Vagina Problems – Reasons for Genital Red Rash and Cysts

Have you felt on the inside of your vagina, or with the help of a mirror saw what looks like blisters, pimples, or maybe even a rash? Are you confused and not a hundred percent sure they are what you assume although they look similar, but still you are worried sick?

It is natural to worry, but in some cases women tend to become over panicky to an extent they are scared to death when there really is no need.

Most times a rash in the vulva area is a result of irritation. A simple thing like material rubbing against the skin can bring rash. Vaginal rash that cause no other symptoms are normally nothing to worry about and often go away when treated with home remedies.

A common cause for redness is if the skin comes in contact with a certain substances known for causing irritation or an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis). Every day needs like soap, washing powder, shampoo, deodorant and scented perfume can cause contact dermatitis. Usually this sort of rash can be itchy, but rarely a serious matter. Experiment with different products or change brand names to see if this is causing your vaginal rash.

Rash that develops through irritation are common, and typically sorted by being sensible (keeping good hygiene and wearing loose clothes etc). However, not all are so common and may need a doctor to take a look at.

Scabies

Scabies is a condition known for itch and very contagious. Scabies are tiny mites that burrow into the outer layers of the skin. I myself in the past suffered from scabies. Do not ask me how I got them because I cannot remember, but what I do remember is, it is a frustrating and embarrassing condition due to the constant need to scratch. You could be stood with people and regardless of the part of the body that is itchy you will tear away at the skin to get relief not giving a second thought to those around you. Remember. you are not a dirty person if you get scabies, well I hope not because I had them.

Pubic lice are tiny insects that live on humans and survive by feeding on blood. Once again itch is likely.

Yeast infection (cutaneous candidiasis). Rash can occur in clammy skin folds surrounding the vagina.

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes raised red or white patches covered with silvery scaling skin. This type of rash is most likely to affect the knees, elbows, scalp, tailbone and back before the vagina. Other body parts include fingernails, palms, and bottom of the feet.

Vaginal sores, blisters, pimples, bumps or lumps do not always mean there is something seriously wrong; nevertheless it is best to have an odd finding or changes to your normal vaginal behaviours to have them checked out

Conditions that may cause a sore, blister, or lump on the vagina include:

If there is a sexually transmitted disease present then it is usual for sores, blisters, or ulcers to appear in the groin or vaginal area.

Then there is genital herpes which is a viral infection known to cause blisters and sores in and around the vagina.

Genital warts are a sexually transmitted disease. The warts are caused by various types of human papillomavirus (HPV).

Bartholin gland cyst: What are Bartholin Glands? They are two glands sited at either side of the vaginal opening. Both produce fluids that lubricate the opening to the vagina. If one of the glands becomes blocked fluids can build up inside the gland causing a painless lump called a Bartholin cyst. The cysts as a rule do not need treating but in some cases surgery might be suggested to drain them. This would also apply if one of the glands become infected and cause an abscess.

Another problem and a common one too, is the case of an infected hair shaft. Symptoms are a red tender lump which forms after skin bacteria caused by infection happens at the base of a hair shaft

Vaginal cysts

A vaginal cyst is a closed sac that is situated on or under the vaginal lining that contains fluid or semisolid material.

There are many sorts of vaginal cysts which can vary in size (pea size to that of a tennis ball). Vaginal inclusion cysts are the more common. These might come as a result of damage sustained by the vaginal walls or following an obstetric or gynecologic process when the lining of the vagina will not better itself back to natural smoothness.

Gartner’s duct cysts happen in the room already occupied by the Gartner’s duct, normally on the side walls of the vagina. This duct is lively during fetal growth but generally go away after birth. Not in every case but in some – sections of the duct can gather fluid and develop into a vaginal wall cyst later on in years.

Vaginal cysts are likely to have women complain of soreness while having sex, or when inserting tampons.

To determine cysts would include having a pelvic examination, and if a mass or bulge of the vaginal wall is detected then your doctor will want to be sure it has nothing to do with vaginal cancer and will call for a biopsy to be done.

If a cyst exists it would be monitored through routine checkups for growth and other changes. Should the cyst play up and cause symptoms the option is there to have it removed, or in some cases not an option if the doctor feels it necessary. Removal is done by surgical excision.

Cysts surgically removed do not normally come back. As like with most treatments there are the risks to consider, and surgical excision being one of them. The process carries a slight risk of complications depending on where the cyst is situated in relation to other structures.

Dog Hot Spots and Skin Rashes

Your pet can not tell you that an area is irritated and itchy. A hot spot is a skin rash. It can be a small red irritated sore or an open oozing wound. Most dog owners do not realize their pet is struggling with a skin problem till it becomes a major issue. Don’t wait for excessive licking, itching or a sore spot to begin. You can stop skin issues in their tracks if you simply check your dog over once a week looking for anything different. Learn how to do the once a week pet scan and how to prevent problems.

Is your dog casually scratching an area or is your dog aggressively scratching a certain spot like something is biting them? Is it to the point your canine can’t stop licking or itching a specific area? If your dog is going after the same spot in a similar fashion that you would try to swat biting mosquitoes, then that spot could become a hot spot. A hot spot is an irritated area that bacteria, fleas or mites have set up camp. It is an itchy patch that makes your canine uncomfortable. It can become an open sore.

A skin irritation can start from a collar or harness rubbing. Look for burrs and other debris that became trapped or entangled that caused the skin irritation. Dog jackets can trap dirt and help bacteria grow, wash them as needed.

If your dog’s hair becomes matted it becomes a perfect place to hold moisture and harbor bacteria. Keep your pet free of mats by keeping the coat short or keep up with the required grooming for your pet’s breed.

Over bathing with harsh shampoos dries out the natural oils and can cause skin issues. Have you ever had itchy skin due to hard water? Most dog shampoos are to be used only once a month. Use dove or ivory bar soap followed by any conditioner if you want or need to bath your dog more than once a month. Why use bar soap instead of liquid soap? Dove and Ivory bar soaps do not have sodium lauryl sulfate (garage floor degreaser) in the ingredients list.

The healthier your dog is the less likely it is to have issues. Hot spots can be a sign of a diet that is high in sugar, foods with fillers (corn or soy), preservatives (msg) and foods that cause allergies (wheat). Hot spots can be a reaction to a vaccine. It can also be a reaction to parasites, fleas and mites. What a hot spot is telling you is that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. You need to investigate to solve the real issue. Find the source to correct the problem.

First learn to read the ingredients of all the products you use and to identify the good from the bad. If you don’t know what an ingredient is you can put it in the search bar of your browser and the internet will tell you what it is. Try not to overwhelm your dog’s immune system by giving many different types of drugs/vaccines all at once. Give vaccines, topical flea and tick repellants, and heartworm in stages not all the same day. Let your dog’s body recover from one type of chemical for at least 3 days before adding another drug.

If you discover a hot spot, cut the hair away from the area. You want to expose the sore to air. Gently clean the spot with weak solution of hydrogen peroxide mixed with water. To make a 3% H2O2, mix 1 oz. of hydrogen peroxide to 11 oz. distilled water (preferably) or filtered water and store it in refrigerator after each use. Most vets would recommend using a medicated shampoo. Apply a few drops of tea tree oil to relieve itching and to heal. The tea tree oil is not poisonous. Your dog can not lick the medication if it’s wearing a cone. There are many other natural products available to use. You may treat with a topical analgesic if the case is mild.

Topical pain-relieving drugs are applied to the affected area as a cream, ointment, gel, or spray. They help reduce inflammation below the skin surface and alleviate nerve pain that makes your canine want to itch. They can be purchased as over-the-counter while other stronger forms are available with a vet’s prescription. Treat the area with prednisone if the hot spot is severe.

If the source of the hot spot is fleas or mites you will need to use a dip, wash all the bedding, toys or flea bomb your home and repeat the process in 2 weeks to stop the cycle.

Ask yourself the following questions to discover the under lying causes that created the hot spot. When did the problem start? How long has it been going on? Was the problem after receiving vaccinations? Did it occur after surgery? Did it show up after going to the groomers, vet office or boarding kennel? Does your pet have fleas, mites or other parasites? If you can’t find the source it is usually mites. Is it a weak immune system due to a poor grade diet or too many low quality treats? Has the licking and scratching gone on for a great length of time and now become a habit?

Learn more about how to heal with Eastern Medicine, it shows you how to correct your dog’s body naturally. Choose drugs to get the problem under control if the natural remedies do not show sign of improvement in a day or two. Then give your dog’s body what it needs to stay healthy.

DISCLAIMER

The author offers information and opinions, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. It is advised to consult with your vet before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone. Your vet can provide you with advice on what is considered safe and effective for your animal’s unique needs or diagnose your animal’s particular medical history.

The Causes and Natural Remedies For Skin Psoriasis

Psoriasis is one of those unusual skin diseases that happens to people for no real logical reason. It is a hereditary disease that is caused by the metabolism of amino acids. Psoriasis is a skin disease that comes in the form of lesions with white scales on the skin and joints.

Skin Psoriasis can break out all over the body and can be very itchy and painful. It can occur on the elbows, knees, buttocks, and sometimes the face and scalp. Psoriasis can also affect the fingernails and toenails of a person as well.

The cause of Psoriasis is because of dry skin. A normal person’s skin cells rejuvenate over the course of a month. Old skin cells die off and flake off without much notice while new skin cells form and replace the old ones. Psoriasis does this but at a faster rate which causes the buildup of skin that forms scaly patches and lesions over the body. The skin disease is basically an abnormality in the skin cycle where the skin grows and replaces itself.

There are a some natural remedies for reducing Psoriasis. One of the most important things is to keep a strict diet and know what you’re putting in your body. Since Psoriasis is a metabolic disease it is very wise to avoid spicy and disorderly foods.

The foods that should be in the diet are more fruits, fresh vegetables, fruit juices, boiled bitter gourds, and curd. It is also recommended to have beta-carotene, omega-3, fatty acids, folate and zinc which all help prevent and reduce Psoriasis. You can also included fiber, guar gum, psyllium, flaxseed oil, folic acids, chick peas, turkey, Bok Choy, spinach, and Brussels.

There are also certain oils to use that help keep the skin moist which is very important when dealing with this type of skin disease. The oils that are recommended are vitamin E oil, avocado oil, almond oil, cashew nut oil, and garlic oil. These can be used to apply lightly around the affected areas at night before bed.

How to Get Rid of a Candida Yeast Infection in the Throat

If you are like me you are always looking for a natural way to treat certain illnesses and conditions at home. It is no different when you develop a candida yeast infection in the throat. You’ll soon discover how to treat one of these infestations, also known as thrush, and how to prevent one from ever visiting you again.

I know how you feel. Your first thought is ‘yuck’ how did I get one of these infections. I thought the same thing until I found out that it really isn’t due to a lack of being clean. I mean its not like you went out and ate dirt or anything. Candida is a yeast fungus that is in and on our bodies to begin with.This yeast is what we call ‘bad bacteria’, and when it is in a healthy balance with the ‘good bacteria’ it doesn’t cause any problems. It is when this balance is disturbed by some other factor that we have a problem..namely a candida yeast infection. This is when we get symptoms and realize we need to address it.

Some of the causes of this upset in the delicate bacterial balance are things like antibiotics, stress or another underlying illness. It is common to develop one of these infections after taking a strong dose of antibiotics for some other infection, like sinus. It is also more common for someone who has diabetes, HIV or cancer to develop a candida yeast infection in the throat. When a candida infection starts in the mouth, it can quickly spread to the throat.

You will first develop painful white patches can be seen throughout the mouth and may even bleed when touched or scraped. They sort of look like cottage cheese in appearance. You will have difficulty swallowing and pain in your throat. It may feel like you have something stuck in the back of your throat. If it gets too bad you can even develop a fever!

These infections can spread to the rest of the body so you need to treat it fast. Medical way of treating these types of infections is to take anti fungal medicines. Yes these have their place, but when anti fungal medicines kill off the yeast ‘bad bacteria’ they also kill off the ‘good bacteria’, This can lead to more problems as it once again disturbs the delicate bacterial balance.

The natural ways of treating one of these types of throat infections are very effective. The first thing you will want to use is yogurt. Make sure it is the plain unsweetened kind and eat this several times a day. Try to hold it in your mouth for a brief time before swallowing. There is an ingredient in yogurt known to help the body fight yeast infections and restore the bacterial balance.

Along with using yogurt you have to do some other things. Limit your intake of sugar or yeast containing foods. Drink lots of water and don’t use things like mouthwash or mouth sprays. You see when you adjust your diet you will be helping your body gain control over the bacteria. In essence you help your body heal itself.

Discovering what led to your developing one of these candida throat infections will help you to avoid one in the future. Even smoking can cause one! So if you are a smoker now may be a good time to quit.

I’ve found that the natural approach to getting rid of a candida yeast infection in the throat is the one that is effective naturally and makes more sense!

What Does Having a Corn Allergy Really Mean?

Living with a corn allergy isn’t fun and games, that’s for sure. There are the undeniable symptoms that set in shortly after eating anything with corn in it. I start to feel my ankle swelling first usually. A little tingle, then it’s off to the races. My nose gets stuffy, and then I start to feel really tired. My breathing appears to slow down and I am down for the count. Others may have different symptoms such as shiners, bad breath, eczema, problems losing weight, stomach aches, constipation or more. Most people do not end up in the emergency room like a severe peanut allergy.

Having a mild to moderate corn allergy is much more insidious, in my opinion, than having a painfully obvious severe allergy. An undetected allergy whittles away at one’s quality of life. It’s just unbearable; always feeling tired, always struggling with overeating, sinus infections, moodiness or just basically feeling and looking rotten. In many ways, I think it’s worse because it is most likely the most undiagnosed allergy in the United States. Why? Because it is in everything, people don’t know how it feels to live without eating corn.

My symptoms cleared up within about three days. I must admit that I craved foods with corn in them for a very long time, however. Once I quit eating corn and all corn derivatives, it seems that my body was able to start healing. I lost about 40 lbs, I have a lot more energy and I am not struggling with the dreaded brain fog. It’s not that my health is at 100%, but I am on my way to healthier living to be sure.

How do you know if you are allergic to corn? You can go to your doctor and ask for a test. That may be the fastest most accurate way to know. You can also just quit eating anything with corn in it for about a week and see how you feel. If you feel better, than it makes sense to omit corn. Of course, you can apply this concept to other foods too.

There may be a genetic component to all of this. I have received many emails from others who have similar backgrounds. Almost all appear to be of English, Irish or German decent. Many claim that their mothers or fathers are also allergic. One of my sons is also allergic to corn. Take a look around your family for signs that they might be suffering from the same symptoms. It may be a clue.

My point to writing all of this is that people need to take their health into their own hands. Your doctor is not responsible for your health. You are! Take charge and talk to your doctor directly. Insist on being tested or getting help. If your doctor isn’t listening, find one who will. No one should have to live like I did. No one should have to suffer for years on end needlessly. If you don’t feel like you are operating at 100% find out why, because you deserve to live well.

Cocaine Effects – How Cocaine Can Affect Your Body

Cocaine Effects to the Brain

Cocaine can be smoked, injected, and snorted. All three methods of using illicit drugs can cause fatal effects to the brain and the body. Cocaine is a stimulant. It affects the body’s production of dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical that controls a person’s movement and pleasure.

Other Cocaine Effects

Short term illicit drugs effects include an increase in blood pressure, body temperature, and a person’s heart rate. In addition, someone high on illicit drugs will have constricted blood vessels and dilated pupils.

A illicit drugs user will often feel more mentally alert and not as tired as they would feel if they were not using illicit drugs. However, after repeated use of this drug, a person may experience seizures, irregular heart rhythms, and pain in the chest.

Fatal injuries from the use of illicit drugs include the following:

• Respiratory failure

• A heart attack

• Stroke

In addition to these fatal injuries and the other effects of cocaine, a person may often feel restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. In more serious cases a person will experience paranoid psychosis, auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations, and muscle spasms.

The Combination of Alcohol and Cocaine

There is no doubt that cocaine is extremely addictive. However, the smoked version of cocaine, otherwise known as crack, is the most addictive drug on the illegal drug market. Crack and alcohol is often combined for a different kind of high. Unfortunately, the combination of crack cocaine and alcohol is the most frequent cause of death among cocaine users.

The Cocaine Crash

Around thirty minutes after using cocaine the high should go away. After the cocaine high goes away users will experience a crash. The crash often leaves the user with feelings of irritability, anxiety, fatigue, and depression.

Risks of Using Cocaine

There are many risks to using cocaine. However, the risks associated with cocaine depends on how the drug is taken For example, snorting cocaine can lead to injury to the membrane lining located in a person’s nostrils. This comes from repeated agitation from snorting cocaine. Cocaine users who snort the drug may also experience nosebleeds and a chronic runny nose. In addition, those who snort cocaine may experience difficulty swallowing after using the drug on a regular basis. Loss of smell is also common among those who snort cocaine.

Ingesting cocaine through the mouth can lead to gangrene in the small bowel. This is because the blood flow to the intestines is reduced.

Injections of cocaine can pose the highest risk of contracting HIV and Hepatitis among cocaine users. This is because those who use inject cocaine into the bloodstream often share needles with other cocaine users.

The Great Depression – Why It Spread World Wide

In the last article I discussed what are the causes behind The Great Depression of 1929. In this article I will spread some light on why The Great Depression became a global phenomena rather than affecting only limited economies.

How Great Depression spreads worldwide

The Gold Standard

Most money was paper based, as it is today, but governments were obligated, if requested, to redeem that paper for gold (Principal on which gold standard is based). This “convertibility” put an upper limit on the amount of paper currency a government could print, and thus able to prevent inflation. There was no tradition of continuous, modest inflation in those times. Most countries went off from the gold standard during World War I, and restoring it afterward became a major postwar aim .

Britain, returned to gold in 1925. Other countries followed soon and those which don’t back their paper money with gold, started backing it with currencies-mainly U.S. dollars and British pounds-that were convertible into gold. As a result flexibility of governments was limited. A loss of gold often forced governments to raise interest rates. The higher interest rates discouraged conversion of interest-bearing deposits into gold and bolstered confidence that inflation would not break the commitment to gold.

World War I

Wartime inflation, when the gold standard was suspended, raised prices and prompted fears that gold stocks were inadequate to provide backing for enlarged money supplies at the new, higher price level. This was one reason that convertible currencies, such as the dollar and pound, were used as gold substitutes.

The war weakened Britain, left Germany with massive payments, and split the Austro-Hungarian Empire into many countries. These countries, plus Germany, depended on foreign loans to pay for their imports. The arrangement was unstable because any withdrawal of short-term loans would force the borrowing countries to retrench, which could cripple world trade. It was the first taste of globalisation and inter-dependence in world economies.

Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act

Most historians and economists blame the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 part of the blame for worsening the depression by reducing international trade and causing retaliation. As for the United States, foreign trade was a small part of overall economic activity; it was a much larger factor in most other countries. The average ad valorem rate of duties on dutiable imports for 1921-1925 was 25.9% but under the new tariff it jumped to 50.0% in 1931-1935.

Conclusion

The Great Depression was the worst economic slump ever in U.S. history, and one which spread to virtually the entire industrialized world. The American economy do had few scares before it in 1830’s under President Martin Van Buren, in the 1850s under James Buchanan, during Ulysses Grant’s term in the 1870s and, most notably, under Grover Cleveland in the 1890s but the Great Depression first time raised the serious question regarding the sustainability of our financial institutions. Though we have came a long way in making them fool proof, the Asian crisis and the Latin American crisis still take us back to the high school answer “It all left to the human greed”.

You can read the previous article ‘The Great Depression : Causes and Effects’ on EzineArticles.

The Legendary Fast Phobia Cure

A man with a spider phobia walks into a room. His phobia means that he can’t even look at a picture of something that looks like a spider without having a panic attack. So he unconsciously scans the room for spiders as he sits down in a comfortable chair opposite a therapist. Twenty minutes later he is standing in the middle of the room with a spider on his hand and a smile of his face.

A remarkable therapist? Probably not. A fluke? No: this kind of thing happens all the time. A remarkable treatment? Yes: the man has just experienced the Fast Phobia Cure.

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE FAST PHOBIA CURE?

The Fast Phobia Cure is probably the single most reliable and effective tool in psychotherapy today. It is reckoned to be about 90% successful on most phobias because it does what it says – it cures phobias fast. The twenty minute example above is quite typical. And it does this without the scare tactics, psychological archeology, drugs and exposure used by the older and less effective phobia treatments.

HOW IT WORKS

Most of us have experienced traumatic and upsetting events in our lives. When we look back on these events, they are never pleasant memories but they don’t upset us to the extent they did at the time.

For the phobic, it’s different. Very different. When they recall their trauma, they feel pretty much the same as they did at the time it first happened, even if that was decades ago. They have vivid and affecting memories of the event.

It is these kinds of memories – held in the emotional part of the brain – that drive and maintain phobias. Such memories are so strong and present that just recalling them can bring on fear responses. That is, the phobic is associated into these memories so it’s almost as if they are in the situation again, experiencing similar responses – panic, pounding heart, shaking, sweating and an overwhelming desire to run.

For the rest of us, our traumatic memories are disassociated – they are more factual and carry less emotion – because they have, over time, been processed by the logical, thinking part of the mind. For the phobic, this disassociation hasn’t happen. But it needs to.

The Fast Phobia Cure is a process of rapid dissociation. It allows the sufferer to experience the traumatic memories from a calm and dissociated, or disconnected, state. The other part of the mind – the unemotional, rational, thinking mind – can then go to work turning the memories into ordinary, factual, neutral, non-threatening ones. Like the memory of what you had for breakfast. With the emotional tag unstuck from the phobic encounters, the phobia is de-conditioned. It’s gone.

THE MECHANICS

The way to achieve this dissociation is to have the sufferer imagine watching themselves from a remote, third person or detached position going through the traumatic event.

The classic scenario is to have them imagine themselves in a movie theatre watching an old black and white movie of them going through the experience at very high speed (like watching a video on fast forward). The dissociation can be increased by having them imagine being in the projection booth watching themselves sitting in their cinema seat watching the film of their younger self going through the experience. This creates the distance and comfort for dissociation to occur.

They are then asked to step into the safe time at the end of the movie and imagine physically rewinding through the experience at very high speed. This step is repeated several times. It creates dissociation because the mind has never experienced the traumatic event backwards and thus has no prepared fear response for it, so they experience it in calm. The memory is recoded by the brain and saved with less emotional charge attached to it.

These steps are the core of the Fast Phobia Cure. They are run on the key traumatic memories around the phobia – typically three or four such memories are used – in a process that can take as little as five minutes.

VARIATIONS

Variations of the Fast Phobia Cure can involve changing the cinema scenario to just watching a television screen, or having them imagine witnessing the event as a bystander, from a helicopter or birds-eye view, or seeing it played out on a stage. Or, once the memory is more comfortable, having them watch a “director’s cut” by adding their own soundtrack (light or silly music is often used) and changing something about the way it looked in a creative and humorous way.

MEASURING AND TESTING THE CHANGE

Before, during and after the Fast Phobia Cure is run, the individual is asked to rate their level of discomfort around the traumatic memories. Very high levels of discomfort fall rapidly to zero or thereabouts when the Fast Phobia Cure is run. Such rapid change is often a shock and a delight to the subjects.

The final step is to test the new responses by searching out the old trigger (going on a spider hunt with the man in the example above). Again, subjects are usually surprised by how keen they are to do this and by the feeling of not being scared around the old trigger. To many it can indeed seem miraculous. But the Fast Phobia Cure isn’t miraculous: it’s just based on good brain science, on current neurology.

THE ADVANTAGES

As well as its reliability, the Fast Phobia Cure has three key advantages over traditional phobia treatments.

Firstly, as the name suggests, it’s fast. The treatment usually takes only a single session. The mind learns very quickly. It learned to be phobic very quickly, perhaps in a matter of seconds. Learning how not to be phobic again can be, and is necessarily, equally quick. So long painful treatment is not necessary.

Secondly, it’s safe. There is no direct confrontation with the phobic trigger and the phobic is calm and comfortable throughout the treatment.

Thirdly, it’s non-intrusive. Because the “movies” are the patient’s, the therapist does not need to know the precise details of the traumatic memory or phobic encounters.

WHY IS IT NOT MORE WIDELY AVAILABLE?

The Fast Phobia Cure is a remarkable treatment that can be learned and used by any competent therapist. But it’s not being widely used. Why?

The answer seems to be that it works too well. And too fast. It can be done in minutes and easily within a single therapy session. And there’s the rub: therapists using the Fast Phobia Cure will probably need to see a client just once, so they don’t make much money. And traditional old-school therapists and counsellors when faced with fast, painless results start to question their own models of long, drawn-out painful therapy.

Treating Anxiety By The Use Of Beta Blocker Medication

Anxiety is a mental health disorder that manifests in many different individual conditions that are all related but also have there own symptoms and characteristics. There are too many to name her but a few examples would be, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety or Social Phobia and many more. There are many different approaches to treating anxiety in it’s various guises from anti – anxiety or anti-depressive medication, there are also the benzodiazepine range of tranquilizers such as diazepam (valium), lorezepam etc and the stronger major tranquilizers known as anti-psychotics.

Not as well known for the treatment of anxiety disorders are beta-blocker medication such as atenolol, bisoprolol and various others names and brands depending on where you are in the world.The main use of beta blocker medication is in the cardio department where they are used to treat people with heart and circulatory problems, high blood pressure and angina symptoms. They work by slowing down the heart rate which in turn puts less pressure on the hearts pumping action.

When a person becomes anxious or has a panic attack approaching he or she will start to breathe faster, their heartbeat will increase to a rapid rate and they may feel palpitations as a result of this, they will also start to sweat and may become dizzy and unsteady. Beta blockers can be very beneficial in theses situations as they already have the heartbeat slowed down which in itself may be enough to ward off an attack, they also have the ability to reduce the effect of adrenalin on the brain which will slow down the fight or run response mechanism when a person starts to panic.

So beta blockers can help anxiety sufferers with the physical symptoms of their disorder but it is important to remember they will not treat the emotional aspects. Beta blockers should only be prescribed by a doctor as they can be dangerous for some people so should never be self prescribed. Your doctor may try you on an anti-anxiety medication combined with a beta blocker to help with the physical symptoms.

As with any medications there are side effects to beta blockers, here are a few of the main ones:

  • Tiredness – because your heart rate is being slowed down you may feel more tired than usual or get tired earlier in the evening than you would do normally
  • Dizziness – usually when rising from a sitting or lying position, you should get up slowly and wait a few seconds before moving around
  • Weight gain – as with many medications beta blockers can affect your weight, eat a healthy diet and get exercise to try and maintain a healthy weight
  • If use for a long period of time dependency can occur – never stop this drug abruptly, always discuss a tapering off period with your doctor

As always discuss your medication with your doctor, he or she knows what will work best for your symptoms.

© Andrew Tudor Jones

Insomnia? – Rewire Your Brain to Get Some Sleep

Why do we have trouble with insomnia? Too many of us think about NOT going to sleep, instead of thinking about getting to sleep when we hit the pillow at night. Fearful thoughts about not being able to sleep trigger the fight-or-flight response, and the stress chemicals thus produced make us anxious and prevent us from relaxing.

As we get more and more in the habit of worrying that we can’t get to sleep, we build a strong neural I-can’t-get-to-sleep pattern in our brain. This pattern automatically associates the fear of not being able to sleep with the very act of going to bed each night. Voila! The insomniac is born!

Most people pay little attention to directing their thoughts. Most people believe that you have to think whatever thought pops up in your brain, whether you like it or not. Nothing could be further from the truth. Successful people have always known that they can choose what thoughts they wish to think, and they can refuse to think the maverick, self-defeating, keep-you-awake thoughts that come galloping unbidden across their mind.

Basically, if we don’t know how we think, we won’t know why we have insomnia. People should know the basic neuroscience of how they get from one thought to the other. This kind of information is important. Once you know how your brain works you can make it work for you instead of against you.

If you haven’t given much thought to why you think the thoughts you do, you probably don’t know the difference between thinking about going to sleep and thinking about NOT going to sleep. It took me a while to understand the difference myself and I’m a therapist. Once your eyes are opened to it (no pun intended) you can see that the difference is subtle but huge.

If the dominant thought in your mind is that you can’t get to sleep, it will be very difficult to do so because the brain always follows the direction of its most current dominant thought. Going to sleep is a particular neural pattern that the brain naturally follows, but not if fearful thoughts become dominant over your natural getting-to-sleep neural pattern. Then, of course you trigger the fight or flight response and stress chemicals flood the brain which make sleep as impossible as 10 cups of strong coffee before bed.

When you exercise a muscle, you make it strong. When you exercise a thought, you make it dominant. You exercise a thought by thinking it over and over again, repetitively.

The trick in getting to sleep is to purposely, as an act of will, choose neutral, calm, boring thoughts repetitively and make them dominant, replacing the dominant fearful thought that you can’t get to sleep. Over time you can re-wire your brain out of its insomniac pattern.

You can build a new neural pattern that automatically triggers when you get into bed. You can actually build a neural bridge, with neutral thoughts and mind exercises, that links you automatically to the natural neural pattern of falling asleep.

My expertise is to help people re-wire their brain to get out of depression. But I began to notice that these same techniques that worked to re-wire your brain to get out of depression, also worked for insomnia. As people age, they wake up more often at night and these exercises can help them, too, to get back to sleep.

Here some examples of mind exercises for insomnia. The first is called “Make the Problem the Solution.” Suppose you are trying to get to sleep and a faucet is dripping, or there is noise outside, or somebody’s snoring. You can make the annoying noise into a meditation or mantra to help you get to sleep.

Simply close your eyes and relax your body. Then say to yourself, “With every sound of the dripping faucet I am going deeper and deeper asleep.” Hear the sound, and repeat the meditation. Visualize yourself feeling the sensation of falling every time you hear the sound. Falling deeper and deeper. Deeper and deeper. The repetition of this exercise can form a neural pattern to link the words “deeper and deeper” to the hard-wired neural process of falling asleep.

Another exercise is to fool the mind into believing you are asleep even if you aren’t really asleep. Just keep saying over and over to yourself “I am asleep, I am asleep, I am asleep. Whatever thoughts I think are just dreams because I am asleep. Whatever sounds I hear are just dreams because I am asleep. I am asleep. I am asleep.”

The same thing happens with this exercise. You re-wire your brain out of its fearful can’t-get-to-sleep neural pattern by making a neural bridge from your dominant thought “I am asleep” to the brain’s natural going-to-sleep neural pattern. The more you practice the exercise, the stronger becomes the neural pattern.

The Clever Accountant is another exercise.” Emotionally speaking we have to be very clever accountants. We should never, for instance, carry the failures of today forward into tomorrow.

As we are preparing for bed, it is very easy to slide into the remorses if we have over-eaten. It’s easy to beat ourselves up if we have taken some terrible social belly flop, haven’t finished the report, or didn’t get the house cleaned.

However accurate these thoughts may be, it is simply not helpful to our brain in any way to think them, especially when we are trying to get to sleep. We shouldn’t take these thoughts to bed with us anymore than we would take our vacuum cleaner or our golf clubs. These things are useful, just like thoughts are useful. But they are not appropriate for bedtime.

Thoughts of a failure, for instance, puts our brain in touch with an infinite number of negative neural connections in our head (via learned association) that will trigger the fight-or-flight response that leads to stress. Instead, we should keep carrying forward our successes, however small.

If we can’t magnify some success in our mind, we should keep repeating the small things as a kind of positive-train-of-thought which can “thought-jam” those insistent negative thoughts into silence. Yes, maybe we didn’t lose weight today but we lost two pounds so far this month. Yes, maybe we over-ate but there was probably some small thing we passed up.

“Hey I didn’t eat that third brownie. I was victorious over the third brownie. And anyway, it didn’t taste really all that good. Maybe I’m getting tired of junk food. I’m losing my taste for junk food. I think I’m starting to want to eat better, to eat healthier.” It’s even a victory of sorts to say “Hey, I did over-eat, and now it’s over. It’s gone. I am free from what I did today forever because today is soon gone and thank goodness for that.”

Our small triumphs don’t have to make sense in the grand scheme of things or even in the less grand scheme of our lives. They just have to be positive so that they will connect with other positive thoughts in our mind by learned association. This is really a mind trick like some bookkeeping is an accounting trick that makes mathematical, not necessarily common sense.

It’s the process that’s important, rather than the specific content. If we have been really low functioning, it is a victory to have brushed our teeth or to have taken a shower. For those of us who are high functioning, perhaps we didn’t win the Pulitzer this year, but we have done the first chapter of our next book.

Don’t forget that our pain is exactly the same whether we are high functioning or low functioning. So the victories, however small, can bring us equal emotional relief. The inherent importance of victories is not relevant. The process of being positive is more important than the content of the positivity.

Brushing our teeth is no less positive than writing the first chapter of a book. It will have an equally positive effect, by learned association, with whatever positive mindsets exist in the neurons of our brain.

Not only are we connecting with the positivity in our mind instead of the negativity that can trigger the fight-or-flight response, but we are re-wiring another stronger positive neuronal pathway out of anxiety and stress with every single good thought we think. This is the pathway to the natural process of falling asleep: practicing repetitive exercises of calm acceptance.

Even nonsense thoughts repetitively thought will replace stressful thinking. I wake up every two or three hours myself. Usually to get back to sleep I just grab for the latest two or three word sentence that I thought. Last night, for instance, I was thinking about a show on TV that I had just seen and the phrase, “tailor will fix it,” happened to enter my mind. I just used that to get back to sleep. “Tailor will fix it. Tailor will fix it. T Tailor will fix it. Tailor will fix it. Any non emotional word or phrase works. Through repetitively thinking it, it soon lulls the mind, and connects with the natural process of falling asleep. Pleasant dreams!

Traveler’s Foot May Be Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungus that is easily transmitted among unwary travelers. By following some simple advice, you can make sure you don’t contaminate your feet in your hotel room or the barefoot extravaganza known as the airport security checkpoint.

Athlete’s foot is the most common fungal infection of the feet. Every day, podiatrists see people with feet that are burning, itching and peeling. Although many different species of fungus and yeast can cause the problem, the ways that you as a traveler can prevent it are simple and effective.

The fungus that cause athlete’s foot thrives in places that are dark, warm and moist. Shoes are the perfect habitat for fungus. Unfortunately for business travelers and vacationers, there are many places in airports, hotels and vacation spots that are covered in fungus just waiting to infect your feet.

Whenever living foot fungus or fungal spores (which are basically seeds for fungus waiting to sprout) stick to bare skin or enter through tiny little openings in the skin, it can take hold and start to grow. As the fungus grows, it pulls water from the surrounding skin.

This causes peeling and itching of the skin as the fungus does damage and causes delamination or peeling away of the skin’s outer layers. Frequently the infection starts in the moist area between the toes of on the bottom of the foot.

Foot doctors often describe a “moccasin distribution” pattern with athlete’s foot infections. This means that the areas of the feet that turn red and start peeling are usually those that would be in contact with moccasins. The tops of the feet and ankle don’t usually become involved.

Fortunately for you, the most effective prevention measures are also very easy… don’t step in the fungus! When you are traveling, you just have to know where not to step.

You have to make sure to guard your shoes against fungus. The shoes need to be a safe haven for your feet. Any time you get live fungus or fungal spores in your shoes, you run the risk of getting fungal toenails or an athlete’s foot infection.

No matter what you do, when you travel, your feet will prespire. A hurried stressful pace in airport terminals, trying to make that connection while toting a laptop and carry-on bag will make you (and your feet) sweat like crazy.

Since fungus needs moisture to live, you want to do anything you can to reduce the moisture in your shoes. A good place to begin is with well ventilated shoes that breathe while you are on your trip. Shoes that have breathable mesh uppers made of nylon, mesh, or cotton breathe fairly well and let the moisture escape. Leather, plastic and rubber tend to hold the fungus in your shoes encouraging fungus to grow.

Make sure you rotate your shoes during your trip. Have at least two pairs of shoes so you can wear them on alternate days. This will allow them enough time to fully dry out before you wear them again.

If you are very active or if your feet sweat a lot, try changing your socks half way through the day. This is one of the easiest ways to keep your feet dry and fungus free. Wear synthetic socks and avoid cotton to keep moisture away from your feet. There are also newer socks available that have copper fibers woven into them. Copper seams to decrease the likelihood that fungus will take hold in the sock material.

Because even the most relaxing vacations involve lots of walking through airports, hotels and site-seeing, choose comfortable walking shoes for your trip. Many vacationers opt for sandals or flip flips when on vacation, however these can lead to friction blisters that let the fungus in and start the infection.

Make sure you avoid the fungus hotspots. The carpet you feel under your sock-clad feet while waiting to get through security is a haven for athlete’s foot-causing fungus. All day and night, sweaty feet emerge from their shoes and shuffle along the carpet. Everyone steps and stands in this continual stream of perspiring feet and shedding foot fungus. As you trudge through the line, your sweaty socks pick up fungal spores. Then you put your feet back in your shoes that act as incubators to start your own little foot fungus farm.

Unfortunately most airport security checkpoints now require that every pair of shoes goes through the xray machine. But this doesn’t mean you can’t protect your feet. One simple solution is to wear an old worn out pair of socks to the airport. Carry a clean pair in your pocket. Take of your shoes, and go through security wearing your old worn out socks. After you get through the checkpoint, take off the old socks and put on the clean ones before you put your shoes back on. Throw the old socks away. Now you can start your vacation fungus-free!

The next place to avoid is the hotel carpet and bathroom. You never know how clean those places are, regardless of how expensive the hotel is. Just because it costs as much as a hospital room, doesn’t mean it is just as clean. If you wear socks in the hotel room, just don’t put your shoes on until you change socks.

Make sure you also step on the terry cloth mat when you step out of the shower. If possible, get a clean mat with clean towels every day. If you go down to the sauna in the athletic facility, make sure you wear shower shoes. All of the heat and moisture creates the ideal fungal environment. Fungus can also grow on the tile around the pool and hot tub, but the chlorine in the water actually helps keep it from being as big of a problem.

If your trip takes you to someplace where you can head to the beach, make sure you wear sandals to protect your feet. Don’t forget that any tiny little cuts or abrasions are the best way for fungus to get in and start an athlete’s foot infection.

Now that you understand the basics about foot fungus and where it tends to thrive, you can easily side-step it. Between the airlines and security, travel has enough aggravation. You certainly don’t need anything else getting under your skin.

Top Ten Toxic Fungi Infested Foods

Many fungi naturally produce a substance known as a mycotoxin during their digestive process. These mycotoxins are toxic to humans, and some are extremely toxic if ingested even in small quantities.

There are some foods that naturally contain high levels of these mycotoxins, and most of us aren’t even aware that mycotoxins exist, much less that we eat them in our food supply. The foods that most often contain high concentrations of mycotoxins are grain crops, nuts, sugars and cheese. We’re going to take a look at the most contaminated of these foods in this article.

Let’s begin with the grain foods, since they normally exhibit the higher levels. Corn, wheat, barley, and rye contain what is known as “universal contamination”. What this really means, is that they contain so many different fungi, that it is a universal contamination. The levels of contamination are often extremely high, and are carried over into the foods made from these grains.

The next category of foods with high levels of contamination is sugars. Sugars include sugar cane, sugar beets, and sorghum. Not only do the sugars contain the contamination, they fuel the growth of many of these fungi, because sugar is the food of choice for fungi.

Nuts and the oils produced from these nuts are heavily laden with contamination. In fact, one study found as many as 24 different forms of fungi in peanuts alone. The one thing worth mentioning here, peanuts, and other nuts we consume, often are in the shell, and there is no good way to even begin to eliminate these fungi and mycotoxins from the shell nuts. So, when you eat nuts still in the shell, there is a direct intake of fungi and mycotoxins produced by these fungi.

The last food category on the list is cheese. Now, everyone knows that cheese will grow mold. If you can see the mold growing, you know the fungi is present throughout the cheese, thanks to the fact that fungi are able to penetrate their host, no matter the material: cheese, tile, grout, it doesn’t matter. The fungi can grow through the material. Here again, there is direct consumption of the fungi that lives in the cheese.

It’s truly amazing that we aren’t in a state of continual imbalance, given the variety of foods we eat that contain the mycotoxin producing fungi.

Home Remedies and Exercises For Neck Sprain

Many a time you woke up and feel a hurt in the area of your neck, the reason behind this may be sprain in your lower back area of neck and this can be caused by bad sleeping posture. This can also be happen while lifting any heavy weight. Neck sprain is called irritation in muscles, tendons and ligaments in upper back and also in neck area. It is an irritation in the tissues of neck.

To get rid of this neck pain is not a very difficult task you can get rid of neck sprain by using some natural home remedies. Whenever you feel a sprain in your neck in a busy day, you may try to diagnosis the reason of pain. If the problem is caused by sleeping position, you should apply ice to the painful area for about 48-72 hours. This is the easiest way to get rid of inflammation. To practice this treatment, you can fill a bag with crushed ice and place a towel around the area of neck. Now, put this ice bag on the towel. This method will help you to get rid of pain.

Rest or relaxation is vital for speedy recovery. Placing the neck in an elevated area such as pillows, during rest is helpful. Simple exercises, which include tilting the neck in the front and back and movement from side to side, prove beneficial. If pain reaches to chronic level, you should avoid doing exercises.

To get rid of neck pain, you can use some simple exercises at home, which may provide relief in pain from neck. You can practice an exercise, which includes moving of shoulders, and turn your head side from left to right, as this may help in providing relax from the pain. You can make a bandage with the black coffee on the neck sprain.

You can take a massage therapy to avoid pain in neck. The massage should be very gentle during the first few days as it may reaches to the worse condition. You may even choose to wait until the acute phase of the injury has past. Massage therapy will help to move fluid around as this may help to prevent scar tissue. After the first few days, massage can help work out tension and knots in your muscles.

Diamond Inclusions

A diamond responds to incident light in three different ways. It allows a portion of light to pass through itself; it reflects another portion and refracts yet another portion of the incident light within itself. This dispersion and refraction of light is what makes the diamond sparkle.

When the path or wavelength of incident light is obstructed or diverted, the play of light does not occur. Depending on the size and type of the obstruction, this can impart a dull and lifeless look to the diamond.

Such obstructions are caused by flaws of the diamond that may either be internal or external or both. External flaws occurring on the surface of the diamonds are called blemishes while internal faults occurring within the crystalline surface of the diamond are known as inclusions.

Inclusions are acquired naturally by diamonds during their formative years deep within the womb of mother earth and are akin to birthmarks. These flaws are created due to irregular crystallization of diamond during its formation process.

Blemishes can be man-inflicted during mining, cutting & polishing or they may also have been acquired naturally.

One must understand clearly that diamonds are formed deep within the earth in the crudest of environments under unimaginable conditions of temperatures and pressures. These conditions are far removed from those of a sterile laboratory.

As a result, it is normal for diamonds to have inclusions. Inclusions are present in diamonds as a rule rather than as exceptions.

Nevertheless, inclusions need not be looked upon with distaste, if they are small and have a negligible effect on the brilliance and clarity of a diamond. In fact, the inclusions present in individual diamonds are as unique as the human fingerprint and are recorded in detail in the diamond’s gradation report.

Most inclusions do not affect the beauty of a diamond and are considered to be identifying characteristics. They allow you to properly identify your own diamond in case it happens to get lost or stolen or mixed up with other diamonds when given for cleaning or appraisal.

However, if the inclusions are too dense or widespread, they can affect the properties of the diamond in many ways:

Diamond Brilliance:

An inclusion affects the diamond’s ability to scatter and transmit light as it obstructs the light passing through diamond. Consequently, it reduces the brilliance of diamond.

Durability:

Inclusions can reduce the diamond’s resistance to fracture significantly.

Beauty:

Sizeable inclusions or colored inclusions mar the beauty of the diamond.

Price:

Value of the diamond decreases with increase in size and number of inclusions.

Some examples of internal flaws or Inclusions found in diamonds are as under:

Feathers:

‘Feather’ is a general term for fissures that might exist in a diamond. They are hairline cracks within the stone that resemble (as the name suggests) feathers. Small feathers do not usually threaten the diamond’s structure unless they rise to the surface on the top of the stone, where they are particularly prone to accidental blows.

Depending on the direction from which they are viewed, a feather may look shiny and white, glossy, or transparent. Some feathers capture the incident light and blink from transparent to bright when the stone is moved to and fro.

Compared to any other inclusion, feathers present a greater durability threat to the diamond because a hard knock can enlarge them at any time. Ultrasonic cleaning can further pry open and expand the feathers.

Included crystals or minerals:

Diamonds can get permeated with tiny crystals and minerals because of the extreme conditions they have to undergo during the course of their formative years. Very often these crystals are smaller diamond particles inside a larger diamond. These foreign particles obstruct the play of incident light and thus detract from the clarity, grade and value of the diamond.

But, there are times when the naturally implanted crystal can have a positive impact and add character to a diamond. For example, a diamond with a small garnet embedded in it would be a great personal choice for someone whose birthstone is a garnet.

Knots:

Sometimes, an included diamond crystal sitting near the surface of the diamond reaches and opens to the surface during cutting and polishing and it is called a knot. It can give the diamond cutter lot of trouble while fashioning the diamond.

The knot is visible like a raised area on a facet. The boundary between the host diamond and the knot can be viewed under high magnification and proper lighting. You may also see the tell-tale trailing lines alongside the knot where tiny rubble of diamond had been inadvertently dragged across the surface by the polishing wheel.

Since the knot is an entirely different diamond crystal in itself, its growth pattern differs from that of the host diamond. Most of the times it is not feasible for the diamond cutter to polish the knot away.

Knots can greatly reduce the clarity and thus the value of a diamond.

Cavities:

Cavities are just what their name suggests. They are holes on the surface of the diamond. Cavities can be caused because of two reasons.

When a surface reaching crystal is forced out during polishing or if it simply drops out, it leaves behind a gaping hole called the cavity. Also, when a part of a feathering close to the diamond surface breaks off leaving behind a deep cleft-like opening, it is called a cavity. The tell-tale drag lines alongside the cavity where tiny rubble of diamond had been inadvertently dragged across the surface by the polishing wheel differentiate a cavity from a chip.

Cavities can crop up anywhere on a diamond, including the crown, pavilion or girdle. It can affect clarity just like an inclusion inside the diamond. But, a cavity has a more negative impact on the value of the stone since the cavity can turn dark with accumulated grime of everyday wear.

Twinning Wisps or Intergrowth:

The term Twinning Wisps or Intergrowth does not refer to a single inclusion but rather to a group of inclusions that have intertwined together in a twinning plane. This motley group consists of a mixture of inclusions such as pinpoint size diamond crystals, feathers, fractures, crystals, and clouds.

These are formed during the formative years of the stone when the diamond crystal is forming and growing. Typically, they are ribbon like bands stemming at the center of the diamond and look like white striping within the diamond similar to stretch marks on the belly skin of a pregnant woman.

Twinning wisps are more prevalent in fancy shape diamonds like heart shapes, pear shapes and triangles which are usually created from twinned crystals. Then again, twinning wisps can also be found in other diamond shapes too, based upon the quality of the rough diamond used to fashion out the stone.

Cleavage:

Cleavage is a straight crack in a diamond (with no feathering) in its cleavage plane. The cleavage plane is a weak crystal direction along one or more of the diamond’s four octahedral planes.

A cleavage can make the diamond more brittle as it has the potential to crack the stone into two pieces. However the minute unnoticeable cracks do not affect the diamond’s build directly and tiny cracks that are invisible in a table-up (face up) position do not seriously affect clarity ratings of the diamond.

Bearding or Bearded Girdle or Girdle Fringes:

As evident from the name, Bearded Girdle or Girdle Fringes are beard-like hair streaks that appear around the girdle of the diamond.

This type of inclusion consists of minute feathers stretching from the girdle surface into the stone and is a result of hastiness in the bruting process when giving the diamond its initial shape in the cutting process.

A thinly bearded girdle has very few and very fine feathers sprinkled around the diamond’s border and might not devaluate the diamond quality.

A thickly bearded girdle has a multitude of feathers that together create a fuzzy gray fringe all the way around the stone. It should be removed or refined away by cutting the diamond again.

Chip:

A chip is a shallow opening located on the surface of the diamond caused due to the chipping off or gouging out of a small piece of the diamond. The opening typically has a rounded outline and occurs on the edges of the girdle, culet or facet. (It should not be confused with the term “Diamond Chip” which refers to very small diamonds).

Since the chip is the result of damage that occurs subsequent to cutting and polishing, it will not be flanked by trailing drag lines

Usually, most chips are too tiny to be of any significance and can be eliminated from the diamond surface, by re-cutting or polishing the gem with negligible loss in carat weight. On the other hand, bigger chips may perhaps require re-cutting of the entire diamond causing substantial loss of diamond weight.

Dark Spot:

This is a thin, flat inclusion or a small crystal inclusion that reflects light like a mirror. The inclusion could also appear like a metallic silvery reflector.

Pinpoints:

Are tiny crystals that appear like whitish dots (occasionally they can also be dark in color) inside a diamond and are difficult to see. They look like tiny dots at 10X magnification.

At times, the minute pinpoints can bunch together in clusters giving a hazy look to that area called a cloud. A cloud can negatively impact a diamond’s clarity.

Clouds:

As stated above, clusters of minute pinpoints causing blurry cloud like areas in the diamond are called ‘Clouds’. They create an ugly spot in the diamond and depreciate its clarity rating and value.

Individually, the pinpoints may perhaps be too small to be distinguished at 10X magnification, but crowded together they seem like wispy white or gray patches. Some clouds look like a light haze, while others are dense and almost opaque.

Laser Lines

Unlike most other diamond inclusions laser lines are man-made rather than natural. When a laser beam is used to eliminate dark inclusions present in a diamond, the beams leave behind vapor like trails called the laser lines.

The marks look like filaments stretching inward from the diamond’s table and stopping at the point where the inclusion was removed.

Laser Drill Hole:

Laser treatment is frequently used nowadays to make the inclusions in a diamond less visible as also to improve the aesthetics of the stone.

The laser drill-hole is a tiny tunnel produced by a laser beam. The tunnel extends from the surface to a dark included crystal (or to the spot from where such a crystal has been removed). After drilling, Sulfuric acid is introduced into the drill hole by immersing the diamond in the acid to dissolve or bleach the inclusion and make it less visible.

The fine bore holes are easily detectable under microscopic examination. They are whitish and straight, but may also change direction slightly. They are often described as having a ‘wrinkled’ appearance. In reflected light, the surface reaching holes can be spotted as dark circles opening through the diamond’s facets.

The Gemological Institute of America grades laser drilled diamonds since the holes are permanent features and the drilling aspect is noted under the comments section.

Growth or Grain Lines:

It is common knowledge that the metamorphosis of carbon into diamonds occurs in conditions that are far from ideal or sterile. Grain lines are created by irregular crystallization that takes place when a diamond is forming.

These can only be observed while slowly rotating the diamond under examination. They appear and disappear instantaneously and usually appear as groups.

Colorless grain lines do not usually affect diamond clarity unless they are present in large masses and can be seen from the crown side of the diamond.

Internal Graining

Internal graining is also caused by uneven crystal growth and can appear like lines, angles, or curves. It can be colored, whitish, or reflective. Internal graining can give part or all of the stone a hazy texture.

Fracture Filled

Surface reaching feathers and Laser drill holes are sometimes filled with substances like molten glass in a treatment called fracture filling. The filler makes the flaw less evident.

It can be difficult to detect, but the treatment leaves a telltale sign called the flash effect. It refers to the bright flashes of color seen when a fracture-filled diamond is rotated. The colors of these flashes range from electric blue or purple to orange or yellow, depending on lighting conditions. The flashes are best seen with the field of vision just about parallel to the plane of the filled fracture.

The Gemological Institute of America does not grade fracture filled diamonds because the treatment is not permanent.

Bruise

A bruise is a tiny area of impact (minor chip or concussion on the stone) surrounded by small root-like feathers visible at 10X magnification. When viewed through an opposing facet, a bruise appears cottony in texture as it radiates into the diamond.

A bruise is sometimes called a percussion mark and is caused by a hard blow.

The presence of a tiny bruise can make the difference between an IF and a VVS1 grade.

How Your Body Uses Protein

The body relies on three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat, as well as many micronutrients. Unlike carbohydrates and fats, protein is not easily stored in the body, however, it will store protein just like the others in the face of far too many calories. Fat is the easiest to digest for the body. The body digests carbs based on what kind they are. Simple carbs are fast and easy to digest and lead to sugar spikes that can cause weight gain. Complex carbs, on the other hand, take longer for the body to digest and do not contribute to the sugar spike, insulin surge cycle.

Proteins are the hardest for the body to digest and start burning energy from the moment that they enter the blood stream. Proteins, in addition to being slow to digest, are vital for every cell in the body and play a major role in a number of functions. Despite the importance of the nutrient, there is an upper limit to the amount of protein that is needed by the body. Ironically, the need for protein is never greater than in the first six months of human life, when pound for pound, the protein need is double what it will be for the rest of life, no matter what the circumstance or life stage.

Some of the Roles of Protein

The most obvious role of protein is in the creation and repair of muscles, but there are countless others. These include:

– Building of connective tissue

– Building cell membranes

– Contributing to the bone matrix

– Regulating the pH balance of the blood

– Forming hormones and enzymes, including those that play a role in the regulation of sleep, digestion and ovulation

– Boosting immune function (antibodies are proteins)

– Creating new blood cells

– Creating RNA and DNA

– Creating neurotransmitters

(Source: Nelson, 2009)

The Digestive Process of Protein

All proteins are made of a number of amino acids. While the human body can create many of these amino acids on its own, there are eight which are not made in the human body and must come from food sources every day. These are called the essential amino acids. A protein is either considered to be complete, meaning that it has all eight of the essential amino acids, or incomplete, meaning that it is lacking one or more of them. These eight amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan and lysine. Animal proteins are complete, while most plant proteins are not.

These amino acids are technically simple compounds created from molecules of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen or nitrogen. Each of the amino acids will link together to form a chain, which are then referred to as a peptide. The average peptide will have over 500 amino acids in it.

Each protein is broken down into the simple amino acids during the digestive process. These in turn are absorbed and used by the body to make new amino acids, enzymes and hormones.

During digestion, the protein is first sent to the stomach, where hydrochloric acid in the stomach’s gastric acid breaks it down into its first components. The gastric enzyme pepsin, which is the only protease able to digest collagen, a protein in animal connective tissue, digests the amino acids. (Enzymes are classified as either proteinases or proteases.) The next step in the process takes place in the duodenum, the first segment of the small intestine. Here, the pancreas will deliver its own protease enzymes, trypsin and chymotrypsin. Trypsin works to break down the protein into amino acids through a process called hydrolysis, where a water molecule is inserted between two amino acids to break their bond and separate them. At this point in the digestive process, the amino acids are small enough to pass through the intestinal lining and throughout the rest of the body.

During exercise, the production of the body’s proteins is decreased. The remaining protein is then converted to free amino acids and used for fuel for the working muscle groups. After the exercise is done, especially in the case of heavy resistance training, the rate of protein synthesis remains low while breakdown rates remains elevated for about twenty four hours. Without a new source of protein during this, the recovery period, the breakdown will likely exceed that of synthesis and the body will turn to its own muscles for fuel.

Evaluating Proteins

All proteins, especially those being used by elite, endurance and strength athletes, are evaluated on two scales. The Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAA) judges the completeness of a protein. A complete protein, meaning one that has all eight essential amino acids, will earn a score of 1 on this scale. The second score is the biological value (BV) score, which will judge how much of a protein is actually retained by the body after it is broken down. All protein types are often judged against the egg on this scale because it scores 100, meaning that all of the protein that you get from eating an egg is retained by the body. Unless you are an elite athlete, it is not likely that you know or care about the PDCAA or BV score of your protein, and there are simpler ways to evaluate the foods and supplements that you consume.

Your proteins should be low fat, especially in saturated fat. They should be low in calories, or at least not extremely high in calories in relation to the portion size. Finally, they should taste good and have other nutritional benefits as well.

Protein supplements should be high in protein but low in calories and should not have added sugars or fats. Read all labels carefully, since some of the brands of protein bars are trying to pretend to be healthy when they bear little difference from the average candy bar.

Know Your Protein Need

From the infant in his cradle to the elite body builder to the old man who is playing shuffleboard, all humans need protein. Their actual need is as individual as they are, based on their age, their health, their weight and their activity level. Protein is important, but it can also be dangerous when consumed in extremely high amounts. The experts suggest that the upper limit is no more than 35% of the total daily calories, even for the elite athletes. As mentioned before, there is no greater need for protein than during the first six months of life, when the baby should be getting 2.2 grams of protein per kg of body weight. The elite body builder, on the other hand, should be getting around 1.6 grams per kg of body weight. (Source: US Guidelines on Protein and Nutrition) For the average sized man, that translates to roughly about 60 grams of protein per day, or about 8 ounces of meat. Women need less protein than men, unless they are pregnant, when the need increases dramatically. However, when a woman is not pregnant, excessive protein can lead to increased calcium loss through the urine, putting her at a greater risk for developing osteoporosis. (Source: Tsang, RD 2007)

For the average person, the protein need is between.5 and.8 grams per kg of body weight each day, more if you are very active and less if you sedentary. Timing is important as well, with athletes advised to eat a small protein meal or take their choice of protein supplement before they work out and immediately afterward so that the body does not resort to tearing down its own muscle mass in search of energy.

References

Lisa Nelson Protein and Heart Health: How Much Do You Need? Health Central. Highbloodpressureconnection.com November 30, 3009

Gloria Tsang, RD Men vs. Women: Difference in Nutritional Requirements. Healthcastle.com October 2007

The US Guidelines on Protein and Diet, the United States Department of Agriculture