IN today's world of diseases which continue to inflict different levels of suffering on human nature, it is almost unthinkable that breathing and body exercise can be better remedy for some perceived incurables than conventional chemical drugs.
But prominent Kitwe businessman Amrat Parmar is determined to introduce this natural cure to the Zambian populace and he believes that if it has worked wonders in India, then it should be able to work out in Zambia because all human beings were created in the image of God.
Breathing exercise for a healthy body must be conducted at the same time on daily basis. It starts in the morning and the person practising it must ensure strict observance of the rules that go with this natural cure of ailments.
These include spending at least five minutes on each component of the exercise while sitting up in order to keep the spinal code straight.
Individuals must ensure emptying their bowels (visiting the toilet) first thing in the morning before embarking on the exercise and about five hours after dinner.
This rule ensures maximum application of the required force, which works more to strengthen body parts.
Breathing exercise must be of the same quantity and time when this is done must strictly be observed.
The person exercising must keep their eyes closed while sitting in a comfortable posture with their thumb connected to one of the other four fingers to ensure that created energy does not escape from the body.
This is what Mr Parmar has been doing over the past 52 years and could be the reason he looks far younger than his actual age.
"I have been practising breathing exercises since 1957 and I have never been sick in my life. I just want to let you know that you too can be healthy and live long without getting sick if you practise these exercises for at least half an hour everyday," advises the 67-year-old.
"My mission is to make Zambia healthy and disease-free by promoting awareness while helping community school pupils."
According to Mr Parmar, breathing exercise has worked wonders in India where Swami Ramdevji Maharaj, a proponent of the same has spearheaded it over the past six years, experimenting on millions of people in camps of 20,000 to 30,000 every week and in different countries and cities.
Millions others continue to benefit from a programme televised for free to 157 countries.
Maharaj has been to the Americas, Canada, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Europe and many other areas all to introduce and promote pranayam and other forms of Yoga for free and he is responsible for inspiring Mr Parmar into bringing the concept to Zambia.
A survey among patients of even what are considered to be incurable and complicated diseases such as cancer, diabetes heart diseases, asthma, arthritis, epilepsy, obesity, thyroid and anaemia, has proven that most of them had been cured and were once again leading normal lives.
Other diseases that have been cured include ulcers, bronchitis, varicose veins (common in pregnant women), parkinsons (the disease most common among boxers), tumour, paralysis, migrane, psoriasis, leuicoderma and just numerous others.
According to Mr Parmar breathing exercise has proved to increase CD4 count in patients of HIV, thereby strengthening their immunity and avoiding their condition to degenerate into AIDS.
It also improves mental ability, memory, concentration and sanity. Patanjali Yogpeeth in the Indian city of Haridwar documents information on all these cases, says Mr Parmar.
This is the concept Mr Parmar hopes Zambians can embrace and he is confident it will suffice in the face of poverty which has been a deterrent to medical facilities and attention among many underprivileged families.
So far, Mr Parmar has introduced this miracle cure in community schools he is helping to sustain in Kitwe, Chingola, Luanshya and Kalulushi and things are such that from long lists of sicknesses among pupils before introduction of breathing exercises, almost all schools today are recording 100 per cent attendance among the minors.
A tour of five schools in Kitwe, among them Kacema Musuma in New Kawama, Miracle OVC Community School in Kamatipa, Samaritan Community School and Doers OVC Community School both in Riverside and witnessed exhibitions of the breathing exercise by pupils, all of whom also recited Mr Parmar's education project motto: Health is wealth, healthy Zambians wealthy Zambia, be healthy.
This is to say that wealth can only come to Zambia if the citizenry is healthy and so every citizen must strive to be healthy in order to contribute to the wealth of the country.
All in all, Mr Parmar has 16 schools on his sponsorship list, 13 of which are Kitwe-based with Luanshya, Kalulushi and Chingola hosting one each on condition that recipients of his support embrace the breathing exercise, which is slowly creeping into households.
Kacema Musuma teacher in-charge, Jessy Witola, said that even guardians and all teachers had joined in the daily practice of breathing exercise because unlike most conventional drugs embedded with side-effects, this effective natural health booster has no harm whatsoever to a human body.
Perhaps this is why the exercise has attracted pupils and parents in areas and towns with schools enlisted under the project In Kalulushi, Luanshya, Chingola and Kitwe.
Candy Chalwe who was found at Miracle OVC also said some parents in Kamatipa had started showing interest in the breathing exercises, while it was discovered during the same tour that almost all community schools were being run by untrained teachers despite all of them holding grade 12 qualifications.
Apart from citing the project motto and the breathing exercise, Mr Parmar has introduced a song which serves to remind a service provider (like himself) of their responsibility to love and serve human nature besides God the Almighty.
Like the breathing exercise and the motto, the song is sung everyday and the three are practised concurrently on arrival at school and as pupils prepare to knock off later in the day.
The project has 16 schools on its sponsorship list. They are Kacema Musuma which has a total 900 pupils and runs from grade one to nine. It is situated in New Kawama along with Twikatane Community Open School which hosts 315 pupils.
Across the stream in Kamatipa is Miracle Orphanage and Trinity Community schools with 582 and 370 pupils respectively, while Race Course is home to Hossana Mapalo with 825 pupils.
Other Kitwe-based schools are Mulenga Compound Community School with 1,200 pupils, Luangwa Catholic Community School (590 pupils), Mapaalo Community School in Central A (101 pupils), Sara Rose Foundation Limited in Nkana East (36 pupils), Cindi-Twashuka Child Rights Centre in Buchi (68 pupils) and Chimwemwe Community School which has 742 pupils.
The rest are Children of Bethlehem Community School (136 pupils), Kamitondo Basic School which is the biggest with 1,982 and Chamboli Basic School with 1,513 pupils.
Kalulushi has Shekinah Ministries Community Schools with 176 pupils while Luanshya hosts Noah's Ark Community School with 157 pupils with Chikola Community School in Chingola taking care of 361 pupils, bringing the total number of pupils under the Parmar's education project to 9,684 and all of them are practising the breathing exercise which is also called Pranayam.
The first stage of the exercise involves lungs cleansing which rids dust out of lungs and nostrils by exhaling 30 times with little force. Patients of high blood pressure are advised against applying unnecessary force while breathing out.
This is followed by deep breathing which allows in and out an estimated 4,000 to 5,000ml of clean (oxygenised) and dirty (carbonised) air of about the same proportion as opposed to only 400ml inhaled under normal breathing. This exercise and the air created thereof is vital for the smooth circulation of blood and air in the body system.
Breathing exercise for internal organs is the third stage and it is considered to be the best. Under it, a person inhales normally but exhales with force, allowing the stomach to inflate and deflate and in the process sends energy into all organs of the body when conducted continuously for five minutes.
The fourth is the five-minute all-purpose breathing which is believed to circulate more air to the ear, nose, throat, eyes and above all the brain.
This exercise is responsible for increasing one's memory, concentration and reactivates about 2.4 million to three million cells of the human brain while charging positive and negative bioelectronics which later provide energy to run such the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and intestines throughout.
The last exercise is vibration breathing which is said to vibrate all the trillions of cells in the body of a human being and energises it. These are the arsenals of good health Mr Parmar, under his Scientific Yog and Acupressure Trust, is seeking to promote to the whole of Zambia and he is confident that just like millions Indians have benefitted, Zambians too will find it a better alternative to chemical drugs.
The objective of his trust therefore is: To bring awareness of health, to make Zambia healthy and disease-free besides promotion of education and preservation of the environment in the country vis-a-vis tree planting against cutting because trees are of immeasurable importance to human existence.
He says Zambia would be healthy and disease-free within five years if the entire citizenry engaged in the prescribed five breathing exercises, free of charge, every day.
"There are numerous benefits of pranayam, the most important being that it cures almost all diseases and this has been proved in India and I have already proved some cases here in Zambia. Pupils in all schools we are supporting are no longer falling sick as often as was the case before while communities are beginning to appreciate the benefits of this natural treatment," he bragged.
Mr Parmar started his crusade in 2007, targeting community schools because he believes they are the most vulnerable with high numbers of underprivileged children in terms of education, health services and general living standards.
"I know that through community schools I can take care of the health and education needs of orphaned and vulnerable children. The better their health, the better their results in school. So far, I haven't faced any objection towards breathing exercises from members of the public because I have offered a scientific explanation of it all," he says.
The 67-year-old Mr Parmar plans to embrace non-governmental organisations, the church, ministries of Education, Sport, Youth and Child Development, Information and Broadcasting Services and the ministry of Health in spreading the concept of the breathing exercise across Zambia, starting with training of trainers who would then reach out to the remotest of the country.
He is more than determined to do this for no monetary gain, believing that his biggest gain will be through promotion of good health and education for all Zambians.
Apart from his health drive, Mr Parmar has undertaken to construct a number of schools with the help of the Indian community in Kitwe whom he has mobilised to donate amounts of cash every month and donated K115 million, besides material assistance from the Hindu Community in Lusaka who donated iron sheets for the roofing of structures.
Kitwe Wood and Log company weighed in with timber worth undisclosed millions of Kwacha while Kitwe Processing donated 9m x 90 iron sheets towards a timber structure of an eight-class wooden structure at Kacema Musuma.
It is this kind of mobilisation which has helped Mr Parmar to build five schools, some of them from mud bricks like in the case of Luanshya, besides a donation of 200 desks and benches to seven community schools in the towns he is servicing and gives K100,000 monthly allowance and second-hand donated clothes to all teachers in the 16 schools.
He pays rentals for all schools operating in rented structures and pays school fees for some children in Government institutions among his other immense contributions.
A vegetarian father of two sons, a doctor based in the United States of America and a computer consultant resident in Canada, Mr Parmar is a retired chartered accountant with two other degrees in economics and commerce, all obtained in India.
He has lived in Zambia for 37 years now and once worked as chief accountant from 1972 - 1974 at Willy Kit, a company owned by late lawyer Edward Shamwana in Lusaka's Makeni area, before he switched to JJ Lowe, a construction company and later a group of companies in Kitwe where he became financial controller.
At 67, he does not remember falling sick in the whole of his life and attributes this rare feat to vegetarianism and physical exercises he does almost every other day in the morning and evening apart from breathing exercises.
To exhibit the potency of the breathing exercise, Mr Parmar who is not a medical doctor but more than a doctor wants a cancer patient he says he can treat within seven days. While it might be a challenge, he believes challenges are for man to face.
However, his previous moves towards proving this have not been well-received at the ministry of Health headquarters and he hopes there could be change of attitude the next time he goes there because what he intends doing is for the good of the citizenry and not personal gain.