Canine Fears and Phobias

Canine Fears and Phobias

I would like to share some of my experiences with dogs who are fearful or phobic. First of all there is a difference between fears and phobias. Fears can be worked with and possibly get better but phobias can not be cured they can only be managed.

Phobias often cause dogs to react with irrational behaviors. Canine fears and phobias vein out to feed so many more underlying behavioral issues. Most of the time fears stems from lack of socialization as puppies. Phobias develop from some sort of trauma when the puppy was very young and then the fear becomes a learned behavior and finally the fear turns in to a phobia. Traumatic experiences for an adult dog can also instill phobias.

Most common fears are; fears of men, other dogs, loud noises, strange objects, children or it can be anything they were not exposed to as a puppy.

The most common phobias are thunder, fire crackers, car travel and gun shots. The uncommon types of Phobias are other dogs, odors example: veterinary hospitals; then phobias of certain people such as impaired individual’s example: wheel chairs, crutches and prosthetic limbs.

The best treatment for these types of behaviors is desensitization. The process is to start applying a very weak stimulus; then gradually increasing the strength. For example a phobia or fear of gun shots would be to desensitize them to the sound by starting the sound off at a distance and gradually approach the dog. You can even play a tape recording of gunshots at a low volume and then graduate to increased loudness. You can find tapes of thunder and other sounds to help desensitize your dog to their fears or phobias.

Another way of desensitizing is counter conditioning. The process for counter conditioning is to ask a dog to do an obedience command for example; a down stay then start the stimuli very weak and reward the dog with food for maintaining the down stay. Only reward the dog for the desired behavior. If a dog is doing one behavior then they can not do the undesirable behavior at the same time. Increase the stimuli slowly and do consistent exercises to help conquer the fear.

Fears usually develop from lack of socialization as a puppy. If a dog is not exposed to different sounds, environments and people it is easy for them to have a fear of the unknown. After your dog is immunized you should do an exercise.

3 called “777”. The exercise is slowly exposing your puppy to a desired object or person. Everything is paired with positive motivation. Whether it is food or toys or any other thing that is a positive motivator for your dog.
You have to introduce your dog to 7 size humans, 7 different surfaces, 7 different environments and 7 sounds at different levels of loudness.

The first “7” is seven different size humans for example; have a small child just walk pass the puppy at a distance and toss some food at the puppy and walk on. Then again repeat. By the time the child is close enough to meet the puppy it will have paired a child with good things. Pairing the child with food makes the child more desirable.

The second “7” is try to get your puppy on 7 different surfaces. If your puppy is not socialized to sand then at age two when you visit the beach and it steps on this hot sinking surface it may think it is on a different planet and then might exhibit unwanted behavior. If your dog has never gone to the bathroom on anything but grass then if you are in the desert you will have a problem. Besides having a dog get used to different surfaces I also make them eliminate on different surfaces [except concrete or any flooring]. The reason for that is a dog should be able to eliminate on bark, pine straw, sand, mud etc. so when you’re traveling your dog will eliminate on whatever surface is around. This will keep you from having to travel with pine straw or a square of grass. Some dogs will imprint on one type of surface and only eliminate on that surface.

The third set of “7” is different environments. I take puppies [once fully immunized] to warehouses, dog parks, soccer games and other environments. If a dog is well-socialized to change and different environments then in the future when they experience these environment it becomes no big deal. When I take my dog or puppy to a new environment I do it slowly. When the dog is comfortable then I will move forward in to the environment.
I pair new places with good treats and then once they are fully comfortable in the environment, I fade the food out and always keep the praise coming.

The fourth “7” is sound desensitization. Puppies and dogs who live inside all the time might build a fear to normal everyday sounds. For example; traffic noises, horns, roller bladers, skate boards etc… To start the process of sound desensitization, I drop a book 2 inches off the floor and toss my dog/puppy a treat. Then I raise the book a little more and repeat till I am dropping the book from 5 feet high. By then the puppy will associate the sound with a reward. This exercise is done slowly and consistently. I raise the level of sounds and add in different sounds. I start with dull noises like books. Then I go to tin sounding noises like dropping cans. I will graduate to a baking sheet which can get quite loud when it is dropped from 5 feet in the air. By the time you get these objects to 5 feet in the air your dog sound be getting socialized to sounds and understand that loud noises produces positive rewards.

A Trained Dog Makes a Happy Owner
A Trained Owner Makes a Happier Dog!

Midlife Crisis – Being Familiar With the 6 Stages of Midlife Crisis

If you are in your younger years, you are for sure not yet aware or very much particular with what people call as midlife crisis. For clearer explanation, midlife crisis is that point in a person’s life when emotional transition takes place. This usually occurs to individuals who are in their late 40s or 50s. In normal situations, some people can accept the changes happening to them at this point in their life, but this is not applicable to all. Because in reality, there are those individuals who find it middle age crisis as a very challenging situation wherein they can experience feelings of depression and other negative emotion; for their guidance, this article will point out the 6 stages most people would go through before they come out of that middle age crisis situation.

1st – The Denial Stage

The first among the stages of midlife crisis consequences is the denial stage. It is that point in life when the sufferer is not able to accept that they are no longer young. They keep on doing things that they feel can make them fit in with the younger generation prompting them to go under the knife for cosmetic surgeries if this can be the solution that can help vanish the physical signs of aging starting to creep into their skin. You can observe women and men who are dressing up in a fashion that is not appropriate for their age; clearly indicating that they are showing the usual signs and symptoms of dealing with middle age crisis.

2nd – The Anger Stage

Because of being trapped in the state of denial, feelings of anger manifested by assertiveness and hostility tend to come out. It may reach to the extent that they can even offend and hurt the feelings of others within their circle. Being caught up in this situation puts them at the greater risk of being vulnerable to illicit behaviors particularly with relationship that are not bounded by morality.

3rd – The Replay Stage

Men are most commonly trapped in this stage because they want to get away from the reality that they are getting older and their younger days of vivaciousness and vitality are not how it was anymore. This makes them eager to join younger broods in their drinking sessions and other fun activities. Worst case scenario is when they become too carefree that they end up falling for foolish relationships like extra marital affairs or having different partners, which can be the cause of broken homes and shattered family lives.

4th – The Stage of Depression

Individuals suffering from midlife crisis symptoms end up with feelings of fright causing them to create a big distance from people who are trying to interfere and be more inquisitive. They would hesitate and turn away when someone approaches them to discuss about this problem. They end up shunning away from others, thinking that they can manage the situation they are in.

5th – The Withdrawal Stage

This stage is actually just an extension of the stage wherein the sufferer is depressed and desires to be alone most of the time. The best way to help them cope with this is to give them the space that they want until they are ready to come out from their sanctuary. At this point, this person is trying to sort out many things and needs more space wherein they can contemplate on a lot of things that they have done brought about the crisis state they are trying to pass up with.

And finally, the stage of Acceptance wherein they are now fully ready to accept everything that they have been through without any regrets; this marks a more positive change in their life. Now, they are more broad-minded individuals who are totally prepared to face life with a new and more optimistic point of view.

Anorexia – An Effective Way of Losing Weight?

Losing weight is hard work, no doubt. To be able to achieve that perfectly sexy figure, you have to eat less of your favorite food and more of those healthy veggies plus lots of exercise. But not everyone is gifted with a lot of time to be able to exercise and going green and organic is actually a bit pricey. Because of this, people who can’t lose weight would then opt out of eating. What they would do, then, is to just stop eating. This is actually a very serious case of weight loss because people are actually depriving themselves of eating food, something that is essential to the body. The medical term for this is Anorexia nervosa, but this is commonly known as Anorexia.

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that people have and do in order to lose weight. Because they can’t lose weight the usual way, anorexics starve themselves just so that they could lose weight. This is actually very effective if the main goal is just to lose weight. After all, we get all the fats and calories from food. However, this is not the healthiest way. In fact, it is not healthy at all. Anorexics actually do some exercises to lose weight fast, but they do not take in food. Not eating and exercising is not a good combination. Without food, there is not much energy to sustain the body for exercising. Anorexics may then experience anorexia symptoms like dizziness, and they could actually faint while doing so or even in normal days because they don’t have vitamins that are essential to the body.

Their motivation to lose weight is the psychological problem that they have as anorexics. Their phobia is to gain weight. They are so scared of gaining weight that they do not eat. That is what makes it easier for them to avoid food. This is also the reason why anorexia is an effective way of losing weight. In the eyes of an anorexic, they are never skinny or thin enough. Even though they are skins and bones already, they still see themselves as fat and obese people, desperately trying to gain weight. This is their motivation to lose weight.

As mentioned earlier, anorexia is effective only in losing weight as it is not one of the good weight loss tips. It is actually a dangerous way to lose weight and inches. Some of the effects of anorexia are irregular heartbeat and even cardiac arrest, loss of bone and mass, infertility, and delayed growth.

Yes, anorexia is an effectively way of losing weight, but it is not effective in keeping the body fit. What’s the use of being thin if the body’s not healthy right? Although anorexia can definitely help you cut those extra fats, it is not advisable to adopt this as a means of losing weight.

An Anxiety Attack Symptom May Last For Weeks

There are therapies available that help to control anxiety attack symptoms because a lot people suffer from stress as well as anxiety to some extent or the other and these are only natural defense mechanisms though sometimes get out of control. The anxiety attack symptoms can be more than one can tolerate and sometimes this is known as Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD is chronic by nature and the whole day the patient has exaggerated worry as well as tension in spite of the fact there is little stimulus to provoke anxiety attack symptoms.

The anxiety attack symptoms are nothing new and have affected as many as 20 million people in the US, which works out to be one in every 14 people! Such anxiety attack symptoms might include phobias, post-traumatic stress syndrome, hypertension as well as obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

Treat with Medication and/or Therapy
One sure-fire way of stopping the anxiety attack symptoms is to take medication and this may help to break the cycle. A number of different and effective medications are available. An alternative to medication is therapy which is relatively inexpensive and even some employers may provide reimbursement for professional consultations. Some people may prefer breathing exercises, which may help alleviate the feelings of dread as well as work to prevent anxiety attacks. For places to find more information regarding anxiety attack symptoms one can consult books, videos as well as go online.

When a person feels extremes of fear one can safely assume that he or she is suffering from anxiety attack symptoms. However, the same person can have different signs as well as symptoms during an anxiety attack and most of the symptoms do not last more than half an hour. Apart from fear, there are other anxiety attack symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness or feeling light headed, afraid of losing control or doing an embarrassing thing. Sufferers fear feeling out of touch with reality and people and things surrounding that person, forebodings of doom, palpitations of the heart, sweating and trembling, stomach disorders, numbness in the hands or feet, and also, loss of breath.

In the case of panic or anxiety disorders the patient may have anxiety attacks that occur frequently and there may not be any reason or warning about these attacks. Also, the patient may fear having another anxiety attack. And, there may also be periods without any anxiety attack symptoms.

Eye Patching to Stop Negative Thinking

Eye patching is a very simple energy intervention to stop negative or obsessive thinking and mind chatter.1 Most negative thinking, which can have devastating results in a person’s life, is the result of habitual left-brain (L-mode) thinking that sees reality through distortions of the past. Yet influencing brain activity-temporarily shutting down L-mode and training the mind towards whole-brain thinking-is quite easily achieved.

Our thinking process arises as a synergy and integration of activity in the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Each hemisphere has a unique style of thinking and sees the world quite differently. The left hemisphere is the logical, rational, verbal, critical, time-bound thinking that processes sequentially, focuses on what it recognizes, breaks downs into smaller parts, looks at the details and differences, and attempts to simplify and conclude based on small bits of information. By contrast, the right hemisphere holds the intuitive, non-rational, non-verbal, present-moment, analogical, metaphoric, spatial, relative thinking that makes the leaps of insight, connects things, sees and encompasses the whole, synthesizes, holds the divergent and can transcend ordinary consciousness.

An interesting view is the left brain as the ego/materialistic ‘divide-and-conquer’ mind that enables us to dwell in the physical world, and the right brain as the higher/spiritual mind that keeps us connected to a higher reality operating in our lives. Both modes of thinking are equally important to effectively live fully as a human being. This view agrees with the understanding of the Yin/Yang Stepping Vessels (extraordinary meridians) as corresponding to the Ego principle in human development (these vessels are extraordinary meridians-the deeper energy pathways that correspond to the psyche-that end at the eyes). In healthy whole-brain thinking, a person is able to reconcile both the world of matter and the world of spirit.

Most people today have been subjected to education that greatly favours left-brain or L-mode thinking from very early on in life. L-mode thought processes are primarily habit-based. Ninety percent of what you thought yesterday, you will think today-and the content is largely the result of thought patterns established in childhood. These childhood thought patterns tend to focus on what’s wrong or potentially threatening, because they emerged from instinctive survival strategies that were triggered when, as children, we experienced trauma or felt threatened in any way. Thought patterns act as filters to sensory input from the external world. They cause deletion, distortion or generalization of this input with great loss of information. The result is an internal representation of reality that may not be a close match at all to what is really out there. These internal representations trigger thoughts and emotions, which create a person’s experience of reality, or their internal state of mind.

Not only does negative thinking make you feel terrible, but your internal mental and emotional state sets up an energy vibration in your body, which acts as your broadcast frequency, your call letters to the universe, and inasmuch, it determines what becomes manifested in your reality. Habitual negative thinking serves no good whatsoever. If you continue to see life as you’ve always seen it, you will continue to get from life what you’ve always been getting. Until you change your basic thought processes, life will not change for you. Therefore it is of critical importance to inhibit this destructive, habitual negative thinking.

Putting an eye patch on the right eye at any point during the negative thoughts instantly slows down left-brain activity2, making it impossible for the brain to keep the thoughts going and thus releasing the mind from its obsession. People with obsessive negative thinking-particularly those suffering from depression, chronic anxiety, compulsions/obsessions, or excessive mind chatter-benefit particularly from eye patch therapy to help stop negative habits of the mind.3

Another use of eye patching is to balance brain hemispheres and enhance whole-brain thinking. With one eye patched, one brain hemisphere lessens its activities (the one crossed to the patched eye), while the other must compensate by intensifying its activities (the one crossed to the uncovered eye). This imbalance creates a state wherein the person has two completely different concepts of the perceptual world. One concept is that being directly fed from the uncovered eye to the brain. The other concept is that being shared from the brain hemisphere with the intensified activity to the other brain hemisphere. With the covered eye opened beneath the patch, its associated brain hemisphere is still seeking outside input-this it now gets primarily from the other brain hemisphere. This latter condition strengthens the communication bridge between brain hemispheres (the corpus callosum), which eventually leads to whole brain thinking. In whole-brain thinking, the mind has quicker access to greater resources (both hemispheres). The overall effect is a reduction in perceptual distortions, the ability to see the essential from the inessential, and a higher emotional threshold.

The effects of regular patching can be very significant and far-reaching. Patching can provide the brain with a new perspective on life-it can change your mind about a situation on the spot, and over time, it can reframe your past, improve your health and relationships, enhance the resourcefulness of your thinking, increase your emotional threshold, and reprogram your subconscious mind to focus on what you want in life.

It is interesting to note that the corpus callosum was considered the site of the soul in the 18th century (Maurice Ptito).4 If we consider that our ego-sense (sense of individuality or I AM), which is unique to human beings, arises out of the union or the merging of the two pictures that are possible by our symmetry,5 the corpus callosum takes on a more critical role in our evolution. It is my sensing that a larger corpus callosum (or greater communication or merging of the two hemispheres) will enable a person to enter more deeply into the human experience, bringing greater spiritual capacities and insights to all senses and eventually merging heaven and earth within the experience of human individuality.

Important Notes:

The patched eye must remain open underneath the patch. Closing the eye sends a different signal to the brain and will not have the same effect. When selecting an eye patch, make sure the patched eye can remain comfortably open.

Do not patch the eyes during times when depth perception is important (such as driving, operating dangerous equipment, cutting with knives, walking up/down stairs, etc.).

What you may experience from patching:3

o Spacey, disoriented feeling

o Nausea, headache

o Clarity or clouding of thought – usually clouding before clarity

o Lessening of mental clutter after a period of increased mental chatter

o Lessening of overall stress after a period of increased stress

Eye Patching to enhance whole-brain thinking

Work your way to patching each eye for 20 minutes, twice daily. You can continue many daily activities while patching (including reading).6 You may also anchor the sense of L-mode or R-mode activity in order to access these more easily as needed. (See Anchoring L-Mode and R-Mode States, below.)

1. Place the eye patch over one eye (either eye will do).

2. Experience the patch for 5 to 20 minutes or until you feel uncomfortable, whichever comes first.

3. Place the patch over the other eye for 5 to 20 minutes or until you feel uncomfortable, whichever comes first.

4. Practice daily until you are comfortable wearing the patch on each eye for about 20 minutes.

5. If you feel distressed, take the patch off and take some deep breaths, making sure to relax the tongue. The distress may be the result of something that is up for deeper healing that may need to be addressed in therapy.

Eye Patching to release negativity

Patch whenever stuck in a negative emotional state or during a conflict with someone7. Do it as often as your mind tries to take over with negative thinking.

· Place the patch over the eye that is associated with the left brain (usually the right eye).

· Keep the patch on until you feel calmer and less distressed or irritated (usually from 5 to 15 minutes). Notice any difference in your perception of the situation or circumstance.

· Follow with some slow deep breaths, making sure to relax the tongue.

Some conditions that seem to improve after eye patching 3

Obsessions
Chronic Intrusive Thoughts
Chronic Pain

Excessive Mind Chatter

Compulsions
Chronic Anxieties
Conflicts
Chronic Depression

Fixations
Chronic Frustrations
Chronic Anger, Rage
Chronic Substance Abuse

Chronic Fatigue
Chronic Grief & Sadness
Chronic Fears (phobias)
Chronic Over/Under Weight

Anchoring L-Mode and R-Mode States

Being able to stimulate left or right brain activity at will is a useful skill to acquire, especially as there will be circumstances when it’s not appropriate to patch the eyes. Any physical stimulus to the left side of your body will increase activity in the right hemisphere of the brain, and vice versa.8 Standing on your left leg, for example, stimulates R-mode activity, while standing on your right leg will stimulates L-mode. Similarly, a firm pinch to the left shoulder will encourage a larger right-brain contribution to the activity at hand, and vice versa. But the effect of ordinary body stimulus on hemispheric activity is generally subtle. One way to enhance this effect, however, is to anchor the L-mode and R-mode sensations achieved with eye patching. Anchoring is an NLP term, which refers to the setting of body triggers to elicit specific internal states.

You can easily create body anchors to elicit the desired brain mode (L-mode or R-mode) while doing the daily eye patching exercise. Choose a physical stimulus as anchor (e.g. standing on one leg or the other, pulling on one ear lobe or the other, etc.). Simply activate the chosen physical stimulus for about 30 seconds before switching the patch from one eye to the other to create and strengthen the anchor. For example, if you are patching the right eye to enhance R-mode (since L-mode is lessened), then before taking the patch off, stand on your left leg for 30 seconds (or pull at your left ear lobe for 30 seconds). Then when you want to create the sensation of right brain hemispheric activity without the eye patch, you can use your anchor of standing on your left leg. You would create an anchor to enhance L-mode similarly, by standing on your right leg for 30 seconds before taking the patch off your left eye (patching the left eye lessens R-mode activity and so enhances L-mode, and L-mode is crossed to the right side of the body).

1- Eye patching therapy was originally devised by Dr. Kaplan (Seeing Beyond 20/20; Beyond Words Publishing, 1987) as a way to improve eyesight through eye exercising. It was later discovered that the exercise had a calming effect on people and changed their perspective. Dr. Ranae Johnson, founder of the Rapid Eye Institute, recognized this benefit as due to the different modes of brain activity being activated, and adopted the technique as a ‘life skill’ for clients of Rapid Eye Therapy. Eyepatches may be purchased from the REI site at http://www.rapideyetechnology.com.

2 Eyes are crossed to the brain hemispheres. The right eye inputs to the left hemisphere and the left eye inputs to the right hemisphere. For most people, the left brain (accessed through the right eye) is the detailed, verbal, repetitive hemisphere. But some people are switched. A simple exercise to see which brain hemisphere runs in L-mode is to patch each eye and describe a room in your home. Which eye open leaves you feeling more irritable? That is the eye that should be patched to stop the destructive mind chatter

3 Handout by Joseph Bennette | 265 37th Ave Salem, OR | (503)-375-0146. Available in pdf format from his website ( new website address not known ) (retrieved in 2005)

5 Rudolf Steiner speaks of this in many lecture series. The lower the life form, the less the symmetry, and the less the symmetry can converge. For example, reptiles have eyes that diverge; mammals do not merge their symmetry in the limbs (will faculty). It is in the convergence that the higher ego sense of the human being arises.

6 For suggested activities during eye patching, visit Joseph Bennette’s website (see reference 3) under therapies. One interesting use is to learn speed-reading. The more you involve R-mode in reading, the less bound you are to internal verbalizing while you read, which creates an artificial speed barrier.

7 If it is not appropriate to patch (eg. in public or you don’t want the other person to know what you’re doing) then you would activate the right-side body anchor to enhance R-mode (or slow down L-mode). An alternative that may be available to you if you’ve practiced daily eye patching is to patch by intention, simply by imagining that you are covering your right eye. This is possible only if you’ve been doing regular patching, however.

8 http://www.cybersayer.com/eyesite/hemsphr.html (retrieved in 2005)

Use Sleep Aids? Don’t Let the Wrong One Ruin Your Game

I guess it wouldn’t be fair if I told you the benefits of sleep without giving you advice on the best sleep aids available. There are a multitude of factors that lead me to believe that sleep aid use is quite common in the world of poker. They include: 1) the overuse of stimulants such as caffeine, Red Bull, Amp, Adderall, etc 2) the long duration of poker games, some lasting until the next morning 3) the increased play of on-line poker, lasting well into the night. I would imagine that poker players have their sleep schedules pretty screwed up. I’d even bet that their own circadian rhythm is probably a little off tilt. Don’t worry though. Hopefully after reading this section, you’ll be able to choose the right sleep aid for you so you can experience all of the great benefits of a good night’s sleep. You may even win more often.

Sleep aids

The majority of sleep aids are relatively safe and effective. Some are controlled substances, however their abuse potential is minimal compared to other controlled substances. The most important concept concerning selecting the best sleep aid is residual drowsiness. The last thing a poker play wants is to be drowsy the next day at the table. Too many bad things can happen if you’re sluggish. You need to pay attention to the sleep aid’s half-life. Half-life is really just a fancy medical term that describes the time it takes the body to eliminate half of the original concentration of the drug. Usually, it takes anywhere from 5-7 half-lives for the drug to be entirely eliminated from the body. Thus, if the original concentration of the drug was 10mg and has a half-life 2 hours, then after 2 hours the new concentration would be 5mg, and after 4 hours the new concentration would be 2.5mg, and so on. I’ll briefly discuss the most common sleep aids below. I’ve grouped them into the drug classes based on their mechanism of action. At the end, I’ll tell you my recommendations.

Prescription sleep aids

Non-benzodiazepine (non-BZN) sleep aids

These all work the same way. They bind to the benzodiazepine 1 receptor in the brain. The side effect profile is also similar. It includes drowsiness, dizziness, amnesia, headache, and GI problems. The difference between drugs in this class is their duration of action and potency.

Ambien is the most common sleep aid prescribed today. The half-life of Ambien is around 2.5 hours. Thus, it takes around 10 or so hours for it to be completely eliminated from your body. It’s pretty good at getting you to sleep and keeping you asleep. It’s also generic so it’s very cheap compared to some of the other sleep aids. If you’re looking to get a good night’s rest of at least 8-10 hours, this is my drug of choice. Its effectiveness and price make it the best of all of the sleep aids. However, if you’re in a tournament and may only get 5-7 hours of sleep, there is a strong possibility you may have some residual drowsiness the next day.

Lunesta is a relatively new sleep aid. The half-life is around 6.5 hours. Thus, it’s going to take a long time to get out of your system. It also does not have a generic so it’s pricey. Because of its long half-life and high probability of residual drowsiness, I don’t recommend this drug for poker players. The only time you should use this drug is if you can sleep for a couple of days straight.

Sonata is my drug of choice for this class. Its half-life is around 1 hour. Thus, it will be out of your system in 5-7 hours. It may not be as strong as Ambien or Lunesta, but it should do the job. If you’re unsure of how much sleep you’ll be able to get, you should select this drug. The chances of residual drowsiness are the least of any of the other drugs in this class. Because of its short half-life, it can also be used if you wake up early in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.

Benzodiazepine sleep aids

These drugs are not as selective as the non-BZN sleep aids. They bind to not only the BZN1 receptor, but also the BZN 2 receptor. Thus, there is a higher likelihood of side effects. Side effects include drowsiness, decreased concentration, cognitive impairments, anterograde amnesia, daytime anxiety, and rebound insomnia. The differences in drugs in this class are time to onset of action, duration of action, and potency.

Restoril is the most commonly prescribed BZN sleep aid. However, it’s probably the worst one for poker players. The half-life is between 10-15 hours. Because its metabolites are also active drugs, if used for consecutive days, the half-life of the drug will actually increase to even more than 15 hours. Thus, there’s a strong likelihood you’ll experience daytime drowsiness. Even though it is cheap, I recommend staying away from this drug. The half-life is just too long.

Triazolam isn’t prescribed much anymore, however it’s primarily used for insomnia. Because it’s more fat soluble than Restoril, it’s onset of action is quicker, and its half-life is only around 2 hours. It’s good at getting you to sleep and keeping you asleep. In fact, this was the drug of choice by my professor of pharmacology. Side note: This guy was involved in the creation of Gatorade. His memory was unbelievable. He never used one note during his lectures. The problem I have with triazolam is its high incidence of anxiety and amnesia. Because it’s so fat soluble, it is in and out of your system leading to a higher incidence of side effects. Still though, if I had to use a BZN sleep aid, I’d choose this one over Restoril.

Other prescription sleep aids

These sleep aids don’t fall into any of the above categories.

Trazodone was originally used to treat depression. However, because of its unfavorable side effect profile and the introduction of more effective and safer antidepressants, it’s mostly only used for insomnia. The half-life is between 4-5 hours. Because of its long half life, and its ability to cause cognitive slowing, I recommend staying away from this if you play poker.

Rozerem is the newest sleep aid available. Because of that, it’s pretty expensive. It works a little differently than the other sleep aids. It actually binds to and stimulates the melatonin receptors in the brain. It’s been nicknamed melatonin on steroids. Its half-life is between 1-3 hours. It’s really only used in patients who have a history of substance abuse because it has zero addiction potential. In my opinion, there’s cheaper and better sleep aids available for poker players.

Non-prescription sleep aids

Melatonin is probably the granddaddy of OTC sleep aids. It’s a hormone that is secreted by the pineal gland at night. It’s thought to help regulate a person’s circadian rhythm. Its secretion is stimulated by darkness, and inhibited by light. It’s commonly used by people who experience jet lag or midnight-shift workers. Because poker players may have a screwed up circadian rhythm, it would be beneficial to include between 0.5-5mg nightly. Why the wide range of dosage? Some people sleep fine just using 0.5mg and actually experience stimulation on doses of 3mg. However, others need 5mg to help sleep. Find the dosage that’s right for you. If you experience drowsiness the next day, you probably used too much. I recommend the controlled-release melatonin over regular melatonin. In my opinion, those poker players that stay up late at night, and sleep well into the afternoon could greatly benefit from melatonin.

Valerian root is thought to have a similar effect as BZN’s because it inhibits the metabolism of GABA. Because it is not as potent as BZN’s, it’s onset of action is a little longer. You should take it about 2 hours before you go to bed. Because of this inconvenience, I don’t know how beneficial this will be to a poker player. If you do purchase some valerian root, look for supplements that contain 0.4-1% valerenic acid. A typical dose is between 400-900mg 2 hours before bedtime. If you’re looking for a natural supplement to reduce anxiety and help you sleep, this is definitely your best choice.

Magnesium is probably the hidden jewel when it comes to OTC sleep aids. It not only calms your nerves, it also helps improve the quality of your sleep. The majority of the US population is deficient in magnesium. It’s involved in hundreds of chemical reactions in the body, everything from anxiety to heart problems. Entire books have been written about the benefits of magnesium. Like fish oil, this should be a staple in every poker player’s nutritional regimen. Do not buy magnesium oxide due to its poor absorption. Take anywhere from 400-600mg of magnesium citrate or glycinate an hour before bed. Orange juice, apple juice, or tomato juice increases magnesium’s absorption while calcium or other diary products decrease its absorption. I cannot stress enough how important magnesium supplementation is.

Benadryl and other sedating anti-histamines should not be used by poker players. The increased likelihood of residual drowsiness and the lack of efficacy of improving sleep quality make these a poor choice for poker players. There are too many other sleep aids out there that are more effective.

I just wanted to give you an overview of some of the most commonly used sleep aids available. There are hundreds of others out there. There are plenty of Chinese teas and herbals that are purported to help improve sleep. My best recommendation is to read the science and research for yourself. You may even want to try a couple out. Only you will know if it works for you.

Summary

Hopefully you’ll take the above recommendations to heart. Remember, my recommendations are based on not only real-world feedback, but also on research. These aren’t just opinions. If you have any questions about anything I’ve said, please ask.

So the bottom line is to avoid sleep aids with long half-lives because the likelihood of residual drowsiness is much greater. Also, one thing I forgot to mention. If you take any of the above sleep aids with a meal high in fat, it’s going to take longer for the sleep aids to work. Fat actually slows down digestion.

My recommendations

If you think you’ll get less than 8 hours of sleep: Sonata

If you think you’ll get 8-10 hours of sleep: Ambien

If you’re circadian rhythm is off from too many late-nighters: Controlled-release melatonin along with a sleep aid.

The drug everyone should take: Magnesium citrate or glycinate

Remember, don’t take multiple sleep aids. When taken by themselves, they are relatively safe. However, when combined, they can be deadly such as the case of Heath Ledger.

Aromatherapy Recipes for Insomnia Treatment

Aroma therapy is often called an “alternative therapy”. Aromatherapy is part of the subtle healing realm which also includes flower essences and crystals. Aromatherapy is the use of pure essential and absolute oils. Essential oils are complex, highly fragrant and volatile substances, with varying degrees of complexity, fragrance, and volatility. They are the most potent and concentrated extracts of various parts of flowers, fruits, leaves, spices, roots, and woods. The plant’s essence molecules are approximately 75-100 times more concentrated as an essential oil than in the dried plant. For centuries essential oils have been considered the most therapeutic and rejuvenating of all botanical extracts. They are highly concentrated, regenerating, oxygenating and contain hormones, vitamins, and antiseptics that work on many levels.

Aromatherapy mostly use of health of body, mind and spirit. They are other used in aromatherapy diffusers, aromatherapy lamps,blends, baths, massages and inhalations. In Aromatherapy, the most ccommon method of extraction is steam distillation. Aromatherapy is very effected to treat stress related problems like insomnia. About 15% to 25% of teenagers and adults are affected by insomnia. Lavender is anti-depressant and it may sooth and calm to digestion and nerves. It is useful for lowers blood pressure and reducing pain. Aromatherapy can be used for a variety of physical and emotional problems including stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain, insomnia, coughs and colds, burns, scar tissue, digestive problems and skin disorders. Some essential oils must be strictly avoided during pregnancy.

Aromatherapy burners or diffusers can be used in order to create a soothing atmosphere in your bedroom that helps you relax. Aromatherapy candles can scent any room and have positive effect, too. Benzoin is warming, relaxing and sedative. It is very effective for emotional exhaustion, bronchitis, tension, coughs and insomnia. Neroli is non-toxic, non-irritant and relaxing. This essential oil is very effective for panic, irritability, shock and insomnia. Sweet marjoram is very effective to treat anxiety, catarrh, muscular pain, headaches, joint pain, colds and insomnia. Jasmine is soothing and relaxing. Jasmine is very beneficial for depression, insomnia, nervous exhaustion, breathing difficulties and stress. Sandalwood is very beneficial for depression, catarrh, nervous tension, colic and insomnia.

Things Everyone Should Know Before Experiencing Pedicure Magic

On an average day, one person can take up to 10,000 steps. Although it’s good for the heart, those many steps can be bad for the feet. Treating the doggies to a pedicure is about more than just smooth skin and painted toenails – in fact, pedicures offer various benefits to the body.

1. Increases Blood Circulation

During the pedicure, most spas or nail salons massage the feet. The foot massage allows for the tendons in the foot to relax, causing circulation to increase in the feet and legs. This alleviates tension around the ankle and heel and offers some relief after a long day of walking or hiking.

2. Exfoliation

Exfoliating the feet removes dead skin cells, which are the culprits for corns and bunions. Since exfoliation removes dead skin, new skin on the foot can regenerate, particularly on the heel. This process will give feet a smooth and soft look.

3. Keeps Feet Moisturized

Pedicurists use oils and lotions to massage into the skin of the feet. This process will help keep feet moisturized, especially after exfoliation. Overall, it prevents cracking heels or excessively dry skin around the toes.

4. Prevents Infections

Toenails are a breeding ground for fungi, which is why cleaning and clipping toenails during a pedicure are important. A good foot scrub will remove bacteria from the feet and toes, which will prevent infections such as athlete’s foot.

5. It’s Relaxing

The human foot contains 33 joints, 26 bones, and more than 7,000 nerve endings. A foot massage helps to relax the body, which reduces stress and releases toxins. Some pedicurists may also practice reflexology which is an alternative therapy believed to operate different parts of the body using trigger points on the foot.

When To Say No To A Pedicure

The benefits of a pedicure far outweigh the negative. However, there are times when safety has to come before beauty. Potential reasons that a client should postpone an appointment include:

– Open sores on the heel or bottom of the feet

– Unexplained bruising

– Rashes or bumps

– Visible signs of toenail fungus

It’s important for those who suffer from diabetes to pay close attention to their feet. This is mainly because an infection can raise blood sugar levels. If a pedicure appointment is already scheduled, it’s common courtesy to call within a 24-hour period.

Finding the Right Salon

A person can tell a lot about a salon from a first impression. A great way to experience the staff of the salon is to go there and get a feel for the atmosphere. Other things to search for include:

– Visible esthetician license(s)

– Clean workspace

– Well-maintained equipment

– Clean tubs and water

Remember, a pedicure is meant to be fun and relaxing. A part of that is determining whether a salon can provide their customers with top-notch service.

Delegated Media Regulation Within the Context of Broadcasting in South Africa

Introduction

This paper discusses the concept of delegated media regulation within the context of broadcasting in South Africa. It briefly discusses the history of media regulation during the apartheid period; the transformation of broadcasting media from an authoritarian government, to a liberalised media, the impact of the transformation with regards to internal media policies; focusing mostly in broadcasting media policy. The paper will then discuss the formation of independent regulatory agencies by government as delegated bodies; to monitor broadcasting media. These include the Independent Broadcasting Act of 1993 (IBA), the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA) and the merger to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA), and the existence of the Media Diversity and Development Agency (MDDA). In discussing these bodies, the paper will look at the role played by these organisations in regulating broadcasting media, and the impact they have in the development and monitoring of broadcasting media.

Brief History

Apartheid affected every single aspect of South Africa, including the media. Laws that regulated the media were tailor-made to restrict freedom of expression and subject the media to the extremes of the apartheid government. Before the rise of democracy, South Africa showed essential features of aristocracy; which consisted of whites, Indians and coloured people nominated to the legislative assembly. The ideology of apartheid brought division among the South African society along racial lines. The divisions in society and domination of the majority by the minority were reflected in policy formulation; which included stipulations that restricted the media (Fourie, 2004: 168). This was evident as the government exercised its powers in the broadcasting media. When the SABC was established in parliament, it was said to be the public broadcaster; but this was not the case. Because of political philosophies related to the political values of the society and those in power at the time, the SABC was the state broadcaster and not a public broadcaster; and as a result was said to be the apartheid state’s most powerful propaganda tool Dennis Jjuuko (2005: 3).

According to Jjuuko “The assumption to political power by the National Party in 1948 meant the Afrikanerisation of the SABC, which was achieved largely through controls of the board.” Jjuuko continues to say that during this time the SABC had to play a “significant role in the politics of the day, with no space to make independent editorial decisions.” This particularly had a negative impact on the importance on the SABC’s internal policies. As a result the SABC was referred to as “his master’s voice”, as it gave the government a platform to articulate the apartheid ideology, to control the people of South Africa; particularly blacks.

In support of this argument, one of the main laws that restricted media freedom was the one that reduced the broadcast/publication of activities of anti-government black groups. Fourie (2004) argues that from the apartheid laws “one can deduce that the public interest was very narrowly defined. (That) Many laws/policies of the apartheid regime only made provision for the interest of the minority and the security for their dominant position.”

Even though freedom of speech was in the constitution, it was not enshrined in the Bill of Rights, thus media freedom was not guaranteed. According to Fourie government/external policies forced the media to operate in a very restrictive legal framework; with more than 100 laws that restricted the conduct of journalists as well as media content. Government had the right to ban publications and to insist on the approval of media content before publication. This made the reporting of misconduct of government officials very difficult; and criticising the state was out of the question.

2. Transformation of broadcasting media

The transition to democracy during the mid 1990s raised questions on how to transform the media as an organ of “racist ideology into a forum of the advancement of national unity and equality” (Ashley Dawson). The transformation of the media incorporated issues of deregulation, liberalisation, diversification, industrialisation, convergence and privatisation. Also to be taken into account were economic issues, social and/ cultural issues, which include nationalism, local languages and cultural diversity; political issues-focusing on freedom of expression and freedom of speech, as well as the control and regulation of the media.

Early 1990, the National Party saw itself being influenced to take a liberal policy route in its broadcasting policies. This was due to the formation of a Task Group which was led by Professor H.C Viljoen, on Broadcasting in South Africa. The findings of the Task Group were not at all in favour of the apartheid government broadcasting policies. The recommendations were of a programming that “would cater for all sections of the general public” (Jjuuko, 2005). In a place of serving government, the SABC was to serve the public. The findings were clearly influenced by a functionalist paradigm and not power as was the case before.

Early 1994, the National Party (NP) and the African National Congress (ANC) agreed for the “SABC not to be used as a tool for political abuse” (Berger, 2004). Pressures rose as media practitioners were threatened by police and political activists, trying by all means to interfere with internal media policies and decisions. Media freedom was then enshrined in the constitution, as the right to information and freedom of speech.

Internal media policy

Internal policy can not be excluded from the external policy framework, for it is always formulated within the parameters of the external framework. This is due to the link between the media, economic and political structure of a country. Fourie (2001:190) states that “Internal media policy formulation takes place within the structure and operation of a medium itself. (And that) Gatekeepers are generally responsible for policy formulation on this level.”

A new political dispensation in South Africa impacted on the internal policy formulation of South Africa’s public broadcaster. There were also changes in the legal framework in the country, as the media could not broadcast nor publish certain information. “The unbanning of political organisations and political leaders in 1990 had an immediate impact on media internal policy” (Fourie). This was due to the fact that the apartheid news policy specified that the SABC would not offer a platform to opposition parties (Fourie, 2001). After 1990, the media experienced a more liberal working environment as the laws that restricted the media were amended; living more room for internal media policy.

As media democracy was in transition, government saw a need to delegate control to independent regulatory bodies to deal with media policy. These independent bodies would perform duties of allocation of frequency spectrum and licensing, the monitoring of broadcasters’ compliance with licence conditions, including content issues and competition, as well as protecting and upholding the editorial and programming independence of all broadcasters. All these changes were inevitably going to have an impact on both the power and importance of internal media policies over government external policies in both print and broadcasting media.

3. Independent regulatory bodies

3.1 SATRA – IBA – ICASA

Fourie argues that “The narrow articulation of the public interest by the previous government was also clearly reflected in telecommunications policy formulation and the implementation of this policy under apartheid.” As in broadcasting and print media, freedom to better services and access to this sector featured strongly in its policy formulation; also the application of universal service as a policy instrument reflected the historical inequalities of the South African society (Fourie, 2001).

The rise to democracy saw South Africa taking cognisance of the international trends; which included the deregulation of the telecommunications and broadcasting, and the phasing out of monopolies. Also technological developments which include convergence between broadcasting and telecommunications impacted on the regulation of both sectors.

The emergence of the first democratic elections in South Africa also lead to the transformation of the SABC as a public broadcaster; thus the formation of the Independent Broadcasting Act (IBA)1993, and the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of 1996. SATRA was established as an independent body to regulate the telecommunications industry. Also as the independent regulator SATRA had to balance the interests of consumers, and the stakeholders in Telkom as well as the market participants. The formation of these two bodies was due to the need to ensure the development of the media in areas of public broadcasting, commercial and community broadcasting, and lastly to guard against internal media policy.

As part of the transformation the IBA called for the Triple Inquiry, which stated that the independence of the media is a central public principle which ensures editorial freedom (Triple Inquiry Report, 1995). In 1995 the government indicated that it “fully recognised and accepted the role of the media to be a critical commentator on government activity in the country” and that “the media should be beyond the control of government” (Johnson, 1996: 297, sited in Steyn).

The IBA was subsequently merged with SATRA in 2000 to form the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). The merger was to ensure effective and seamless regulation of the telecommunications and the broadcasting sectors as well as to accommodate the convergence of technologies. Through the formation of this independent regulatory body, it was then decided that editorial independence together with internal media policies were of outmost importance; that the broadcaster (using the SABC as an example) should safeguard its editorial independence to ensure its credibility as a national source of reliable and regular information.

As the democracy years rolled over, successive ministers of communication attempted to claw back some of the forfeited control over electronic communications, and correspondingly reduce some of the independence for the players involved. This trend has also been in broadcasting. “Government has felt that SABC has been law unto itself in deciding how to deliver on, and be accountable for, its legally enshrined mandate” (Berger, 2005). This is what led to the introduction of editorial policies in the SABC, which was initiated by the Broadcasting Amendment Bill of 2002. In embracing the importance of these internal media policies; parliament declared the independent regulator ICASA; which works at arms length from the government to approve them.

ICASA derives its mandate from ICASA Act of 2000, the Independent Broadcasting Act of 1993, Broadcasting act of 1999, and Telecommunications Authority Act of 1996. ICASA’s mandate includes the regulation of broadcasting in the public interest, and to perform adjudication functions. As part of delegated media regulation, ICASA works hand-in-hand with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa. The BCCSA was set up by National Association of broadcaster of Southern Africa in 1993 to adjudicate and mediate complaints against broadcasters/broadcasting licence holders.

ICASA also ensures fairness and diversity of views broadly representing South African society. One of its objectives is to ensure that in the provision of broadcasting services, the needs to language, cultural and religious groups, and the need of educational programmes, are taken into consideration (ICASA Position Paper 2000). It also promotes and encourages ownership and control of telecommunications and broadcasting services from historically disadvantaged groups. Again ICASA works with the Media Diversity and Development. Agency which also ensures the empowerment of previously disadvantaged groups.

3.2 The Media Diversity and Development Agency

After the 1994 democratic elections, the media in South Africa was still not reflective of the country’s diversity. The legacy of apartheid still played itself in various spheres of society, including the media, where the nature of the public discourse was shaped by patterns of ownership and control, such that the poor and disadvantage remained marginalised. The White Paper on Broadcasting Policy, 1998 concluded that, “Society benefits from free, independent, and pluralistic media.” It was then decided that a supportive policy environment was required; and in achieving this Government committed itself to corrective action.

This was due to the need to rectify the wrongs inflicted by apartheid in media development and diversity. Government took an initiative to set up an independent agency that will address problems of the media development and diversity in the country and provide assistance through loans and subsidies to the marginalised groups (MDDA position paper, November 2000). The MDDA’s mandate is to promote diversity and development in print, broadcasting and new media. It works with bodies dealing with Telecommunications, licensing and film. Also develops policies that are informed by ongoing research and evaluation.

4. Conclusion

It is of common knowledge that freedom of expression is one of the hallmarks of democracy; which requires a media that is free from state control. Before the democratisation of South Africa, the South African government was empowered to control the media, to limit free speech as it pleased. During this time newspapers were closed down, and anything that seemed to be giving voice to the voiceless, being a novel or a film, it was banned. Press freedom was at this time described as having “its left leg in plaster, its right arm in a sling a patch over the left eye, deafness in the right ear, a sprained ankle and a number of teeth knocked out” (Joel Merwis, 1979, in Berger 2004).

In redressing the historic imbalances caused by the apartheid policies, government saw it necessary to free the airwaves by delegating media regulation to independent bodies. This was and still is a way of ensuring democracy in the media sector. The telecommunications Green paper stipulates that, “telecoms is an important means of building democracy by giving citizens access to the information and telecommunications services that enable them to participate effectively in the decision-making process of society,” thus the formation of SATRA to guard against government interference.

ICASA and the MDDA also work hand-in-hand to ensure that “the central public interest principle in broadcasting is that of universal access, that there is a diverse range of language, religious, and cultural programming,” (MDDA, 2005). One can conclude and say the independent regulators are working towards harmonising dysfunctions; which can include opportunities for small media companies, challenges or problems around media policies to improve the functioning of broadcasting media as a whole.

4 Possible Nail Fungus Complications

Nail fungus is a condition characterized by the thickening, discoloring and possible ‘flaking’ of the nails on the toes and (rarely) on the fingers.

Now one commonly asked question by people who are handed a nail fungus diagnosis is as to whether nail fungus can lead to further complications, and if so, what those complications could be.

The answer to the first part of the question is ‘yes,’ nail fungus can indeed lead to complications – though that is not always the case.

1) One of the possible complications from nail fungus is total nail damage, where the infected nails – whether on the toes or on the fingers, become irreparably messed up. What is worth noting here is that fungus is a living thing, depending on the nail tissue for its nutrition. So the longer you leave your nail fungus infection unattended to, the more the fungus continues feeding on the nail. This can get to a point where the nail is so badly messed up that the only way to treat it is to remove it – and make room for a new one grow in its stead. Naturally, as you can imagine, removal of a nail is not likely to be a very pleasant procedure. Hence the need to seek treatment for nail fungus early on, when permanent nail damage has not yet taken place.

2) Nail fungus, according to researchers, also puts you at a higher risk of cellulitis. Thus this increase in the risk of cellulitis is the second possible complication from nail fungus. Cellulitis itself is a much more serious infection, which can spread to the rest of the body. Furthermore, unlike nail fungus, a fungal infection that can be quite easily combated, cellulitis is a bacterial infection – the sort that tends to rather problematic in getting rid of.

3) The third possible complication from nail fungus is pain. Initially, the condition is not painful, just disfiguring. But if pain is the only motivation that will get you acting on your health, then you can count on nail fungus sending it your way, sooner or later. And when it comes, the pain from nail fungus can be quite excruciating. Thankfully, it is only when nail fungus is left unattended for a very long period of time indeed that pain can result. At this stage, the only real treatment open to you may be the surgical removal of the affected nail, and this is also likely to be an even more painful procedure.

4) The fourth possible complication from nail fungus, especially if you have a condition like diabetes, is that blood supply (and supply of ‘sensation’ through nerves) may become impaired. This can lead to more serious conditions, possibly even making it hard for you to use the afflicted body organs (whether hands in the case of nail fungus affecting finger nails, or the feet, in the case of nail fungus affecting toe nails).

Thankfully, these complications are only likely to take place if you leave your nail fungus unattended for too long. As long as you seek timely treatment for the condition, it is really not something you should be too worried about.

What Is Cushing’s Disease And How To Cure It

Cushing’s disease is a hormonal disorder caused by prolonged exposure of the body’s tissues to high levels of the hormone cortisol. Sometimes called “hypercortisolism,” it is relatively rare and most commonly affects adults aged 20 to 50. An estimated 10 to 15 of every million people are affected each year.

Symptoms vary, but most people have upper body obesity, rounded face, increased fat around the neck, and thinning arms and legs. Children tend to be obese with slowed growth rates.

Other symptoms appear in the skin, which becomes fragile and thin. It bruises easily and heals poorly. Purplish pink stretch marks may appear on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, arms and breasts. The bones are weakened, and routine activities such as bending, lifting or rising from a chair may lead to backaches, rib and spinal column fractures.

Most people have severe fatigue, weak muscles, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Irritability, anxiety and depression are common.

Women usually have excess hair growth on their faces, necks, chests, abdomens, and thighs. Their menstrual periods may become irregular or stop. Men have decreased fertility with diminished or absent desire for sex.

Cushing’s syndrome occurs when the body’s tissues are exposed to excessive levels of cortisol for long periods of time. Many people suffer the symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome because they take glucocorticoid hormones such as prednisone for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other inflammatory diseases, or for immunosuppression after transplantation.

Today, there are many treatments available for sufferers of cushing’s disease.

Preventing And Curing Fingernail Fungus

Fingernail fungus is an infection that isn’t just limited to the fingers; it is also a common affliction of the toenails. The symptoms are usually thickening or softening of the nails, it might also cause discoloration. Often times, this fingernail fungus can be a very difficult condition to manage and can also cause some serious damage to the persons fingernails, which could eventually lead to nail loss.

Our nails are great at keeping infections at bay – not surprising really when you consider that acting as a protective barrier is the reason that we have them at all. The problem is that should an infection (fungus) manage to penetrate them, then the same protective nature of the nails makes it difficult for us to penetrate them also in order to treat the problem.

Fingernails fungus is contagious, which is why it is fairly widespread. The organisms that are responsible for the infection can easily spread from one person to another as a result of close contact. Note that no actual physical contact is necessary, as the organisms can even pass through the air should be it particularly moist.

And in what ways is fingernail fungus normally passed from one person to the next? Literal contact, such as standing with bare feet, or placing an uncovered hand, in an infected area is the main cause of new infections. With the using of contaminated items (shoes, gloves, towels, etc.) being another. If these items are left in damp or sweaty places, and are not regularly cleaned, then the likelihood of fungus growing in them significantly increases.

The increasingly popular trend of applying acrylic nails also contributes to the spread of fingernail fungus. The unnatural processes that nails undergo as result of this beauty treatment break into their protective barrier and increase the possibility of fungus getting inside. Also, some nail professionals also make the mistake of applying the acrylic nail over the natural nail that, unknown to them, is already harboring spores of the fungus.

Don’t overly worry though should you find yourself to be infected with nail fungus as it can be effectively treated. On first noticing anything out of the ordinary regarding your nails, go to a pharmacy and ask about standard over the counter treatments – for most people, the use of these is sufficient to rid themself of the infection. However, should they not have the desired result, then you should not hesitate to contact your doctor so that they can recommend a more potent treatment.

You can save yourself a lot of time and effort though by focusing on prevention rather than cure. The best thing that you can do is to make sure that your nails are always well groomed, ventilated and dry. Not borrowing personal items from others, particularly shoes, towels, and nail care instruments is also an important precaution to take.

Remember that your nails, as insignificant and superficial as they may seem, say a lot about your state of health in general. Look after them, and give them the same care and attention that you give to the other parts of your body.

Hair Loss and Non-Infectious Diseases of Scalp

Non-infectious diseases of the hair and scalp are those that can’t be spread from one patient to another. There is a great number and variety of them. They have absolutely different symptoms and causes and, consequently, their ways of treatment differ as well. And to a great extent, it has to be said. Some of these diseases are: seborrhea, baldness, damaged cuticles, psoriasis, sebaceous cyst, etc. Let’s consider them in more detail.

One of the most common non-infectious diseases of the hair and scalp is hair loss, or simply baldness. The main signs of male pattern baldness are thinning hair, receding hairline, and excessive hair loss. The causes of baldness are either genetic or hereditary. The treatments for this condition are based on inhibiting DHT function.

Seborrhea, also known as greasiness, is characterized by excessive oil on the scalp. The cause of this abnormal condition is overactive sebaceous gland. Spirit lotions and shampoos for greasy hair are usually recommended as main treatments.

Psoriasis, or, is usually caused by overactive production and shedding of the epidermal cells that often recur during stress. The symptoms of psoriasis are thick, dry, silvery scaling patches that are usually found behind the ears. Coal tar shampoo is one of possible treatments of this disease.

Monilethrix is also known as beaded hair shafts. It is a very rare disease of the scalp that is caused by uneven production of keratin in hair follicles. This condition is commonly treated in hair salons.

Sebaceous cyst is a lump either on top of or just underneath the scalp. The reason for this condition is blockage of the sebaceous gland. Medical treatment is usually prescribed.

Damaged cuticles, or tangled hair, is generally characterized by roughened and broken cuticle scales, what makes hair look dull and lifeless. Damaged cuticles often occur because of harsh physical or chemical damage. It is advised to use reconditioning treatments and restructurants to restore and revitalize your hair.

Though these diseases can be unsightly, they are not catching and, therefore, can be treated safely with no risk for surrounding people.

4 Vitamins for PMDD and Herbal Supplements

There are a number of ways that you can help to combat the symptoms of PMDD to reduce the mood changes and physical pains. One of these ways is to include some vitamins for PMDD that help your body combat these issues without the dangerous side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. While there are a wide range of vitamins and herbal supplements that can help, below are three that have been shown to make major impacts on PMDD symptoms fast.

Magnesium – Taking between 250 and 350 milligrams of magnesium daily can greatly reduce the symptoms of PMDD. This can help to boost your mood, improve the quality of your sleep, reduce cramping and pain, and can even reduce stress levels!

Vitamin B-6 – B-6 can help reduce many symptoms of PMDD as well. You will find that a B-complex supplement or 100 mg B-6 supplement can go a long way towards alleviating dysphoria as well as other common issues with premenstrual dysphoric disorder, such as water retention and cramping.

Vitamin E – Taking a Vitamin E supplement each day can prove to be quite beneficial. This vitamin has strong antioxidant properties, which help it to alleviate many physical symptoms. Many people also find that Vitamin E can help greatly reduce anxiety cause or exacerbated by PMDD.

Valerian Root – While this is quite a pungent smelling herb, it has been shown to be very effective at controlling PMDD symptoms. Valerian is shown to have remarkable properties in terms of helping to eliminate stress and anxiety, reducing mood swings and helping many people to get a better night’s rest.