34 others, completed her last two courses of study with Chopra in San Diego. It was the first time the course of study had ever been offered in the United States. The only other training course that was offered was for a class of 10 in Buenos Aires, Brazil, last year. "Deepak just discovered this form of meditation about three years ago," said Frazer, "so essen- tially it's his way to extend the influence and the number of peo- ple doing meditation. He thinks the benefits can help to save the planet." Frazer teaches classes in both PSM and "The Magic of Healing". To find out more about the next classes being offered, call 645-6770. Part II: Asthma- a number of therapies proscribed The goal of asthma therapy is to improve airflow by relieving air- way obstruction which is caused by the three major pathologic processes: airway edema (swelling), mucus plugging, and bronchospasm. These abnormali- ties result in airway narrowing which causes an increased resis- tance to airflow, causing an increased work of breathing. This increased work is perceived by patients as shortness of breath. Effective asthma therapy both reverses and prevents the develop- ment of airflow obstruction. The processes which narrow the airway are caused by airway inflammation, which is a complex cascade of events starting with an asthma trigger. This inflammato- ry state is a series of physiologic events involving cells and media- tors very similar to that seen in response to an injury, such as a burn. Once initiated, the process is self-perpetuating unless inter- rupted by therapy. One arm of therapy is directed against this process using drugs called anti-inflammatory medica- tions. The other major class of drugs treat the bronchospasm caused by this inflammatory process and are called bron- chodilators. The effective treat- HEALTH TOPICS Michael A. Salvatore merit of asthma involves the com- bination approach: anti-inflamma- tory drugs form the cornerstone in treating the cause of asthma and bronchodilators reverse the bron- chospasm resulting from the inflammatory process. Anti-inflammatory drugs elimi- nate the cause of asthma. There are two major classes of anti- inflammatory agents: steroids and non-steroids. Steroids or corticos- teroids are the most effective anti- asthma drugs. Given in sufficient doses, they can suppress the inflammatory asthmatic state. Unfortunately, oral steroids can have unpleasant side-effects. To avoid these side effects, inhaled steroids were developed and if taken in high enough dosages can be very effective. The most commonly prescribed oral steroids are prednisone (Deltasone, Steripred) and meth- lyprednisolone (Medrol). These are usually used as rescue medica- tions for an acute attack but some- times are required for the treat- ment of severe chronic asthma. Side-effects can be minimized by using short courses with a rapid tapering. Inhaled corticosteroids are the foundation of any anti-asthma therapy. Multiple drugs are avail- able: beclomethasone (Beclovent, Vanceril), flunisolide (Aerobid), dexamethasone (Dexacort), triam- cinolone (Azmacort), and soon to be released budesonide (Pulmo- cort). While these medications vary in administration and price all are effective anti-inflammatory agents and when used in appropri- ate doses can reverse and prevent the symptoms of asthma. The onset of action is slow - often six to eight hours. Side- effects of these medications most commonly involve mouth sore- ness and hoarseness. These can be minimized or avoided by rinsing the mouth after inhalation and by using a spacer. A spacer is a tube or a bag into which the inhaler is puffed, then the medication is inhaled out of the spacer. This pre- vents deposition of the inhaled steroid in the mouth and allows for easier administration. Doses of these medications vary with the severity of asthma. Some patients require as little as two puffs twice daily, while others may require up to eight to 12 puffs four times a day (32 to 40 puffs daily). There are two non-steroidal inhalers on the market: cromolyn (Intal) and nedocromil (Tilade). These medications are used in mild to moderate asthma. Patients should use a single steroid or non- steroid inhaler since they all are anti-inflammatory medications. Severe asthmatics require inhaled steroids. Nedocromil is purported to have a greater anti-tussive effect and may be more useful in "cough- variant asthma", in which patients primarily cough rather than wheeze. Cromolyn is effective in preventing exercised-induced asthma when taken 20 minutes before exercise. The goal in using inhaled anti-inflammatory drugs is to relieve and prevent the symp- toms of asthma while eliminating or minimizing the use of oral steroids. There are two types of bron- chodilator medications: beta-ago- nists and theophyllines. These medications reverse the muscle spasm in the lungs, thereby dilat- ing constricted airways. Beta-ago- nists are derivatives of epineph- rine and are classified according to their onset and duration of action. Rapid acting (two to five minutes) and short duration (two to six hours) drugs include albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin), terbutaline (Brethaire), bitolterol (Tornalate), metaproteranol (Alupent, Metaprel), and pirbuterol (Max- air). These drugs can be administered by either metered dose inhalers ("puffers") or by a nebulizer as a continuous mist. Either method, when used by proper technique, is equally effective. These medica- tions are useful in preventing the onset of symptoms and for treating an acute attack of bronchospasm. In contrast, salmeterol (Serevent) is a long-duration (10 to 12 hours) but delayed acting (30 to 45 min- utes) beta agonist. Salmeterol is used exclusively to prevent asth- matic attacks and not to treat acute episodes and is similar use to theo- phylline drugs but avoids systemic Continued on page 35