The Hidden Truth on Acne Diet Exposed

Doctors have been telling us that food has nothing to do with acne; but I am afraid this is about to change. Although there are not many studies in establishing the correlation between food and acne, there is one interesting study done in Australia several years ago.

Acne and High Glycemic Diet

In 2007, the Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University and Royal Melbourne Hospital Department of Dermatology conducted a test on two groups of men. One group was given a low-glycemic diet which consisted of lean meat and whole grains. The other group consumed a wide range of high-glycemic index foods which resembled the typical modern diet. These included soda drinks, potato chips, white bread, and snacks.

After 12 weeks, the men with low-glycemic index diet had their acne reduced by 50%. Based on the result of this test, we can see that there is a strong relationship between food and acne.

Is it possible that changing your diet will improve your acne? And why avoiding simple carbohydrates can reduce the frequency of breakouts?

Why Simple Carbohydrates Can Trigger Acne

When you feed yourself with high carb foods, your blood sugar level increases dramatically. This triggers your pancreas to release more insulin to bring down your blood sugar level.

The increasing level of insulin will cause the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. Sebum is your skin’s natural oil which keeps your skin hydrated and removes dead cells. It travels to the pores through hair follicles. When there is excess sebum in the pores, the P.acnes bacteria will flourish and clog the hair follicles. As a result, blackheads will develop.

There is another reason for the breakouts when consuming high glycemic foods. Insulin is one of the essential hormones in your body. When there is a spike in the insulin level, it will cause hormonal imbalance which also affects other hormones. In this case, even your androgen (male hormones) and growth hormones like insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) will also increase. These hormones will cause your sebaceous glands to release more sebum which lead to acne.

Nutritional Deficiency And Acne

How about deficiency in certain nutrients? Can this lead to acne?

According to Dr Susan C. Taylor, a dermatologist in New York, if you increase the intake of healthy foods, it will help your skin. In other words, healthy eating is required for blemish-free skin.

If you are not eating enough healthy foods, you may deprive your body of getting enough vitamin A, C, E, B6, B12, B1, zinc, and iron. These vitamins are important in keeping your skin healthy and acne-free.

You may be skeptical at this point. How would a daily nutritious diet improve your skin?

A study was done on the tribal people in Papua New Guinea and Paraguay in 2002. Based on the records in the Archives of Dermatology, these people ate only natural foods that they gathered in the jungle and rivers. Surprisingly, they did not have any acne, probably because their diet was rich in fibers and high in nutritional value. Unlike the typical American diet, you also notice that they didn’t consume lots of sugary foods.

You can blame your diet for the cause of acne. However, not every one will experience the same impact. Some victims may be sensitive to certain foods while others may not have any acne with the same foods. But you can be rest assured that a healthy diet can determine the condition of your skin.

Your Modern Day Diet May Be The Problem

If you look at your diet today, you will agree with me that most grains are processed. They are lacking in fiber and essential nutrients for the skin. Furthermore, you probably do not eat enough fruits and vegetables every day to provide your body with enough amount of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The rising portion of processed foods in your eating habit, especially those with high level of omega-6, will have a significant negative impact on your skin.

So how do you address the lack of nutrients in your diet so that you can have clear skin? Obviously you need to exclude certain foods that are not going to help your acne and include foods that are beneficial for your skin.

What Foods You Should Avoid

Processed Foods

First, let us talk about processed foods since the largest portion of your daily meals is mostly processed foods.

Do you know that the molecular structure of raw and processed foods are not identical? When you eat processed foods, your body thinks they are foreign invaders. The molecular structure of the processed foods has brought about free radicals which are considered as toxins. As a response, your immune system will produce white blood cells for protection.

In short, you need to limit the intake of processed foods. By so doing, you will be reducing the amount of free radicals in your system.

High Glycemic Foods

Let me refer back to the Australian study above; When you reduce the consumption of high glycemic foods, your acne may improve. So, avoid any carbohydrate with a high glycemic index. Foods like donuts, french fries, white bread and breakfast cereals should be cut out of your diet list.

What about refined sugar? It is also a high glycemic load. So, abstain from any food that contains refined sugar. This includes candies, alcohol, pastries and carbonated drinks. Remember sugar can increase your blood sugar level, which will stimulate the production of insulin and hormones. This vicious cycle will cause more sebum to be produced, clogging your pores.

Dairy Products

Forget about dairy products. They may have a low glycemic load but they also contain lots of hormones because the main source comes from nursing cows. Consuming dairy products may cause your androgen to rise and this will eventually lead to acne.

Omega-6

Avoid vegetable oils that are rich with omega-6 fatty acids especially safflower, sunflower, sesame and corn oils. Too much omega-6 can cause inflammation in the skin. If you didn’t already know, acne is an inflammatory response.

Acne Trigger Foods

As mentioned before, some sufferers have flare-ups after eating certain foods. The best way to identify these trigger foods is to keep a journal. Monitor your skin condition after you have eaten certain foods for 24 hours. If that particular food causes breakouts, then avoid it.

What Foods You Should Include

Protein

You need protein for skin repair, effective detoxification of your liver and keeping the hormone levels intact. Include salmon, lean meat, and whey protein in your diet.

Low Glycemic Foods

Since low glycemic may prevent acne by limiting an insulin spike, you should increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Not all carbohydrates are bad. You just need to choose the right ones. Whole grains that contain complex carbs and lots of fiber such as millet, quinoa, brown rice, barley, rolled oats and buckwheat should be part your daily diet. Furthermore, fibers are great in lowering the blood sugar level after meals.

Antioxidants

Eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods that contain lots of Vitamin A and E. Blueberries, green tea, whole grains, green leafy veggies, broccoli, chestnuts, acai berries, pomegranates, purple carrots and black grapes are among the best sources of these vital nutrients.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Increase the intake of omega-3 fatty acid foods such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, flax seeds, walnuts and evening primrose. In the American Standard Diet, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 20 to 1. By eating more omega-3 rich foods, you can close the gap. The ideal ratio should be 1 to 1.

How does omega-3 benefit your skin? Omega-3 helps in skin renewal, protects the cells from toxins, promotes nutritional absorption at the cellular level and assists in elimination of cellular waste materials. It also contains a high amount of anti-inflammatory agents such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to minimize the occurrence of acne.

Zinc

Zinc is another important nutrient for your skin. It helps to stabilize the hormonal levels which can be effective in controlling acne. Some of the best sources of zinc are oysters, lean meats, poultry and pumpkin.

Water

Always drink plenty of water. Water keeps your immune system working properly and regulates the elimination of toxins. If you keep yourself hydrated your skin will look better.

Childhood Obesity and Chore Time

We all had chores when we were growing up. We washed dishes, folded laundry, put it away and helped with the housework. As we got older we added helping with the yardwork. It did not occur to us we were exercising but, in fact, we were. It was just more productive.

Calories Burned : A good calorie counter, such as caloriesperhour.com, will help show how many calories any person has burned as well as consumed. This is an easy way to calculate whether or not your child (or anyone else) is doing enough physically to get and / or stay fit. Believe me, yard work can rack up a good total.

Life Skills Taught : Sometimes our children will grow up and have their own home and their own responsibilities. Learning how to cook, clean and do yardwork will prepare them for that time. It may also show them career ideas. Gardening was one of the factors that led to my becoming a master herbalist.

Relieve Parental Pressure : It's tough to work all day and then have to do all of the chores that pile up. It's hard enough for working parents to put together a healthy meal, see to homework and that kids get to bed on time. Having help from the children can relate some of that pressure. Children will sense the relief.

Bonding : As much as I hate washing dishes there were instances when we were kids that allowed a kind of bonding to occur. When dad helped with them, we could talk. It was some one-on-one time; believe me the rest of the kids would not dream of going into the kitchen when dishes from a table of seven people needed to be washed.

It might seem like we should prevent our children from all the chores we had as children but we would not be doing them any favors. They will not learn what they need to do, they will miss out on special moments that can happen with shared tasks and they may take it for granted that there will always be someone doing the dirty work.

How To Keep Your Skin Healthy – Men's Fashion Tips

Ever wondered why a woman's bathroom cabinet is spilling over with a zillion lotions and potions and gels and tubes and jars, all containing colorful magic substances and having names that are all a vital part of her hour-long beauty regime? Well, if she can end up looking good even after using all of that, then she must be doing something right and is not merely acting like a product-consuming maniac.

Skin problems are not unique to females. The difference is that they take care of their skin while we men are just too darn lazy to bother with our own. So, unless you're happy with your zit-ridden or blackhead-speckled skin, follow this daily schedule for skincare to attain skin that not only looks healthy but feels healthy too.

Cleanse

Keep your soap bar strictly for your body which needs all the harshness of the detergents to get rid of dirt and germs. When it comes to your face, you need to go gentle and that's what a facial cleanser does. It is specifically designed for the skin on your face, thus making it free of harmful substances such as detergents, soaps and fragrances. A good cleanser foams and washes away dirt without ridding the skin of its natural oils. Use twice a day – before shaving and before sleeping at night. Cleansing your face before going to bed is essential as the skin goes into restoration mode in the night. There are two types of cleansers – foaming cleansers and cream cleansers. Foaming cleansers are great for removing excess oils while cream ones get rid of only dirt and are good for dry skin.

Exfoliate

It's not over yet. If you think that by getting rid of the dirt on your face you'll be beaming with natural radiance, you could not be more mistaken. The skin's surface builds-up a wonderful layer of dead skin cells that make your skin look dull and lifeless. With exfoliation, the dead cells are gently removed and it helps the skin to absorb external nutrients that leads to healthy-looking skin. For sensitive skin, use non-abrasive formulas. Do not use your body scrub on your face and never exfoliate the immediate area surrounding your eye as a scrub is too harsh for the delicate skin around the eyes. An exfoliating scrub with fine grains used once a week is going to give your face a vibrant look.

Rejuvenate

Free radicals. Heard of them? Nope there's nothing political about them, but scientifically speaking, a free radical is an atom that's lost an electron and tries to balance itself by stealing electrons from other cells. Canning the particle-physics jargon, what too many of these free radicals will do to our skin is cause a host of damaging effects, one of them being the visible signs of aging. We can not avoid them as they come from our environment, but we can fight them with antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E. Eating well is a sure way of counteracting free radicals but if you have a poor diet then take a vitamin supplement and find a moisturizer containing antioxidants and an SPF of 15.

Moisturize

Lotions and creams are great moisturizers whichpart antioxidants to your skin. While a lotion is good for normal skin, dry skin would need more of oils that are contained in creams. One of the best advantages of moisturizing your face is preventing the signs of aging. If you have a particularly sensitive skin, then choose a moisturizer that is free of fragrance and hypoallergenic.

Awareness

Skin-care products such as facial cleansers, exfoliants and moisturizers can be picked up from any up-market department store, spas or at a dermatologist's. However, each of them has several products that are specific for certain skin types for maximum results. So choose carefully and combat bad skin with the right ones. Be aware of exactly what your skin requires before starting any regimen.

Normal: If you do not have any particular skin issues, then this is the skin type you have. You may have slightly dry skin in places and slightly oily elsewhere. All you need is a good cleanser (a foaming one), a toner and a moisturizer with antioxidant protection.

Oily: Oily skin has big, open pores and the characteristic greasy T-zone. This causes lots of blackheads, whiteheads and general pore congestion. You need to use a foaming cleanser, toner and an oil-free moisturizer.

Dry: There is excessive tightness and dryness which can get physically uncomfortable. There are signs of aging such as line and wrinkles. You need to use a cream cleanser and a rich cream moisturizer. Cleanse your face only in the night and rinse with water in the morning.

Combination: You have the worse of both dry and oily skin so you need to pay extra attention here. Use a gentle foaming cleanser. Then treat the dry areas with a cream moisturizer if skin is very dry or a lotion if mildly dry.

Yeast Infection: The Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What is yeast infection?

Yeast infection also commonly referred to as candidiasis or moniliasis is an infection caused by the uncontrolled propagation of yeast primarily of the candida genus. Candida yeast exists harmlessly in your body particularly the skin and their growth is kept in check by the immune system and other microorganisms in the same area. The most common culprit is the Candida Albicans species of yeast. These yeasts require moisture to grow and therefore prefer areas such as the mouth, armpits, nail beds and genitals, making these the areas where infection is most likely to occur. Candida infection isn’t dangerous except when yeast enters the blood stream and spreads to sensitive organs in the body. This condition is very common; in the course of your lifetime, you are bound to get at least one infection.

What are the most common types of yeast infection and what are their symptoms?

Candidiasis can be broadly categorized as either superficial or invasive. The superficial varieties mainly affect the skin and mucous membrane and include oral, esophageal, vaginal, penis, skin and infant yeast infections.

Some common symptoms of candidiasis include changes in mucous membrane, foul smelling liquid discharges and irritation in affected areas. However the symptoms tend to vary according to the type of infection one is suffering. Oral candidiasis can be identified by the presence of a yellow or cream coating on the tongue and mouth known as thrush. Other symptoms may include discolored patches on the tongue and palate, red or pink blotches on the palate as well as red cracks at the corners of the mouth.

It is possible to for oral candidiasis to spread down into the esophagus and pharynx in which case you are likely to experience difficulty and pain when swallowing.

Perhaps the most well known and most common type of yeast infection is that which affects the vagina. Vaginal yeast infections, as suggested by the name affect the female genitalia and are of course specific to women. It is a very common condition. In fact 3 out of 4 women have it in varying degrees of severity in the course of their lifetimes. Symptoms include itching, a burning sensation, irritation, soreness and the presence of a white or grayish discharge with a fishy smell.

It is a common misconception that men are not affected by genital yeast infection, but the truth is they are also susceptible. However this condition is much rarer compared to its prevalence among women. Signs of male genitalia infection include redness around the head of the penis, itching, swelling and irritation of the head of the penis. These may also be accompanied by an unpleasant smell, pain during sex and urination, difficulty retracting the penis into the foreskin and a white discharge under the foreskin. In men it may also manifest itself around the crotch and feet. Common signs of male yeast infection include athletes foot and jock itch.

If you spend a lot of time with your hands in water, you may get candidiasis of the finger nails. It manifests as red, swollen areas around the nails and is accompanied by considerable pain. In more severe cases, it may lead to separation of fingernails, exposing a discolored nail bed.

If you spend a lot of time with your hands in water, you may get candidiasis of the finger nails. It manifests as red, swollen areas around the nails and is accompanied by considerable pain. In more severe cases, it may lead to separation of fingernails, exposing a discolored nail bed.

Infant yeast infection may occur in babies who are delivered or breastfed by infected mothers. You can detect infection on your baby by looking for red patches that look like diaper rashes. if the rash doesn’t disappear within a week this should give you sufficient cause for suspicion and you should have your child examined by a doctor.

Candidemia is a condition in which yeast enters the blood stream and precipitates a very serious condition especially if it spreads to vital organs such as the heart. The mortality rate among patients with this condition is between 30% and 50%, though the opportunistic nature of the candida yeast means that it mainly kills those with severe immune-deficiency conditions such as AIDS. It is very rare among healthy people and deaths are even less common.

What causes yeast infection?

The yeast that causes candidiasis is always present in your body, and is completely harmless unless they it happens to multiply out of control. Certain factors can increase the chances of the yeast growing out of control.

The most common cause is the use of antibiotics. Certain bacteria that live in areas preferred by the candida yeast help to keep the population of the latter in check. They do this by using up the resources required by the yeast to survive. When we take antibiotics to kill harmful bacteria, the good bacteria that act as our guardians against candida are not spared either. The yeast grows into the areas vacated by the bacteria and begin to multiply. Other factors that may bring about imbalance of microorganisms include alcohol, steroids and birth control pill usage. A proper pH balance inhibits the growth of these yeasts and helps to keep their population manageable. A change in body pH levels may thus cause an upsurge in the number of yeasts leading to infection.

People with seriously compromised immune systems are also highly susceptible to candida infections. People who come to mind include AIDS, cancer, diabetes and psoriasis patients among others. Among AIDS patients, oral and esophageal candidiasis is very common. In fact, AIDS patients account for 50% of people with this type of candida infection.

Penile candidiasis can result from having sexual intercourse with a partner who has vaginal yeast infection, though the other factors also play a role in its development. It is also not unlikely for a man who has it to pass it on to his female partner during intercourse.

If yeast from superficial infections make it into the bloodstream, causing systemic candida infections which are potentially fatal. Again, this is more likely to happen in people with underdeveloped or compromised immune systems.

If you are obese or pregnant you are at a higher risk of getting a yeast infection. obese people have more folds in their skin and sweat more creating excellent conditions for yeast to grow. Pregnant people usually experience temporary obesity and their immune systems are weakened, which increases the chances of getting infected.

Diagnosis and mitigation

If you suspect that you have a yeast infection, the best practice is to seek help from a competent physician to diagnose it as well as to provide proper medication and treatment. It is possible to misdiagnose yeast infection if you do it yourself or have it done by an incompetent practitioner. For example almost two thirds of women who were self-treating for vaginal candidiasis in 2002 actually had the condition according to Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Diagnosis can be done either through microscope examination or culturing. Microscope examination involves dissolving cells taken from the affected area to leave behind the candida cells after which they can be viewed under a microscope. In culturing, a swab is rubbed on the affected area and dipped into a culture fluid. It is incubated for several days to allow propagation of the causative bacteria or yeast. The characteristics of the resulting microorganism colony is then examined to determine their nature.

There are many varieties of drugs and medication that can be used to treat different types candida infections.

The most common treatment is the use of antimycotics to kill the yeast. Fluconazole applied topically either through suppositories or douches is a great cure for vaginal yeast infection. Anti-fungals can also be administered directly into the vagina using tablets, creams and ointments. They may also be administered orally. It is also applied in treatment of other types of candidiasis with varying dosages. If you are pregnant, local triazole and imidazole application is the best way to go since these anti-fungal drugs pose little risk of transfer to the baby unlike other drugs.

For oral yeast infection, the doctor may give you anti-fungal medication which is swished in the mouth and swallowed. An anti-fungal lozenge which dissolves in your mouth may also be used.

For skin infection, you may receive anti-fungal cream or powder to apply topically. Alternatively, the doctor may prescribe anti-fungal pills.

In case of severe infection especially when it enters the blood stream you might need to take anti-fungal pills orally for a considerable length of time. The doctor will try to identify the organ from which the yeast entered after which therapy with various anti-fungal agents such as polyenes, azoles and echinocandins. This prevents reentry of the yeast into the blood stream once it is clear.

While medical cures are largely effective, the best way is to avoid the infection altogether. There are certain health precautions you can take to prevent candidiasis especially the genital variety. These include:

– Dry yourself thoroughly especially around the genitals after bathing or showering. This denies yeast the moisture it requires to thrive.

– Throw away the underwear you had during the last infection. Alternatively you can sterilize it by boiling.

– After going to the toilet, wipe from front to back to avoid transferring yeast from the rectal area to the genitals.

– Avoid using soap around the vagina as soap kills the bacteria that help to mitigate yeast growth. It would be beneficial to replace your soap with apple cider vinegar which kills yeast and also heals the affected area.

– Avoid very tight and clingy clothing especially underwear as these are likely to create the dump conditions yeast loves.

– Reduce or eliminate sugar and alcohol from your diet as these are the favorite food for yeast.

– If you are on a birth control pill, consider changing the pill you are using or change to other contraceptives altogether.

– Avoid sex with partners who are infected.

– Reduce your reliance on antibiotics since they kill bacteria that are useful in checking yeast multiplication.

– Increase your intake of live yoghurt and other fermented dairy products since these reintroduce bacteria to your gut.

Some practitioners advocate for various alternative medications that include dietary supplements. The efficacy of these is highly questioned by various medical authorities including the FTC and National Institute of Health in the US. Garlic has been cited as an effective cure for this kind of infection due to its anti-fungal properties. You can enjoy these benefits either by eating it raw or applying garlic paste on to the affected area.

Egg Laying – What Are the Best Chicken Breeds for Eggs?

Choosing a breed of chicken for eggs is not that hard of a choice if you know what you’re looking for. You only need to ask yourself a few easy questions. Do I need white or brown eggs? Do I need a pet or livestock? How much space do I have? Do I want to hatch more chickens?

Hybrid / Golden Comet

If you are looking to get the most out of your effort, hybrid chickens like the Golden Comet have been specially bred to eat less food and produce more eggs. The comet isn’t the only hybrid chicken but it is definitely the most popular. These hybrid chickens lay about 280 medium sized brown colored eggs per year. Hybrids are tough little creatures that are more resilient to infection and disease compared to other chicken breeds. The downside is these birds rarely turn broody so if you’re looking to hatch new chickens from the eggs this breed is probably not the best choice.

Rhode Island Red’s (RIR’s)

RIR’s lay about 250 medium brown eggs per year. This breed is the most popular amongst backyard chicken and first-time chicken owners. Reds are known as the multi-purpose bird. These birds are known for taking care of themselves. Reds are docile friendly chickens that farmers use for meat and eggs, besides their beautiful coloring, this is the reason they are so popular.

Leghorn

Foghorn Leghorn, still a funny cartoon. Other than their brilliant white stance, that cartoon is probably the reason they are still so popular to this day. Many people believe that Leghorns originated in America, unfortunately, this is not true. This breed was brought to the United States in the 1800’s and has been a popular farm bird ever since. Leghorn chickens originated in Italy and lay about 250 medium white eggs per year. This breed is not known to be aggressive but Leghorns aren’t known to be friendly either. They are a skittish breed that isn’t really easy to tame because of their shy nature.

Marans

The Maran chicken breed is well known for its dark brown eggs and its excellent meat quality. These birds lay about 200 medium sized eggs per year. Marans require very little space to roam because they like to stay close to home. They are known to be very gentle birds but, are not that easy to tame due to their shyness. So this breed wouldn’t make the best pet without a lot of work handling and spending time with it. Still, a pretty bird, an “eggcellent” egg layer and meat bird. A great addition to any farm or flock too!

Buff Orpington

Last but far from the least the Buff Orpington breed of chicken. The Orpington are docile birds that make a great garden and friendly pets. These birds love to socialize and will hang out with you and eat food from your hand without much effort. Buff’s have a thick layer of yellowish golden feathers and lay about 180 regular sized and white eggs a year. This breed is known for becoming broody and makes a great hatching hen. The excellent broodiness of this breed is the reason the buff lays slightly fewer eggs per year. Actually, this breed is so good at sitting on its eggs, the Buff is commonly used by farms to hatch the eggs of other poultry and fowl, like the domestic duck, that are terrible eggs hatchers.

What is the best chicken breed for eggs?

In conclusion, the best breed of chicken for eggs depends on what your needs are. Do you need a broody hen? The Orpington is perfect. The Golden Comet chicken is perfect if you need a lot of eggs with minimal effort and food. Rhode Island Reds if you’re looking for a friendly pet. The Maran chicken breed is your choice if you have limited space. Do you need only white eggs? Leghorns produce the best quantity of medium sized white eggs.

Irritable Bowl Syndrome and Food Allergies

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder with a reported prevalence of 12% -22% in the general population. In fact, IBS is the most common diagnosis made by gastroenterologists in the United States. IBS is a poorly understood disorder and conventionally treatments have proven variable success.

The gut is the largest lymphoid (immune system cells) organ in the body. In IBS, the gut-associated immune system is up regulated as seen by the presence of increased inflammatory markers. The reason for this altered immunity is unclear by may related to food hypersensitivity and altered gastrointestinal (GI) microbial flora. This up-regulation of the immune system in the GI tract is known to stimulate various cells which release neurotransmitters (like serotonin and histamine) which results in many of the IBS associated GI symptoms.

Continuous inflammation in the GI tract can result in opening of tight junctions between our intestinal cells. This bond holds our intestinal cells together to protect us, create a barrier. These tight junctions maintain a barrier between what is suppose to be absorbed in our intestines and what is not suppose to be absorbed. When these tight junctions open up absorption of larger than normal food particles cross from the GI tract into our blood stream. The passage of these larger molecules is seen as invaders by the immune system and can trigger an immune reaction with the formation of antibodies to these otherwise harmless molecules. When this happens, a person can become hypersensitive to environmental factors or develop foods allergies or sensitivities to which they previously were not sensitive.

An open pilot study at the University of Kansas Medical Center enrolled 20 patients with IBS who had failed standard medical treatment. Baseline IgG and IgE food allergy panels were performed and based on the results, allergy elimination diets were recommended. At the beginning of the study 100% of participants had reactions to (IgG and IgE) to various foods. In addition all participants were given probiotics. Significant improvements were seen in stool frequency, pain, and quality of life assessments in the participants. There was also an increase in healthy intestinal microbial flora however there was still the presence of unhealthy microbial gut flora as well.

This study demonstrated that identifying and addressing food hypersensitivities and abnormal bowel flora results in large improvements of symptom management in patients with IBS. Testing for IgG food hypersensitivity is a blood test that differs from traditional IgE scratch tests used in many practices. Activation of the immune system by IgG food hypersensitivities plays a role in many of the observed reactions to food such as asthma, migraines, headaches, arthritis, gastrointestinal dysfunction and many more conditions. A simple blood test can be done to indicate what foods you are most sensitive to and may be contributing to your symptoms.

Menopausal Discomfort? No Sweat! A New Theory on the Cause and Prevention of Hot Flashes

Women in Fiji have it easy, at least when it comes to menopause.

We were in Fiji to study bra wearing and breast cancer, but took advantage of the opportunity of being with these non-western people to ask about the way local women experienced menopause. Margaret Mead, the famous cultural anthropologist, discovered that the discomforts young western women often associate with the "coming of age" were mostly absent for Samoan women. As medical anthropologists, we surprised if the coming "out of age" was any different for Fijian women than for those in the west who complain of various symptoms, such as hot flashes and profuse sweating.

So we asked some post-menopausal women how they experienced their menopause. The response was pretty similar from each.

"What's that?" they asked, perplexed.

We soon discovered that there is no equivalent word in Fijian for "menopause". In Fiji, when a women lives long enough to stop menstruating, she simply goes to the doctor to make sure she is not pregnant. Once she is assured this is not the case, she is happy and carefree. The lack of negative physiological and psychological effects, so troublesome for some western women, has resolved in the absence of a term to describe this time in a Fijian woman's life.

The hot flashes and profuse sweating of menopause is there before not universal among all cultures. And in western cultures, it is not even universal among all women. While the medical literature has harped on lack of estrogen and excessively gonadotropic hormones as the most likely causes of this "pathology", the fact that most women who pass through menopause have little or no problem at all suggests that the mechanism for the reported problems must Be something other than altered endocrinology post-menopause. In other words, since all women have reduced estrogen and elevated gonadotropins as they enter menopause, why do some women have troubling hot flashes and sweats while others do not? Could there be another mechanism that has been overlooked?

Perhaps the solution lies in the way we are conceptualizing menopausal "symptoms". We already realize that many so-called "symptoms" of disease are actually the body's way to defend itself. Here, a fever, often regarded as a symptom of illness, is actually part of the process of immune response. Coughing, vomiting, dirrhea, and nausea can also be regarded as defense mechanisms. Could hot flashes and sweats be a defense mechanism, as well?

It was this line of thinking that led us to start the Menopause Relief Project, which included a preliminary study of menopaal women with hot flashes and sweats that no treatment would cure. Here is the theory behind the study.

One of the most critical functions of the human body is to eliminate waste. We do this through several elementary pathways: the lungs; the intestines; the skin; and the kidneys. One other mechanism is typically overlooked, and is only available to women. That is, elimination via menstruation and the sloughing off of the endometrium.

The purpose of the endometrium, of course, is to provide nutritional support for a fertilized ovum until the placenta developments and takes over. The endometrium lining of the uterus is rebuilt following the previous menstrual flow under the influence of estrogen and progesterone. The thickness of the endometrium increases as blood vessels and tissue proliferate, while the endometrium soaks in nutrients like a sponge. Some nutrients are secreted, while others are stored for later use.

Naturally, a highly vascular, secretory organ like the endometrium can also absorb and secret (excrete) toxins, as well.

Meanwhile, another effect of estrogen makes toxins especially available for absorption by the endometrium. One physiological effect of estrogen is to cause salt and fluid retention, making the entire body slightly swell just prior to the commencement of the period. This essentially flushes the tissues, as the fluid cleanses the interstitial spaces. This helps remove toxins from the tissues, as the fluid travels back into the bloodstream via the lymphatic channels for toxin elimination. It is at this time that some women experience PMS, or pre-menstrual syndrome. Leg, breast and abdominal swapping are manifestations of estrogen mediated fluid retention. Depression, irritability, confusion, and fatigue, also PMS symptoms, may be related to the increase in circulating toxins released from the tissues.

As these toxins circulate in the bloodstream, some are eliminated by the kidneys, some are processed by the liver and excreted with the bile into the intestines, some are exhaled by the lungs, and some are sweated out. Many women report increased body odor and bad breath during this toxic time. Meanwhile, some toxins are absorbed by the receptive and "hungry" endometrium. If pregnancy is not achieved, the endometrium is sloughed off, eliminating the toxins with the unneeded uterine lining.

Menstruation, then, is a time of cleansing for women of childbearing age. What happens when this mechanism stops at menopause?

Clearly, if there is a reduction of one mode of elimination, the other modes must take the burden. This means that it would be important for menopausal women to move their bowels regularly, drink plenty of fluids and urinate when needed, breathe deeply, and perspire freely.

And here is where western women have trouble. Many western women, as well as men, hold in their urge to urinate or defecate. This usually has to do with the reality of modern, urban life, with few available public toilets, and with those that are available often intolerable for use. (More on this point in a future article.) Deep breathing is difficult for women with a tight bra strapped to their chests.

As for sweating, our culture is extremely sweat-phobic. Alongside the smell of sweaty armpits, there is the armpit stain on shirts and blouses to worry about. While this is not an issue for women in Fiji, who perspire freely, most western women use antiperspirants to deal with this. This may make their armpits more culturally acceptable, but it does so at the price of eliminatory efficiency.

So here we have women who are holding in their waste and impairing their ability to sweat. On top of this, they stop menstruating. The output is an accumulation of toxins in the body. Over time, these toxins cause irritability and moodiness. Occasionally, the toxins build up to the danger point, compelling the body to take matters in its own hands, so to speak. To eliminate the toxins, the body makes itself sweat.

This, we believe, is the reason for the hot flashes. These are the body's way of jumping starting a sweat. Hot flashes can happen any time, and sometimes stop for months to only start again. Could it be that the hot flashes, and the sweat response this produces, are the means to eliminating toxins that have accumulated as a result of menopause, along with a hampered toxin disposal system?

If this were the functional "purpose" of menopausal hot flashes and sweats, it follows that women could avoid the spontaneous sweats by carefully sweating each day to eliminate the toxins. After all, the problem with hot flashes is that they happen at inconvenient times, out of the control of the woman. If she can choose the time when she wishes to eliminate toxins, it would make spontaneous sweating unnecessary, ending the hot flashes.

To test this theory, we found 10 volunteers who were menopausal, experiencing very disturbing hot flashes and sweats. We asked the local YWCA to provide free passes for these women to use the sauna and steam room, and asked the volunteers to take 20 minute sweats daily, for 8 weeks. We relied on their subjective responses for the results.

By the end of the first week, 4 of the women had dropped out. They reported that they personally disliked sweating and found this form of prevention unappealing. All of these women continued to have hot flashes and spontaneous sweats.

Of the remaining 6, one could not sweat effectively, and certainly overheated in the sauna. She also dropped out.

Of the remaining 5, all experienced relief by 2 weeks of daily sweats. They reported that they no longer had night sweats or hot flashes, apart from a minor blush.

We later discussed our study with an AIDS researcher who was exploring hyperthermia treatments. He said that a side effect of the hyperthermia, which caused sweating, was that it stopped AIDS patients from having night sweats.

We would like to see further research done on this, and encourage physicians to try this out with their patients. Most women can withstand the rigors of a sweat bath, but some conditions may contraindicate hyperthermia treatment, such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc. The women should also be told to replace fluids as needed, with electrolytes as well as water.

This relationship between the need to sweat and the development of hot flashes may help explain a mechanism by which estrogen replacement reduces hot flashes. Estrogen replacement regimens call for three weeks on and one week off the hormone. This causes the body to retain fluid when the estrogen is high, and then release the fluid from the tissues as the estrogen falls, effectively functioning as a tissue cleanse. However, the potential cost of using estrogens is high. It can include cancer of the breast, cervix, vagina, endometrium, and liver, as well as gallbladder disease, stroke and pulmonary embolism, and exacerbated migraines, asthma, epilepsy, heart disease, and kidney disease.

Perhaps it's better to listen to the body and simply sweat to relieve and prevent menopausal discomfort. It is also easier on the millions of pregnant horses that are immobilized and catheterized to collect their urine for the drug Premarin (Previously Mare Urine).

Clearly, women with menopausal problems need to examine their diet, along with the health and function of all their eliminatory organs. However, when we realize that menopause is not a disease, and that the body knows how to deal with disorders to its equilibration with mechanisms such as perspiring, understanding the cause of menopaal discomfort is really no sweat!

Thirteen Signs of Clinical Depression

Clinical depression is the same as the terms "major depressive disorder" and "unipolar depression." This condition is accompanied by an intense feeling of sadness, melancholy or despair. Such condition of the person results in self-isolation and disruption of the person's daily activities. The signs of clinical depression must be identified early.

This condition is different and more serious than mere anxiety depression that we normally experience from time to time. Having a progressive clinical depression could lead to substance abuse such as drugs and alcohol and self-harm. Worst cases could lead to suicidal ideation.

It's Normal To Get Depressed And Anxious

Depression and anxiety are normal reactions of the human brain and its way of meeting stressing situations head on. It's human's defense mechanism. Nonetheless, a person must know how to bounce back from a cycle of depression and anxiety quickly. It must not take longer than a few days and without help from any types of medications for anxiety and depression.

How To Spot Clinical Depression

If the person has an inherent sadness that stems from reasons that happened in the past two months or longer, or is having a melancholic feeling and despair for no apparent reason, it will be best to watch out for the other signs of clinical depression.

Shown here are thirteen signs of clinical depression. If the person experiences a combination of these signs for more than two weeks, it is better to address the situation. Seek professional psychiatric or medical help. Clinical depression can be more easily furnished at the earlier stages.

  • The concentration of a person with clinical depression is impaired.
  • A clinically depressed person is unable to feel pleasure. Even the things that used to please him before seem to have no effect once he is into depression .
  • The sleep of a depressed person is disturbed. Once he wakes up in the middle of the night, he finds it hard to fall back to sleep again.
  • A depressed person has no appetite for food. Even favorite foods seem to be tasteless .
  • The depressed person still feels tired even after sleeping for long hours.
  • There is an intense feeling of guilt, hopelessness and helplessness in a depressed person. There is an event that happens in the past that seems to nag the person and caused him not to forgive himself or to feel incredibly hopeless.
  • At work, the depressed person seems to decline in productivity. He no longer delivers the way he used to.
  • There is a noticeable change in the personality of the person that other people might find weird .
  • Some people with depression experience extreme promiscuity.
  • Others tend to isolate themselves, as if building a world of their own.
  • Others resort to substance abuse such as alcohol and drugs.
  • A sign of clinical depression in the worst stage is a small voice that continuously nags the person, providing negative thoughts. This small voice is created by the person's continuous self-critical thoughts until it gained momentum and became independent. The person will no longer be able to control it once it has the momentum. It is the reason that causes the person to commit homicidal acts and suicide.
  • Some depressed persons want to commit suicide.

Clinical depression is a progressive mental disease. The ability to spot the earlier symptoms of clinical depression and having the proper medical and psychological treatment will prevent the onset of the more serious signs. If the person reaches the latter signs as mentioned above, hospitalization may be necessary to keep him from inflating self-injuries.

How To Treat Clinical Depression

If you have signs clinical depression, a psychiatrist will conduct different types of tests to know if what you are feeling is just a simple case of normal blues. There are written tests and interviews. After a few visits to a psychiatrist's clinic, he will then know if you have clinical depression or other types of mood disorder. Clinical or major depression requires medications. A psychiatrist may also recommend hospital confinement, especially if the manic behavior is already in an advanced stage.

The Dangers of Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia

Many people have a fear of their dentist and many often avoid seeing one for as long as they can. It seems to me that most of these people's fears are either bad experiences at the dentist or are simply irrational. I attend my dental practice every six months and have never had a problem visiting my dentist. I have had x-rays, my wisdom teeth have been rolled out and my teeth have been polished but the one thing I have never had done is a filling.

From speaking to my friends and family most people seem to have a problem with fillings. I've heard tales of giant needles being plunged into gums and then the age-old story of the anesthetic not working as your teeth are dropped from your mouth. Having never experienced a filling I can not tell if these are exaggerations or not but if you do suffer from dental practice phobia it can effect you badly as many people put off seeing the dentist altogether.

Avoiding going to the dentist can be very bad for your dental hygiene. Failure to visit the dentist can result in tooth decay and gum disease. If these conditions are not appreciated they will result in tooth decay which is not only painful but causes bad breath and will eventually result in teeth having to be removed. Dentists also notice other changes in your mouth and can be the first to notice developments of mouth cancer and can there save your life.

For these reasons dental procedures are looking for ways to overcome dental anxiety in order to get people to come back to the dentist. They have been offering patients the opportunity to discuss their fears with their dentist and the possible solutions to overcome these fears. Many practices that have their own branded dental plans will offer different types of sedation, either inhalation or intravenous, as well as options like counseling services, hypnotherapy and distraction techniques.

Anxious Thinking

Anxiety causes an imbalance in your life wherey all of the mental worries creates a top-heavy sensation. All of your focus is moved from the center of your body to the head. Schools of meditation often like to demonstrate an example of this top-heavy imbalance by showing how easily the body can lose its sense of center.

A student is asked to come to the front of the group and stand with his legs apart. The teacher then asks the student to focus on a personal worry or concern. Once the student is fixated on the worry, the teacher quietly moves to the side of the student and tells him he is going to attempt to push him over. The teacher pushes on the student's shoulder and is able to toppple the student with relative ease.

The same student is then asked to forget the worry and focus his attention on a grounding visualization. The teacher once again attempts to topple the student but finds much more resistance than previously. The student is grounded firmly in place. The class is given this demonstration to display how important it is to feel grounded and centered in the present and not continuously done in mental activity. When caught in mental anxieties, a person can feel disconnected from life as they go through life on autopilot.

Beating Anxious ThinkingI am going to teach you a single visualization that is separated into three parts. The purpose of the visualization is to enable you to quickly clear mental stress, tension, and anxious thinking. The visualization can be used when feeling stressed and is particularly useful when your mind is racing with fearful, anxious thinking. There are numerous such visualizations found in different self help courses, but I have combined three of the most effective ones and adapted them so that the resultant single visualization can be used literally anywhere. This visualization process, when practiced frequently, is very effective for eliminating deep-seated mental anxieties or intrusive thoughts. To gain maximum benefit, the exercise must be transported out for longer then 10 minutes at a time, as anything shorter will not bring noticeable results. There is no right or wrong way to carry out the visualization. Be intuitive with it and do not feel you are able to carry it out if you feel you are not very good at seeing mental imagery. As long as your attention is on the exercise, you will gain benefit.

It is best to do this exercise in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed, and then when you are more engaged you will be able to get the same positive results in a more busy environment such as the workplace. You should notice a calming effect on your state of mind along with a sensation of mental release and relaxation.

Okay, let's begin.

Alleviating Anxious ThinkingEither sitting or standing, close your eyes and move your attention to your breath. To become aware of your breathing, place one hand on your upper chest and one on your stomach. Take a breath and let your stomach swell forward as you breathe in and fall back gently as you breathe out. Take the same depth of breath each time and try to get a steady rhythm going. Your hand on your chest should have little or no movement. Again, try to take the same depth of breath each time you breathe in. This is called Diaphragmatic Breathing. When you feel comfortable with this technique, try to slow your breathing rate down by instituting a short pause after you have breathed out and before you breathe in again. Initially, it may feel as though you are not getting enough air in, but with regular practice this slower rate will soon start to feel comfortable.

It is often helpful to develop a cycle where you count to three when you breathe in, pause, and then count to three when you breathe out (or 2, or 4 – whatever is comfortable for you). This will also help you focus on your breathing without any other thoughts coming into your mind. If you are aware of other thoughts entering your mind, just let them go and bring your attention back to counting and breathing. Continue doing this for a few minutes. (If you practice this, you will begin to strengthen the Diaphragmatic Muscle, and it will start to work normally – leaving you with a nice relaxed feeling all the time.)

Visualization to Counter Anxious ThinkingNow move your attention to your feet. Try to really feel your feet. See if you can feel each toe. Picture the base of your feet and visualize roots growing slowly out through your soles and down into the earth. The roots are growing with quickening pace and are reaching deep into the soil of the earth. You are now rooted firmly to the earth and feel stable like a large oak or redwood tree. Stay with this feeling of grounded safety and security for a few moments. Once you have created a strong feeling or impression of being grounded like a tree, I want you to visualize a cloud of bright light forming way above you. A bolt of lightning from the luminous cloud hits the crown of your head, and that ignites a band of bright white light descending slowly from your head all the way down your body, over your legs, and past past your toes. As the band of light passes over you, feel it clear your mental state. It is illustrating your mind and clearing any rubbish that you may have been thinking about. Repeat this image four or five times until you feel a sense of clearing and release from any anxious thinking.

In finishing, see yourself standing under a large, luminescent waterfall. The water is radiant and bubbling with vitality and life. As you stand under the waterfall, you can feel the water run over every inch of your body, soothing you and instilling within you a sense of deep calm. Try to taste the water. Open your mouth and let it run into your mouth, refreshing you. Hear it as it builds off the ground around you. The water is life itself and it is washing away stress and worry from your mind and body.

After a moment, open your eyes.

Try to use all of your senses when carrying out the visualization. To make the pictures in your mind as real as possible, use your senses of touch, taste, and hearing. Feel the water trickle down your body; hear the sound it makes as it splashes over you.

The more realistic the imagined scenarios, the more benefit you will gain. Many people report very beneficial and soothing results from using these simple visualizations frequently. The mind is much like a muscle in that, in order to relax, it needs to regularly release what it is holding onto.

By visualizing the different situations, you are allowing your mind to release. It is like sending a message to your brain that when you close your eyes and begin this process it is time for letting go of anything that it has been mentally holding onto, including an exotic thinking. To begin with, in order to train your mind how to let go of the stress, it is important to practice this daily. With practices, you can learn to release all stress within minutes of starting the exercise. I recommend your daily practice take place before going to bed, as that will enable you to sleep more soundly.

Many people do not do these visualizations in the bedroom but some other room before going to bed. That way, when they enter the bedroom and close the door, they are leaving the mental stress and anxious thinking behind them.

Visualization as a tool for dealing with mental stress is very effective. If such visualization is carried out properly, you can reach a deep feeling of inner calm. From experience, however, I do not find visualization work to be sufficient to end a panic or anxiety attack (that is left to the One Move technique which I teach as part of the Panic Away program), but it is a very powerful tool for ridding yourself of general anxiety sensitivities.

That concludes the two-pronged approach to dealing with anxious thinking and thoughts.

With practice, you find you go days without having an angry thinking interrupt your life, and importantly, this significantly reduces the level of general anxiety you feel.

http://www.panic-and-anxiety-attacks.com/anxious-thinking.html
This article is copywritten material. Any requests for reprinting this article must be made to Joe Barry McDonagh

Meditation: A Beginners Guide for Everyone

Meditation is one of the great eastern practices that has started to take hold in western culture. In fact, people all over the world are benefiting from it, both in mind and body. So, why isn’t everyone meditating? It could be that not everyone knows of all the amazing benefits like increased relaxation, and decreased levels of anxiety and depression. This article contains a run down of only some of the many benefits of meditation, and a set of instructions for starting your own meditation practice.

This article is split into two main sections. First, we discuss the benefits of meditation. After that, we talk about how you can start your own meditation practice. If you don’t know of the many benefits of meditation, we recommend you read through the next section. It will help to motivate you to stick with your practice. If you already know the benefits of meditation, feel free to skip forward.

BENEFITS OF MEDITATION

There have been many studies performed on meditation in the last decade trying to understand its effects, as well as how it manages to help us so much, both in mind and body.

Research into meditation has demonstrated that meditating for a short time increases alpha waves, which makes us feel more relaxed, while simultaneously decreasing our feelings of anxiety and depression. Alpha waves flow through cells in the brain’s cortex, where we process sensory information. These waves help suppress irrelevant or distracting sensory information, allowing us to focus. The more alpha waves we have, the better we focus.

In his book, “What Is Meditation?”, Rob Nairn refers to meditation as a state of “bare attention.” He explains, “It is a highly alert and skillful state of mind because it requires one to stay psychologically present and ‘with’ whatever happens in and around one without adding to or subtracting from it in any way.”

Meditation has many health benefits. Interestingly, an increased ability to focus allows those who suffer from chronic pain to ease their pain by choosing not to focus on it. It can also help with various other health problems, including: anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, HIV/AIDS and cancer. It can also enhance the body’s immune system, making us less likely to get sick.

Studies have also shown that meditation can help to reverse heart disease. In the journal Stroke, 60 african/americans suffering from a hardening of the arteries were asked to meditated for 6-9 months. Those who meditated showed a notable decrease in the thickness of their artery walls. Those who didn’t meditate showed an increase in thickness. The conclusions were quite dramatic. Meditation offers a potential 11% decrease in risk of a having a heart attack, and 8-15% decrease in risk of having a stroke.

Meditation benefits our minds as well. It teaches us to better control our thoughts. This gives us the ability to quiet those nagging negative thoughts we may have from time to time.

A 2007 study, titled “Mental Training Affects Distribution of Limited Brain Resources” in PLOS Biology, suggests that frequent meditation leads to longer attention spans.

A 2008 study, titled “Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation: effects of medtative expertise” in PLOS One, found that those who meditated had stronger levels in areas of the brain tied to empathy.

Through meditation, we gain better concentration, spontaneity and creativity, happiness and peace of mind. Actors experience the effects of meditation on creativity first hand during acting classes. Whenever they make use of their creative impulses, they first meditate. It may seem odd at first, but the results are amazing. Creativity floods to the surface once the mind is cleared of clutter.

Finally, meditation can help us to discover our purpose in life. By turning our attention inwards, and focusing purely on our own being for long periods of time, meditation can help us gain a new perspective at life, unhindered by our own egoistic perspective. If you want to ask the very philosophical question, “Who am I?,” there is no better way than through meditation.

Enough, though, about the many benefits of meditation. There are many other websites that describe meditation and how it can help you. Let’s start learning how to do it.

STARTING MEDITATION

There is no one way to meditate. As preparation for the process, begin by letting go of any expectations you may have. For the first few times, just sit comfortably on the ground, on a pillow, or in a chair, and attempt to quiet your mind. You will probably have many thoughts swirling through your head; about the laundry, dinner, money, the kids, school, the weekend, etc. Don’t struggle and fight against your thoughts. They are perfectly natural. As they pass through your mind, notice them, accept them, and then gently bring your focus and attention back. You will receive a more detailed explanation in a moment. The longer you keep up with your meditation (not in one sitting, but over the course of your life), the longer you can quiet your thoughts, calm your mind, and focus.

We now attempt to answer some questions we anticipate from you.

What should I feel like after I’ve meditated?

Probably you want to know if you’re “doing it right”. Most beginners feel the same way. It is common to wonder if you are sitting correctly, or breathing correctly, or focusing on the right thing. In the end, none of that matters. If you feel better after meditating, you’re probably doing it right.

Is it hard?

It really isn’t, as long as you don’t have any expectations going in. Don’t expect to sit in perfect serenity your first time through. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t. Meditation is for you, and for you alone. It is unique to you. Let it be whatever it is, just for you.

When you first start meditating, you may struggle to silence all the inner chatter you have going on in your mind from one moment to the next. We all experience this struggle. You are not alone. The trick is not to fight against it, but just to accept it as part of who you are now, and that you are simply going through a personal transformation. With time, you will learn to calm your mind. There is nothing you need to do to meditate better. There is no need to try to speed things up. If you meditate every day, that is enough (even if it’s only for 10 minutes).

What position should my body be in for meditation?

You can meditate in many ways. You can sit on the floor, on a cushion, or in a chair. You can lie down, or stand up, or even walk around! Some monks actually meditate while walking. Place yourself in absolutely any position you want that is most comfortable for you.

How should I breathe during meditation?

Breathe normally. If you can, breathe using your diaphragm, which means air will reach the very bottom of your lungs. This is known as diaphragmatic breathing. It is a great tool for singers. To know if you’re breathing like this, your stomach should push out, and then sink back in. You are free to breathe however you like, though diaphragmatic breathing in and of itself is very relaxing and healing. It may seem uncomfortable at first, but as your diaphragm increases in strength (it’s a muscle), it will become easier. Those who practice yoga will be very familiar with this form of breathing. Also, if you want to see it in practice, children breathe this way naturally, especially babies.

You can practice breathing using your diaphragm by laying on the ground, placing your hand(s) over your stomach, and trying to push your hand up by breathing deep into your belly. That will give you a sense for what it feels like, and you can then shift your position as you see fit and try to mimic it. Either way, don’t fret if you can’t sustain it while meditating. Everything will happen in its own time.

If you yawn during meditation, don’t worry. It’s perfectly natural. When we do a lot of deep breathing, and enter a relaxed state, the body yawns naturally. Don’t fight it or think poorly of your ability to focus.

Should I close my eyes, or keep them open?

Whichever you choose. Keep in mind that the practice does not involve actually falling asleep. You are trying to remain alert and keep your focus and attention. If you are sleeping, you are doing neither (and you might fall over, unless you’re lying down). You can’t keep your eyes completely open, usually, because of dust and whatnot, and our eyes naturally get dry. You will need to blink, at the very least. You may wish to keep your eyes closed, because it helps to focus on what’s happening inside your body.

What do I do with my hands?

There are different beliefs here, and it is unclear whether any technique is better than another. If you hold to certain beliefs, then holding specific shapes with your hands, or placing them in different positions, will have different effects. You are free to search around at the various possibilities, if you’re interested.

The basic approach is to place your forearms or the backs of your hands over your knees (if you’re sitting on the floor), palms up, thumb and wring-finger touching. Another popular position is to sit with your hands in your lap, making an oval shape. The back of your right hand sits in the palm of your left, fingers over fingers, and the two thumbs gently touch each other, forming the oval.

Truthfully, any position will do. Place your hands on your knees if you like. Most prefer to have the hands facing up.

Where should I meditate?

Pick somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed. Meditation requires prolonged focus, and if your attention is constantly being dragged elsewhere, it will be difficult to carry out until you have more experience. With time, your focus will reach a point where you can meditate anywhere.

When should I practice?

Most books and experts suggest meditating in the morning, when our mind is fully alert. It will help you to focus, and you’ll be less likely to become sleepy. If it doesn’t fit your schedule to practice in the morning, then do it in the evening. Meditating has too many benefits to avoid it just because you can’t do it at the “ideal” time.

ALMOST THERE

Now that you’ve figured out how your body wants you to sit, and what feels natural to you for your meditation, we outline the basic steps to get you going. It is assumed that you already have a time and a place you’re going to meditate that’s quiet, where you won’t be disturbed.

  1. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes, depending on how long you want to meditate for. You should not meditate for longer than 15 minutes for your first few times. The timer will keep you from being distracted and worrying about the passage of time. Try and have a timer that beeps gently, as you may become more sensitive to noise.
  2. Start your timer, and then get comfortable.
  3. Begin by focusing on your breath. Become aware of how it moves smoothly in and out of your body. Focus on it, and the points where it switches from inhale to exhale. Imagine that your breath is moving in and out of a building, its door opening in both directions and never really closing.
  4. You will notice thoughts pop into your head now and again, perhaps quite often at first. Your mind has a certain ebb and flow to it. Accept it, and accept yourself. Your mind and body both know what they’re doing. Acknowledge the thought(s), and then bring your focus back to your breath.
  5. If you like, you may count your breath. Start by counting every inhale and exhale as one count, separately. Try and get to ten. If your mind wanders off, start counting back at one after you’ve focused back on your breath. When you get to ten, start again at one.
  6. Once you’ve gotten to ten a few times, try to count each inhale and exhale together as just one count. Again, try to get to ten as described in step 5.
  7. If you get to ten many times during step 6, try to focus purely on your breath and your body, and stop counting. Do not worry if this seems impossible. It takes time, and you will definitely get there.

That’s it! The more often you meditate, the more quickly you will notice its benefits. You will notice that after a short time, you can easily get to step 7. You’ll also notice that you get through the steps faster, as you learn to focus. You might then expand your practice by focusing on a word or mantra of some sort. Anything you find inspirational or motivational is a great mantra to use. Repeat the mantra silently in your head for the duration of your practice.

The hardest part of meditation is sticking with it. Many people get discouraged because they feel they “can’t do it.” To those feeling discouraged, let go of your expectations. Without those expectations, no-one is judging your meditation. It is only for yourself and your own benefit. If you stick to it for few months, you will get there, guaranteed.

For those who wish to learn more about meditation, consider reading the books: “What Is Meditation?”, by Rob Nairn, and “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”, by Shunryu Suzuki.

The Causes and Treatments of Acne

Acne is a common skin disorder that plagues millions of people of all ages. It includes a number of different skin problems, including blackheads and whiteheads, plugged pores, pimples, and cysts that occur deep underneath the skin. Most teenagers are affected to some degree by acne, but for some people it does not go away after the teenage years are over. Acne poses little health risk, but can leave permanent scarring, cause low self esteem and anxiety over the appearance, and may take years of treatment to get rid of.

White and blackheads are the smallest and simplest of all acne lesions. These are follicles that become clogged with dead skin cells, tiny ingrown hairs, dirt and oil, and even bacteria. Blackheads look black due to the fact that the follicle is open and the plug of excess materials is visible. When the follicle closes up over the plug, it appears skin color or like a small bump. This is known as a whitehead. Neither of these should be popped or lanced, unless done by a dermatologist. There are blackhead-removing tools on the market that consumers can use safely, including pore cleaning strips that pull out blackheads and small devices that use suction.

A pustule is the medical term that describes the most common lesion that occurs in acne, the pimple. A pustule is a bump, often red or infected, that has a white head or dome covered by a thin layer of skin. The white dome is a result of dead skin cells, bacteria, and pus building up under a layer of skin. This is the beginning stage of an acne cyst. If the pimple heals before reaching the cystic stage, it usually does not scar. Dermatologists recommended not popping or lending pimples, as it introduces new bacteria into the lesion and can cause infections or scarring.

Cysts and nodules are the most severe forms of acne. Nodules are large bumps that appear red or inflamed, but without the white head of a pimple. These extend deep into the skin and are difficult to treat. Due to their extension into lower layers of the skin, they can cause permanent damage to skin and scarring, even if they heal properly. Cysts are like nodules, except they contain fluids and other substances such as dead blood cells. Both forms of acne are painful, and can be very tender to the touch. Cysts are considered rare in most forms of acne, but nodules can occur in people with occasional breakouts.

Over the counter medication, usually containing salicylic acid, generally work on occasional and minor acne. But if you have constant pimples, or are experiencing nodules or cysts, you may need to see a dermatologist. The quicker acne is treated, the less likely it is to scar. Also, heavy acne with many nodules may only respond to treatments involving isotretinoin. A licensed dermatologist can only administrator isotretinoin. If you've had acne for a long time and have scarring, most dermatologists can administer treatments such as chemical resurfacing that can remove old scars and prevent new damage.

Female Fertility Supplement

Are you looking to purchase and use a female fertility supplement to get pregnant? If so, here are a list of things to watch out for before you purchase a female infertility supplement.

Avoid Prescription Female Fertility Drugs

TIP: Avoid using prescription infertility drugs such as clomiphene (Clomid) as it contains many side effects. Data clearly suggests that prolonged use of clomiphene may increase the risk of a borderline or invasive ovarian tumor.

Common side effects include "blurred vision or vision problems (spots or flashes); breast tenderness; dizziness; enlarged breasts; enlargement of the ovaries; flushing; headache; hot flashes; lightheadedness; mood change; ; and vomiting. " Natural female infertility supplements are a safe alternative, with no side effects that can have great results as well.

Things To Look For In A Female Fertility Supplement # 1 – A Reputable Company

Make sure that the fertility company has years of experience with curing female fertility and that the drugs are guaranteed for both quality and potency. The team behind the supplement should consist of doctors and / or naturalopaths that have years of experience with female infertility.

Things To Look For In A Female Fertility Supplement # 2 – Real Positive Testimonials

Look for success stories and positive testimonials from real users who have taken this female infertility supplement that is not from the company website. This way you can make sure that the testimonials are from real women and not just created by the company.

Things To Look For In A Female Fertility Supplement # 3 – The Right Ingredients

The female infertility supplement that you choose should contain trace minerals, vitamins, and key herbs that will help stimulate your ovaries and get pregnant fast. Some common and popular herbs that female infertility supplements have are chasteberry (vitex), ginseng, red raspberry leaf and ginkgo.

Keep in mind that once you get pregnant, no matter which female fertility supplement you are taking, you should stop. The female fertility supplement may have herbs and ingredients that have stimulating effects on the uterus.

Another important point to keep in mind is that female fertility problems only account for 50% of fertility problems, the other half lies in the male. So if possible, your husband should take a natural male fertility supplement while you are taking a natural female infertility supplement to optimize the chances of getting pregnant.

Both you and your partner should attend to eat as healthy and drink as much water as possible while trying to conceive as well. Water is crucial to thinning the cervical mucus and increasing cervical mucus as well as assisting sperm motility.

5 Great Ways To Lower Blood Pressure Quickly

For people with high blood pressure, medication sometimes is not sufficient to lower it to healthy levels. Consequently, they have to find additional ways help lower their blood pressure. Uncontrolled and prolonged high blood pressure can lead to serious complications; including, kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke. That is why you need to do every little bit you can to bring it under control. Here are some natural ways to lower your blood pressure that are easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

1. A Piece Of Dark Chocolate Will Keep The Doctor Away.

According to recent report in the Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, eating a small piece of dark chocolate everyday contributed to chemical changes in the body that help dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Several research point to the conclusion that the antioxidant-rich compound found in dark chocolate known as flavonoids, have a healthy effect on blood vessels as well as glucose metabolism.

Even better news for chocolate lovers is the fact that dark chocolate contains more flavoniods than any other food; including green tea, red wine, and blueberries. A little dark chocolate is good for you, but a lot of it is not because chocolate is high in calories. Also, to obtain the blood pressure lowering effect of dark chocolate, you need to look for one that has at least 70 percent cocoa content. Dark chocolate is delicious but sometimes, it may be a bit bitter so, you may have to try different brands until you find one that you really like.

2. Potassium: A Magic Mineral.

Potassium is a key nutrient in maintaining the electrolyte balance which regulates heart and muscle contraction. It also plays an important role in maintaining proper fluid exchange. A study conducted at Duke University shows that daily intake of Potassium supplements can significantly reduce high blood pressure. African-Americans showed the biggest drop. Their blood pressure went down almost 20 points, causing the speculation that this sub-group might be particularly sensitive to the blood pressure lowering effects of potassium.

It is recommended that you try to get your potassium from food. Dietary sources of potassium include apple juice, apricots, avocado, bananas, legumes, beets, cantaloupe, carrots, oranges, pears, white and sweet potatoes, raisins, salmon, sardines, watermelon, and winter squash.

3. Water: Nature’s Miracle Medicine

When your body is in a state of dehydration, your blood pressure will increase dramatically. In fact chronic dehydration is the cause of chronic high blood pressure. Dr. Bathmanghelidj, the author of You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty, says that when the body is lacking water, it attempts to hold on to the available water supplies by retaining salt. When the body starts to retain water instead of letting it flow normally, blood pressure rises. However, this increased water retention is simply a preventive measure the body uses to protect the vital cells within it from becoming totally dehydrated. Water is one of the most effective ways to lower blood pressure.

Adequate water intake, and a bit of good pure natural salt such as Himalayan Crystal salt, will balance the fluid intake inside and outside the cells. This may sound contradictory to what you havebeen told, but salt is essential for life, we cannot live without it. However, there is a big difference between the common processed salt most people are accustomed to, and pure natural Himalayan salt which contains 85 trace minerals that your body needs. Intake of Himalayan Crystal salt will regulate the water content throughout your body, and promote a healthy PH balance.

Make drinking adequate amounts of water a daily habit. Not only will you be lowering your blood pressure, but a lot of other body functions will improve. You will feel more alert and energetic, less depressed, your skin will glow, and those nagging aches and pain will go away.

4. Breathe Deep For Your Heart

New research indicates slow breathing may lower blood pressure, even if practiced for only a few minutes per day. Take a slow deep breath, expanding the diaphragm, and the abdomen then, exhale even slower making sure you empty all the air from the lungs. The goal is to develop a rhythmic slow, and deep breathing pattern of less than 10 breaths per minute.

At first, you may find it difficult to develop a rhythmic pattern, but as you continue to breath in, and out slowly, you will eventually develop a healthy breathing pattern. Breathing that slowly for a few minutes several times throughout the day is another way to lower blood pressure that many people find very effective.

5. Walking Is Good For You

Many of us live a very sedentary lifestyle. We sit down all day at work and then, we spend our time at home sitting down. Over time, this inactivity can lead to many health complications caused primarily by excess weight. The ongoing day-to-day strain that excess weight puts on the entire cardiovascular system is what causes blood pressure to reach dangerous heights. Exercise plays a key role in lowering high blood pressure; however, many people find it difficult to engage in a regular exercise program because of lack of time. The good news is that you’re not required to do prolonged, and strenuous exercise to benefit from it.

A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health revealed that as little as 30 minutes of walking three times a week, even if it was broken into 10-minute walks throughout the day, was enough to have a significant effect on lowering blood pressure, and weight loss.

The above 5 approaches are proven ways to lower blood pressure. However, consistency is the only way to benefit from them long term. Make them part of your daily lifestyle routine for a healthy heart, and normal blood pressure.

Technical Support For Your PC

Today's world is technology oriented. And, computer, undeniably, plays an important role in shaping up the technology as well as introducing users to its fresh aspects. Remote computer support is one of the most upcoming of all which has proved to be a boon for all computer users.

Often, you must have found yourself fighting with nasty technical errors and problems. But, you can put an end to all within no time. There are hundreds of computer support companies which offer a wide gamut of support services over the Internet and have a task force of highly trained computer professionals and certified technicians. These services come at highly affordable rates without compromising on the quality factor.

Another benefit of availing online / remote computer support services is their 24×7 availability.

Given below are the support services available with these leading technical support companies:

Data Back Up : When it comes to saving your precious data from malicious stuff like virus or Trojan attack or against natural disasters, online data backup is the most useful. There are computer users who still use traditional methods like saving all in a floppy or disk as a system failure would cause unthinkable hardship. Well! Online technical support brings a better and convenient method to back up your data. It helps you to protect your data without investing a lot of time and energy. These are known as online data back-up services.

Email Troubleshooting : Have you ever experienced technical problems while dealing with your email client? Well! You can now think to bid farewell to all such malicious email errors and buy email troubleshooting services by certified experts. Again, you can find it out in list of online support services available with any good tech support company.

Computer Security Services : Securing your PC against malware and other security threats can be very useful to add to longevity of your machine. Then, there is a fear of hackers who always keep trying to look into your system. PC security services help you to nip your fear into bud for once and all. Your computer support technician will bring your system the advantages of services like Antivirus installation, Virus removal, spyware removal, firewall installation and configuration, PC optimization, Internet optimization, etc.