Stretch Your Body : Fitness Tips

Stretching is one of the keys to a balanced fitness regime. Regular stretching exercises helps in maintaining a flexible and supple body.

The benefits of flexibility include prevention of injuries and increased range of movements during the fitness regime, easier and less tiring daily activities because as we know supple muscles use less energy, increased blood flow to the muscles, improved performance, agile body, release of tension, and improved coördination. Stretching can help realign the body and keep up good posture which otherwise can cause repetitive stain in the back and legs.

Here’s a basic guide to a stretching routine that will help you stay fit every day. Remember to stretch only as far as is comfortable. If you experience pain with any technique, drop it until you discuss it with your instructor or doctor.

Always warm up and then gently, patiently stretch your muscles. A good walk is perfect before doing your stretching routine. Do not stiffen your limbs, the moment you feel uncomfortable in holding a position, remember it is time to stop.

1. Shoulder Shrugs

Sit straight, keep your shoulders relaxed. Inhale and squeeze your shoulders up toward your ears. Hold them tight till the count of ten and relax as you exhale. Repeat ten times to start.

Roll Your Shoulder

Rotate your shoulders forwards and then reverse direction. Do five rotations each side.

Neck Stretch (Do not attempt if you suffer from Cervical Spondylosis)

Sit straight, exhale and let your neck drop forward. Relax for about 2 seconds, now inhale as you lift your head, exhale and let your head drop to one side, relax, and inhale as you return to center. Repeat to the other side. Do the whole sequence 5 to 10 times.

Stretch Your Spine

Sit straight with your hands clasped behind your head, exhale and turn slowly to the right. Look behind you, twisting as far as comfortable without straining the neck. Hold for the count of five, and inhale as you return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Do this stretching exercise 10-20 times, 3 times a day.

Back Stretch

Lie on your back with your knees bent; keep your feet flat on the floor. Keep both shoulders completely relaxed and flat against the floor. Slowly let your knees drop to one side only as far as they will go comfortably. Relax there to the count of five and then bring them up again. Repeat on the other side. Do this up to five times on each side.
Use a hand or pillow to support the back of your head if your neck is uncomfortable against the floor.

Hip Extension

Holding onto a table or back of a chair, grasp your foot or ankle. Let your knee dangle straight down. Move your thigh backward, then return, repeating on both sides up to 20 times.

Hip Flexes

Sit in a chair and hold the seat with your hands, lift one leg as if you were taking a step. Keep the back straight and do not lean forward as you lift the leg. Keep your abdomen pulled in for support. Repeat 10 times then do  sequence with your other leg. This simple stretch will build hip strength as well as flexibility.

(You can do this by sitting on the floor also with legs straight in the front. Take support of the floor with hands flat on the floor)

Hamstrings Stretch

Stand upright; keep your leg straight and your foot resting on a low stool in front of you. Exhale, and slowly lean into your straight leg until you feel a comfortable stretch. Hold for 10-30 seconds and return to start. Repeat on both sides, at least 10 times.

Calf Stretch

Stand facing a wall with your toes almost touching it. Lean forward into your hands placed at shoulder height against the wall. Move one leg back only as far as it stays flat on the floor. You should feel a comfortable stretch in your calf muscle when you lean into the stretch. Your toes should point forward. Repeat on both sides, holding for 10-30 seconds.

Abdominal stretch

Kneel on floor or mat with hips straight. Place hands on the back of hips keeping your palms against your lower back and your fingers pointing down towards the floor. Lean your torso back by arching back. Hold the stretch for a few minutes. Repeat 5 times.

Pelvic stretching exercises that you can practice to reduce  intensity of menstrual pain.

1. Lie straight on your back and slowly bend your knees and clasp them. Now, slowly without raising your head and chest, try to bring the knees up to your chest. Hold it in this position for a few seconds and then slowly go back to the original position. You can try it with one leg alternatively also.

2. Lie flat on your back and slowly raise both legs up into the air, perpendicular to the floor and hold this position for few seconds. Be careful, while going back to the original position. Go very slowly and if it is not comfortable, first bend your legs and then lower them slowly.

So stretch out, ease that tension, tone up and stay fit for life.

Nuts About Nuts

Health Benefits of Nuts

Nuts can be addictive but if they are eaten in moderation, their health benefits are immense. They are great source of proteins, vitamins and healthy oils especially vitamin E oil. Eating nuts ensures a healthy cardio- vascular system. It is always a good option to munch on nuts and not to go for unhealthy snacks between meals. Every nut is shapes like the organ it helps most, such as walnuts are shaped like the human brain and the cashew nuts like the kidneys. Therefore, you will know which nut is good for which body part.

The top four nuts that I recommend are Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts and Cashew Nuts but one can always choose from a great variety of other healthy nuts available in the market.

1. Almonds

Key Ingredients:

Almonds are a rich source of magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, folic acid, calcium, vitamin E (an anti-oxidant) and selenium. Almonds are also high in fiber. They contain high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats.


Almonds help in preventing diseases such as gall stones, type 1 diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, impotency, respiratory diseases. They help cut cholesterol and aid weight loss. They help to fight against the health damaging free radicals and increase the oxygen-based energy production.

The flavonoids in the skin of the almonds together with the vitamin E, which is in the flesh of the nut, make them an extremely powerful antioxidant. They are also anti cancer agents.

Almonds are rightly called the king of nuts for their excellent health benefits. Have 8-10 almonds a day to keep your skin glowing and body in good health.

2. Walnuts

Key Ingredients:

Walnuts are excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as vitamin E. they are rich in proteins.


Walnuts are a fantastic brain food and nourish the brain. They help lower cholesterol and in that way help heart too. They help in strengthening the bones due to  presence of Omega 3 fat in them and improve the functions of the intestines.

They also help in lowering the risk of gall stone formation. They contain a hormone called Melatonin, which is produced by the pineal gland, in bio-available form. It helps in inducing and regulating sleep and is a powerful antioxidant.

Walnuts also contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid, which blocks the metabolic pathways that can lead to cancer.

Therefore, walnuts have a wellness formula in a nutshell.

3. Peanuts

Key Ingredients:

Peanuts are a good source of vitamin E, A, B and C, fiber, folic acid, thiamine, niacin, copper, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, and zinc. They are a very good source of monounsaturated fats.


Peanuts are the powerhouse of nutrients and a very healthy snack. Peanuts are also a good source of resveratrol. Generally associated with red wine, resveratrol  is believed to slow or prevent  formation of arterial plaque and are good for heart. Peanuts can act as an appetite suppressant.

A quick snack of peanuts can satisfy hunger for up to two and a half hours. They are rich source of anti oxidants and protect our body from cancer causing free radicals. They help fight the type 2 diabetes. They also increase the immunity levels if taken daily in moderation. They are also extraordinarily high in polyphenols and proteins.

Eat them roasted or make a delicious peanut butter from them.

4. Cashew Nuts

Key Ingredients and benefits:

Cashew nuts are significant sources of iron which is essential for red blood cell function and enzyme activity, magnesium  which promotes energy release and bone growth, phosphorus that helps build bones and teeth, zinc that is essential for digestion and metabolism and selenium which has important antioxidant properties, thus protecting the body from cancer.

They are also great source of protein. They have low-fat content and are cholesterol free. They are rich in iron, potassium, magnesium  and vitamin A. They are good body builders and energizers. Cashews contain healthy monounsaturated fat that promotes good cardiovascular health.

Magnesium works with calcium to support healthy muscles and bones in the body. It also helps promote normal sleep patterns in menopausal women. High copper content in cashew nuts is vital in energy production, greater flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints.

They are rich in dietary fibers also and can help weight management.

Nuts should be eaten in moderation. Replace the unhealthy snacks with fistful of healthy mixed nuts and reap their benefits.

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are integral parts of Indian cooking and hold medicinal properties apart from being taste enhancers. Here are some ways to use them in cooking.

For centuries, Herbs and spices have been acknowledged for their medicinal properties and as culinary enhancers. There are hundreds of herbs which play an important role in our cuisine and as medicines and it is important to know when and how to use them.

Some work best with certain kind of foods and some go well with other specific herbs. Some are very effective cure for various ailments and are beneficial as many of our daily remedies. In AYURVEDA, we have used many of the Indian herbs like Ashvagandha, Boswellia or guggal, Alfalfa, Aloevera and many others to maximum benefits in combination with essential oils, in our cuisine, and as medicines.

Here we will try to see the various combinations of herbs and foods that match perfectly and discuss two of my favorite herbs and their usefulness for our body.

Curry Leaves

Indian cuisine uses the fragrant herbs in abundance. Curry leaf is an essential ingredient of most dishes cooked in South and in other parts of India. Mainly used for flavorings fresh green curry leaf when rubbed between fingers give out a unique aroma. They are slightly bitter in taste. Usually the fresh curry leaves are best for cooking
but dried up leaves can also be used.

The leaves contain a volatile essential oil in a crystalline principle glycoside having anticancer properties. They contain minerals, vitamin A&B and are a rich source of Carbohydrates, proteins and amino acids. Raw leaves cure dysentery and decoction of leaves with bitters cures fever.

The leaves contain a volatile essential oil in a crystalline principle glycoside having anticancer properties. They contain minerals, vitamin A&B and are a rich source of Carbohydrates, proteins and amino acids. Raw leaves cure dysentery and decoction of leaves with bitters cures fever.

It is an excellent hair tonic and prevents premature graying of hair especially when boiled with coconut oil for the greatest benefit in hair treatment. Eating tender curry leaves helps prevent diabetes. The leaves also have weight reducing properties.


Basil is a wonderful addition to many of our favorite Italian dishes, but it is also an excellent choice as an insect repellent, and for the treatment of bad breath, warts, headaches, and high blood pressure.

Rubbing basil leaves directly on the skin wards off mosquitoes. In India, this is quite common practice. If you do not have the luxury of planting it outside, this plant grows quite nicely in a sunny window planter.

Six compounds found in basil are useful as expectorant and make basil beneficial in ridding the body of mucus and congestion. Basil and black pepper each contain six compounds, which lower the blood pressure.

Basil carries many antiviral compounds.

Herb and Food combinations

Some herbs go very well with specific foods

1. Basil goes best with tomato sauce, tomato soup, tomato juice, potato dishes, prawns, meat, chicken and poultry, pasta, rice, egg dishes.

2. Bay leaves make a difference to soups, stews, casseroles, meat and poultry marinades stocks.

3. Chili work best with meat, chicken and poultry, prawns, shellfish, tomato dishes, curries.

4. Chives improve the salads, chicken, soups, cheese dishes, egg dishes, mayonnaise, and vinaigrettes.

5. Coriander enhances all Asian dishes, stir-fries, curries, soups, salads, seafood.

6. Dill is for salads, sauces, and fish, and salad, sour cream, cheese and potato dishes.

7. Fennel can go with stuffing, sauces, seafood.

8. Garlic adds the zest to soups, sauces, pasta, meat, chicken, shellfish, pesto, salad dressings, and bread.

9. Ginger is best with cakes, biscuits, all Asian dishes.

10. Lemongrass can be added to some of the Asian dishes, stir-fries, curries, seafood, soups, and tea.

11. Mint works wonder with drinks, confectionary, meat, chicken, yoghurt, desserts, sauces, vegetable dishes.

12. Oregano is best with cheese dishes, egg dishes, tomato sauce, pizza, meat, stuffing, bread, pasta.

13. Parsley adds the power to egg dishes, pasta, rice dishes, salads, butter, sauces, seafood, vegetable dishes.

14. Sage is for stuffing, tomato dishes, and cheese dishes.

15. Thyme is wonder herb for breads, chicken and poultry, soups, stock, stews, butter, cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar.

Herb combinations

Some herbs compliment each other beautifully here is the list of some of my favorites

1. Basil with chives, chili, garlic, oregano

2. Bay leaves with parsley, thyme, garlic, oregano

3. Chili with coriander, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, mint, oregano

4. Chives with basil, garlic

5. Dill with chives, garlic, parsley

6. Garlic with basil, rosemary, sage, fennel, chili, coriander

7. Thyme with bay leaves, parsley, garlic, rosemary

8. Oregano with basil, parsley, chives, thyme, bay, and chili

Food, herb combo information is courtesy Healthy Cooking with Fresh Herbs

Supar Brain Yoga Is Indian “Thorpikarnam”

I want to share this article which my friend and sister Dr.Padmini Sharma sent me as a mail attachment. Do take a look at the video and read the article.

When I first saw it I laughed. It was like a punishment kids used to get in schools for not doing their homework or learning their lessons. Maybe the idea was to sharpen their mind. Choa’s Super brain yoga, or “Thoppukaranam”, the reverential practice done by Hindus in front of Lord Ganesha’s temple. A simple devotional action. This practice has been there in India since ages but it is a new discovery by the Americans which has now swept over the world. One feels sad that many of our traditions are being copyrighted by the western world, and the latest is “Thoppukaranam” being copyrighted as “Super Brain Yoga”.

“Thorpi: Karnam ” is thoppukarnam in its corrupted form.

“Thorpi = means with the hands, and “Karnam” = means ears. Hence “Thorpikarnam” means holding the ears with the hands.

Hiduism has always been a scitific religion and many of its religious postures are part of the yogic exercises. Over the last few years, awareness of Indian Culture and the depth of our academic achievements is being recognised. Our knowledge and achievements are far superior than those of any other nation in the worldbut somehow we are not able to imbibe it in your daily life. We do it only only when it comes covered it the western high profile glam covering.

What a shame ..

It is high time that we research the various ancient practices and got a patent for them before the west steals them and brands them as their own.

The technique however has helped me tremendously and now even my teenage boys have started doing it five min. in the morning and five min in the evening. It has helped me to calm down and breath easy.

Here is the copy of the original article for all my readers.


Dr. Paul Nogier MD, a neurologist, spent 20 years from 1950 to about 1970 doing medical research. He rediscovered that the ears correspond to the whole body. The ear corresponds to an inverted fetus curled in the womb. The ear lobe corresponds to the head [ref: Nogier, Dr. Paul M. F., Handbook to Auriculotherapy, (France, 1981)]. The correspondence of the ear to the whole body was already recognized by the ancient Chinese acupuncturists and also to the great rishis (teachers) in India, who developed a technique to increase people’s intelligence. Now we know it worked because it was based on the principle of ear acupuncture.


Clairvoyants, with the use of their psychic faculties, have observed that the physical body is surrounded and interpenetrated by a luminous energy body, which resembles the visible physical body. Clairvoyants call this the etheric double or etheric body. The “energy body” as they called it was first photographed by Russian scientists Semyon Davidovich Kirlian and his wife in 1939. With the aid of Kirlian photography, they observed, studied and photographed small bioplasmic articles* like the “light” or bioplasmic energy of the fingers, leaves, etc. It is through this energy body that prana or vital life energy is absorbed and distributed throughout the whole physical body [ref: Master Choa Kok Sui, Miracles Through Pranic Healing, (Phil, 1987), 5]

Prana or ki is the life energy which nourishes the whole physical body. The visible physical body is molded after the energy body. They are so closely related that what affects one affects the other. Without life energy, the body will die. If the energy body is depleted or congested, the physical body gets sick. When the physical body is healed, the corresponding energy body also gets healed. This may manifest gradually or may happen almost instantaneously if there are no interfering factors. The energy body, through energy centers (also known as chakras) , controls and is responsible for the proper functioning of the whole physical body including its different organs and parts.

Major energy centers are actually major acupuncture points. Energy centers are very important parts of the energy body.
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Based on the research of Dr. Joie P. Jones, Dept. of Radiological Sciences, University of California in Irvine, California: The acupuncture points are made up of 2 parts: an upper part and a lower part. These 2 parts are constantly moving in opposite directions. When the upper part is moving clockwise, the lower part is moving counter clockwise. This motion alternates from clockwise to counter clockwise.

Dr. Jones calls this the “twisting motion” of the acupuncture point. The major acupuncture points in the Indian tradition are called chakras, which means whirling energy centers.

The major energy centers or chakras are just like power stations that supply life energy to major and vital organs of the visible physical body. They are responsible for the proper functioning of the whole physical body as well as its different parts and organs.

A lot of ailments are caused partially by the malfunctioning of the energy centers. Some energy centers are sites or centers for psychic faculties. When activation of certain energy centers occurs, they can even result in the development of certain psychic faculties.

The energy centers may be understood more easily as energy transformers. When energies from the lower energy centers move upward into the higher energy centers, they are transformed into other forms of energies of a much higher frequency. When higher forms of energies from the upper energy centers move down into the lower energy centers, they are transformed into other forms of energies with a much lower frequency.


The Superbrain Yoga technique is described in the book. The complete procedure must be practiced as described in the book in order to experience the benefits. This section describes how the energy connections can be produced to energize the brain.

The physical body is a very complicated subtle electronic equipment. When a proper energy wiring connection is made, it produces the right results. When the connection is wrong, expected results are not achieved.

The right ear lobe corresponds to the left brain.
The left ear lobe corresponds to the right brain.

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When the right ear lobe is gently squeezed with the left thumb and left index finger with the thumb outside, it produces the necessary energy connection. This connection causes the left brain and pituitary gland to become energized and activated.

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Similarly, when the left ear lobe is gently squeezed with the right thumb and right index finger with the thumb outside, it produces the necessary energy connection, which causes the right brain and pineal gland to become energized and activated.

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For energizing and activating the Left Brain and the Right Brain, the left arm must be inside, while the right arm must be outside.

The correct arm position is important for energizing and activating the brain.


Superbrain Yoga® transforms or internally alchemizes the energies from the lower energy centers into higher subtler energies. These energies are then utilized by the upper energy centers. When those centers are highly energized, they energize the brain so it can function with greater efficiency and effectivity.

Superbrain Yoga® not only energizes and activates the brain, but also assists in balancing the energies of the heart, throat, ajna, forehead and crown energy centers. (For detailed information on the 11 major energy centers, their location and function please refer to “Miracles Through Pranic Healing” by the same author)

When energies from the basic energy center and sex energy center move up to the heart energy center, they are transformed into inner peace. When the energies go up to the throat energy center and the ajna energy center, they are transformed into greater intelligence and creativity. When they go up to the forehead energy center and crown energy center, they are transformed into a higher degree of spirituality. The lower energies are transformed into subtle energy, which is utilized by the brain to enhance its proper functioning.

This is why some people have experienced stress reduction by practicing the Superbrain Yoga®

Other benefits noted from the practice of Superbrain Yoga® include greater psychological stability and an ability to regulate the sex drive. This is especially helpful for teenagers. Prolonged practice of the Superbrain Yoga® can make the practitioner, in general, smarter and more psychologically balanced.

There are multiple factors that may affect the results of the practice of Superbrain Yoga®. For example:

* Facing the correct direction
* Positioning the arms properly
* Positioning the fingers properly
* Breathing correctly

Results cannot be predicted if these and other procedures given in the book are not strictly followed.

The effect of Superbrain Yoga on people with severe ailments such as cancer, sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), severe heart conditions, is unknown. Any form of physical exercises should not be undertaken without first consulting a medical doctor.

On The Subject Of Anger

I sometimes get motivational articles from friends who have been trying to understand various aspects of life through various techniques like Vipasana and Pranic Breathing etc.

This is one such article which I would love to share with all my friends. This was sent to me by a friend Gautam. He himself practices Vipasana and takes sessions also.

Hope it will benefit all of you.

On the Subject of Anger

What happens when someone is angry? The law of nature is such that one who generates anger is its first victim. One is bound to become miserable as one generates anger even though most of the time people do not realize that they are harming themselves by generating anger. Even if someone realizes this, the truth is that one is unable to keep oneself away from anger; to keep oneself free from anger. Now let us see why one becomes angry.

It is quite obvious that anger arises when something undesirable has happened, when someone has created an obstacle in the fulfillment of your desires, when someone has insulted you or when someone has expressed derogatory remarks about you while backbiting. All such reasons make one flare up in anger and are the apparent reasons for one to become angry. Now is it possible that someone can attain so much power that no one should say or do anything against him? This is certainly impossible. Even to the most powerful person in the world, undesirable things keep on happening and he or she is helpless to prevent it.

Even if we can stop one person from insulting us or saying something against us there is no guarantee that another person will not start doing the same thing. While we cannot change the whole world according to our wishes, we can certainly change ourselves to get rid of the misery that one suffers because of generating anger. For this one has to seek a deeper reason for the anger within oneself rather than outside.

Let us understand within ourselves the real reason for generating anger. For example, let us understand from the standpoint of Vipasana the real reason which causes us to experience anger within ourselves. If you learn the art of observing the reality within yourself it will become so clear at the experiential level that the real reason for anger lies within and not outside.

As soon as one comes across some undesirable thing outside there is a sensation in the body. And because the object was undesirable the sensation is very unpleasant. It is only after feeling this unpleasant sensation that one reacts with anger. If one learns how to observe bodily sensations equanimously without reacting to them one starts coming out of the old habit of flaring up in anger and harming oneself. The practice of Vipasana helps one to develop the faculty of observing all the different kinds of sensations which one experiences on different parts of the body from time to time and remain equinamous by not reacting to them. The old habit had been that when you feel pleasant sensations you react with craving and clinging and when you feel unpleasant ones you react with anger and hatred. Vipasana teaches you to observe every sensation, both pleasant and unpleasant, objectively and remain equinamous with the understanding that every sensation has the quality of arising and passing away. No sensation remains eternally.

By practicing the observation of sensation equinamously again and again one changes the habit pattern of instant blind reaction to these sensations. Thus, in daily life whenever one comes in contact with something undesirable one notices that an unpleasant sensation has arisen in the body and one starts observing it without flaring up in anger as before. Of course, it takes time to reach a stage where one is fully liberated from anger. But as one practices Vipasana more and more one notices that the period of rolling in anger is becoming shorter and shorter. Even if one is not able to feel the sensation immediately as it arises, maybe after a few minutes one starts realizing that by the blind reaction of anger one is making the unpleasant sensations even more intense, thereby making oneself even more miserable.

As soon as one realizes this fact one starts coming out of anger. With the practice of Vipasana this period of realization of misery pertaining to unpleasant sensation becomes shorter and shorter and a time comes when one realizes instantly the truth of the harm that one is causing to oneself by generating anger. This is the only way to liberate oneself from this mad habit of reacting with anger.

Of course there is a also a way that as soon as one realizes that one has generated anger one may divert one’s attention to some other object and by this technique one may feel that one is coming out of anger. However, it is actually only the surface part of the mind that has come out of anger.

Deep inside one keeps on boiling in anger because you have not eradicated the anger but merely suppressed it. Vipasana teaches you not to run away from the reality but, rather, to face the reality and start objectively observing the anger in the mind and the unpleasant sensation in the body. By observing the reality of the unpleasant sensations in the body you are not diverting your attention somewhere else nor are you suppressing your anger to the deeper level of the mind. As you keep on observing the sensations equinamously you will notice that the anger that has arisen naturally become weaker and weaker and ultimately passes away.

The fact is that there is a barrier between the smaller part of the mind, that is the surface of the mind, and the larger part of the mind, the so-called subconscious or half-conscious mind. This larger part of the mind at the deepest level is constantly in touch with the bodily sensations and has become a slave of the habit pattern of blind reaction to these sensations.

Due to one reason or the other there are different kinds of sensations though out the body at every moment. If the sensation is pleasant then the habit pattern is to react with clinging and craving and if it is unpleasant the habit pattern is to react with aversion and hatred. Because of the barrier between the small surface part of the mind and the rest of the mind the surface part is totally unaware of the fact that this constant reaction is taking place at the deeper level.

Vipassana helps to break this barrier and the entire mental structure becomes very conscious. It feels the sensations from moment to moment and, with the understanding of the law of impermanence, remains equainmous. It is easy to train the surface level of the mind to remain equinamous at the level of intellectual understanding but this message of intellectual understanding does not reach the deeper level of the mind because of this barrier.

When the barrier is broken by Vipassana the entire mind keeps on understanding the law of impermanence and the habit pattern of blind reaction at the deeper level starts changing. This is the best way to liberate yourself from the misery of anger.

Tackling Computer Related Health Problems

Here are a few simple rules that one can follow to avoid computer related heath problems. I tried them and found them very effective.

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