The ‘Stress Eraser” in Cameroon

The Total Health biofeedback pilot project in rural Africa

Getting Started

  The Himalayan Institute Total Health Center in Cameroon pioneers holistic healthcare treatments and public health outreach. Eucharia Kuoh has been the program manager there since 2009. When Eucharia was asked to select patients for the new ‘Stress Eraser’ biofeedback program in Cameroon, she looked for candidates with a variety of symptoms but with  a common interest in taking charge of their own health. “The biofeedback protocol can help people control stress,” she explains, “but it relies on the patient to practice relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing for 5-10 minutes a day. If they are not committed, the treatment will be unsuccessful.” As a Total Health Consultant, Eucharia spends much of her time advocating lifestyle changes and health supplements to ward off expensive and life-threatening illnesses later in life. Biofeedback is only the latest addition to her holistic healthcare practice.

For centuries, medical researchers have known that stress indicators, from heart rate to sweat gland activity, are influenced by voluntary mental processes. When these indicators are displayed in real time, or feedback to the patient on a computer monitor, it becomes possible to alter specific physiological functions at will. Much like learning to wiggle your ears or flare your nostrils by looking in a mirror, biofeedback provides the starting point for learning to use the body in a new way.

The Project

For the four-week biofeedback pilot project in Cameroon, sixteen candidates were chosen. On the first visit, Eucharia records heart rate and blood pressure both before and after a guided relaxation. Then she introduces her patients to the Stress Eraser. The machine measures pulse through a sensor clipped to the finger. Patients receive a score based on heart rate and consistency, and the session continues until the patient reaches a target score. In addition to their daily breathing exercises, the patients are asked to return once a week to the nearest Total Health Center for another 15-minute biofeedback session. The concept is simple, yet biofeedback may be one of the most direct routes to the plethora of health benefits associated with low-stress living, from lower blood pressure to reduced muscle tension and less susceptibility to infection. Best of all, it’s inexpensive, meaning that Eucharia can reach even poverty-stricken communities where the daily stress of finding a meal and supporting children can be crippling.

Results

At the end of the trial period, all sixteen patients self-reported an improvement in their initial symptoms, which included chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. For one patient with hypertension, Eucharia recorded a decrease in blood pressure after only four weeks of biofeedback sessions.

The ‘Stress Eraser’ pilot project has proven that biofeedback can be an effective component of holistic healthcare in the developing world. For consultants like Eucharia, biofeedback provides a concrete example of a larger preventative healthcare philosophy: by taking an interest in their health today, people can reduce the risk of illness tomorrow, sparing themselves the treatment costs which remain unaffordable for the majority of sub-Saharan Africa.

Your Ultimate Experience: Kumbha Mela 2013

For more than 35 years, spiritual seekers from around the world have traveled with the Himalayan Institute on their quest for personal enrichment. The upcoming 21-day pilgrimage to Kumbha Mela 2013 is an extraordinary opportunity to experience the magic of India’s greatest spiritual gathering on the bank of the holy river Ganga.

Wondering what others are saying? Take a look…

Read more reviews…

I wouldn’t trade my experience in India for anything!
~ Mary Lou W. (Madison, WI)
 
An extraordinary experience I will never forget.
~Marianne (Vina del Mar, Chile)
 
Thanks again for a wonderful trip.  It was so incredible and I cannot even imagine not going there without such a well-organized group. I feel very fortunate to have met such wonderful people! My experience was uplifting and spiritual and…will always have a special place in my heart.
~Nanette (Lyndhurst, New Jersey)
 
I really feel renewed in my body, emotions, and soul when I come back home. No other way to visit places in the world [then] the way you organize it! I always feel so happy, so safe, so deeply spiritual with you!
~Lucia P. (Colombia)
 
My visit to India has left me filled with total admiration and love for the country…In addition to the sights and lessons from Panditji, I met such awesome fellow travelers and learned many valuable lessons.
~Bob H. (Philadelphia, PA)
 
By simply being in a different culture, I was better able to understand my own culture and what has influenced who I am. The idea that certain places we visited felt very spiritually charged was also amazing.…I was reassured by the beauty that God was all around me…Thank you, thank you, thank you for such a wonderful opportunity.
~Jordan S. (Madison, WI)
 

Registration closes June 15, 2012. Register now!

Learn more www.KM2013.com

 

Listen Here to Geovanni’s Radio Interview

HI Mexico was honored to be featured on a popular public radio program in Puebla called “Puebla My People.” This show is a socially oriented program that recognizes local citizens working to empower their own people and “give voice to those who are normally silent.” When a friend suggested featuring HI Mexico General Manager Geovanni Beristain on the program to talk about the organization’s humanitarian work in Jonotla, the station manager was excited to invite him on.

Click the image below to listen to the interview and see accompanying photos of HI Mexico’s work:

A few of the main points that Geovanni spoke about include:

  • An introduction to the Himalayan Institute and its main work focused on yoga.
  • In January 2010 HI launched a social program in rural Jonotla, aimed at contributing to sustainable development in the region, specifically sustainable agriculture. The connection to yoga? “We think that when your body is healthy, your mind is healthy, everything else comes to you naturally. When people use sustainable organic practices, you are regenerating the soil and the environment, so the products that you obtain will be good for your body and for nature.”
  • Much of HI Mexico’s trainings have been done with local university students who are the next generation and who are more open to ideas of sustainability, such as composting, crop diversification, organic biofertilizers, and so on. Through them, we are working to “create a new conscience in the community.”
  • How have people received the vision that HI Mexico puts forward? Some people have hesitated to adopt new farming practices, but in reality these techniques are not new. Our grandparents used these techniques until the chemical and technical era introduced new approaches. The Institute offers to take up these old, natural techniques with a new approach.
  • One challenge is that organic agriculture can mean more up-front costs, but we hope to show that by adopting these practices, the soil and environment are regenerated, saving future costs of degredation. Additionally, the produce grown is healthier for the body. Our new program in family gardens, soon to be launched, focuses on both the techniques and environmental benefits of organic food production, as well as the nutrition.
  • The goal of our work is not just about saving money. It is about health, the natural world, and the social development of excluded societies in the world.
  • Those interested in learning more or collaborating with HI Mexico are encouraged to visit our webpage: http://www.himalayaninstitute.org.mx/

Geovanni was invited to return to the station later this week to publicize upcoming yoga events in Puebla and Mexico featuring Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, sponsored by HI Mexico. These include a lecture tour in Puebla and Mexico City and keynote address at the 8th National Conference on Yoga in Mexico City. To see Pandit Tigunait’s event schedule for Mexico this Nov 12th-16th, click here.