Health Advantages of Birkenstock Shoes, Sandals and Clogs

Most people have no understanding of the harmful effects on their general health may be caused by wearing improperly fitted shoes Most of the mobility issues seen in older adults, as well as those in nursing homes have been caused by years of feet neglect and tight fitting and uncomfortable footwear. Wearing uncomfortable shoes can lead to problems such as ingrown toenails, callouses and bunions, it can have an even profound effect on your overall health; especially your back.

Birkenstock shoes are the best way to practice good foot health and prevent foot ailments and pain down the road. Birkenstocks let the feet rest in a natural and proper alignment; this means total comfort for feet and body, not to mention the durability and the famous foot bed…unmatched by no other.

With over 200 years perfecting this foot bed, your feet will sit in perfect alignment.

The heel area is ample, as is the toe box, offering plenty of wiggle room where you need it. Birkenstocks are excellent for the relief of heel pain and discomfort. Your heel pain will lesson and eventually stop.The more you wear your Birkenstocks, the more comfortable they will feel.

As mentioned, the Birkenstock footbed molds to the shape your your foot, so the longer you wear your them, the more comfortable they will become. You will make this foot bed your own and if someone else tries on your shoes, they will not feel nearly as comfortable. You will have molded the footbed for yourself alone. Your footbed will be your footprint.

The foot beds are made of cork and leather mix allowing you plenty of ‘give’ as you walk with full support and comfort. The foot bed material also creates the perfect environment against sweat and fungus.

The Birkenstock uppers are made mostly of soft leather, suede, nubuk, or select man-made materials. They will never cause you painful rubbing or chafing. Birkenstock soles are created to absorb impact. They will reduce stress on your feet, heels, arches, ankles, legs and spine. Whichever Birkenstock style you choose, you will get all of these benefits of two hundred years of Birkenstock refinement in every single shoe they offer and every step you take.

Do Men Cause Yeast Infections In Women

A 2003 study finds that the presence of yeast in male sex partners does not make women more prone to recur yeast infections. But certain sex acts might.

Many doctors, and many women, believe that women get recurrent yeast infections because their partner passes the yeast back to them during intercourse. "This study refuses that belief," says study author, Barbara Reed, MD, MSPH, professor of Family Medicine at the UM Medical School. "This study suggests the risk for recurrent infections is related to something else – perhaps the woman's immune response to the yeast."

Candida vulvovaginitis, or yeast infection, is one of the most common diagnoses in American women. About three-quarters of women will have at least one yeast infection in their lives, and 40% have recurrent infections. The Candida yeast is often found in both women and men in the genital area, rectum, and mouth.

In the study, published in the December Journal of Women's Health, researchers looked at 148 women with confirmed Candida vulvovaginitis and 78 of their male sexual partners. Each woman was examined by a doctor, who collected samples from the vagina, cervix, vulva, tongue, and rectum. The men were asked to collect at- home urine, fecal, and semen samples, and a tongue swabbing. The samples were analyzed by culture to determine whether Candida species were present at each site.

The women received treatment for their initial infection and were asked to return for follow-up visits after two weeks, four weeks, six months, and a year. At each visit, they were asked about symptoms, sexual activity, and changes in risk factors. Doctors reiterated the pelvic exam and specimen collections.

The women were also told to return for testing any time they had symptoms of vaginal discharge, itching, or odor. Doctors performed an exam and collected specimens at these visits as well. After the symptomatic visits, the men were also asked for new specimen collections. Thirty- three of the women developed at least one recurrent yeast infection within the year.

At the two-week and one-month visits, none of the women had symptoms of a yeast infection. But 20% had a positive culture for Candida in the vaginal area at the two-week visit and 29% tested positive for Candida after one month. The researchers found these women were no more likely to develop recurrent infections by the end of the one-year study period.

Among the men, nearly half tested positive for Candida species on the tongue and in the feces, while few shown Candida in their urine or semen. Researchers found no link between Candida in the men's specimens and Candida at the women's vulva, rectum, or tongue. They also found no link between recurrent yeast infections and signs of Candida at any site in either the men or women.

When sexual activities were looked at, however, the researchers found that women who had recurrences were more likely to have participated in cunnilingus (oral sex given to the woman) or masturbation of the woman with saliva in the past month. Only 14.5% of women reported masturbation with saliva, however, while 69% reported cunnilingus, suggesting oral sex is the more common risk.

Oral sex and masturbation with saliva proved to be risk factors which men showed signs of yeast in their mouths or not. The risk was also not affected by the presence of Candida in the women's genital area.

"We're not saying that oral sex is a problem for everyone, but if a woman is experiencing recurrence yeast infections, those activities put her at an increased risk," Reed says.

Factors such as the woman's age at first intercourse, lifetime number of partners, frequency of intercourse, and anal intercourse in the previous month were not associated with recurrences.

The research suggests that Candida exists in some women in balance with the other organizations and immune components in the vaginal area and that washing area with saliva may disrupt the balance, leading to symptoms of yeast infection.

Ultimately, from years of clinical experience, I conclude that in general, sex can increase yeast infections. This can occur for the reasons stated above. Candida can be transmitted orifice to orifice. Having sex will never cause Candida to be transmitted in the manner of someone with chronic fatigue, systemic Candida, or chronic Candida. It will occur only as a localized infection.

However, the sexual act can temporarily excite or spike hormones and their activity. This may lead to increased hormone activity, stimulating the growth of Candida. It is also possible that repeated oral sex with and infected partner can allow Candida to enter the digestive tract. If the recipient has a lowered immune response, low hydrochloric acid production in the stomach, or an existing imbalance in the intestines, it is possible that over time Candida infections may spread.

So absolutely, we must consider the individual case and the health and sexual practices of the partners in order to draw a conclusion.

The Difference Between Load Resistors and Decoders

In the aftermarket lighting world, there are a couple of terms that are thrown around by consumers and retailers alike, but they may not always be the correct definitions or used in context correctly. These words are constantly read especially if you have a European vehicle as these things are used primarily to stop error codes and messages from appearing and to a certain extent, stop flickering issues. Load resistors and decoders are the two primary words that are thrown around, but they are sometimes easily confused with one another. This article will provide you a clear distinction between these two easily confused words that are used to fix the same issue, but in different ways.

Load resistors are electrical components that provide electrical resistance within a circuit, thus providing “load” on the circuit. With LED lights, their low power draw on the circuit causes issues such as error messages appearing stating that the bulb is not functioning on certain cars or cause issues such as hyper-flashing (rapid blinking) of the turn signals. Load resistors create a load on the circuit which tricks the vehicle into thinking that the LED bulb is drawing the same amount of power as the factory incandescent one which gets rid of the error messages and hyper-flashing issues. The electrical circuit can be thought of as a fast moving highway and the load resistor as an accident on the freeway that causes traffic to slow down considerably; while the traffic flow is still steady, it has slowed down than any other part of the freeway at location of the accident.

A decoder is a component with an electrical capacitor inside that stores electricity and quickly releases it at a steady rate. With LED lights and their low power draw, decoders are used to mimic the way the factory incandescent bulb behaves. The storage of power within the decoder also creates a load on the circuit due to the build-up of electricity. LED decoders are primarily used with HID conversion kits and with LED daytime running lights. Decoders can be thought of as a water dam where a large portion of the water is held behind it, but it is slowly released downstream so it does not flood the upstream portion.

While both of these things serve the same purpose, one may be better suited for a task than another. For example, load resistors are better suited for stopping hyper-flashing in turn signals whereas decoders are not. Decoders are better suited with usage on HID conversion kits on European vehicles to prevent error messages. However, both of these lights can be used to reduce or eliminate flickering and prevent error messages on certain applications as well. While there is no definite use for either component, it is commonly accepted that load resistors are used for LED applications 90% of the time and that decoders are used for HID applications 60-80% of the time and there have been instances where both components are used. Whatever application you are working on, it is always best to inquire with the retailer on which one would best work for their product.

Igloo Ice Chest – Learn the Differences Between the 3 Main Lines of Igloo Chests

There are quite a few different makes and models of the Igloo Ice Chest. There is the On The Go Series, the Office Series, and the Camping Series. And there is nothing worse than picking the wrong type, for the wrong occasion.

There are 3 main series of Igloo Ice Chests:

1. On the Go:

These are the typical ones you will find in the BBQ section of your department store. The most common colors you will see are blue and red. And will most likely come with a handle for ease of carry.

They come in many sizes, going from a larger carry model with a handle, down to a thermos size made just for drinks. The largest one in the On the Go Series is the Igloo Cool 16, this one can hold around 2 or 3 2 liter bottles standing up, and has a capacity of around 15 L.

2. Office Series:

This line of Igloo Ice Chests were designed to carry your lunch, and are usually made of soft fabrics. However, there are still a few of the harder plastic kind the can be got, and are larger than the "lunch bag" style igloos.

3. Camping Series:

This is the line of Chests that have had the most exposure. Ever been to a football game? And seen the big orange barrel looking canister sitting on the site lines?

Well, that my friend is an Igloo Heavy Duty 10 Gallon Cooler. You may have even seen it dumped over the coaches head in celebration on a game well played. This line of chests also holds the much larger ones used for camping, and are used to store large amounts of food.

There you have it, the 3 main lines of Igloo Ice Chests. On the Go, a perfect size for a picnic. The Office series, designed to be used as a lunch bag for work. And the ever popular Camping Series, the large chests, used to keep your food cold while in the great out doors. Now you will be prepare to buy the right Igloo Ice Chest for just the right occasion.

Global Warming – A Theory of Accelerating Process Through an Inflection Point

1. Introduction.

This paper is intended as a starting point for creating a framework within which to discuss and analyze what appears to be a fundamental change in worldwide climate. It is essentially a synthesis of three books: (1) an inconvenient truth, the crisis of global warming, written by Al Gore (2007); (2) At Home in the Universe, The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity, by Stuart Kauffman (1995); and, (3) Gaia: A new look at life on Earth, by Dr. James Lovelock (1979) (see, also,, "Gaia Theory").

Kauffman's book, At Home in the Universe (herein "Universe"), is a wide-ranging collection of connected thoughts that present and support a unifying theory for all processes of self-organization.

Gore's book, an inconvenient truth (herein "Inconvenient Truth"), is primarily referenced for the proposition that the totality of human activity (or more broadly, life's activities) here on Earth, if left unchecked, has and will result in more and greater weather dislocations and disturbances arising from a general warming of the biosphere; and, that the trend to date displays an acceleration forming a rising an asymptotic curve (the first half of a sigmoidal curve).

Lovelock's Book, Gaia: A new look at life on Earth (herein "Gaia") is presented as an extension of the theory presented by Kauffman, providing support for the Gaia Theory that the Earth's entire biosphere combines one integrated metastable steady-state open thermodynamic system, in which homeostasis is maintained and optimized for life, despite significant perturbations to the system.

2. Kauffman and Gaia Theory: Homeostatic Open Thermodynamic Systems.

Kauffman teaches us that there are two types of open thermodynamic systems: 1.) Those, which immediately progress from some starting point to a thermodynamic death, achieving the highest state of entropy; and 2.) Those, which are able to "process" an influx of energy and / or matter and thenby self-organize, representing "autocatalytic sets of molecules". Life forms are but one example of such systems, as are communities of different species, and entire eco-systems.

This supports the Gaia Theory that the Earth's entire biosphere, including the oceans, the atmosphere, and the land masses, is one integrated integrated stable state-state open thermodynamic system, in which homeostasis is maintained despite significant perturbations to the system; disturbances which arise from a variety of sources, including volcanic eruptions, meteor strikes, and man-made pollution.

Kauffman provides further basis for understanding the "why" behind the invisible invisible hand that keeps Earth in an optimum homeostasis to support its inhabants (see, Universe, page 21: the biosphere is one big dissipative structure which organization is maintained by the influx of solar energy). Kauffman posits, "[L] ife evolves toward a statute that is poised between order and chaos." The evocative phrase that points to this working hypothesis is this: life exists at the edge of chaos. a kind of phase transition. " See, Universe, at 26.

Kauffman goes on to describe that self-organizing systems, while having an enormous number of different possible configurations (different states in state space), have but only several strange attractors (basins), and that any given initial state will immediately find its way to one of these few available configurations.

The metaphor Kauffman provides is taken from physics: Imagine a box filled with a gas – The molecules of the gas are, statistically speaking, most likely to arrange them generally through the available space in the box, and not compress themselves into one corner. But, to the contrary, self-organizing systems that achieve homeostasis are, in effect, seeking out these rare configurations by analogy; thus, self-organizing. See, Universe, at 82-84, and 92.

Kauffman proposes that these rules apply to all such systems, including ecosystems, political systems, and even the evolution of technology, and therefore, appears to provide the underpinnings for Gaia Theory – viewing the entire Earth as a single integrated "dissipative structure."

3. What does this all mean for us?

Viewing Earth as one large integrated homeostatic open thermodynamic system, it can readily be seen that the totality of chemicals and compounds that comprise Earth and all of its components and inhabitants could easily arrange them in a near infinite number of ways.

However, contrary to Earth moving directly towards a thermodynamic death of the highest entropy, it persists in accepting sunlight and using that energy for useful purpose: The creation of self-organizing and reproducing systems, in other words, organized dissipative structures which all act seemingly together as a whole, maintaining the overall homeostatic organization of the Earth's biosphere, including the balance of constituents found in the oceans, the atmosphere, and land masses.

But, what can not be seen at first glance, is that there are likely to be a small but finite number of configurations of possible homeostatic behavior – in other words, the Gaia Theory works in the configuration as we have known it, but there are other examples, such as ice ages, in which the overall configuration takes a different, but still, homeostatic configuration. Each of these metastable configurations represents a strange attractor that creates a basin in state space. We can disturb our configuration (such as by pollution) but the system endeavors to return to optimum homeostasis.

While the same system with the same steady energy and / or matter influx may find one or more final steady states depending upon the starting conditions or other factors, once an open system has settled into its variable steady state (from all the possible states in state space), it then remains metastable, without and until a parameter of the system changes or there is a change in the energy supply, or external discrepances interfere.

If any such changes occur, the system will experience distortances. If the changes are only temporary and minor, the fluctuations will eventually determine as the system resumes its original steady state condition.

However, if changes in system parameters or influx are not temporary, but are continuing, and are of sufficient character, the fluctuations will increase, and the system will become more chaotic. At some point, the system will not be able to maintain its metastable steady state, and it may then no longer be able to remain in its domain within the system's state space. In that event, it will "hop" or rise up and over the boundary constraint of its original basin, and down into another different metastable steady state consistent with the continuing modified parameters and / or energy flow.

Imagine a landscape of hills, valleys, and basins. Place a ball in one of the basins, and then continue to shake the landscape progressively more violently – ever, the ball will hop out and fall into a different basin in the landscape.

Assuming that the system parameters or influx changes are generally increasing in size and scope, then when we compare the rate of change from one state to another state, against time, the plot graph should produce the classic bell curve, in which the rate of change in the middle of the transition is the highest rate of change.

By analogy, the same thermodynamic characteristics can be seen in a classical representation of a chemical reaction: The rate of change when two molecules react to form two different molecules; they form a "transition state" at the mid-way point, and during the reaction the rate of change accelerates to the mid-way point and then decelerates to the new configuration.

This means that when a steady state system is being "driven" into a new state space, the rate of change over time accelerates asymptotically toward the inflection point, and (after crossing the "ridge") the rate of change decelerates asymptotically towards zero , as the system settles into its new steady state. Ploting the rate of change against time, we should be presented with the classic sigmoidal curve.

Hypothetically, one could imagine the Earth and it's atmosphere (the biosphere) as an open steady state system with a steady stream of energy from the sun, as occupying one of many steady states in its "state space".

4. The Impact of the Totality of Human Existence.

As the totality of evolution's activities (including that of 6 billion people) over the last 5000 years or more begins to take its toll (including the burning of near 100 million barrels of oil per day, the growing and consuming of crops, the asphalt and concrete surfaces being created, and even the contrails from our jets), the changes in the effective energy supply and the parameters of the system begin to create greater and greater distortions in our metastable system, effectively driving the overall system (Earth) into a rapidly more accelerating rate of change toward some (as yet unknown) "transition state", and possibly into a new basin in its state space.

Time is relative. However, one can see that when the opinions of scientists regarding climatic changes are first projected to take centers, but then those same projections rapidly turn into decades, and when projections of decades rapidly turn into years, and years turn into months, these changes are suggestive of disturbances of a steady state system rapidly accelerating towards a transition state. For example, in the book Inconvenient Truth, the graphs and charts displayed on pages 26-27, 44-45, 46-47, 48-49, 57, 72, 76-77 and 138-139; all begin to show a rapid accelerating series of trends in weather and climate changes brought on by increasingly greater warming trends, that generate more and larger fluctuations to the Earth's biosphere. This evidence suggests that the changes we are seeing growing asymptotically towards some inflection point.

5. Conclusion.

And, while time is relative, the asymptotic curve of the rate of change suggests that projections of decades will turn to years, and years to months, such that the Earth, as a system (Gaia), is now undergoing a rapid acceleration towards a transition state, and that the transition state is, reliably speaking, approaching more and more rapidly. When the projections of changes in climate parameters by scientists are projected to take years, and then are revised to take months, we may find ourselves near the inflection point within a matter of a few years or less.

What may happen in such event? In our new state space of Earth, we may find that the Global Ocean Conveyor Belt pictured on pages 118-119 in Inconvenient Truth, transforms into a new configuration, as it adjusts to the new system parameters of a warmer worldwide climate.

The good news may be that once we pass through the inflection point shortly, the Earth will calm down into its new configuration. The bad news is that it will be impossible to predict what that will look like.

6. Additional Thoughts.

Kauffman describes "error catastrophes" in his book, and also posits that democracy may be the fittest form of social order, providing the best compromises among all of the players in the ecosystem – on this one point I suggest another view:

Imagine all human activity as voluntary, except those actions by violence or by government, which activity is compulsory.

It is possible that the totality of compulsive government interference in the natural free-market (such as subsidies, taxes and tax breaks, government programs, trade sanctions, etc.) over the course of human existence represents an "error catastrophe", such that the collective effect over time has been to steer human activity away from proper compromise and optimization, and towards over-population, and misapplication of resources, such that we are now experiencing the total and collective historical and current effect of those collective errors upon the biosphere .

Seen in this light, our efforts and attempts to begin working towards conservation and population control, and away from pollution and misapplication of resources, is yet another example of the "system" (Gaia) attempting to evolve towards a more fit social structure, and to dampen the fluctuations that are taking the system away from its state space attractor (its tendency towards homeostasis in the current configuration).

Jeff Gananian
Copyright 2008

How to De-Clutter Your Computer Hard Drive

Many people use their computer hard drive as a junk drive, collecting everything, from the most important files to things they never read. However, a computer hard disk, no matter how large it is, always has limited space, and sooner or later some of the files have to be deleted. The more junk you have on your hard disk, the harder you will find what you are looking for.

An overstuffed computer also tends to slow down, so you will be needing endless patience for completing even the simplest task. The most simple way to make your computer function properly is to sort its inventory and then purge as many folders as you can from it. You can back up files on a disk, if you think you may be using them, or you can delete them once for all.

As a first step, it is good to create categories for your files: one folder for each of your major areas of responsibility. You may have folders named like sales, marketing, human resources, promotion, current projects and so on. Or you can have categories based on the products of services of your company. You can also have different categories for each key customer. You can create subfolders for smaller, more specific categories.

Before you start copying and deleting, you should think about a painting tree: this means you should have a clear picture about where you need to have major folders and subfolders on your computer. If you start filing and then you start organizing your files, it is more than likely you will drown into the large number of different files. If you have some concept about how the painting tree should look like, it will eliminate a lot of copying, cutting, and pasting. You will be able to work efficiently, without frustration.

The greatest challenge in organizing your files is to make possible to retrieve information without wasting time. When you think about the filing tree, and what the major folder names should look like, you should answer a few questions: how do you usually retrieve information? By date, subject, company or project name? Each of us has different priorities depending on the type of business, job description and personal preferences. And you should also keep in mind how your boss or colleagues ask for a certain document: do they ask by the name of the contact you were working with, the location, or the time of the year?

Pathological Eating Disorders and Poly-Behavioral Addiction

When considering that pathological eating disorders and their related diseases now afflict more people globally than malnutrition, some experts in the medical field are presently purporting that the world’s number one health problem is no longer heart disease or cancer, but obesity. According to the World Health Organization (June, 2005), “obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than 1 billion adults overweight – at least 300 million of them clinically obese – and is a major contributor to the global burden of chronic disease and disability. Often coexisting in developing countries with under-nutrition, obesity is a complex condition, with serious social and psychological dimensions, affecting virtually all ages and socioeconomic groups.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (June, 2005), reports that “during the past 20 years, obesity among adults has risen significantly in the United States. The latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that 30 percent of U.S. adults 20 years of age and older – over 60 million people – are obese. This increase is not limited to adults. The percentage of young people who are overweight has more than tripled since 1980. Among children and teens aged 6-19 years, 16 percent (over 9 million young people) are considered overweight.”

Morbid obesity is a condition that is described as being 100lbs. or more above ideal weight, or having a Body Mass Index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30. Being obese alone puts one at a much greater risk of suffering from a combination of several other metabolic factors such as having high blood pressure, being insulin resistant, and/ or having abnormal cholesterol levels that are all related to a poor diet and a lack of exercise. The sum is greater than the parts. Each metabolic problem is a risk for other diseases separately, but together they multiply the chances of life-threatening illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke, etc. Up to 30.5% of our Nations’ adults suffer from morbid obesity, and two thirds or 66% of adults are overweight measured by having a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 25. Considering that the U.S. population is now over 290,000,000, some estimate that up to 73,000,000 Americans could benefit from some type of education awareness and/ or treatment for a pathological eating disorder or food addiction. Typically, eating patterns are considered pathological problems when issues concerning weight and/ or eating habits, (e.g., overeating, under eating, binging, purging, and/ or obsessing over diets and calories, etc.) become the focus of a persons’ life, causing them to feel shame, guilt, and embarrassment with related symptoms of depression and anxiety that cause significant maladaptive social and/ or occupational impairment in functioning.

We must consider that some people develop dependencies on certain life-functioning activities such as eating that can be just as life threatening as drug addiction and just as socially and psychologically damaging as alcoholism. Some do suffer from hormonal or metabolic disorders, but most obese individuals simply consume more calories than they burn due to an out of control overeating Food Addiction. Hyper-obesity resulting from gross, habitual overeating is considered to be more like the problems found in those ingrained personality disorders that involve loss of control over appetite of some kind (Orford, 1985). Binge-eating Disorder episodes are characterized in part by a feeling that one cannot stop or control how much or what one is eating (DSM-IV-TR, 2000). Lienard and Vamecq (2004) have proposed an “auto-addictive” hypothesis for pathological eating disorders. They report that, “eating disorders are associated with abnormal levels of endorphins and share clinical similarities with psychoactive drug abuse. The key role of endorphins has recently been demonstrated in animals with regard to certain aspects of normal, pathological and experimental eating habits (food restriction combined with stress, loco-motor hyperactivity).” They report that the “pathological management of eating disorders may lead to two extreme situations: the absence of ingestion (anorexia) and excessive ingestion (bulimia).”

Co-morbidity & Mortality

Addictions and other mental disorders as a rule do not develop in isolation. The National Co-morbidity Survey (NCS) that sampled the entire U.S. population in 1994, found that among non-institutionalized American male and female adolescents and adults (ages 15-54), roughly 50% had a diagnosable Axis I mental disorder at some time in their lives. This survey’s results indicated that 35% of males will at some time in their lives have abused substances to the point of qualifying for a mental disorder diagnosis, and nearly 25% of women will have qualified for a serious mood disorder (mostly major depression). A significant finding of note from the NCS study was the widespread occurrence of co-morbidity among diagnosed disorders. It specifically found that 56% of the respondents with a history of at least one disorder also had two or more additional disorders. These persons with a history of three or more co-morbid disorders were estimated to be one-sixth of the U.S. population, or some 43 million people (Kessler, 1994).

McGinnis and Foege, (1994) report that, “the most prominent contributors to mortality in the United States in 1990 were tobacco (an estimated 400,000 deaths), diet and activity patterns (300,000), alcohol (100,000), microbial agents (90,000), toxic agents (60,000), firearms (35,000), sexual behavior (30,000), motor vehicles (25,000), and illicit use of drugs (20,000). Acknowledging that the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality was risky behavior lifestyles, the U.S. Prevention Services Task Force set out to research behavioral counseling interventions in health care settings (Williams & Wilkins, 1996).

Poor Prognosis

We have come to realize today more than any other time in history that the treatment of lifestyle diseases and addictions are often a difficult and frustrating task for all concerned. Repeated failures abound with all of the addictions, even with utilizing the most effective treatment strategies. But why do 47% of patients treated in private treatment programs (for example) relapse within the first year following treatment (Gorski,T., 2001)? Have addiction specialists become conditioned to accept failure as the norm? There are many reasons for this poor prognosis. Some would proclaim that addictions are psychosomatically- induced and maintained in a semi-balanced force field of driving and restraining multidimensional forces. Others would say that failures are due simply to a lack of self-motivation or will power. Most would agree that lifestyle behavioral addictions are serious health risks that deserve our attention, but could it possibly be that patients with multiple addictions are being under diagnosed (with a single dependence) simply due to a lack of diagnostic tools and resources that are incapable of resolving the complexity of assessing and treating a patient with multiple addictions?

Diagnostic Delineation

Thus far, the DSM-IV-TR has not delineated a diagnosis for the complexity of multiple behavioral and substance addictions. It has reserved the Poly-substance Dependence diagnosis for a person who is repeatedly using at least three groups of substances during the same 12-month period, but the criteria for this diagnosis do not involve any behavioral addiction symptoms. In the Psychological Factors Affecting Medical Condition’s section (DSM-IV-TR, 2000); maladaptive health behaviors (e.g., overeating, unsafe sexual practices, excessive alcohol and drug use, etc.) may be listed on Axis I only if they are significantly affecting the course of treatment of a medical or mental condition.

Since successful treatment outcomes are dependent on thorough assessments, accurate diagnoses, and comprehensive individualized treatment planning, it is no wonder that repeated rehabilitation failures and low success rates are the norm instead of the exception in the addictions field, when the latest DSM-IV-TR does not even include a diagnosis for multiple addictive behavioral disorders. Treatment clinics need to have a treatment planning system and referral network that is equipped to thoroughly assess multiple addictive and mental health disorders and related treatment needs and comprehensively provide education/ awareness, prevention strategy groups, and/ or specific addictions treatment services for individuals diagnosed with multiple addictions. Written treatment goals and objectives should be specified for each separate addiction and dimension of an individuals’ life, and the desired performance outcome or completion criteria should be specifically stated, behaviorally based (a visible activity), and measurable.

New Proposed Diagnosis

To assist in resolving the limited DSM-IV-TRs’ diagnostic capability, a multidimensional diagnosis of “Poly-behavioral Addiction,” is proposed for more accurate diagnosis leading to more effective treatment planning. This diagnosis encompasses the broadest category of addictive disorders that would include an individual manifesting a combination of substance abuse addictions, and other obsessively-compulsive behavioral addictive behavioral patterns to pathological gambling, religion, and/ or sex / pornography, etc.). Behavioral addictions are just as damaging – psychologically and socially as alcohol and drug abuse. They are comparative to other life-style diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease in their behavioral manifestations, their etiologies, and their resistance to treatments. They are progressive disorders that involve obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviors. They are also characterized by a preoccupation with a continuous or periodic loss of control, and continuous irrational behavior in spite of adverse consequences.

Poly-behavioral addiction would be described as a state of periodic or chronic physical, mental, emotional, cultural, sexual and/ or spiritual/ religious intoxication. These various types of intoxication are produced by repeated obsessive thoughts and compulsive practices involved in pathological relationships to any mood-altering substance, person, organization, belief system, and/ or activity. The individual has an overpowering desire, need or compulsion with the presence of a tendency to intensify their adherence to these practices, and evidence of phenomena of tolerance, abstinence and withdrawal, in which there is always physical and/ or psychic dependence on the effects of this pathological relationship. In addition, there is a 12 – month period in which an individual is pathologically involved with three or more behavioral and/ or substance use addictions simultaneously, but the criteria are not met for dependence for any one addiction in particular (Slobodzien, J., 2005). In essence, Poly-behavioral addiction is the synergistically integrated chronic dependence on multiple physiologically addictive substances and behaviors (e.g., using/ abusing substances – nicotine, alcohol, & drugs, and/or acting impulsively or obsessively compulsive in regards to gambling, food binging, sex, and/ or religion, etc.) simultaneously.

New Proposed Theory

The Addictions Recovery Measurement System’s (ARMS) theory is a nonlinear, dynamical, non-hierarchical model that focuses on interactions between multiple risk factors and situational determinants similar to catastrophe and chaos theories in predicting and explaining addictive behaviors and relapse. Multiple influences trigger and operate within high-risk situations and influence the global multidimensional functioning of an individual. The process of relapse incorporates the interaction between background factors (e.g., family history, social support, years of possible dependence, and co-morbid psychopathology), physiological states (e.g., physical withdrawal), cognitive processes (e.g., self-efficacy, cravings, motivation, the abstinence violation effect, outcome expectancies), and coping skills (Brownell et al., 1986; Marlatt & Gordon, 1985). To put it simply, small changes in an individual’s behavior can result in large qualitative changes at the global level and patterns at the global level of a system emerge solely from numerous little interactions.

The ARMS hypothesis purports that there is a multidimensional synergistically negative resistance that individual’s develop to any one form of treatment to a single dimension of their lives, because the effects of an individual’s addiction have dynamically interacted multi-dimensionally. Having the primary focus on one dimension is insufficient. Traditionally, addiction treatment programs have failed to accommodate for the multidimensional synergistically negative effects of an individual having multiple addictions, (e.g. nicotine, alcohol, and obesity, etc.). Behavioral addictions interact negatively with each other and with strategies to improve overall functioning. They tend to encourage the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, help increase violence, decrease functional capacity, and promote social isolation. Most treatment theories today involve assessing other dimensions to identify dual diagnosis or co-morbidity diagnoses, or to assess contributing factors that may play a role in the individual’s primary addiction. The ARMS’ theory proclaims that a multidimensional treatment plan must be devised addressing the possible multiple addictions identified for each one of an individual’s life dimensions in addition to developing specific goals and objectives for each dimension.

The ARMS acknowledges the complexity and unpredictable nature of lifestyle addictions following the commitment of an individual to accept assistance with changing their lifestyles. The Stages of Change model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1984) is supported as a model of motivation, incorporating five stages of readiness to change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. The ARMS theory supports the constructs of self-efficacy and social networking as outcome predictors of future behavior across a wide variety of lifestyle risk factors (Bandura, 1977). The Relapse Prevention cognitive-behavioral approach (Marlatt, 1985) with the goal of identifying and preventing high-risk situations for relapse is also supported within the ARMS theory.

The ARMS continues to promote Twelve Step Recovery Groups such as Food Addicts and Alcoholics Anonymous along with spiritual and religious recovery activities as a necessary means to maintain outcome effectiveness. The beneficial effects of AA may be attributable in part to the replacement of the participant’s social network of drinking friends with a fellowship of AA members who can provide motivation and support for maintaining abstinence (Humphreys, K.; Mankowski, E.S, 1999) and (Morgenstern, J.; Labouvie, E.; McCrady, B.S.; Kahler, C.W.; and Frey, R.M., 1997). In addition, AA’s approach often results in the development of coping skills, many of which are similar to those taught in more structured psychosocial treatment settings, thereby leading to reductions in alcohol consumption (NIAAA, June 2005).

Treatment Progress Dimensions

The American Society of Addiction Medicine’s (2003), “Patient Placement Criteria for the Treatment of Substance-Related Disorders, 3rd Edition”, has set the standard in the field of addiction treatment for recognizing the totality of the individual in his or her life situation. This includes the internal interconnection of multiple dimensions from biomedical to spiritual, as well as external relationships of the individual to the family and larger social groups. Life-style addictions may affect many domains of an individual’s functioning and frequently require multi-modal treatment. Real progress however, requires appropriate interventions and motivating strategies for every dimension of an individual’s life.

The Addictions Recovery Measurement System (ARMS) has identified the following seven treatment progress areas (dimensions) in an effort to: (1) assist clinicians with identifying additional motivational techniques that can increase an individual’s awareness to make progress: (2) measure within treatment progress, and (3) measure after treatment outcome effectiveness:

PD- 1. Abstinence/ Relapse: Progress Dimension

PD- 2. Bio-medical/ Physical: Progress Dimension

PD- 3. Mental/ Emotional: Progress Dimension

PD- 4. Social/ Cultural: Progress Dimension

PD- 5. Educational/ Occupational: Progress Dimension

PD- 6. Attitude/ Behavioral: Progress Dimension

PD- 7. Spirituality/ Religious: Progress Dimension

Considering that addictions involve unbalanced life-styles operating within semi-stable equilibrium force fields, the ARMS philosophy promotes that positive treatment effectiveness and successful outcomes are the result of a synergistic relationship with “The Higher Power,” that spiritually elevates and connects an individuals’ multiple life functioning dimensions by reducing chaos and increasing resilience to bring an individual harmony, wellness, and productivity.

Addictions Recovery Measurement – Subsystems

Since chronic lifestyle diseases and disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, alcoholism, drug and behavioral addictions cannot be cured, but only managed – how should we effectively manage poly-behavioral addiction?

The Addiction Recovery Measurement System (ARMS) is proposed utilizing a multidimensional integrative assessment, treatment planning, treatment progress, and treatment outcome measurement tracking system that facilitates rapid and accurate recognition and evaluation of an individual’s comprehensive life-functioning progress dimensions. The “ARMS”- systematically, methodically, interactively, & spiritually combines the following five versatile subsystems that may be utilized individually or incorporated together:

1) The Prognostication System – composed of twelve screening instruments developed to evaluate an individual’s total life-functioning dimensions for a comprehensive bio-psychosocial assessment for an objective 5-Axis diagnosis with a point-based Global Assessment of Functioning score;

2) The Target Intervention System – that includes the Target Intervention Measure (TIM) and Target Progress Reports (A) & (B), for individualized goal-specific treatment planning;

3) The Progress Point System – a standardized performance-based motivational recovery point system utilized to produce in-treatment progress reports on six life-functioning individual dimensions;

4) The Multidimensional Tracking System – with its Tracking Team Surveys (A) & (B), along with the ARMS Discharge criteria guidelines utilizes a multidisciplinary tracking team to assist with discharge planning; and

5) The Treatment Outcome Measurement System – that utilizes the following two measurement instruments: (a) The Treatment Outcome Measure (TOM); and (b) the Global Assessment of Progress (GAP), to assist with aftercare treatment planning.

National Movement

With the end of the Cold War, the threat of a world nuclear war has diminished considerably. It may be hard to imagine that in the end, comedians may be exploiting the humor in the fact that it wasn’t nuclear warheads, but “French fries” that annihilated the human race. On a more serious note, lifestyle diseases and addictions are the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality, yet brief preventive behavioral assessments and counseling interventions are under-utilized in health care settings (Whitlock, 2002).

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded that effective behavioral counseling interventions that address personal health practices hold greater promise for improving overall health than many secondary preventive measures, such as routine screening for early disease (USPSTF, 1996). Common health-promoting behaviors include healthy diet, regular physical exercise, smoking cessation, appropriate alcohol/ medication use, and responsible sexual practices to include use of condoms and contraceptives.

350 national organizations and 250 State public health, mental health, substance abuse, and environmental agencies support the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Healthy People 2010” program. This national initiative recommends that primary care clinicians utilize clinical preventive assessments and brief behavioral counseling for early detection, prevention, and treatment of lifestyle disease and addiction indicators for all patients’ upon every healthcare visit.

Partnerships and coordination among service providers, government departments, and community organizations in providing treatment programs are a necessity in addressing the multi-task solution to poly-behavioral addiction. I encourage you to support the mental health and addiction programs in America, and hope that the (ARMS) resources can assist you to personally fight the War on pathological eating disorders within poly-behavioral addiction.

For more info see:

Poly-Behavioral Addiction and the Addictions Recovery Measurement System,

By James Slobodzien, Psy.D., CSAC at:


Food Addicts Anonymous:

Alcoholics Anonymous:


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Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, p. 787 & p. 731.

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Treatment of Substance-Related Disorders, 3rd Edition,. Retrieved, June 18, 2005, from:

Bandura, A. (1977), Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review,

84, 191-215.

Brownell, K. D., Marlatt, G. A., Lichtenstein, E., & Wilson, G. T. (1986). Understanding and preventing relapse. American Psychologist, 41, 765-782.

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Gorski, T. (2001), Relapse Prevention In The Managed Care Environment. GORSKI-CENAPS Web

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Marlatt & J. R. Gordon (Eds.), Relapse prevention (pp. 250-280). New York: Guilford Press.

McGinnis JM, Foege WH (1994). Actual causes of death in the United States. US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC 20201

Humphreys, K.; Mankowski, E.S.; Moos, R.H.; and Finney, J.W (1999). Do enhanced friendship networks and active coping mediate the effect of self-help groups on substance abuse? Ann Behav Med 21(1):54-60.

Kessler, R.C., McGonagle, K.A., Zhao, S., Nelson, C.B., Hughes, M., Eshleman, S., Wittchen, H. H,-U, & Kendler, K.S. (1994). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders in the United

States: Results from the national co morbidity survey. Arch. Gen. Psychiat., 51, 8-19.

Morgenstern, J.; Labouvie, E.; McCrady, B.S.; Kahler, C.W.; and Frey, R.M (1997). Affiliation with Alcoholics Anonymous after treatment: A study of its therapeutic effects and mechanisms of action. J Consult Clin Psychol 65(5):768-777.

Orford, J. (1985). Excessive appetites: A psychological view of addiction. New York: Wiley.

Prochaska, J. O., & DiClemente, C. C. (1984). The transtheoretical approach: Crossing the boundaries of therapy. Malabar, FL: Krieger.

Slobodzien, J. (2005). Poly-behavioral Addiction and the Addictions Recovery Measurement System (ARMS),, Inc., p. 5.

Whitlock, E.P. (1996). Evaluating Primary Care Behavioral Counseling Interventions: An Evidence-based Approach. Am J Prev Med 2002;22(4): 267-84.Williams & Wilkins. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services. 2nd ed. Alexandria, VA.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010 (Conference Edition). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2000.

World Health Organization, (WHO). Retrieved June 18, 2005, from:

Is Crestor The Magic Treatment For Diabetes?

Previous studies conducted in United States have shown that patients with Type-2 diabetes and high bad cholesterol level are 3 or 4 times more likely to die from heart attack or stroke. Watching what to eat and having plenty of exercise are keys to help people reduce their bad cholesterol level. If one does all these but still fails to reduce the bad cholesterol level, he or she is advised to seek help from doctors for prescribed medication.

In 2004, the results of a 26-week study released at an international meeting of cardiovascular specialists in Spain showed that Crestor (rosuvastatin) is more effective than any other in decreasing the bad cholesterol level in patients with Type-2 diabetes. The study compared rosuvastatin with another statin, atorvastatin (available under the brand Lipitor). Earlier studies had also shown that 10 mg of rosuvastatin is more potent than 10 mg of atorvastatin.

Many diabetic patients were aware of their conditions but still had high levels of bad cholesterol. After they were treated and monitored for diabetes and glucose control, the cholesterol remained outside the desirable range. Perhaps doctors have to be more aggressive in getting all diabetic patients at the desirable cholesterol target with the help of appropriate medication like Crestor.

Crestor is usually prescribed along with diet to lower cholesterol. It is known that taking 10 mg of Crestor along with diet can actually lower bad cholesterol by up to 52 percent. Meanwhile, it can also raise the good cholesterol level by up to 14 percent. Neverheless, results may vary among patients.

There is no doubt that lowering of bad cholesterol level and well-controlled diabetic conditions may help reduce the risk of developing heart disease, Crestor has not been determined to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes.

Not everyone is capable to take Crestor. Women who are nursing, pregnant, or who may become pregnant or anyone with liver problems should not use Crestor. In fact, before and during treatment with Crestor, you should ask your doctor to do blood tests to monitor your liver condition. Patients should inform their doctor if they are taking any medication.

Patients may encounter side effects. Unexplained muscle pain and weakness are considered as a rare but serious side effect. If patients do experience this, they should report to their doctors immediately. Other infrequent side effects such as muscle aches, nausea, abdominal pain, constipation and weakness are usually mild and tend to go away after a short period of time.

Natural Skin Care Help For Your Aging Skin

Are you looking for help for aging skin? If you are beginning to notice wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots on your skin and face, it may be time to get serious about your skin care routine! Here are four natural skin care tips to help you rejuvenate your skin! Before you consider harsh chemical treatments or a face lift, you should know that there is health risks associated with both of these skin treatments.

The US Food and Drug Administration informed the public in early 2008 that Botox and Botox Cosmetic (Botulinum toxin Type A) and Myobloc (Botulinum toxin Type B) were in some cases, linked to possible adverse reactions, including respiratory failure and death.

Some of these adverse reactions appeared to be related to the spread of the toxin to areas distant from the site of injection, and may mimic symptoms of botulism, including difficulty swallowing, weakness and breathing problems. Although these cases could have the result of possible overdosing, the potential risks of Botox treatments certainly pose reason for concern!

Plastic surgery or getting a face lift could also pose serious health risks! Potential problems could include adverse reaction to anesthetic, excessive bleeding, permanent numbness or paralysis of facial muscles, week facial muscles or even skin necrosis or death of skin tissue. It can also cause Keloid scarring, (a heavy scarring caused by the overgrowth of granulation tissue at the site of a healed skin injury which can vary from pink to flesh-colored or red to dark brown in color).

Before you consider drastic skin care treatments or surgeries, you should know that there are safer natural alternatives for helping your skin to look younger and more beautiful again!

Below are four natural skin care tips that can help you address aging skin!

1. Have a good skin care routine.

Practicing a good daily skin care routine can go a long way toward preventing skin aging. It is important to cleanse your face twice daily with a gentle plant based skin cleanser. You should also use a skin toner to help it return it to its normal ph balance. Then you should use a plant based skin moisturizer that is free of harsh chemicals or harmful preservatives. You should exfoliate your face at least two times per week. Be sure to use an all natural sun screen to protect your skin from UV damage,

2. Choose plant oil based skin care products over petroleum oil based products.

Your skin is a living organ that needs oxygen! Skin moisturizers that contain petroleum derivatives, such as petrolatum, mineral oil or propylene glycol, can clog your skins pores and prevent your skin from breathing. This may cause your pores to enlarge to get their needed oxygen, which could lead to skin aging and skin damage such as wrinkles and fine lines.

Plant based products allow your skin to breath and will nourish your skin cells with antioxidants, amino acids, and other essential phyto-nutrients. This can help your aging skin to regain its natural healing balance, and also help maintain adequate hydration levels to give your skin a more even, radiant and luminous tone!

3. Stop putting harmful chemicals on your skin .

Scientists estimate that you can absorb up to 60% of chemicals from any skin care products that you come into contact with, which will send them directly to your bloodstream. In fact, it may take as little as 26 seconds for some substances to move from the skin to every major organ of the body, which is why nicotine and birth control patches are so effective! Skin care products containing harsh chemical ingredients such as Propylene Glycol and Sodium Laurel Sulfate, as well as preservatives like Propylparaben or Methylparaben may cause serious problems not only for your skin, but also for your health. Hormone disruptions, birth defects, organ damage … even skin cancer or breast cancer may result from toxic chemicals in personal care products! Also, be careful to not use sunscreens containing harmful ingredients!

4. Live a healthy lifestyle.

Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, and make sure you are getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids, either through eating fish or taking a fish or krill oil supplement. Be sure you also drink plenty of water each day! Getting enough sleep and decreasing stress can also slow skin aging. Do not smoke! Smoking is very harmful to your skin and will destroy your skins texture and suppleness.

The four skin care tips listed above are all natural and easy steps you can take to combat aging skin! They are safe and effective ways that can help your skin look younger and more beautiful again, without risking your health with harsh chemical treatments or dangerous surgeries!

What is a Woman's Opinion on Penis Size?

The same way a guy views women and breasts is similar to the same way women view guys and penis sizes. If you asked your woman about whether penile size matters or not, you would get a response answer. Most women would not want to hurt their lover's ego by saying the truth which is – penis size matters a lot when it comes to sexual intercourse, most especially penile girth.

Just try asking your lover about what she thinks about your penis size and you would definitely get a "watered down" answer. It is exactly the same as your woman asking you if she is fat – in most situations you do not give her a direct answer you just beat around the bush especially when she does not have a figure that is similar to catwalk models. In the same manner if you asked your woman while penile size matters and if she would prefer a larger penis you should not expect a direct answer.

But the truth being that even if every woman on the face of the earth actually says that penis size does not matter most men would still wish for a bigger penis.

Now let's talk a little more on what women's opinions are concern penis size. In a recent survey that included over 500 women ranged in age from 19 – 40 years, over 80% of the women survey said that they prefer a thick penis that can give the feeling of being "full" in their vaginas. The women's perfect penile girth ranged from 5.95 to 6.5 inches. As for length majority of the women preferred penile length between 7 inches and 8 inches. Anything above 8 inches looks to long for these women to handle.

However one very noticeable thing about this survey was the insistence of over 80% of the women surveyed that a larger penis girth is much more enjoyable than a longer male sex organ. In simple words women prefer a thicker manhood better than a longer one. But in a situation where a penis is 6 inches in girth and 8 inches in length, 76% women agree that this is the perfect penis size – these women were actually given a dildo (artificial penis) that had these particular length and girth.

Let's delve into anatomy to understand why women tend to favor larger penises most especially thicker ones. A woman's most sensitive pleasure nerves are centered around the vagina's opening. What this translates to is that a larger penile girth tends to give more pleasure to a woman than a longer one since a thicker manhood would stretch the vagina lips and rub more against the vaginal canal which leads to more pleasure for the woman.

In a situation where a man has a long and thick manhood, you can be sure that his wife would cherish him forever most especially if he knows how to use his' equipment "properly during sexual intervention. girth than on length most guys still want a long penis just to feel good about their bodies.

Are you worried about the average or small manhood that you have stuck between your thighs? No need to be! You can make your manhood longer and thicker by engaging in natural penile enlargement exercises and taking an herbal penile enlargement pill to help speed up your gains. These two methods of penile escalation works and thousands of men like me that have gained a couple of inches in penile length and girth by using a combination of these two methods of penis enlargement.

Common Garden Pests – The Good Guys and the Bad Guys

In a perfect world you might dream of a garden that is pest free but the reality is quite different. No garden can ever be totally pest free nor should it be. There are good insects and bad insects and learning to identify the ones that are pests and the ones that are not is very important for successfully managing your garden. Before you rush to zap them it is best to know the ones that can be useful for your garden because plants need insects for pollination purposes.

In this article we take one example each from the good and the bad to demonstrate the importance of knowing what insects are good and the ones that are not.

Good insects: Lady Beetle or Ladybug Nymphs

To most gardeners the Ladybug is very welcome; it is an avid aphid eater and one of the good insects very necessary for a garden. You have to learn to recognize them because in the nymph stage they are quite unrecognizable and gardeners tend to get rid of them. It is very important to know all the stages of growth of an insect that is beneficial to your garden; this will prevent you from getting rid of the good insects along with the bad by mistake.

The Ladybug in the mature stage is quite distinctive and even a non gardening person will easily recognize them for what they are. However, in the baby stage they look more like tiny alligators, half inch in length with orange, red or white markings on them. Gardeners are alarmed by these strange looking creatures on their plants and immediately reach for the pesticide. You would be wise to take the time to check first!

Ladybugs make their appearance when spring begins; during winter they hide in tree bark, shingles and even the attic to stay dry and protected. Once springtime rolls round they start feeding and laying their eggs. One ladybug lays about a 1000 eggs and the babies start to feed as soon as they emerge from the eggs.

Here’s an interesting fact, one Ladybug (nymph) can gobble up as many as 350-400 aphids in a 3 week period. Think how useful that is to your garden. They don’t just eat aphids; they eat small scale, whitefly pupa, spider mite and thrips as well, whenever they are available. A good insect for sure!

Bad insects: Leaf Miners

Leaf miners are larva from a variety of insects and can be identified by the squiggle lines running through the leaves of the plant. Eggs laid on the leaves hatch and then the larva dig themselves into the leaf tissue and start feeding right through the leaf. These little things can do much damage to your plant and it is best to get rid of them as soon as you spot them.

The damage done to a plant by Leaf miners is seldom enough to kill the plant but if they attack the spinach in your vegetable garden that’s a loss of crop for you. It is not advisable to use insecticides to get rid of these pests. Simply remove the leaf itself. In very severe cases there are insecticides sold for Leaf miners specifically which you can use.

4 Ways to Relieve Stress and Live Longer

According to studies * stress does cause long term or chronic effects on the body. For example. Did you know that chronic stress can result in high blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat and heart failure? People with lots of stress also often have muscle pain, neck an shoulder pain and increased pain from rheumatoid arthritis. American businesses loose and estimated $ 200 – $ 300 billion dollars a year to stress related productivity loss and other costs and every week about 95 million Americans suffer some kind of stress related symptom that they take medication for.

But what is Stress exactly?

According to Lesa Burnha in her article 'Stress your worst enemy' 2004, Stress is not only a fact of life but a necessary one in small doses. Stress provides the energy boost we need to tackle life's little hurdles each day. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. Stress is a signal to the body to release chemicals that give you more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if you are in danger. But constant release of these chemicals over prolonged periods without an outlet can be bad for your health, even deadly.

Essentially there are four types of stress.

  1. Survival stress – this s the fight or flight response to physical danger. It is found in all people and animals. The body provides a burst of energy so you can survive a dangerous situation, fight, or escape, flight.
  2. Internal stress – is the stress most often caused by worry. Worry about things you have no control over is one of the most important types of stress to understand and control. Some people even get addicted to the hurried and tense lifestyle that results in chronic internal stress. These are the people that always seem to have something going on in their lives that induces stress.
  3. Environmental stress – is a reaction to things around you like constant noise, crowding and pressure at work or from family. You know how you have to have the TV or radio on when you are working. You may not realize it but that constant noise can add to your stress.
  4. Stress from overwork and tiredness – builds up over time. If you have difficulty managing your time this is a type of stress you may experience. It is also the stress that comes from an inability to relax and let go.

While a little stress is normal and necessary, constant or chronic stress, of periods of high stress from things like a foreclosure, losing a job and looking for work these days, or the loss of a loved one can cause physical and mental symptoms that extremely compound the problem as well as adding new ones.

Common Physical Symptoms of Stress include

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Stiff neck
  • Tight shoulders
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Sweating
  • Sweaty Palms
  • Upset Stomach
  • GERD or Gastriesophageal Reflux Disease
  • COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Back Pain
  • Muscle Tension
  • Constipation
  • Burping
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Chest Pain
  • Feeling Faint or Dizzy
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hives or rashes

And this is the short list.

Stress can also affect your mind and your ability to think.

Some of the effects of stress on the mind include

  • Nervousness
  • Anxiousness
  • Irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Frustration
  • Impatience
  • Forgetfulness
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble focusing or thinking clearly
  • Harder to learn new things
  • Negative thoughts
  • Accident Prone
  • Nail biting

Just to name a few.

Have I gotten your attention now?

It is no wonder people are flocking to the doctors these days to get medication to treat some of these stress related issues. Scientists know that when you are experiencing more stress than usual the Serotonin, Noradrenalin, and dopamine in the brain begin to malfunction. Serotonin helps you sleep and sets your body clock. Noradrenalin gives you energy and dopamine gives pleasure and relieves pain. Doctors will give you medicines that help your body regulate these and other chemical processes, but what are the side effects.

With the current climate of foreclosures and job scarcity it is no wonder more people are turning to the doctors for help. And, while there is little you can do to control the outside world, you can learn to control how you react to it and you can learn methods that will help you control your stress so you do not become one of the statistics.

Please REMEMBER, However, the suggestions I offer here are only a few of the things you can do. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you stop any medications you may be currently taking without considering it with your physicist first. Use of any of these methods is purely voluntary and at your own risk. If you experience symptoms that may be life threatening like diabetes, chest pain or even hives for example seek medical help immediately. Now, with that said let's try to reduce some of your stress will we.

Laughter is the Best Medicine – the ability to laugh is probably the best holistic remedy available to beat stress. Did you know that when you laugh your body releases toxins and laughter activates your immune system?

Research results ** indicate that there is a general increase in the activity of the immune system after exposure to humor. Some of these include

  • Increased number of natural killer cells that attack and kill infected cells and some types of CANCER and tumor cells.
  • Increase in activated T lymphocytes (T cells)
  • Increase in IgA or immunoglobulin A which fights infections of the upper respiratory tract
  • Increase in gamma interferon which 'turns on' various components of the immune system
  • A decrease in Stress hormones such as epinephrine that constrict blood vessels and suppress immune activity
  • Decreased levels of dopamine which involves the 'fight or flight' response

Laughter is aerobic and provides a workout for the diaphragm and increases your body's ability to utilize oxygen more effectively. Laughter is a powerful distraction from pain when used in conjunction to congenital pain management. It is also responsible for bringing on positive emotions that can enhance conventional treatments for disease.

Possibly the best thing about Laughter is that it is FREE! And it may be one of the best medicines out there.

Exercise your Stress Away – we all know exercise is good for us. It improves blood flow and tones our muscles but did you know exercise can also fight stress. Exercise increases the blood flow through the brain and helps flush away the chemicals that result from stress. It can be responsible for releasing endorphins into your blood that gives you a feeling of well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic any form of exercise can act as a stress reliever.

Exercise often is a means to escape from the everyday stress that plague us. After a good exercise session you will often find that the irritations of the day have vanished because you were concentrating on the movement of the exercise rather than the issues.

Regular exercise can improve mood and less depression as well as improving your sleep according to the Mayo Clinic. But that regular exercise does not have to be a chore. Some things you can do that may not seem like exercise but have great benefits for reducing stress are

  • Ride a bike with your kids
  • Dance, alone, with friends, or at the club. Dance is a great aerobic exercise and the added benefit to reduced stress is weight loss
  • Walking is a low impact way to exercise and the benefits are widely known. I love to walk, personally, but find it hard to just go walk. One of the things I do is try to find a place to walk to. A nearby but not next door friend, the store, or I used to walk to the school or bus stop to pick up the kids. Walking the dog is also a good habit. It will also enhance your bond with the family pet.

Speaking of Pets – get a dog or cat. Did you know that people who own pets tend to live longer. It's true. I do not think anyone really knows why, but a pet cat or dog seems to be able to calm you. Blood pressure drops and tension is relieved when you hold and pet your dog or cat. It is as if you instinctively know that you need to be calm for them, so you are. And they know when you are upset so you may often find that your pet seems to be closer to you more often when you are under a lot of stress, so take advantage of it. Take a few minutes to hold and play with Fido or Fluffy. Sorry though, fish, birds, reptiles and other pets have not been shown to have the same affects, at least not yet.

Faith and or Religion

Turn to your religion, your faith if it applies to you. A strong belief system can help you let go of the problems that seem to follow you. There is a lot of truth in the prayer, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. It is not my intention to promote any single religion or belief, only to suggest that if you have one, turning to it in times of stress can help.

Eliminate the Killer – Stress

By now you can see how stress can be a killer. It affects your mind and body. It causes you to seek out medications that have untold side effects. Personally I believe that medications can sometimes cause more harm than good. This is because I watched my grandmother go from needing one or two pills to needing a hand full to manage the side effects of the one or two she needed.

You see dozens of advertisements everyday talking about many of the symptoms I mentioned above. Any one of these can reduce your time on this earth and I for one want every minute the good lord sees fit to give me.

We all face stress every day, but there are things we can do to help alleviate it. I am not a doctor but I have had my fair share of stress and then some. My doctor told me once that I should already be due due to the levels of stress I was living with. (This was shortly after my husband died). I began to look at what I did that kept me from suffering the effect of stress that my doctor warned me about back then and I realizes that I had already intentionally learned to utilize the methods above.

I laugh loudly, sometimes too loudly, and long whenever the mood strikes me. I also try to laugh at myself as often as I can. I have always gotten my exercise through dancing and walking. At times the walking being a necessity as I struggled in my youth with 'clunkers' that was constantly breaking down and leaving me with no transportation. I have always had dogs and cats around, even as a child and I try to live by the Serenity prayer every day.

If we can learn ways to treat the day to day stress, as well as minimize chronic stress, we can reduce our tendency to suffer from many of the symptoms and diseases associated with stress like the ones I mentioned above.


Resources: * Web Md health Guide: Dr. Black, 2002 'Stress in primary care patients'. FV DeGruy et al., Eds., 20 Common Problems in Behavioral Health. Pp. 65-87. New York: McGraw-Hill

** Holistic / Humor: Thrapeutic Benefits of Laughter by Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University, CA. Sept./Oct. 1996 Issue of Humor and Health Journal.

Also – Mayo Clinic Health Manager 2010

Overcoming Social Anxiety Naturally

Social anxiety affects a great deal of people, including yours truly. I still have bouts to deal with every now and then, but I’ve used my mental faculties to overcome my own social anxiety over the course of my 29 years of life to becoming the blossoming singer and comedic actor you see today. The key in overcoming a bad habit is not to focus on the problem, nor what you can do to make it better, but to start with what it is you want to be and work from there. If you have some level of social anxiety, there’s no need to research statistics on it or seek a doctor’s help if you’re feeling okay otherwise (although it never hurts to get a doctor’s opinion, but if it doesn’t sound right to you don’t follow his or her advice).

Start with what you know. Get out a piece of paper and pen, or sit at your computer, and write out what it is you want to accomplish. Be specific, (the actual details don’t matter because this is a fantasy where the reality may just be close to it when it occurs) and make it present tense so it sounds familiar to you. For example, “I am so happy and grateful now that I have seven really good friends who I can talk to, hang out with, and go everywhere with. I have so much fun with my friends I sometimes lose track of time! We go to movies, shoe shopping, and of course to restaurants that are the hottest spots in town. Above all though, my favorite person in the world is my soul mate.

S/he and I go everywhere together, we’re even planning to go on a world cruise next year. I can go to the grocery store, buy furniture for my beautiful home, and run my life with confidence because I have a firm understanding that I live in a friendly universe.” Focus on this desire and see what things come to you, ideas that maybe you didn’t see before of things you could do to start living this type of life. Maybe it’s something as small as walking with your head forward and eyes on the horizon line, or maybe it’s attending a mixer hosted by a local charity. Whatever small steps you can take to get you in the right mindset that you do in fact not have social anxiety today will make a significant shift in your reality.

Are You Scheduling Time To Revitalize Yourself Or Making Excuses?

Do you schedule time for personal revitalization every week, every day or at least 3 times a week?

Time spent on personal revitalization brings the highest ROI (Return On Investment) for your health, well-being and ability to function optimally in mind, body and spirit. Taking ultimate care of your mental and emotional self is key to creating a well-functioning system.

Everyone is pressured for time. Yet, even with high demand careers people create time for personal revitalization.

When you set priorities for work and caring for others you need to set time for yourself.

Your health and well-being are the whole package of your inner and outer makeup. When you take care of the inside than the outside follows. In respect of your entire life, you can show love and attention to your mind. body and spirit. Human beings have a wonderful system of inter-connectivity. You can take time to get outside and breathe in nature, you can appreciate your alone time as an opportunity to switch off from external noise and reach inside to your inner being, and you can utilize all your external resources to look good on the outside too. In the rush of life and daily living, you might forget to treat yourself as the special being that you are. Here are a few ways to help you revitalize your mind, body, and spirit!

“Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success”- Swami Sivananda

1. Mind/Emotional

Your mental and emotional processes often give rise to fear, stress, and internal unrest. When you live with an outside focus everything has the ability to shake you up and cause unrest in your inner world. When you spend time reflecting, questioning, and understanding your thoughts you can give rise to a higher state of thinking. Introspection acts as your mental cleanse or reset. Your thoughts create your corresponding emotions; through a mindful and gentle place of awareness, you can uncover your thoughts and shift away what does not serve your health, vitality and emotional well-being. When you de-clutter your mind you clear your way forward.

2. Body

Your body is an amazing system; it was designed to maintain health and create recovery as needed. your body’s intrinsic power to regenerate, protect itself, and work hard each day to keep you moving is phenomenal. The majority of people take their body for granted through poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and inconsistent sleep patterns- and this only puts extra strain on your body’s revitalization system. You need to love your body and supply it with healthy nutrition, exercise and peace of mind.

Eat For Your Blood Type eliminate GMO List of GMO food – and manufactured junk food. Your body will give you signs and symptoms when a state of overall imbalance has been reached- but too often people are out of touch with their body so they don’t pay attention to early warning signs! They wait until the symptoms are intolerable–then they deposit themselves in the western medical doctor’s office and leave with a list of toxic concoctions that have negative side effects which causes more damage. The key to keep your body healthy is to listen to it. “Work, rest, play, eat healthy” – it’s a good phrase to embed into your mind… you deserve the balance of all four to live happily and healthily.

3. Spirit

Your soul needs care and nourishment too- people often bypass what they need within by spotlighting everything external instead. Your mind, body and spirit need emotional and spiritual sustenance.

When you follow your heart and ease your mind from external stress it places you at ease and greater inner harmony. Nurturing your inner being encompasses a holistic approach to health. You can take time to do things that you love and enjoy and spend time with those you love. You can feed your soul with beautiful and uplifting music or by reading a great book. You can show gratitude for all the wonder of nature that you are surrounded with, just by stopping for a little while to draw it all in. Take time when needed and embrace who you truly are!

Small things that you do daily toward your overall wellness encompass the bigger picture. We are all a work in progress, improving as we learn!

Natural Skin Care Products

As more people are becoming aware of the effect of pesticides and synthetic ingredients on our environment and health, more women are interested in using natural skin care products. With the increasing demand comes more broadly available natural skin care products which may be chemical-free, completely organic, or even vegan. It is estimated that, during a normal skin care treatment, a woman's skin, hair and nails come in contact with over 100 chemicals, many of them harmful to health. In her lifetime, the average woman will ingest around four pounds of lipstick, and lipstick can contain tar, aluminum and many other poisonous or carcinogenic substances. Therefore, natural skin care products are more in demand these days, as awareness of health increases.

Natural skin care products are available in the following forms:

· Cosmetics
· Shampoos and conditioners
· Cleansers
· Skin conditioners
· Skin toners and hydrators

There are also natural perfumes, moisturizers and skin treatments. Natural and organic cosmetics are free of synthetic dyes and the color can be obtained through plants and minerals. They usually have a shelf shelf-life than conventional cosmetics, and should be replaced often. Natural cosmetics are available as foundations, lipsticks, eyeliners and other beautifying products. Many natural cosmetics use animal products such as beeswax and lanolin, and vegans, those who avoid animal products completely, should find cosmetics using vegetable oils such as palm and shea butter.

Many consumers of natural beauty products enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy along with cleansing and conditioning their skin and hair. Aromatherapy is the art of affecting one's sense of well-being through the use of essential oils from flowers and herbs. Some blends stimulate while others relax. Many natural skin care products are available in sets which include a shower gel, soap, shampoo and conditioner, a scrub and cologne. Orange, bergamot and cedar have stimulating effects and refresh the skin. Many report a tingling sensation after using natural citrus and cedar products. Jasmine and Ylang-Ylang soothes and prevents stress.

Natural skin care products are usually made of bases and essential oils. Depending on the product, the base may be a wax or a cream made of moisturizing oils and plant butters. Unrefined shea butter from Africa is a common choice and Tamanu from Madagascar is prized for its soothing properties. The best essential oils are expeller pressed, which means that they are extracted without chemical solvents. The bases and oils are combined to produce skin creams, cleansers, perfumes and lipsticks.

Skin masks and treatments are in-depth processes and require several types of natural skin care products for an entire treatment. Mud masks may contain real, vitamin-rich mud or clay from certain regions of the world known for producing nourishing products. A mask, which draws out the impurities from the skin and improvements circulation, is usually followed by a hydrating spray. Rosewater is often used for this purpose, because of its nourishing and moisturizing properties. The skin is cleaned using a scrub, made of crushed peach pits or another rough material that sloughs off dead cells. Cleansers are used according to one's skin type; those with dry skin may use a cleanser with a fruit such as avocado or banana, and those with oily-skin or acne find tea tree oil cleanser to be quite effective. A moisturizer completes the treatment, and is made of oils from plants such as cocoa or palm that gently add moisture without clogging the pores.

One should be careful when purchasing natural skin care products. Many conventional skin care products claim to have natural ingredients, but this may mean that they use a bit of a plant or an herb, and the other 95% of the lotion is made of chemicals. Read the label to ensure that the products you are using are all-natural, if this is important to you, and work with a company that you trust.

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