Increase the Fiber in Your Diet For Good Health

Experts recommend at least 30 grams of fiber per day in your diet for good health. As you attempt to increase your fiber intake make sure you eat the right foods to increase it gradually. In this article we will discuss the types of food you can eat to help you get the fiber you need.

Cereals and grains provide a good source of fiber – check the label and select a cereal that provides at least 4 grams per serving – this is a great way to get your day started. Wheat bran can be added to supplement a breakfast cereal, yogurt or salad for extra fiber.

Fresh or frozen vegetables can be another good source of fiber – they can be added to all sorts of dishes, from soups to pizza, they add a flavorful bounty of fiber to any dish.

Whole wheat breads and pasta are another good source of fiber, just making this switch from more refined forms of wheat will help you get the intake you need.

Add fresh fruit to cereal, pancakes, yogurt – you will be surprised at how this natural source makes foods naturally sweeter and more enjoyable. Fruit is naturally lower in calories than sugar, as well.

Beans and lentils are also great sources of dietary fiber – great in soups, over salads and in mexican dishes, you'll find plenty of fiber here.

Once you get used to reading labels and planning your meals, finding the fiber you need will be easy. Just remember to drink plenty of water!

Experts do not generally recommend supplements since you can easily get the fiber you need from healthy food choices.

Walking For Weight Loss – A Great Way to Lose Pounds

Many people jump into losing weight expecting immediate results. Even more people begin a program that is much too difficult to achieve at their current level of physical and mental state. There is an old saying, "if you want to eat an elephant, do it one bite at a time". There is much truth to this.

As a person gets older, it becomes even more difficult to just jump into a program for weight loss. First, your body just does not take to lifting weights the way it used to when you're out of shape. It can also be very unhealthy to jump into a training training program or running or jogging routine for your joints and back. Although it would not bother someone who has probably been doing it for many years, those who are finally deciding that enough is enough and getting into a weight loss program are just not healthy enough to withstand the force and strain that is put on their bodies .

Walking for weight loss is a great way to get started. It gets your heart pumping and causes less trauma to the ankles and knees. It increases digestion and contributions to a healthier digestive system which in turn contributes to weight loss. No says that you have to keep walking, ever your body will grow accustomed to walking and you will need to increase your intensity to the next level by increasing speed or distance to you walk and initially begin jogging or perhaps trading off between walking and some type of resistance training that does not strain your joints. Pilates and yoga are two great ways to enhance walking for weight loss.

Eating the proper foods and controlling the amount of food you eat at one sitting is also a great way to enhance your diet program. Even if you never wish to jog or run, walking can continue to help you achieve your weight loss goals and increase your health while maintaining pain free muscles and joints because there is little or no impact on the joints.

The point in any diet program is that you get healthy and walking is a great way to start.

How to Avoid Surgical Mistakes

There are some horrendous surgical mistakes that have been made, from removal of healthy limbs to death. Things that should never have happened somehow did, destroying the lives of not only the victims but also all of the hospital people involved. There is a system of checks and balances in place, wherey everyone involved is supposed to be checking name, chart, etc, to ascertain right patient-right organ-right surgery-right medicine-right time-right date and more. So how do these awful mistakes happen then?

Usually when a mistake is made it is because everyone involved somehow made a mistake at a critical point. Sometimes the patient actually compounds the mistake by answering in the affirmative to someone else's name or being afraid to speak up when the doctor verbalizes what is about to occurrence – and it's wrong. Sometimes the patient has a horrible feeling that they should not allow the surgery to go on but they are afraid to say anything, fearing they will be labeled as hysterical.

The way to avoid becoming the victim of a surgical mishap is to be very proactive in your own care. One could even go so far as labeling the correct area for the surgery, such as "cut here". It also helps to have a friend or family member present to double-check the proceedings. If a leg is to be removed and the nurse washes the opposite leg and coats it in betadine, someone had better start screaming "THAT'S THE WRONG LEG!" Everyone gets distracted and we are all busy busy nowdays, with too many things going on at once. No one intends to cause harm but it sure can happen fast.

The other part of being careful has to do with the mind. Researchers have found that telling someone "do not" does not work because the subconscious mind hears "do". The explanation is that negatives such as "no" and "not" are the equivalent of numerical zero … they do not really exist. You can test this out easily by telling someone "do not forget …" and watch them forget. Try the opposite of "please remember to …." and see how much better they remember. So in the example above, the leg to be removed would have the label "Remove this leg" and the good leg would have "Wrong leg-it's the other one" or "bad leg" and "good leg". The next step would be to show each person involved, from the order, nurse and clerk to the surgeon and anesthesiologist, while saying "this is the leg to be removed" (and avoid saying 'and not this one'). Make sure if you use a marker that it is a special surgical marking pen (non-toxic ink).

Further consideration may be prudent in the area of ​​astrology and numerology. Whether you believe in them or not, the simple facts are that having important things done on days that are good for the individual usually results in success. In numerology, those with certain lifepath numbers do best on days that add up to one of their good numbers sets: 1-5-7, 2–4-8, 3-6-9. One would also want the numbers of day / month / year to be in that set. For example a number 8 lifepath would do best on a day that added to 8, such as 2-24-00 or 4-20-02. A 'good' day would be something that added up to 8 but may have numbers from another set, such as 4-20-11. In the case of astrology one would want to be sure that the signs lined up for success on the day and in the hour the surgery is scheduled to start.

It's fair to wonder why a physician would pay attention to such things as numerology, astrology, feng shui and other of the energy arts. Some of us have just seen enough proof of some kind of influence there, beyond our belief systems, to realize that it does not hurt anything to pay attention. After all, we are dealing with the life, livelihood, and happiness of another person. We are entrusted with their health and bear some degree of responsibility, depending on how much is being done. It just makes sense for all involved to do everything in their power to make sure that whatever is done turns out successfully. The patient and their family or friends is just as responsible, if not more so … your Life, your responsibility .

© 2010 Dr.Valerie Olmsted All Rights Reserved

Breast Pumps

A breast pump is a mechanical device that can be used to extract milk for later use from a lactating woman. The way a breast pump works is similar to a milking machine used in commercial dairy production.

Extracted breast milk can be stored so that someone else can feed the baby by bottle. Sometimes the breasts produce more milk than the infant can consume. A breast pump can be used in these instances when the breasts become engorged preventing proper latching by the infant. Breast pumping relieves pressure in the breasts. Also, this can be used when some babies can not latch properly for direct breastfeeding even though the mother wants the benefits of breast milk. A breast pump stimulates lactation in women and can be used to continue lactation to recover from pregnancy even when the pumped milk is not used.

Breast pumps come in a variety of models, the most popular being the manual pump where the woman can directly control the pressure and frequency of pumps and the battery-operated pumps. However, electrically powered pumps are now gaining in popularity. Some breast pumps are designed so that the portion of the pump is the baby bottle used for feeding. Another popular design available on the market is the Hands-Free pump.

It is suggested to start using a breast pump to provide stimulation immediately after the delivery. A hospital-grade double electric breast pump can be used until the supply is well established. The hospital's NICU can provide the details regarding the rental of the hospital-grade breast pump. For the first couple of weeks it is advised to use a breast pump 8 to 10 times within a 24-hour period. Frequent stimulation Establishes a good supply. So, initially, pump around the clock, although at night go for slightly longer periods between sessions. Initially, ten to twelve minutes per pumping session is enough. Even though much colostrum or milk is not expressed in the first few days, the supply will increase over the next several days with dedicated pumping.

The hospital's NICU will provide the instructions on storing and transporting the milk to the baby bottles. Please follow the guidelines to avoid passing infections to the baby. Sterile collection bottles and sterilized pump kit is a safe option. Even in the hospital, deliver the expressed breast milk as often as possible.

It is important to use the breast pump at least 6 to 8 times per day that the mother is able to start direct breastfeeding. Decrease the length of pumping by a couple of minutes if the supply becomes extremely large. However, frequent stimulation is necessary. Even when the baby's intake is low, as in the cases of premature babies, milk production needs to continue on as though the baby was born full-term.

Demystifying Spa – Erotica Versus Mindful Healing

The Spa Industry has emerged significantly as a luxurious elite lifestyle sector and woos funds from top business circles. It has turned the tradition of the personal masseur into a licensed licensed and accredited body of professionals that demonstrate strength in management of ethics, hygiene, comfort, care and pleasure in a healing framework. It is based essentially on applications of hydrotherapy as a form of natural wellness, programmed in socially aligned markets, yet merges in practice with the massage therapy industry. The mixed identity belongs to the involvement of the liability category.

Spas and bathing houses as hammams, were known over the ages in Rome and Turkey, to have deteriorated from community bathing ideals into licentiousness, scandal and promiscuity. They never escaped their image of community notoriety. Massage in Bangkok was used as a prop to attract customers and tourists into deviant styles of eroticism and casual intimacy against fees. Many big cities had their sleazy dens of erotic massage on sale or under cover. The spa industry at its exorbitant cost, struggled to grow officially despite tricks to the trade and a parallel less community of trafficking, where young girls were taught the trade and bartered. Hygiene and safety invited huge investments viz regulators, sometimes to minimize contagious venereal diseases that spread around the world.

Standards and Accreditation boards united to define this powerful industry, which became compulsory for top end hotels to own. Hygiene, safety, ethics, boundaries, environment, dressing code, privacy laws and laws against sexual harassment to therapists have since been well documented. Massage and hydrotherapy systems have been standardized for arrangement of training and therapist skills requirements. Industry objectives and definitions have been marked for individual interests and for global values. This has formed the basis for spa management and business, financial forecasts, expenditure and recovery.

It sees the tyranny of the underworld was overlooked as the controls to the spa markets remained with the erotic component more than with the regulators. Spa therapies progressed in its research and potential for healing and has been organized in advanced scientific category as alternative medicine. This latter industry associates to doctors, physical therapists, healthcare workers and researchers. Their systems and metrics, disposition, skills, study and activities were visible to the public. Therapy has a market service value in relation to the expertise of the practitioner, rather than in relation to the cost of the spa landscape. Accreditors have managed institutional programs based on academic merit. Spas generally have offered in house, branded courses for their employees to train in their company standards. Their therapists are young with only basic skills to manage standard operating procedures. They are not arranged to assessment and therapy at clinical levels.

Spa therapies cover practices of basic Swedish massage and also of massage traditions as ayurveda, balinese, thai, shiatsu and reflexology. These massages have been arranged into services in spa menus that support wellness and a luxurious lifestyle. Pools, aqua aerobics, watsu, jacuzzi; s, chill pools, steam baths, sauna, jet baths, dry floatations and many other packages are common territory. Some spas have the capacity to meet with the higher ordeals of therapy rituals and transform the clients body-mind through touch therapy, nutrition, zen meditation, music and yoga.

Spas also may offer sports massage, lymphatic drainage massage, cranio sacral therapy, deep tissue massage and neuromuscular massage therapy that provide scientific support for medical management. This is arranged with privacy, comfort, specialized assessment and predictable recovery in a time managed solution.

Spa often merges with the beauty industry where its place is significantly controlled. Beauty services for face, hair and body, are based through dermatological and cosmeceutical infusions handled manually. Standards for equipment, towels, body wraps, scrubs, products, display, space, tray and therapist grooming is clearly marked. Spa woos and retains customers through its advanced hospitality systems. Corporate controls are thorough and exact based on their goals. A zen spa will show organizational alignment to healing rituals, zen space, mindful living and mastery of treatment through the tsubo.

As the field continues to grow and attract clients, awareness improvements. Expensive therapies filter out the nuisances created by common man practices that are unhygienic, community based, public and cheap. Health farms and other categories of healing trades have emerged to eradicate the erotica and myth from the industry. Therapists have combined to list directories of capable, qualified practitioners, and have arranged forums for their business to remain impactful.

Spa Industry influencers should work towards elevating the consciousness of humanity, and diverting them from the lower frequencies of existence. Free webinars, rewards, business support and recognition, and accreditation may support accomplishing this. Laws may be enforced to penalize perverse practices. This is within the scope of modern ideals. Yet it remains a puzzle why the commander in control remains an alien.

What Your Small Health Care Business Needs to Know About Insurance

Are you a small health care business? Every small business entity understands that risk exposure is part and parcel to putting up shop, but those in the health care fields know it on a larger scale. Lawsuits in regard to professional liability and general or what other is known as property liability are but one of the hazards to understand and acquire tailor protection from.

Other forms of coverage that may be necessary include:

• Workers compensation
• Umbrella as well as Excess Liability Insurance
• Management Liability Insurance

Working together with an independent insurance agency that deals with many of the top carriers who have strong financial backing and operate in the country and abroad is one way to zero in on appropriate coverage.

Doing so will also give you the opportunity to purchase a package business owners insurance plan that groups various shielding pieces of coverage together to get you optimum protection at a significantly discounted premium.

Underscoring all of the above of course is the wonderful sense of peace of mind that comes along with insurance coverage – peace of mind that allows you to concentrate on running your small medical business without the intrinsic worry of all things risky.

What type of small healthcare business can avail itself to insurance specifically designed with the industry's needs in the forefront?

The following related businesses can find tailor coverage that is so necessary to the field:

• Medical offices
• Clinics
• Imaging centers hubs
• Physical therapy and rehab centers
• Medical and dental labs
• Dentists

If you are part of any of these specific health care enterprises, you may be an eligible insurance class:

• Acupuncture professional
• Ambulatory surgery center
• Cardiac lab
• Chiropractic doctor
• Community health center
• Convenience care clinic
• Dentists' office
• Dialysis treatment centers
• Employee or occupational health clinic
• Health practitioners' offices
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
• Lithostripsy Center
• Medical spa
• Mental health and substance abuse outpatient center
• Nurse practitioner clinician
• Optometrists' offices
• Oral surgeon office
• Pain management center
• Physical, physiotherapist and occupational therapists
• Podiatrists' offices
• Psychiatrists
• Psychologists
• Rehab, cardiac, outpatient facilities
• Sleep centers
• Smoking clinics
• Speech therapy offices
• Student health centers
• Vascular access center
• Weight loss center, nonsurgical weight loss clinics
• X-ray, radiology or imaging labs

To be sure, any related industry should first consult with an experienced independent agent before assuming they will be accepted for coverage. In addition, speaking with a knowledgeable indemnity professional will help him or her in understanding your needs while giving you a precious the opportunity to learn more about the coverage you require as well as the options out there.

Digital Medicine Platform for Treatment of Cognitive Disorder

Akili, a pioneer in therapeutic prescription digital medicine has closed successfully it’s $55 million financing Series C trial of medicine. This funding follows a successful trial, including study, developing and testing a novel digital medicine named AKL- T01. This flagship product of Akili aimed to treat a type of cognitive disorder- attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Once approved and launched commercially, it would be the first digital and standalone therapeutic medicine for ADHD. Company’s other product in the pipeline and research, AKL-T02 will treat autism spectral disorder (ASD) or what simply known as autism.

Autism refers to another type of cognitive disorder, particularly in children, making them difficult to interact socially. The repetitive behavior and underdeveloped speech and verbal communication render them vulnerable in society. The reason behind autism could be genetic as well as environmental influence.

The above news has brought in a new ray of hope for an autism patient where there is no specific traditional medicine is available for its cure. This new development has the potential for treating this disorder, probably with more efficiency.

This funding will also help to advance products in the pipeline for treating multi sclerosis (MS) and depression. After approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it will be launched commercially for the patients. According to Akili AKL-T01 would be a standalone treatment for ADHD.

The company’s founder and CEO Eddie Martucci is quite happy with the response of investors and welcomed the financing. He said this financing indicates faith of people in his company’s potential in digital medicines and growth. According to him, the company will continue to grow and supply novel solutions in the redefined healthcare sector.

Akini Interactive is a company who believes in transforming healthcare through its digital therapeutics medicine solving Neuro-cognitive disorders. It believes in targeting specific cognitive area or nerve which has been suppressed by the dysfunction. The treatment includes, interestingly, not any pill, but customized action video games for patients to play.

Video games are designed by neuroscientists and entertainer engineered with algorithms to treat a cognitive disorder like depression. According to the company, highly-interactive and highly engaging games provide a therapeutic experience to patients which actually benefit them. Through high-end therapeutics interactive video games, the specific regions of the brain could become functional which has been suppressed by the disorder, improving the condition of the patient. There would second by second tracking of patient’s cognitive response and data available for any improvement in the patient’s condition.

AKL- T01 if approved by the FDA and then it would certainly indicate towards the acceptance of new healthcare solutions for patients. It has the capability to transform the whole healthcare process and system in coming years. This funding will boost the confidence of other investors, which are planning to invest or come together for such digital medicine research and development in the future and those patients who are searching for new areas to treat disorders like autism could be more than happy to read such positive news.

BPO Health Watch – Understanding and Overcoming Health Threats

A dramatic increase in the number of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus / Acquired Immuno-deficiency Syndrome (HIV / AIDS) cases was seen in the last quarter of 2009 and first few months of 2010. Confirmed cases rose from 528 in 2008 to an alarming 709 cases last year. In November 2009 alone, the number of cases went as high as 80. According to the Department of Health (DOH), majority of the HIV infected individuals are sex workers, homosexuals, drug addicts and call center agents.

The escalating number of HIV cases in the Philippine BPO service provider industry, especially in call centers is just one of the many health threats that BPO workers encounter. Ever since the start of the industry in the Philippines, it was already linked with health problems due to its nature. Among other common health problems include stress, physical pains and sleep deprivation among others.

Truth be told, the nature of Philippine BPO service jobs is unlike the nature of most jobs. Call centers for example require graveyard shift employees to cater the needs of US clients (US having entirely different time zone from the Philippines). This demand makes employees work during nights and cope with sleep at day– a totally abnormal situation for many. For a fact, sleep during the day is entirely different from having it at night causing bodily disorders for some. Sleep deprivation causes stress, weakening of the immune system and upset mental processes which results to confusion, loss of memory, mode shifts, and irritability. And these personal struggles could gravely affect one's social and family life.

Yes, it may be that BPO jobs in the Philippines pose health threats to employees but it is also noteworthy that any other job also has their own set of health-related and safety issues. Construction and hazardous industries workers, for example, are continuously exposed to danger while those in the armed forces are close to criminal elements that may endanger their lives and families. Fact is, danger and health risks can be anywhere and everywhere.

What makes the difference, however, is the way these threats are being addressed and the kind of preventive methods that company and individuals practice. Understanding these threats and devising ways to avoid them is very important as much as self-discipline and common sense.

Philippine BPO service provider companies can greatly help in the promotion of a healthy and safe workplace. Some companies today are studying ways to provide welfare facilities for their employees. Stress Debriefing programs, intensified health care benefits, regular medical check-ups, counseling programs and others can greatly help personal, health and mental burdens of workers. As for sexually-related issues, raising high ethical and moral standards in the company as well as installation of surveillance cameras can help avoid sexual encounters in the workplace thus, minimizing the possibilities of STDs among workers. Above all, maintaining a clean working environment is the most important.

The government should make necessary actions to promote health and safety in the rising Philippine BPO industry. A law that regulates workplace safety in companies should be made and ensure that every company complies with the standards. Another ideal act would be the conducting of regular inspections in work areas.

Still, nothing beats personal discipline and good hygiene to protect one's self from diseases and sickness that can be acquired in the workplace. A careful study and adjustment to the lifestyle of a BPO worker is very important. It is also helpful to talk the matter over with friends and family to limit their expectations. High ethical sensitivity is also significant to get rid of temptations. If absence is hard for you, then stick to partners that you personally know and practice same sex. Finally, one has to have a common sense to regulate his life regularly irregular situations. Get as much sleep as you can, cover your room's windows with blankets to make a night-like environment; eat healthy foods; healthy lifestyle and regular exercise. It is also best to submit yourself to a regular medical check-up to administrator medication if and when necessary.

The Impact and Consequences of AIDS/HIV in India

The impact and consequences of AIDS/HIV in India

Whenever AIDS has won, stigma, shame, distrust, discrimination and apathy was on its side. Every time AIDS has been defeated, it has been because of trust, openness, dialogue between individuals and communities, family support, human solidarity, and the human perseverance to find new paths and solutions.” – Michel Sidibé, Executive Director, UNAIDS

What are AIDS and HIV?

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by a virus called HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The disease changes the immune system, making people very vulnerable to infections and diseases. This vulnerability gets worse as the syndrome progresses, sometimes with fatal results.

HIV is a virus: Specifically, HIV is the virus, which attacks the T-cells (CD-4 cells) in the immune system.

AIDS is a medical condition: AIDS is the syndrome, which appears at an advanced stage of the HIV infection.

The HIV infection can cause AIDS to develop but it is possible to be infected with HIV without developing AIDS. However, without treatment, the HIV infection can progress and, eventually, develop into AIDS in most cases. Once an AIDS diagnosis is made, it will always be a part of a patient’s medical history.

What causes HIV and AIDS?

A retrovirus that infects the vital organs and cells of the human immune system, HIV develops in the absence of antiretroviral therapy (ART) – a drug therapy that slows, and can prevent, the growth of new HIV viruses.

The rate of virus progression in various individuals differs widely, depending on many factors including:

  • Age
  • The body’s ability to defend itself against HIV
  • Access to healthcare
  • Other infections the patient may have
  • The person’s genetic inheritance
  • Resistance to certain strains of HIV
  • Other factors

How is HIV transmitted?

Sexual transmission: Contact with infected sexual fluids (rectal, genital, or oral mucous membranes) while having unprotected sex with someone infected with HIV

Perinatal transmission: A mother can pass the infection on to her child during childbirth, pregnancy and breastfeeding

Blood transfusion: Transmission of HIV through blood transfusion is extremely low in developed countries, thanks to meticulous screening and precautions. This is often not the case in the developing world

Early symptoms of HIV infection

Many people with HIV have no symptoms for several months, or even years, after being infected. Others may develop symptoms similar to flu, usually two to six weeks after being infected by the virus. The symptoms of early HIV infection may include fever, chills, joint pains, muscle aches, sore throat, sweats (particularly at night), enlarged glands, red rash, tiredness, general weakness and weight loss.

Myths and facts about HIV and AIDS

There are many misconceptions about HIV and AIDS which are not based on scientific and medical facts. The virus CANNOT be transmitted by:

  • shaking hands
  • hugging
  • casual kissing
  • sneezing
  • touching unbroken skin
  • using the same toilet
  • sharing towels
  • sharing cutlery
  • mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or other forms of “casual contact”

Is there treatment for AIDS and HIV?

Currently, there is no vaccine or cure for HIV, but certain treatments have evolved which are much more effective and better tolerated – improving the patients’ general health and quality of life considerably – by just taking one pill a day.

Certain treatments can slow the course of the condition, allowing most infected people the opportunity to live long and relatively healthy lives. Starting HIV antiretroviral treatment early is crucial. According to the World Health Organization’s guidelines, issued in June 2013, early treatment improves the quality of life, extends life expectancy and reduces the risk of transmission.

How can HIV be prevented?

To prevent being infected with HIV, medical professionals advise taking the following precautions:

Avoid the dangers of unprotected sex: Having sex without a condom can put a person at risk of being infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Drug abuse and needle sharing: Intravenous drug use is an important factor in HIV transmission, especially in developed countries. Sharing needles can expose users to HIV and other viruses, such as hepatitis C.

Body fluid exposure: Exposure to HIV can be prevented by employing precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to contaminated blood. Healthcare workers should use barriers (gloves, masks, protective eyewear, shields and gowns).

Pregnancy: Some treatments can harm the unborn child. To protect the baby’s health, delivery through caesarean section may be necessary. HIV-infected mothers should not breastfeed.

The importance of education: This is an important factor in reducing risky behaviour that results in HIV/AIDS.

Social stigma associated with AIDS

Fear surrounding the growing HIV epidemic in the 1980s persists even today. At the time, since very little was known about HIV and how it is transmitted, the disease scared people because of their fear of being infected.

This fear, to this day, means that lots of people still believe that HIV and AIDS:

  • Still ends in death
  • The syndromes’ association with behaviours that large numbers of people still disapprove of – such as homosexuality, drug use, sex work or infidelity
  • That the syndrome is transmitted through sex, which is a taboo subject in some cultures
  • The infection is because of personal irresponsibility or moral flaws that deserve to be punished
  • False information about how the virus is transmitted, giving rise to irrational behaviour and misconceptions about personal risk

What is the level of awareness about AIDS in India?

According to a comprehensive survey undertaken by UNDP post 2005, “HIV and AIDS are a serious challenge for the developing as well as the developed world. India, with an estimated 5.206 million people living with HIV in 2005, accounts for nearly 69 percent of the HIV infections in the South and South-East Asian region. This is despite it being a low prevalence country with an overall adult HIV prevalence rate of 0.91 percent.”

“India has six high prevalence states: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Manipur and Nagaland. Of these Andhra Pradesh has recorded the highest prevalence of two percent among the antenatal clinic attendees and 22.8 percent among STD clinic attendees in 2005. Given the overall low prevalence of HIV, focus so far has been on studying the AIDS/HIV impact at the level of the individual and households“, the survey emphasises.

In conclusion, we quote studies carried out by the World Bank Group in 2012, “The Government of India estimates that about 2.40 million Indians are living with HIV (1.93-3.04 million) with an adult prevalence of 0.31% (2009). Children (<15 years) account for 3.5% of all infections, while 83% are the in age group 15-49 years. Of all HIV infections, 39% (930,000) are among women. India’s highly heterogeneous epidemic is largely concentrated in only a few states – in the industrialized south and west, and in the north-east. The four high prevalence states of South India (Andhra Pradesh – 500,000, Maharashtra – 420,000, Karnataka – 250,000, Tamil Nadu – 150,000) account for 55% of all HIV infections in the country. West Bengal, Gujarat, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are estimated to have more than 100,000 PLHA each and together account for another 22% of HIV infections in India.

A Guide to Fruits that Increase Testosterone

Diet and Testosterone….

Are you searching for ways to boost your testosterone levels naturally? Have you looked at your diet?

The following is a collection of tips from doctors, scientists and fitness experts about a healthy diet for optimum testosterone production, including lots of foods and even fruits that increase testosterone production.

Testosterone is produced by the body and is not found in the food we eat; however, certain foods lead to testosterone production and better blood circulation, which carries the testosterone to the appropriate organ, while other foods should be avoided.

So foods that encourage testosterone production may be called — for lack of a better term — testosterone food sources.

Testosterone Food Sources

Include:

Zinc: The best source of dietary zinc is meat. The best meat choice is the white meat of chicken. The best fish choice is salmon. For vegetarians, choose peanuts or beans. No fruits that increase testosterone in this category, because plant sources of zinc are harder for the body to use and are not good testosterone food sources.

Vitamin A: essential for the normal function of the reproductive organs. Lots of fruits that increase testosterone in this category: apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, pineapple and citrus fruits, just to name a few. Other food sources of Vitamin A include fish (salmon, again), leafy greens (spinach) and brightly colored vegetables like tomatoes, red peppers and yellow squash.

Hope you like salmon, because other than being an excellent source of Vitamin A and zinc, as well as protein, fish oil is said to keep SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) levels lower. When testosterone runs into SHBG in the blood stream, it becomes attached to it, and then can’t interact with any of the body’s cells.

The net effect of testosterone that is attached to SHBG is the same as a lack of testosterone since it is prevented from having any impact on the body. Salmon might be your number one testosterone food source followed closely by oysters which are naturally rich in zinc.

Diet and Testosterone

Avoid:

The following foods are not testosterone friendly food and drink sources: fried foods, sugar and caffeine over stimulate the adrenals, which produce some testosterone. Over stimulating the adrenals leads to “adrenal exhaustion”, means they are not going to produce testosterone or anything else.

So a breakfast of hash browns, toast with jelly and coffee with cream and sugar would have pretty much everything in it that you want to AVOID if you are looking for testosterone food sources.

In conclusion, a healthy diet and testosterone production go hand in hand.

It is not possible to include here all of the good testosterone food sources or even all of the fruits that increase testosterone.

Consult a nutritionist or dietician for a personal plan that addresses your individual needs.

In the meantime, for breakfast tomorrow have an egg omelet (egg yolk contains cholesterol which testosterone is made from) with tomatoes and red peppers (sources of Vitamin A) and orange juice to drink. Follow that up with some alfalfa-sprout toast (alfalfa is said to be a sexual stimulant) and some fresh apples, pineapples or other fruits that increase testosterone and you are sure to have a good start to your day.

Depression – Causes and Treatments

Depression has long been considered a character flaw indicative of morally weak minded individuals. However, new research clearly shows that depression has distinct biochemical roots that affect the way nerve cells work. It is an illness which can be accurately diagnosed and treated successfully in the vast majority of cases. Through the recognition of causes and knowledge of the treatments, those suffering from depression are able to preserver and overcome their illness.

Depression can be described in terms of a physical imbalance in the brain which may cause, or be caused by various psychological conditions. The physical imbalance refers to an abnormally high or low level of hormones in the brain. These hormones may include, but are not limited to, the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The unusual levels of these chemicals may be inherited, which is part of the reason why depression tends to run in families.

A psychological condition is basically the emotional state of a person which leads them into depression. A few common conditions are guilty, loneliness, anxiety, and sadness. Guilt can be experienced by all age groups, but is especially common among the elderly who have the so-called "survivors guilt" for outliving their loved ones. Loneliness is also a common emotional problem of the elderly, and adults in general. According to Dr. Robert Butler MD, author of Aging and Mental Health 1991, "children tend to fear being left alone in a threatening and uncertain world, while adults fear emotional isolation."

Depressive psychological conditions can also be a result of traumatic emotional losses and low self esteem. Profound trauma in early childhood such as physical or sexual abuse, a bitter divorce, the death of a parent, or other deeply disturbing experiences can set the emotional stage for depression later in life. Low self esteem can raise children and last into adulthood. Usually caused by unpleasant experiences, such as taunting by peers, which typically lowers the feeling of self worth.

Depression may be treated using a variety of different methods which are divided into two main divisions: antidepressant medications, and non-drug therapies. Antidepressant medications work by rebalancing the offset chemicals in the brain, thus improving emotional well being. As reported in Drug Facts and Comparisons 1999, all antidepressants are equally effective; elevating mood in 60% to 80% of people who use them as directed. (statistics) MAO inhibitors are among the oldest antidepressants currently in use. They work by interfering with the enzyme monoamine oxidase, which helps clear serotonin and dopamine from the spaces between nerve endings in the brain. SSRI's are such drugs as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. In addition to treating depression they may also help treat anxiety, panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bulimia. As stated in the Medical Tribune 1996, SSRI's work by selectively keeping nerve cells from eliminating the neurotransmitter serotonin.

Non-drug therapies offer many alternatives to antidepressant medication. Cognitive therapy – also called cognitive restructuring – teachers people to first identify and then correct depressed thinking. Many people tend to distort and over magnify small mistakes, and cognitive therapy helps them downplay these minor problems. "You can not talk yourself out of depression, but you can stop talking yourself deeper into it." Quote by Dr. Michael Castleman, author of Cognitive Therapy 1979. One of the most common non-drug therapies is exercise. Research indicates that exercise can improve mood, relieve anxiety, improve appetite, and increase self esteem. "Exercise helps normalize the chemical imbalances in the brain linked to depression", says Dr. Steven Zarit in book Mental Disorders in Adults 1998. Another popular treatment is Psychotherapy. Long-term Freudian psychoanalysis has been largely replaced by short-term "talk therapies." In the NIMH study, nearly half of those patients with mild to moderate depression reported significant improvement after 16 weeks.

In cases of severe depression where antidepressants prove ineffective, ETC, or Electroconvulsive therapy, is an option. ETC involves the brief application of electric stimulus used to produce a generalized seizure. Despite the controversy over this treatment, it has been shown to improve the condition of 85% of patients with severe depression. Stuart Yudofsky, MD, says: "When used properly, ECT is safe and effective." Unfortunately, because of fear of electricity, and the inaccurate ways ECT has been portrayed in movies and on television, many people who could benefit from it do not consider it. "

People are very complicated physically and emotionally. Whatever the conditions which lead to depression involve deep emotional scares from the past or a form of disillusionment in the present, there are treatments that can offer relief and absolutely a cure.

All You Need To Know About A Bee's Nest

Bees hide in a bee's nest. You can find about 20,000 different species of bees in the world. They exist in colonies and there are three types of bees in each colony. There are the queen bee, the worker bee and the drone. Only the queen bee can reproduce and both the queen and the worker bee are female whereas all the drones are male. The queen's only job is to lay eggs and the drone's job is to mate with the queen. The worker bee cleans the hive, collects pollen and nectar to feed the colony and they also take care of the offspring.

Bees store the venom in a sac that is attached to their stinger and only the females can sting. That is because the stinger is part of the female bees' reproductive system. A queen bee uses her stinger to lay eggs as well as sting.

A bee's nest consist of a spherical chamber with only a single exit. The queen forms a small mound of pollen paste in the middle of the nest. After making the mound, she lays several eggs in it and seals it with a small dome of wax. She then constructs a hemispherical wax cup, which is called a honey pot in the entrance way floor and fills it with nectar. The queen fills it with nectar so that she can feed on this nectar while she incubates the eggs. Then the newly hatched larvae partially occupy the paste in their cells. Over a period of time the queen feeds the larvae through a small opening in the cell wall. Once the larvae grows completely they spin cocoons in which they metamorphose. Finally they emerge as the first workers of the new colony. Subsequently, larvae are reared by these new workers in individual cells. Note a bumble bee nest is slightly different from a honey bee nest.

The bumble bee nest is not organized into flat vertical combs like that of the honey bees. Its nest grows into a mound of capsule like cells. By the end of summer the queen bee begins to lay unfertilized eggs that develop into drones. Whereas the female offspring produced at this time become new queens and mating takes place soon afterwards. After a period of time the drones and workers die and the new mated queens fly off in search of safe places to build new bees nest and hibernate.

Supplements for Nasal Allergy and Sinus Infection Patients

Nasal allergy is a quite common illness that everyone can have it. It is caused by the exposure of the individual to the various types of allergens such as pollen, fungus, mold, dust mites, certain foods, latex, animal dander, volatile chemicals and others. When allergens were inhaled into the nasal cavity, it penetrated mucosal membrane and came to contact with blood serum. Individual with Immunoglobulin-A antibody deficiency will easily let the allergens penetrate mucosal barrier because of immunoglobulin-A antibody increases the mucosal permeability. Macrophages are the first type of cells that will come in contact with the allergen particles and after processing the allergens; it will pass information about the invasion of the allergen particles into the body to B-lymphocyte cells (one type of the white blood cell). This will stimulate B-lymphocyte cells and cause them start to multiply and transform into plasma cells. Stimulation of the B-lymphocyte is controlled by T-lymphocyte cell (the other type of white blood cell). The plasma cells that have been formed will produce IgE antibodies, which after that bind with the mast cells and basophil cells around nose and cause itching and hypersensitive. Subsequently, histamine chemical will be released from the mast cells when the mast cells started degranulating

What we know that why an individual's nose easily becomes allergy is due to the deficiency of Immunoglobulin-A antibody, which is one of our defense components in our body. Its function is scavenging of exogenous material, which is coming in contact with the mucosal membrane. Apart from this, T-lymphocyte cells, which are developed in bone marrow, work as helper and suppressor to the secretion of immunoglobulin by the B-lymphocyte cells. Malfunction or deficiency of these cells will cause over secretion of immunoglobulin-E antibodies. This may exacerbate the nasal allergy illness. All this malfunction and deficiency may due to the genetic disorder inheriting from our parent. However, it may also cause by our irregular lifestyle, unhealthy eating habit and environmental factor such as not enough sleep, eat too much fried food, smoking, alcoholic, exposure to hazardous chemicals and so on. Infection with certain virus such as HIV or utilized certain steroid or chemotherapy medicines may also cause this problem. In other words, deterioration of the body immune system will make nasal allergy illness become more critical. Due to this, in order that one can relieve from the nasal allergy torturing, he or she must have a strong immune system to defend the foreign derivatives that will enter into their body.

Deterioration of immune system mostly due to the attack by the free radicals that have formed in our body. Free radical is a very reactive molecule and has a strong tendency to oxidize lipid, protein and DNA in our body. Everyday, a lot of free radicals are produced in our body. Although our body itself can generate antioxidant to protect ourselves, it is still not enough. That's why, we are all aging. Free radicals that have been generated in our body can weak our body immune system by attacking to the white blood cells. Changing the DNA in a white blood cell is the most critical point because it causes irreversible mutation of the cell. Due to this, white blood cells can not function properly and become malfunctioned. When this happens, nasal allergy sickness will emerge in our body. To protect our body from radical and maintain our body immune system, we need to take enough antioxidant supplements to neutralize the excess free radicals that have been produced in our body everyday.

Vitamin C is the most common antioxidant that can relieve nasal allergy symptom. But the doses that we need to take to stop the nasal allergy are around five to eight gram. This is quite a large amount and it may cause stomach and intestinal upset. To prevent this, we should use ascorbate form of vitamin C. Until now, there is no solid evidence to show how vitamin C can stop the nasal allergy reaction. But scientists figured out that it may due to its antioxidant capabilities, which prevent cell damage. Research had been carried out in the department of obsterics at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn to study vitamin C and histamine levels in the blood of 400 people. They found out that, people with high levels of vitamin C in their blood have lower histamine levels. When 1000mg vitamin C supplement was given daily to those with low levels of vitamin C and high levels of histamine, their hay fever improved remarkably within three days. [Journal Nutrition, April, 1980]. When large amount of vitamin C is taken, just make sure you take calcium supplement. This is because; vitamin C in the blood will bind with the calcium in the bone and attract them out into the blood. This calcium will be discarded from the body through urination. This is because vitamin C is an organic acid that can dissolve mineral in bone. To avoid this, we should take calcium ascorbate, which is a mineral form of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is very soluble in water. Therefore, high levels of vitamin C in the blood may not be easily achieved. This is because vitamin C easily excretes from the body through urination. More frequent you urinating; less vitamin C can be retained in your body. Therefore, although we take a lot of vitamin C, the actual amount retaining in the body in very little. You may relief the nasal allergy for a while and if you want to continuously keep relief from nasal allergy, you may need to continuously take vitamin C. This situation can be seen after we have taken the vitamin C. The urine that we excrete after one hour taking the vitamin C is yellowish color. The color is due to the presence of the vitamin C in the urine. The following urine may still yellowish. After the urine no longer shows any yellowish color; that means the vitamin C levels in the blood has gone down already. Due to this, a lot of vitamin C has been wasted. To save cost, we need to take citrus bioflavonoids and pantothenic acid. Both of them are vitamin B complex substances. Citrus bioflavonoids alter the body's metabolism of vitamin C and raising the concentration of vitamin C in certain tissue [American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August, 1979]. Whereas, pantothenic acid can help our body absorbs vitamin C more easily.

Apart from vitamin C and B, the second supplement that can boost our immune system is zinc. Zinc is a transitional metal that is indispensable in our body. Biochemical functions in our body that involves zinc are protein synthesis, spermatogenesis, platelet reaction and the main one is maintaining cellular immunity. Apart from these, zinc also can prevent certain type of cancer. Zinc deficiency mostly due to malnutrition, alcoholism, malabsorption, liver cirrhosis, chronic renal disease, extensive burns, use of chelating agents and genetic disorders. Our meats that contains high amount of zinc are chicken and beef. People who try to avoid red meat due to its high cholesterol have the highest potential not enough zinc in their body. Zinc deficiency can cause growth retardation, male testosterone deficiency, delayed wound healing, bullous dermatitis, diarrhea and intercurrent infection. Zinc can inhibit replication of several viruses such as herpes simplex virus, foot and mouth disease virus, poliovirus and rhinovirus. Zinc is very effective to treat common cold because it causes rhinovirus (cold virus) from binding to the tissue surface and stabilizes the cell membranes. Subsequently, it is also inhibiting prostaglandin metabolism and inducing production of interferon gamma, which is a natural chemical that help body to fight infections. Study that had been published in the Annals Internal Medicine in 1996 showed that if an individual starts taking zinc gluconate glycine within 24 hours of the common cold symptoms, it can significantly reduced the illness duration.

The third supplement that has antioxidant function is virgin coconut oil. The difference between ordinary coconut oil and virgin coconut oil is that the later is extracted by wet process directly from the coconut milk or meat under a control temperature typically is 50 oC, whereas; coconut oil is obtained from the copra by dry process, which involves high temperature or sunlight exposure for several days. Due to the exposure to sunlight and application of high temperature, most of the minor components such as tocopherols, tocotrienols and polyphenols will be destroyed. This is because all these components are unstable in high temperature. Sunlight can destroy there components because sunlight contains a few percent of UV light, which is a high energy wave that can break the chemical bonding in an organic substance. Recently, study had been carried out in University Kerala in India to determine the effectiveness of the virgin coconut oil as antioxidant enzymes in male rat [Food Chemistry, 2006]. They found out that virgin coconut oil has more effect as an antioxidant and prevents peroxidation of lipids compared to the groundnut oil and copra oil. Study also had been taken in the same University to determine the beneficial effect of the virgin coconut oil to lipid components in male rat [Clinical Biochemistry, 37, 2004]. The finding that they got is that virgin coconut oil can reduce the levels of lipid in serum and tissues. Also, it also can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and increased high-density lipoprotein in the blood. This effect may due to its high polyphenol content.

Finally, what we know immunoglobulin-A (IgA) antibodies are the main antibodies that can prevent allergens from entering our body through nasal mucosal membrane. Therefore, nasal allergy and sinus infection can be preceded by increasing this antibody level in our body. Nutrients that can boost this antibody level in our body are monounsaturated oleic acids and vitamin A. Monounsaturated oleic acids can be found in cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, hazelnut or filbert oil (or the whole nuts), green and ripe olives, and almonds. Whereas, vitamin A can be found in cod liver oil, pumpkin, cooked carrots, sweet potatoes / yams, squash and other yellow or orange vegetable

Why Fibromyalgia Affects 5 Million Americans

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that affects about 5 million Americans. Doctors diagnose fibromyalgia based on a patient's symptoms and physical exam. Patients experience pain and stiffness in the muscles, but there are no measurable findings on X-rays or most lab tests. While fibromyalgia does not damage the joints or organs, the constant aches and fatigue can have a significant impact on daily life.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

The hallmark of fibromyalgia is muscle pain through the body, typically accompanied by:
Fatigue
Sleep problems
Anxiety or depression
Specific tender points

Fibromyalgia Tender Points

One of the unique aspects of fibromyalgia is the presence of tender points in specific locations on the body. When these points are stressed, people with fibromyalgia feel pain, while people without the condition only feel pressure. This illustration shows 18 possible tender points.

Fibromyalgia: The Pain Is Real

The pain of fibromyalgia can be intense. Because Traditionally no lab tests or X-rays could confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, some patients were once led to believe this pain was "all in their heads." But the medical community now accepts that the pain of fibromyalgia is real. Research suggests it's caused by a glitch in the way the body perceives pain.

Fibromyalgia: Who's at Risk?

Women between the ages of 25 and 60 have the highest risk of developing fibromyalgia. Doctors are not sure why, but women are 10 times more likely to have the condition than men. Some researchers believe genetics may play a role, but no specific genes have been identified.

Fibromyalgia and Fatigue

After pain, the most common and debilitating symptom of fibromyalgia is fatigue. This is not the normal tiredness that follows a busy day, but a lingering feeling of exhaustion. People with fibromyalgia may feel tired first thing in the morning, even after hours spent in bed. The fatigue may be worse on some days than others and can interfere with work, physical activity, and household chores.

Causes of Fibromyalgia

There are many theories about the causes of fibromyalgia, but research has yet to pinpoint a clear culprit. Some doctors believe hormonal or chemical imbalances disrupt the way nerves signal pain. Others suggest a tragic event or chronic stress may increase a person's susceptibility. Most experts agree that fibromyalgia probably results from a combination of factors, rather than a single cause.

Fibromyalgia: Impact on Daily Life

Constantly fighting pain and fatigue can make people irritable, anxious, and depressed. You may have trouble staying on task at work, taking care of children, or keeping up with household chores. Exercise or hobbies such as gardening may seem daunting. Exhaustion and irritability can also lead to missing out on visits with friends.
Diagnosing Fibromyalgia

Your doctor may diagnoseose fibromyalgia after hearing your symptoms and doing a physical exam. There's one lab test that can check for fibromyalgia. It measures the levels of proteins in the bloodstream and can help confirm a fibro diagnosis. However, your doctor may also do some testing to rule out other conditions. Be sure to describe your pain in detail, including where and how often it occurs. Also bring up any other symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep problems, or anxiety.

Fibromyalgia: Getting Treatment

Fibromyalgia was once the exclusive domain of rheumatologists. Today, the condition has captured the attention of a wide range of health care providers. Many people receive treatment through their primary care providers. Check with local support groups and hospitals for a list of fibromyalgia experts in your area.

Fibromyalgia Triggers

An important first step is identifying what makes your symptoms worse. Common triggers include:
Cold or humid weather
Too much or too little physical activity
Stress
Poor sleep

Fibromyalgia and Sleep

Many people with fibromyalgia have sleep problems, including trouble falling asleep or frequent awakenings during the night. Studies suggest some patients remain in a shallow state of sleep and never experience restful, deep sleep. This deprives the body of a chance to repair and replenish itself, creating a vicious cycle. Poor sleep may make pain seem worse, and pain can lead to poor sleep.

Fibromyalgia and Depression

Nearly a third of people with fibromyalgia also have major depression when they are diagnosed. The relationship between the two is unclear. Some researchers believe depression may be a result of the chronic pain and fatigue. Others suggest that abnormalities in brain chemistry may lead to both depression and an unusual sensitivity to pain. Symptoms of depression may include difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, and loss of interest in favorite activities.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Medication

The goal of fibromyalgia treatment is to minimize pain, sleep disorders, and mood disorders. Doctors may recommend medicines that help alleviate your symptoms – ranging from familiar over-the-counter pain relievers to prescription drugs. There are also prescription drugs specifically approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia, which include Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Exercise

Exercise can relieve some fibromyalgia symptoms. Physical activity can reduce pain and improve fitness. Exercising just three times a week has also been shown to relate fatigue and depression. But it's important not to overdo it. Walking, stretching, and water aerobics are good forms of exercise to start with for people with fibromyalgia.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Diet

Some experts say diet may play a role in fibromyalgia – just not the same role in all patients. Certain foods, including aspartame, MSG, caffeine, and tomatoes, seem to worsen symptoms in some people. But avoiding these foods will not help everyone. To find out what works for you, try eliminating foods at a time and recording whenever your symptoms improve.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Massage

Some research suggests massage may help relieve fibromyalgia pain, though its value is not fully proven. Practitioners say that applying moderate pressure is key, while the technique is less important. Rubbing, kneading, or stroking all seem to help. A significant other can learn to provide regular massages – and a 20-minute session may be long enough to get results.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Acupuncture

Formal studies have produced mixed results on the use of acupuncture for fibromyalgia, but some patients say it eases their symptoms. This traditional Chinese practice involves inserting thin needles at key points on the body. Acupressure stimulates the same pressure points and may be a good alternative for people who want to avoid needles.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Fibro Fog

Many people with fibromyalgia have trouble concentrating, a phenomenon known as fibro fog. While getting treatment for pain and insomnia may help, there are other steps you can take to improve your focus.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Stress

Stress appears to be one of the most common triggers of fibromyalgia flare-ups. While it's impossible to eliminate all stress from your life, you can try to reduce unnecessary stress. Determine which situations make you anxious – at home and at work – and find ways to make those situations less stressful. Experiment with yoga, meditation, or other relaxation techniques. And allow yourself to skip nonessential activities that cause stress.

Does Fibromyalgia Get Better?

Many people with fibromyalgia find that their symptoms and quality of life improve substantively as they identify the most effective treatments and make lifestyle changes. While fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, it does not damage the joints, muscles, or internal organs.

Surfing The Wave Of Depression

Do you travel through life bottling negative emotions?

Is your job sapping the life from you?

Are your relationships diminishing and the feeling of being alone increasing?

Do you have an outlet to vent and recharge? If not, then the dreaded black dog could very well be following you looking for its new forever home.

Depression can be a debilitating affliction, one which the effects are also felt by others close to you. Take your family or loved ones, for example, they can see and feel your sadness but are at a loss to help.

Your career can suffer … you may get overlooked for job opportunities. Your confidence wains, leaving you doubting your ability and self-worth. Ruts may appear and become deeeper to climb out of with every passing day, leaving you with a sense of entrapment.

If you, like me, have ever ridden a negative wave like this then you know how difficult life can be at times. The courage to commute to work can be the hardest thing to extract some days.

Having a passion, a hobby, or a place to go to when you're in that trough can be a real lifesaver. At the very least a pressure valve for your mind. Mine was (and still is surfing). When your tank is being emptied, doing the thing you enjoy is soo important!

There are many words to describe surfing; exhilarating, invigorating, arousing for example. In relation to depression, I describe surfing as healing. It allowed my mind to empty itself of all negativity. Replaced with positive joy and happiness. The stresses and worries washed away with every surge of water over my body.

Surfing is not an easy sport to master though. You will need strength, stamina, courage, patience, and resilience. Usually all at the same time! A sense of achievement glows inside you each time you exit the water. Even if all you did get through the shore break without getting a sandwich spin cycle! You're rebuilding your inner strength and becoming a fitter at the same time; not a bad byproduct eh?

Is your day to day life draining your strength and resilience? Surfing may be an excellent way to restore your confidence and cleanse your mind and soul. If you're unable to surf though, there are other alternatives. When I could not get to the beach I also went on regular walks with my dog. My psychologist described walking as tricking the brain into thinking there is no danger or stress. You could even try meditation, Tai Chi or Yoga. There are usually local classes for free or of little cost.

Whatever you're going through, know that it is only temporary and life is a series of waves and troughs. It's helpful to recognize when you're in a trough; to put your head down and paddle hard. And when to catch the wave and stand up and relax. You can enjoy the experience and ride the wave. Remember no one can paddle indefinitely, so keep looking for the next wave to catch!