Diet for Smokers and Ex-Smokers

As a dietitian, the three most common questions which smokers ask me about diet and smoking, are: (1) Can a diet compensate for health damage caused by smoking? (2) What should I eat if I smoke? (3) If I quit, what type of diet is best to prevent weight gain?

(1) CAN A DIET COMPENSATE FOR SMOKING?

No diet or eating-plan, no matter how nutritious, can neutralize the health damage caused by the 850+ chemicals in tobacco smoke – many of which are carcinogenic. On average, if you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, you double your risk of a heart-attack and are five times more likely to suffer a stroke than a non-smoker. At 40 cigarettes a day, you are five times more likely to suffer from sudden cardiac death. Smoking is also the leading cause of lung cancer.

So before we even start to examine an appropriate type of diet for smokers, my overriding advice is: quit smoking today!

(2) WHAT SHOULD I EAT IF I SMOKE?

For anyone who smokes, daily diet nutrition is critical. The damage doneto the body's cardiovascular and respiratory functions requires a constant need for extra nutrients. Even if you smoke 5 cigarettes a day, you have increased nutritional needs due to your increased risk of hypertension, atherosclerosis, emphysema and numerous cancers. As stated, a healthy diet will not prevent these health conditions, but it may delay their development.

INCREASED NEED FOR ANTIOXIDANTS

Tobacco smoke leads to increased levels of free radicals – cancer-causing agents – in the body and a corresponding need for protective antioxidants that can neutralize them. The main antioxidant vitamins are vitamin C and vitamin E (which works best in combination with the mineral selenium). Phytochemicals such as bioflavonoids and carotenoids (eg. Beta-carotene) are also rich in antioxidants.

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR ANTIOXIDANT INTAKE

Use the following suggestions are a guide to minimum dietary requirements.

– Eat 3-5 daily servings of deep green, dark red, orange of yellow vegetables.
– Eat 3-5 daily servings of red, yellow, orange or green fruits.
– Switch from coffee to tea, ideally green tea.
– Each day, take 2 tsp of wheatgerm oil (rich in vitamin E) and 6 Brazil nuts (selenium).

[Note: a serving is approx 1 medium fruit, or 1/2 cup chopped]

SPECIAL NEED FOR INCREASED VITAMIN C

One cigarette is estimated to rob the body of 25mg of vitamin C. Since all smokers have a greatly increased need for this antioxidant-rich vitamin simply to maintain minimum levels. In practice, this need can only be met by taking supplements. As a general guide, I suggest you take 1 gram of vitamin C supplements per day. Choose a "timed-release" brand that includes a minimum of 100mg bioflavonoids.

BEST DIETARY SOURCES OF VITAMIN C

Fruits, such as: blackcurrants, papaya, guava, cantaloupe, elderberries, kiwi fruit, mango, oranges, strawberries.

Fruit Juices, such as: cranberry, grapefruit, lemon, orange.

Vegetables, such as: red peppers, green peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, tomatoes.

PROTECTIVE CAROTENOIDS

Carotenoids are pigments found in plants. All carotenoids are antioxidants, the most common example being beta-carotene. It is found in green plants (eg spinach), as well as orange and yellow plants, such as carrots, sweet potato and melons. Clinical trials indicate that when consumed in foods – not supplements – betacarotene reduces certain precancerous symptoms.

[Warning: for reasons which are still unclear, beta-carotene supplements actually increase the risk of disease (eg. Lung cancer). So your intake of beta-carotene should come exclusively from food.]

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR INTAKE OF CAROTENOIDS

Use the following suggestions are a guide to minimum dietary requirements.

Eat 4 daily servings of deep green, yellow or red vegetables, including: carrots, sweetcorn, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato.

Eat 4oz tomatoes daily, either in sauce or chopped.

Eat 3 daily servings of colored fruit, including: melon, oranges, strawberries, mango, cherries.

PROTECTIVE BRASSICAS

According to research evidence, cigarette smokers who eat more brassicas have less incidence of cancers (eg. Breast, colorectal, lung, pancreatic, prostate and stomach). As all these cancers are initiated by free radicals, it follows that brassicas may help to prevent other problems initiated by free radical damage and accelerated by smoking, such as: cataracts, emphysema, asthma and age spots.

Brassicas include: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cage (all types), cauliflower, cress, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, swede, turnip, watercress.

GARLIC AND ONIONS

Garlic is a good source of unique antioxidants and contains anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Its anti-tumor properties are well documented. Onions, a member of the same vegetable family, have similar properties to garlic.

MORE DIETARY TIPS FOR SMOKERS

Reduce the total fat in your diet. At the same time, minimize your intake of saturated fat and trans-fatty acids. Eat regular servings of omega-3-rich oily fish (eg salmon, mackerel, sardines).

Eat healthy carbohydrates. Avoid refined white flour carbs, choose only whole grains such as, oats, brown rice, wholewheat pasta. In addition, choose foods rich in soluble fiber (eg apples, oat bran).

Eat healthy low-fat protein such as fish, lean chicken / turkey, or egg-whites. Include small amounts of lean red meat in your diet, along with regular servings of soy foods (eg soybeans) and other vegetable protein.

Reduce sodium in your daily diet. Check food labels and choose low-sodium or sodium-free foods. Also avoid adding salt when cooking or eating.

TAKE REGULAR CARDIO-AEROBIC EXERCISE

No cigarette smokers diet-plan is complete without regular physical exercise. Working within your fitness capacity, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts to about 30-45 minutes a day, on most days. For best effects on lung capacity and cardiovascular function, choose aerobic exercise such as: brisk walking, jogging, jumping rope, swimming and most sports.

(3) CAN YOU PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN AFTER YOU QUIT?

Yes, if you take proper physical exercise and eat a healthy calorie-controlled diet, you are unquestionably to gain weight. However, in my experience, some weight gain seems to be inevitable.

What IS THE AVERAGE WEIGHT GAIN?

Most smokers gain weight immediately after they quit. Current evidence suggests that the average weight gain for both men and women who quit smoking is about 6-8 pounds. The more you smoke, the higher the risk of weight gain when you quit. This weight gain is due to the decrease in metabolic rate and an increase in appetite experienced when you quit smoking. This weight increase is perfectly normal, and need only be a short term event.

SO WHAT SHOULD I EAT?

There is no single diet which will prevent weight gain once you quit smoking. Your best option is to focus on healthy eating combined with regular vigorous exercise (within your fitness capacity) and let Nature do the rest. As a general guide, follow these suggestions.

First, cut down on caffeine. Nicotine withdrawal makes us jittery and nervous. So it's important to avoid coffee and caffeine-rich soft drinks which may increase this nervous tension.

Second, increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. Studies show that an increased intake of fruit and vegetables can help to minimize weight gain after you quit smoking. Eat them for snacks, add them to meals, eat them as starters and / or desserts. Eat them on car journeys instead of sweets or candy.

Third, eat little and often. Avoid the temptation to linger over your meals. Get into the habit of eating smaller meals at more regular intervals. Aim to eat something, no matter how small, every 2-3 hours. This helps to maintain a regular rate of calorie-burning.

Fourth, take steps to learn more about nutrition and choose nutrient-dose foods whenever possible. (See above for information about antioxidants, and healthy fats, carbs and protein.)

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN?

Make physical exercise a top priority in your daily schedule. Ideally join a gym or fitness center and get into shape. Research evidence demonstrates a clear link between exercise and weight control after you quit smoking. Choose both cardio-aerobic and strength-training exercises, as both play an important role in raising metabolic rate.

Also, make sure you get enough sleep. Research evidence shows that lack of sleep may lead to weight gain, as well as an increased craving for cigarettes and food.

Signs and Symptoms of Renal Disease-hypertension

The signs and symptoms of renal insufficiency may be similar to those of renal failure, depending on the degree of kidney involvement. If your patient’s kidneys lose the ability to concentrate urine, he may develop polyuria and nocturia. If his renal disease is untreated and renal failure progresses, he may develop oliguria. His urine may have a low specific gravity and a high sodium concentration. Also, it may be bloody or tea colored and contain casts and high concentrations of red blood cells (RBCs) and white blood cells (WBCs).

Your patient may have a low serum sodium level because of his kidneys’ inability to reabsorb sodium. He also may have a low serum calcium level caused by reduced renal absorption. And his serum potassium and phosphate levels may be elevated because of reduced renal excretion of potassium and phosphate.

If he has elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine levels, his renal disease may result in azotemia. If his kidneys lose their ability to produce erythropoietin, he may become anemic.

Your patient’s renal disease also may cause signs in other body systems. He may have jugular vein distention, a full and bounding pulse, peripheral edema, pulmonary edema, and heart failure. He may show signs of metabolic acidosis, including Kussmaul’s respirations. And he may develop anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and difficulty concentrating.

Signs and Symptoms of Peripheral Vascular Disease

In the early stages of peripheral vascular disease, your patient may experience pain in the calves or buttocks when walking, depending on the level of the vascular occlusion. Usually, this pain, called claudication, disappears with rest.

You can determine the level of the occlusion by palpating the patient’s peripheral pulses. If his femoral pulse is diminished, he may have aorto iliac disease. If his popliteal pulse is absent, he may have a femoral-arterial occlusion.

As the disease progresses, the pain will increasingly limit a patient’s activity, and he’ll feel pain at rest. The pain may disrupt his sleep, causing him to sleep with his legs in a dependent position. However, this position further compromises venous return, decreasing blood flow to his legs.

He also may experience numbness and tingling caused by ischemic nerve tissue in the affected leg. The skin of the affected leg may be hairless, cold to the touch, dry, and shiny. The toenails may be hypertrophied. When the affected leg is elevated, it may be pale. When it’s in a dependent position, it may be ruborous (deep red-blue-purple).

If peripheral vascular disease results in severe ischemia, painful ulcers may form at pressure sites and over bony prominences, such as the heel, ankle, toes, and dorsum of the foot. Usually, these ulcers are round, well circumscribed, and pale gray. They also may be covered with black eschar.

Air Conditioners Can Stop Working When You Most Need Them

Its midway through summer, the grill outs and summer parties are in full swing. The pool is crowded with people on a hot and humid summer afternoon, and your air conditioning kicks the bucket. To keep such a tragedy from occurring, your air conditioning should get a check up by top companies such as Tallahassee AC service, among others. If it's too late and your air conditioning has already died, companies out there such as Tallahassee AC repair can fix your unit right up.

Air conditioning is one of those things we all take for granted. We never understand its full value until it's gone. There is nothing better than some cold air filling your house or car after a hot day. On the other hand, there may not be anything worse than coming home to a sun baked car or an overly hot and humid home, and finding out that your air conditioning no longer works.

Although there are certain preventive measures that can be taken to make sure your unit lasts as long as possible, nothing is every guaranteed. The first step to making sure you get the most life out of your unit is by doing your homework and being sure you got the most reliable unit for your money. A window unit probably will not kick out as much cold air and will not last as long, but it might be the only thing that your budget can afford.

Once you purchase your unit, the next step is making sure it gets careed for properly. Having a small check up arranged for your unit will ensure that you get the maximum life out of your unit. One major thing to avoid is leaves getting stuck on the intake of the unit and can often ruin the whole thing, costing you much time and money.

Aside from making the right choice in choosing the right unit and then taking care of it, you should also focus on who takes care of it for you. A lot of times people do not do their research and wind up with someone who does not know what their doing trying to fix their unit. It might make the most sense to contact a family friend who can also work on units, or just call your local hardware store. The best way to choose someone to help you maintain your unit, is to call the manufacturer or who your bought your unit from. They will have the best insight as to who will give you the best quality work for the price.

If you want to avoid those hot afternoon and sweltering summers, choose someone who will take care of your unit as if it were their own and will not drain your pockets. The key to purchasing a unit that will last is doing your homework when you are shopping and then making sure you take good care once you have made the right purchase. Make sure to think everything through and never be too proud to ask.

Birth Control Pill Side Effects May Be More Than You Bargained For

Countless women around the world take “the pill” – oral contraceptives (OC) – in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Although there is inherent risk in taking any birth control pill, some apparently are riskier than others.

Virtually all oral contraceptives potentially have the following serious side effects:

– Deep vein thrombosis

– Gallbladder disease

– Heart attack (myocardial infarction) along with additional heart-related problems

– High blood pressure (hypertension)

– Liver cancer (hepatic neoplasia)

– Stroke

– Thromboembolism. This is when a blood clot, after travelling through the blood stream, plugs up another blood vessel.

Women who take either YAZ or Yasmin may be taking significantly more risks than they are aware of. Not only has the risk from taking either Yaz or Yasmin been reportedly much higher, there are significant side effects that are more specific to Yasmin and Yaz as well.

Both Yaz and Yamin are birth control pills that were the first to use drospirenone, a new form of progestin. When combined with ethinyl estradiol (EE) it prevents normal ovulation. In other words, the user’s monthly egg release does not occur.

Although both are manufactured by Bayer HealthCare, they are different. The primary differences are the amount of ethinyl estradiol in the pills and the time frame within which active pills and placebos are taken within their 28 day cycles.

– The Yasmin pill has 39 micrograms of EE while the YAZ birth control pill has 200 micrograms.

– The Yasmin pill is taken for 21 consecutive days, followed by placebo pills for 7 days. Active YAZ pills are taken for 24 days, followed by 4 days of placebos.

The British Medical Journal Online published two studies on August 14, 2009. Dr. F.R. Rosendaal, one of the leading authorities on oral contraceptives, conducted one study that involved 1,524 women. The second study focused on the entire adult female population of Denmark, the equivalent of 10,400,000 women years.

Both studies concluded that women who take combination oral contraceptives that contain drosperinone are 6 to 7 times more likely to suffer a thromboembolism. They found that women have the greatest risk of being the victim of a thrombotic event within their first three months of using these pills.

They also found that a number of the claims being touted by Bayer are not provided by these oral contraceptives. Neither Yaz nor Yasmin provides any increased benefit of weight loss. They do not cure acne. And there is no proof that they are effective in treating PMDD – premenstrual dysphoric disorder – or any other similar premenstrual symptom.

"Herbitual" Awakening – Hidden Clues To Alternative Healing Could Be In Your Kitchen Right Now!

As a vegetarian I am often asked the question "How do you get your protein without eating meat?" I love to answer this question because I know in that moment there is a chance of changing someone's life forever. At first, the reason I switched to being a vegetarian did not have to do with the antibiotics and hormones that animals are treated with or the pesticide infested food they are fed.

My reasons in the beginning were the result of an awakening that I received when viewing photographs taken of living, raw, organic foods in their natural state with a special camera. The Kirlian photography I saw revealed the electric energy that these foods contained before being cooked and before being chemically altered or microwaved and it was at that moment that I realized that the answer to true longevity, anti-aging, health and quite simply feeling awesome everyday Was to introduce some of these foods into my diet.

I began to learn everything I could about health and nutrition. Herbs in particular thought my attention because I realized that some of these herbs had super qualities and could in fact alter my entire outlook on life by increasing my energy levels to quantum levels. In addition to helping myself, I find myself having a huge impact on other people who are open to hearing about some of these herbs. I attended a San Diego Chargers game not too long ago and as most people are aware these games are filled with carnivorous loving fans who tailgate for hours, drinking alcohol and eating pounds of meats and exports.

I came across an individual who was a photographer. He was filled with an hunger for life but was low on energy. He had just eaten large quantities of meat and he in fact was obese and looked older than he actually was. I was eating a bag of Goji berries and I overheard him say he only ate meat for the protein and he in fact did not really care for it. He even felt deep down it was probably bad for him. I told him that Goji berries are one of the most nutritionally rich fruits / herbs on the planet and it was a complete protein with all the essential amino acids, that it was rich in fiber and trace minerals, that it was a good source of vitamin C and iron and it was a great snack food. He had not known that the Goji berry even existed and was thrilled to hear that his local health food store carried it. At that moment he told me he would probably never eat meat again and wanted to learn about other high protein plant based foods. This story and many others have been a motivational for me in writing articles and books about superfoods, herbs and wellness.

There is no mistaking that our modern food supply does not contain the rich nutrients that that once did and that we are bombarded with pharmaceutical remedies for most of our illnesses. I have found many herbs that I believe may have superior medicinal qualities that can lead you to extreme health and towards an abundant, successful life by increasing your energy and helping your own body prevent you from getting sick. Health has to be a primary objective for yourself. I often tell people who are as confused and unfocused as I was that you have many paths and roads before you which you can choose to take. Yet if the one you choose does not lead you to extreme health you may have chosen the wrong path.

Herbs like the Goji berry have been around for thousands of years and have been used in medicine by ancient civilizations to help their kings and queens rid themselves of disease. The Goji berry is of particular importance to me because it is this herb that I first saw using the Kirlian photography. The Goji berry is an herb that has been used in Chinese history for more than 5,000 years and is considered one of the top (if not the # 1) herb out of 8,000 plus herbs in Chinese herbal medicine. That's a pretty powerful realization!

I have been fascinated with health and wellness since 1982 when I joined the US Marines and I knew that if I was going to complete the rigid mental and physical training during the heat of the summer in Paris Island, I would have to educate myself about nutrition . I read books on vitamins, minerals, and herbs. Then I visited local health food stores and read all the labels. My diet back then was whatever my family could afford to eat or whatever I could steal. It was not an organic, whole foods based diet. It included a lot of meats, sweets, colas and lots of alcohol. All of which were taking a toll on my immune system, my skin, and my digestive system. I did not know about the Goji berry back when I joined the marines but I did learn about others which helped me prepare myself for the training I did back then. It continues to serve me now as I train for an Ironman Triathlon, which consist of a 2.4 mile Swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile marathon. This is a total of 140.6 miles all in one day. These herbs are not the source of my carbohydrates but are some of the keys to my strong immune system which takes a huge beating during vigorous exercise.

The second herb is a very well known herb and it is called Ginseng. Ginseng has been a part of Chinese herbal medicine for over 5,000 years. Ginseng strengthens the heart and nervous system. It builds resistance to disease by strengthening our immune system and has anti-carcinogenic properties. A good quality Ginseng can also provide strength and endurance which is of particular interest to athletes including myself.

An interesting story about my top two herbs is of a man out of China by the name of Li Chung Yun who lived to be 252 years old. Goji Berries and Ginseng were part of his daily consumption. He was born in 1678 and died in 1930. When he defended a speech at the University of Beijing, he was around 200 years old.

The third herb is an herb out of Ayurvedic medicine from India called Tulsi. This herb is also called Holy Basil. I do not know about you but any herb that is considered a top herb in India is an herb I want to learn more about. There are many people in India that live extremely long lives as a result of taking many herbs, practicing deep breathing, and using mediation techniques. These modalities help relieve stress, oxygenate the body, and keep the mind and soul alive. Holy Basil is an adaptogen. I like this in an herb because it helps relieve stress in many parts of the body, depending on where it is needed. It seems to have this intelligence to give me physical strength when I need it, make me think more clearly when I need it, and help me if I'm feeling tired from exercise. There are other adaptogens I take but this one I like in particular because of its historical context.

Another great herb is one I take a lot of in the winter instead of getting the normal flu shot (as I used to get every year.) It is called the Reishi Mushroom. I like this in supplemental form because I can add it to smoothies before an event; It supports the immune and respiratory system. I was one who would get Bronchitis every year. When I started eating these herbs I was able to get through any onsets of bronchitis without antibiotics and that is important to me because antibiotics have been shown to reduce the probiotics (good bacteria) in our intestinal tract.

Another fantastic herb is Cinnamon. Cinnamon is known to kill 80% of all bacteria and it has very powerful alkaline properties. An increased alkalinity in my opinion is one of the keys to the best health ever and the ability to fight off cancers.

There is an herb that comes out of the Amazon called Cat's Claw that I have learned about recently and it has a tremendous amount of mood enhancing properties. Although what I like most is it's anti-viral properties. Anyone who suffers from getting cold sores or viral infections should look for herbs and minerals which are anti-viral.

I have to mention Black Walnut hull as one of my favorites. I first heard of Black Walnut hull while taking Isagenix's cleansing products. I researched all the ingredients in Isagenix and Black Walnut Hull was one that I believe is a key ingredient because of its ability to cleanse out the parasites and toxins in our digestive system. The importance of cleansing is a huge factor in a health and wellness program. You have to unplug all the bad stuff out of you as a first very important step.
Ginger is one of my favorites. As an athlete I can experience a tremendous amount of inflammation all over as a result of training. I add ginger root to my smoothies and I also take certain supplements which include ginger. I do not believe in having to take over the counter anti-inflammatories. There are so many natural anti-inflammatories that infection is no longer an issue with keeping myself fit and fighting off illness.

The power of my next herb has been known for centuries. Garlic is awesome. It tastes great in foods, serves as a powerful natural antibiotic, helps your arteries, your heart and your lungs. Although garlic has some odors it can still be consumed once or twice a week at night. The garlic will be out of your system by morning. If it is not, it could be a sign that it is doing its job to remove toxins which are trying to get the heck out of the way. Another alternative is aged garlic. I love taking aged garlic 3 or 4 times a week. It is available in supplemental form. The raw form is more potent but the agreed variety can be added if you would like to consume more of it on a consistent basis.

My last honorable remarks are Parsley, Oregano and Vanilla. All three of these have been used in cooking and for flavoring for centuries. They are all extremely powerful herbs which support the immune system.

I have concentrated on the few select herbs in my diet which to me are highly available, somewhat well known, and simple to consume. There are thousands of herbs but there is a lot of redundancy in their benefits. Quite simply if it is from nature, was put on this planet, and has lived for thousands of years … then it probably has a lot of power in its ability to help us as humans. Most of the benefits of herbs are well known and some are not. I strongly believe a diet which includes herbs such as the ones mentioned in this article can serve you in your journey towards a long healthy life!

Is cardiovascular disease curable – antihypertensive atenolol (Tenormin)

Various cardiovascular diseases like hypertension, coronary heart disease, arrhythmias and angina (chest pain) can be cured efficiently with atenolol mediciation. It is also used to treat and reduce the risk of heart complications following myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Atenolol is a beta blocker that selectively blocks beta1-adrenergic (myocardial) receptors. It decreases cardiac output, peripheral resistance, and myocardial oxygen consumption. It also depresses renin secretion without affecting beta2-adrenergic (pulmonary, vascular, uterine) receptors. It helps to reduce and treat risk of myocardial infarction (Heart attack). It is also used in Grave’s disease, a condition of enlarged thyroid also known as Goiter.

Atenolol helps to regulate heart rate or arrhythmia.  Arrhythmia is an abnormality in the heart’s rhythm or heartbeat pattern. The heartbeat can be too slow, too fast, have extra beats, skip a beat, or otherwise beat irregularly. This drug works by slowing down the heart and reducing its workload to improve blood flow and decrease blood pressure. It does not pass through the blood-brain barrier thus it is used in the treatment to avoid various central nervous system side effects. This medicine is excreted almost exclusively by the kidneys, which makes it attractive for use in individuals with end-stage liver disease. If it alone fails to control arterial hypertension, the drug can be combined with a diuretic.

Cardiovascular diseases or heart disease is a disease of the heart or blood vessels (arteries and veins). This disease is the leading cause of death. The studies indicate that vascular injury accumulates from adolescence and by the time that heart problems are detected, the underlying cause (atherosclerosis) is usually quite advanced, having progressed for decades. The process of atherosclerosis evolves over decades, and begins as early as childhood. Primary prevention is thus needed to curb the risk of cardiovascular disease. Primary prevention starts with education and awareness of its harmful effects and measures of prevention should be given importance.

Some of the cardiovascular disease includes atherosclerosis, myocardiopathy, rheumatic heart disease, syphilitic endocarditis, and systemic venous hypertension. There are different specialists for different organs to treat this disease viz cardiologist, thoracic surgeons, vascular surgeons, neurologists, and interventional radiologists as treatment depends on the organ that is to be treated.

Diet plays an important role in your body, and thus you should give up all bad eating habit. Studies have revealed a link between fast food and an increase in heart disease. To improve or prevent atherosclerosis include diet high in fibers from vegetables while low in fat and cholesterol, stay away from tobacco and avoid second-hand smoke, decreased alcohol consumption, manage diabetes strictly, decrease BMI if overweight or obese, increase daily activity to 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise, and decrease emotional stress.

Communications for Change

An article in the December issue of PM Network by Sarah Fister Gale deals with the public relations issues that companies engaged in the extraction of oil and natural gas reserves by the process of fracturing, or “fracking” as it’s called by the industry. The issue is basically one of distrust: people concerned about the affect of toxic chemicals on their drinking water distrust the extraction companies. They suspect that the chemicals they use are poisoning their water. In some cases they may be right but in the majority of cases, their suspicions are unfounded. Unfounded or not, these suspicions have a negative impact on the drilling projects. The same suspicions caused by a lack of facts can impact on IT projects, especially those introducing a new process or replacing existing systems. Before I examine the affects of communication on those projects, let me bring you up to speed on the issue Sarah Fister Gale wrote about.

Fracking requires the extraction company to dig a deep well through intervening layers of shale or other hard deposits and flush the gas or oil to the surface by pumping pressurized water, sand, and chemicals into the well. The pressure created opens up fissures and flushes the gas or oil to the surface. If fracking only relied on water and sand to achieve results, there would be no issue; it is the toxins that are sometimes used in conjunction with these natural agents that are the issue. Because the process requires the flushing action to be carried out at a level that is usually lower than the water table there is a risk that any toxic chemicals used could contaminate the drinking water. This fear is compounded by the exemption that American companies enjoy from the Safe Drinking Water Act. The amount of public resistance to fracking projects has led to the postponement or cancellation of some projects as politically savvy environmental protection groups exert pressure on politicians to intercede.

Companies who have enjoyed some success in countering these campaigns have done so by treating the communities whose water the project could affect as stakeholders and treating communications with the communities as a project deliverable. An example of one such communications campaign involved newspaper ads which included photos and descriptions of all the equipment and materials used in the project. This approach presupposes that the materials and equipment in use does not introduce harmful chemicals to the drinking water. Communication with these stakeholders from the initiation phase of the project is another key to success.

Fracking projects are not the only ones that can fall prey to the fear of the unknown. Many IT projects run the risk of meeting user resistance because the effect of a new system on their jobs is an “unknown”. Users fear that their jobs are going to be made more demanding or that they will lose functionality with the new system. They may also fear losing their jobs as a result of a new software system making their jobs obsolete. Project managers responsible for projects which implement new software systems should take a page from the fracking industry’s book. The tools used to communicate may differ but the same principals that make the fracking communication effective can make communications for the IT project effective.

The first rule of effective communications is to treat the user community as a project stakeholder that must be communicated with. The primary user community will be immediately obvious, these are the folks the system must be rolled out to and who must be trained in its use, but look beyond that initial community. Are there any folks downstream or upstream of this primary group whose work could be impacted by the new system. Even if the work products are substantially the same, could slight differences affect their work? Could differing delivery schedules affect them? The use of process flow charts can help you identify hidden stakeholders. Don’t stop at the edge of the chart; check out the groups at the other end of those “off the page” markers.

Make communications with these stakeholders a project deliverable. Large extraction companies frequently employ whole groups of people whose only job is communications. They are seasoned veterans of project communications and can manage all aspects of this work from identifying stakeholders, to defining the best strategies, to composing the right communications. Smaller, less sophisticated, IT projects must manage this activity on their own. Make sure your project has a communications management plan, identify all the stakeholders and then find out what information each stakeholder group would be best served by. Another trick we can learn from the extraction sector is to engage these folks as early as possible, don’t wait until the week before implementation.

The stakeholders you must communicate with may include workers whose jobs will be eliminated when you deliver your new system. You may be tempted to discount these people – after all, they won’t be around to trouble you after your new system is implemented. Often the best and brightest of these folks get re-assigned to other jobs that you may come in contact with so treating them with respect is in your best interests. Even those who will leave the company will have an impact on those left behind. If the perception is that these people are treated fairly, included being kept informed, the effect will be positive. If the perception is that they are deliberately being deprived of information, the effect will be negative.

Now for the $64,000 question: exactly what do I say to people whose jobs will disappear when the new system is introduced? Firstly, don’t try to hide or cover up the fact that jobs will be eliminated; your dishonesty will be discovered and from that point forward you will have lost everyone’s trust. Work with your HR organization to develop information to be communicated. These are the people who understand which policies affect that type of communication. They should also be experienced with putting these types of communications packages together. Secondly, get all the facts around job eliminations. Which jobs will be eliminated? Which jobs will be opening up because of the change? How do workers go about applying for other positions in the company? Your HR organization should be able to help with all these questions. Include what you know about the project. What were the reasons behind building the new system? How will the new system benefit its users? How will it benefit the company? There may be information that is sensitive and can’t be communicated until the public has been informed. This information is usually of the type that would tend to influence stock prices. When you are unable to share this information, inform your stakeholders of the reason you can’t share it with them. It is very likely that communications for a new system that is part of a major change in business will be managed at the corporate level. Your communications should form a part of that larger plan.

Be honest in your communications. Give people the facts they are interested in or that they need. We are often tempted to gloss over any negative impacts the new system may have on the user community. We don’t deliberately mislead people but we tell people things we think they want to hear. Don’t be afraid to mix the good news with the bad. Frequently new systems require users to endure short term pain to enjoy long term gain. Don’t shy away from communicating information about the short term pain. Your user community is smart enough to figure out the value proposition. Just remember that once the cat is out of the bag it is very hard to put it back in. Know who has overall responsibility for communication in your company and always seek for their blessing of the information you want to communicate and the timing of that communication.

Timing is everything with communication. Being communicative with your stakeholders at a time when they aren’t particularly concerned with your project is wasteful of your project’s communication resources. Communicating a welter of technical details about the new system a year before implementation won’t be seen as honesty, it will be seen as noise and ignored. Good communications should give your stakeholders the information they want when they want it. This criterion must be balanced with the information available and when it becomes available. Communicate a description of the new system in a few sentences, along with the business reasons for choosing it in your first communications. You can also communicate changes to existing processes and procedures in very broad terms. This information should answer the question: how will the new system affect my work, but only at a very high level. Communicate project progress and any “wins” the project experiences during your build phase. Communicate the specifics of how the new system will impact work to specific groups of workers as the project gets closer to delivering.

Training on new systems is critical to their delivery of the value envisioned in the business case. Training sessions can also present you with opportunities to communicate to the trainees. Include the reasons the new system is being introduced with training in how to use it. Use the information you have available to support your communication and start out as you mean to go on. Let the stakeholders know when you will be communicating with them and if possible what you’ll be communicating (your communication management plan). During the initiation phase of your project you’ll have very little information available, but you will have the Business Case and Project Charter to use. The benefits, both tangible and intangible, the new system will bring to the organization is a good start and you should have that information to hand. You may want to tailor that information to suit your audience. Filter the benefits to make them specific to the group of stakeholders you are communicating with.

Slipping delivery dates for the introduction of a new system that will cause stakeholders some discomfort can leave these people feeling like they are being drawn through a knothole backwards. Realize that there are many different reasons that a final delivery date could change that have nothing whatever to do with the project or your management of it. The people who are paying for your project have every right to change the final delivery date when they have good business reasons for doing so. I wonder how many dates were changed as a result of the fallout from 9/11. Don’t paint yourself into a corner with your communications. Let stakeholders know that the delivery date chosen for the project could change down the road if business needs dictate. If you have to communicate a change in date, be sure to communicate the reasons for the change. Don’t just say the new Acme time tracking system will not be delivered on April 1st as originally planned, but on July 1st, tell the stakeholders that priorities have shifted to take advantage of a business opportunity that will increase revenue by 15%. This shift means that project work is being delayed and this will move final delivery to July 1st.

Treating project communications as a key project deliverable probably won’t eliminate all the fear and loathing of the new system you are building, but it should succeed in eliminating it for those stakeholders capable of viewing the project objectively. At the very least it will trigger questions that will provide you with an opportunity to refine the information you give your stakeholders.

Traumas Are Portals To Awakening

Like many people in the early 70’s, trauma forced me into questioning what life meant to me. My particular trauma at age 27 was being left with two small children after the death of my first husband, David. This was during an expansion of consciousness rising time when events such as the Viet Nam War, the Kent State shooting of students rebelling against it, birth control and the sexual revolution leading to flower children and love-ins, kicked us into gear. Many people began testing the waters of what we could experience – drugs, sex and rock n’ roll. After David’s death, I broke out of my protective shell and went looking for my own answers because what I knew no longer made sense; I became a seeker. I knew I would remarry and I wanted to marry an educated man, someone who liked to travel, was domestic, and although I didn’t put it down as a requirement at the time, had a spiritual bent.

I met Bill. He was a meditator, also widowed, had a young child close to my two children’s age and, due to his trauma after the death of his first wife, he opened up to alternative approaches for dealing with stress. He had taken up meditation and introduced it to me. I was enthralled by meditation once I learned it and wanted to learn more so I signed up for a Yoga Teachers’ Training course at the Yoga Centre Toronto where the old school of yoga teaching was still around – honouring the ancient yoga philosophy and instructing according to this philosophy. Back in those days, there was no Hot Yoga, Power Yoga, or Yoga to Lose Weight. It was Hatha Yoga, Pranayamas, Meditation and Yoga philosophy that was taught.

PRESSURE POINT WORK AND MAGICAL RESULTS

One of my teachers, Jay Bixby was his name, came up to me after his class and said, “Stay around after class, Danielle; I want to show you some healing techniques.” I was lucky enough at that time to have menstrual cramps and Jay proceeded to do some pressure point work on me. He pressed along my collar bone area, thumb walked down either side of my spine, hit points on my hip area, did spinal pressure point work on my thumbs and feet and to my amazement my cramping disappeared. I could feel this current of energy go into my abdominal area and dissipate the cramping. I thought, “Wow, this is better than taking a Midol pill.”

I shared this experience with Bill and we decided that I would take my first pressure point course – Vita Flex from the book by Stanley Burroughs called “Healing for the Age of Enlightenment”. It was 1977 and Mr. Burroughs had been around for a long time as a pioneer in the healing arts field. He was well ahead of his time and had been arrested for “curing” people which threatened the medical model but that didn’t stop him putting the word out. His book included the famous Master Cleansing Diet, Yoga poses (designed by Jay Bixby), colour therapy which I love, and his wonderful Vita Flex pressure point methodologies. This is my favourite book of all time and when I find copies of it, I snatch them up and pass them on to students when they take my Lower Leg or Upper Body Advanced Circulation workshops, which include some Vita Flex points.

About the time I took Vita Flex, Bill’s son had been diagnosed with a curvature in his spinal column. We were instructed to take him to Sunny Brook Hospital for X-rays where it showed that his thigh bone fit into his hip socket incorrectly, thereby pushing his hip off and ending with a curved spine and one leg 1.5 cm shorter than the other. We were asked to come back in three months to see how he was doing.

I took my stepson to the Vita Flex teacher and asked him if he could lengthen legs. (I was really being facetious as I didn’t think it would be possible.) He said, “Yes, in fact, there is a leg-lengthening point in the collar bone area.” The teacher taught me what to do and I performed this two-minute ritual every morning before I sent the kids off to school. I only pressed on the collar bone area, thumb walked down either side of his spine and did the spinal areas on the thumbs and the feet. The teacher had said that it would probably take about three months to normalize the leg.

That was all I did and then we took him back to Sunny Brook as requested to get X-rays once again and to our amazement, he was completely normalized! Well, you can imagine that we were very, very impressed with this result and totally delighted for our son as he was only ten years old and now could continue life with a better skeletal system.

ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER

That got us hooked on the healing arts and I think I took every course that came to town in those days. Wonderful courses with Dr. Bernard Jensen on Whole Foods and Iridology, Dr. Alzner’s Deep Muscle Reflexology, Werner Erhard’s Seminar Training known as EST which was very mind-altering in those days, and although I loved the Vita Flex method, I went on to get certified with the Reflexology Association of Canada in the early 80’s and became a teacher shortly after that.

At that time, doing all this alternative stuff was nowhere near as close to main stream as it is today — reflexology, yoga, and vegetarianism were still hokey pokey and we were considered a bit weird by our children’s friends. The kids would come home from school and I’d be standing on my head, or be in the corpse pose, or twisted like a pretzel. The visiting kids used to say to our children that there was never anything normal to eat in this house. We were really post-latent hippies raising new age children in a very confusing era. We didn’t have any road maps to follow and were making it up as we went along. We would have visiting yogis, psychic healers, people from other planets (so they said), walk-ins, tarot card readers and lots of wonderful experiences in that household – this is what our children were exposed to – lots and lots of whole person’s workshops and alternative living ideas.

Because our children were exposed to reflexology at a very young age, they often asked to have their feet done and were used to thinking of the body mapped out on the feet. Once, at a doctor’s appointment, the doctor said, “Let me take a look at your stomach” and my one daughter started taking off her shoes. I had to hold back some smiles.

We learned more yoga teachings from our yoga spiritual teacher, Dr. Ramamurti Mishra who was the most delightful yogi anyone could find. We were so very fortunate to have been exposed to his teachings about the philosophy of Ayurveda and the personal doshas (tendencies), yoga chakra healing and various practices for cleansing.

I also continued my education while raising the children and graduated with a degree in psychology and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Resources Management. I found that I had a keen interest in personality theory and qualified in the use of the MBTI® (Myers Briggs Type Indicator). I worked for a couple of companies teaching workshops in the use of a behavioural model and got further trained in temperament personality theory. I was having a blast learning all this wonderful stuff for self-understanding and healing.

A WHOLE HEALING SYSTEM AT OUR FINGERTIPS

All of these learning experiences led me to put together how to think of reflexology of the ears, hands, and feet. I realized that with the personality temperament theory (similar to Ayurveda mind-body system), we can think of the human instrument as a wholistic system consisting of a Mental Side which acts as the Dreamer in us and produces our Ideas; a Social Side which acts as a Catalyst in us and generates our Connections; and a Physical Side which acts as the Builder in us providing feedback that helps manifest and consolidate the ideas and connections.

Because I was fortunate to teach all three reflexology courses to students — Feet, Hands, and Ear Reflexology — I asked them what their experiences were and how they felt the three modalities differed. It was from my students that I tied together the knowledge of Ayurveda, personality temperaments, and reflexology modalities into a whole system at our finger tips. The benefits students expressed fit nicely into the principles of Ayurveda and we determined that by doing the ears we felt calmer; by doing the hands we felt our emotions cooled; and by doing the feet we felt the body was stimulated. I was so excited about how this all came together and tried to capture it in The Well-Tempered Life — a book that summarized my experience with yoga, personality theory, and reflexology.

• If the Mental principle is imbalanced, do Ear Reflexology to calm the mind.

• If someone is frustrated, upset or angry, do Hand Reflexology to cool the emotions of the Social principle.

• And if someone is tired, lethargic and dull due to too many time constraints and no time for rest and repair, do Foot Reflexology to stimulate the Physical principle.

MOTHER NATURE IS THE HEALER

Like many reflexologists, we know this is powerful work we’re doing and we’re thrilled when people tell us the impact of our pressure point work on their systems. I always tell my students, “You are not the healer here; your job is pressing buttons. Mother Nature is the healer and each person’s body has its own intelligence. It will take what it needs from your pressure point work and use it the way it sees fit. Your job is to just press the buttons.”

For me, it is best not to label an imbalance in the body but to think more along the lines of the Traditional Chinese Medicine orientation. See the condition as an imbalance of energy and strive to bring the system back to balance – back to homeostasis. Whether it is in the mental aspect with worry or anxiety; in the social aspect with frustration or anger; or whether it is in the physical aspect of fatigue and toxins, we need to strive toward balance and to assist our clients in achieving this with any tools, skills, or insights we have to share.

Reflexology, for me, is one of the most valuable tools we can have to help ourselves, our families, and our clients and I’m truly grateful to Jay Bixby, wherever he is, for my first pressure point natural healing experience. It really helped to shape my life. I do love sharing, teaching and passing on information and I love sharing my past and experience with others.

Heart Health and Cardiovascular Health Shakes

Cardiovascular health is the key to long life. It’s simple, really; keep your heart pumping, keep the blood flowing freely throughout your body, stay healthy and full of life. However, staying heart healthy is not as easy as it should be. With so many temptations, poor diets, lack of exercise, and a sedentary lifestyle, heart disease can sneak up an attack without warning. Men and women are susceptible, though both show different symptoms.

Maintaining a Healthy Heart

You can keep your heart healthy by following a few simply steps. Of course, a healthy lifestyle involves eating right, drinking nutritional shakes such as Cardio Juvenate, and staying active. There are specific nutrients that have been clinically proven to improve heart health, such as nitric oxide and arginine, both of which can be found in healthy heart supplements.

Maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle involves maintaining an active lifestyle. Regular exercise will strengthen your heart in improve cardiovascular health. As you exercise, your body will utilize oxygen better and overall circulation will improve.  Consider the following steps for improving heart health.

  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Increase your endurance
  • Your muscle tone and strength will improve
  • You will strengthen your bones (great for women who may be facing osteoporosis)
  • Reduce body fat
  • Reach a healthy weight
  • Reduce stress
  • Lower your tension, anxiety and help alleviate depression
  • Bump up your self esteem
  • Improve your sleep patterns

Signs of Heart Disease

If you’re not able to maintain a healthy lifestyle, get exercise, eat right, and digest the proper heart healthy nutritional supplements, the end result might be heart disease. While symptoms of heart disease are well known in men, women face a whole different array of signs, and many that can be easily missed. Women are also more likely to face higher stress levels and higher obesity levels.

Women usually don’t show the tell-tale signs associated with heart attacks. The signs are literally so subtle that they can be easily overlooked, even by health professionals themselves. One of the most overlooked, and yet frequent signs of a heart attack for a woman are extreme fatigue. Although, due to the busy life of a mother and wife, fatigue is also a common occurrence that most women deal with every day. However, if that fatigue is combined with shortness of breath, get to the hospital immediately.

Chest pain, another tell-tale sign for a heart attack in men, only affects less than 50% of women who have heart attacks. Women might feel a chest pain this is a sharp, burning pain that radiates down their back, jaw or neck. The pain can also radiate down both arms, into the stomach or just the upper back.

If you’re looking for symptoms of a heart attack, in addition to the shortness of breath, fatigue or the burning pain, you want to be aware of these changes in your body:

  • Breaking into a cold sweat
  • Inability to sleep
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Clammy skin
  • Increased anxiety

Whether you’re concerned about heart health, or just curious about how to improve your overall cardiovascular health, speak to your physician about how you can take these suggestions and put them into practice. (http://EraseDisease.com)

Can Long Standing Injuries Be Healed?

When we often think of going to see a doctor we think of what is currently affecting us, and what symptoms are being presented. Over time, if we cannot seem to find the right path to healing for a particular ailment, we often become resigned to living with it as if it is incurable.

We tolerate the pain or discomfort and go through our daily lives the best we can.

The truth is that health is our natural state.

The body will try everything with what it has to work with in order to survive and do it the best that it can. This can be true in injuries, where the gate or movement is thrown off, other body parts will overcompensate to try to even you out. Over time that can cause undue wear and tear on your body as a whole. It also holds true in nutritional deficiency. The body will begin to try to pull what it needs internally, even from bone and organs which can cause a host of problems.

If you are experiencing chronic ongoing health issues that feel like a puzzle you simply cannot solve, you are likely frustrated and about at a point where you feel like throwing in the towel and giving up.

Western medicine is often quite good for diagnostic; it isn’t quite as successful when it comes to successful curing treatments. Choosing to go the natural route and work with your body instead of against it, trying to cover symptoms with medications, is where many who have previously failed, may indeed succeed.

Through a combination of nutrition and chiropractic realignments you can allow your nervous system to restore its natural function and your body to be replenished with minerals, vitamins, and nutrients it may be missing. Nutritional Response Testing can be utilized to find out what exactly you are deficient in if you have elevated toxicity levels that need to be cleared or any other personalized issues that are coming into play.

While healing isn’t instant, you will begin to notice results fairly quickly as your body is given back the power to restore itself.

Older injuries may take more time to heal. But don’t give up. You didn’t develop them overnight. Sometimes scar tissue has built up, degeneration has occurred, and inflammation is present – all must be addressed. Visiting your local Nutrition Specialist & Chiropractor will get you back on the road to recovery.

Reiki for Brain Injury

What It Is

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a gentle and natural system of energy healing. One of the most ancient healing methods known, it originated in Tibet and was rediscovered in the 19th century by a Japanese monk named Dr. Mikao Usui. The Usui System of Natural Healing is named after Usui and has been passed down by Reiki Master Teachers since that time. The Japanese word, “reiki,” consists of two syllables: “rei,” which means “universal,” and “ki,” the “life force energy,” corresponding to Chi in the Chinese system of Qigong and acupuncture, and to the concept of prana in the various Indian systems of Yoga. Thus, Reiki refers to the healing qualities of universal life force energy.

Today, people practice Reiki worldwide. Many hospitals, clinics, and hospice settings now offer Reiki as an adjunct therapy given by volunteers or specialists trained in multiple modalities. Reiki is a wonderful complement to massage therapy, cranio-sacral work, and psychological therapy.

What It Does

Reiki works on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. It engages a precise method for combining this universal energy with the body’s own, innate powers of healing. Reiki is not meant to replace professional medical advice but rather to complement other treatment modalities by encouraging very deep relaxation. When the body relaxes deeply, it can begin to heal itself.

Reiki practitioners do not diagnose or prescribe medication. Instead, they allow healing energy to flow through their hands. Recipients often perceive this energy as warmth or tingling. Many fall asleep during treatment sessions, further allowing the body to relax and regenerate.

Reiki works with the human energy system, which consists of meridians (energy channels) and chakras (energy centers). Traditional Chinese Medicine identifies twelve main meridians-plus a governing and functional channel-that run like roads up and down the body. Although acupuncture was once considered completely “alternative,” research has shown correspondence between major acupuncture points and scientifically discovered nerve pathways and trigger points. Similarly, chakras-seven major energy centers that run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head-seem to connect via nerve clusters with endocrine glands whose function or malfunction result in feelings and physical states associated with those energy centers. The study of meridians and chakras spans thousands of years, with Western medicine only recently confirming what Chinese and Indian scholars professed so long ago.

A Reiki practitioner does not need to understand the human energy system in order to support it. Through mechanisms most people find mysterious, Reiki flows wherever it most needs to go. In this way, it acts like what herbalists call an “adaptogen”-energizing weak areas while decreasing areas of overstimulation. This makes sense, considering Reiki’s status as “universal life force energy.” Nature always aims for balance. A concentrated saltwater solution placed in fresh water results in a slightly saline combination. Yin balances yang. As Reiki flows through the body, energy redistributes itself in a balanced and natural way.

Why It Works

As previously mentioned, Reiki works by allowing the body to relax enough to heal itself. As a gentle, adaptogenic form of energy, it integrates and reconnects all levels of healing: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. This is important for all healing, but especially so for TBI survivors. In some ways, TBI provides the ultimate illustration of the need for multi-level healing. A physical injury affects mental processing and emotions. Depending on the location of brain damage, someone might lose the ability to feel sad, or forget how to do sequential tasks. Synapses become so jumbled that survivors often answer questions “randomly,” drawing upon whatever connections the brain happens to make at that time. Rational thought (mental level) becomes a challenge. Depression (emotional level) affects a majority of TBI survivors, in part due to neurochemistry and certainly due to chronic pain and loss of lifestyle. In order to stay positive during recovery, many survivors find themselves turning to spiritual pursuits.

This spiritual questioning naturally follows an injury that destroys one’s sense of Self. If a physical injury can strip away all the things we think we know about ourselves, then what remains? What is that underlying Awareness? Does the universe really deliver random blows, or did this injury happen for a reason?

If everything happens for a reason, then what might TBI carry as its message? Returning to the idea of chakras, TBI is a 7th chakra issue. The 7th chakra sits at the crown (top) of the head and is associated with the hypothalamus and pineal glands, spirituality, oneness consciousness, and the colors violet and white. Tradition says that whenever an illness or injury strikes a particular chakra, the spiritual issues connected with that chakra will aid the healing process. Well, the 7th chakra is THE spiritual chakra. The crown of the head provides our closest connection to “God Consciousness” or “Universal Love.” This chakra also controls all the other chakras, in the same way that the brain influences the entire body. For most survivors, TBI presents challenges in the form of finding one’s life path, opening to a greater sense of connection and service, embracing traces of Divinity in everyone and everything, and coming to recognize an underlying order in the universe.

Because Reiki addresses all levels of healing, it also helps balance the spiritual elements so crucial to recovery. Unlike other forms of energy work, however, Reiki does so in a very gentle way. Kundalini energy, for example-also known as the human potential that lies coiled at the base of the spine-does not present itself as gentle. Powerful, strong, and potent-yes, but if awakened too quickly, Kundalini energy can actually cause TBI-like symptoms. Reiki, by contrast, always works as an adaptogen. It does not force rapid change. Instead, it allows healing to unfold and reveal itself in its own time and in its own way. Given that the 7th chakra represents a culmination of all the other chakras, we might extrapolate that TBI and other neurological problems demand compassion and respect. These are extremely complex and dynamic health issues. Attempting to force recovery never works, because that would require superseding something we don’t fully understand. Ultimately, TBI offers a chance for integration in the deepest and most profound way. Many TBI survivors actually possess strong spiritual, creative and healing gifts, so their soul retrieval and healing offer potential to effect dramatic differences in our world. Reiki honors this mysterious process and creates a safe space for transformation.

Where to Find

As Reiki continues to gain recognition among health care providers, you can increasingly find it alongside other modalities like massage and psychological therapy. Many hospitals and hospices also offer Reiki to help patients feel nurtured and gently supported. You can look for flyers or business cards at Health Food Stores or in local alternative magazines, or ask for referrals from friends and family members. The International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP) offers an online practitioner and teacher search via zip code: http://www.iarp.org.

In general, you want to choose a Reiki practitioner with whom you feel comfortable. A standard Reiki treatment lasts one hour; however, Reiki integrated with other techniques may take more or less time. You can also receive Reiki from a distance, since Reiki Level 2 and higher practitioners have learned how to “send” Reiki through Distant Healing. The process of Reiki Distant Healing is too complex and involved to cover here; however, it does not differ in effectiveness from an in-person session. That said, some people prefer in-person sessions because they enjoy a human connection and/or spa-like experience.

A few words about the different levels: Someone with Reiki Level 1 knows all traditional hand positions for treating people on the body (with a light touch) or above the body. (Unless combined with massage or some other modality, Reiki never involves tissue manipulation.) Reiki Level 2 practitioners also know special techniques for increasing energy flow, creating mental/emotional balance, and healing past traumas. A Reiki Master or Reiki Master Teacher has studied advanced energy techniques and can offer something known as a Healing Attunement, a potent technique that encourages the recipient’s Higher Self to take a more active role in recovery. Many people experience dramatic shifts after a Healing Attunement.

How to Learn

Reiki Certification requires completion of required coursework for each level, along with Initiation Attunements from a Certified Reiki Master Teacher. The attunement process clears and opens the meridians and chakras in such a way that Reiki begins to flow through the hands. After an attunement, students can provide Reiki treatments to others and themselves. Thus, Reiki classes offer an economical way to receive ongoing treatment. Instead of paying others for sessions, students can treat themselves as needed. Reiki classes empower survivors and even offer a chance to earn income while disabled. When selecting a Reiki Master Teacher, students should look for someone with whom they resonate. TBI survivors would also want someone who understands their different learning style and individual needs.

Bile Duct Cancer Surgery: Now Easy to Get it in India at Low Cost

Modernization has made every thing easy and cheaper, previously many cancer patients died due to unavailability of proper medical healthcare facilities at their native places. Bile duct cancer surgery hospitals and clinics in India at Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Goa are providing world class medical healthcare services to the international patients. Investments in equipment and management standards are so high that major hospitals are “internationally accredited”. The cost of bile duct cancer surgery can be one-tenth of what it is in the United States or Western Europe, and sometimes even less. There has been a rise in the number of private hospitals in the past few years. There are numbers of hospitals of bile duct cancer surgery in India come under management groups that make sure top-class standard of medical service is offered through their branch hospitals at various locations across the country.
What is the bile duct?

The bile duct is long tube-like structure that connects the liver to the intestine and transports bile from the liver to the intestine. The top half of the bile duct is associated with the liver while the bottom half of the bile duct is associated the pancreas. The bile duct enters the part of the intestine called the duodenum into a structure called the Ampulla. Blockage of the bile duct causes build up of the bile in the blood since the bile can no longer go into the intestine. This condition is called jaundice and the skin becomes yellow from the accumulated bile in the blood.

What is bile duct cancer

Bile duct cancer or cholangiocarcinoma are tumors that occur in the bile duct. These are uncommon tumors and about 4,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year. Bile duct cancer usually develops in patients older than 65 years old.

What symptoms are present in patients with bile duct cancer

The patient usually presents with the following symptoms

  • jaundice (yellowness of the skin)
  • abnormal liver tests
  • weight loss
  • abdominal pain
  • poor appetite
  • weakness and fatigue.

Types of bile duct tumors

Two major types of bile duct tumors are found

  • Distal bile duct tumors: tumors affecting the bottom half of the bile duct
  • Klatskin’s tumors: Tumors affecting the upper part of the bile duct

This separation between the two locations is important since the treatment for the tumors in the two locations is different. For tumors affecting the bottom half of the bile duct, the cancer is removed with a Whipple operation. For tumors in the top half of the bile duct, surgical treatment often requires removal of the tumor together with a liver resection (removal) in an attempt to provide a surgical cure.

India is always known as The Land of Smiles. It is often referred to as the most exotic country in Asia. India has huge number of qualified, experienced medical professionals to provide bile duct cancer surgery in India. India offers hospitals and clinics which are world class. Medical equipments are given top priority and lot of money is invested on it, and management standards are such excellent that hospitals are credited with ISO 9001 approval. These bile duct cancer surgery hospitals are located at the metro cities like Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore which are able to provide international quality medical healthcare facilities. For more concern about bile duct cancer surgery in India visit http://www.forerunnershealthcare.com and enquiry@forerunnershealthcare.com

You Do not Have To Suffer With PMS

We now know that premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is experienced by 60% of all women. What causes PMS has been difficult for researchers to pin down because each woman experiences symptoms differently.

PMS Symptoms

When making the diagnosis, the most important tool you can use is a chart of the cyclic nature in which they occur. If nothing is done to interrupt PMS, it often gets worse over time. You may begin by having symptoms just a few days before your period that stop abruptly as soon as your period begins. Later, the symptoms gradually begin to appear one to two weeks before the sunset of menses. Over time, you may have only two or three days of the month that are symptom-free. Usually no discernable pattern of good days and bad days can be detected. You feel as if you have PMS all of the time.

There are general symptoms that have been determined that include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Accident proneness, coordination difficulties
  • Acne, hives
  • Aggression, rage
  • Alcohol intolerance
  • Anxiety, irritability, suicidal thoughts
  • Asthma
  • Back pain
  • Breast swelling and pain
  • Bruising
  • Confusion
  • Depression, withdrawal from others, emotional liability
  • Edema
  • Exacerbation of preexisting conditions (lupus, arthritis, ulcers, herpes, etc.)
  • Fatigue, lethargy
  • Fainting
  • Food binges, salt cravings, sweet cravings
  • Headache, migraine
  • Heart palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Joint swelling and pain
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Sex drive changes
  • Sinus problems
  • Sore throat
  • Urinary difficulties

Do not confuse PMS with cramps occurring at the beginning of your period, which is a different condition.

Chart the Pattern

You do not have to suffer. By keeping a chart of your symptoms, you can often begin to see a pattern emerge and predict when the symptoms will start. Keeping a daily symptom journal can be a valuable tool when trying to conceal your premenstrual symptom triggers and the issues associated with them. Many events and other factors can contribute to or trigger your PMS by resulting in hormonal changes in the body, including:

  • Onset of menses
  • Perimenopause
  • Discontinuing birth control pills
  • Amenorrhea
  • Childbirth, or termination of pregnancy
  • Toxemia during pregnancy
  • Tubal ligation
  • Unusual trauma
  • Decreased light associated with autumn and winter
  • Family history of alcoholism; Parent or grandparent who is an alcoholic
  • High consumption of dairy products
  • Excessive consumption of caffeine (soft drinks, coffee, chocolate)
  • High blood levels of estrogen
  • Low blood levels of progesterone, either due to lack of production or excessive breakdown
  • Diet that leads to increased levels of the hormone prostaglandin F2
  • Excess body weight which can increase you levels of estrogen
  • Low levels of vitamins B, C and / or E
  • Selenium deficiency
  • Magnesium deficiency causing chocolate cravings

End the Suffering

Many of the factors in this list you can control. For years allopathic (traditional) medicine has given symptomatic treatments for PMS that do not work. Most doctors do not know the latest research on hormone balancing. Some never had any training in PMS. Treating a woman's bloating with diuretics, headaches with painkillers, and anxiety with Valium ignores the underlying imbalance that led to PMS. Many of the treatments prescribed often have side effects. Psychotherapy can provide insight about stress, but this bypasses the nutritional and biochemical aspects of this disorder.

Do not give up! There are answers that can help you heal your PMS:

  • Adopt a diet of fresh, in-season, organic fruits and vegetables.
  • Review your dietary needs eliminating caffeine, sugar, dairy and excess soy.
  • Take good organic multivitamin mineral supplements.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Consider participating in a 12-step program if alcoholism runs in your family.
  • Get at least 20 minute of aerobic exercise five times per week.
  • Try reflexology.
  • Get more natural or full-spectrum light.
  • Test hormone levels and apply natural progesterone.

For more suggestions go to www.menopause-pms-progesterone.org and www.oasisserene.com .

At Oasis Advanced Wellness hormonal levels can be tested with a simple and inexpensive saliva test performed in the privacy of your own home. With these results and your symptom journal, you can determine your need for natural hormone replacement therapy (HRT). One product that is safe and non-toxic is natural progesterone. It helps to balance the effects of estrogen, and has a calming effect on the nervous system. The use of natural progesterone in combination with lifestyle changes often improves PMS symptoms. By reviewing your symptoms, we can evaluate your diet and exercise program, create a program and then monitor your progress.

You can find out more about the solutions in my e-Book, Balancing Your Hormones Without Drugs … You Can Feel Good Again.

Chronic Inflammation Can Cause Serious Harm to Your Body

Inflammation touches many aspects of our life. It plays an important role in our body, and it's not something we can do without. But even as it protects us and plays a critical role when we are injured, it can cause problems if it gets out of control. When this happens we refer to it as chronic inflammation.

It may seem a little strange that something so important to our well-being and good health can also ruin our health, and even cause death, but it is true. Chronic inflammation is something you definitely want to avoid.

Heart disease and cancer have both been linked to problems with inflammation. In relation to heart disease, it can cause coronary blockage, and a heart attack. We've been told for years to keep our cholesterol low to avoid the buildup of plaque in our treaties, but scientist now believe that inflammation may play as important a role as cholesterol and plaque.

Inflammation is also a villain in relation to cancer, particularly in the initiation of cancer. Things are not as clear here, and certainly not all cancers are caused by inflammation. Neverheless some of the cells and chemicals involved in inflammation have been shown to create mutations in DNA that can eventually lead to cancer; Furthermore, it can also cause pre-cancer cells to become active cancer cells. A few of the cancers known to be associated with inflammation are colon, lung, stomach, esophagus, and breast cancer.

Many other diseases are also associated with inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, MS, lupus, emphysema, and gingivitis are all infection diseases. Indeed, any disease with a name with "it is" at the end of it is an inflammatory disease. A few examples are: bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis, hepatitis, colitis, tonsillitis, and dermatitis.

How Inflammation Begins and Proceeds

Inflammation is the response of the body to harmful stimuli. Several things that can initiate it are:

• Infection by pathogens (bacteria, viruses and so on)
• Physical injury
• Foreign bodies that enter body such as splinters, dirt or other debris
• Chemical irritants
• Burns and frostbite
• Stress
• Toxins from air or water

Everyone has experienced inflammation in one form or another. It's major symptoms are redness, swelling, heat and pain. In most cases, however, what we experience is acute inflammation. It is a short term process lasting only a few days to a few weeks, and in most cases it ceases when the stimulus is removed. So for most people it is not serious. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is inflammation that does not clear up properly. It persists for months, and sometimes, years. And it can do considering harm to your body. This articles is mainly concerned with chronic inflammation.

We'll begin, however, with an overview of acute inflation. It goes through two main phases: a vascular phase and a cellular phase. And it consists of a series of biochemical events that involve the local vascular system, the immune system and cells within the injured tissue. A brief (and simplified) outline of how it takes place is as follows:

1. The process begins when a harmful stimuli of some sort is detected.

2. The initial response (vascular phase) comes from immune system cells present in the affected tissue. One of the major ones that detects it first and reacts is called macrophages. They have receptors that recognize pathogens and other foreign objects (not related to the body).

3. These macrophages (and other particles) release inflammation mediators that call in other particles. They also release mediator molecules, including histamine, that dilate the blood vessels in the vicinity. This increases the blood flow to the affected area; It also increases the permeability (leakage) of these vessels.

4. The increased blood flow allows more infection-fighting immune cells to reach the area. It also increases the amount of glucose (sugar) and oxygen to the area to help nourish the cells. At the same time the increased permeability of the vessels helps bring in plasma protein and fluids that contain antibodies and so on to the area.

5. As a result of the above the affected area swells and turns red. There is also some heating and there may be pain.

6. The cellular phase begins as the increased size of the blood vessels helps the migration of white blood cells, mainly neutrophils and macrophages, into the area. They are particularly important when pathogens are present, in that they eat them, but they also perform other important rods such as assisting in repair of the wound.

7. One of the main things the above buildup does is "wall off" the area from further attack, particularly from bacteria and viruses.

8. When the pathogen (or whatever) is overcome a cleanup of dead cells and other debris begins. The initiation of a process where new, healthy cells replace the old ones begin, and soon the macrophages and other immune cells leave the area. And in the acute case everything soon gets back to normal.

Chronic Inflammation

Unfortunately everything does not always go as smoothly as described in the above process. Several things can go wrong, and when they do, serious problems can occur. (Thankfully, this does not happen too often.) The major problem is usually associated with the termination of the inflammatory. In particular, the attack on the foreign objects does not stop as it should. Macrophages and other particles may be left behind and they can do considerable damage to healthy tissue. One reason this might happen is that these particles check a "password" on the surface of cells and if it is a normal body cell they ignore it, but if it is foreign they attack it. Sometimes, however, the password system breaks down and the immune cells mistake body cells for intruders and destroy them. This leads to what is called autoimmune disease (such as lupus and MS).

In the same way, allergies of various types can occur when the immune system overacts. Pollens are usually considered harmless by the immune system, but in some cases it can suddenly decide that they are dangerous and attack them. The result may be asthma.

Or the immune system may see damage due to LDL cholesterol in the arteries as a problem and try to repair it. As a result the immune cells become bloated and stick to the sides of the arteries creating plaque.
Most changes of this type occur when a person has a weakened immune system so it's easy to see why a strong immune system is important.

Who is Most at Risk

First of all it's important to point out that everyone needs to be concerned about inflammation getting out of control, and everyone should do what they can to strengthen their immune system. Neverheless, there are things that make some people more prone to chronic inflammation and other pollution problems. They are:

1. Anyone who is overweight (in particular, obese). The immune system frequently mistakes fat deposits for intruders and attacks them. In addition, fat cells can leak or break open; If this happens macrophages come in to clear up the debris, and they may release chemicals that cause problems.

2. Anyone with diabetes. Studies show that diabetes II may be related to inflammation, and that people with high levels of infection typically develop diabetes within a few years.

3. Anyone with symptoms of heart disease or heart disease in the family. There are several relationships between heart disease and chronic inflammation. Also, it's well-known that the plaque in arms, which results from inflammation, causes heart attacks.

4. Anyone who feels tired and fatigued all the time. This is particularly important if no reason can be found for the problem. Fatigue is associated with inflammation.

5. Anyone who works in a toxic environment. It's well known that toxins cause excess pollution.

6. Any one suffering extensively from depression or anxiety. It's well-known that stress causes inflammation.

7. Older People. Our body changes as we age and we tend to produce more pro-infection chemicals and fewer anti-inflammatory chemicals.

What You can do to Avoid Chronic Inflation

The above list should give you a good idea what to do to avoid chronic inflammation, soonheless I'll list some of the major things and briefly discuss them. I should mention, however, that genes play a role in whether or not you'll get chronic inflammation, and there's little we can do about them.

A list of the major things is as follows:

• Eat a highly nutritious diet. It should include at least five servings of vegetables and fruit each day. Cruciferous vegetables are particularly important; They include broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Other excellent vegetables are carrots, tomatoes, spinach and beans. Some of the best fruits are citrus fruits; Berries such as blueberries and strawberries are also important. Other things that are particularly good are grains such as oats and whole wheat, nuts and seeds. Fish is also important as a source of omega-3, and you should eat it 2 to 3 times a week. At the same time you should avoid simple carbohydrates, fast foods, soda, saturated fats and trans fat products.

• Do not overeat. Also, if you are over-weight, lose weight.

• Get sufficient sleep. For most adults 7 to 8 hours is sufficient.

• Exercise regularly. Exercise is, in fact, a good way to lower inflation. Both aerobic and weights are important.

• Control your cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides.

• Avoid stress.

• Avoid toxins.

Treatments for uti infections – Cephalexin

Cephalexin is a cephalosporin antibiotic used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia and bone, ear, and skin. It belongs to first-generation cephalosporin used especially in the treatment of respiratory and urinary tract infections. It interferes with bacterial cell-wall synthesis, causing cell to rupture and die. It is active against many gram-positive bacteria and shows limited activity against gram-negative bacteria.

Urinary tract infection or UTI is a bacterial infection of one or more structures in the urinary system. Although urine contains a variety of fluids, salts, and waste products, it does not usually have bacteria in it. When bacteria get into the bladder or kidney and multiply in the urine, they may cause a UTI. UTI may be asymptomatic but is usually characterized by urinary frequency, burning pain with voiding, and, if the infection is severe, visible blood and pus in the urine. Fever and back pain often accompany kidney infections.  The most common type of UTI is acute cystitis often referred to as a bladder infection. An infection of the upper urinary tract or kidney is known aspyelonephritis, and is potentially more serious. Although they cause discomfort, urinary tract infections can usually be easily treated with a short course of antibiotics with all no significant difference between the classes of antibiotics commonly used.

A predisposition for bladder infections may run in families. The condition is more common in women than in men because, in females, the urethra is much closer to the anus than in males, and women lack the bacteriostatic properties of prostatic secretions. The incidence of urinary tract infections in men tends to rise after the age of 50. The symptoms of urinary tract infections may vary with age and the part of the urinary system that was affected. In young children, urinary tract infection symptoms may include diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fever, and excessive crying that cannot be resolved by typical measures.  Older children on the other hand may experience abdominal pain, or incontinence. Lower urinary tract infections in adults may manifest with symptoms including hematuria (blood in the urine), inability to urinate despite the urge, and malaise. Whereas in newborns the condition may cause jaundice and hypothermia, in the elderly, symptoms of urinary tract infections may include lethargy and a change in the mental status, signs that are otherwise nonspecific. Other risk factors include diabetes, sickle-cell disease, or anatomical malformations of the urinary tract such as prostate enlargement. The most common organism implicated in UTIs (80 – 85%) is E. Coli, while Staphylococcus saprophyticus is the cause in 5 – 10%.

About 50% of people will recover without treatment within a few days or weeks. Oral antibiotics such as trimethoprim, cephalosporins, nitrofurantoin, or a fluoroquinolone substantially shorten the time to recovery. All are equally effective for both short and long term cure rates. Urinary tract infections are more concerning in pregnancy. If urine testing shows signs of infection even in the absence of symptoms (known as asymptomatic bacteriuria) women are treated. Treatment is typically with cephalexin or nitrofurantoin.