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Medical Benefits of Salat

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Topic: Medical Benefits of Salat
Posted By: Topsoil
Subject: Medical Benefits of Salat
Date Posted: 15 February 2009 at 10:35pm

Salam.

Here is an interesting research I found on the physical benefits of Salat.

Check it out:
http://www.kfshrc.edu.sa/annals/223_224/01-185.pdf - http://www.kfshrc.edu.sa/annals/223_224/01-185.pdf

The pattern of the salat prayer performed by Muslims is similar all over the world. In our study, the motion of joints during salat was measured by a goniometer commonly used by clinicians. We examined the active range of motions for each of the joints that were involved during salat. A goniometer has two arms with full-circled scales marked in degrees. It was placed on the joints at different postures of salat, and joint angles were measured precisely. Zero degrees were regarded as starting points and motions were recorded as deviation from zero degrees.

Standing for Prayers

Worshippers have to stand and concentrate their minds on praying. A reactive depression is common in geriatric and disabled persons. The determination to pray has a remedial action on depression, and standing helps to develop balance. When people stand comfortably, the center of pressure is usually midway between the instep of the two feet. In a standing position, they raise their hands up to the ear lobe and bring them down one after another by holding the left wrist with the right hand on the abdomen, above the navel, or on the chest. During voluntary clenching of the right hand, blood flow is increased in the hand area of the left motor cortex, and the corresponding sensory areas in the post-central gyrus. What happens to the involved muscles and joints are described in the Table 1.

Worshippers utter some verses from Quran which is written in Arabic. Like any other language, various muscles are exercised during speech. There is a bilateral increase in blood flow in the face, tongue, mouth sensory and motor areas, and the upper premotor cortex in the brain during speech . During creative speech, there is also an increase in blood flow in Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas of speech in the brain. Blood flow in the brain can be measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET.)

Bowing

After standing and uttering some verses from the Quran, bowing is done by forward movement of the vertebral column , especially at the lumbar joint, and supported by two straight hands grasping the two hyperextended knees. After a few seconds, the worshipper gradually reverts to the previous state until the vertebral column is vertical. The joints and muscles affected in bowing are shown in Table 2.

Prostration

The act of prostration is the substance of salat. It is done from the standing position to kneeling, putting the head down and touching the ground with the forehead, with the palms remaining parallel to the ears, and touching the ground with the flexed elbows for a few seconds. The various motions have a great impact on blood flow in the human brain. Because of variations in arterial mean pressure in the body, prostration helps in improving cerebral circulation and avoiding ischemic brain disease.

Postural reflex, and tonic labyrinthine reflex are initiated by the force of gravity on the receptors of otolithic organs in the utricle of the inner ear, and are effected via the vestibulospinal tracts. Maximal effect occurs in the supine position and minimal effect occurs when the head is down 60 degrees below the horizontal plane in the prone position. The tonic labyrinthine reflex is responsible for the contraction of the limb extensor muscles. Thus, the various positions of salat from the vertical natural position to prostration helps in the maintenance of steadiness of postural equilibrium. During salat, Muslims usually keep their eyes fixed on the site of prostration. This visual fixation together with proprioceptive systems, vestibular systems, and the various postures provide a complex positional sense in the brain stem and cerebellum. The joints and muscles involved during prostration are described in Table 3.

Sitting and Finishing Salat

After standing and bowing, and proceeding to prostration, sitting is done on the left leg knee flexed with the inverted dorsi flexed ankle and flexed right knee and metatansophalangeal joint for a couple of minutes. After that, salat is concluded by looking over one’s right and left shoulder wishing peace for mankind. Involving joints and muscles are described in the Table 4.

Conclusions

It can be seen from the above discussion that salat prayer has psychological, musculoskeletal and cerebral effects on improving the muscular functions of geriatric, disabled and dementic patient in a rehabilitation program. The physiotherapist of the rehabilitation center who assists the patient to restore and preserve joint range of motion through mobilization techniques and exercise may take this prayer system as a model for restoring the residual strength of the patient. Elderly people and disabled person can gain significant health benefits with a mild to moderate amount of physical activity, like the performance of salat, preferably daily.

Salat has special characteristics in that it is a short duration mild-to-moderate psychological, physical and brain activity. Scientific evidence also supports the notion that even moderate intensity activities, when performed daily, can have some long-term health benefits (American Heart Association). Salat is like a free hand exercise. It can be performed in groups or individually without any equipment. Thus, a person in a rehabilitation program can practice the activity in their room with ease and comfort, even when sitting in a wheelchair or in bed. During the performance of salat, most of the muscles and joints of the body are involved. This activity is convenient for all kinds of patients, including children, the elderly and physically handicapped, for strengthening their muscles as well as the mind.

Credits
Mohammed Faruque Reza, MBBS; Yuji Urakami, MD; Yukio Mano, MD, PhD.
From the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Hokkaido University
School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.
Address reprint requests and correspondence to Dr. Reza: Department
of Rehabilitation Medicine, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, N15
W7 Sapporo 060 -8638, Japan.
Accepted for publication 23 January 2002. Received 21 August 2001.
Annals of Saudi Medicine, Vol 22, Nos 3-4, 2002.




Replies:
Posted By: Topsoil
Date Posted: 15 February 2009 at 11:21pm
The Preventive and Healing Wonders of Ablution

By Lamya Tawfik

Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him” (Chapter 53, Verse 3 & 4).

I have a confession to make. I never really took my time to make ‘ablution’ the way I ought to. By ‘ought to’ I’m referring to the detailed care that was encouraged by our prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). However, when conducting the research for this article, I felt quite foolish, to say the least.

Not only was I squandering the chance to get more reward for perfecting ablution, but I was also wasting golden opportunities to enhance my health and general well being.

A Daily Ritual

Fourteen centuries ago, our Prophet, a walking encyclopedia if I may so describe him, gave us a prescription of 26 washing movements to be carried out 5 times a day, a total of 130 daily washing movements, to grant us optimum health.

“O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body. But if ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands, Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete his favor to you, that ye may be grateful.” (Chapter 5, Verse 6)

Before a Muslim performs his prayers, he carries out the ablution movements mentioned in the above verse as well as others, which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has added.

Thus, the ablution comprises of washing the hands, arms right up to the elbow, face, mouth, nostrils, and feet up the ankle, all three times each. The inside and behind the ears, as well as the part of the head above the forehead is wiped once.

Done five times a day, it not only cleanses these vital parts of the body from dust and dirt but also "softens" and refreshes them.

Interestingly enough, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also encouraged doing ablution before going to bed. This same ritual is also encouraged by Yoga experts who say that washing important motor and sensory organs such as the hands, arms, eyes, legs, mouth and genitals before sleep using cool water relaxes the body preparing it for a deep sleep.

Stimulating the Biological Rhythms

In an article titled “Muslims Rituals and their Effect on the Person’s Health”, Dr. Magomed Magomedov, assistant to the department of the Man’s General Hygiene and Ecology in the Daghestan State Medical Academy, speaks about how ablution stimulates the biological rhythms of the body and specifically Biological Active Spots (BASes), very much like the idea behind Chinese reflexotherapy.

Presently we know that a man is a complex system of electromagnetic fields, meridians, biological rhythms and so on. Man’s internal organs, in their turn, present a no less sophisticated bioenergetical whole; they all have indissoluble multi-channel bilateral connections with the skin, which hosts special spots, whose functions resemble those of buttons on “control” and “ recharge boards” responsible for particular organs. These spots are called biologically active spots (BASes).

While pointing out to the similarities between ablution and the science of Chinese reflexology in his fascinating article, Dr. Magomedov also states the main different points. To become a doctor in reflexology, he says, one has to take a 15 to 20 year course of study, incomparable with the simple learning techniques of ablution.

In another comparison, reflexotherapy was primarily used to cure diseases and very rarely for prevention, while, as we shall see, ablution has many preventive benefits.

There was also a negative side to reflexotherapy, he says, one that is not found in ablution; a patient was exposed to traumas since doctors used cauterisation.

“The majority of the most powerful BASes are being washed during the Muslim ritual. It is not the doctor, who had studied for many years, who does it, but every Muslim by himself. Besides, praying five times a day obliges a Muslim to take the preventive measures against diseases beforehand.”
According to Dr. Magomedov, Chinese medicine says that there are more than 700 BASes, and sixty-six of them have quick reflex therapy effects and are named the drastic (or aggression or antique or prime-elements) spots.

Out of these sixty-six spots, sixty-one of them are located in zones required for ablution while the other five are located between the ankle and knee (an area which is desirable, according to prophetic traditions, to wash).

Thus, ablution becomes a kind of treatment complex, which includes the hydromassage of the BAS, their thermal and physical stimulation.
The BASes in the face (which are washed during ablution) “recharge” such organs as the intestines, stomach and bladder, in addition to having a positive effect on the nervous and reproductive systems, says Dr. Magomedov in his findings, adding that the BAS responsible for the osseous system, intestine, nervous system, lumbar area, stomach, pancreas, gall-bladder, thyroid gland, solar plexus and others are situated on the right leg, another area reached by ablution.

The left leg has the BAS responsible for the work of the pituitary gland, the brain organ that regulates the functioning of the endocrine glands and controls growing. In the ear’s cochlea are hundreds of BASes that “harmonize the work of almost all organs, decrease high blood pressure and relieve tooth and throat pain.” Ear ablution is considered Sunna (Prophetic tradition).

Another aspect that Dr. Magomedov stresses on is that Prophetic tradition emphasized the importance of massaging and applying pressure during ablution, which is something that has a scientifically-grounded explanation.

Dr. Magomedov said that his studies were triggered by his solemn belief that the five-time-a-day Muslim prayers were bound to have not only an “indisputable spiritual effect” but were also bound to “have a purely physical healing effect as well.”

Former research carried out in the Soviet Union regarding BAS was regarded unworthy because they believed that “man was not supposed to have either soul or an energy body, because the opposite would contradict the materialistic (atheistic) ideology of those times,” says Dr. Magomedov.

Preventive Cleansing

From a non-alternative medicine perspective, Mukhtar Salem, in his book titled ‘Prayers: a Sport for the Body and Soul’, speaks about the health benefits of every aspect of ablution.

He does not speak about the BASes in one’s body, but nevertheless, he describes the preventive benefits of ablution.

Ablution, he says, helps prevent skin cancer. This is his explanation: the areas that are washed during ablution are the parts of the body that are most prone to be exposed to pollution, whether it is pollution from the internal secretions of the body on to the skin surface, such as sweat, or whether it is external. Ablution, removes this ‘pollution’ five times a day, and hence maintains a clean outside layer of skin, which in turn helps the cells underneath to function properly.

Also, washing with water helps invigorate the ends of the blood vessels, as well as the nerves and glands that are near the skin surface, and hence helps them perform their functions efficiently.

Salem adds that research has proven that one of the main reasons behind skin cancer is that the skin is exposed to chemicals, especially petrochemicals, and that the best way to prevent skin cancer is by constantly removing these chemicals.

The obvious reason behind washing the mouth during ablution, Salem says, is to remove the food particles, which could cause teeth and gum problems. That is also the reason why siwak (brushing one’s teeth) is also encouraged before ablution.

When washing one’s nostrils, (a practice, which I myself find very hard, but will try to work on), one is also performing a preventive health measure as the germs trapped in the nostrils are removed and do not pass on to the respiratory system.

According to a study conducted by a team of doctors in Alexandria University, the Prophetic tradition, which urges the exaggeration of washing the nostrils by introducing the water in the nostril then blowing it out, positively affects the inner coating of the nostrils. Those who carried out the washing in the correct form had clean, shiny nostrils with no dust clinging to the small hair inside.

However, those who did not perform ablution had light colored, greasy nostrils and their nostril hairs fell off easily.

Repeated washing of the face invigorates the facial skin cells and helps prevent early wrinkles as well as having a cleansing effect on the inside of the eyes, which prevents eye infections, says Salem.

Washing the ear helps rid them from wax accumulation, which may cause ear infections as well as affecting the inner ear, which eventually causes body imbalances.

The Prophetic tradition of encouraging one to wash between the toes while washing the feet, is also extremely important, says Salem, as it prevents the foot, which in our modern times is trapped most of the day inside shoes, from acquiring athlete’s foot.

Over all, he adds, ablution also has an exercising effect on all the muscles involved in its movement, which are thus being stimulated five times a day or even more according to repetition.

Extinguishing the Fires of Anger

Prophetic tradition, with regards to ablution, is also ecologically friendly, as the Prophet repeatedly encouraged water conservation, even if abluting from a running river. Ibn Majah related that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "There is a shaytan (devil) for ablution called 'walhan', meaning greedy, avoid the waste of water."

Muslims are encouraged to ablute not only before praying or going to bed, but also when entering the mosque, making the call to prayer, delivering a sermon, after visiting a graveyard, after touching or carrying a dead person and also before reading the Quran.

We are also encouraged to ablute while being in a state of anger for the cooling and refreshing effect of the water, as we are told that anger is from the devil who is made out of fire and can therefore be put off by water.

Finally, there is a moral to this article, besides understanding the benefits of ablution. One should never take things at face value, and must have strong faith that everything that Allah prescribes has a wisdom behind it that we may or may not know.

"And they say: ‘We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.'" (Chapter 2, Verse 285)
 

http://www.islamonline.net/English/Science/2003/04/article13.shtml - http://www.islamonline.net/English/Science/2003/04/article13.shtml


Posted By: Topsoil
Date Posted: 15 February 2009 at 11:23pm
The Medical Benefits of Sajdah

By Dr. Muhammad Karim Beebani

Sajdah is a unique position or stance in the regular prayers, which a Muslim is supposed to offer at least five times a day. Although the basic purpose of obligatory prayers is not to provide an exercise for people yet it is being increasingly recognized that it has plenty of medical advantages for the human body. Here it is worth mentioning that Holy Prophet Muhammad has mentioned in a hadith in Ibn Majah that prayer is a cure for many diseases. The fact is that a person who offers his prayers regularly that too in the mosque is protected from many diseases which he many not even know.

The position of Sajdah in which the forehead touches the earth is exclusively associated with the Muslim form of prayer. It is the climax of a Muslim's prayer and as mentioned in a Hadith a Muslim is nearest to Allah in this position.

Abu Huraira (radiAllahu anhu) reported that the messenger of Allah said:
"The nearest a servant comes to his Lord is when he is prostrating himself, so make supplication (in this state)"
[Sahih al-Bukhari]

A'ishah Siddiqa (radiAllahu anha) narrates that Holy Prophet used to prolong the prostration to such an extent that one could recite fifty verses (of the Qur'an) before he would lift his head
[Sahih al-Bukhari]

In another Hadith narrated by Anas bin Malik (radiAllahu anhu) the Holy Prophet advised Muslims to perform Ruku (bowing) and Sajdah properly.

In another Hadith he advised to perform Sajdah and Bowing calmly and to get up only when the body has come to ease.

In supplication for the victory, He also performed long bowing (Ruku) and Sajdah in the special prayers at the time of eclipse. Hence the first positive effect upon a person who prostrates or does Sajdah is that he comes nearest to Allah and hence in that condition he can supplicate. This is a great psychological advantage and it gives relief to the person concerned as life is full of worries and in this position he gets at least a transient refuge from the agonizing problems. When a person goes to the position of prostration Sajdah his whole body is in active motion. This position can be considered as a mini dive as the musalli (one who offers prayer) goes to rest his forehead on the ground while his hands are placed at the sides. This brings most of the body muscles if not all in active motion and serves to give them some exercise.

The hands are then specifically stretched out and thence the forearm as well as arm muscles are supposed to bear the weight in the Sajdah position. It gives good exercise to the muscles of the upper limb. Holy Prophet in a hadith advised not to put the forearms flatly on the ground but to keep them elevated above ground and this is better for the forearm and arm muscles.

Sajdah is a unique position as this is the only position in which brain (or head) becomes lower than the heart and hence for the first time the blood gushes towards the brain with full force whereas in all other positions (even when lying) brain is above the heart when it has to work against gravity to send blood to the brain.

In the position of Sajdah due to the increased blood supply the brain receive more nourishment and it has good effect upon memory, vision, hearing, concentration, psyche and all other cognitive abilities. People who offer their prayers regularly have more will power and can cope with the difficulties of life in a much better manner. They have less incidence of headaches, psychological problems and other defects of cognitive function.

In the unique position of Sajdah the neck muscles get best exercise. They have to bear the load when the forehead lies at the ground hence the neck muscles become stronger. One can note the tense pressure at the neck muscles in the position of Sajdah specially the active motion of the neck and the facial muscles when the head is being lifted. (e.g. one inch above the ground) and it will be noticed that they are in a very active motion.

More strong cervical muscles mean the cervical vertebra will be better protected. Strength of cervical muscles is important as the head rests upon cervical vertebra supported by cervical musculature.

Infact head performs rotator movements over the cervical vertebra. In any accident cervical neck examination is especially important to the physicians because of its extraordinary importance.

It is uncommon that a person who offers his prayers regularly will get the usual neck myalgias or cervical spondylosis as the neck muscles particularly become very strong due to the 34 sajdahs offered daily in five prayers.

Position of Sajdah is also said to be a good treatment for the retroversion of uterus, a disease of women.

Most of us do not know that the position of Sajdah is an excellent exercise for men (for manpower). It may be a good information to the Viagra dependents. While getting up from Sajdah the perinneal muscles are one of those muscles which have to pull the trunk back to sitting position and they contract actively. Similarly while standing up from Sajdah the perennial muscles are again actively mobilised and this gives much strength to the muscles important for manpower.

The unique position of Sajdah also has positive effects upon the back muscles as while going into Sajdah and getting up from it the back muscle contract actively and they become stronger. Probably it is because of this reason that a person who is regular in prayers will uncommonly get backache.

After performing Sajdah either the musalli stands up or he sits to pray Attahiyyat. In this position the person sits calmly while his hands rest at his thighs which are folded backwards. This is much similar to the relaxation position of Yoga and has soothing effect upon one's health and mentation.

Holy Prophet Muhammad used to elongate the position of Ruku (bending) and Sajdah positions and he advised to do so. In the light of the above facts it is appropriate to say that from medical point of view as well this advice is a golden rule for health.

Finally it must be reminded that prayer is not meant to be an exercise. However there are a lot of medical advantages associated with it.

Still the best blessing is the peace of mind, which a person derives by the accomplishment of his duty to Allah by fulfilling an obligation.
 
 
http://www.geocities.com/mutmainaa/prayer/medical_benefits_sajdah.html - http://www.geocities.com/mutmainaa/prayer/medical_benefits_sajdah.html


Posted By: Topsoil
Date Posted: 15 February 2009 at 11:24pm
The Medical Benefits of Taraweeh Prayers

Muslims perform five daily contact prayers (Salat) and voluntary prayers (Sunnah, Nafl) throughout the year and Taraweeh prayers during the month of Ramadan. This results in moderate physical exercise particularly to every muscle in the body.

By Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph.D

Muslims derive therapeutic and spiritual benefits starting from the Wudu to the physical movements in the Salat - Takbir, Qiyam, Ruku, Sajda, Jalsa, and Tasleems. Muslims perform five daily contact prayers (Salat) and voluntary prayers (Sunnah, Nafl) throughout the year and Taraweeh prayers during the month of Ramadan. This results in moderate physical exercise particularly to every muscle in the body. Some muscles contract isometrically (same length) and some contract in approximation or isotonically (same tension). The energy needed for the muscle during exercise is met by a process known as glycogenolysis. The rate of muscle metabolism increases during the performance of Salat, resulting in a relative deficiency of oxygen and muscle nutrients. In turn this deficiency causes vasodilation - an increase in the calibre of blood vessels - thereby allowing blood to flow easily back to the heart. The temporarily increased load on the heart acts to strengthen the heart muscle and to improve the circulation within the heart muscle.

During the month of Ramadan, additional prayers are performed after salatul Ishaa, called Taraweeh prayers which vary from 8 rakat (unit of prayer) to 20 rakat with a few minutes break after every 4 rakat for chanting and extolling the Majesty of Allah. After Iftar (breaking of fast) the blood glucose level continues to rise from the food ingested. Just before the Iftar meals, the blood glucose and insulin levels are at their lowest level. After an hour or so after the Iftar meal, the blood glucose begins to rise and also plasma insulin. Liver and the muscles take up the circulating glucose. The blood sugar reaches high levels in an hour or two and the benefits of Taraweeh prayers come into effect. The circulating glucose is metabolised into carbon dioxide and water during the Taraweeh prayers.

Hence the Taraweeh prayers help in expending the extra calories and improve flexibility, coordination, reduce stress-related autonomic responses in healthy persons, and relieve anxiety and depression.

Physical and Emotional Well-Being

The gentle exercises performed in Taraweeh prayers improve physical fitness, emotional well-being and increase the longevity of the Namazi (one who performs the Salat or Namaz). When a little extra effort is made, as in performing the Taraweeh prayers, there will be a betterment in the endurance, stamina, in flexibility and strength. It was noted that the five daily prayers (Salat) produce the same physiological changes without any undesirable side effects as those produced by jogging or walking at about three miles per hour. Recent research studies performed on 17,000 Harvard alumni who entered college between 1916-1950 give strong evidence that only moderate aerobic exercise, equivalent to jogging about 3 miles a day, promotes good health and may actually add years to life. Men who expended about 2000 kcal of energy on a weekly basis (equal to a daily 30-minute walk, run, cycle, swim, etc.,) had one-quarter to one-third lower death rates than classmates who did little or no exercise. In addition to the health-boosting qualities of the Salat, the Namazi will be trained to be ever ready for any unexpected physical exertion such as sudden lifting of children, chairs, or catching a public transportation vehicle. The elderly will accomplish this more securely and efficiently. Hence this is an advantage for the elderly to maintain their physical fitness for a longer period of time. It has been observed that those who fast and perform the Taraweeh prayers report feeling much convalescing and robust.

The Elderly

As human beings grow older, their physiological activity diminishes, as a result their bones become thinner and if not taken care of will suffer from osteoporosis (which causes the fractures of the bones when they fall in the elderly due to a loss of bone mineral content and consequent sponginess of the bones. The bone then becomes structurally unstable, brittle and susceptible to fractures). Primary osteoporosis is most common among postmenopausal (due to reduction in oestrogen) women or those who have undergone a bilateral oophorectomy (both the ovaries removed). Women are six times more likely than men to develop Type I osteoporosis. The three major prevention strategies of osteoporosis are a high dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, regular exercise and oestrogen replacement in postmenopausal women. The skin also becomes fragile and crinkled. The repair processes of the body become slower and immune responses are decreased. In the elderly their physical activity is reduced as a result they have lower levels of Insulin Growth Factor 1. Reserve functions of all vital organs decrease and the elderly are more susceptible to mishaps and ailments. Because of repeated and regular movements of the body during Salat the muscle strength, tendon power, joint flexibility and the cardiovascular reserve are improved. Hence Salat and Taraweeh prayers enable the elderly to enrich the quality of life and to meet with unforeseen difficulties such as falls which could injure their bodies. Therefore Taraweeh prayers will improve their endurance, self-respect and self-confidence in being self-reliant.

Adrenaline is secreted even by minor activity. The secretion outlasts the incitement. Even after the Taraweeh prayers are over the effects of adrenaline and noradrenaline are manifest. (Adrenaline also called epinephrine is produced by the adrenal glands. The middle part of these glands, the adrenal medulla, secretes the hormone, which is chemically almost identical to the transmitter substance noradrenaline produced at the ends of sympathetic nerves. Adrenaline secretion into the bloodstream in stress causes acceleration of the heart, constriction of arterioles, and dilation of the pupils. In addition, adrenaline produces a marked increase in metabolic rate thus preparing the body for emergency.) Even the thought or the intention of performing the Taraweeh prayers is sufficient to activate the sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nervous system (thoraco-lumbar nervous system) is one of the two division of the autonomic nervous system, which supplies motor nerves to the smooth muscles of internal organs and to the heart muscle. Sympathetic nerve fibres arise via spinal nerves in the thoracic and lumbar regions. Their endings release mainly adrenaline, which increases heart rate and breathing rate, raises blood pressure, and slows digestive processes, thereby preparing the body for "fight or flight" and antagonising the effects of the sympathetic nervous system. The adrenaline would redistribute the blood in the body to the active muscles, would mobilise liver glycogen if necessary in order to provide glucose for the active tissues, would diminish fatigue in skeletal muscles and would facilitate alveolar ventilation relaxing bronchiolar muscle, and would initiate cardiovascular changes. Exercise induces a more effective functioning of beta-adrenoreceptors located on cell membranes.
Beneficial effects of Gentle Exercise

The Taraweeh prayer is considered to be gentle exercise. The beneficial effects of gentle exercise on the body are many which are elaborated here.

Effects on Skeletal Muscle

Once muscles atrophy inspite of the availability of ample proteins. During the Salat and Taraweeh, every muscle in the body contracts isotnically and others isometrically. This gentle exercise also enhances endurance and diminishes tiredness. It helps the incapacitated to make the most of their remnant capabilities. The blood flow in strung muscle is low. During the prayers the blood flow is greatly increased to the muscles. Blood flow sometimes increases even before the start of Taraweeh prayers, with just the thought of performing the Taraweeh prayers. In addition to needing fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, the human body requires minerals such as Potassium for nerve and muscle activity. It is found in fruits, meats, seafood and milk. Potassium deficiency leads to muscular and neurologic disorders. Potassium is also important in the transmission of nerve impulses and is a major positive ion in intracellular fluids. Potassium is involved in cellular enzyme activities, and it helps regulate the chemical reactions by which carbohydrates is converted to energy and amino acids are converted to protein. Also Potassium ions cause vasodilation of arterioles. During the Taraweeh prayers, systolic Blood pressure may rise (the larger number in B.P.) a little and the diastolic Blood Pressure(the lower number in B.P.) may remain unchanged or even fall. However after the Taraweeh prayers are over, the B.P. may drop to just below normal levels which is a welcome sign. Taraweeh prayers improve respiratory efficiency; circulation in the capillaries surrounding the alveoli, or air sacs, is increased, and this brings about enhanced gas exchange and deeper breathing. The increase in the maximal consumption of oxygen is what makes the Namazi feel better. Those who perform the Taraweeh prayers, apart from the prescribed Salat, are more alert and active than those who do not perform the Taraweeh prayers, even after the age of retirement. Taraweeh prayers improve physical strength and joint stability and reduce the risk of injury to the tendons and connective tissues. After age 40, the bone mineral density falls with age. Taraweeh prayers increase bone mineral density in both menopausal and in elderly women and prevents osteoporosis and maintains normalcy in bone structures. Osteoporosis results in hip fractures in women after menopause and in elderly men. The risk of osteoporosis is substantially reduced by regular Salat and Taraweeh prayers. The prayers improve lubrication of joints, movement, and maintain flexibility. Deep vein thrombosis (the most common cause of ulceration of the legs in the elderly) is prevented by performing Salat and Taraweeh prayers.

Metabolic Effects

Salat improves body weight control and expend calories without proportionate increase in appetite. A combination of moderate dietary restriction, both at the Iftar and Sahur (early morning breakfast before the start of fast) meals, accompanied by the Taraweeh prayers, should achieve weight reduction. This will also reduce both fat and body weight, but fat-free weight will remain constant or may even increase slightly. Hence during Ramadan one should not overeat at the Sahur and Iftar meals and continue to perform Salat and Taraweeh prayers in order to lose some of the excess weight.

It is well known that exercise prevents coronary heart disease (CHD), increases high density lipo-proteins (HDL or healthy Cholesterol), increases maximum oxygen uptake, slows the heart, lowers the B.P. slightly, decreases ventricular ectopic activity, enlarges the lumen of the coronary arteries and increases cardiac output. Exercise also improves carbohydrate tolerance and improves late-onset diabetes, and helps cases of chronic respiratory diseases. Beneficial changes have been recorded in the lipid profile, B.P., clotting factors, weight reduction and insulin sensitivity of muscles and other tissues in persons who exercise regularly. Growth Hormone secretion is elevated by fasting and it is further elevated by Taraweeh prayers. As Growth Hormone is necessary for collagen formation, this may be an important factor as to why the skin of those who fast regularly during Ramadan and perform the Taraweeh prayers do not get wrinkled, even when they grow old.

Mental Health

It is a known fact that exercise improves mood, thought and behaviour. Exercise improves the quality of life, induces greater sense of well-being and energy, reduces anxiety and depression, influences mood favourably and contributes to self-esteem and an aura of confidence; improves memory in the elderly especially with constant repetition of the Ayaat (verses) from the Glorious Quran and other Ayaat which exalt His Glory. This constant repetition of the Quranic Ayaat would help to screen the mind from the incoming thoughts. It has been found by a Harvard University researcher, Dr. Herbert Benson that repetition of a prayer, Ayaat of the Quran or remembrance (Dhikr) of Allah or muscular activity coupled with passive disregard of intensive thoughts causes a "relaxation response" that leads to the lowering of Blood Pressure and decreases in oxygen consumption and a reduction in heart and respiratory rates. All these are combined in the Taraweeh prayer which is an ideal condition for "relaxation response." It combines repeated muscular activity with repetition of Salat, chanting of words of glorification of Allah and of supplications. The Taraweeh prayer puts the mind in a relaxed state. This calm state of the mind may be partly due to the release of encephalins, beta-endorphins (endogenous morphines) and others into the blood circulation. Endorphins are any one of the neuropeptides composed of many amino acids, elaborated by the pituitary gland and acting on the central and peripheral nervous systems to reduce pain. Endorphins are categorised as alpha-endorphin, beta-endorphin, and gamma-endorphin which produce pharmacologic effects similar to morphine. Beta-endorphin found in the brain and GI(gastro-intestinal) tract is the most potent of the endorphins and is a powerful analgesic(pain killer) in humans and animals. For example during childbirth many women release endorphins reducing a woman's sensation of pain. The release of endorphins is associated with an euphoria. During childbirth, women who give birth with little or no medication sometimes label this euphoria a "birth climax."

Conclusion

Islam is the only religion where physical movements of Salat and Taraweeh prayers are combined with spiritual exercise. When Salat and Taraweeh prayers are practised throughout a person's life, recurring every few hours or so, trains a person to undertake the difficult task of meditation during physical manoeuvres of Salat and Taraweeh prayers, so that the Namazi(one who performs the Salat) benefits both from spiritual as well as physical exercise. Salat and Taraweeh prayers are unique in that tension builds up in the muscles during physical manoeuvres on the one hand, while tension is relieved in the mind due to the spiritual ingredient, on the other hand. The following benefits have been noted among those who perform the Taraweeh prayers: burning off calories and losing weight, maintaining muscle tone and body composition, joint flexibility (stiff joints are often the result of disuse, not arthritis), increasing metabolic rate, improving circulation, improving heart and lung function and aerobic capacity, decreasing heart disease risk profile, increasing your sense of self-control, reducing your level of stress, increasing your ability to concentrate, improving your appearance, reducing depression and resistance to depression, helping you sleep better and suppressing your appetite. Evidence is also accumulating that those who perform regular Salat along with voluntary prayers can conserve and actually retard the loss of bone mass in the elderly, thus staving off the ravages of osteoporosis that afflicts both men and women. It is also possible to retard the aging process and confer some protection to health in later life. Those who have performed Salat (Fard and Wajib), Sunnah and Nafl and Taraweeh prayers throughout life get protection and a positive effect in terms of health and longevity. They reverse the life-shortening effects of cigarette smoking and excess body weight. Even people with high blood pressure (a primary heart disease risk) reduced their death rate by one-half and their risk of dying from any of the major diseases is reduced. They also counter genetic tendencies toward an early death.

Hence Salat (Fard, Wajib), Sunnah, Nafl and Taraweeh prayers are necessary for Muslims to preserve life and their desirable qualities into old age.


http://www.islamfortoday.com/syed03.htm - http://www.islamfortoday.com/syed03.htm


Posted By: Chrysalis
Date Posted: 17 February 2009 at 1:40am
Jazakallah Khair ! Smile

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"O Lord, forgive me, my parents and Muslims in the Hereafter. O Lord, show mercy on them as they showed mercy to me when I was young."


Posted By: Zaharah
Date Posted: 17 April 2009 at 10:04am
May Allah be pleased.
Thanks for this information TopsoilThumbs%20Up
Zaharah


Posted By: Zaharah
Date Posted: 17 April 2009 at 10:22am
i tried the link above, it's not working.  Could you please send another link?
Thanks
Zaharah


Posted By: jasika
Date Posted: 15 October 2010 at 3:18am
Now just as a quick reminder, one thing I want to say is that these authors are talking only about the physical and mental benefits that we can get by performing the prayers. However, as Muslims we know that prayer is not just for deriving physical and mental benefits, but it is also done for spiritual benefits, for the good of our souls. So we shouldn't think of Salat as some kind of an excercise which will only help our bodies, but rather as an act of worship which will bring us closer to God, and also benefit us in the afterlife as we

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Posted By: cherrylou0510
Date Posted: 04 November 2010 at 7:18pm
Great article!!! Thanks for sharing guys!! I have learned a lot here. Now I know what to do now. Keep up the good work.


Posted By: NaturalyHealthy
Date Posted: 05 November 2010 at 3:24pm
I think it's great that there are so many natural things being found that can truly help with a person's health. Thank you for taking time to post these pertinent articles and bring them to my attention.


Posted By: shikomizue
Date Posted: 09 November 2010 at 7:11pm
Great article, really a knowledge sharing 


Posted By: sypes55
Date Posted: 13 November 2010 at 4:13pm
Naturopathic doctors have long tried to promote healing without the use of toxins, chemicals and standard drug therapy. Thanks for writing this article and bringing our attention to natural methods.



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