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Mid-Day Premium Discover a lesser-known technique to tackle menstrual woes

Sakshi Mali’s menstrual health took a dark turn when she developed a 4.5-centimetre-wide cyst in 2022. “I used to suffer from severe mid-cycle cramping for one and half years and wouldn't do without anti-spasmodic,” the 32-year-old tells this writer.  Seeking remedies, she experimented with homeopathy for six months without success. Additionally, hormonal medicines from gynecologists failed to help. It wasn't until 2023 that she discovered the benefits of vaginal steaming, which began to alleviate her severe menstrual pain.  “I did vaginal steaming for one month and the midcycle pain went away like magic, I conceived naturally without any medication in a couple of months. Also, when I went for my first sonography, there were no remaining cysts either,” shares Mali.  While this may seem too good to be true, it appears that more women are opting for the practice of vaginal steaming also known as yoni-steaming. For Anshula Singhal, the problem of severe pain in the pelvis and legs after intercourse had become a norm until she steamed her lady bits. “Within two months – I was relieved of the pain and could go about sexual activity without any fear,” informs the 40-year-old.  Recent studies have highlighted potential health risks associated with the long-term use of Meftal Spas, a common medication used to address menstrual pain. In a recent advisory issued by the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission, health concerns have been raised regarding the use of this widely-consumed painkiller The report highlights that the medicine contains mefenamic acid which is known to induce allergic reactions While the medicine can provide temporary relief from symptoms like cramps and abdominal discomfort, prolonged use may lead to adverse effects such as gastric irritation, kidney damage and increased risk of cardiovascular issues. Given these concerns, many individuals are exploring natural alternatives like vaginal steaming as a safer option for managing period pain and related symptoms. (L-R) Herbs that go into the steam box, Dr Prity Maniar, Mumbai-based certified vaginal steaming practitioner  So, what is vaginal steaming? Dr Komal Bhadu consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Ruby Hall Clinic informs, “Vaginal steaming, also known as yoni steaming, is a traditional practice where a person sits over a pot or basin filled with hot water infused with herbs. They typically cover themselves with a cloth or robe to trap the steam, allowing it to permeate the vaginal area.” Dr Prity Maniar, a certified vaginal steaming practitioner and founder of The Womb Story, shares that traditionally, herbs were sprinkled on burning coal inside a pot that produced fry smoke meant to warm a woman’s genitals. This ancient Ayurvedic practice, however, posed risks due to the use of burning coals, which could damage the skin and cause indoor pollution. Additionally, the unavailability of coals made it difficult to perform.  Also Read: Her lady bits are on strike: Misconceptions about female pleasure men need to know Maniar took cues from this practice to devise a new-age steam box that addresses the shortcomings associated with the use of coal. “Now, I use water as a medium instead of coals. The hot water bowl goes inside this steam box and you can sit over it and consume the steam comfortably through an opening which is just around the perineal area.” It can be done right from teenage to menopause and later too.  However, there is limited scientific evidence supporting these claims, and additional research is necessary to validate its effectiveness, informs Bhadu.   But why steam your lady bits? Maniar remarks that while it’s true that the uterus is a self-cleansing organ and periods help to detox/ cleanse, so are our gut and our digestive system, yet we still do a gut detox despite eliminating stool every day. Similarly, a uterus detox needs to be given a thought.  Advocates of vaginal steaming share that this natural remedy offers a multitude of benefits for a wide range of menstrual and period-related issues, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), painful periods, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, low libido, menopause, irregular periods, short cycles and postpartum recovery.  Maniar adds that this practice is not only advantageous for addressing physical symptoms but also plays a significant role in enhancing emotional well-being. It helps release pent-up emotions often unknowingly stored in the womb or uterus. Additionally, vaginal steaming enhances sensuality making it a holistic approach to women's health. “The practice of vaginal steaming has deep roots in various cultures across India and around the globe, including traditions from Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Mexican and Mayan cultures. These traditions have long recognised and scientifically validated the benefits of steaming, especially during the postpartum period,” she adds.   How safe is vaginal steaming? The safety of vaginal steaming is a topic of debate among medical professionals. While proponents claim it offers benefits that have been discussed above, there are significant concerns about its safety.  Potential risks include burns from hot steam, infections from unsterilised equipment and disruptions to the natural vaginal flora, which can lead to other health issues. Bhadu adds that there are chances of potential irritation or allergic reactions to the herbs used in the steaming process.  On the contrary, Maniar opines that there are no side effects associated with using the steam box as it uses water. “If one is sitting over the steam box, there are no chances of burns as there's no constant source of heat/ steam. And when it comes to the pH of the vagina, sexual intercourse and semen would change the pH and not steaming.” Maniar claims this after doing the vagina pH tests post using the steam box.  Group session for vaginal steaming  How to prepare for vaginal steaming? Here is how you can prepare for a vaginal steaming session at home: 1. You will need a bowl of hot water and a selection of herbs suited to your needs. The container can be made of stainless steel, glass, or ceramic to ensure safety and maintain the temperature of the water. 2. Boil water and pour it into your chosen container. Add the herbs to the hot water, allowing them to steep and release their beneficial properties into the steam. 3. Place the bowl in a comfortable, quiet area where you can relax. You can choose to kneel over the bowl or use a steam box designed for this purpose, which provides added comfort and support. 4. Carefully position yourself over the bowl or steam box, ensuring that the steam can reach the vaginal area. It is important to keep a safe distance to avoid burns and ensure a gentle steam experience. 5. Drape a blanket or large towel around your waist and the bowl to trap the steam. Sit comfortably and relax for 20-30 minutes, allowing the steam to work its magic.  Also Read: Endometriosis affects 43 million women in India: Study  What to expect during the steam session: Many women report a variety of sensations and emotional releases during their steam sessions. Some describe it as a melting-down effect, feeling as though tension is dissolving away. Others feel a sense of release as if something is being let go from within, informs Bhadu.   What goes into the steam box Experts list down the herbs that go into the making of the vaginal steam box: Dried rose, lavender, basil, rosemary, chamomile, calendula, nettles and mugwort are commonly used in vaginal steaming, each offering distinct benefits.  Some of these herbs, such as lavender and rosemary, help increase blood flow, while others, like chamomile and calendula, are known for their infection-fighting properties. Additionally, herbs like nettles can help reduce menstrual flow.  Maniar emphasises that “It’s essential that these herbs are not combined randomly, as their effects can vary greatly. I customise herb blends after conducting an online consultation to understand each individual's menstrual cycle, medical history and specific symptoms”   How often can you steam Just as diet, exercise and medication plans vary for each individual, so too must steam plans be tailored according to a person's menstrual history. Each plan can differ in frequency, ranging from 3 to 6 times per month or menstrual cycle, depending on the cycle's length and specific symptoms, outlines Maniar.  It's essential to avoid vaginal steaming during certain conditions: when on periods or spotting, during pregnancy, if there's an active infection and for those trying to conceive naturally, steaming should be avoided until ovulation.  Also Read: Half of slum girls don’t change sanitary napkins in school, survey reveals

24 June,2024 05:18 PM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
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Junk food driving piles, fistula and fissures cases in young Indian adults: Doct

Regular junk food consumption and inactive lifestyles are fuelling cases of painful piles, fistula and fissures in young adults aged between 18 and 25 years, said doctors on Monday.  People with piles and fissures -- common disorders concerning the anal region -- suffer from symptoms like passing bloody stools or having trouble passing stools, itchy and irritable anal cavity, inflammation, rectal bleeding, and discomfort when sitting for a long time, among others. A fistula is an unusual opening near the anus that connects to the inside of the anal canal in the colon. It typically arises due to factors like injury, surgery, infection, or inflammation of anal glands. Pain, swelling in the anal area, boils, skin irritation around the anus, bleeding and discomfort during bowel movements are the major symptoms. "‘Haemorrhoids or piles happen when veins inside and outside the anus become swollen and enlarged. This condition is now seen in adults between 25-55 due to obesity, pregnancy, a diet low in fibre, constipation, diarrhoea, lifting heavy objects, and straining during bowel movements," Lakin Vira, General Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Mumbai, told us. "An anal fissure is a result of a tear in the lining of the anus or anal canal. This problem occurs because of constipation, straining during bowel movements, and ulcerative colitis," he added. Lakin said that in the past 2-3 months, approximately 50 patients have visited with complaints of piles and fistula and for fissures, the number is higher than 80. About 60 per cent of males while 40 per cent of females suffer from fistula and piles. Whereas, 70 per cent of females and 30 per cent of males tend to have fissures. "There is overall over 10 per cent in these conditions when compared to previous years. The incidence of these conditions is recently seen in age groups of 18-25 due to junk food consumption," the doctor noted. Hemant Patel, Laparoscopic and General Surgeon, Zynova Shalby Hospital told us that "cases of piles, fistula and fissures are increasing in younger age groups mostly in males. There has been a significant rise in these patients in the past few years". He noted seeing 5-6 patients with such conditions daily. According to health experts, eating a balanced diet, exercising daily, preventing constipation by incorporating fibre-rich foods into meals, maintaining proper hydration by drinking sufficient water, quitting smoking and alcohol consumption, and avoiding straining during bowel movements can help ease the condition. Other ways to manage the condition include "medications, creams, and a sitz bath. If the conditions get severe then one will have to undergo a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery," Lakin said. Also read: Men's Health Month: Routine checks up and screenings men over 40 must consider

24 June,2024 02:48 PM IST | Mumbai | IANS
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Urinary incontinence may affect your skin and kidneys, say Indian doctors

Urinary incontinence -- the involuntary loss of bladder control -- can also have a significant effect on your skin and kidneys, said doctors on Sunday. World Urinary Continence Week is observed between June 17-23 to raise awareness of bladder and bowel problems. Urinary incontinence causes involuntary loss of bladder control, leading to the accidental leakage of urine. It is a common condition that can range from occasional minor leaks to more frequent and severe issues. “The combination of hormones and stretched muscles means the muscles that control your bladder are weakened. This can lead to an accidental leak of urine,” Dr Ashwin Mallya, Consultant, Urologist, and Robotic, Uro Onco Surgeon, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said. “Urinary incontinence doesn't just affect the bladder but it can lead to skin issues like rashes and infections due to constant moisture. Additionally, it can cause urinary tract infections (UTIs), and in severe cases, it may lead to kidney damage,” he added. The doctor said that it can also lead to mental health problems like “anxiety, depression, and social isolation. Many people may start avoiding social activities or situations where they fear embarrassment, which can lead to social isolation and a reduced quality of life”. The condition can affect individuals of all ages but is more prevalent among older adults, especially women during pregnancy and childbirth. If it continues for long in women after childbirth and without childbirth is the point of concern that needs to be treated, the health expert said. Dr Arif Akhtar, senior consultant - Urology, Marengo Asia Hospital, Gurugram said that bladder control declines due to age-related changes such as weakening pelvic floor muscles and excessive or insufficient bladder muscle activity, leading to the condition. “Stress incontinence can result from pelvic muscle stretches and increased bladder pressure during pregnancy and childbirth. Reduced urethral closure pressure and urogenital shrinkage are the outcomes of menopause-induced oestrogen reduction. Overflow incontinence in males is a result of both benign prostatic hyperplasia and problems following a prostatectomy”. Studies show that up to 45 per cent of women and 15 per cent of men in India suffer from some form of urinary incontinence. This disparity is largely due to differences in anatomy, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, which are unique risk factors for women. “Pelvic Floor Muscle Training (PFMT) with Kegel exercises and therapies to strengthen pelvic muscles are just a few of the many strategies used to prevent urinary incontinence,” Dr Arif said Other approaches involve adopting a healthy lifestyle, by maintaining a healthy weight as it reduces pressure on the bladder, staying active by doing regular exercise to strengthen pelvic floor muscles; limiting caffeine and alcohol as these can irritate the bladder; quitting smoking because smoking can lead to coughing, which exacerbates stress incontinence, the doctors said. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

24 June,2024 02:21 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Experts highlight why more Indians are getting head and neck cancers

Increased consumption of tobacco and related products are driving head and neck cancer cases in India, said health experts on Sunday.  Head and neck cancer includes cancers in the tongue, mouth, and other parts of the pharynx like oropharynx, nasopharynx, hypopharynx, salivary glands, nasal cavity, larynx (voice box), etc. "The prominent cause of oral cavity cancers is having tobacco and tobacco-related products, betel nuts and smoking, alcohol. Sometimes HPV infections also contribute to it," Pritam Kataria, consultant, Medical Oncology, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, said. To cut down the head and neck cancers, the expert called for "strict regulations regarding the tobacco and tobacco-related products and on the intake of alcohol". "If the tobacco and related products are taken off, the majority of the head and neck cancer incidents will come down in the end. That's a big challenge, because the awareness among the masses, and changing behaviour are some of the difficult aspects of cancer prevention," Pritam said. Accounting for 30 per cent of all cancer cases, head and neck cancer is the most common in India and its burden is higher in the country than in the US, UK, Australia, Africa and Brazil. In India, the number of cancer cases is rising. According to GLOBOCAN 2020, there will be 2.1 million new cancer cases in India by 2040, an increase of 57.5 per cent from 2020. To curb the problem, Prathmesh Pai, director and surgeon, Punyashlok Ahilyadevi Holkar Head and Neck Cancer Institute of India stressed the need to raise public awareness of the harms of tobacco, betelnut, and alcohol. "Engage the parents and schools to prevent the adoption of these habits by the youth, public campaigns to ban the sale of tobacco, betelnut, and alcohol to the youth, ban production and sale of tobacco, betel nut, and alcohol," he said. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

24 June,2024 02:03 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Mid-Day Premium Men's Health Month: Routine checks up and screenings men over 40 must consider

Men in their 40s are becoming more prone to developing health issues, inform medical experts. Attributing the cause to a combination of lifestyle factors, along with genetic history and the natural aging process, Dr Danny Laliwala, consultant, of obstetrics & gynaecology at Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, informs, “After 40, men are more vulnerable to cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, high cholesterol and strokes.” Additionally, men in this age group are more susceptible to mental health challenges, such as depression and anxiety, partly due to midlife stressors like career pressures, financial responsibilities and family dynamics. Moreover, hormonal changes, particularly a decrease in testosterone levels, can enhance these health risks. In a recent case, Manav Doshi, a city-based realtor (43) complained of troubling health symptoms. What started as a mild wheezing cough quickly turned into persistent chest pain that intensified at night.  Concerned for his health, Manav sought medical advice, uncovering a stark reality: that he is not alone as an increasing number of men post-40 are developing symptoms like chest pain, frequent headaches, sweating and breathlessness.  Statistics reveal that a significant percentage of men in this age group face similar health challenges. In light of Men's Health Week, consulted city-based doctors to gather expert advice on maintaining health and preventing ailments for men in their 40s. Here are five practical tips they recommend to keep these health issues in check:  Monitoring heart health  To maintain optimal health, cut down on your salt intake and engage in regular exercise. Additionally, scheduling annual health check-ups is crucial for early detection of underlying or potential medical conditions.  For men in their 40s, Laliwala recommends specific tests such as an ECG (electrocardiogram), a 2D echocardiography and a stress test. These assessments provide a comprehensive evaluation of heart health, helping to identify any abnormalities that may require further intervention.   Prostate cancer is not an old age disease: DoctorKeeping diabetes in check  Diabetes is another deadly disease that may pick up pace after 40 years. It results in a rapid increase or decrease in weight, increased appetite, increased thirst, and an increase in frequency of urination. If there is a family history of diabetes, one needs to be more vigilant. Diabetes is a silent disease that may progress and involve many organs of the body like the liver, kidneys and eyes.  To maintain control, routinely monitor fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels, along with HbA1c. Again, cut down on carbohydrates with regular exercise. Sweets should be eaten in moderation. Also, keep in mind that all aerated drinks contain a lot of sugar.  Controlling liver problems  “This has been on the increase because of excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. Also, non-alcoholic liver diseases are on the rise, mainly because of excessive fatty food consumption,” shares Laliwala.  For those with liver issues, he suggests, “ultrasonography of the abdomen should be done along with fibro-elastic scan to diagnose fatty liver, fat content in the liver along with the amount of fibrosis in the liver. Blood tests including bilirubin, SGOT, SGPT, alkaline phosphatase and GGT should be done periodically.  Do curtail carbohydrates, salt and fatty foods."Erectile disorders  Many men experience erectile dysfunction after the age of 40, report doctors. It often stems from a variety of factors including stress, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Making certain lifestyle adjustments such as reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking, practicing meditation, and taking prescribed medications can often improve these conditions.  Ensuring an uninterrupted eight hours of sleep each night is also important. If the issue persists, consulting a urologist is advisable for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.  Maintaining kidney health  Kidney problems may develop after the age of 40, often due to the accumulation of mineral deposits in the urinary tract, which can lead to kidney stones. These stones can cause severe abdominal pain that typically radiates from the loin to the groin.  To prevent this condition, it is important to drink plenty of fluids regularly. In some cases, medication may be prescribed to treat kidney stones, while in others, a surgical procedure might be necessary to remove them.  Pro tip: Losing 10 percent of your body weight, slowly, gradually and persistently, for six months will take care of your health – Lalwani  Common health concerns for men in their 40s  Dr Ashish Mishra, consultant interventional cardiologist at Wockhardt Hospital, lists out common health problems that affect men in their 40s:  “Sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular diseases, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), hepatitis, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, stroke, obesity, cancer, back pain, erectile dysfunction, male infertility, prostate enlargement and diabetes.”  Men's health impacts not only themselves but also their families. The question is, how can we develop strategies to prevent health ailments in men?  Start with basics: Maintain a healthy metabolism  A healthy metabolism demands physical activities or exercises. Mishra suggests a minimum of 30 minutes of activity that could include running, jogging, swimming, cycling, gym workouts, gardening or helping your spouse with household chores.  Making healthy food choices can effectively help manage your weight and boost your metabolism rate. Make sure to eat a well-balanced diet that contains adequate amounts of vitamins, fibers, minerals, carbohydrates and omega-3 fatty acids. Try to stay away from street food that is loaded with unhealthy fats and calories.  Routine screenings and check-ups  Men are advised to get screened for the following tests:  Blood sugar levels Cardiac screening Renal and liver function test Cholesterol level checks Vision and hearing tests Bone density tests Colon cancer screening Blood pressure screening  The right nutrition is key  It is a known fact that one’s metabolism becomes sluggish with age. Thus, men in their 40s should ensure they eat well for overall well-being.   Consider taking the help of a dietitian to ensure you are consuming complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables, antioxidant-rich foods such as berries, spinach, and nuts to boost immunity and keep various diseases, allergies, and conditions at bay.  Don’t forget to add omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, flaxseeds and walnuts for enhancing heart health and cognitive function.  See to it that you don’t eat processed, junk, oily, called and high-calorie foods. Practice portion control that can prevent you from overeating. Drink enough water to ease digestion and flush out toxins from the body.   Do a mix of cardiovascular, flexibility exercises and strength training  These should be strictly done under the guidance of an expert. Choose cardio workouts such as brisk walking, cycling or swimming that keep the heart healthy and improve your metabolism. Strength training is a good addition to the fitness routine as it can help to maintain muscle mass and bone density.  It will be possible for men to prevent age-related muscle loss and osteoporosis by doing weight training regularly. Moreover, opting for flexibility exercises such as yoga or Pilates allows for enhanced joint mobility and keeps injuries at bay. Yoga will also help with increased stamina, agility and endurance.  Climbing stairs, brisk walking and jogging can also be beneficial for men over 40. However, one can end up feeling lethargic due to following the same exercise routine. So, it is a good idea to keep experimenting with new types of workouts such as functional training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts for fat loss and strengthen and toning your muscles.  Before opting for these exercises consult the doctor and do it under the guidance of a fitness trainer who will ensure you are fit enough to do these exercises. Try to exercise at least five days a week for 45 minutes and you will be able to stay in top shape.  Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.  

24 June,2024 01:45 PM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
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Prostate cancer is not an old age disease: Doctor

Currently, there is a surge in the incidence of prostate cancer among men over 65. However, even men in their 40s are increasingly getting diagnosed with this form of cancer, shares Dr Jyoti Mehta, MD Radiation and Clinical Oncologist, TGH Onco-Life Cancer Centre Talegaon. According to a new Lancet study, the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is predicted to double by 2040. The data suggests that annual prostate cases are projected to rise from 1.4 million in 2020 to 2.9 million in 2040. An estimated 33,000 to 42,000 new prostate cancer cases are diagnosed annually in India. These figures are distressing and demand timely screening and intervention. To commemorate Men's Health Week, we shed light on the importance of timely screening through Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) and Digital Rectal Examination (DRE), enabling prompt initiation of treatment.  Just like people take care of their heart, lung, liver and kidney health, even prompt attention is required when it comes to the prostate. "While considered as a disease of older men aged 65 and above, there has been a concerning uptick in prostate cases among young men over 40. The causes are genetic predisposition, family history, old age, smoking habits, poor diet lacking in fruits and vegetables, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, obesity and exposure to harmful chemicals. In the initial stages of prostate cancer, individuals may not exhibit any symptoms," remarks Mehta. As cancer advances, men notice signs like mild discomfort in the lower pelvic area, difficulties with urination such as pain or burning sensation or reduced urine flow, blood in the urine (hematuria), and painful ejaculation accompanied by bone pain.  These symptoms need immediate attention to improve the quality of life of the patients.  "3-4 patients are detected with prostate cancer in OPD every month. Detecting prostate cancer early greatly enhances the chances of survival and quality of life for patients. Screening through testing of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in the blood is one of the most effective methods for early detection, along with digital rectal examination (DRE). A multidisciplinary approach inclusive of radiation, surgery, hormone therapy or chemotherapy will be required for the patient. Challenges in addressing prostate cancer are due to the lack of awareness and taboos mainly in rural areas. This highlights the urgent need for education and screening programs to spot the disease in its early stages," she adds. Also read: Mumbai doctors shed light on Alka Yagnik’s diagnosis of sensorineural nerve hearing loss. What is it?

24 June,2024 11:46 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Indian startup develops AI-enabled yoga mat for personalised coaching

A startup incubated at IIT Mandi has developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled Yoga mat, which was presented to Union Ministers here.  The mat called ‘YogiFy’ was handed over to External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar; Railways and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw; Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and others on behalf of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The mat has the potential to revolutionise the at-home yoga experience by leveraging AI and Computer Vision (CV) technologies to enable comfortable yoga practice, according to the ministry. It is equipped with a built-in innovative sensor layer, tracks the postures of yoga performers and offers suggestions to help correct their posture in real-time. It has been developed by Wellnesys Technologies Private Ltd, incubated at the Technology Innovation Hub (TIH) iHub at IIT Mandi and supported under the NM-ICPS programme of DST. The mat, which is a fully indigenous ‘Make in India’, has several benefits, according to the ministry. These include simplified yogasana training, interactive yoga classes, real-time feedback on posture and personalised coaching anywhere, anytime around the world. YogiFi Smart Mat works seamlessly with other smart devices at home to set up the right ambience for performing yoga. Also read: Yoga asanas to cultivate a flow of energy at work This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

22 June,2024 12:00 PM IST | Mumbai | IANS
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Mid-Day Premium Yoga asanas to cultivate a flow of energy at work

Desk gigs can sneakily sabotage our health. Neck pain, stiffness, mental fatigue and worse a prolonged backache. A recent study by the National Institute of Health reveals that sedentary work can reduce blood flow to the brain, leading to impaired concentration and lowered energy levels. Amid such packed schedules, we tend to forget the perks of a simple pranayama. Not only does it alleviate stress but also boosts blood circulation. Yoga expert Chittrah Kanal, from coto (a women-only social app) shares that “Prioritising such crisp yoga breaks is the key to a balanced and healthier lifestyle. By incorporating short and targeted sessions, working professionals can integrate yoga into their daily lives to combat the perils of hectic work hours.”On International Yoga Day, we dive into effective yoga asanas that can help us combat dipped energy and desk job fatigue. Experts share with us effective yoga routines; specific yoga poses to combat strain and resources for guided yoga sessions.Quick and effective yoga routines to help alleviate stress and improve focusIn the midst of a busy workday, finding moments to reconnect with yourself is essential. Integrating quick and effective yoga routines can seamlessly enhance your wellbeing, alleviate stress and sharpen your focus, shares Dr Arun Pillai - Wellness Director, Dharana at Shillim.Arun lays out 5 thoughtfully designed yogic asanas that offer a refined approach to energising your mind and body, allowing you to return to your tasks with renewed vigour:Desk shoulder opener: Clasp your hands behind your back and lift slightly while opening your chest. This counteracts the hunched posture from prolonged sitting.Seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana): While seated, stretch your arms forward and reach towards your toes. This pose helps relieve tension in the back and shoulders, promoting relaxation. Neck stretches: Perform gentle neck rolls and stretches. Move your head slowly from side to side and then forward and backward. This can help reduce stiffness and improve blood flow to the brain, enhancing mental clarity. Wrist and finger stretch: To counteract the strain from typing, stretch your wrists and fingers by interlacing your fingers and pushing your palms forward. This helps alleviate tension in your hands and forearms.Deep breathing exercises (Pranayama): Taking 3-5 minutes for deep breathing exercises can quickly alleviate stress and improve focus. Techniques such as abdominal breathing or alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana) can be discreetly practised at your desk.  Small tweaks you can make to combat desk job fatigueCombatting desk job fatigue involves implementing small but effective tweaks throughout your workday. First, ensure your workstation is ergonomically optimised: adjust your chair height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are level with your hips to promote proper posture. Your computer monitor should be at eye level to reduce strain on your neck; use a document holder to keep materials at eye level as well. Additionally, incorporate regular breaks into your schedule to stand, stretch and walk around every hour or so. This not only reduces strain on your back and neck but also improves circulation and boosts energy levels.For your hands and wrists, position your keyboard and mouse so your wrists remain straight and your hands are at or slightly below elbow level. Consider using a wrist rest to support your wrists during typing breaks. Perform simple stretches and exercises for your hands and wrists throughout the day to prevent repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.   Yoga poses beneficial for counteracting the physical strain of long working hoursIncorporating specific yoga poses into your daily routine is essential for counteracting the physical strain of long hours spent at a desk. These carefully chosen practices shared by Arun, enhance flexibility, promote circulation and reduce tension in the back, neck and shoulders.Cat-cow pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana): This sequence relieves back and neck strain. On your hands and knees, arch your back (cow pose), then round it (cat pose). Repeat for a few minutes. Seated twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana): While seated, place your right hand on your left knee and twist your torso to the left. Hold for a few breaths and repeat on the other side. This alleviates lower back tension. Standing forward bend (Uttanasana): Stand up and bend forward at the hips, letting your head and arms hang down. This improves circulation and stretches the hamstrings and back. Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): During longer breaks, start on your hands and knees, lift your hips to form an inverted V-shape. This rejuvenates the body by stretching the back, shoulders, and hamstrings. Legs up the wall pose (Viparita Karani): Lie down and extend your legs up a wall. This restorative pose reduces swelling in the legs and feet, promoting relaxation and circulation. Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance. 

21 June,2024 02:51 PM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
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Mid-Day Premium Food, fitness and water workouts: Lifestyle guide to wellness during monsoon

Pitter-patter, rain drops and sweeps us off with monsoon blues. You may ring in the Bambai ki baarish with long drives to Khandala, tapri chai and bhajiyas, tuning in to your monsoon playlist or snoring next to the window. Despite all the fun, your body has to face the brunt of lowered activity and immunity levels Call it a psychosomatic reaction, lethargy or feeling under the weather — the monsoon season often leads to flu, indigestion, shoulder pain or body aches resurfacing. Not only this, the body also becomes prone to infections and our overall immunity is compromised. The onset of this monsoon calls for a holistic guide to maintain fitness through the 4-month long season. Fret not, we roped in fitness, wellness and Ayurveda experts who share with us handy tips to keep sickness at bay during the rains: Foods to eat for a stronger gut  Curd and buttermilk are beneficial during monsoons for their probiotic properties, which boost digestion and immunity. Image Courtesy: iStock The rainy season provides a beautiful break from the scorching sun but also brings an increased risk of infections caused by various viruses and bacteria, informs Dr Nivedita Pandey, gastroenterologist and hepatologist, at Gooddeed Clinics.  These can lead to simple ailments like a runny nose, cough, diarrhea and vomiting, or more severe, life-threatening infections such as viral hepatitis or typhoid. To combat these health issues, Pandey shares dietary recommendations to boost immunity and maintain energy levels during monsoon:  1. Avoid street foods, especially uncooked items like golgappa and chaat, as well as juices like sugarcane or fruit juice. 2. If you must eat out, always choose cooked food and avoid salads and chutneys served with your meal. 3. Include fermented foods in your diet, as they are rich in beneficial bacteria that improve colon health and boost immunity. 4. Consume plenty of buttermilk and yoghurt and consider including South Indian cuisine items like idli and rasam. 5. Eat seasonal fruits like jamun, mangoes and melons, which are rich in vitamin C and enhance immunity. 6. Avoid eating leafy vegetables during the rainy season as they spoil easily. 7. Steer clear of oily and greasy meals, which take longer to digest and can increase fatigue. 8. Drink chana sattu mixed with lemon and cumin to stay hydrated and ensure adequate protein intake in your diet.  While boiled and well-cooked cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower are encouraged, leafy greens contain a lot of contamination and are infection-prone and must be avoided. Fibres are important for our bowel movements. To help the gut, add more fibre, probiotics and prebiotics.  Since immunity and digestive power are deeply impacted during the monsoon, eat food that is easier to digest. Add triphala, haritaki, tulsi, guduchi, amalaki to aid the digestive system and stick to meal times without munching in between meals. To maintain gut health, the three vital aspects are normal bowel movement, good fibre intake and healthy gut flora.  Have buttermilk at lunch and add a tadka of hing, zeera, kadi patta to soup and veggies to make them more digestible. Junk and heavy, oily food can aggravate the pitta [acidic fire] in the body, so reduce the intake of gravies and deep-fried dishes and restrain your meat intake. A chicken soup is good in the season, but red meat would be too heavy for the body to digest.  Workouts to try during monsoon  Monsoon weather often leads to reduced outdoor activity, promoting a sedentary lifestyle. However, simple home exercises like pilates, bodyweight workouts and stretching can help maintain fitness during this period. Celebrity trainers share with us two basic workouts to try this monsoon: Pedalling exercise for glutes and obliques 1. Lie flat on your back. Bring your knees up to a 90-degree angle and press your lower back to the floor. 2. Raise your heels until they are in level with your knees and slowly begin to "pedal". Now put your hands behind your head. Do not link the fingers; elbows should be even with your ears. 3. Lift your head as if you are beginning a crunch. While still "pedalling", touch your right elbow to the left knee, then your left elbow to the right knee. Your upper torso should move diagonally across your body with your elbow. This motion works the obliques, while the movement of the legs engages the rectus abdominus. Remember to breathe evenly throughout the exercise. 4. Don't pull on your head. Your lower back should remain on the floor to maintain proper positioning. If your back arches off the floor, it could cause undue strain. To make the abdominal exercises easier on your body without losing effectiveness, raise your heels.   Walking lunges for rear strength and flexibility with the back leg 1. Stand tall with your shoulders back and down, and abdominal engaged, place feet together. Your arms can be flat by your side, or holding your hips or behind your head. 2. Breathing normally, step forward with your right foot, bending both knees so that your front knee is aligned over your ankle and the back knee comes close to the floor. Your back heel is lifted off the floor. 3. Before your back knee touches the floor, push up with your back left leg, forcing the weight of your body through your right heel, simultaneously bringing your left foot together with your right foot. 4. Without pausing, alternate legs, lunge forward with your left foot, bending both knees so that your front knee is aligned with your ankle and the back knee comes close to the floor. Your back heel is lifted off the floor. 5. Before your back knee touches the floor, push up with your back right leg, forcing the weight of your body through your left heel, simultaneously bringing your right foot together with your left foot. 6. Continue to perform the steps above, alternating legs for 20 steps and increasing the steps as you get stronger.  Also Read: Commuting by Mumbai local trains during monsoons? Mumbaikars share fashion, travel hacks Swimming pool workouts to try this monsoon Swimming is an exceptional full-body workout that can be easily tailored to various fitness levels and goals, informs Aman Puri, Founder of Steadfast Nutrition, a Mumbai-based sports and wellness nutrition brand. Besides being a fantastic way to stay cool during the scorching summer months, swimming also burns more calories than many land-based exercises. Puri breaks down east swimming exercises you can try this monsoon to enhance your fitness routine. 1. Freestyle swimming Freestyle, also known as front crawl, is the most popular stroke and is excellent for cardiovascular fitness. This stroke involves a combination of alternating arm movements and a flutter kick, making it perfect for overall muscle strengthening. Specifically, freestyle targets the arms, shoulders, and core muscles. Benefits:Freestyle swimming improves cardiovascular health, builds muscular endurance, and enhances overall body coordination. It’s an efficient way to burn calories and increase stamina. 2. Backstroke workout Backstroke is another effective exercise, primarily focusing on the upper body, including the arms, shoulders, and back. It also helps improve posture and spine alignment. Unlike freestyle, you swim on your back, which can be more relaxing while still providing a robust workout. Benefits:Backstroke strengthens the muscles of the upper body and core, enhances flexibility, and improves your posture. It’s also an excellent stroke for those with back issues, as it helps in spine alignment and reduces strain on the back. 3. Walk in water Walking in water is a good swimming workout to start with - it strengthens your arms, core, and lower body. The intensity of the exercise can be increased by using hand or ankle weights.  4. Interval training Interval training is a favoured choice among swimmers because it allows them to adjust the intensity of their workout as their fitness improves. Swimmers can customise the number of laps and rest intervals to match their skill level. The key is to maintain a pattern of alternating between high and low efforts.Benefits:Consistent interval training enhances cardiovascular conditioning, increases muscle strength, and boosts endurance. It’s an effective way to break through fitness plateaus and improve overall swimming performance. 5. Butterfly stroke The butterfly stroke is the most challenging and intense swimming stroke, providing a superb workout for the entire body, particularly the upper body and core. It involves a dolphin kick paired with synchronised arm movements. Benefits:The butterfly stroke builds significant strength and endurance, especially in the shoulders, chest, and core. It also improves flexibility and coordination, making it an excellent full-body workout. 6. Sprint Interval workout Sprint intervals are an efficient workout to boost swimming speed, power, and anaerobic capacity. These high-intensity exercises require maximum effort for short bursts, followed by rest or low-intensity swimming. Benefits:Sprint intervals enhance cardiovascular fitness, increase muscle power, and improve anaerobic capacity. This method also helps in developing fast-twitch muscle fibres, essential for explosive movements. 7. Kickboard workouts Kickboard workouts are excellent for improving leg strength and kicking technique. By using a kickboard, you can isolate your lower body, aiding in more efficient and faster swimming. Benefits:Kickboard workouts enhance leg endurance, power, and flexibility. They also help in refining your kicking technique, making you a more efficient swimmer. Additional tips for effective swimming workouts Hydration:Staying hydrated is crucial, even while swimming. Make sure you drink water before, during, and after your workout to prevent dehydration. Warm-up and cool-down:Always include a warm-up and cool-down in your routine to prepare your body for exercise and aid in recovery. Incorporating a variety of swimming activities into your summer fitness program keeps your workouts interesting and provides numerous health benefits. Whether your goal is to boost endurance, build strength, or improve technique, swimming can help you achieve it. Dive into the pool this summer and enjoy a refreshing, full-body workout with swimming. Also Read: Follow this quick fashion guide to help you brave the rains in style Lessons from the books of Ayurveda Further, Dr Sudha Asokan, Founder of Dr Sudha's Ayurveda Kendra informs that monsoons can lead to bad digestion, body aches and terrible immunity. “This damp season is ideal for Panchakarma which refers to the cleansing of the body. The increased moisture helps expel toxins, while Abhyangam (massage) and Pizhichil (oil pouring) loosen them for elimination through therapies like Vamana (therapeutic vomiting) or Basti (enemas).”  To keep monsoon-prone diseases at bay Indian spices serve as as precautionary ingredients. He recommends warming spices such as ginger, garlic, pepper, turmeric and tulsi. “They are respiratory herbs. Cooking spices like rosemary, turmeric, coriander, garlic and cloves have medicinal value and can be used to light the digestive fire. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with warm water is also a great addition. Use herbs and spices to make herbal teas and tissanes.  Interestingly, monsoon is a time to put fresh juices on hold and cut consumption of raw foods. This is mostly due to unhygienic handling during the rains. “If you can ensure the vegetables are thoroughly cleaned, a small amount is permissible. Carrots and cucumbers are okay as the outer layer gets peeled, but broccoli and cauliflower should not be consumed raw. Also, if you must, then choose chaas over yoghurt. 

21 June,2024 01:24 PM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
Every year, June 21 is celebrated as International Day of Yoga. Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

Mid-Day Premium 10 expert yoga tips and must-try asanas for lifelong wellbeing across all ages

Yoga weaves a tapestry of wellbeing, addressing the mind, body, and spirit, extending far beyond the benefits of physical exercise. Be it gentle stretches to promote flexibility and strength, or mindful breathing to calm the mind, the ancient practice is a path to holistic wellbeing. Yoga instructors Sneha Desai and Sabrina Merchant, masters from JetSynthesys' ThinkRight.Me, believe introducing yoga at a young age can instill lifelong habits of mindfulness and physical activity. “By starting with simple poses and gradually progressing to more challenging ones, they can develop strength, flexibility, and mindfulness. Consistency, patience, and a positive approach will help them embrace yoga as a lifelong practice, nurturing their body and mind in the process,” says Desai.   As the world celebrates International Yoga Day, let us forget about intimidating poses or limitations and celebrate its inherent inclusivity that transcends age, ability, and background. “Remember, yoga is a personal practice, and everyone may need to adapt poses to suit their unique needs and abilities,” poses Merchant. The experts share yoga asanas for children, teens, adults, and seniors, along with tips and recommendations for a consistent practice. So, unroll your mat, embrace the spirit of exploration, and get ready to experience the magic of movement, mindfulness, and inner peace.     Yoga asanas for children Tree pose (Vrksasana)  Stand tall, shift weight to one leg, and place the sole of the other foot on the inner thigh or calf (avoid the knee). Hands can be at the chest in prayer position or stretched above the head.Benefits: This asana enhances balance, concentration, and core strength. Cat-cow pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)On hands and knees, alternate between arching the back (cow) and rounding the spine (cat). Benefits: Improves flexibility of the spine, promotes coordination, and massages the internal organs. Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)Lie on the stomach, place hands under shoulders, and gently lift the chest off the ground while keeping the pelvis on the floor. Benefits: Strengthens the spine, stretches the chest, and improves posture. Butterfly pose (Baddha Konasana)Sit with feet together, knees bent, and gently flap the knees up and down like butterfly wings. Benefits: Opens hips, stretches inner thighs, and promotes relaxation. Yoga asanas for teens Warrior II pose (Virabhadrasana II)Stand with feet wide apart, turn the right foot out, and bend the right knee. Stretch arms out to the sides, gaze over the right hand. Benefits: Strengthens legs, opens hips, and builds stamina. Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)From hands and knees, lift hips up and back, forming an inverted V-shape with the body. Benefits: Stretches the whole body, builds upper body strength, and improves blood circulation. Seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana)Sit with legs extended, inhale to lengthen the spine, and exhale to fold forward, reaching towards the feet. Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings, lower back, and promotes calmness. Bridge pose (Setu Bandhasana)Lie on the back, bend the knees, and place feet hip-width apart. Lift hips towards the sky while keeping shoulders on the ground. Benefits: Strengthens the back, glutes, and legs, and opens the chest. Yoga asanas for adults  Mountain pose (Tadasana)Stand with feet together, arms at sides, and weight evenly distributed across both feet. Engage your thighs, lift your chest, and reach through the crown of your head. Benefits: Improves posture, balance, and focus. Downward facing dog to upward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana to Bhujang Asana)Start on all fours, lift your hips up and back, straightening your legs and arms. Keep your head between your arms and your heels reaching toward the floor, move your body forward into a snake (Bhujang) asana pushing your hips down to the floor, relaxing your shoulders. Practice this for 5 times in to 3 sets.                                                Benefits: Stretches the spine, hamstrings, and calves; strengthens arms and shoulders.  Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)Step one foot back, bend the front knee, and raise arms overhead, keeping hips square. Benefits: Strengthens legs, opens hips, and chest.  Tree pose (Vrksasana)Stand on one leg, place the sole of the opposite foot on the inner thigh, and bring palms together in front of your chest. Benefits: Enhances balance and concentration. Sphinx pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)Lie on your stomach, place your elbows under your shoulders, press into your forearms, and lift your chest gently. Benefits: Strengthens the spine and opens the chest, improving posture and relieving tension. Yoga asanas for seniors Chair pose (Utkatasana)Stand with feet hip-width apart, bend knees as if sitting back into a chair, and raise arms overhead.  Can be done by sitting on a chair and standing up without using the hand support (making sure the chair is against the wall). Benefits: Strengthens legs and improves stability. Cat-cow stretch (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)Start on all fours, arch your back (cow pose), then round your spine (cat pose).  This asana can be done with a table or a chair while standing in case of a knee or a back injury. Benefits: Increases spinal flexibility and relieves tension in the back. Legs up the wall pose (Viparita Karani)How to do it: Lie on your back with legs extended up against a wall. Benefits: Reduces swelling in legs, improves circulation, and calms the nervous system. Reclining bound angle pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)Lie on your back, bring the soles of your feet together, and let your knees fall open.   Benefits: Opens hips, relaxes the body, and enhances flexibility. Corpse pose (Savasana)Lie flat on your back with arms at sides and palms facing up. Benefits: A must-do at the end of your practise, the corpse pose promotes deep relaxation and stress relief. 10 expert tips to practise yoga across ages Start simple and progress graduallyBegin with basic poses to build confidence and body awareness. Gradually introduce more challenging asanas as strength and flexibility improve. Consistency is keyEncourage daily practice, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Consistency helps build a habit and allows the benefits of yoga to accumulate over time. Make it funIncorporate games, stories, or music to make yoga enjoyable, especially for younger children. Use animal-themed poses or creative names to keep their interest. Create a calm environmentPractice in a quiet, comfortable space free from distractions. This helps in focusing on the poses and achieving a state of relaxation. Emphasise breathingTeach the importance of deep, mindful breathing. Incorporate simple breathing exercises to enhance the calming effects of yoga. 6. Be patient and positiveEncourage kids and teens with positive reinforcement. Celebrate their progress and remind them that it’s okay if they can’t do every pose perfectly. 7. Practice togetherJoin your child or teen in their yoga practice. This not only sets a good example but also provides a bonding experience. 8. Use props if needed Props like blocks, straps, and bolsters can help with alignment and make poses more accessible, ensuring a safe and comfortable practice. 9. Warm upAlways start with a warm-up to prepare your body. A quick warm-up loosens tight muscles, improves flexibility, and gets your blood flowing. This preps your body for movement and helps prevent injuries 10. Cool downFinish with a cool-down and relaxation pose to help your body recover. Ease into a cool-down pose like Child's pose. Breathe deeply, letting go of any tension, and hold for several minutes to allow your body to gently unwind Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance. 

21 June,2024 12:07 PM IST | Mumbai | Maitrai Agarwal
Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

Healthy BMI, no smoking effective ways to reduce risk of kidney cancer: Experts

Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) and refraining from smoking are two of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of kidney cancer, experts said on World Kidney Cancer Day on Thursday.  World Kidney Cancer Day is observed every year on June 20 to raise awareness about this disease. According to experts, several key risk factors have been identified in kidney cancer, such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney cancer, and exposure to toxins found in some industrial settings. "Being aware of these risk factors can empower individuals to make informed choices about their health and potentially reduce their risk of developing kidney cancer," Dr. C.N. Patil, HOD and Lead Consultant - Medical Oncology & Haemato-Oncology, Aster International Institute of Oncology, told IANS. As per data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), kidney cancer is one of the top 10 cancers in India and accounts for about 2 to 3 per cent of all cancer cases. "Kidney cancer constitutes about 2 to 3 per cent of all cancers in our country, with around 15,000 new cases diagnosed annually. The incidence is notably higher in men than in women, with a male-to-female ratio of approximately 2:1," said Dr. Raghunath S.K., Senior Consultant and Director of Uro-oncology and Robotic Surgery, HCG Cancer Centre, Bengaluru. Early-stage kidney cancer often presents no symptoms. However, experts suggested to be vigilant for warning signs like blood in urine, persistent back or flank pain, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue. The experts highlighted that lifestyle changes play a crucial role in kidney cancer prevention. "Regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and staying hydrated are essential practices for overall kidney health," said Dr. P.N. Gupta, Director and HOD - Nephrology and Kidney Transplant, Paras Health, Gurugram. "Adopting a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, coupled with regular physical activity, can significantly lower cancer risk. Additionally, avoiding tobacco in all forms is imperative, as smoking is a major risk factor for many types of cancer, including kidney cancer," he added. Experts also mentioned that the outlook for kidney cancer patients has improved considerably due to advancements in treatment. The most common approach is surgery, which may involve removing the entire kidney or just the cancerous portion. Targeted therapies and immunotherapy have improved survival rates and quality of life for patients, they noted.

21 June,2024 11:30 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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