Category Archives: HEALTH

Herbs and health

Walk for healthy living

You must have heard many a times that ‘walking is good for health’. But, you are stuck in the same that knowing is better than practice and botheration is least, you might think ‘what the heck? I am physically fit and in good mental health, so there is no need for any kind of exercise   regimen’. It is only when the body starts showing signs of some problem that we come out of our deep slumber and we observe that something has gone wrong with the body.

Some people are so careless with their health that they do not even notice the signs and such a pity that point of realization comes only when it’s too late for any kind of action.

So, include some kind of physical activity in your daily routine to keep yourself fit. There is no better exercise than walking, to start your fitness program. It is the best form of cardio exercise, which is not arduous and is very easy to maintain.


We know this is the toughest part. To start and make a routine, when you are inactive since a very long time is a tough calling. First of all it is necessary to make a habit, which also doesn’t come easy. To begin with, daily go to the park or the place where you feel comfortable, walk for just 10-15 minutes, take a few strolls and sit there, do some deep breathing, enjoy your surroundings and then come back. Follow this for a few days and then start walking at uniform pace in a regulated manner for 15-20 minutes and then gradually increase your time.

Make your walking time at least 30 minutes and follow it. Once you have achieved the 30 minutes time, then increase it to 40- 45 minutes and maintain it. Time of 45 minutes’ walking is an ideal one to stick to.


A good sustained walking schedule can do wonders for our health. It strengthens the bones of our body. People suffering from arthritis or spondylitis benefit a lot from walking, if they stick to a fixed routine. Regular walking improves the body posture, reduces stiffness and also slows down the progression of these problems. But people suffering from arthritis or spondylitis should consult a qualified doctor before starting a routine walking program.

Walking reduces the bad cholesterol (LDL) which is a cause of concern among a lot of people these days, as it can be life threatening.  At the same time walk increases the good cholesterol (HDL) which keeps you safe from cardiovascular diseases.

It helps in reducing stress and depression and elevates our mood; walk reduces the risk of diabetes and cancer. It remarkably improves the general cognitive functions like memory, language and problem solving ability thus reducing the possibility of dementia and other very serious problem of Alzheimer’s disease. This also helps in reducing your body weight if you keep an eye on your diet.


When you walk your whole body’s weight comes on your feet and among a lot of people this weight is not evenly distributed on the feet. So it is best that before buying shoes, try them carefully so that you can choose the right kind of shoe for you.  Look for shoes which have a great flexibility and are well cushioned, with a fine arch.

Now let us discuss which type of clothes is preferred for walking. Clothing depends on the kind of weather outside. If the weather is chilly or extreme cold, wear clothes in layers, so that after some time of walking when your body warms-up you can easily take off the outermost layer of clothing, and are still protected from the cold. Wear half sleeves warmer just above the vest below other clothes, this will keep you warm and prevent you from getting cold.

If the weather outside is hot, wear clothes which absorbs sweat easily like cotton or a blend of cotton. Your clothing should be comfortable, neither too loose nor too tight.


Wear socks made- up of wool if the weather is cold. They are good for keeping your feet warm, and they dry very fast if they become wet. You can wear cotton socks also, they are also comfortable, but the problem is that when the feet sweat they retain the moisture and do not dry-up fast. Prolong exposure of feet to moisture laden socks may cause blisters on your feet. Whereas woolen socks dry-up fast.

In summers, wear cotton socks if your walking duration is not very long, and if it is vice versa ,then go for  socks which is a blend of cotton and some other fabric which has faster drying-up ability. The sure way of doing the right thing is to try all kind of fabric socks in different seasons, then settle for the right one.


Well, where you want to walk depends entirely on your choice and comfort but remember a few things. First is that if you want to walk on a road then early morning is better as later on traffic increases, which put your safety  at risk. Do not walk on the road while listening to music, as you may not hear the horns of vehicles and this may put your life in danger.

Walking in a park with a well laid track is very comfortable as you need not worry about traffic there and can go there any time. But for some people going to park becomes monotonous after some time as they hate walking in circles continuously.  You can choose these areas in rotation also, one day in the park and the following day on the road, likewise rotate it.


Massage for good health

Massage is called ‘Abhyanga’ in Ayurveda. It is a very old tradition of India even older than when man started to write. It is done with medicated herbal oils and scents. The massage is done all over the world only difference is in style and materials with which it is done.

In India, people used to massage their new born babies consistently for a robust body form and growth of the child, however in the later years it becomes a forgotten practice. These days’ people go once in a while for a massage and for that also they go to a parlor to get it done. In fact the percentage of people who regularly massage their bodies is very less now; we have forgotten that it is a very beneficial practice. The therapeutic effect of massage is profound and it should be included in our lifestyle to attain a healthy body and mind.


Regular oil massage of the body helps in the release of endorphins and serotonin hormones, which helps in reducing anxiety and depression, which is a major problem among people these days.

Its regular application is helpful in chronic problems like arthritis which is a crippling disease in which body’s mobility reduces and one has to endure pain all the time. Regular massage increases the subject’s ability to move and work by alleviating both bones and muscles pain. In other words it brings a great relief in musculoskeletal pain.

Its application also reduces faster heart-beat rate and high blood pressure. It improves state of alertness and sleep. If you are suffering from low back pain, then regularly massage your back with good oil, within a few days you will feel the difference. Regular oil massage also improves the flexibility of body to a very high level, thereby reducing any stiffness persisting in your body.


  • First let’s talk about sesame oil which is fabulous for health. Its regular application has almost magical effects on the body. It is rich in vitamin E and other nutrients like copper, zinc, magnesium, calcium etc. These nutrients make sesame oil good for problems like rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory problems, bone health and osteoporosis etc. Regularly massage sesame oil on the area of inflammation or other body areas where you want to see an improvement and you will see the results with improving health. But use this oil preferably in winters as this oil is warm by nature.
  • In India, the use of mustard oil in massage is very old; it was a first choice for infant massage and still may be in use in some parts of India for the same and a large population of grown-ups who still likes to massage their bodies use mustard oil. It is said to be very good for hair massage as it promotes hair growth. It is excellent for the blood circulation, improves skin texture and aids in the development of bones.
  • There are other oils also, which are used for massage and among them sweet almond oil and coconut oil are the good ones, but these are mostly used for application on small localized areas, generally on face and head, and proves very efficient for these areas. Almond oil softens the face skin and is said to improve skin complexion and reduces dark circles below the eyes. It is also used for hair massage and reduces hair fall if applied regularly.

Coconut oil too is used as a skin moisturizer and its application in hair also bear good results as it reduces hair fall and also smoothens dry hair. Its regular application is also said to add black tinge to the hair.

So, regularly massage your body for a good health. It is a springboard for success in life


Olive oil – Benefits and its types

These days the use of olive oil has increased extensively. But before including olive oil into our routine, let us know a little about it – like its origin and where olives are largely found? Olives are native of regions bordering Mediterranean Sea, including the coastal areas of North Africa, South Eastern Europe, West Asia and Northern Iraq and Iran. The climate of these regions is mild rainy winters and hot dry summers which is excellent for the growth of olives.

Olive oil

Olive tree or shrub grows to a height of nearly 8-15 meters and its fruits are green in color at the beginning and with time as it ripens, the color starts changing to purple.

A lot of people are switching over to olive oil for good health. Olive oil has mono unsaturated fats because of the presence of oleic acid in it; this makes it very good oil for consumption as it reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. It lowers the bad LDL cholesterol and increases the good HDL cholesterol.

It contains a lot of antioxidants which are excellent for health. It is used in moisturizers; which makes the skin very supple. Its application on the skin is said to prevent the harmful effects of UVB rays. Only extra virgin oil should be used for skin applications. One more thing which is to be kept in mind is that once you have opened the bottle of an olive oil then use it consistently, not intermittently, as there could be chances  of olive oil getting rancid being kept for a long time. Always store it in a airtight jar and do not use plastic container to store it, use glass or steel container for olive oil storage.


Now the question arises what kind of olive oil should we use? As olive oil comes in different grades, a firsthand knowledge of all these grades is paramount.

Olive oil is graded depending upon its extraction. Extra virgin olive oil is the purest form of olive oil, obtained only through natural process of hard-pressed olives. This grade does not involve any chemical treatment or refining. Its taste is the most suitable one, as it is the least acidic among all the available grades.

The second one is virgin olive oil; this is also good and does not involve any refining but in terms of quality it is a little less than the extra virgin olive.

The other grades are pure virgin oil, virgin olive oil, pomace etc. These all brands are mixture of refined and virgin oil with varying degrees.

For consumption, the extra virgin oil is the perfect one for sautéing and salad dressing, Do not use extra virgin olive oil for deep frying as at a high temperature the extra virgin olive oil alters in its composition thereby ruining its taste.  For deep frying, use refined olive oils, as they can withstand high temperature without any change in its taste. It is also important that besides consuming olive oil you should also consume other oils like soybean oil, sunflower oil etc in moderation, as we need omega-6- fatty acids too for the synthesis of compounds, which are vital for blood clot formation, blood pressure regulation etc.

And for people who are suffering from health problems, they should consult a doctor to decide what kind of oil they can consume and in how much quantity.



Shimla’s heritage – Band Stand and The Gaiety Theatre.

In  continuation with our passage of exploring heritage buildings of Shimla, we are back with insight on two popular structures of Shimla, situated on the Mall road. Both, are beautiful structures and invoke a great likeness. Read about their origin.

The Band stand is located on The Ridge with a backdrop of towering green Jakhu hill at a little distance. It was constructed by Kanwar Jiwan Dass of Jubbalpore in 1920 as a place, where people could rest and enjoy the beauty of snow clad Himalayas. The place gives a commanding view of the mountains, in and around Shimla. In the past years the military bands used to play music at this place and hence got the name ‘Band Stand’.

Band stand, Shimla

Its architecture is unique; the base of the structure is circular in shape with conical slate roof, placed on a wooden structure. Presently, this Band Stand has been converted into a restaurant by the state tourism department, where people dine and enjoy the scenic beauty of Shimla. The place is called ‘Ashiana’ by the localites.

‘The Gaiety Theatre’ was built by the same architect called ‘John Irwin’, who built the ‘Vice Regal Lodge’. The building was erected in1887 and had five stories, making it the tallest building of that time. The final inauguration of the building took place in 1888. The place was meant for the entertainment purposes of the Anglo-Indian community, in the British era.

Gaiety theatre, Shimla

The building is built in stone with fine-looking windows, doors and openings. It had beautiful paintings and sculptures with an aesthetic touch. A lot of restoration work has been done by the Himachal Government on this building, giving a new and improved look to the structure. At present it holds, a city museum, multipurpose hall, gallery and a seminar hall . The place is used as a stage for Shimla Amateur Dramatic Club and for the promotion of other cultural activities.