This World Heart Day, our focus is on creating heart-healthy environments. By ensuring that people are able to make heart-healthy choices wherever they live, work and play. World Heart Day encourages us all to reduce our cardiovascular risk, and promotes a heart-healthy planet for those around us.RISK FACTORS:There are many risk factors associated with coronary heart disease and stroke. Common risk factors that can be treated or changed include tobacco exposure, high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, stress, unhealthy diets, and harmful use of alcohol. Currently the society is having high incidence of heart attacks in the younger age, thus by working on these risk factors we can create a healthy heart environment.KNEIPP SYSTEM OF HOLISTIC APPROACHAccording to the nature of all diseases by which they originate in a disordered circulation of the blood, or in corrupted and heterogeneous ingredients mixed with the blood, and in morbid matters, thus during 19th century, Father Sebastian Kneipp from Germany, recognized the value of water and thus structured “Kneipp System of Holistic Approach”. Father Kneipp insisted that the human body had to be treated as a whole. One can’t just treat the symptom; but must look at the whole body for true healing to take place. Generally disease starts in the mind, due to stress. Inner conflicts and unhappiness cause dis-ease. Dis-ease is the beginning of disease. Thus Kneipp System comprises of 5 Pillar – Hydrotherapy, Kinesiotherapy, Phytotherapy, Nutrition and Order Therapy. Let’s review Kneipp Holistic approach for a healthy heart on this world heart day.HYDROTHERAPY (WATER)If there is magic in this world, then it is contained in water… Hydrotherapy is the use of water for positive health benefits. These health benefits come from the mechanical and thermal effects of water interacting with the body. It includes the use of physical water properties, specifically temperature and pressure, and sometimes the delivery of minerals or herbal treatments to manipulate the body’s flow of blood, the endocrine system and associated neural systems in order to treat the symptoms of certain diseases. The term “Hydrotherapy” is derived from the Greek words “Hydro” meaning water, and “Therapia” meaning healing.The Physical Effects of Hydrotherapy on the BodyHydrotherapy uses water to deliver temperature and pressure changes to the body. These changes are sensed by the body via nerve endings in the skin and muscle, and result in neural “reflex effects” that are controlled by the brain and spinal chord. The most important of these reflex effects are vasodilatation and vasoconstriction, which are the terms used to describe the relaxation and tensing of the blood vessels in the body. These physical changes in the blood vessels cause changes in the rate of blood flow and in the metabolic functions that are linked to the rate of blood flow.Which changes happen in the body are dependent on the outside stimuli it receives; whether the water is hot or cold, the motion of the pressure, and the strength of the pressure, too. Hot and cold water act in different ways on the body. Besides the obvious tactile sensory effect, there are other “hidden” changes that take place in your body as a result of its interaction with hot or cold water.Contrast Hydrotherapy for Cardiovascular HealthContrast hydrotherapy involves the immersion of a limb or body part in alternating hot and cold water. In this way, you are exercising your circulatory and lymphatic systems, stimulating movement of nutrients into the area and waste away from the area.Hydrotherapy can “tweak” homeostatic mechanisms pertaining to body temperature regulation by affecting the autonomic nervous system and tonifying blood vessels. It also stimulates the release of nitric oxide from your artery walls, which dilates your vessels by relaxing the muscles in the vasculature, thereby reducing stress on the vessels and improving blood flow. Contrast hydrotherapy also supports the immune system by increasing lymph movement.KINESIOTHERAPY (PHYSICAL ACTIVITY)He Who Rests, Rusts! The concept of therapeutic exercise is based on the well-balanced contrast between tension and relaxation. This is not about occasionally achieving a peak performance, but rather about doing some light exercise regularly. Today, we see an unprecedented increase in body awareness and we know how important exercise and movement are. It seems like everybody is into it. Exercise and movement keep all the parts of the body functioning through improved oxygen supply via increased circulation. As said earlier, diseases can begin in blood. If we clean up the blood, we can prevent and cure disease.If you don’t think you have time for an exercise class, walk everywhere. Walk up the stairs, even if you don’t make all of them. Turn all your daily work into exercise; stretch when you reach into your cupboard, some desktop stretches at work, bend over when you make your bed. Work both sides of the body when you vacuum, wash your car and your windows, even if it takes longer. Walk back and forth in your house often, get up during breaks. Don’t sit for extended periods at a desk. You’ve heard the phrase “use it or lose it”. Use your body! For Physical activity is not only good for the muscles, but also and in particular for the soul. It is a proven fact that movement makes us happier, more resistant to stress and more self-confident. In one word: HEALTHIER HEART.NUTRITIONYou are what you eat! Heart disease may be the leading killer of men and women, but that doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself. In addition to exercise, being careful about what you eat—and what you don’t eat—can help you lower cholesterol, control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy weight. If you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease or have high cholesterol or blood pressure, a heart-smart food habit can help you better manage these conditions, lowering your risk for heart attack.Improving your diet is an important step toward preventing heart disease and boost heart health, but you may feel unsure where to begin. Here are simple 6 steps to start your healthy nutrition at home.Control your portion size: How much you eat is just as important as what you eat.Eat more vegetables and fruits: Vegetables and fruits contain substances found in plants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease.Select whole grain: Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health.Limit unhealthy fat and cholesterol: Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease.Choose low fat protein sources: Substituting plant protein for animal protein will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake.Reduce the sodium in your food: Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet.PHYTOTHERAPY (HERBS)Nature’s Apothecary! The practice of herbal medicine dates back to the very earliest periods of known human history. Intake of herbs everyday helps to interact directly with our body system. Upon intake they are absorbed in the blood stream; they circulate to influence our whole system. Herbs that help heart health are given below which can be taken after consulting physician-Arjuna (Botanical Name: Terminalia Arjuna) –Vagbhatta, an eminent physician of ancient India was the first to prescribe bark of Arjuna tree for heart disease. Chakradatta, another great Indian physician described it as a tonic and astringent and used it in heart diseases. Known as Marutham Pattai in Tamil.Garlic (Botanical Name: Allium Sativum)– Garlic is one of the most effective remedy to lower blood pressure. Pressure and tension are reduced because it has the power to ease the spasm of the small arteries. It also slows the pulse and modifies the heart rhythm. Garlic also helps to breakup cholesterol in the blood vessels, thereby preventing any hardening of arteries which leads to high blood pressure and heart attack.Holy Basil ( Botanical Name: Ocimum Sanctum)– Basil has a beneficial effect in cardiac disease and the weakness resulting from them. It reduces the level of blood cholesterol. They are also regarded as an adaptogen or anti-stress agent. It purifies blood and helps prevent several other common ailment.Coriander (Botanical Name: Coriandrum Sativum)– Regular drinking of coriander water helps lower blood cholesterol as it is a good diuretic and stimulates the kidneys. It is prepared by boiling dry seeds of coriander and straining the decoction after cooling.Indian Goose Berry ( Botanical Name: Emblica Officinalis)– Indian goose berry is considered as an effective remedy for heart diseases. It tones up the functions of all the organs of the body and builds up health by destroying the heterogeneous or harmful and disease causing elements. It also renews energy.Onion (Botanical Name: Allium Cepa)– Presence of essential oil, aliypropyl disulphide, catechol, protocatechuic acid, thiopropiono aldehyde, thiocynate, minerals and vitamins in onion prevents from heart attack. It assists the functioning of the heart by correcting thrombosis besides reducing blood cholesterol.Fenugreek (Botanical Name: Trigonella Foenum Graecum) – Fenugreek seeds are considered a cholesterol lowering food. Israeli scientists at Hebrew University of Jerusalem have shown that fenugreek seeds can lower blood sugar and cholesterol in both diabetic and healthy person.Parsley ( Botanical Name: Petroselinum Crispum)– The elements in parsley helps to maintain the blood vessels, particularly the capillaries and arterial system, in a healthy condition. It is thus very useful in high blood pressure.Snake Guard (Botanical Name: Trichosanthes Anguina) – The juice of the fresh leaves is useful in heart disorders like palpitation and pain in the heart due to physical exertion. It should be taken in doses of 1 or 2 tablespoon thrice daily.ORDER THERAPY (INNER BALANCE or INNER HARMONY)The order in life… According to Kneipp’s philosophy, a natural rhythm of life and absolute harmony of the soul lead to maximum vitality, productivity and pleasure. If you have found out how to balance your soul and create an inner order, you are well on the way towards restoring your health. It is the art of relaxation and rejuvenation. Take a pause of relaxation in your hectic lifestyle in order to perform your duties at an optimum level and yet not losing awareness of your inner state of well being. “ He who has no time to care for his health daily will have to have time when he is sick for weeks and months, and will finally be seriously ill”We all know that good health is not simply for sale, but require a lot of efforts for us each and every day. In this, a healthy way of living is just as important as pleasant compensation for stress and tension. Reading, music, painting or breathing exercises help you let go and gather new strength. Or just take a walk outside and enjoy nature. Just try out new things- that is the only way to really get to know yourself and your needs. If you are open to new things and always ready to learn, you can do more for your inner balance than you think. After all, the task of living an active and positive life is yours alone.