3 Ways That Failed to Solve the Obesity Epidemic – Big Time

Two thirds of all Americans are overweight or obese. That means when you go to the mall for every ten people you see six will be overweight or obese. Amazing! This number is growing. Soon seven out of ten people will be overweight or obese. It is now more common for adults in our society to be overweight and obese than in a healthy weight range. It’s not just adults, however. Obesity in children is also growing at alarming rates. The health consequences that these children face and are going to continue to face in their futures is a true tragedy.

Of course the obvious problem with obesity is that it causes major health problems. Obesity drastically increases one’s risk for Type II diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, cancer, as well as psychological illnesses such as severe depression and complete withdraw from family/society.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, stated that obesity will soon take over tobacco as the leading preventable cause of death. Harvard School of Public Health discovered that one third of all cancers are due to issues of nutrition, mostly obesity. It has also observed that obesity will soon be responsible for more cancers than smoking.

It is no exaggeration that in 100 years people will look back at this time and talk about the obesity epidemic and how it destroyed more people than any epidemic in history. Epidemics like the black plague and AIDS will pale in comparison to the devastation caused by obesity.

We know fighting fat is not simple. We know that there is no one magical diet that will work for all. If there was a magic diet or pill there would not be an epidemic. There does not exist an isolated answer (such as, a single diet, a single pill, a single exercise routine, a single self-help tape) to fighting fat, because fighting fat is such a complex problem.

Fighting fat with these methods – a single diet, a single pill, a single exercise routine, a single self-help tape, and surgery – has done two things. First it has failed to result in permanent weight loss, and second it has made a lot of people very rich.

Billions of dollars are spent by consumers each and every year in hope of finding the solution to fighting fat. Unfortunately, all that is truly being purchased is the equivalent of a Band-Aid to fix a bullet wound. They are superficial fixes that do not attack the problem at the root, and therefore offer either temporary fixes or no fix at all. These are not profound observations. All you have to do is look at the problem at hand, then look at the solutions offered and employed, and finally look at the results these solutions have provided thus far.

Let’s look at the problem at hand first. Obesity is an epidemic that will soon be responsible for more deaths every year than any other preventable cause of death. This epidemic has been growing like wildfire over the past two decades, and continues to grow with no end in sight.

Next, we will look at the three most common solutions offered and employed to fix the problem. The first one is Fad Diets. Here is a short list of fad diets you may have heard of before: cabbage diet, grapefruit diet, lazy diet, Atkins diet, 3 day diet, 7 day diet, 30 day diet, chocolate diet, fruit juice diet, low fat diet, South Beach diet, negative calorie diet, six times a day diet, one good meal diet, Hollywood diet, The Zone, Sugar Busters, Carb Addicts, Sugar Addicts, Jenny Craig, Dr. Phil, metabolism diet, protein power, glycemic index diet, fast food diet, Alien diet, etc.

The second common way offered to fix the obesity epidemic is with drugs, a.k.a. diet pills. There are two classes of drugs. They are known as the ever popular All Natural drugs, and the growing in popularity pharmaceutical manufactured drugs.

The third way offered to fix the obesity epidemic is with surgeries such as liposuction and gastric bypass.

Now let’s look at the results. We’ll start with fad diets. Fad diets usually result in an initial weight loss, followed by a cycle of frustration, loss of motivation, and weight gain. The diets plans do not include how to change behavior, therefore they fail. In order for an individual to achieve permanent weight loss they must change their ‘frame of mind’. These fad diets do not do this.

How about drugs? Let’s start with the all natural pills, drinks, powders, etc. One of the biggest money making marketing tactics over the past 10 years has been to attach the words “All Natural” to everything. For some crazy reason people think that just because something is from nature that it is, not only not harmful, but good for you. In addition, for this marketing technique to be really effective it must attack everything else as being a harmful chemical. You hear this all the time being stated as, Don’t put those chemicals into your body, instead use this all natural substance. The whole thing is not based on any truth and potentially very dangerous.

First of all, everything is a chemical. Have you every tried dihydrogen oxide? Dihydrogen oxide sounds like a pretty serious chemical doesn’t it. Well its common name is water. Water is made when 2 hydrogen atoms are chemically bonded to an oxygen atom – H2O. Life cannot exist without water. However, if you drink too much water you will die from water toxicity. Of course water can be toxic. Anything can be toxic, and everything is a chemical.

Would you eat arsenic, plutonium, mercury, or lead? Why not, they are all natural. Each one is a fundamental element found in nature. If you’re really interested in getting some arsenic you can find it in apple seeds. Do you know how many deadly poisons are produced in nature by plants alone? Many of your backyards are full of them.

The bottom line is that it is insane and very dangerous to think something is good for you and not harmful just because it can be found naturally. Do not let the All Natural marketing tactic ever persuade you again! You know what I say about the All Natural diet pills and all the other All Natural marketing that is promoted by the powerful multi-billion dollar health industry – caveat emptor which means buyer beware.

The truth is that the mechanism of most of the diet pills is that they contain some stimulant, most often a form of caffeine. For example, guarana is a very popular ingredient in many diet aids. Guarana is a climbing plant common to Brazil that produces a fruit that has about three times the amount of caffeine as typical coffee beans. The bottom line is that guarana is all natura’ and it contains the stimulant caffeine. There are numerous names for caffeine. When found in guarana its called guaranine. When it’s found in the yerba mate plant it’s called mateine, and in common tea leaves the caffeine is called theine. They are all synonyms for the same chemical compound. All of these different names allow marketers to hide the fact that their products just contain a bunch of caffeine or caffeine metabolites.

Overall, stimulants do increase your metabolism which does result in burning more calories. Stimulants also raise your blood pressure, irritate your nervous system, cause your heart to work harder, and stress your cardiovascular system. In addition, over time, your body grows a tolerance to the stimulant and the only way to get the same effects is to increase the amount taken. As you can imagine, this can become very dangerous. Oh by the way, there is another popular plant leaf that contains an all natural stimulant that increases your metabolism and helps burn calories. It’s known as cocaine. Are you getting my point?

Are the pharmaceutical manufactured diet pills any better? Since weight loss is a multi-billion dollar industry, everyone wants to be involved. Big pharmaceutical companies are no different. They have big budgets earmarked for weight loss research and development. Their goal is to find a chemical that can be taken by overweight and obese individuals that will result in weight loss.

The process to find a chemical such as this begins with research on lab animals, such as rats. If they find a chemical that shows positive results in the animals without causing evident harm, they move to the next phase which is human trials. Initially, the chemical will be tested on small groups of volunteers, or paid participants. If these early experiments show promise, then the studies become larger. If over time and over numerous studies, the chemical is shown to be effective – statistically – and not harmful – within reason – then the chemical will be deemed safe and effective for use by the general population. It will subsequently be marketed, prescribed, and sold.

This all sounds reasonable, but here is why this hasn’t led to solving the obesity epidemic. The studies are limited to a relatively small sample of the population. Just because there was positive results and seemingly no harmful side effects to this relatively small segment of the population does not mean it is going to be safe and effective for the population at large. Everyone is physiologically and genetically different. There are too many differences between people in the general population for one drug to be safe and effective for everyone.

Have you ever heard of Fen-Phen? Fen-Phen is a combination treatment of two drugs Fenfluramine and Dexfenfluramine that was designed and touted as an effective and safe weight loss medicine. Well it wasn’t long before physiological difference among the population popped up, and the FDA was bombarded with reports of Fen-Phen causing heart valve disease. The final result, Fen-Phen was taken off the market, big law suits ensued, people were physically damaged, and obesity is still an epidemic.

The third unsuccessful attempt at curing the obesity epidemic is through surgeries, such as liposuction and gastric bypass. Liposuction is a surgery where fat is sucked out from where it accumulates under the skin. This sounds pretty cool except for the fact that it is not a permanent solution. As soon as the individual begins to take in more energy than is being used their body very efficiently begins to make brand new fat cells to store the excess energy. In other words, this ‘solution’ ain’t going to last long if the eating behavior that got them to this point in the place is resumed after the surgery. Liposuction is merely a temporary solution.

Gastric Bypass is an extreme surgery that basically removes and re-routes portions of your digestive tract to physically limit the amount of food that can be consumed and absorbed. This surgery is extreme, painful, and very dangerous, as numerous people have died from the surgery itself. If the surgery is successful, the individual does usually lose weight. They lose weight because they are physically limited to what they can eat. If they overeat, which often means more than a few tablespoons of food at a time, they will vomit it up.

One problem that arises is that it is difficult to get proper nutrient absorption. In addition, what happens is that, through force feeding, the digestive tract grows to accommodate larger and larger amounts of food. Before not too long these individuals can eat as much as they had in the past, which translates into gaining all the weight back. Gastric bypass, by itself, is not a permanent solution.

What do all these ‘Solutions’ have in common? They are all a quick fix, they require very little effort on the part of the person attempting to lose weight, someone else is making money, and they are not effective in producing permanent weight loss.

In all fairness, a solution to any problem that is a quick fix and requires little effort is never going to be a permanent solution. Once again, there really is nothing profound being observed here.

What is being done by the Government and Schools? Never in the history of human existence has the rate of obesity increased more than it has over just the past two decades. Of course, the obvious question is – Why? Well, the correct answer is that there is no single reason. I’d like to point out some of the major causes.

In the September 2007 edition of Scientific American, NYU professor Marion Nestle pointed to a political cause of obesity. She noted that in 1980 the Reagan administration’s deregulation of industry freed up agricultural production. This encouraged farmers to grow more food. The calories available per capita in the U.S. increased from 3,200 a day in 1980 to 3,900 a day two decades later. That is a difference of 700 calories available in the U.S. food supply per person per day.

Let’s put this in perspective. With everything else staying constant, if you eat 500 less calories per day, you will lose one pound of fat every week. Based on this, if you consumed 700 extra calories per day for a year you would gain 73 pounds. Now most people don’t gain this much weight in a year because there are a lot of other variables that must be included, but you get the idea of the significance this political move had on the obesity epidemic.

This led to one of the most significant causes of obesity – increased portion size! Professor Nestle further exposed the following: The early 1980’s also marked the advent of the shareholder value movement on Wall Street. Stockholder demands for higher short-term returns on investments forced food companies to expand sales in a marketplace that already contained excessive calories. Food companies responded by seeking new sales and marketing opportunities. They encouraged formerly shunned practices that eventually changed social norms, such as frequent between-meal snacking, eating in book and clothing stores, and serving larger portions.

There is so much food available that food establishments, such as restaurants, use huge portion sizes as a marketing tool. We have grown conditioned and accustomed to these enormous portions of food. The bottom line is that these portions are simply too much. It’s sadly ironic that there are people literally starving around the world and yet truth be told there is a surplus of food. The problem of starvation around the world is not sufficient food production. The problem is food distribution. It’s an economic and logistics problem.

Since we’re on the government, let’s talk about the Food Guide Pyramid. The Food Guide Pyramid, developed in 1991, was the government’s underhanded attempt to educate people on how to eat a balanced and healthy diet. The branch of government responsible for producing the Food Guide Pyramid is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). First of all, don’t you think that there is a more qualified branch of the government to determine what a healthy diet constitutes – like a medical or health branch? You know, a branch that actually has individuals highly qualified to talk about medical and health issues. When I want to know how to plant corn I’ll call the Department of Agriculture, not when I want to know what diet will keep me healthy.

Walter Willett, chairperson of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, states that the government’s pyramid is built on “shaky scientific ground and that it is tremendously flawed”. Dr. Willett is basing his response on the very best science and controlled studies we have available today. And when he was asked about the government’s food pyramid stance on fats, protein, dairy, and carbohydrates, Willett said none of this is accurate, and the pyramid is so out of sync with scientific evidence that it almost has to be totally dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.

Why would the Department of Agriculture do this? If you study the Food Guide Pyramid, you would see that it recommends that individuals, by far, get the majority of their daily calories from agricultural products such as rice, pasta, bread, and potatoes. Yes, it is a self serving guide that benefits lobbying groups such as the U.S. Potato Board and other farming interest groups. This has nothing to do with a conspiracy theory, but everything to do with simply lining pockets and serving political agendas. Sad, but true.

In 2005, the government released a new version of the pyramid called My Pyramid. It’s just more ambiguous, and therefore is less able to be directly attacked. All you have to know about the new pyramid is that it is still put out by the Department of Agriculture.

Are our schools doing a better job? Let’s start with the basics – school lunches. Read the following guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding school lunches. Then you can be the judge of whose best interests are in mind. I don’t think you will conclude that it is our children’s best interest.

This is a direct quote from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Generally, public or nonprofit private schools of high school grade or under and public or nonprofit private residential child care institutions may participate in the school lunch program. School districts and independent schools that choose to take part in the lunch program get cash subsidies and donated commodities from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for each meal they serve. In return, they must serve lunches that meet Federal requirements. In addition to cash reimbursements, schools are entitled by law to receive commodity foods, called “entitlement” foods. Schools can also get “bonus” commodities as they are available from surplus agricultural stocks. School food authorities can also be reimbursed for snacks served to children through age 18 in after school educational or enrichment programs. U.S. Department of Agriculture

Another inexcusable act being committed by schools is the strategic placement and availability of vending machines. These vending machines are filled with soda, candy, caffeine and sugar laden energy drinks, chips, and cupcakes. Food and vending companies bid to have their machines placed in the cafeteria, halls, and even the gym. The companies get money, the school gets money, and the kids get overweight and unhealthy.

Perhaps the most sinful act of all, however, is the reduction / elimination of physical activity in the curriculum. Gym class and recess are disappearing. Child obesity, diabetes in children, hypertension in children, and restlessness in children are all increasing. You don’t have to have a medical background to see the connection here. It’s more of just observing and having common sense.

As a college professor who teaches freshman and sophomores, I see first hand the level at which our students are prepared after they leave high school. I’m not going to discuss math and writing skills, but I am going to point out the lack of real world preparation that these students have. Bottom line is that our secondary education system is dropping the ball when is comes to real world preparation. This includes things like: writing a resume and interviewing for a job, understanding different types of mortgages and other basic information when buying a home, understanding contracts such as lease agreements, understanding credit cards, bank loans, car loans, and credit scores, understanding how to leverage and invest money; stocks and real estate, understanding the importance of basic health maintenance such as regular dental and doctor visits, regular self breast and testicular exams, understanding the basics of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, understanding the real health issues associated with obesity, and understanding how to read food labels and serving size.

This list could go on and on. From the above list I can guarantee you that if properly educated the following tragedies would have been limited: U.S. Foreclosure Explosion of 2008, massive credit card debt, and of course the Obesity Epidemic of the 21 century.

H.G. Wells said that human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe. I hate to say it but I think our education system is losing. We need change! If we are going to conquer this epidemic, we need to start doing things differently. We cannot attack this problem as we have been, because it obviously is just not working.

How To Get Rid Of A Rash – What Doctors Don’t Want You to Know

Despite famous lines to the contrary, weird remedies don’t always work to cure some natural conditions! William Shakespeare once claimed some benefit in the famous formula doled out as; “eye of newt, tongue of frog, wool of bat and hair of dog!” These aren’t really feasible remedies to cure a rash?

There are some better homemade remedies than those and ones that do not attempt to fix the problem usually underlying a rash. After all, Shakespeare was only a poet! But what can we take away from natural home cures for common rashes? Do they really do more than just make the affected skin feel better?

For generations, humans have relied on natural remedies and old wives’ tales from everything on how to prolong life to how to cure skin break-outs. While these potions are simple and cheap, these old-fashioned remedies are made from ingredients from your herb garden or pantry. Most of these ancient “cures” are more soothing than curative of these itchy maladies and none have been seen to work in the rash-sufferer’s system to actually prevent further rash discomfort.

A long respected balm for irritated skin is an oatmeal poultice, which soothes as it reputedly draws out impurities and inflammation from the skin. A modern way to fashion this old-time remedy is to moisten oatmeal straight from the package and apply a thick warm glob to the affected skin for a soothing relief. The oatmeal should not be allowed to stay on the skin too long; leaving it in place could become abrasive and undo the soothing effect of the warm wet oats!

While this tried and true home remedy, warm soothing oats smeared all over your rash has a chance of making the rash feel better, in fact, it will not cure the rash nor the reason for its appearance in the first place, but many people try it when they become desperate.

Don’t become desperate! I will actually tell you how to get rid of a rash!

Since a rash is most likely the skin’s honest response to something the body does not like, merely rubbing a potion on it, no matter how natural and well-respected that something is, will not cure the rash, as it originates from the body’s response to something that makes its immune system fight to heal itself.

Occasionally, the effect of too little sleep will cause a rash-like apparition under the sleep-deprived eyes. This can be made more comfortable by the application of moist tea bags over the eyelids and skin beneath the eyes. This also works on some individuals as a way to remedy bags under the eyes, also a manifestation of too little sleep.

Rashes are a usual reaction to something the body is unhappy with; some medically trained personnel believe this extends to accumulated wastes building up in the body and advocate root-based body cleansers known to make the body sweat.

Examples of this are burdock root, yarrow root, sarsaparilla root, red clover root, and Polk root. While these natural compounds are readily available at natural foods stores and seem to have no toxic effects on the body, they also have no demonstrated preventative effects on various rashes. The reality is that most ‘wives tales’ are exactly that, and very ineffective.

The best way to simply remedy or prevent an itchy rash is to avoid substances that you have an allergy to. This is not always possible as new allergies can pop up in the body without any warning.

Staying away from items known to cause an allergic reaction or that make you feel strange and out of sorts is one easy way to begin to identify items that you may be sensitive to, without waiting for them to give you a rash!

Penis Health Cremes – What You Need To Know

The skin of the penis can be highly sensitive and is susceptible to a number of common health issues, which can cause penis redness, loss of penile sensation, penis itchiness, irritation, painful intercourse, and unpleasant odors. Maintaining this delicate area using a moisturizer or penis health crème containing penis-specific vitamins and minerals may help to prevent common penis problems. It is important to keep in mind that not all skin care products are equal; therefore, it is essential to know what to look for in a penis health crème. The best penis care products should do the following:

Moisturize – The skin of the penis is subject to some rough treatment. Aggressive masturbation, intercourse, tight clothing, and harsh chemical detergents can all dry and irritate the skin of the penis, causing flaking, redness and soreness and even increasing the chances of developing a painful infection when bacteria are allowed to penetrate through microscopic fissures in the outer dermal layer. Products containing ingredients such as shea butter and vitamin E can moisturize the skin, keeping it soft and supple and preventing uncomfortable dryness and irritation.

Heal – The surface of the skin is easily damaged; even without being aware of it, tiny cracks may develop in the skin’s surface, frequent masturbation and aggressive sex can damage penis cell neurons and actually diminish penis sensation. One important study show that 87% of men at age 39 have experienced some loss of penile sensation. A good healthy crème should contain vital nutrients that the body needs to repair damaged skin cells and heal after damage to the skin’s surface. Vitamin B5 and vitamin D are noted for their ability to help the body heal after injury, while vitamin C is important for the growth of collagen, the tissue that gives skin its structure and elasticity. Amino acids such as L-arginine and acetyl L carnitine are also important in rebuilding damaged skin cells and promoting overall dermatological health.

Protect – Protecting penis skin from harmful environmental agents and minor fungal and bacterial infections is essential for optimum penis health. Antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A and C can protect the skin cells from free radicals, boost immune function, and help the body to fight off skin infections that can cause rash, itching and soreness.

Maintaining penis health should include good personal hygiene, as well as maintaining a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and choosing sexual partners with care; wearing loose-fitting, comfortable clothing made from natural fabrics can also keep the area clean and dry.

Use a penis health crème or skin care products?

Numerous products that are on the market have been recommended at one time or another for caring for the skin of the penis; these include everything from olive oil to baby oil to skin moisturizers and anti-wrinkle creams. However, these products are not designed specifically for treating the skin of the penis. Olive oil, for instance, is not easily absorbed, and applying it to the penile skin can leave a sticky and unpleasant mess; while cosmetic skin creams and baby oil often contain fragrances, coloring agents and other chemicals that can cause irritation to the delicate skin of the penis, particularly if it is accidentally applied to the urethral opening.

Health professionals recommend treating penis skin with a specialized penis health crème (most health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) that can help to prevent common penis problems such as dry skin, red penis, penis rash, irritation and diminished penis sensitivity. The benefits provided by the penis-specific ingredients, which include several essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, can boost the body’s natural healing ability and keep you feeling great and performing at your best.

Psoriasis Home Remedies – Top 6 Advices to Cure Psoriasis Skin Disease Naturally

First, let’s talk about some basic knowledge of psoriasis before we move on to the psoriasis home remedies. Psoriasis is one of the most common skin disease happened in the world. Strictly speaking, it is not caused by any external factor, it is triggered by the disorder of the patient immune system which incorrectly produce excessive skin cells in a over rapid speed on the skin. Eventually, the rapidly built up skin cells are not able to be shed off by the skin tissue naturally and hence cause different kind of disturbing psoriasis skin diseases.

Common psoriasis symptoms are silvery white scales, skin redness, patches of swollen skin, flakes of dead skin or fine bumps. If you are diagnosed to have psoriasis, you may not experience all these symptoms because there are 5 different types of psoriasis that recorded. Most of the psoriasis will cause discomfort and uneasiness feeling to the patients while there are cases of psoriasis that cause arthritis and eventually may cause disability condition to patient.

Hence, if you are able to notice certain psoriasis symptoms happening on your skin, you should take action to prevent it from worsening as soon as possible.

I hereby provide 6 psoriasis home remedies that you are able to apply and help improving the condition of your psoriasis skin disease effectively. Do not expect that they are able to completely cure your psoriasis but they are definitely able to sooth your disturbing condition.

1) You should moderately expose your psoriasis to the mild and natural sunlight in order to allow your skin to produce Vitamin D in order to improve the skin condition and reduce the excessive accumulation of skin cell that form psoriasis.

2) Utilize the nature power of Aloe Vera which is very useful in curing the external physical irritation and discomfort.

3) Vitamin E is another effective psoriasis home remedies that can greatly reduce the discomfort of psoriasis especially scalp psoriasis. You should apply around 200-800 IU of vitamin E on the scalp affected are daily in order to experience the best effect.

4) Apple cider vinegar is a good component in soothing the inflammation and swollen infection caused by psoriasis. You can simply mix the vinegar with water and apply them on the affected area along with gentle massage.

5) Mixture of olive oil (1 cup), oregano oil (1 drop) and calendula oil (2 drops) is able to improve the condition of psoriasis skin disease especially scalp psoriasis. Apply the mixture to your scalp and do not rinse it for 10-15 minutes.

6) Buttermilk can be used to improve the psoriasis condition internally and externally. Apply the buttermilk directly on scalp or other psoriasis affected area or consume this substances as part of your diet will help to ease the disturbing skin condition.

As stated above, these are some easily accessible psoriasis home remedies that you can utilize to improve your skin condition and prevent worsening of psoriasis ailment. However, they are not the ultimate treatment to completely cure psoriasis since psoriasis is caused by disorder of immune system. If you are determine to cure psoriasis problem from the root cause and willing to pay in effort and time.

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.

What Is An Allergy And What Can I Do?

Normally your immune system's lymphocytes (white blood cells) travel to all parts of the body scanning the outside of proteins for chemical signatures. If it finds an invading protein, then the white blood cell returns to a lymph node where it becomes a plasma cell and generates antibodies to destroy that specific protein.

An allergy sufferer has a genetic defect that causes the white blood cells to misidentify protein and overreact to a foreign substance. If a person with a seafood allergy eats seafood, the white blood cells mistakenly think that the body is being invaded and produces many times more antibodies than are needed to fight the invaders.

Since there is not a real threat (and therefore nothing to attach to), over the next 7 to 10 days, the antibodies attach themselves to mast cells that store histamine. This is known as sensitizing to an allergen.

The next time your body is exposed to that allergen, a cascading allergic reaction occurs. During a cascading reaction all the antibodies are triggered and destroy all the mast cells they are attached to, thus releasing an abnormally large about of histamine causing runny nose, itchy skin and other symptoms.

What Happens During An Allergic Reaction?

The reaction is caused by excess amounts of histamine being released rapidly. Here are typical effects:
Histamine tries to protect the body by isolating the area with the allergen. Blood vessels shrink to reduce blood flow. This can cause drowsiness, unclear thinking and even organ failure.

As the cells and blood vessels shrink, the gaps they leave fill with fluid causing puffiness and soreness. This swelling can become severe enough to prevent sight, hearing, and breathing and make movement uncomfortable or impossible.

Skin contact with an allergen usually causes hives, itchiness and localized swelling.

Airborne allergen contact often makes breathing difficult as the throat and lungs contract. The lack of oxygen may cause drowsiness, make walking impossible, and can result in death.

The introduction of an allergen by way of blood often is the most severe. This can happen by a sting or food being digested. Blood can circulate throughout the body within 6 minutes, allowing the allergen to come in contact with all organs.

What Can You Do To Avoid A Reaction?

There are three things to help prevent an allergic reaction:

1. Avoidance. The first and most important step is avoidance of the allergen. The more exposure you have, the more likely you are to be sensitized and then have a more severe reaction. While it may be easy to avoid seafood, it is not for things like pollen. The following environmental things may help.

a. Air filtering. A good air filter will reduce the amount of airborne allergens.

b. If it is an airborne problem, wear a surgical mask while it is at its peak. The mask will filter out the majority of the pollen that would have been breathed in, thus reducing the effects of the allergen.

c. Remove carpets, keep furniture slightly away from walls and increase airflow. Carpets catch all sorts of allergens that can get stirred up each time you walk around. Moving furniture away from the walls allows air to move through the home. If air does not move freely, pockets of pollutants can build up in unused areas.

d. Make sure your vacuum and furnace have good filters. Vacuums pull up a lot of pollutants from the carpet, so be sure that they are all captured. The furnace is the primary defense against airborne allergens, since it is responsible for circulating air throughout the home.

2. Medication can greatly reduce the risk of allergic reaction as well as containing them. Antihistamines, decongestants, cromolyn sodium, corticosteroids and epinephrine are examples of things that may help. Many people find taking an antihistamine once a day during pollen season is enough to relieve their symptoms, if avoidance does not work.

3. Immunotherapy is the clinical introduction of the allergen on a regular basis and in increasing larger doses. Immunotherapy is the closet thing there is to a cure for allergies. It must be done regularly, is possibly risky and expensive, but it might work.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Causes, Symptoms, and Relief

Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects about 54 million people in the United States, or about 20% of the population. It is an intestinal disorder with no indications of disease, but which for unknown reasons causes discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, cramping, gas and mild to severe pain in the abdomen. The pain of IBS can vary from a throbbing “internal bruising” feeling to sharp cramping sensations. Patients often complain that it feels like they got punched in the stomach or stepped on by an elephant. IBS is not known to lead to any other diseases, but can be inconvenient at best.

IBS is a general term to describe general irregular bowel functions that do not show up during examinations, blood tests or x-rays according to the FDA. Yet doctors know that it exists and that it is not completely psychological as previously believed. The National Institute of Health say that people who live with IBS simply have more sensitive digestive tracts. Their colons are more likely to react to stimulus than other adults or children with normal colons. IBS “attacks” can be triggered by eating greasy or fatty foods, some kinds of dairy products, certain medications, depression, gas, stress, lack of exercise, and even by eating raisins or corn.

An FDA report quotes many IBS research subjects as saying that the disorder has affected their everyday life. One teacher in Connecticut told them that she had to give up teaching in a classroom because her condition prevented her from being able to stay with the kids all day. She even purchased a van to give her more “privacy in her time of need” and keeps a fresh pair of underwear, anti-diarrheal tablets and other emergency items in there just in case.

Constipation is also an effect of IBS. Some adults and children have reported not having a bowel movement for up to 10 days at times. When they finally go to the bathroom, it is extremely painful and rectal bleeding often occurs. In both cases of diarrhea and constipation episodes, severe pain usually occurs. This is why this disorder can, and often is, mistaken for other spastic colon disorders such as colitis. While both conditions usually cause spasms in the colon, only colitis causes inflammation. IBS does not. Dr. Marvin Shuster, a gastroenterologist from Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center states that “Irritable bowel syndrome is the most suitable and accurate term… because it emphasizes that the condition is a motor disorder manifesting irritability (that) involves many areas of the gut.”

Humans’ digestive system has a nervous system that is separate from the brain and does not depend on the brain in order to function properly. Instead, according to Marcelo A. Barreiro, M.D. of the FDA’s gastrointestinal division, the intestines “respond to its inputs under various conditions.” He also says that in patients with IBS, the central nervous system (controlled by the brain) and the gastrointestinal nervous system are “out of sync”. This means that if an individual is under particularly heavy stress, then the brain may send a conflicting message to the intestines that invokes irritability within the digestive system.

Treatments

Unfortunately, because IBS affects everyone in different ways there is no “cure-all” treatment.

There used to be a medication for IBS called Lotronex. However, it was taken off the shelf just 10 months after being released due to serious side effects and sometimes deaths related to the drug. FDA reports being concerned about mild to moderate damage occurring in the intestines due to reduced blood flow and obstructions and/or ruptures in the intestinal wall.

Other antispasmodic medications are being used to treat IBS especially when other treatments don’t work. IBS sufferers should always try to manage their disorder with a high-fiber diet, lots of water and regular exercise. Also, individuals with IBS should avoid certain foods like dairy, cabbage, beans, sorbitol, artificial sweeteners and fructose. But most of the time, that just isn’t enough.

Probiotic supplements (a safe alternative to yogurt for individuals who are sensitive to dairy products) are an effective way to reduce gas and harmful bacteria. Although, most healthcare practitioners don’t recommend even bothering with probiotic treatments unless you have done a colon cleanse first. While probiotics can promote good bacteria in the intestines, it doesn’t do anything for the build up of plaque and waste along your intestinal walls.

Colon Cleansing has been praised as an all natural, safe and very effective way to deal with IBS on all ends of the spectrum from constipation to diarrhea. Using colon cleansers containing psyllium or psyllimax is the best way “reset” your colon and get it back to normal quickly. A good colon cleanser such as Dr. Floras Colon Cleanse, will only take about 14 days to work and users will start seeing improvements in their condition in about 7-10 days.

Colon cleansing will relieve the bloating, water retention and cramping associated with IBS as well as some other symptoms that you didn’t even know were related like headaches, acne and fatigue. This is why many doctors and healthcare practitioners recommend that everyone use colon cleansers for good colon health; because it is a safe and effective way to clean out the waste build-up that can accumulate in the intestines. This build-up can cause health problems such as IBS, diarrhea, constipation, cancer, fatigue and even promote the attachment and growth of parasites.

IBS is a difficult disorder to live with especially since an effective treatment can be difficult to find among individuals. However, with good diet, exercise, plenty of water, and regular colon cleansing it can be managed.

Can an Untreated Depression Lead to Madness?

Depression is a very common illness or mental disorder. So many people all over the world suffer from depression every year. Depression affects you in many ways, sadness, sleeping difficulties, weight loss, loss of energy and social withdrawal are some of the common symptoms of depression. Depression can be mild to severe depending upon the symptoms. Proper treatment is required to get rid of depression, as untreated depression may cause adverse affects. Here are some of the effects:

1. Problems in your routine work at home or at your work place, due to which you may loose your job.

2. It can spoil your relationship with your loved ones, the divorce rate due to depression are becoming high.

3. Causes physical problems, such as severe pain in the stomach and headache.

4. Sleep deprivation or sleeping disorder Insomnia, as a result of which sufferer experiences loss of energy all most entire day, irritation, difficulty in concentration, early waking ups, disrupted sleep, difficulty getting off to sleep etc.

5. Alcohol and drugs abuse is also very common, the effects of alcohol and drugs are, Regular fights at home, memory loss, and the most dangerous one is severity of depression.

6. Suicidal attempts are the reason of untreated depression, suicides have been reported so many times because of severity of depression, and it has all the chances to become severe with the passage of time.

7. Causes coping up with health diseases, such as heart diseases, stroke etc. because of depression patients do not follow the proper healing procedure as a result of which it becomes deadly dangerous to cope up with health illness. Death of heart patients in few months after heart attack has been noticed.

Untreated depression may lead to madness. Manic depression or clinical or chronic depression is the most dangerous types of depression. If the proper treatment is not sought or left untreated it may lead to madness. It is very important to seek help from the specialists when you notice you or someone in your family or friends is suffering from manic depression. Manic depression commonly exhibit symptoms; severe Insomnia, increased energy, unacceptable social behavior, inability to take wise decisions, Fast speech with high volume, racing thoughts, Increased sexual desire, offensive etc.

If you find any of the above symptoms you need to be alert and seek help, if you ignore these symptoms, these symptoms will become more severe and will put you in the state of madness. Manic depression is very much treatable if proper treatment technique is followed. Numbers of treatment methods are available to for depression such as Psychotherapy, medication, Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) etc. Psychotherapy methods are the best methods to nullify manic depression. Anther very good treatment method is ECT it is most trustable treatment method to get respite from depression. Consult with your family doctor or specialist for the proper treatment plan.

Overcoming Pittakionophobia, Fear of Stickers, With Hypnotherapy

Sticker fear is a powerful phobia that affects many people throughout the world

Like all phobias, it is essentially an anxiety disorder.

Simply put, those with this particular phobia experience varying degrees of anxiety when faced with stickers or sticky labels – whether those stickers are on fruit such as apples, bananas or kiwis, on plastic items, household appliances or on clothing, it makes little difference.

This phobia can make even the most courageous person shiver with fear.

Perhaps the main reason that this particular phobia is so little acknowledged is because individuals suffering from this irrational fear have often developed a sense of abnormality or shame, wrongly believing that only they have this particular issue.

Because of this, those who are afraid of stickers or of sticky labels often feel foolish, becoming reluctant to talk about it to others and so it remains largely hidden.

Indeed, in my clinical practice I have treated only two people for this particular phobia. Both were clients who had been successfully treated for other conditions and who mentioned, almost in passing, that they also suffered from the fear of stickers.

Once uncovered, however, it is a fairly simple procedure to permanently remove the fear and phobia.

The real problem, of course, is that most of those suffering from this debilitating phobia simply do not know that effective treatment is available. Symptoms of a sticker phobia are similar to those of other phobias: increased heart rate, palpitations, dry mouth, shortness of breath and even feelings of dizziness or nausea when exposed to the rationally benign stimulus of stickers or sticky labels.

So hidden is this phobia that currently there appears to be no commonly accepted name for the fear of stickers or of sticky labels. It simply does not currently appear on any phobia list.

However, I have coined a neologism – or new word – for this phobia, based on proper linguistic rules, which I offer here.

The word ‘phobia’ comes from the Greek word meaning ‘fear’ and the rule is that any suffix attached to it should also be of Greek origin. (Though some phobia names contain suffixes derived from Latin, this is linguistically incorrect and has been brought about simply because the doctors who coined the name of the phobia were more familiar with Latin than they were with Greek!)

The value of having a correct name for the irrational fear of stickers and of sticky labels is that those suffering from this phobia may well find real relief in discovering that there is indeed a name for their secret fear and so may feel less abnormal and unique.

Having a correct name for any condition that disturbs us is a major step forward in becoming empowered to seek proper treatment for it.

The name I offer is ‘pittakionophobia’.

Initially, this may seem like a bit of a mouthful, but it really isn’t. It is simply pronounced: pit-ak-ion-ophobia.

‘Pittakion’ is the Greek word for label or ticket (in Latin it’s ‘pittacium’) and so, combined with ‘phobia’ pittakionophobia is the irrational fear of stickers or of labels.

Causes of Pittakionophobia – Fear of Stickers

The actual causes of pittakionophobia almost always lie in the individual’s past.

Because of a previous experience, the person’s subconscious has connected stickers or sticky labels with anxiety and danger.

Most often, this has happened in childhood or in the early years of adolescence, though in some cases it may have occurred later in life.

Such an experience may have happened directly, as a result of a traumatic experience involving a sticker – having one stuck to some part of the body, for example – or even indirectly as a result of another person’s fearful experience that was observed by the person who would then go on to develop the phobia. Treatment of Sticker Phobia

The good news is that real and effective relief is available.

Working with a well experienced and expertly trained advanced transformational hypnotherapist, it is possible to reach back and uncover the origin of this phobia.

Once this is accomplished, we can simply neutralize the incorrect belief that has been installed in the subconscious that stickers or sticky labels mean danger and that it needs to trigger anxiety.

In its place we can establish feelings of calm and relaxation when encountering or thinking about stickers or sticky labels, completely eliminating pittakionophobia.

The simple fact is that you were not born with this phobia and you do not have to continue to live your life around this fear.

If you – or someone you care about – are afraid of stickers; if you suffer from the fear of stickers or are afraid of sticky labels then there really is something you can do about it.

With the expert use of advanced hypnotherapy you can be freed from the terrible fear of stickers – pittakionophobia – and stop being afraid of stickers for good.

Consult with a fully trained professional advanced transformational hypnotherapist who has experience in dealing with this and other phobias and begin the liberating process of freeing yourself from the unnecessary fear of stickers or the fear of sticky labels – pittakionophobia – now.

You can say goodbye to your sticker phobia rapidly and easily – and you will be tremendously pleased that you did!

Secondary Anxiety – Why Is It Important to Know How to Deal With It?

Secondary anxiety is the anxiety manufactured when we try to fight the ordinary anxieties that come into our lives. Knowing how to deal with anxiety that is secondary, is the most important thing we can do if we want to avoid major anxiety or even panic attacks! This article explains secondary anxiety.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do for a living, if you are a man or a woman, or if you are a child or an adult. Anxiety will find you. An unavoidable part of life is stress. Why this is, I am not sure. Perhaps it has something to do with Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. I really have no idea why it happens. Still, stress does punish us all the way through our lives.

Panic Attacks are Constructed from Layers of Stress

Even though everyone lives with stress, only a relatively small percentage of us experience anxiety attacks and/or panic attacks. This fact leads us to secondary anxiety. People who experience panic attacks are not people who experience greater amounts of stress than people who do not experience panic attacks. Also, people who experience panic attacks are not somehow inferior to people who do not experience them. Finally, there is nothing mentally or physically wrong with a person who has panic attacks.

In most cases, people who have panic attacks have them because they do not deal properly deal with the primary bouts of anxiety that occur in their lives. For example, we all have to face our bosses and get berated from time to time. We all have to face up to things even when we don’t want to. On top of that, we all get jilted, ignored and all of our cars break down once in a while.

We Manufacture Secondary Anxiety

All these things are causes of primary anxiety. The problem is, primary anxiety brings with it feelings that are very uncomfortable. When we tried to push away these feelings or when we work hard to overcome them, we actually cause another kind of anxiety. This kind of anxiety is secondary anxiety.

Without secondary anxiety the little things in life just flow by us. Yes, there are times when we will feel nervous, but anxiety attacks never develop unless secondary anxiety is present. This means, the key to avoiding panic attack lies in accepting life’s stresses.

However, when we pay too much attention to our stress, we compound our worry and misery and this causes us to try harder to avoid stress. This, in turn, brings with it more secondary anxiety. As this happens, we are building a panic attack. The bottom line is, a panic attack will never get off the ground without secondary anxiety and whether or not secondary anxiety occurs is up to us.

Infected Ingrown Hairs – Three Advice Notes

Main ingrown hair symptoms include constant tenderness in the affected area, itching, tingling, or mild to severe pain.

In chronic cases, hard, prominent, irregular scar tissue may develop.

Trapped, ingrown hairs can cause the body to form a bump, or papule – a small, raised abnormality on the sin.

Pustules, blisters containing pus, can develop and then become infected, rupture and bleed.

Consultation with a physician may be necessary in extreme cases.

Advice Note #1

Do not pick at the area if the hair is under the skin and has caused a pimple.

Disinfect the area with alcohol or toner. Then use a clean cloth which has cooled a little after being dipped in boiling water.

Repeat the process several times until the hair is brought to the surface of the skin. Then try to tweeze it out.

Advice Note #2

In chronic cases where the area around the ingrown hair has become infected and is swelling or filled with pus, it may be wiser to make an appointment to see an aesthetician. (Check your local yellow pages)

Advice Note #3

Do not squeeze infected ingrown hairs. This can make the infection worse.

Apply an anti-bacterial balm three times a day until the redness has gone down.

Use of an AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) serum after this will dissolve skin cells that may have built-up in the infected area.

Additional information: Ingrown hairs are known as Psuedofolliculitis Barbae (PFB), razor bumps, razor burn, hair bumps, shaving bumps, ingrowns.

Psuedofolliculitis Barbae refers to hair which has been cut or broken off below the skin level which then begins to grow through surrounding tissue rather than out of the follicle.

In other cases, hair curls round and starts growing back into the skin causing irritation and inflammation.

Some of the more common areas for Psuedofolliculitis Barbae are on the bikini area, legs, and even the chin or upper lip.

A bump will develop where the Psuedofolliculitis Barbae continues to circle beneath the skin.

Sometimes these bumps become infected and develop a sack of pus, similar to a pimple without a whitehead.

Uncommon Home Remedies

Have you seen that movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? The Greek father in it has an amusing compulsion to treat every human malady with a spray of Windex! That’s right, the window cleaner. I’d never heard of using Windex for anything other than cleaning windows, but if it does work, I guess it would be due to the alcohol in it that did the trick as alcohol is an antiseptic.

Now, don’t go spraying Windex on yourself, especially not internally! I wouldn’t want you to wind up in the emergency room having to tell the staff there that you tried to Windex your sore throat. They may keep you longer than you had hoped in a more secure wing of the hospital.

As goofy as that whole scenario sounds, as long as there have been cuts, bruises, insect bites, fungal nails, bad breath, and a whole host of other minor human ailments, there have been some off-the wall remedies for them.

So, in a lighter departure from my usual advice to you, I’d like to share some of these uncommon home remedies with you here that you may find work for you.

Toenail fungus: How about Vick’s Vaporub? Yep, reported to remove toenail fungus is old-time Vick’s Vaporub. After you clean your feet and affected toenail/s completely, rub some Vicks Vaporub into the nail/s. Do this everyday for 2 weeks and watch the improvement. The menthol in Vicks suffocates the fungus and kills it off.

Warts: Have warts? Got duct tape? Yes, duct tape. It really works to remove them. In a study published in the Archives of Adolescent Medicine, duct-taping warts removed 85% of them, compared to 60% with freezing method. Cut a small piece of tape, adhere it over the wart, remove in 3 days and use emery board or pumice to remove the dead skin. Repeat if necessary.

Toothache: Until you can get to your dentist, soak a cotton ball, or Q-tip, in vanilla extract and apply directly to the tooth to immediately relieve pain. Rinsing your mouth with some hydrogen peroxide in water (don’t swallow!) will kill bacteria in infected tooth tissues.

Hiccups: Swallow 1 tsp of plain table sugar to relieve hiccups quickly.

Foot odor: Bathe your feet in Vodka or Gin. The alcohol kills bacteria as well as dehydrates skin moisture that allows fungus to grow.

Joint pain: Gin soaked raisins is said to ease arthritic joint pain. 2 cups golden raisins, 1-cup gin made from juniper berries. Place raisins in a glass bowl; pour gin over them completely covering them. Let soak for 10 days at room temperature. Eat 10 gin-soaked raisins per day.

Tension headache: When you’re stressed out, you tend to clench your jaw and create a lot of tension in your temporal muscles. This can create a tension headache. Place a pencil between your back teeth but do not bite down. This forces the jaw muscle to relax and the headache to abate.

Aching feet/heel spurs: Get a 16 oz soda bottle and fill it with water and freeze it. When frozen, place the frozen bottle beneath your sore feet, one at a time, and roll the bottle back and forth beneath it. This helps cool the inflammation of the heel spur and relaxes the foot muscles.

Rough, dry foot calluses: Get some coarse kosher salt, or a little sea salt; add a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil to it. Rub the mixture into the dry callused area of your foot. The salt abrades the dry skin and removes it and the olive oil adds moisture to the area making it smooth and soft.

Under eye bags: We’ve all had mornings when we didn’t sleep enough the night before and woke up with puffy bags under our eyes. A home remedy that models and actors use to get rid of them is to apply Preparation H hemorrhoid cream to the under eye area. The same ingredients that decrease hemorrhoid swelling also decrease the under eye bags.

Urinary tract infections: If you’re prone to frequent urinary tract infections, try drinking 8 oz of cranberry juice with 1/4 tsp of baking soda in it. Reduces bacteria and alkalizes the urine. If infections persist, see a doctor.

Blisters: Stop pain by drying them out quickly with Listerine mouthwash. Apply to affected areas 3 times a day with a cotton ball until dried out.

Sore throat: My grandmother never let us forget this old world remedy – 1 tsp of salt in a glass of warm water. Gargle. Repeat several times a day until the sore throat is gone. The salt dries out and kills the bacteria in the back of your throat that is making it sore.

Excessive armpit sweating: Apple cider vinegar, or limejuice, applied to clean armpits before bed, and let air-dry, then wash off in the morning. Both are acidic agents and may balance the acid/alkali environment of the sweat glands.

Natural toothbrush: Forgot your toothbrush? Eat an apple, preferably a green Granny Smith type that is full of malic acid. Not only will the apple clean way debris from your teeth, the malic acid helps get rid of stains.

Mosquito bites: Summer is not far away and either are mosquito bites! If you hate them as much as I do, get yourself some bottled limejuice and apply with cotton balls to take the itch out of them. A paste of salt and water applied to the bite will do the same. Both dry out the fluid that swells around the bite that causes the itch.

Well, there you have it, some uncommon home remedies for some everyday ailments. All of these have been proven to work not only anecdotally by people who have used them but also by researchers who have studied peculiar home remedies. Give one or a few a try. However, if you see that your problem ailment is not going away, do consult your doctor.

Mark Rosenberg, M.D.

Institute For Healthy Aging

Neck Sprains

A neck sprain is the result of a tear to a ligament or muscle in the neck. Muscles and ligaments can be torn when they are exerted beyond their normal range of motion, and these tears often occur as a result of sudden movements. Although the most common causes of neck sprain are car accidents and sports injuries, they can be caused by any sudden movements that exert sufficient force to twist the muscles of the neck beyond their normal range of motion.

Neck sprains can be identified by some common symptoms listed below:

  • Pain in the back or sides of the neck which becomes worse with movement.
  • Headache in the back of the head.
  • Sore and achy shoulders often accompanied by muscle spasms.
  • Pain and muscle spasms in the upper back.
  • Discomfort, irritability, trouble sleeping, and possibly even a sore throat.
  • Numbness in arm or hand often accompanied by weakness and/or a tingling sensation.

The symptoms may not be detected for as much as 24 to 48 hours after an injury occurs. However, when the symptoms are detected, it is a good idea to go consult a physician for an evaluation. A qualified physician can quickly diagnose a neck sprain by performing a comprehensive physical examination. In this examination, they will try to determine the cause of injury as well as assess the range of motion in your neck and feel for any tender spots.

In some cases, a neck sprain may be a symptom of other underlying medical conditions. Your physician may recommend x-rays to determine whether or not the neck sprain is actually a symptom of a larger problem.

Like all sprains, a neck sprain can be treated with the “RICE Therapy” method, which includes: rest, ice, compression and elevation. They heal gradually, and you may have to wear a soft collar to help support your neck and relieve your shoulders of pressure while your muscles and ligaments heal.

Muscle relaxants as well as anti inflammatory medication can help to ease the pain and reduce inflammation and muscle spasms. Neck sprains can be treated with activities like massages, aerobics, and isometric exercises. Many of these strains can be rehabilitated in 4 to 6 weeks, while severe cases will require more time for full recovery.

Don’t be alarmed if your doctor diagnoses you with a neck sprain; like most sprains, they do not typically cause irreparable damage.

What Is a TENS Unit? The Facts Behind Electrotherapy Treatments

What Is a TENS Unit and How Does It Work?

TENS units are quickly becoming one of the most popular new methods of relieving a variety of different kinds of pain. Although the term is heard more often nowadays, many people are still unaware of this new technology and therefore beg the question, “What is a TENS unit, exactly?”

TENS is actually an acronym for “Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.” The name might sound long and complicated, but the technology behind it is actually quite straightforward. Essentially, a TENS unit is a portable machine hooked up to electrodes, which are placed on the skin with sticky patches. When the unit is switched on, it emits an electrical current that travels through the electrodes and into the body, gently stimulating the nerves beneath the skin.

When the nerve fibers are stimulated through the low frequency electrical pulses, a very interesting thing happens. The pain signals are essentially “blocked” before they can reach the brain, and therefore, the brain is “confused” into feeling the soft tingling sensation of the TENS therapy, instead of pain in that area of the body. Therefore, TENS machines are used primarily as pain “spot treatments,” and can help to target and reduce pain in an area like the knee, shoulder, wrist, or lower back. Not only do TENS machines “scramble” the pain messages from reaching the brain, they also provide a soothing massage, draw blood flow to the area to promote healing, and help the body to release endorphins.

What Is a TENS Unit Usually Used For?

Usually, TENS therapy is most effective for internal pain that is concentrated in a specific area of the body. This form of electrotherapy tends to target pain areas including:

  • Stiff joints (knees, hips, ankles, wrists, etc.)
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Sore muscles, including after a hard workout
  • Labor pain in pregnant women

TENS machines are not meant to treat pain such as: skin abrasions, rash, sunburn, cuts, bruises, sore throat, headache, etc. However, when used as directed for the correct types of pain, they can provide incredible relief, allowing people who are normally physically inhibited by pain to move around freely and comfortably throughout the day.

Unlike many prescription pain drugs (most of which are narcotics), TENS units are non-addictive, completely safe, and do not use chemicals of any kind in the body. This makes them ideal for people who have difficulty stomaching prescription medicines, or who simply wish to avoid taking any drugs altogether. They are also a great solution for people who need pain relief throughout the day, since they can be worn discretely underneath clothing if desired, and left on for hours at a time.

Side effects associated with using TENS units are scarce. It is possible that some people could experience a bit of skin irritation from the glue of the adhesive pads, but this is very rare. In the event of light muscle soreness from overuse, it’s advised to simply adjust the setting to a lower frequency level, or relocate the electrodes to a different part of the body for a day or two. Using the machines as instructed and following all steps properly usually prevents both overuse and soreness of any kind.

What Are the Additional Benefits of TENS Therapy?:

Not only do TENS machines work to intercept the body’s pain signals, they also provide a few additional benefits that can help to increase comfort and mobility:

  • Firstly, the sensation felt when using them is similar to that of a massage. Many people find this aspect of TENS therapy to be extremely relaxing and comforting.
  • Treatment increases blood flow to the affected area, which can help to promote healing through proper circulation of blood cells.
  • During TENS therapy, the body releases endorphins, which are natural chemicals found in the body that actually increase the overall feeling of well-being and happiness. The same endorphins are released, for example, when eating certain foods like chocolate, or after performing a satisfying workout.
  • Lastly, TENS machines can also help to improve muscle tone through the stimulation of the muscle fibers in the targeted area, such as the abdominal region. Some TENS units have a specific setting that is intended to be used as a muscle-toning “workout.” It is not meant as a way to lose weight, but it can help to increase muscle definition to a degree.

Are TENS Units Safe for Everyone to Use?

Although there aren’t usually any serious side effects associated with the use of TENS units, it’s important to use them as instructed in order to have the maximum benefit. People who use pacemakers, pregnant women who are not yet in labor, and young infants should not use TENS units, unless directed to do so by a doctor or certified medical professional.