Living With Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that usually occurs in the winter months although it can start as early as September in some cases. Milder forms of the condition are often described as the “winter blues.” Sufferers can experience loss of energy and general depression along with problems sleeping, feeling anxious, general irritability, increased appetite, strong cravings for carbohydrates and sweet foods, and experience headaches, muscle and joint pain and in severe cases, can have suicidal thoughts. The condition can affect people of any age and gender although is most common in females and can have a profound effect on a person’s personal and professional life. SAD may even be hereditary. Many sufferers tell of a parent or relative who suffers or has suffered from the disorder.

SAD can also affect children who show symptoms of decline in academic achievements resulting in a loss of desire to take part in activities, especially sports, memory impairment, poor organizational skills and difficulty in writing. Children suffering from SAD may also show behavioural difficulties such as:

  • Withdrawal from family and friends;
  • Crying spells;
  • Temper tantrums;
  • A tendency to watch a lot of television without retaining what they have seen.

SAD is more prevalent in northern parts of the world and seems to develop from inadequate light. Researchers have discovered that bright light changes the chemicals in the brain but just how this occurs and the details of its effects are still ongoing. They do know however that lack of light produces Melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone which reduces the production of Serotonin – a “feel good” chemical resulting in the above and many other symptoms. The disorder as far as I can ascertain, was first recognised only as recently as 1985.

While it’s unfortunate that people who suffer from the disorder have in the past through a lack of knowledge and/or understanding been told to “pull their socks up” or “get over it” the good news is that treatment is widely available now. If symptoms are severe, know that help is at hand and don’t suffer in silence. The first step is to seek professional help as you may need, and could benefit greatly from antidepressants. If your symptoms are milder, you can also benefit from a difference in lifestyle. Try spending more time outdoors and sitting near windows. A good breakfast is also important and foods containing Vitamin D such as fish (especially wild salmon and mackerel), chicken, cod liver oil, milk, eggs and fresh vegetables (chickpeas and spinach should be high on the list) will help greatly. Try also to eat at regular intervals and not to make do with fast foods no matter how busy your day is.

Another source of help can be found in light therapy boxes which can be used at home or the office and dawn simulators are proving to be highly effective in giving the feeling of waking up on a bright summer’s morning on the darkest of winter days, thereby giving rise to a gentler wakeup and feeling of wellbeing.

Taking regular exercise also is important. It’s been said that there is no such thing as “bad weather”, only “bad clothes” so bear that in mind. Equipped with the proper clothing (and attitude), a walk on a windswept beach in the middle of January or snow covered hills can be just as invigorating as a walk through a meadow full of flowers in the height of summer. Don’t forget all those books you have meant to read either. Get warm, comfortable and open page 1 or put on your favourite music. Life is for living – not just in spring and summer but for the entire year – live it!

The Ever Increasing Trend of Ethical Consumerism

Ethical consumerism is all about buying products that have been made in a sustainable manner and don’t cause any harm to the environment. Consumers can extend their support to environmental sustainability, better working conditions for the workers, reduced greenhouse gas emission and upliftment of communities only by choosing ethically made goods. There is a direct relation between ethical consumption and the growth of progressive companies.

There are several benefits associated with ethical shopping. This has been considered one of the effective ways to attain sustainable development and better living conditions for communities. According to experts, trading of goods and services is good but it should not affect the development of local communities or reduce biodiversity. If production of goods increases the divide between the rich and poor sections of the society, it cannot be considered good for sustainable development.

It is the responsibility of consumers to support the rights of workers who produce goods for them. More than the government and green companies, it is the responsibility of consumers to realize their role in combating climate change. Their choice of products will make sure whether or not a company causing destruction to the environment should be closed down.  In the US, efforts are being made to support social and environmental causes so that the concept of ethical consumerism can be advanced to the next level in the coming years. The government has also banned several non-ethical products to eliminate bad choices from the buyers.

The present need is to bring ethical consumerism to the fore so that more consumers across the globe start shopping for products that are ethically produced. The rate of fair trade purchase is increasing in several countries and consumer behavior also seems to be changing in regard to ethically consumption. Due to the rising popularity of ethical consumerism, many companies have been encouraged to turn ‘green’ and enhance their production activities. This is being done in order to meet the consumer demand for more transparency in production methods. Marketing activities are also being improved to support the ethical consumerism revolution.

Fears and Phobias – How to Get Over Them So You Can Get on With It

Then it’s important you understand this: We are born with two instinctive fears: the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. Everything else is a learnt fear. Some learnt fears are not only handy to have but have allowed us to survive as a species.

When it comes to fire, for example, through trial and error, we’ve learnt that if we try to touch it, we’ll get burnt. If we stop in the middle of the road, the chances are we’ll get run over, if you put our hand in a tiger’s mouth, we’re bound to lose it. These make sense. It makes sense not to go down a deserted dark alley, not to walk home alone in the middle of the night, or not to try to pat a rabid dog… we don’t have to have experienced the bite of a poisonous snake to know we are in danger if we are around one.

But what about the fear of spiders for example? If you live in the Australian outback and you come across a venomous spider, it makes sense to avoid it, run, or do whatever you have to do so that you don’t get bitten. If you live in Ireland and come across a Daddy long legs happily dangling off the ceiling, having an anxiety attack is simply a silly thing to do, and bad for your health at that.

We have an inbuilt fight or flight response to help us deal with danger, and my guess is that it’s not meant to go off at the sight of a Daddy long legs. This is an example of a learnt unuseful fear.

When you were a kid the chances are you did not fear spiders or any other insect for that matter. In fact, like many other kids, you were probably extremely curious about them and tried to grab them, or even eat them! I clearly remember spending hours catching flies so that we could feed them to spiders nesting in my grandparents’ farm wall. It was a delicate operation, and a mean one, but boy did we enjoy it!

Needless to say that being a million times bigger than any spider and being able to annihilate most with a single stomp or the sweep of a brush kind of tells us that it’s really the spider that should be trembling with fear, and not us. Yet, if you’ve noticed, they seem to ignore us most of the time, keep to themselves, and either keep building their web or catching flies or other bugs, we are often also afraid of.

We humans also have one thing called anticipation: we can anticipate good things, and terrible things that might happen. Most of us have never experienced a plane crash, but that doesn’t stop some people from sitting on a plane with butterflies in their stomach, sweaty hands and uneasy feelings. But anticipating a fearful stimulus can provoke the same response as actually experiencing it.

Conditioning plays a big part here too: conditioning is why some people love dogs while others fear them. Maybe they were bitten by a dog when they were kids and since then their brain recognises all dogs as dangerous, even though in reality we all know this not to be true.

Some studies show that humans might be genetically predisposed to fear certain harmful things like spiders, snakes and rats. Animals that once posed real danger to us because they were poisonous or carried disease.

But according to recent research the most common fears today are: terrorist attacks, spiders, death, failure, war, heights, crime/violence, being alone, the future, nuclear war…

Experiencing fear every now and then is a normal part of life. But living with chronic fear can be both physically and emotionally debilitating. So, how can you get over your fears so you can get on with things?

1. GET PROFESSIONAL HELP: if people repeatedly telling you “don’t be silly” worked I’m sure you’d be fine by now. NLP and Hypnosis can help you eliminate fears very effectively and more quickly than you ever thought. It doesn’t matter why you have a fear, how it all started or how long you’ve had it for. It’s about reconditioning your mind, so that you can build new more useful memories that will allow you to feel more at ease about that specific thing, activity or situation. You don’t have to fall in love with spiders or bugs or whatever… you can simply be indifferent, and be comfortable with yourself.

2. GET THINKING: learn about the thing you fear. Lack of knowledge is often a big component of fear. Developing an understanding of what you’re afraid of can really help you eliminate that fear. For example, did you know that spiders have a very positive and vital impact on our ecosystem? They help manage insect populations by eating lots of bugs. Also, medical research using spider venom has yielded several chemicals that may be useful to control or treat diseases in humans. Spider venom could save your life!

3. GET EXPOSED: When I was a kid a big dog ran crazily barking towards me and almost bit me. Since then I’ve always been a little wary of dogs. Especially small ones… I know, it doesn’t make sense! A lot of our fears don’t make sense. Some may have been conditioned by our parents’ own fears, some may be the result of something that happened a long time ago, or something that almost happened once, but never did. Some were conditioned by movies we’ve watched. It’s easy to be afraid of something when it’s watched in a vividly colourful panoramic screen, with the right sound effects attached to it. NLP helps you put things into perspective by running more useful, nicer movies in your mind so you can get to feel more at ease about things which used to scare you in the past. It’s important to test yourself though, if you can, just to make sure you’re OK now. This is why I am collecting spiders around the house to use with a client later on. Nothing like getting exposed to know you are over it!

How Anxiety Disorders Can Be Treated

A wide variety of disorders related to anxiety, tension, worry and fear are generally classified as anxiety disorders. The specific types include panic disorders and phobias or irrational fears. The intensity of the symptoms experienced by people suffering may vary from one individual to another. Stress, traumatic events, and fear are some of the most common factors that can trigger the development of the disorders. A person experiencing may suffer from specific reactions of the body including excessive sweating, heart palpitation, headaches, and extreme fatigue. The more severe the anxiety attack becomes, the weaker the person would be. Persons prone to anxiety disorders should always be accompanied with other people, just in case an anxiety attack takes place anytime, then anxiety disorder treatment can be followed.

Depression, from mild to major, and other psychological disorders have also been linked to anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorder is often caused by overlapping factors, thus, delineating the disorder from other psychological disorders would be difficult. Objects and other people are some of the environmental factors that serve as triggers for the disorders. Even stimuli that are not usually harmful such as butterflies can cause anxiety and extreme fear for individuals experiencing anxiety disorders. Having a disorder would be very much stressful because every encounter would lead with the triggering stimulus would lead to an attack. If you suspect that someone you know is suffering from it, you can observe the commonalities among all his or her attacks for you to identify what specific stimuli triggers the disorder.

The extent of the disorder can be determined by consulting a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Consulting an expert is considered the first step in attempting to treat or cure the disorder. The person suffering undergoes a psychological therapy so that he or she would be able to overcome his or her anxiety or fear every time he or she encounters the triggering stimulus. Treating anxiety disorders is often taken through two different approaches: cognitive or behavioral. The prevalent thoughts of an individual during the anxiety attack serve as the salient point of cognitive approaches in treating the disorders. Through this salient point, the therapist can identify the chain of thought that serves as the prelude to the rise or development of anxiety disorders. The other approach, the behavioral techniques, focuses more on the behavioral reactions of the individual to the specific events or situations triggered by the attack. If these two approaches would be combined, the chances that the disorder would be treated are higher.

Aside from therapy, a psychologist or psychiatrist may also recommend the intake of particular medications. Nevertheless, a major drawback in taking medications as treatment for the disorders and other psychological disorders is the inevitability of side effects. A withdrawal syndrome may also develop once the intake has been stopped. Furthermore, taking medications may also lead the individual to be dependent on the drug, potentially leading to substance abuse.

Hot Legs at Night

For those of you who have had problems getting to sleep due to having hot legs at night you may not even know the cause of it. The most basic and underlining cause of any heat emulating from the body is from inflammation. But what, you’re asking now, is what is the cause of the inflammation. To help you with that burning sensation in your legs, read on for two helpful tips that have helped me a lot.

Growing up I suffered from the symptoms of having hot legs at night and the burning sensation would very often keep me awake for hours. I knew from my own research that it was most likely caused by inflammation. However, it wasn’t until college when my Health Ecology Professor told me that over 70% of all Americans deal with an ongoing Candida Infection that I started to get a better Idea of what’s was going on in my body. I’ve been dealing with yeast and Candida my entire life and I want to share the information I have gathered over the years with you! I know how awful and taxing having hot legs at night can be so here are a few tips on how to fix the problem.

Tip #1: I know you’re tired from the lack of sleep, believe me I know! The only true way to kill Candida will take some time, time your body requires to heal itself. For a quick fix and a good night’s sleep tonight take to Aleve or Motrin (any anti inflammatory over the counter pill) and lay a cool damp cloth over each leg. It works; I’ve done it many times!

Tip #2: Now that we’ve got you a good night sleep under your belt lets talk long term treatment to calm those legs down at night. We know the problem is a yeast infection and an overgrowth of Candida so how do we kill these microorganisms? The fastest and most effective way to do this is to cut off the bacteria’s food supply. Simply put, a yeast organism eats simple sugar that you consume in the form of soda, candy, starch, bread, pasta and any simple or complex carbohydrate. When a colony of yeast receives enough nutrients via your diet, it will blossom into full blown Candida and you will start having hot legs at night.

Tip # 3: The reason that Candida is always worse during the night has to do with the interaction of hormone release during your sleep cycle. To kill the Candida you will need to put yourself into a state of ketoses for at least 3 straight days. When your body enters ketoses you use fatty acids as fuel rather than the usual carbohydrates. This will eliminate the fuel source to the Candida and kill it. To put yourself into ketosis you must limit your diet to 30 carbohydrates per day and no more than 5 at any one time (so, lots of snacking). Eat lots of veggies, meat, fish and a little cheese. Done correctly, it will take about a day and a half to put you into a state of ketoses.

Tip # 4: Remember to drink plenty of water! In drinking over a gallon of water daily, you will help with the elimination of yeast colonies. Water is a universal solvent and taking in enough of it will literally stsrt to flush out all the yeast in your body.

Six Tips For Planning a Spa Break

Interested in a relaxing spa getaway? Here are a few things to consider when planning your trip.

The type of spa you want. Be sure you know what type of spa you want before choosing one, as all do not offer the same price range, range of treatments, or experience.

The treatments you want. Make a list of the treatments you'd like to have on your trip, and make sure the spa you choose has those treatments available.

A setting you like. Some spas are located in scenic rural areas, while others are in the heart of a bustling downtown.

The right atmosphere. Some ambition minimalist tranquility, while others lean more towards luxuriant opulence. Be sure your spa looks like the type of place you're looking for.

A price that fits your own budget. Not all spas charge the same way.

Treatments booked in advance. Do not think that just because a treatment is available, there will not be a long line of people ahead of you once you arrive at the spa.

A spa break can be relaxing and luxurious, healthy and refreshing, or calm and meditative. Do your research, ask questions, and make sure your spa has everything you're looking for-and you're sure to have a spa break to remember.

OK that's it for now. Hope you enjoyed the article. If you have any ideas or suggestions for content you'd like us to present on this topic please feel free to contact us via email or via the website listed below.

Wildflowers of the West

Beargrass wildflowers are best known for their use by Native Americans as a basket weaving material. The fibrous leaves turn from green to white as they dry and are tough and durable. The leaves may also be dyed and are flexible enough to be woven into tight, waterproof weaves. Eastern prairie tribes also used the boiled rods of beargrass wildflowers as a hair tonic and to treat sprains.

Beargrass wildflowers are still used today for basket weaving. More recently, beargrass wildflowers have become an important long lasting green in floral bouquets. Many national forests are now issuing permits for the harvesting of beargrass wildflowers for commercial use. Beargrass wildflowers can be grown in gardens in well-drained soils. Do not over-water and do not use commercial fertilizers. Humus and tree needle mulch will make your beargrass wildflowers feel right at home.

Beargrass wildflowers are an evergreen herb in the lily family. Colonies of the perennial beargrass wildflower, also known as squaw grass, soap grass and Indian basket grass, bloom in three to seven year cycles. The tall flowering stalks can be up to six feet tall with numerous small white flowers. The conical shape of the flowers makes beargrass wildflowers easily recognizable.

Beargrass wildflowers are an important part of the ecosystem in the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada and Coast ranges. Beargrass wildflowers do well in fairly dry, cool sites. Beargrass wildflowers provide food for at least forty species of insects, which in turn pollinate the grass. Many big game animals including deer and elk also favor beargrass wildflower. Pocket gophers and other rodents feed on beargrass wildflowers and grizzly bears sometimes use beargrass wildflowers for winter nesting material for their dens.

Beargrass wildflowers have long, thin leaves with toothed edges extending from the base. The central stalk has short, leaf-like extensions along its length. Beargrass wildflowers are an important part of fire ecology and thrive with periodic burns. Beargrass wildflower rhizomes survive fires that clear plant matter from the surface of the ground. Beargrass wildflowers are often the first plant to sprout in burned areas.

Another easily recognizable wildflower, the bitterroot, has been an icon in its native state of Montana for centuries. Also know as the resurrection flower, the plant is legendary for its ability to live for more than a year without water. The stem of bitterroot wildflowers is so short that the flower seems almost to sit on the ground. In addition, the leaves die off when the flower blooms, leaving the appearance of a flower emerging directly from the soil. For this reason, bitterroot wildflowers are also called rockroses. Meriwether Lewis collected bitterroot wildflowers on the famous Lewis and Clark expedition.

The bitterroot wildflower became Montana's state flower by popular vote in 1895. Bitterroot wildflowers have lent their name to a mountain range, a river and the famous Bitterroot Valley. Each year a two-day annual bitterroot wildflowers festival takes place in this valley to celebrate the bacterial bitterroot plant.

Bitterroot wildflowers are low-growing perennials with fleshy taproots and a branched base. Bitterroot wildflowers blooms in May and June. Each biterroot wildflower plant has a single flower ranging in color from white to a deep pink or rose.

The roots of bitterroot wildflowers were considered a luxury and could be traded with other Indian tribes as well as with pioneers and trappers. A sack of the valuable prepared rats could have been traded for a horse.

Bitterroot wildflowers were an important part of the diet of Montana Indians. Many Montana tribes – including the Flathead, Spokane, Nez Perce, Kalispell and Pend d'Oreille – timed their spring migration with the blooming of bitterroot wldflowers. The roots were gathered near what is now Missoula. After being cleaned and dried, the roots were a nutritious, lightweight snack. The roots were cooked before eating and usually mixed with meat or berries. Cakes of the cooked root could be transported and ate while traveling.

A less familiar western wildflower is the owl-clover. Owl-clover wildflowers are a member of the snapdragon family (scrophulariaceae, Orthocarpus). This family numbers 4500 species around the world. The name Orthocarpus is from the Greek orthos, straight, and karpos, fruit. Owl-clover wildflowers are closely related to the Indian paintbrushes. The origin of the common name is obscure, though owl-clover wildflowers do somewhat resemble the head and feathers of an owl. Owl-clover wildflowers are not directly related to other types of clover.

Owl-clover wildflowers grow on low ground in dry, open sites such as meadows in most parts of Montana. Owl-clover wildflowers also grow in Canada, Minnesota, California, Nebraska, New Mexico and northwestern Mexico.

Owl-clover wildflowers are winter annuals six to eight inches tall. The yellow, white or purple "petals" are actually bracts surrounding very small, almost hidden yellow flowers. The leaves alternate along the stalk and may have two narrow side lobes. The owl-clover wildflowers are on narrow spikes and bloom a few at a time. A single owl-clover wildflower plant may have dozens of blooms during a growing season. Owl-clover wildflowers are a partial parasite that relations on the root system of other plants.

Owl-clover wildflowers are mentioned in the journal of Meriweather Lewis on July 2, 1806. Owl-clover wildflowers were later fully described in 1818 by the English botanist Thomas Nuttall during explorations of what is now North Dakota.

The Indian paintbrush, on the other hand, is probably the most recognizable western wildflower. Indian paintbrush wildflowers can be orange, red or yellow. The bright, flowerlike bracts are not the true flower, but almost completely conceal inconspicuous small yellow flowers. Indian paintbrush wildflowers are also known as prairie-fire and grow in dry, sandy areas as well as moist areas. Indian paintbrush wildflowers can be found both on mountainsides and in open meadows.

Indian paintbrush wildflowers were adopted as the Wyoming state flower in 1917. The name comes from the fact that some Native American tribes used the bracts as paintbrushes.

The roots of Indian paintbrush wildflowers are partly parasitic on other plant roots. Indian paintbrush wildflowers usually grow from 1-2 feet tall. Indian paintbrush wildflowers have the ability to grow in soils with high magnesium, low calcium and high amounts of metals such as chromium and nickel. Although Indian paintbrush wildflowers are edible, they will absorb selenium, and there before can not be eaten in large amounts when taken from selenium-rich soils.

The Chippewa Indians used Indian paintbrush wildflowers to treat rheumatism and as a hair rinse. Both of these uses of Indian paintbrush wildflowers stem from the high selenium content in some paintbrush plants.

Another fascinating western wildflower is the snowberry. Western snowberry wildflowers are part of the honeysuckle family. Snowberry wildflower shrubs grows up to 3 'in height and spreads through rhizomes, forming colonies of fruit-bearing plants. Snowberry wildflowers are white to light pink at the end of twigs and upper leaf axils. The common snowberry is a popular shrub in gardens due to its decorative white fruit.

Snowberry wildflowers are an important source of winter food for birds including quail, pheasant and grouse. Snowberry wildflowers are a famine food for humans due to their bitterness and the presence of saponins in the berries. Saponins, a substance also found in many beans, can be destroyed by cooking.

Snowberry wildflowers have extensive root systems are can be used to stabilize soils on banks and slopes. Snowberry wildflowers grow in open prairies and along streams and lakes in Montana, Washington, Utah, New Mexico, Minnesota and Canada.

Saponins are quite toxic to some animals such as fish. Native Americans put large quantities of snowberries in streams and lakes as a fishing technique to stupefy or kill fish. An infusion of the roots from snowberry wildflowers has also been used for inflamed or weak eyes and to aid in convalescence after childbirth.

The branches of the snowberry wildflower bush can be made into brooms. The bush is also very tolerant of trimming and can be grown as a medium to tall hedge.

A very unique western wildflower is the yucca flower. Yucca wildflowers are one of forty different species that inhabit the southern United States and Mexico. Some non-desert species also live in the southeastern United States and in the Caribbean Islands. Yucca wildflowers are pollinated by a specific moth. In the absence of this moth, yucca wildflowers must be hand pollinated to survive.

Yucca wildflowers are in the lily family as indicated by their cream-colored, bell-shaped flowers. Yucca wildflowers are actually trunkless shrubs also related to the cassava or tapioca family. Yucca wildflower leaves contain strong fibers that can be used to make routes. Yucca wildflower roots contain a natural red dye used for baskets.

A tea from the yucca wildflower buds has been used to treat diabetes and rheumatism. The buds can be eat like like bananas. Yucca wildflowers can be cooked and ground for candy, called colache. The yucca wildflower is the state flower of New Mexico.

The study of western wildflowers is fascinating due to their many different uses and their adaptability to harsh climates. Among the jagged Rocky Mountains, western wildflowers add a touch of delicate beauty.

Bronchial Asthma: Its Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

The Bronchial Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways or lungs where an obstruction or disturbance in the ventilation of the respiratory passages evokes a feeling of shortness of breath or variable and recurring symptoms. This leads to paroxysms which squeeze the bronchial air passage.

Causes of Bronchial Asthma

There are various causes of triggering Bronchial Asthma. The main cause is a raised level of resistance to the airflow in the bronchial passages or weak lungs by shutting down the airway. Although, the muscles of these passages work harder, they are unable to support the activity of breathing and gas exchange. The result is an attack of bronchial asthma where there are spasms of the bronchial muscles, a swelling of the bronchial wall and an increase in the secretion of mucous. The other causes of bronchial asthma are: respiratory infections, cold air, exercise, smoke, genetic factors, stress, anxiety or emotional stress, allergies from food, drugs or molds and air borne pollutants like pollen and dust.

Signs or Symptoms of Bronchial Asthma

In bronchial asthma, the following signs and symptoms are observed :

i. Shortness of breath or paroxysmal dyspnoea

ii. Tightness or lot of pain in the chest reigon

iii. Increased secretion of mucous occurs during the asthma attack.

iv. Wheezing

v. Excessive coughing or a cough that keeps you awake at night or Asthma attacks usually occur in the morning time.

Diagnosis of Bronchial Asthma

The clinical diagnosis should always be done by a competent doctor. There are various methods to diagnose the bronchial asthma some of them are, Allergen sensitivity tests, Chest X-ray,                        Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) to exhale the air forcefully as to monitor the lung expansion, Spirometry (measuring of breathing capacity), sputum and blood tests, etc may be of use in finding the cause and severity of the condition.

 Treatment of Bronchial Asthma

The self care is the best remedy for bronchial asthma or to develop self care strategy by the help of a doctor. Some of the common and old methods of asthma treatments are: Medications, Inhalers, Steroids and other Anti-Inflammatory drugs, Bronchodilators and Nebulizer.

Men's Midlife Crisis – Fact Or Fiction?

If you are a Man and you've read my Article on "What women want" which really was all about female midlife crisis, you might be a little more understanding of a women's match and maybe even have a little more appreciation for your partner, But there's also a chance that a small part of you might also be saying to yourself;

"Well what about me?"

"I have challenges, I have responsibilities, I have dreams."

The reality is that men go though just as many phases of their lives as women do, some are obviously biologically different from women, but many are in deed emotionally, very much the same or similar.

Some are natural and some are imposed, but regardless of who they are, or where they are, they will probably all experience some or all of these thoughts and feelings whenever they want to or not.

Currently the largest group of people in the World, are the combined groups called Baby Boomers & X Gen's.

If you are a Baby Boomer (born between 1946 and 1964, which makes you between ages 45 & 63) you might be saying to yourself "I've worked hard all my life to try and get ahead and provide for my family, now I just want to have some fun. I'm tired of driving and driving everyday. I've earned it.

If you are an X Gen (born between 1964 and 1976, which makes you aged between 33 and 45) you might be saying to yourself; "Hey stuff work, I still want career success but we're here for a short time, not a long time, I need more excitement and freedom in my life and I want it now!"

I'm generalizing I know, and I'm sure that none of these thoughts ever run though your mind. They probably run through the minds of all the other males you know, but just not yours. Whatever the case may be, together these two groups of men (Boomers & X Gen's) may represent just over a staggering half a billion people.

The reality is that as "mid-life" seems to suddenly and quite uninvited arrive, for many men certain previously ignored facts start to emerge and converge into equally un-invited clarity. Clarity that may feel anything from mildly annoying at one end of the scale to absolutely terrifying at the other.

As with women, this "converging" of events is definable & very important. In fact so important that for many men, the decisions that they make during this phase of their life may in fact influence the rest of their life.

Let me give you some common examples.

Their birthday arrivals and everyone around them reminds them that they are getting old. All delivered with good humor, but after the 50th joke, trust me, it's wearing thin.

Your "teenage" or "twenty something" daughter pats the fat bulge that is camouflaging your once defined six pack, and requests when you're due. (There's something that happens to a proud father's self image when he realizes that his daughter no longer sees him as the all powerful King in her world).

The son that you could once easily beat at an arm wrestle is now 2 inches taller than you and built like a train. Or smaller than you but beats you with the same disrespect. Somehow over night the old alpha dog has lost his ability to intimate & command.

Sometimes he's found his first gray hair. Or his hair line is replenishing faster than ever.

Perhaps he is struggling to read the newspaper but refuses to wear those 0.01 glasses that he's been prescribed.

Sometimes he's caught himself in the mirror and suddenly realized that he's starting to look more like his father.

His nose nose & ear hair is getting out of control.

For both men & women of this age the "Midlife" could be brought on by the death of a parent or children leaving home.

And all of a sudden his own mortality seems all too real as he senses the passage of youth and the commencement of old age.

But that's not all. Other ego denting factors also bump into his already prepared self image & self esteem;
The fact that he may not be as financially free as he thought hey would be by this age starts to play on his mind.
It may be that he is starting to feel a little less energetic; It may be a little harder to get out of bed in the mornings; Maybe his body is not working the way it used to.

Perhaps his Doctor is talking about the need to lower his stress or cholesterol or alcohol consumption and may be change his diet.

Perhaps his Doctor is bringing up words like "Prostrate."

Or he's finding that his libido is taking a tumble; He may even be experiencing some dysfunction which for a male can be both disturbing and embarrassing.

Statistically many men will probably avoid doing anything about it, and especially avoid talking about it with their partner or anyone else unless they really have too.

In fact there is some evidence to suggest that many men never seek help because of the level of embarrassment they feel.

Suppressing that stress, like suppressing any kind of emotion causes irritability and irrational behavior. And can leave their partner feeling rejected because they do not understand what's changed.

Even if that is not the case, He may become less tolerant and more easily irritable anyway.

He may talk about feeling bored, show signs of restlessness or apathy.

He may feel depressed, show signs of frustration and even become quick to anger. And, when his partner tries to talk to him about it, he will not or can not translate what he's feeling, because he may not understand or know what he's feeling.

He starts to question his life. Even if he has achieved a lot in his life, all of that may suddenly have lost it's meaningfulness as he asks himself; "Is this all there is?" Or "I should have more by now!"

He may become more nostalgic and relive stories of his youth. Reliving the memories of all of those "boy's nights" out

He may begin to question what he does for a living. And even who he's married too.

As this phase progresses he may start to change. For example;

He may start to take more notice & care of his appearance, change his wardrobe, and join a gym.

He might start spending on things that were not on the radar before; Say a Harley Davidson or a sports car.

His eye may start to wander towards another or younger women. Someone he can wow. Someone he can woe. Someone who does not know what he perceives are his flaws.

So what do they want, what are they looking for?

Having spent most of their early adult hood chasing women or experiences and later chasing "things;" The big house, the new car, the boat, the career, the investment portfolio, the kid's college education, the keeping up with the Jones's.
They suddenly "get" that they did not "get it" in the first place. Accept now they are middle aged, and they do not like it.

What they are hungry for, what they are going crazy trying to find is what ever is going to satisfify their need, whatever is going to quench their thirst.

In a nut shell, most are looking for "Meaning." They are looking for a reason to get up in the morning beyond "things" & beyond "ego." Whatever is going to make them feel truly happy. Whatever is going to help them feel truly truffled.

The problem is that unless they search for the answers in the right places, they will likely ruin a lot of what they already have.

If he's smart he'll trust himself & learn to talk about how he's feeling rather than act out un-useful fantasies or retreat into his cave.

Having a "midlife" does not have to be or end in a "crisis".

There are ways of successfully navigating the "mind field" in resourceful ways.

In fact for those Men that have taken control of their feelings and taken stock of their lives using our Go For Gold Program say that it was more like a "Midlife Awakening" than a midlife crisis, giving them a greater sense of control, a renewed Sense of freedom, a clearer understanding of what they needed and far more resourceful ways of communicating that and getting it. Leaving them feeling more at peace and content as time went by. We encourage you to pass this article onto all of your friends, both male and female.

What Is Fibromyalgia Pain Syndrome?

Fibromyalgia pain syndrome affects the muscles, fascia (covering of the muscles), tendons (bands at the ends of muscles that connect muscles to bones) and connective tissues of the body. This condition can be painful and debilitating and is characterized by generalized muscle stiffness, soreness, muscle pain, joint pain, tender areas called trigger points, depression, extreme fatigue and sleeping difficulties. Fibromyalgia is not a life threatening illness in itself but does significantly decrease the quality of life of its sufferers. Pain interferes with the ability to perform everyday activities, emotional disturbances, like depression and anxiety can take its toll on personal relationships.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition which is characterized by widespread muscle and joint pain that is typically accompanied by fatigue and a variety of other symptoms. It is not a sign of a serious underlying condition and does not increase the risk of other illnesses, however, it can seriously affect the quality of life as the pain often interferes with the patient’s abilities to perform everyday activities. Widespread and persisting pain can also cause sleep disturbances, while the frustration of managing the pain can affect the sufferer’s mood, emotional state and relationship with other people which in turn can lead to depression. There are medications that can assist to relieve or cover up symptoms but these are not without side effects, some of which may also potentiate the problems already present. Antidepressants assist the person to cope with the symptoms as well as sleep better, but again have side effects. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, biofeedback, meditation, herbal medicine may help as well. Massage therapy is another alternative treatment that has been shown to be the most valuable modality to assist healing of muscles and connective tissues involved in this potentially debilitating condition.

Myofascial Tissue

All muscles of the body are enveloped by a thin, tough, and resilient tissue similar to cellophane wrap. Normally this covering is elastic and pliable but injuries, sedentary lifestyle, and physiological factors can cause this covering to constrict, stiffen and tighten up. The myofascia extends from the muscle belly all the way to the tendons where muscles attach to bones. When myofascia becomes restricted and tight it restricts muscle movement and decreases circulation, oxygen supply, nutrients, and electrolytes (important for muscle contraction and relaxation) availability to muscles. This can become very painful, causing restriction in movement and creating an abundance of muscle function problems and imbalances. All these symptoms will cause a person to limit and decrease physical activity which only makes the problem worse.

Trigger Points

Restrictions caused by dysfunction in myofascia promote the formation of trigger points. The presence of trigger points in muscles refer pain to other areas of the muscle involved and other muscles nearby. These TPs (trigger points) are lacking in vital nutrients, oxygen and blood supply and may feel cooler that surrounding tissues. The presence of a TP will generally affect the muscle(s) function even more creating a cascade like effect. Simple explained, without proper intervention the problem worsens and pain and dysfunction becomes even worse, causing more pain and dysfunction. Dysfunction leads to more injuries as other muscles and joints try to compensate and take on extra work due to the lack of strength and muscle movement in the affected area. Joints become irritated, muscle fatigue occurs in compensating muscles increasing risk of injuries and possibly causing falls leading to fractures and other injuries.

Muscle Function is Diminished

Studies done on fibromyalgia reveal the presence of myofascial abnormalities, trigger point, as well as diminished muscle function due to nervous system and physiological abnormalities. Researchers have found that with fibromyalgia muscles seem to have an inability to “rest” and are always firing even during sleep. This doesn’t allow muscles to relax and may cause small tears and injuries in the microscopic cells of the muscle due to constant activity. The muscles unable to rest and exchange wastes adequately cause an increase in the buildup of lactic acid and other substances. This is similar to what happens after intense exercise. In fact, persons with fibromyalgia require an increased recovery time after exercise due to this fact. Some literature suggest that trigger points should ideally be released before muscle activity such as stretching and workouts or the problems may become worse and affect other muscles and tissues.

Assess, Treat, Repeat!

A trained massage therapist, after performing a thorough exam including muscle function and range of motion, can develop a customized plan of care to assist in fibromyalgia pain syndrome. Initially the first visit should consist of a thorough consultation in order to treat the client safely and holistically. A thorough medical history as well as medication assessment should be performed to scan for side effects of current medications which may affect treatment choices. A consultation may be needed with the client’s physician if medical conditions are present that may be contradictions to massage therapy. Present activity level should also be assessed in order to gain knowledge of clients current and past activity level as well as any repetitive movements that may be increasing the pain. Pain should be evaluated on a 1 to 10 scale and should be compared to previous level of function. A posture and gait analysis will also allow the massage therapist to pinpoint problem areas. Finally, a hands on assessment of myofascia, tender areas, skin temperature, and scan for trigger points should be performed. Length of sessions and modality choice should be approached according to individual client’s pain level and tolerance to massage. If pain level is 6 or higher manual lymphatic drainage should be performed initial to decrease swelling in order to lessen the discomfort of treatment. Assure the client that in order to perform the treatment efficiently certain steps have to take. It is important to reassess the client’s condition with each visit and be flexible in the overall treatment plan. The client needs to fully understand that if excess pain is being experienced after the session it is important to relate this the therapist so that treatment may be modified accordingly. Communication between the client and therapist will improve treatment outcome and assist to develop trust in the client therapist relationship.

What Can Massage Do?

The goal of massage for fibromyalgia pain syndrome is to decrease pain and in turn increase function and sense of well-being. If swelling and excess pain is present manual lymphatic drainage will increase circulation to the lymphatic system and optimize its function, thus allowing the therapist to perform treatment in a comfortable manner and not cause pain to the client. Next myofascial release will allow the therapist to access muscle layers which will then be massaged and assessed, starting with superficial layers and continuing with deeper layers as the patient’s pain level diminishes and allows. All the while the therapist will also be locating TPs and treating those areas accordingly. Stretches will be suggested for the client to perform at home only after TPs are addressed and corrected. Magnesium Sulfate (Epson salt) soaks will be recommended between treatments to assist in relaxation of muscles. Due to diligent treatment and the general effects of massage, (an increase in serotonin and endorphins levels), eventually the client will report better sleep, experience less pain, function more efficiently, and feel better overall. The client and therapist will decide on a maintenance plan which will be perpetually adjusted according to client’s symptoms.

Winning the Fight!

Too often persons with fibromyalgia pain syndrome my give up the fight, but help is out there and if action is taken, living with fibromyalgia does not have to be debilitating. Prior function and enjoyment of life can be restored and there is light at the end of the tunnel with proper treatment. I also want to mention here, that there are other symptoms that go along with fibromyalgia that were not discussed in this article, many of which are caused by the constant pain state and grief due to the decrease in function as well as psychological issues. Pain can be a debilitating factor, will effect thought processes as well as emotional well-being and create a strain on personal relationships. Economic problems relating to job performance issues may also add to the crisis. This suffering is not necessary and I advise anyone experiencing chronic pain of any type to seek assistance so that life can be enjoyable again. Even if your loved ones are diagnosed with fibromyalgia are chronic pain, remind them that there is help out there and there is hope. Find a massage therapist near you that will be patient and assist you with your journey to fight chronic pain and start living life again!

Protecting Children From Sexual Predators – Some Useful Parenting Tips to End Childhood Sexual Abuse

Every day, we hear more reports of child abduction and/or sexual abuse by sexual predators. These predators can be strangers. However, as statistics below show, most times your children will know the perpetrators of such harmful crimes. What are some useful parenting tips to end childhood sexual abuse, protecting children from both known and unknown sexual predators?

National Statistics

RAINN (the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network) provides the following statistics. However, since childhood sexual abuse is often hidden and it is generally estimated that approximately 88% of sexual abuse cases are never reported, national statistics can vary broadly. Therefore, it is likely the crime is more extensive than these figures reflect.

  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have been sexually abused in their lifetimes in the United States
  • 44% of sexual abuse victims are under the age of 18
  • 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker
  • Childhood sexual abuse occurs everywhere, regardless of social, economic or ethnic backgrounds

In addition, domestic violence accounts for a great amount of sexual abuse, even among children, as many domestic violence perpetrators also abuse children in the household. The strongest risk factor for the same violent behavior occurs in homes where children witness violence with and among their caregivers. In fact, boys who observe or who may be forced to participate in domestic violence, including inappropriate sexual behavior, are twice as likely to abuse both their partners and their own children when they have reached adulthood.

Cost to Society

Whether you have children or not, the problem affects everyone, as the Center for Sex Offender Management estimates that 30% to 60% of children sexually abused as children later become adult sex offenders. Furthermore, there is a definitive economic impact on society, most notably a loss of health due to the physical and emotional distress of such crimes. As victims reach adulthood, those untreated problems are further exacerbated by loss of work. Even incarceration of sentenced sex offenders attributes to a strain on the prison system and loss of revenue. Currently in the United States, almost 8 million paid workdays and 5.6 million days of household productivity are lost per year due to such destructive crimes, equivalent to 32,000 full-time jobs. The cost for loss of health, work and imprisonment translates to annual lost revenues of approximately $5.8 billion.

Look for Signs of Abuse

Many people ignore the signs of childhood sexual and physical abuse. It is important to investigate further if your child displays any of the following:

  1. Change in Behavior and Health
  2. Those children who fall victim to sexual perpetrators may exhibit poor physical and mental health. They could also begin having social difficulties. Furthermore, cognitive dysfunction and behavioral problems may suddenly manifest.
  3. Keeping Secrets
  4. Sexual predators do not want to be caught. They will instruct the child to keep the ‘secret’ about any inappropriate behavior. Sexual perpetrators rely on the fact that children ‘do as they are told’ by someone older. In addition, although most people think that only adults are sexual and/or physical abusers, as the vicious cycle of abuse continues more people under the age of 18 become abusers themselves. Therefore, be cognizant of any secrets you discover being kept from you from ANYONE older than your child’s age.
  5. Withdrawing from Other Friends – Spending Time with Someone Older Than Your Child
  6. Children can become confused about their bodies if they are violated inappropriately. The sexual acts performed can be pleasurable and many times sexual predators will tell your child that their sexual escapades are not wrong. Therefore, your child, although they may feel guilty about what is happening, may incorrectly believe that what they are doing is not improper since it feels good. Beware if you notice your child has withdrawn from others, wishing to spend alone time with another older person.
  7. Receiving Unexplained Gifts from Others
  8. Inappropriate sexual behavior is about control, not sex. This is one reason children are such easy targets. Sexual predators will often give gifts to your child as another way to reinforce their control over them. Always ask and investigate any unexplained gifts to your child.
  9. Discovery of Spending Time Alone with Older Person in Isolated or Unique Locations
  10. Sexual predators love to isolate their victims. They oftentimes will set up ‘special meeting’ places, away from suspicious eyes. Therefore, if you discover your child is spending time alone with someone older in any isolated or unique location, it is wise to probe further.

Ways to Protect Your Child

  1. Trust Your Instincts
    Sexual predators choose their crime victims based upon availability. Therefore, it makes sense that most victims personally know their perpetrators since they may be already easily acquainted with them in their circle of family, friends and community. Therefore, dealing with sexual abuse with someone your child may know could present additional challenges. First, the chances you will know your child’s sexual predator is very high. Be open to this fact. No matter how much you may trust your spouse, your family, your friends, and members of your community, such as teachers, counselors and spiritual support, do not ignore any of the above signs of abuse. Furthermore, oftentimes a parent’s instincts will alert them to a problem, but they ignore it because they already know the person. We think sexual predators look like monsters. However, they look like everyone else. Never ignore your instincts. It is better to be safe than sorry.
  2. Communicate Early and OftenOpen a line of communication about inappropriate sexual behavior early. Establish trust with your child so that they will feel free to share anything with you. Teach your child:
    • Reinforce ‘Stranger Danger’ Rules
      Many schools provide education on staying away from strangers. However, please reinforce those warnings and advice. Tell your children to stay away from strangers, do not get into their car and do not offer assistant to lone strangers, etc. If addition, travel with buddies when possible.
    • Saying ‘No’ is OK
      Children are taught to do as they are told and respect adults. However, be sure they are aware that it is OK to say no when they feel uncomfortable, regardless of whom they are confronting.
    • Some Secrets are Bad
      Instruct your child between the difference between harmless secrets shared with friends and inappropriate ones. Anything having to do with sexual behavior or physical abuse in any way needs to be shared with a child’s parent.
    • Communicate Differences Between Different Types of Touch
      Touching is a wonderful part of life. However, it is most beneficial to educate your children about the differences between different types of touching with regard to discerning the differences between ‘real love’ and ‘fake love.’ For instance, if another person speaks of love as allowing your child access to put their hands down inside your child’s clothing in those areas normally covered by a bathing suit, there may be some cause for concern and evaluation. In addition, you do not want your child afraid of your doctor who may need to explore these areas. Therefore, relating touching to ‘real love’ and ‘fake love’ may help with trips to the doctor since he normally does not relate touching to love. Regardless, reiterate that sexual touching done ALONE with an older person needs to be thwarted. The best suggestion is to open the lines of communication and education. It may also be beneficial to accompany your child to the doctor.
    • Warn of Sexual Predators on the Internet
      The internet, although a valuable source of education and information, can also be very dangerous. Be vigilant about knowing to whom your child may be communicating. Instruct them never to give out personal information online and to report to you anyone discussing keeping ‘secrets’ or talking about ‘private’ areas of the body.
  3. Teach Your Children to Trust Their Instincts
    Although there are numerous programs and parents who utilize the above tactics, there still is an overwhelming incidence of childhood sexual and physical abuse. What is lacking? If you teach children to listen to their own gut in any situation, harm can be averted. Instruct your child to listen and act on the spirit that is within them guiding them to a constructive path. If their intuition makes them uncomfortable with a certain situation, teach them to run away and get help.
  4. Listen to Your Child
    Finally, please listen to your child no matter how outrageous you may feel about their story. Once you have told your child to tell you their ‘secrets’ and to share whatever they are feeling and then you discount their story, you simply destroy trust. Take everything they say as truth, no matter the other person involved. Investigate further anything they tell you. After all, as a parent, it is your job to protect your child, not another adult. Listening to your child could stop harm.

Sexual predators destroy lives. However, if we all implement these useful parenting tips, childhood sexual abuse could end. Our children and society can be protected more successfully from known and unknown sexual predators. Is it not worth a try?

Fall Down, Go Boom? Ankle Sprains are a Rite of Spring

Spring is in the air in most of the country. The brief snows are gone and recreational sports are starting their schedules. The soccer, baseball and lacrosse leagues are having their first games; the high-school track team is gearing up for competition, and The Leukemia Society’s Team-in-Training groups are just starting to increase their mileage aiming for an early summer marathon finish. Spring is in the air, and our old friend the ankle sprain is starting to show up more frequently in the office. Basketball and volleyball seasons always the main producer of this injury; but you would probably be surprised how many ankle sprains occur in outdoor sports like soccer, baseball, lacrosse and of course track and field. Ankle sprains have been reported to be approximately 20% of all sports injuries with more than 25,000 occurring every day in the United States.

Uneven, wet fields coupled with early season fatigue and competitive full-contact intensity equal injuries. The ankle is the joint that compensates for uneven surfaces. 85% of ankle injuries are sprains, which are caused by a failure to compensate for this uneven footing. Jumping, cutting and pivoting puts the ankle at risk. Many athletes put themselves at further risk by not rehabilitating these injuries properly, returning to sport too early, and giving themselves an inadequate adaptive ability. The use of narrow cleats with minimal arch support or the use of running shoes for a court sport can also place an athlete at risk for ankle sprains.

Ankle sprains occur in runners mainly because they are chatting away as they are on a long run and are simply not paying attention. How many runners have you seen fall off the curb or in a pothole while running? Lots…Pay attention to where you are going and you can prevent this type of injury. If you know you are a klutz, run on an even surface, like a track, when you are tired or distracted.

If you have an ankle sprain, you should be evaluated by a sports medicine podiatric foot and ankle surgeon if you have localized pain, swelling and bruising, as well as inability to walk more than 5-7 steps comfortably. Many a foot fracture has been missed in the emergency room when x-rays were taken only of the ankle and not the foot. The fifth metatarsal is often broken with the same mechanism of injury of an ankle sprain, so the foot should be evaluated as well. If severe ligament injury is suspected, an MRI can evaluate the grade of injury. This is really what decides whether surgery is needed for full recovery.

Treatment for ankle sprains really depends on the degree of severity, which can only be determined by your doctor. Initial treatment always includes “R-I-C-E” therapy – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Pain and edema is usually controlled with NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) like ibuprofen. Bracing or casting coupled with non-weightbearing on crutches may be needed in more severe injuries to rest and stabilize the ankle while it heals. Return to pain-free ROM and stability is the goal. Surgery is only recommended in Grade 3 severe injuries in athlete’s or in those patient’s who have had multiple ankle sprains and suffer from chronic ankle instability. Long-term ankle instability can often be avoided with an aggressive physical therapy program. Bracing should only be used in the short-term during rehabilitation because long-term bracing actually causes atrophy and decreased ROM.

Physical therapy is needed for all ankle sprains. The goals of physical therapy should be to regain full ROM, strength and proprioception (where your brain thinks your ankle is in space). Regaining strength in the peroneal tendons as well as overall balance training are the keys to successful rehabilitation of an ankle sprain. A maintenance program of ankle strengthening, stretching, and proprioception exercises helps to decrease the risk of future ankle sprains, particularly in individuals with a history of multiple ankle sprains or of chronic instability.

Bottom line: if you happen to fall down and go “Boom”, have your ankle sprain evaluated by a podiatric foot and ankle surgeon. Delaying treatment and rehabilitation can lead to life-long instability.

Does Boiling Really Purify Your Drinking Water?

When camping, travelling overseas, or even following some malfunction at your local water treatment plant, you are urged to boil water before drinking it. How effective is boiling – does it really make the water safe to drink? And how long do you boil the water for?

Why Boil Water?

The main reason boiling is recommended as a water treatment is because it can be done simply and because the disease causing organisms are destroyed by heat. Holding the water at a high enough temperature for long enough will destroy pathogens. The organisms of interest are cysts such as cryptosporidia and giardia, and bacteria such as E.coli, typhoid etc. Although the boiling does not remove them from the water, it does kill them and thus they will cause no illness.

How Long Should Water Be Boiled?

There are many times suggested: 1 minute, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes etc. Some advocates even suggest adding a minute to the boiling time for each 1000 feet of altitude. So which of these times is correct? After all, the amount of time the water needs to boil determines the amount of fuel needed (to boil 1 litre of water requires about a kilogram of wood). As it turns out, none of them. You do not even need to boil it for one minute – you just need to bring it to the point of boiling. Let’s consider why.

According to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 70° C (160° F) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 85° C (185° F) within a few minutes. So the higher the temperature, the less time is needed to kill the micro-organisms. Bringing the water to boiling point raises it well over the 85°C mark. Not only that, but the water must then be allowed to cool (unless you are making a cuppa). So the total time the water spends above 85°C is significant and sufficient to kill pathogens.

If it is sufficient just to bring water to 85°C for a few minutes, why are you told to boil it? Basically because that is a foolproof way of guaranteeing the water will be the right temperature. Most people, do not carry thermometers with them when camping so it would be difficult to determine when the right temperature was met – once it reaches boiling you know what temperature it’s at within a couple of degrees.

How Effective is Boiling Water?

Boiling water is an effective method for destroying bacteria and other pathogens. If the water is turbid, filter it through a clean cloth, or coffee filter to remove particulate matter before boiling as that will improve its appearance.

Boiling will not provide any safeguard against other things such as heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals etc that may contaminate a water supply. It may remove chemicals which have a lower boiling point than water but what about the others? Neither does it remove turbidity, foul tastes and odours.

In short, boiling water does not purify your water. It is certainly effective at eliminating the target pathogens but will not be effective against other contaminants – you really need a decent water purifier for that. However, drinking boiled water is certainly better than dehydration.

Back Pain After Childbirth

Many new mothers experience back pain related to pregnancy for weeks, months and, in some cases, even years after giving birth. There are many causes of postnatal back pain; Getting acquainted with them can help you treat and prevent chronic pain.

One main cause of back pain both during and after pregnancy is the hormone relaxin. This aptly-named hormone relaxes ligaments, muscles and joints so that the womb can grow and the baby can be delivered. This loosening causes instability through the pelvis and back. The sacroiliac (SI) joints, which form where the pelvic bones meet the base of the spinal, can become irritated and inflamed due to increased movement. This pain can radiate to the lower back and down the legs. The abdominal muscles also stretch and grow weak as the womb expands. Without the support of the abdominal muscles, the lower back muscles are strained as they try to support the upper body. Posture sufferers as weight is gained and the center of gravity shifts.

According to Medicinenet.com, relaxin levels do not subside in the body until about 5 months after childbirth. This means that your abdominal muscles and pelvic joints will still be lax for months after you have your baby, and the postural and biomechanical problems this causes can be expected to continue through that period.

Another way in which relaxin levels can lead to prolonged pain after birth is by facilitating a ripe situation for strains and sprains. Strains occur when muscles and tendons are stretched beyond their means, and sprains occur when ligaments supporting joints are overstretched. Severe strains and sprains involve the teasing of muscles, ligaments or tendons. The increased elasticity relaxin causes in your body makes it easier for these tissues to be overstretched since they do not contract as quickly to protect themselves from being torn. If you're eager to get back in shape after pregnancy and begin stretching and exercising without caution, you could strain muscles in the back and pelvis, or cause a sprain around the spine or SI joints.

You must also take into account the changes in activity you're experiencing with a newborn in conjunction with the above physical situation. Picking up the baby, carrying him or her around and losing sleep can all help cause back pain. When you're in a hurry to pick your child up, you may forget to use proper body mechanics. Bend at the hips, not the waist. Do not lift your child while twisting if you can help it.

If your back pain lasts more than six month after childbirth, you probably have postural discomfort caused by the changes your body went through. It is important to gently restore strength to your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles to help support proper spinal alignment. Guided exercise like postnatal Pilates can help you do this safely. Persistent pain may also indicate that the SI joints or spinal joints have become misaligned during pregnancy or childbirth. A chiropractor or osteopath can perform exercises that restore proper range of motion to joints and free up any nerves that may be compressed.

If your pain is debilitating or accompanied by any other symptoms, let your doctor know immediately. Back and pelvic pain are normal after giving birth, but the pain should not last more than 4 or 5 months. To help the pain on its way out, practice good body mechanics and remember to take it slow, since relaxin is still keeping your tissues lax. Taking the time to find helpful resources for yourself will ensure that the time you spend with your baby is uninterrupted by back pain.

Registered Nuts – Psych 101

6:42 PM

I pull into the lot and sit for a minute. I say a small prayer that goes something like, “God, why do you punish me so? I HATE YOU……Amen!”

I sigh a deep and agonizing sigh and hoist my tired ass outta my truck and into the pits of hell that is our Emergency Department.

This one tends to have the psychotic market cornered so as to promise an especially challenging shift. One that will one day assure my place amongst the ranks of chronically psychotic.

06:45

I’m met at the vacuum sealed double doors, coffee in hand and a bad attitude by a crash and a yell, “Hey, ..STOP HIM” I’m a tad stunned to see Atilla the Hun barreling towards me and a crack team of nurses and doctors all looking at him, pointing at me and caring less that he decided to make an untimely exit. As Mr Hun blazes by me I wish him well, pat him on the back and kindly hit the silver button on the wall, allowing him that very freedom that appears he’s willing to die (kill) for. We surround him in the parking lot where he is coaxed back inside by the unit clerk with the promise of a hot meal, a cool buzz (Ativan) and a quick admission to the floor in time for the NBA playoff game. All this love and attention because wifee wanted out and he wasn’t crazy about the idea. He’s put up for about a 1000 dollars a night, spoiled, pittied and pampered until he’s ready to say he’s sorry and he’ll be a good boy. 72 hours later he’s released with hugs abound. When presented with the $5200.00 bill he explodes at the admissions desk, shares a few expletives with the beleaguered clerk and vows to “never pay you sorry mutha*****!” No doubt the soon-to-be-ex-wife will soon end up in one of our local trauma centers, unfunded, unloved and unconscious.

7:04 PM

I’m sucking down my now lukewarm coffee and I am thinking, “All this already”….”AND I HAVEN’T EVEN STARTED MY SHIFT YET”.

No sooner do I sit down for report when I am approached in rapid succession by a flurry of angry, psychotic, confused patients and family members. “Can I have water?”… When is the doctor coming in?”…..”That 200 milligrams of Demerol just ain’t workin, can I get another ‘hunerd?”….”My father just took a shit in your garbage can and now he’s got the red thermometer in his mouth and the BLUE one up his….” “MA’AM,…I’ll be with you momentarily” (i.e. I’M DRINKING MY *****IN COFFEE)

The oncoming shift all look and feel as I do. There is distance in their stare. Want in their heart…And a loaded .45 caliber just under their fanny pack if a career change is near. The outgoing Nurses are bouncing around and singing like they are Oompa Loompa’s in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory. The elation at the end of another ER shift is truly palpable. You tend to be a little nicer, a little better nurse, a little more human, if only for a few moments. But we are just arriving and could give a damn about 90% of the crap that invades our Emergency rooms on any given day. All we care about is who is dying and how can we help. The animal’s will have to wait.

7:11

At once I establish who my patients are, why they are here and if they are pending admission to the Eternal Care Unit. I bury myself into the sickest one’s and assure that all is medically stable, comfort is being maintained, info is passed along, all the while offering up a healthy dose of compassion and professionalism. They are why I am here and why I chose this profession. My other 2 patients are chronic alcoholics, multiple visits, multiple attempts to dry them out at the tax payers expense, multiple personalities. Neither can see straight, pee straight or walk a straight line. Both have liver’s the size of Rhode Island. One has jaundice so bad it looks as though he spent his last drinking binge slurping Vodka Martini’s in a tanning booth. One will eventually get admitted as a medical patient because his blood alcohol level exceeded numbers that resembled surface temperatures of the Sun. He will go on to dry out overnight and sign out against medical advice by morning………. and, be drunk again by noon.

7:28

Contemplate suicide.

7:31

Can no way see leaving this bastion of humanity until I first answer a flurry of questions by the unruly masses still to be brought back from the waiting room. From the intercom and in broken english I hear, “Pinche Pendejo, I’ve been waiting for 13 hour’s and…………Click…. “Mrs Rosario, I am sorry that your hearing is diminished because you’ve got 3 pounds of earwax lodged in your auditory canal but I am presently caring for a man who is near death…..we are sorry for the delay… Please, GO SIT THE **** DOWN……..and thank you for choosing our hospital for your all of your personal hygiene needs.”

7:33

Contemplate homicide.

9:12

A naked man runs by the nursing station with little fanfare. We usher him back into a room and apologize to the parents of a visibly shaken 8 year old girl. A girl who has no business in an adult ER in the first place but who’s parents snuck her in so she could watch grandma vomit stool.

9:47

SMOKE BREAK.

9:52

Catch an earful from someone elses patient who is unhappy that no one has fed her, angry because no one has medicated her anxiety with an otherwise near fatal dose of Ativan, pissed off at the world for her crack habit, her Hepatitis C and a botched lesbian relationship. She demands that her “spouse” be brought back immediately, spouting, “She is my wife you know!”

“Not in Texas she’s not!”!

As she marches back to her room to gather her things and leave, I suspect I haven’t heard the last of this incident. It is a “Methodist” hospital system you know. Hell, if it were a Catholic Hospital, I’d get a raise and an email link to sensitivity classes online.

10:02

SMOKE BREAK

12:02 AM

“GODDAMIT, I BEAN HER WAITING FOR ALMOSE 22 HOURS….Click…..Mr Sanchez, I am sorry that your gun-shot wound from the time of the Alamo still hurts you but we are presently “extending our healing ministry of Christ” by physically restraining a morbidly obese manic-depressive who thinks the ghost of Liberace’ sexually assaults him in his sleep. Now please, ****-OFF!!!!”

We gang-tackle Mr Palmer, re-dress him…AGAIN….assure him that Liberace pulled out and ran off as soon as he hit the floor, then strap him to a gurney.

12:42 am

I am then accosted by an angry family member who is complaining about the smell emanating from the bed next to his wife’s. In easy to understand, non medical terms I explained that one of the many glorious smells perusing through any given ER at any given time is the smell of rotting flesh. In this case, rotting flesh from the necrotic toe of a non-compliant, renal transplant patient given a new lease on life as well as a few body parts in spite of his heroin addiction. He stopped the insulin, restarted the juice and blew nearly a 1/4 million dollars of other peoples money in the process. I escort the man back to his wife’s bedside, reassured her that her gallbladder wouldn’t hurt so much if she’d stop wearing t-shirts with Jack-In-The-Box logo’s (you get ’em free with the purchase of a “number 3 with double-cheese”) and change her diet to one with less fat.

01:30 am

Dinner time and I relax to eat a little chow and watch a little of the Republican Party Presidential hopefuls debate on a little TV in the nurses lounge.

01:31 am

SMOKE BREAK

02:19

Fearing for the fate of my country, my life, my fellow man, my sanity, I crawl into bed 5, hit the call-light and demand a pillow and a Xanax..

04:10

There is light at the end of the tunnel when I admit 2 patients in record time. I have 3 empty beds and Mrs’ Karnes, a 22 year old Vicodin addict who came into our ER because her “Doctor in (insert fictional place here) forgot to refill her (insert narcotic pain reliever or benzodiazapine here) and now she is out her meds. After giving an Oscar-worthy performance she convinces the “treat ’em and street em ER Dr type to aptly write out a total of 3 prescriptions, each representing one of 3 classes of narcotic medications. She asks for another (insert “D-D-D Demerol” here) shot for the road and swings by the nurses station to thank everyone for their professionalism, patience, a nice buzz….. and most of all for her up and coming 3 day stone-fest featuring Oober Buzz and the Benzo’s. We applaud her commanding performances and wish her a speedy overdose. She is reminded that her “red card’ means she must stop by admissions and pay her bill and that she must also call for a ride because we cannot allow her to drive in her intoxicated state.

04:27

The Vicodin Queen observed sneaking away in her Escalade, shards of red paper seen flying from driver side window.

05:40

“OK, THAT’S IT MUTHA-&$%#A, I BEEN HERE FER 23 MINUTES AND 15 SECONDS AND…..click…..Uhh, Mr Jones,

This is Mike, your nurse who was taking care of you…well, if you recall we discharged you not 20 minutes ago. You’ve already seen the ER Dr and you’ve already received your Dilaudid shot for your tooth pain you’ve had since just after the Crusades!”……………Mr Jones?…….”Yeah…..Okay……….” “You’re welcome Mr Jones……”

..”See you tomorrow”.

06:47

After A few rounds of Limbo the celebration quiets as the day crew comes ambling in. Each one reluctantly glances at the census board and are visibly shaken when they notice it full. 2 of which are patients they’d already seen the day before for the very same, non-urgent complaints. They didn’t fill their scripts, they didn’t call their follow up Doctor’s or their primary care Dr’s AND their “pain specialists” have put out restraining orders on them. All they know is that at any time, 24/hrs a day they can come into any ER with the law on their side, a bogus complaint, a false identity and demand that we get them stoned. And we do. By law, WE HAVE TO. They don’t bring any means or inkling to pay, they toss around that same pathetic chronic back pain or migraine story, display that same list of 20 meds they CAN’T take because they are “allergic” ( = doesn’t get them high) and cry and carry on until they are higher than a Polish satellite.

07:01

“AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW…I NEED TO SEE A DOCTOR NOW YOU MUTHA…”…..click………………”Mr Baldinger……..Hello Sir, This is Mike, one of the Nurses here at Our Lady of Perpetual Pestilence Hospital. I apologize for the wait and I want to assure you that one of our fine (day) nurses will be with you momentarily to meet your every need. And please don’t worry about any red-cards, you don’t have to pay this time either. Besides, we are using BLUE cards now, which is a much softer color and………..CLICK……..JUST COME GET ME MUTHA FF……click. “Be right there friend, and don’t you fret Mr Baldinger, here at OL PeePee Hospital, Were here for YOU!!!……Click.

07:02

I inform the day crew that Mr Baldinger is in the waiting room attempting to steal the battery off of Mrs Martinez’s Hover-round.

They all run through the double doors and I double time out the back. As security rushes by, presumably for that little ruckus about to kick off in the waiting room, I release a deep, long sigh, mentally picture Mr Baldinger being hog-tied to a gurney and all to the amusement of a waiting room full of the world’s misfits. The drug addicts, psychotics, neurotics, non-compliants, drug-seekers, actors, beggars, the lonely, the homeless and the truly worthless are all equally represented. There are NO emergently sick patients out there. They are in the back with us. The truly sick who receive and appreciate our care, handling perhaps the last few moments of their lives as humbly and as kindly as their pain and regrets allow. Understanding the interruption when the worlds worst aren’t getting enough attention. I have to remind myself often that that is why I and so many other fine Nurses, Dr’s and ancillary staff put up with those who just plain shouldn’t be here. Shouldn’t be allowed there unless a true medical “Emergency” exists and who literally gobble up “HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN TAX PAYERS MONEY A YEAR!” I also remind myself that I did make a difference in someone’s life last night. I did bring a smile and a few laughs. And I can still comfort the sick and dying and always from the heart. And they know that. But I also know that this kind of work can drain the spirit and refill it with fear, hate and apathy (see above).

07:07

As San Antonio’s finest come blazing past me and abruptly come to a screeching halt at the ER entrance, I again briefly picture the drama unfolding inside. Driving away in my truck I smile large and begin to sing……….”Oompa Loompa Loopity Loo…I’ve got a special…