Bitters – Not Just For Healthy Digestion

Bitters are a diverse group of chemicals compounds that share the common characteristic of a bitter taste. Bitters are commonly used to strengthen and improve the whole digestive system in the body. Bitters also act to increase the vital energy centers in the body as well as the nervous system. Because they have such a broad effect on the entire physiology, tone, and function of your body, bitters are a principle that can be used to treat the body as a whole. The beneficial effects of bitters go beyond digestive hormone activity. Bitter stimulation can often shift a condition or illness that does not appear to have anything to do with the digestive process. The bitter principal acts to increase self-healing and resistance in many ways.

But They Taste So Bitter!

To be effective bitters must be tasted on the taste buds of the tongue where they stimulate the bitter taste buds and thus increase salivation. This stimulates the gastric reflex to cause digestive juices to be secreted. There is increased flow of digestive juices from the pancreas, duodenum, and liver that results in better assimilation of nutrients and less undigested food being passed through the digestive tract. This is of benefit to problems that have their basis in inefficient or allergy distorted digestion.

The Various Roles of Bitters

Bitters act to increase or stabilize the appetite. In general, there is a stimulation of the appetite, which is important in conditions of convalescence and where there is otherwise a reduction of appetite. Bitters do not seem to increase appetite in a digestively healthy person, rather a more healthful balance in the appetite develops. The body acquires more taste for healthy foods and less taste for unhealthy foods.

When bitters activate the gastric secretion of hydrochloric acid and other digestive enzymes, the nerve tone of the muscles of the entire digestive tract improves. Blood circulation improves and the body can assimilate foods, absorb nutrients, and eliminate wastes more efficiently. In a broader way, this improvement in blood circulation affects the healthy activity of the heart and circulation in general.

Cleansing and Detoxification

Bitters stimulate the liver to do a more effective cleansing and detoxifying job and prompt the gallbladder to make bile. The production of bile helps metabolize fats and keeps elimination moving smoothly. Bitters also produce a diuretic and hepatic effect in the body. This has value when working with any condition that has origins in a sluggish or overworked liver.

Stabilizing Blood Sugar

Bitters produce a regulatory effect on the secretion of the pancreas of the hormones that regulate blood sugar, insulin, and glucagon. This can be of benefit in stabilizing insulin levels and modulating blood sugar swings. Diabetics should be careful when taking bitters because bitters may upset their blood sugar balance.

Reducing Stress

Bitters can also be supportive in reducing stress and anxiety and regenerating the nervous system. When bitters work to strengthen digestion, this activates the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system and induces a more relaxed state in the body. Bitters can be useful if you are overextended and stressed out. Bitters produce subtle, beneficial psychological effects. In some cases they can produce a marked antidepressant effect and a generally tonic effect upon consciousness.

Increasing Immune Responses

Some bitter herbs such as Gentian can modulate gut associated immune responses. In some therapeutic circles, bitters are indicated for treatment of those recovering from infectious diseases including viral conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome. Some clinical tests have shown that bitters can decrease levels of sIgA antibodies and reduce or eliminate symptoms in those with inflammatory bowel disease. Bitters may help repair gut wall damage through stimulating self-repair mechanisms.

Who Should Use Bitters?

Bitters are indicated when there is digestive weakness. Digestive weakness is often associated with an infectious disease that depletes the vital energy of the body. Digestive weakness and decreased vitality both reduce the assimilation of nutrients and the elimination of wastes resulting in a spiraling effect of depletion in the body. Stress can deplete vital energy which disrupts digestion and this further decreases the body’s vital energy.

Bitters can also be useful for those who have an over reliance on mental energy that can result in physical exhaustion.

Bitters are indicated for use in:

o poor fat digestion

o poor protein digestion

o weakness due to chronic illness especially with a bacterial or viral infection

o loss of energy and vitality

o painful digestion

o intestinal cramps

o excessive gas

o irritable bowel syndrome

o poor appetite

o anemia

o excessive craving for sweets, fats, and carbohydrates

o immune disorders where nutritional deficiency is present

o digestive weakness due to mental overwork and lack of exercise.

Which Herbs Are Bitters?

Important bitter herbs include: Peppermint, Calendula, Dandelion, Artichoke leaf, Blessed Thistle, Angelica, Motherwort, Wormwood, Bitter Orange Peel, Lemon Peel, Gentian root, Centaury root, Mugwort, Goldenseal, Cascara Sagrada, Devil’s Claw, Tarragon, Hops, Boneset, Barberry, Chamomile, Yarrow, Horehound, Rue, and Tansy.

Bitters range in effect from mild bitters like Chamomile to intense bitters like Wormwood or Gentian. The whole bitters class of herbs has a variable therapeutic margin. The more mild the bitter the greater the therapeutic range and the more intense the bitter the more restrictive the range. Intense bitters like Wormwood, Tansy, and Rue have a low therapeutic margin and need to be used with care. Absinthinn found in Artemisias such as Wormwood is so bitter it can be tasted at a dilution of 1:30,000. A mild bitter like Chamomile has a very wide therapeutic margin and can be used in much greater quantities for a larger population. In general though, bitters are taken in small quantities at meals and are not usually consumed by the cupfuls throughout the day.

How To Take Your Bitters

Bitters extract well into hot water and alcohol. Bitters may be combined with flavorful herbs such as Licorice, Orange peel, Lemon peel, or Cardamom to give a better tasting remedy. Some bitters are destroyed by heat and most bitters are taken in alcohol preparations.

To gain their full effectiveness bitters should be taken over time. Some effect may be seen immediately, but their fullest benefit in the body is achieved when they are taken over weeks and months. Bitters are usually taken 15 to 30 minutes before the meal or just after the meal. If too great a dose is taken symptoms may worsen. If that is the case lower the dose and gradually build up as the body gets stronger.

Where Do I Get Bitters?

You can find Bitters at most health food stores and herbal companies. Evenstar Herbs makes a general Liver Bitters Tonic.

You are what you eat.

Your health and performance are enhanced or disabled by the timing, frequency and the quality of what you eat. Your dietary and nutritional patterns and routines throughout the day can enable you to successfully navigate with ease and grace through turbulent high stress times. Consuming the right foods, at the right time, in the right environment is one of your highest priorities. Without specific and attentive dietary choices it becomes nearly impossible to achieve a high level of wellness and performance and all stress becomes excessive and recovery is not effective.

o Do you crave junk foods?

o Are you never hungry?

o Are you always hungry?

o Do you experience gas or flatulence?

o Do you experience burping or belching?

o Do you experience constipation?

o Do you experience diarrhea?

o Do you experience”heartburn”?

o Do you experience reflux?

o Do you experience rumbling, agitation or burning in the digestive tract?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above you might benefit from including specific bitters in you diet. Consult your healthcare professional.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) – What Exhibits Low Levels of Estrogen to Cause PMS?

As we mentioned in previous article, Premenstrual syndrome effects over 70% to 90% of women before menopause in the US and less for women in Southeast Asia because of their difference in living style and social structure. The occurrence of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) have more than doubled over the past 50 years due to the acceptance of it as a medical condition that is caused by unhealthy diet with high in saturated food. Premenstrual syndrome is defined as faulty function of the ovaries related to the women’s menstrual cycle, it effects a women’s physical and emotional state, and sometimes interferes with daily activities as a result of hormone fluctuation. The syndrome occurs one to two weeks before menstruation and then declines when the period starts. In this article, we will discuss What Exhibit low levels of estrogen to cause PMS.

1. Hormonally active environmental chemicals

Researchers found that certain levels of environment chemicals accumulated in the body may cause lower levels of cortisol produced by women reproductive system during menstrual cycle resulting in low levels of estrogen and symptoms of PMS.

2. Excessive exercises

Moderate exercise helps to improve function of adrenal gland in production of adrenaline, excessive exercise causes over production of adrenaline resulting in high levels of testosterone and low levels of estrogen causing pre menstrual syndrome.

3. Peri menopause

Women enter peri menopause state may not ovulate regularly. It is caused by low function of the body including the ovaries in production of estrogen resulting in pre menstrual syndrome.

4. Inheritance

It is hard to believe that pre menstrual syndrome is genetic passing through from generation. If a woman mother has pre menstrual syndrome caused by low levels of estrogen then she may has it as well.

5. Contraceptive pills

Some contraceptive pill may have a effects in the levels of estrogen in the women body during menstrual cycle. By suppressing the levels of estrogen during menstrual cycle causing low levels of estrogen resulting in PMS.

6. Estradiol

Estradiol is the primary human estrogen and when the ovaries begin to fail , the levels of estrogen also fall resulting in pre menstrual syndrome for some women.

7. Thyroid disease

Some women with thyroid disease may see lower than normal levels of estrogen before period as resulting of imbalance of levels of thyroxine and thyrotrophin leading to pre menstrual syndrome.

Understanding the Symptoms of Complex Ovarian Cysts

Ovaries in women are two almond shaped organs located at the two sides of the pelvis. They produce eggs that are released during menstrual cycle. Small fluid filled sacs or cyst, sometimes develop on the surface of an ovary. It may also sometimes develop within an ovary. These ovarian cysts are normally harmless and will disappear on their own after a period of time. Generally, a woman does not know that she has cysts. However, complex ovarian cysts may cause serious health problems if they rupture and therefore it is important to spot the symptoms of ovarian cysts.

The causes of complex ovarian cyst are the same as the less serious or less complex ones. The reason why some women suffer from complex ovarian cyst while others do not, can be attributed to their mental and physiological make up, weak immune system, obesity, ignorance and neglect of complex ovarian cysts, existence of other kind of diseases, genetic predisposition and life style related factors along with a host of other medical reasons.

Complex ovarian cyst are composed of liquid as well as solid matters. If left untreated, it can lead to fatality of the patient. Complex ovarian cysts can cause severe pain and other general discomforts to the patient. Complex ovarian cysts are diagnosed during routine medical checks. It may also come to light when specific checks are made on the patient based on complaints of severe pain and discomfort.

In general, there are three kinds of cyst: Endometriosis can lead to endometrioma, which usually causes the growth of this cyst outside the uterus. This type of cyst can lead to complications in and around ovaries and hence it should be attended to immediately.

Dermoid cysts originate from the cells, which make up the human eggs. Some dermoids look human like because of the growth of hair, teeth and even other tissues in the cysts. Sometimes you can find dermoid cysts that contain things like sweat glands and some types of tissues. The knowledge of this type of cyst often makes a woman nervous and uneasy. This type of cyst is extremely painful but not cancerous.

Another type of cyst called cystomides are composed of liquid and mucus. These cysts can be very large and very painful. They are capable of twisting upon themselves and are therefore extremely painful and can cause a great deal of discomfort to a women who suffer from this.

To determine whether you have an ovarian cyst or not, your doctor may perform a manual pelvic examination. It is likely that a more sophisticated test, such as pelvic ultrasound also be used to support the diagnosis. Blood and pregnancy tests also form part of the examination. The blood test is to confirm the levels of CA 125 antigen, which is produced by cancerous cysts. This antigen is not just produced by cancers, but also in conditions such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease. The pregnancy test is to rule out any ectopic pregnancy.

Peeling Penis Skin – 7 Potential Causes

Dry, peeling penis skin can send any man into a state of panic, especially when there is no obvious cause. Flakes of skin falling away from the Johnson are not only unattractive, they can appear as a sign of poor health, not to mention causing serious discomfort.

Fortunately, in most cases, the underlying issue can be easily addressed. With the right treatment and a good understanding of proper penis care, the problem can be banished in a matter of days, leaving the skin soft, smooth and attractive.

Common causes of flaking, peeling penis skin

  • Friction. Dry masturbation or sex is a leading cause of peeling, stressed skin. Using a personal lubricant (one designed for the purpose) can reduce the occurrence of dryness and irritation of the penis.
  • Yeast infection. Candida yeast infections, also known as thrush, are one of the most common causes of peeling, itchy penis skin. Other symptoms of yeast infection include red bumps or sores, a burning sensation during urination, severe itching, and a whitish, lumpy discharge. Most yeast infections can be treated with topical anti-fungal creams. Although not considered a sexually transmitted infection, Candida is highly contagious and can easily be passed from one partner to another, so men who develop a yeast infection should encourage their partners to be treated, as well.
  • Balanitis. This condition refers to any inflammation of the glans – or head – of the penis. The inflammation may be related to yeast infection or poor hygiene. Keeping the area clean is essential, especially for men who are uncircumcised, and topical creams may be used to treat the pain, itching and flaking caused by the infection.
  • Phimosis. Men or boys who are unable to retract the foreskin may be diagnosed with phimosis. The tight foreskin may develop a dry appearance, especially if it is stretched during an erection or as a result of masturbation or sex. Phimosis can often be treated by gently pulling the foreskin back a little at a time; applying a high-quality moisturizer can be of assistance in this process. In some cases, doctors may recommend circumcision as the best solution.
  • Sexually transmitted infections. Certain communicable diseases can cause dry penis skin that flakes and peels. Men who are sexually active should be tested for STIs on a regular basis and follow through with any recommended treatment.
  • Dermatitis. A skin sensitivity to something in a man’s environment – from laundry detergent to fragrances to latex condoms or spermicides – can cause the skin to become irritated, itchy, and dry. Avoiding potential skin irritants can eliminate this problem, and using a soothing vitamin cream when irritation does occur can help to clear up any issues.
  • Psoriasis or eczema. Men who have psoriasis or eczema elsewhere on their bodies may also develop dry, scaly or red patches of skin on the penis. Vitamins A and E are often used as natural solutions for these issues; hydrocortisone creams are also frequently prescribed, but caution is advised in this case, as steroid creams can cause thinning of the delicate penile skin.

Any unusual penis symptoms are best tended to by a doctor who has experience in men’s issues, especially if the owner of the package is not sure what is causing the problem. In some cases, such as communicable diseases, prescription medications may be required to clear up the problem.

Dry penis skin should be allowed time to heal; abstaining from sex until the cause of the issue has been identified can prevent further damage and discomfort. In addition, applying a penis health creme (most health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) containing penis-specific nutrients such as vitamins A and E can help to nourish the skin and speed the healing process. A good penis cream containing natural moisturizers such as Shea butter is ideal for even the most sensitive skin; applying the cream after a shower is best, as this allows for rapid absorption for maximum benefit.

Hepatitis Part V – Symptoms of Hepatitis

As we mentioned in previous articles, hepatitis is characterized by the destruction of a number of liver cells and the presence of inflammatory cells in the liver tissue caused by excessive alcohol drinking, disorders of the gall bladder or pancreas, medication side effects, and infections. Here are the symptoms of hepatitis:

1. Jaundices

Jaundices caused by the excession of a chemical called bilirubin accumulated in the body’s tissues. When the liver is damaged by hepatitis virus, it’s unable to do its normal job and this chemical accumulates in the blood and starts to leak out into body tissue resulting in a yellow color in the skin, and especially around the whites of the eyes.

2. Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite is also called anorexia, is often the first symptom of acute hepatitis. Sometimes this symptom lasts for a very short time before being replaced by nausea and vomiting.

3. Fatigue

Fatigue is a debilitating tiredness and is a big source of frustration for people with liver disease. When the liver is damaged, feelings of extreme weakness is common.

4. Pain in the muscles and joints

Pain in the muscles and joints can last from days to weeks and are very common in acute hepatitis infection.

5. Low blood sugar

Infection by Hepatitis A virus may cause low blood sugar. Therefore regular monitoring of blood glucose level with constant glucose infusion is essential, because dangerously low blood sugar is a constant threat.

6. Insomnia

Insomnia is caused by liver inflammation of hepatitis virus C leading to trouble of sleeping, and waking up often during the night. Some people also experience unusually vivid, intense and frightening dreams.

7. Pruritus

People with hepatitis C sometimes have pruritus, itching to the palms of the hand and the soles of the feet.

8. Lymphadenopathy

Hepatitis may also cause inflammation of lymph nodes. They usually appear in the armpits, groin and neck.

9. Weakness

Hepatitis C also causes a sense of weakness. This symptom can vary from mild to severe and tends to come and go.

If you have any of the above symptoms, please consult with your doctor immediately.

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What Happens During the End Stages of Liver Failure?

When the liver is no longer able to function properly, it is a condition referred to as liver failure. The end stages of liver failure is when the disease is so advanced that it will no longer be able to perform its metabolic and protein synthesizing jobs. There are two forms of this and both have different time frames in which the end stages appear.

There are many reasons for failure of the liver and all of them may at some point or other may also be the main reason for the end stages of liver failure. Commonly seen causes of this disease include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, bile duct diseases, excessive consumption of alcohol, alcoholism, autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders, drug abuse, liver cancer, fat buildup in the liver and an overdose of paracetamol. One of the biggest problems with diagnosing failure of the liver is that the symptoms are many but so are the diseases that have the same signs. The usual symptoms are jaundice, itchiness, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, breathlessness, mood swings, drowsiness and mood swings. In severe cases of acute liver failure that has reached the end stages, things such as coma, deliriousness, abdominal pain and incoherency are not uncommon to see in patients.

Determining that someone is suffering from symptoms linked to the end stage liver failure can only be done with medical tests performed in hospitals, The evaluations for diagnosing it in the end stages completed include CT scans, observation of enzymes and toxins, chemical screenings and blood tests. Some patients are also tested for HIV, pregnancy, ammonia or hepatitis.

Even though there have been many advancements in treating people with a failed liver, the mortality rate is still on the high side. If the latter stage of the liver failing has been reached, then the condition is almost always fatal unless a liver transplantation is undergone soon enough. The transplanting procedure is not one of the most complicated and the chances of survival are high. The end stages of liver failure may also be treated with dialysis or medications, but that will only do well until the disease completely shuts the liver down.

7 Herbs That Help Flush Gallstones

The gallbladder is a small organ located directly under the liver. It acts as a bile reservoir; it concentrates bile which is secreted by the liver and is used by the body to digest fats. If the liver is overloaded with toxins and saturated fats, the bile (which carries toxins and fats) will eventually inflame the gallbladder. When enough cholesterol deposits (from saturated fats) have formed, they crystallize with the bile to form Gallstones. If the gallbladder becomes inflamed, it causes sever pain in the upper right abdomen. This condition must be treated immediately as it can be life threatening. Often, persons with Gallstones have no symptoms. If a stone blocks the bile passage however, nausea, vomiting and pain in the upper right abdominal region occur. These symptoms often arise after the individual has eaten fried or fatty foods.

Here are 7 herbs that work together to reduce inflammation, pain and help flush Gallstones safely out of the body.

1. Barberry Bark- Barberry is one of the best remedies for and promoting the flow of bile. It is indicated when there is an inflammation of the gall bladder or in the presence of gallstones. When jaundice occurs due to a congested state of the liver, Barberry is also indicated. Studies show that the main ingredient berberine, activates the macrophages (literally, “big eaters”), white blood cells that devour harmful microorganisms.

2. Wild Yam Root- Wild yam is very good for the liver and endocrine system, by toning and nourishing the gallbladder, it helps to balance hormone production.

3. Cramp Bark- Known as a nerve sedative and anti-spasmodic and therefore helping with cramps. This is very helpful for people with Gallstones. It is also used to relieve muscle tension in the intestines, airways, uterus, and striated muscles in the limbs or back. It has also been used in treating high blood pressure and other circulatory conditions.

4. Fennel Seed- Helps open obstructions of the liver, gall bladder and spleen to ease painful swellings. Fennel is also used to treat yellow jaundice, the gout and occasional cramps.

5. Ginger Root- Shrinks liver tumors in animal testing. Also, impairs cholesterol absorption and stimulates the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids which further cleanses the liver and gall bladder. Ginger also inhibits platelet aggregation.

6. Catnip Herb- Catnip nourishes the stomach and nerves. It calms the nervous system and is used also for digestion. Catnip herb has also been used to treat inflammation and help to eliminate toxins and flush Gallstones.

7. Peppermint Leaf- Preliminary clinical trials suggest that formulas containing peppermint and related terpenes (fragrant substances found in plants) can dissolve Gallstones.1 A number of studies indicate that peppermint may aid in reducing the size of gallstones and thus help some people avoid surgery. Also known as a muscle relaxant and reduces inflammation.

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Pregnant and Vomiting – Should I Be Worried?

The experience of being pregnant will be one of the most amazing times in the life of many woman. This experience is often diminished though due to the common side effects, like vomiting and nausea, which often accompany pregnancy. The various symptoms of morning sickness are relatively common as an estimated 70-85% of pregnant women are likely to have nausea during their pregnancy. While having this knowledge doesn’t make it any easier when it is happening to you, it might at least put into perspective that being pregnant and vomiting is not uncommon. It might also help to know that it not likely to be an issue for your health, or the health of your unborn child, in the longer term.

What we know as morning sickness is medically defined as “nausea and vomiting of pregnancy” (NVP). While the condition often occurs more noticeably in the mornings, it could really affect you at any time of the day. If you are pregnant and vomiting then you are clearly going to be in some pain and distress. Sometimes the problem will seem a lot worse if you get no respite from it or if it continues later into pregnancy. The nausea will often commence about the sixth week of your pregnancy and this might still be a time that you are keeping the pregnancy a secret. This can obviously create even more stress for you as it can be difficult to hide your vomiting from work colleagues or your friends.

Morning sickness generally lasts until the end of your first trimester although this can vary from person to person. There will be some women that suffer nausea for another two months and even a small percentage that have to put up with it until they actually give birth. Everyone will have a different perspective and experience. While someone might have just a slight bit of queasiness now and again, others might have consistent vomiting that completely disrupts their whole life.

Despite numerous studies and untold theories, there is no clear cause for morning sickness. However, all the relevant studies confirm that morning sickness is not a long term threat to the health of your baby. The studies show that women who have pregnant vomiting have babies that are as developed and healthy as those from mothers that were lucky enough not to have any morning sickness symptoms.

So while the issue of pregnant vomiting is not necessarily a serious or long term problem, it doesn’t mean that you have suffer indefinitely. Various types of treatment are available including home and natural remedies that can easily be implemented to reduce the impact of any symptoms.

If you are ever concerned about your nausea, or your health in general, then make sure that you see a medical professional as soon as possible. This is particularly important if the nausea and vomiting extends late into the pregnancy. You need to be sure that both you and the baby are not missing the key nutrients normally obtained from liquids and foods. The doctor will investigate to rule out any other issues that might be causing your continued vomiting. They will also ensure that you do not have a serious but relatively uncommon condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. This is basically the term used to describe excessive vomiting of pregnant women. It is applied when a women develops severe vomiting and has lost more than 5% of their normal weight. This condition only applies to a very small percentage of pregnant women so should not be something that you will have to concern yourself with.

Being pregnant but vomiting or nauseous is clearly no fun and is likely to be a major source of distress for a lot of pregnant women. Try to take action to reduce your symptoms and stay positive by thinking ahead to what it will be like when you are feeling healthy again.

How to Handle Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is caused by parasites, viruses, bacteria, toxins and is one of the most serious diseases to strike people. The most common viruses to cause food poisoning are staphylococcus, E. coli and salmonella. The pain is even more acute in small children as their immune systems are not strong enough to fight against these parasites and also because children do not have much sense about what they should and shouldn’t eat. Pregnant woman also stand to face great danger from eating poisoning.

When someone eats contaminated food, poisoning starts with acute pain in the stomach. Then that is followed by diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting and also high fever. Mainly vomiting is the main symptom to look out for. If any member in your family starts vomiting a few hours after eating something, then it might be a symptom of food poisoning. There are also other symptoms like very weak or rapid pulse, cold, pale, clammy skin, shallow breathing, chest pain, temperature, dry mouth, sticky saliva, dizziness, fatigue etc.

If someone close to you complains of these problems, you must call a doctor at once. Most people do not take food poisoning seriously and thus suffer more; even the mortality rate goes up.

When poisoning strikes, make the victim have plenty of water or some hydrating solution. If it is your child who is affected, take him/her to the pediatrician immediately especially if he/she vomits or starts showing signs of dehydration. In case of bloody diarrhea, it is advisable not to give any anti-diarrheal medicines to the child as it can make him/her sicker. Try to keep him/her calm and distract him/her making sure that neither he/she or nobody around him/her panics. Severe poisoning may require hospitalization. So be prepared for that as well.

Do not neglect food poisoning symptoms. It can lead to fatal consequences.

Diabetic Shoes and Foot Ulcers

Shoes are important for patients with diabetes. Poor fitting shoes have been associated with sores on the feet called ulcers. Podiatrists, family doctors, vascular surgeons, nurses, patients, and even politicians despise foot ulcers. This is because ulcers lead to infection, limb amputation, and can be very expensive to treat.

So, what exactly is a diabetic shoe? A diabetic shoe is sometimes called an extra depth shoe or an orthopedic shoe. These shoes are designed with enough depth to accept a shoe insole without your foot or toes feeling crowded. Also, they have extra room in the toe box to accommodate bunions or hammer toes.

There are many different types of diabetic insoles that can be placed in a diabetic shoe. Most are made from multi-density foam produced from a mold of the patient’s foot. These insoles increase contact with the patient’s arch when walking. The increase in contact surface is associated with a decrease in pressure to the skin. I have confirmed these using F-scan pressure testing insoles. Decreasing pressure points on the foot help prevent the skin from breaking down to form an ulcer.

Not everybody with diabetes needs a diabetic shoe with special insoles. Diabetic shoes are indicated for patients with foot deformity, poor circulation, difficulty feeling their feet (neuropathy), a history of foot sores (those dreaded ulcers again), and calluses that may cause the skin to break down over time.

Many brands of shoes now have extra depth models for diabetic patients: Dr. Comfort, New Balance, Hush Puppies, Drew, Soft Spots, etc. They are available in a variety of styles with laces and Velcro straps. Some of the newer shoes feature light weight design.

A major concern with diabetic shoes is compliance. Some patients don’t wear their shoes enough to make a positive difference in their treatment outcome. They take off their shoes to walk barefoot at home or they don’t like how the extra depth feels “too roomy” or “clunky”. Medicare limits diabetic shoes to one pair per year. Yet, how many people can get by with just one shoe? This isn’t realistic for active patients and these patients should have more than one pair.

Diabetic patients with severe deformity may require a custom shoe, which is made from a casting of the foot. These shoes are built around the cast of the foot and also work well to accommodate braces that extend from the foot across the ankle (ankle foot orthotics).

In summary, diabetic shoes are indicated mainly for high risk patients. Diabetic shoes shouldn’t be viewed as one outspoken patient bluntly stated, “free government shoes.” They work mainly by reducing pressure points to prevent amputation and limb loss.

ADHD Natural Treatment – Acupressure

Most cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are handled by giving prescription medications. But did you know that ADHD and other developmental behaviors are often caused by poor nutrition and slow blood circulation to the brain? For many children who haven’t benefited from medication, natural treatments like diet modifications and special therapies have been helpful in overcoming the disorder and leading a normal life.

Acupressure from Chinese medicine is a widely-used therapeutic approach to treating ADHD, but the pharmaceutical companies that back Western medicine prevent this practice from getting the media attention it deserves. According to the philosophy behind Chinese medicine, every person has a spirit that lives in the heart. When a child’s spirit becomes overactive and restless, the heart becomes overheated and the child experiences inattention, uncontrollable behavior, and irresistible impulses. In order to treat ADHD, certain pressure points in the body need to be massaged or stimulated to cool the heart and calm the spirit. The practice of activating pressure points is called acupressure, and it aims to treat illnesses and chronic disorder by restoring balance in the body’s energy systems.

According to the philosophy that supports acupressure, our physical and mental well-being is determined by the harmonious flow of life-energy, or Chi, throughout our bodies. An individual becomes sick when certain things obstruct the flow of Chi. To treat the illness, an acupressurist uses the hands, elbows, and other objects to apply pressure to relevant pressure points of the body. By activating pressure points, balance in the body’s energy paths is restored, and Chi can flow steadily throughout the body. Acupuncture is based on these principles as well, but the difference is that the practitioner uses needles instead of physical pressure. Since needles might seem threatening to children, acupressure is a preferred treatment for ADHD.

A particular acupressure method that is effective for ADHD children is the use of ear magnet seeds or acupressure beads. An acupressure bead is a round metallic object coated with gold and applied to the surface of the ear in order to make Chi flow. Children with ADHD respond favorably after seven days of placing the beads, and continue to show noticeable improvements in the following weeks.

Of course, acupressure alone cannot treat ADHD, but it is an effective, harmless supplement to a comprehensive treatment program. Acupressure is practiced by over 2,000 licensed medical doctors who use alternative medicine together with Western medical modes. The growing success and popularity of Chinese medicine in the Western world has made insurance companies flexible about covering sessions with an acupressurist. To locate a specialist near you, contact the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture or ask for referrals from friends.

ADHD Natural Treatment – Acupressure

Most cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are handled by giving prescription medications. But did you know that ADHD and other developmental behaviors are often caused by poor nutrition and slow blood circulation to the brain? For many children who haven’t benefited from medication, natural treatments like diet modifications and special therapies have been helpful in overcoming the disorder and leading a normal life.

Acupressure from Chinese medicine is a widely-used therapeutic approach to treating ADHD, but the pharmaceutical companies that back Western medicine prevent this practice from getting the media attention it deserves. According to the philosophy behind Chinese medicine, every person has a spirit that lives in the heart. When a child’s spirit becomes overactive and restless, the heart becomes overheated and the child experiences inattention, uncontrollable behavior, and irresistible impulses. In order to treat ADHD, certain pressure points in the body need to be massaged or stimulated to cool the heart and calm the spirit. The practice of activating pressure points is called acupressure, and it aims to treat illnesses and chronic disorder by restoring balance in the body’s energy systems.

According to the philosophy that supports acupressure, our physical and mental well-being is determined by the harmonious flow of life-energy, or Chi, throughout our bodies. An individual becomes sick when certain things obstruct the flow of Chi. To treat the illness, an acupressurist uses the hands, elbows, and other objects to apply pressure to relevant pressure points of the body. By activating pressure points, balance in the body’s energy paths is restored, and Chi can flow steadily throughout the body. Acupuncture is based on these principles as well, but the difference is that the practitioner uses needles instead of physical pressure. Since needles might seem threatening to children, acupressure is a preferred treatment for ADHD.

A particular acupressure method that is effective for ADHD children is the use of ear magnet seeds or acupressure beads. An acupressure bead is a round metallic object coated with gold and applied to the surface of the ear in order to make Chi flow. Children with ADHD respond favorably after seven days of placing the beads, and continue to show noticeable improvements in the following weeks.

Of course, acupressure alone cannot treat ADHD, but it is an effective, harmless supplement to a comprehensive treatment program. Acupressure is practiced by over 2,000 licensed medical doctors who use alternative medicine together with Western medical modes. The growing success and popularity of Chinese medicine in the Western world has made insurance companies flexible about covering sessions with an acupressurist. To locate a specialist near you, contact the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture or ask for referrals from friends.

What Are the Most Effective Teaching Strategies?

Out of all the effective teaching strategies there is one strategy that is more effective than all others. Can there really be a number one effective teaching strategy? You bet there is, because without this strategy you will be met with blank stares from your students day after day.

If I had to decide what my most successful teaching strategy is, what I find to be the most effective teaching strategy, without a doubt it is the connection that I make with students. You see without a connection to your students, there will be little or no content understanding.

Always remember this: connection before content. This should be at the top of your list of effective teaching strategies.

This connection with your students is a two way street – you to student, and student to you. You need to give something of yourself, and in turn your students will give back something of themselves.

This connection applies to teachers at every level and in different learning situations: from kindergarten to fifth grade, high school to college; in seminars, employee training, or sales presentations. The teacher must connect with the students or audience before they will hear the message being delivered, the content.

Think back to situations you have been in, whether it was school or a sales pitch. Who are the teachers or people you connected with? Most likely they were the ones who you felt acknowledged you, wanted to get to know you, enjoyed what they were doing, and were committed to your success. They are the people you want to be around and enjoy talking to. They know and understand that connecting with students is the most important of all effective teaching strategies.

So, as an educator, how do you make this connection? Here are some effective teaching strategies for making that connection:

Be fully present in the moment. When your teaching day starts give your total focus to your students and the task at hand. This will send a message to your students that they are important.

Learn something about each of your students. This is easier for those that teach one group of students. It takes more effort for those at the middle, high school, and college level where you have large groups throughout the day, but it can be done. I think if you really enjoy teaching, you enjoy the interaction with students.

Try this quick check – write down something you know about each of your students. If you are struggling trying to come up with something for particular students make a point to learn something about them. If you have large classes set a goal for a number of students you will make a point to speak to each day. This way over the course of the week you will have connected with each of your students one on one. Sometimes we have those quiet students who slip under the radar and we don’t always check in with them as often as others who are more vocal or needy.

Share information about yourself with your students. Very early in the school year my students know about my family, pets, favorite foods, what I do on the weekend (well not everything), my hobbies, and my general likes and dislikes. Sharing this information with students lets them see you as a person, and gives them common ground to connect. Little bits of information are easy to weave into your general teaching and conversations with students. Don’t cross the line by giving too much personal information, or boring students with long stories about your kitchen renovation. Give information that is relevant in their lives that they can connect to.

Be in tune with your students each day and for every class. Besides connecting with them individually you also need to connect with the mood of the group. If the group energy is low, get students moving with a game or stretch break. If the group is restless and having difficulty settling down, do some calming activities with them. If students seem stressed extend an assignment deadline, or give a “night off” from homework. Being in tune with your group is such an important teaching strategy and most often students will be more productive when you respond to their needs.

Remember, each student and class is different. Respecting and acknowledging those differences will go a long way to achieving a personal connection with your students.

When you connect with students and they connect with you, they trust you and are invested in their learning. Your students will be able to hear the content you present to them because they know you are invested in their success.

There are several classroom activities which are effective teaching strategies for connecting with students.

Epstein Barr Treatment – 7 Common Mistakes People Make When Recovering From Epstein Barr Virus

There are 7 common mistakes that people make when treating the Epstein Barr virus that causes mononucleosis or glandular fever. These mistakes can slow your recovery and in some cases lead to secondary infections like strep throat, pneumonia, sinus infection or chronic fatigue syndrome. Let’s have a look at each of these mistakes in more detail:

Mistake 1 – Not resting your body

The most common mistake people make is not resting when they are first diagnosed with the Epstein Barr virus. Mononucleosis symptoms can include fatigue, sore throat, swollen glands, muscle aches, headaches, nausea and sometimes fever. Despite these debilitating symptoms some people try and struggle on and keep going to work, school or college, running a household, rushing around after their family. There is no way you will make a fast and complete recovery from Epstein Barr if you don’t stop and rest your body.

Mistake 2 – Not getting adequate sleep

Carrying on from this first mistake is the second mistake – not getting enough sleep. Your body specifically needs good quality sleep when recovering from Epstein Barr. When you are asleep your body produces a hormone called growth hormone, which is your body’s repair hormone. Lack of sleep and going to bed too late (after about 11 p.m.) will result in your body making less growth hormone.

To ensure you are asleep by 11 p.m. and you get a good night’s sleep, make sure you are not watching TV, playing computer, drinking caffeine, doing work or rushing around before bedtime. Get into a routine of relaxing before bed. Having a warm bath, reading quietly in bed, meditating, doing yoga or enjoying a chamomile tea are all good ideas you can try.

Mistake 3 – Lack of adequate water

Now the third mistake, and this is probably the most common mistake I see in my patients, is not drinking enough water to flush out the Epstein Barr virus and toxins from your body. Your aim should be to be drinking at least 8 glasses of fluid a day. Fluids can include pure water, herb teas, lemon in hot water, broths, soups and freshly squeezed vegetable juices. Your fluids should not include tea, coffee, soft drinks or alcohol which will just dehydrate you and make you feel worse.

In some people with mononucleosis, the throat can get really sore and inflamed which makes it hard to swallow. In these cases a hot lemon and honey tea can help soothe the throat and make drinking easier. Alternatively sucking on ice cubes can numb the pain and get the fluids into your body.

Mistake 4 – Eating the wrong foods

One of the cheapest and simplest ways to treat Epstein Barr is with good healthy foods. How well your immune system functions is directly linked to what you eat. If you eat all the wrong foods like sugar, white flour products, processed foods, alcohol, coffee and excess fats then there is no way you are going to make a good recovery from mononucleosis. Your body needs the right vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fibre and essential fats in order to boost your immune system, reduce fatigue and help your body cope with stress.

The best diet for Epstein Barr treatment is based around good quality protein foods like fish, organic chicken, tofu, whey protein, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes. Every meal should have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables – cover at least 80% of your plate with leafy greens, salads, vegetables and low carbohydrate fruits. Add to this some essential fats like fish oils, avocado, cold pressed olive oil or flaxseed oil, and you have a good balanced meal that will help you treat mononucleosis effectively.

Mistake 5 – Treating Epstein Barr virus with antibiotics

Antibiotics are of no use in treating Epstein Barr virus. Antibiotics are only effective against bacteria not viruses. In some cases using antibiotics to treat Epstein Barr can result in skin rashes, fungal overgrowth, digestive upsets and suppressed immunity.

Mistake 6 – Not taking the right supplements

One of the fastest ways to treat Epstein Barr is to add some supplements to your regime. I give all my mononucleosis patients vitamin A, C, E, zinc and selenium with great results. The B complex and magnesium are also beneficial to help repair the adrenal glands, improve energy levels and ensure a good night’s sleep.

There are also some great herbs for the treatment of Epstein Barr. The best ones are Olive Leaf extract, echinacea, garlic and astragalus. The right amounts of nutrients and herbs for you will vary according to your age, the severity of your illness and how much food you’re eating.

Mistake 7 – Resuming activities too early

Getting back into strenuous exercise or daily activities too early is a sure fire way to put you back at square one. Many people start to feel a little better, and rush back to their previous sport or work, only to find they get a relapse and start feeling awful again. The best advice I can give here is too take things slowly. Start off with some gentle walking and monitor how your body responds. Do an hour of housework or shopping and see how you feel. Perhaps go back to work or college for half a day and see how you cope. Build up slowly over a few weeks taking time to rest your body, eat well, take your supplements and drink plenty of water.

The Epstein Barr virus is a latent virus, so once you’ve had it, it can reappear if you overstress your body or do too much.

10 Side Effects of the CPAP Machine

The CPAP machine will help with your apnea. Unfortunately it is not the most comfortable thing in the world. Here are 10 symptoms to expect and what to do about them.

1. Claustrophobia – Having the mask on will probably be uncomfortable, especially initially. Use it as much as you can bear to begin with, but try to increase the duration each night. It can help to challenge, and maybe even reward yourself if you make it through the night

Don’t use straps that are too tight. Use it while awake, in the hours before bedtime to get used to the sensations. Anti-anxiety drugs may help if things get unbearable – ask your doctor if this option is for you.

2. Blocked nose or irritation – The CPAP machine air is very dry. The air may cause a response in the delicate nasal areas, often a dripping nose, sneezing, blockages or stinging. You might also have occasional bleeding from the nose. Humidification of the air, which your machine may be able to do can help with these symptoms. If your machine doesn’t have this feature, find one that does.

3. A mask that fits poorly or loses pressure – There are masks in all sorts of shapes, from full face to nostrils only; many come in different sizes as well. Try a range of masks until you find the best one for you. The CPAP helps with your symptoms but isn’t a cure; you may need to wear the mask every night for a long time. Find one that fits properly

Facial hair like beards and moustaches along and dirty oily skin may stop the seal from being properly air tight. Take care of your face and the mask and the performance may well improve.

4. No improvements – It can be disheartening when the CPAP machine interrupts your night. Try to remember the positive aspects of the treatment, consider keeping a diary nad record if headaches lessen or you feel less tired in the morning. Goals or personal competitions can help to keep the mask on. If the sleep apnea is not improving after a period of months consult your health professional

5. Unable to nose breath – Sleep apnea is relieved by pressure to the throat behind the nose. If you can’t breath through your nose than it may not be effective. Surgery may be needed if there is an underlying problem with your nasal passages. Over the counter medication to help with flu symptoms may also be effective. There are a range of full face masks that may be more suited to you

6. Pressure and headaches – You need to allow the pressure from the machine to escape from your bodies cavities. Normally air will go through the ear, however if you have a cold or flu the blockage may prevent this. Use of the machine may need to be halted until the symptoms clear

7. Bloating – You should not experience an excess of air in your stomach while using the machine. Flatten your sleeping alignment so that air is not blocked in the throat. Use only 1 pillow. The pressure may also be set too high

8. Noise – Older models can have a distinct humming or vibration. Keep the machine as far away from you as physically possible if it’s disturbing. Newer models are much quieter

9. Interfering with the tube – Knocking or tangling the cords and tubes can be one of the most annoying problems. The more you use the CPAP machine the better you will get at sleeping with it. Use blankets to keep obstructions away from you and position the machine where it will be more difficult to hit.

10. Removing the mask at night – Don’t remove the mask during the sleeping hours. Disconnect the apparatus from the machine. If you leave the mask on for these night tasks you will probably start using it again.