The Dual Sting of Depression and Anxiety – Involuntary Defeat Strategy (IDS)

For anyone who has ever felt the dual sting of both depression and anxiety, you know that there is a link between the two in many instances. It makes sense that, if an individual has experienced the rejection and defeat that contributes to depression, they will ultimately experience anxiety in regards to confronting the sources of that depression. There are many ways to label this connection, but the basic premise is simple – the more severe the depression, the higher level the anxiety ultimately reaches.

There is a difference however in what kinds of depression can cause this sort of reaction. For some people, depression can be caused by their attachments. Having a fight with a loved one or breaking up with a long time partner can be a source of depression that is debilitating but not always in a manner that breeds higher levels of anxiety. However, depression directly attributed to one’s perception of social ranking can often be directly tied to the development of anxiety.

What this means is that this high level depression is caused by a feeling of inadequacy and inferiority within a given social environment. The individual is made to feel submissive and defeated in a social competition – whether it is losing a spouse to another man or woman, losing a job to a coworker, or being upstaged by a persistently more successful sibling. This feeling of defeat compounds and, due to the inherent hierarchy that exists in any social interaction, people start to judge or rate each other. Worse yet, those that suffer from depression assume they are being judged and rated, even when they are not, and start to develop high levels of anxiety about what their friends and family think of them and how they will react to almost every decision made.

Recent studies have gone on to show that this form of anxiety is unique in that it is directly related to the way in which you interact with those around you. One in particular – that of David Zuroff from the University of Toronto – states that when people gather in a group of essentially any form an immediate hierarchy develops. This hierarchy and the ranking of each individual within that hierarchy can then be measured based on their level of low positive effect – a term referring to the depression they have experienced as a result of defeat, rejection, or losses in a social setting. The comparison was drawn between this low positive effect level and the ability of the individual to hold attention and attraction in their peers through respect, influence, likeability, and other social prominent factors.

The study went on to show that the lower a person is within the social hierarchy of a given group, the higher the level of depression they may suffer from, and the more anxiety they will develop as a result – feeling trapped within the social environment and overwhelmed by those they feel are better than them. Rather than confronting this perception, they retreat within themselves, hiding from outside sources due to a perceived or very real lack of support from their family, friends, and peers.

Zuroff’s study is based upon a theory known as IDS or Involuntary Defeat Strategy (Gilbert, 2000; Sloman, 2000) which basically states that depression is directly caused by an activation of an instinct that keeps defeated individuals from attempting possibly dangerous contests with rivals that are superior. This social rank competition theory means that a great deal of depression is caused simply by individuals not being able to terminate this IDS reflex in their brains at the end of a social competition. They continue to allow the effects of losing a job or breaking up someone to affect how they perceive and interact with the world.

Millions of people attempt each day to overcome social pressures and be an important part of the social hierarchy. Those that can overcome their depression by working with those around them and terminating the self-defeating behavior our brains attempt to instill when we fail, will not only be able to operate free of much of the social anxiety they experience – they will quickly rise to the top of the social rankings.

Social Anxiety Disorder: The Major Cause of Being Anti-Social

If you have an overwhelming feeling or self-consciousness and anxiety in social settings that most people are fine in then you might have social phobia, otherwise known as social anxiety disorder. People suffering from this disorder feel like they are being judged and watched intensely by others and think that they think horrible thoughts about them.

They are afraid that they will embarrass or humiliate themselves in front of people when they meet them. This can seriously interfere with daily life such as school, work, relationships, and activities of daily living. Even though most people with social anxiety disorder know they’re feeling are not valid and excessive they cannot seem to manage or control them. When they a function they have to attend they can worry for months or weeks waiting for the dreadful day.

Social anxiety disorder can range in its behavior. Some individuals may only suffer from a specific fear such as eating or drinking, speaking, or writing if others are around or watching. Some people have a fear or going to the bathroom in a public restroom. This can be as serious as causing physical sickness or weakness to the bladder because of the anxiety involved, while some people are fearful in all social situations and is never comfortable.

The normal daily activities that most people take for granted are so horrifying and worrisome of social phobias it can be physically debilitating. This illness can cause people to miss work or school if they fear they will have to get up and be seen or noticed. Many persons with social phobia may have problems with relationships and can find it very hard to meet and keep friends. Even when the person has friends they may not be able to enjoy going out with then or being with them in large crowds of other people who might be less known. Some of the common symptoms include:

#1. blushes often in social situations

#2. profuse sweating when anxious

#3. trembling when approached or spoke to

#4. nausea as anxiety increases and possibly vomiting

#5. extreme difficulty talking

You may be extremely embarrassed by all of these symptoms if you have social phobia. It can feel like there are million people watching you all the time and you can’t get away. You might even be able to stand being around your own family for fear of ridicule and rejection.

This is a common irrational fear that with out medication cannot be controlled. Even if you tried to face what fears you have the anxiety level before can be almost debilitating and can linger through out the whole experience. The anxiety can also linger after wards and keep you feeling scared and anxious for weeks or months. Affecting approximately 5.3 million American adults with men and women being affected equally, social phobia usually starts to develop in childhood or the early teens.

There is belief that social anxiety disorder can also be hereditary so if a family member has it you are at a higher risk of developing it as well. Because of the nature of the severe anxiety people with this disorder have a higher risk of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to try to relax and calm down. This only leads to worse problems and possibly addiction. To treat this disease one need to see a doctor and seek psychotherapy and/or medications.

There is hope and treatment for those persons who suffer with social anxiety disorder. There have been more and more drugs capable of helping control the feelings one may suffer with. The antidepressants Paxil and Effexor are excellent and wide used to help suffers of social phobia. It can take two to four weeks for the medications to start to take effect and it can also take some time to find the right dosage that works the best with the least side effects.

The user needs to always follow the instructions on the prescription and take the medication every day. If the side effects are too bad or there is no improvement in four weeks call your doctor. Many patients will have to continue medications for months, years, or even a lifetime. Another important aspect is therapy. Most doctors use cognitive-behavioral therapy that changes the individual’s cognitive thinking patterns to help them eventually face fear in all social situations without debilitating anxiety.

Shortness of Breath Anxiety – How is it Different From Breathing Difficulty Due to a Panic Attack?

Suffering from shortness of breath? It may be a symptom of panic attack, heart attack, or even a stroke. If you find it difficult to breathe, you must make sure whether it is really caused by anxiety or not. As the name suggests, shortness of breath anxiety or dyspnea is a type of panic attack that makes breathing very difficult and causes a person to become extremely paranoid about his or her condition.

But what is the difference between panic attack-related and heart attack-related shortness of breath, you might be wondering. It is quite tricky to make a distinction between the two because they share some similarities. First, shortness of breath anxiety is characterized by gastro-intestinal problems such as heart burn, and this is also experienced by people suffering from heart attack. Second, both conditions are accompanied by fight or flight response or a feeling of a looming danger. Third, anxiety due to shortness of breath is a symptom of circulatory disorders that are triggered naturally by the body and mind. Lastly, both heart attack and panic attack victims lose their sensation in certain parts of the body, so shortness of breath can be mistaken for either one of the two conditions.

Now, how can you tell the difference between breathing difficulties related to heart attack and those related to shortness of breath anxiety? The following are some factors to take into account:

1. If the shortness of breath comes with numbness or pain on the left arm

2. If the shortness of breath comes with pain on the left side of the chest

3. The weight of the person with breathing difficulty

4. Whether the person has a record of congenital heart ailments

The most important factor to look into is how long the shortness of breath usually lasts. Typically, panic attacks last for about 10 minutes. If the shortness of breath takes more than 30 minutes, then that should is a sign of a more severe condition.

Shortness of breath anxiety occurs because of a combination of multiple impulses sent by the nerve endings in the chest muscles and lungs to the main system of the brain. The combination of impulses is further combined with a person’s interpretation and perception of shortness of breathing. Several factors aggravate the difficulty of breathing, and these are shown by the following shortness of breath anxiety symptoms:

1. Feeling of being strangled, which increases the panic and anxiety

2. Tiredness felt as the chest muscles move

3. Increased effort exerted while inhaling and exhaling

4. Feeling of suffocation or a sudden feeling of tightness within the wall of the chest

So what should you do when shortness of breath strikes? Call a physician to take a look at your condition. Don’t put off your visit to the doctor, lest your breathing difficulties will punish you for a long time. In addition to asking help from a specialist, you can do some exercises to help you breathe more easily, whether the shortness of breath is caused by a panic attack or a heart attack.

What You Should Consider Before Taking Ambien

Ambien, a prescription drug, is the brand name for zolpidem that is used to help treat insomnia. Ambien is a sleeping pill in a specific classification of drugs known as hypnotics or sedatives.

Studies show that insomnia is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in your brain. Ambien works to induce relaxation and sleep in the patient. It is usually prescribed to those who have sleep problems such as inability to sleep, waking too early or waking several times during the night.

Generally, Ambien is only prescribed for use seven to ten days. Long-term use is not recommended. The use of Ambien should be closely monitored by a physician.

There are some things to take into consideration when taking Ambien. First, it is important that the drug be taken exactly as your doctor has directed. It should also be taken with a full glass of water and only take right before bedtime.

Since the drug works relatively fast, it is important that you do not take it until just before you get into bed for the night. It quickly makes you drowsy and you could hurt yourself by falling.

Ambien should also be taken only if you are able to devote at least eight hours to sleep. Otherwise, you will still be drowsy upon waking and will be defeating the purpose of taking the medication.

If you are taking Ambien for prolonged periods, such as over two weeks, you should not abruptly stop taking it. If you do, you may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms.

If you have a history of kidney or liver disease or have any type of respiratory disease such as bronchitis, asthma or emphysema, you should let your doctor know prior to taking Ambien.

Some of the side effects that could occur when taking Ambien follow in the next paragraph. For those who are 60 years old or older, you carry a higher risk of experiencing these side effects.

Some potential side effects of Ambien include drowsiness, headache, clumsiness or dizziness. You could experience nausea, diarrhea, vomiting or constipation as well. Depression, pain or aches in the muscle, abnormal or vivid dreams or memory loss could also occur as a result taking Ambien.

More serious side affects could include an allergic reaction resulting in breathing difficulties, swelling of the face, tongue or lips or closing of the throat. Abnormal behavior, confusion or hallucinations are also serious side effects of Ambien.

When taking Ambien, it should not be mixed with any other drugs, prescription or over the counter drugs that could cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Ambien is extremely habit forming and should be used with extreme caution. Talk to your physician before stopping this medication.

An Introduction to Acrylic Nails

Artificial nails are also called acrylic nails because these aren’t naturally grown on the top of our fingers. If you cannot grow your own fingernails, you can resort to using acrylic nails and enjoy good looking nails for special occasions or even daily wear. These nails give unnatural length to short and brittle nails. They are glued on to your natural nails and can give a stunning effect as they come in a variety of designs and patterns.

How acrylic nails are made: Often, women wear these acrylic nails to prevent themselves from biting their nails. With acrylic nails this is possible since they are strong, impossible to chew and are created by mixing a powder and a liquid called Ethyl Methacrylate (EMA). When mixed together, they form a thick mix that can be easily applied to the finger tips and color your natural nails.

Applying acrylic nails at a salon: These nails can be applied at home or at a salon, though it can be very time-consuming. Before you opt for this, speak to your friends or family for their opinions. Next, make a booking at the salon but not before you check that the salon has put up its licenses clearly for everyone to see; that it is a clean place; and that their staff washes their hands before starting work with you and that the ventilation is good. Expect to spend $20-$100, depending on the technique used, kind of application, training and quality of polishing on the nails. You will have to go back to the salon every two weeks. Each session could last an hour or more.

Applying it at home: You will have to practice a lot at home before you can get anywhere near a professional’s expertise. Before you begin, check that you have these tools of the trade: a nail brush, a buffer, liquid and powder acrylic and acrylic clippers.

How to apply acrylic nails: Clean your nails, dry them, and push the cuticles back. Apply fitting tips where your natural nail ends. Next, mix the powder and liquid and drop a small bead of the mix on to the nail from the brush. Keep doing this until a natural curve appears. Now, trim your nails to the length you choose to have. If there is any excess powder or nail dust, brush it off now. You may choose to buff your nails now. Your acrylic nails are ready.

Caring for your nails: By caring for your nails, you can make them last longer and look better. If you take the best care of them, you will not have to replace them often, making investing in them cost-effective.

Taking them off: If you want to take off your acrylic nails, don’t resort to snapping them off because this can harm your natural nail that’s growing below it. Instead, have it removed by a specialist or soak your nails in acetone. To protect your cuticles and fingers, apply a coating of Vaseline, and then soak them in acetone for 30 minutes. After this, they will come off naturally.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: Move Over Kegals, There Is a New Exercise in Town

According to physiotherapist Dr Pauline Chiarelli, pelvic floor problems can effect as many as one in three women. If you came to see us for advice on rehabilitation and help with an injury you would quickly notice that we ask questions that are not just related to your present concern but also questions about your health in general. We do this for a number of reasons; primarily we does this so that we can put your current concern into context but also it allows us to see if you have any other problems that you might have thought were “just normal”. When we ask these questions our clients frequently mention some sort of pelvic floor dysfunction with which they have just learned to live.

Is pelvic floor dysfunction more of a female than a male problem? Scientists, Ireland and Ott, say the male pelvis is denser and the bony part of the pelvis is generally smaller in diameter allowing faster coordination between all the muscles. This denseness combined with the smaller area means that the male pelvic floor is less likely to become dysfunctional. Conversely, the female pelvis is less dense and wider, as the bony structure is designed to house and deliver a baby. This means that the female pelvic floor is more susceptible to decreased strength and coordination between the pelvic floor muscles.

How is your pelvis meant to work and why do people get problems e.g. incontinence? In normal posture the pelvis should be anteriorly tilted allowing the bones of the pelvis to provide support to the internal organs, muscles, ligaments etc. In females the bladder is supported by the pubic bone at the front, which, in turn, creates support for the uterus. A large proportion of women with problems stand with a posterior pelvic tilt and decreased lumbar spinal curve. This puts more pressure on the pelvic floor by taking away the bony support from the bladder and uterus and creates pelvic floor problems. The good news is that this can be helped learning to correctly move your pelvis…. I will discuss a little later how to correct pelvic floor problems with exercises that are much more comprehensive than Kegals.

When looking at the muscular support of the pelvic floor it is useful to look at other muscles involved in its correct function: the abdominals, the spinal muscles, the hip and the respiratory diaphragm. These muscles work as a functional group. For example, as the respiratory diaphragm contracts it lowers, drawing air into the lungs, as it lowers it causes the organs that are underneath it to move downwards. This increased pressure in the abdominal cavity gently puts pressure on the pelvic floor causing a harmonious movement between the diaphragm and the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor assists in lumbopelvic stability (Markwell 2001) along with the muscles of the lower back, hips and abdominals. Anatomically there are connections as well; one of the hip muscles, the obturator internus, and part of the pelvic floor, the levator ani, are connected by a common tendon, the arcuate tendon. This means that if there is restricted movement in one or both of the hips, perhaps from arthritis, tight muscles or even ankle injuries, part of the pelvic floor will also be affected.

So it’s more than just the pelvic floor muscles then? Due to the interconnected nature of the pelvic floor and the muscles of the low back, hips and abdominals we always look at the “pelvic core neuromuscular system” or PCNS for short. This term was originally coined by my friends and colleagues, Christina Christie and Rich Colossi, physiotherapists specializing in pelvic floor dysfunction. By taking this approach we can determine if the current pelvic floor problems are actually being maintained by other things like poor posture, faulty breathing patterns or even by some thing as far away as an old ankle injury! Physiotherapist Gary Gray argues that in order to get the pelvic floor functioning optimally all the structures of the PCNS should be integrated subconsciously. For example, you don’t have to think about bracing your leg muscles to stop you from falling over, it just happens, and that should be the case for the pelvic floor as well. You shouldn’t have to consciously tense your pelvic floor to prevent leakage – it should just happen.

What is pelvic floor dysfunction?

It can take many forms, including but not limited to, pelvic pain, pelvic-organ prolapse, anal incontinence and urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence can be subdivided into three categories:

  • Stress incontinence– involuntary loss of urine with an increase in intra-abdominal pressure e.g. a sneeze or a hop causes a small leak of urine.
  • Urge incontinence– the urge to empty your bladder with only a small production of urine.
  • Frequency incontinence –urinating more than eight times in twenty four hours.

So what is normal? Generally you should be urinating every two to four hours during the day and zero to once during the night (although pregnancy does temporarily increase the incidence of urinary incontinence).

Are there any other problems I may have due to pelvic floor dysfunction? When we are talking about urinary incontinence it is worth noting that the loss of control and coordination of the pelvic muscles puts strain on other structures in the body. Many people do not realize that their back pain, sacroiliac dysfunction, sciatica, knee pain and ankle sprains could all be coming from dysfunction of their PCNS, and visa-versa.

What is an effective way to correct these problems?

Due to the PCNS’s highly integrated nature with the rest of the body it doesn’t make sense to continually isolate it and rely on exercises like Kegals. That would be like treating a sore knee that was caused by limping due to a sprained ankle. The ankle should be treated first, otherwise the knee pain will just keep coming back. Having said that, there are circumstances where specific pelvic floor work such as Kegal’s are useful, but if you are able to, it is more beneficial to strengthen the pelvic floor in an integrated way.

So what do we recommend to strengthen it? In order to create an environment where the pelvic floor and it’s functionally related muscle groups (diaphragm, low back, hips and abdominals) are working subconsciously we need to exercise the body in all three planes of motion using both the arms and legs to ‘drive’ or move the body to create a specific load to the whole complex of functionally related muscles.

Move over Kegals! Introducing the Pelvicore Exercise Ball…This simple device was developed by physiotherapists Christie and Colossi to help their patients get faster and better results from exercises they were doing. It consists of a small inflatable ball that fits between the knees and an elastic strap that goes round the thighs holding the ball in place. Strengthening the hip muscles becomes easy when wearing the pelvicore ball because if you step out to the side all the lateral hip muscles have to work against the resistance of the elastic strap and when you step back all the medial/adductor muscles work against the pressure of the ball. Depending on your level of ability exercises with the pelvicore ball can vary from simply sitting and slowly moving your legs apart and then back together to exercises that involve squats, lunges and alternate hand drivers. These are whole body exercises that involve all aspects of the PNCS right from the ankle up to the neck.

Try this exercise suggested by Christie and Colossi:

The Pelvic-Hip Complex Pivot Shift Matrix

  1. See if you can balance on one leg for about 10 seconds, if you can continue, if you can’t then practice that before you try this.
  2. Start with the more successful side, in this example we will stand on the right leg and move the left leg through space
  3. Sagittal Plane:Stand on your right leg and swing your left leg forward and back, do it with control, repeat 10 times.
  4. Frontal Plane:Still on the right leg take your left leg as far to the left as you can and then lightly touch your toe to the floor, taking care not to put weight on it. Then return to the middle, pause and take your left leg to the right across the body in front or behind, gently toe touch a the end of range, repeat 10 times.
  5. Transverse Plane:Again, on your right leg rotate your whole body to the right pivoting on the right hip, once you have gone as far as you can rotate to the left gently touching your left toe to the ground if you loose balance, repeat 10 times.
  6. Repeat all the above on the other side.

What Next? If you thought you were resigned to doing Kegals for the rest of your life you now know there are alternatives that may work better for you. Clients often ask us what they can do at home to help prevent problems returning. The pelvicore ball provides a simple, easy to use exercise program that can be done at home to exercise the

PCNS properly. We are the only suppliers of the pelvicore ball in western Canada. We are confident that for the one in three women who suffer from pelvic floor problems this offers a chance for them to get stronger and more flexible. What a relief to not be in fear of the familiar accidental leak that can happen all too easily when the pelvic floor is not working properly!

References

Chiarelli, P. 2002. Women’s Waterworks: Curing Incontinence. Wallsend, NSW; George Parry.

Christie, C., & Colossi, R,.2010. Paving the way for a healthy pelvic floor: Turn on the Pelvic Core Neuromuscular System with triplanar movement and functional education. Idea Fitness Journal.

Gary, G., & Tiberio, D. 2010. Seminar. Chain reaction transformation. The Gray institute.

Ireland, M.L., & Ott, S.M. 2004. Special concerns of the female athlete. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 23 (2), 281-98.

Markwell, S.J. 2001. Physical therapy management of pelvic/perineal and perianal pain syndromes. World Journal of Urology, 19 (3), 194-99.

Helichrysum Essential Oil – A Natural Means to Speed Healing of Many Common Sports Injuries

Despite the image of Aromatherapy as lacking in scientific foundation in the United States, the use of pure, therapeutic grade essential oil for medical applications is common throughout much of Europe. The essential oil distilled from the flowers of Helichrysum Italicum is well-known for its broad range of actions, which can support healing of many common sports-related injuries. The essential oil’s compounds are known to prevent and relieve blood clotting (helpful for bruising), stimulate tissue regeneration, act as a powerful anti-oxidant, and can reduce inflammation. This combination of effects many help with injuries such as twists and sprains, bruises, tendonitis and the like. Any dedicated athlete would greatly welcome such a non-toxic, effective alternative healing remedy!

From a scientific standpoint, the alternative medicine aspects of aromatherapy deals with the interaction of a wide array of natural plant chemicals with human physiological systems. Each essential oil is many, sometimes hundreds, of individual chemical constituents. These often work in concert to provide a synergy of effects – a result that is greater than the application of each phytochemical alone. A great example is the combination of chemical compounds in Eucalyptus Radiata essential oil – it has been called an ‘aromatherapists designer oil’ because of it’s mix of anti-viral, expectorant, and anti-inflammatory components, plus a pleasing aroma, make it helpful in treating certain types of cold symptoms. Helichrysum Italicum contains a great synergy in it’s own way – it’s constituent chemicals are known to reduce inflammation, signal tissue regeneration, remove clotted blood, relax tissues and reduce pain.

Before approaching it’s possible effects of Helichrysum essential oil on sprains, strains and other sports injuries, let’s look at the root of these painful conditions. Take, for example, a an ankle twisted in a basketball game – what has happened physiologically? Connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) have been stretched beyond their normal lengths; these tissue have suffered ‘micro tears’, which is damage to the actual structure of the cells of the connective tissue. Some of these cells are so damaged that they die, and need to be re-grown. There is often additional swelling and bruising involved, which is generally the leaking of blood from damaged capillaries into intracellular space. This results in a loss of blood supply to surrounding cells, and blockage of nutrients, oxygen, and waste products moving to and from those cells. This in fact, leads to cellular damage beyond the primary injury of the connective tissue cells. More cell death occurs here, not only directly from the loss of nutrient/waste exchange for these cells, but also due to an increase in oxidative radical activity. The greater the amount of ‘secondary’ injury which occurs lengthens the time to recovery – here, one can see why applying ice to an injury soon after it occurs can speed healing – it reduces the amount of blood that clots (bruises) in an area, and lowers the metabolic activity (and oxidative radical production) in cells with a loss of nutrient supply – therefore, less secondary cell damage and death accompanies the primary injury.

The synergistic effects of the compounds found in Helichrysum oil address the physiological processes involved in such injuries directly. First the anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting effects reduce the secondary damage (occurring in acute injuries, or, for example, just after a training bout that has made a chronic injury flare-up). The anti-oxidant properties also prevent further cellular damage from occurring. The analgesic effects are a nice addition, possibly reducing the need for oral pain-relief medications of questionable toxicity. Finally, the tissue regenerating effects help re-grow all damaged tissue, and can even help prevent scarring from cuts and open wounds.

In ‘Medical Aromatherapy’, Dr. Schnaubelt indicates that the effects of many essential oils cannot be explained completely by the actions of their individual components – many oils’ effects are greater than the sum of their parts. The synergy of the components in Helichrysum produces a particularly sensational healing result. A recent user of the oil, who had been a professional triathlete, then cyclist, then ‘casual’ marathon runner, was having chronic pain in an achilles tendon. Overuse – and perhaps a stiff clutch on an old car – lead him to believe that despite excellent fitness, he wound not be able to take part in an upcoming major marathon. The injury hurt every time he ran; he had been a proponent of alternative therapies for many years, with some success using DMSO for tendon-related inflammation. He had not found DMSO (often used on racehorses for similar injuries) to be as effective on chronic injuries as acute ones, and this achilles issue was no different – nothing was helping fast enough where he knew he could make the race. For the first time, he gave Helichrysum essential oil a try, applying undiluted (Helichrysum is very well tolerated this way) to the area twice daily. Within two days, he was running without pain, and ran a personal best at the marathon event.

In this instance, the application of Helichrysum reduced pain (and likely inflammation as well) in the area, and supported regeneration of the damaged tendon tissues. The essential oil should prove just as effective with acute injuries as well – it’s noted ability to reduce the clotting of blood, along with it’s anti-inflammatory and tissue regenerative properties give it a seemingly complete natural arsenal to speed healing in most common sport-related injuries. In fact, this could extend to a very wide variety of trauma injuries, though great care should be taken to use as an adjunct to proper allopathic medical care in such cases.

If you decide to try the oil for yourself, be sure of your source, and that the variety is correct one discussed here. The oil is appropriate for range of injuries – minor to major – though of course it is not a substitute for proper medical attention in any way. Using the oil in conduction with a prescribed therapy should be discussed with your doctor. The literature does state that the oil is very well tolerated, and can be applied directly to the skin undiluted. An application of a thin film a few times a day, as soon as chronic pain is noted, or an acute injury occurs, is best. The oil can be used on broken or damaged skin – in fact, it is included in formulas to reduce scar formation along with Rosehipseed and Hazelnut oils (a 5% dilution of Helichrysum in a 50/50 blend of these two base oils can be used to support wound healing). As with any therapy, be aware of how you’re body is responding to treatment, and consult a medical professional with any questions or concerns about it’s use. In summary, Helichrysum italicum essential oil is a gentle, topical treatment which may speed healing for many common sport-related injuries. It is regarded as a very safe oil and is worth a try if you are in need of such support.

Sinus Infections And Sinusitis – Possible Causes – Usual and Unusual – Nurse’s Guide

If you’ve been suffering from sinus infections or some other type of sinusitis, which basically means an inflammation of the sinuses, you may be wondering what’s caused it. Although it’s not always known and sometimes can follow a cold or may be confused with a cold you may have some ideas of your own. You’ve no doubt heard of the most common causes.

Many people still think sinus infections are caused by bacteria and want their doctor to give them antibiotics. But most sinus infections are NOT caused by bacteria and are caused by invasive or noninvasive fungus, which you can find as household mold. So you want to eliminate that possibility first and get rid of any mold that you may have in your house, apartment, and condo or even in your motor home.

Look under and around toilets and bathtubs and showers. The bathroom is the most common place and also search the kitchen. If you have any plants in your bedroom make sure to remove them all. If you have a lot of plants in your house and continually have sinus problems or get sinus infections then consider removing them although it’s good to have the oxygen they emit.

Less common causes of sinusitis and sinus infections or factors that contribute to them are: nasal obstruction due to certain conditions including swollen adenoids, nasal polyps, foreign bodies, tumors and any surgeries you’ve had, dental infections, tooth extractions, dental surgery and oral surgery.

Consider indoor pollution so ventilate the house as much as possible by opening the windows and doors especially in the winter months if at all possible when many people routinely get sinus problems, sinusitis or sinus infections.

Then there are barotraumas which are injuries due to changes in ambient pressure resulting form activities such as air travel or scuba diving.

Other problems include immune system problems which can be from birth as congenital or as acquired. More serious causes can be due to underlying disease such as cystic fibrosis or ciliary dyskinesia and cleft palate, conch bullosa and a deviated septum.

The more familiar causes are to dust, sawdust and other particles you can find in the air such as pollen, chemical pollutants and dust mite leavings. People often get sinus infections around remodeling work in their homes or if they’re around construction both indoors and outdoors. So look through these causes and think about the environment around you as to what could be causing your sinus infections, sinusitis or other sinus problems. Know that you can treat most of the common causes yourself at home with natural sinus treatments and home remedies.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts – It May Never Cease

An ovarian cyst is a closed baglike mass that forms inside the ovary. An ovarian cyst develops during menstrual cycle. Most cysts work as part of the menstruation process – and these are called functional cysts. They occur during ovulation and they also disappear after a period of time. Simple cyst contains liquid or solid materials when the egg is not released during ovulation. Cysts can cause bleeding and pain but can be treated through surgery. During ovulation, hormone or substance is released in the ovary, follicles or small bags where eggs are developed. When eggs are finally formed they follicles are broken to release the eggs. The small bags that do not carry eggs are called corpus luteum but when these follicles or bags are not broken, they form as ovarian cysts. There are different kinds of ovarian cysts namely:

  • Follicular cyst – this is formed when follicle or baglike mass that contain egg grow larger and does not break to release the egg
  • Corpus Luteum cyst – this is formed during the menstrual cycle. If the egg is not fertilized or pregnancy, this cyst disappears over a period time
  • Dermoid cyst – this is related to tissues forming the skin, hair and teeth. It develops from the ovary’s germ cells, are noticeable during adulthood.
  • Endometrial or chocolate cyst – is formed due to a disease called endometriosis that is, the tissue develops outside the uterus and when it bleeds in area where it is formed, it becomes a cyst
  • Cystadenomas – abnormal growths from the ovarian tissue
  • Polycystic ovaries – when follicles or baglike mass do not burst in the ovaries. They grow bigger in size in the ovaries and form as cysts.

Symptoms for ovarian cyst may go unnoticeable until they are found during medical examination. During childbirth, injury or sexual intercourse, they may break and may show symptoms such as:

  • Extreme pains in the abdomen
  • Profuse bleeding internally
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Weight gain
  • Inability to conceive a child
  • Heavy menstrual flow
  • Painful bower movement
  • Changes in menstruation cycle

Diagnosis of ovarian cyst includes physical examination, laboratory tests and information on the medical history of the patient. Laboratory tests include CBC and pregnancy test. Diagnostic test will also be administered such as ultrasound, laparoscopy, and x-ray.

Depending on the type, size and location of cysts treatment for ovarian cyst also consider the age of the patient. For “functional cyst”, the doctor Would recommend waiting and seeing if the cysts would disappear over a period of time because it normally does. For polycystic type, prescription may vary accordingly. For endometrial, cystadenomas, and dermoid cysts, treatment is usually done with surgery. Laparoscopy will be done if the cyst

is smaller however, if the mass is over two and a half inches big, certain procedures will be done to remove it. Such procedures may include: ovarian cystectomy – removal of the cyst, partial oophorectomy – removal or cyst and a portion of the ovary, salpingo oophorectomy – removal of cyst, ovary, and fallopian tube.

Vaginal Discharge Odor – Every Woman’s Worst Nightmare

Vaginal discharge odor can be embarrassing and masking it with scented soap and underwear, or applying douches can make matters worse. Take heart, there is a cure for this upsetting condition.

What Causes Vaginal Discharge Odor?

Normally a healthy woman has vaginal discharges. The smell has a musky scent but a fishy smell that indicates infection inside the genital area caused by tiny protozoan, including the intractable yeast fungi. Before any medication is prescribed, a doctor will do a whiff test to determine what kind of infection is thriving in the genital tract.

For the whiff test, several drops of KOH or potassium hydrozide are added to a vaginal discharge sample. If a strong fishy scent is detected, bacterial vaginosis is confirmed. Vaginosis is symptomatic of candidiasis or the yeast infection.

If the cause is yeast infection, there are several cures including an all natural cure that provides 100% permanent relief from yeast infection. You can get out of the embarrassing mess that is ruining your social and personal life without resorting to an endless parade of antibiotics that cannot cure the infection. Certainly, the unpleasant vaginal discharge odor will disappear only to reappear after a period.

If you have been trying to treat the condition for years with antibiotics every time it flares up, you have ignored important factors that contribute to the infection – diet and drink. Consuming too much alcohol, smoking, eating too much sweets and breads do add to the worsening condition. Synthetic underwear, perfumed soaps, and douches are also to be avoided if you wish the odor to go away permanently.

Get Rid of the Vaginal Discharge Odor Naturally

Medications and medical consultations do not come cheap that includes taking a maintenance pill against yeast infection or vaginal thrush. Home remedies work fine and don’t contain harmful chemicals. Take your apple cider vinegar with the mother and tea tree oil. A hot bath with vinegar or tea tree oil can remove the smelly discharge and the itchiness. For a douche, mix two table spoons vinegar with water. 

Gentian violet is another cure. This is applied inside the wall of the vagina by a health care professional. Pau d Arco and citrus seed extract are diet supplements to increase the acid environment in the intestinal tract. When there is enough acid, the yeast fungus cannot multiply rapidly. To boost your efforts, avoid all sweets and yeasty breads. Eating yogurt and adding a few tablespoons vinegar into your drinking water can promote your treatment.    

Predictably, the results will vary from person to person. Don’t be discouraged if the treatment seems to take awhile. In time, you will smell improvements in your vaginal discharge odor and the disappearance of other symptoms – foggy mind, irritability, sore joints, sore throat, and abdominal pain.

Don’t rely too much on medications easily bought over the counter. These can only treat the symptoms not the cause of the spread of yeast infection. If you think the symptoms are gone with medications, be ready for another attack of foul vaginal discharge odor.

What Are Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMC)?

Peripheral blood mononuclear cells, which are also called PBMCs or PB-MNCs, are blood cells that have round nuclei. They are critical to immune system functioning; they fight infection and foreign intruders in the body. Lymphocytes, monocytes and phagocytes are three examples of peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

Lymphocytes are white blood cells found in the immune system of vertebrates, animals with spinal columns and backbones. A scanning electron microscope (SEM) image can reveal a division between large and small lymphocytes.

Large lymphocytes are known as natural killer cells or NK cells. These PBMCs are the first line of defense against infection. Small lymphocytes include B cells and T cells, which play important roles in both antibody and non-antibody response.

Like lymphocytes, monocytes are white blood cells found in the vertebrate immune system. They are present in humans, mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. These peripheral blood mononuclear cells have multiple roles in immune system functioning. They produce and replenish various immune cells, and they respond to inflammation and infection signals.

Monocytes are produced in the bone marrow. Half of these monocytes are stored within the spleen. Those that migrate from the bloodstream to other tissues mature into different cell types, including macrophages.

Macrophages are essentially cells that monocytes produce in the tissues. Both macrophages and monocytes are phagocytes, another type of white blood cells. They offer immune protection through the ingestion of bacteria, dying cells and foreign particles.

Phagocytes are highly developed in vertebrates, especially humans. One liter of human blood contains nearly six billion of these phagocytes. Similarly to other white blood cells, they are highly critical for fighting infection, removing dead cells and maintaining healthy tissue.

Peripheral blood mononuclear cells have wide-ranging uses, from scientific research and clinical studies to cellular therapy. Healthy donors can give their blood cells for the testing of blood-borne pathogens. Donor cells are important to the study of HIV, Hepatitis B, syphilis and other infectious and auto-immune diseases. PBMCs are also used for vaccine development.

PBMCs are also vital to cellular therapy, a process that introduces new blood cells into damaged tissue to treat a particular disease. This type of therapy often focuses on hereditary diseases and may include gene therapy, stem cell treatments and cell replacement therapy.

Peripheral blood mononuclear cells can be extracted from the blood through a biochemical technique called ficoll. The process separates whole blood into plasma, as well as separating the vital PBMCs.

Obesity and Ovarian Cysts

There is an epidemic of obesity in America. In conjunction with obesity, there is a rise in ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer also. Woman who develop ovariancysts after menopause are usually at higher risk for ovarian cancer. This is due

to higher amounts of “bad estrogen” known as estradiol. Even though the general levels of all estrogens are low, the balance of “good”(estriol) and bad estrogens is usually not optimal.

Is their a connection between being overweight and suffering with ovarian cysts? In what way can obesity influence the body to produce ovarian cysts or aggravate them? The answer to the previous question is a definite Yes.

Many years ago science thought of fat as just a layer of grease building up under our skin. In other words fat was fat and other than making us look ugly, it doesn’t really have any other effect on the body.

Today science has discovered that adipose tissue (fat) can be classified as an organ or a functional tissue. In simpler words, fat has many functions and produces different chemicals that affect the body in many ways.

An example would be diabetics who many times develop a fatty liver. Fatty liver will occasionally lead to cirrhosis of the liver and sometimes liver cancer. Why? Because fatty tissue produces chemicals that cause inflammation. Constant inflammation damages tissue (cirrhosis) and may lead to cancer.

Fatty tissue is also known to produce various hormones especially estrogen. So this is connection. Excess fatty tissue will produce hormones and stimulate ovarian cysts, fibroids, fibrocystic disease, endometriosis etc.

Another important correlation between obesity and ovarian cysts is that eating and life-style habits in persons who have too much weight are usually predisposing factors for ovarian cysts.

So by avoiding life-style habits that promote to much weight, ovarian cysts can also be prevented. Habits such as:

1. Lack of exercise

2. Too much calories in the diet

3. Low fiber diet

4. To little consumption of fruits and vegetables especially of the cabbage family

Lack of exercise and low fiber in the diet increases estrogen levels. Many fruits and vegetables interfere or block excess estrogen from stimulating the ovaries. Broccoli, Cabbage, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are the main ones. They are also high in fiber and nutrients.

Adding 2 tbs of ground flaxseeds to the diet can also help in regulating the bodies hormonal system.

Conclusion: By maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding the life-style habits that predispose to weight gain, can be an important step in the prevention and cure of ovarian cysts.

Cold Relief for Infants and Adults Through Home Remedies

As common as it may be, it is a big nuisance when you get it. Yes, I am talking about the common cold. Cold is usually caused by virus and hence antibiotics do not quite work and give relief. However, some of the infections may turn bacterial and that is when antibiotics come in handy. Unfortunately, the medicines do not just fight and destroy the bad bacteria but also kill good ones. Hence it is important to have probiotics after a course of antibiotics so good bacteria can be replenished. As it takes roughly about a week struggle before you can get near medication, it is quite important to get some relief. This is all the more important for infants and toddlers as they cannot blow their nose and get the phlegm out. I have listed below some of the home remedies that is commonly used in the place where I come from and in my household as well.

1. Kumkum is made with turmeric and is commonly used by Hindus as it has religious significance. It has wonderful decongesting properties. Get a good quality kumkum and add few drops of water to a teaspoon of kumkum. Add two pinches of saffron strands and heat it. Allow it to cool and once warm enough to touch, apply on baby/child’s forehead and nose.

2. Dry ginger powder has a similar application as well. Make a paste of a teaspoon of ginger powder and few drops water. Heat it and cool until it is warm enough to touch. Apply on forehead, nose and behind ears. This is more suitable for much older children and adults.

3. If you have no access to kumkum, try the same with turmeric powder.

4. Turmeric milk works great for adults and children. Warm some milk and add turmeric powder. Drink this milk, especially before bed.

5. Ingest garlic milk. As gross as it may sound, it is quite effective and can be given to infants and toddlers as well as adults. If giving to infants, make sure your child is not allergic to milk or garlic. Crush two cloves of garlic and add to few tablespoons of milk. Allow this to boil well. Once it is cool enough to consume, drink the milk.

6. One of the home remedies I have found quite effective is a mixture of betel leaves, ajwain seeds (called omam in tamil) and garlic. Take a couple of betel leaves, crush couple of cloves of garlic and add few pinches of crushed ajwain seeds. Add few tablespoons of water and boil well. Give just the liquid to the child. Betel is called ‘vetrilai’ in tamil and a partciular type called ‘kamara vetrilai’ is even better for this treatment.

7. Vaporub application. I was told and also read that doctors do not believe vaporubs are helpful at all. However, as a parent you would do anything to help your child sleep for atleast a few hours and clearing their nose is important for this. I found that my child is not happy to apply the vaporub. I apply vaporub on the chest and back when giving my kid a bath and dab some warm water on these areas. This releases the vapurs and clears the nose.

8. Keep the room humid. While commercial humidifiers are available we have noticed that when suffering from cold, a particularly high amount of humidity helps provide some relief and sleep. We keep the kitchen steamer and keep re-filling it. The humidity relieves congestion. Keeping the room at slightly elevated temperature helps retain humidity. One must however always ensure the child is not overheated.

9. Although I have never tried, I have heard that heating little coconut oil and adding camphor to it and applying to the chest helps relieve congestion

10. Applying eucalyptus oil, especially in the big toes is said to stimulate the sinuses and relieve congestion. The challenge is to make the infant or child offer their leg for this toe massage!

11. For adults, have several doses of ginger tea. You could either add half a teaspoon of dry ginger powder to a glass of hot water or crush some pieces of ginger, add it to water and boil well until the water begins to change colour.

12. Inhaling fumes from turmeric also helps relieve congestion especially in adults. I take a piece of dried turmeric and burn one end. The smoke provides great relief.

13. Have what we call ‘rasam’ or soup. It is basically essence of few things. Add a teaspoon each – crushed cumin seeds, crushed coriander seeds and some black pepper powder to water and boil well. Add some tamarind puree or paste and some salt and drink like a soup. If you do not have or like tamarind, have the liquid like a decoction.

Have in mind that while adults manage to blow their nose or spit the phlegm, babies and infants cannot do so. Typically they either vomit the phlegm or pass it in their motion and hence have some loose stools. Having said that, it is always worth checking with your doctor if you are concerned.

Dealing With an Alpha Female! When it Comes to an Alpha Female, a Male Must Love & Understand Her

I met Claudia about a few months ago using my simple “Hey, how are you going?” line on a wintry Saturday night outside an apartment building in downtown Chinatown. She wore these enchanting cream-coloured gloves that had three glistening diamonds encrusted on the back – she held a cigarette on her right hand whilst holding a Blackberry on her left. I could see the cigarette smoke disperse into the air as she gently exhaled – her lush pink lips added to her seductive appeal. She wore a light grey BOSS coat that rested nicely on her shoulders. At the end of her snug-fitting dark blue Nudie jeans was a pair of ankle-high chocolate brown boots. However, it wasn’t what she was wearing that caught my eye. What really caught my attention on that chilly Saturday night was the fact that this girl was extremely comfortable in her own skin. First impressions are paramount and this girl definitely had a distinctive aura about her. I only spoke to her briefly before departing with her digits but here was a girl who displayed confidence by the way she spoke. She was forthright but her witty comments provided a delicate balance.

What type of girl is she? She is an alpha female.

According to UrbanDictionary.com an alpha female is “a female human who is well aware of the fact that she is sexy, desirable, and everyone wants to be with her, and maximizes this knowledge to control/dominate anyone and everyone around her. She is usually sarcastic and highly intelligent because she’s powerful and playful. She flaunts her superiority over beta females and males in general with no fear of retribution. She dates as many males as she wants, is strong and confident, and a hard worker as well as often busy. An alpha female may feign interest in a male to further her own agenda, but in reality no male can ever satisfy an alpha female, not even the alpha-est of alphas. By the standard definition, all alpha females are b!tches but they are quite misunderstood, but it doesn’t matter because you’d do anything to be with her anyway. They know this as well.” Since a lot of men cannot handle the traits of an alpha female this is a testament to her presence in today’s society.

Put simply, if you believe that the girl with the smart-aleck personality who just does not respond to your advances is a b!tch and is hence tough to handle then wait till you meet an alpha female. With an alpha female, she’ll wait a week before messaging you back saying that she was “in Shanghai for an IT expo”, call you out for a drink at a ridiculous time with minimal notice but then does not show up! But that’s OK because she’ll apologise and say that her “friend had a bout of food poisoning” so she had to go the hospital. So then she gives you another time and now you’re even keener but once again she does not show. The cycle continues until she absolutely demoralises you! Why does she do this? Because she can – it’s all a challenge to her! Why does the cycle continue? Because the guy is an idiot!

From a personality point of view, the alpha female is far from an idiot. She is a lady of sophistication but she will sit you down and absolutely grill the fudge out of you if you set a foot wrong. Alpha females ooze confidence because she knows she is good. She is extremely witty and sarcastic, and is definitely an intellect. Since she is quick witted and sarcastic, the majority of males (and perhaps even females) may find her humour to be very condescending.

Now when we relate the above qualities to her dating prowess she is “The [wo]MAN”! There’s no greater joy to her than a challenge. She will have A LOT of men on the go and if any man shows the slightest signs of fear she will sniff him out and drop him like a dead weight! She will ALWAYS “appear busy” but really, she has all the time in the world (just not for you of course!). From a relationship perspective, she’ll be the one wearing the pants because she likes to dominate! Now these qualities make her sound like an absolute force to be reckoned with (and she is!).

So how do we deal with alpha female? Now that is the question.

Dealing with an alpha female can be as simple as just living your life and just being yourself. Think about it. All you really have to do is to not give her any attention – you’re not doing this on purpose but it’s just that you’ve got more important things to do than sitting on your ass waiting for her to reply back to you or to call you back. The last thing that you want to do is to be at her beck and call – expressing your interest is great but there is something called being overly keen. If you do decide to pursue a relationship with her do you really want to be with someone who constantly toys with your masculinity?

AskMen.com recently posted an article about alpha females titled “6 Signs You’re Dating An Alpha Female” where it details the methods to counteract her “arsenal of weapons”. It suggested that the method to deal with an alpha female is to fight fire with fire i.e. if she’s bombarding you with a series of witty and sarcastic comments that are aimed directly at your manhood then you should be straight away ready with a comeback of equal or greater wit and/or sarcasm. I definitely agree with this but wit and sarcasm are not prevalent in every guy. However, who is to say that you can’t work on this and hence better yourself. The second method is something that just applies to life in general, always stand your ground and keep your dignity intact. Put simply, if you find her too condescending then just tell her! Be a MAN!

The alpha female can be VERY condescending but despite all the negativity that surrounds her, she is most often misunderstood (much like the alpha male). To be honest with you, I actually quite admire the alpha female because she does a marvelous job at turning little boys into men. A broken heart may be all that a guy needs to rethink his views on dating and to move forward. Now she might be an absolute “ball-breaker” but just like any other person, if you get down to the core of who she really is then I’m sure a positive outcome will eventuate. And you know what? You’ll become a better person in the process because you are now able to deal with such a robust personality. At the end of the day, you’ll realise that an alpha female is really just like any other female i.e. she’ll have her insecurities (we all do!) and she’ll have her moody days but really, she just wants some guy to just talk to her and to listen to her.

The Relationship Between Basil and Dental Plaque

Dental plaque builds up due to poor dental hygiene. Since it consists of food deposits, this could cause further problems later on as cavities develop and you will suffer from either toothache, bad breath or simply have your teeth falling off one by one.

The moral of the story then is simply to brush regularly, floss and gargle regularly. We do have toothpaste, dental floss and mouth wash to handle the things that we can reach. The dentist can take care of the rest but since visits to the clinic are done only every 6 months, something is needed to fill that gap and that is basil.

So what is up with basil and dental plaque? First, basil is great with pesto sauce. But did you know that it has medicinal properties that are beneficial to our health?. One study has proven that it can lower blood pressure. Another shows that it has 6 different compounds that have expectorant qualities used to kill warts. It can also be used to treat stomach disorders and help someone who has gas, a loss of appetite, ulcer or frequent vomiting.

Another thing you should know about basil is that it can prevent dental plaque buildup and as a result clean the mouth so you don’t have bad breath. You can eat this after each meal like an after dinner mint. But basil is not the only thing that can help prevent dental plaque. Almost all green leafy vegetables that we put on the table can do the same thing. These also include alfalfa, barley grass, spinach and wheat. So you can serve this in a variety of dishes even fresh when this is mixed in to a salad.

If chewing this is not your thing, you can boil it and serve it as hot tea. This is just as good as using cinnamon, cardamom, ginger or even peppermint.In fact, you don’t even have to buy basil eaves since you can plant them in your garden. But bear in mind that this plant grows annually. This should be placed in a pot and given lots of water.

Other ways to check and prevent the buildup for plaque include the use of disclosing tablets. These are cheap and can be purchased without prescription. They are effective because dental plaque is transparent so it is difficult to see. If this turns color either blue or red, then there is plaque present.You should also watch your diet given that this are caused by food deposits. You must limit sugary or starchy foods especially when you decide to grab a quick snack. After eating, it is advisable to use a toothpick or better yet, head to the bathroom and brush your teeth.

Lastly, you should check with your dentist if your dental plaque removal techniques are working. He or she may suggest something better than what you are using now that can produce significant results. So keep an open mind, do as your told and everything will be fine.

Basil is just one of the things that can be used to help prevent dental plaque. You can do research to learn more about what is available before it is too late. In the end, the decision rest in your hands.