You wouldn’t think that something called Devil’s Claw is beneficial to your wellbeing, but the complementary wellness therapy has long been used in native African medicine. Its fruit is covered with sharp curved spines, hence the name, and Devil’s Claw has been used in a wide range of conditions, such as muscle pains, digestive problems, headaches, fever and skin inflammation. In the early 1900s, Dr Mehnert, a German pioneer, first noticed the dramatic success of the root tuber of this African herb, and so Devil’s Claw began to gain popularity in Europe. Today, the root tuber is often used in supplements to treat many types of aches and pains. Wellness experts the effectiveness of Devil’s Claw down to it’s content of harpagosides. Research shows that this vital ingredient has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and so this makes Devil’s Claw a useful remedy for a wide variety of joint conditions. Back pain can be effectively relieved with Devil’s Claw. According to a study published in the journal Phytotherapy, the most effective dose of the supplement is four 600mg tablets per day. For the study, people with severe, long-term back pain either took this dose or a placebo for four weeks, and those who took the herb experienced a significant reduction in their back pain. However, Devil’s Claw did not seem to benefit those whose back pain had radiated down to their legs. Another condition which receives monumental relief with Devil’s Claw is arthritis. A clinical trial looked at the effects of the herb on people with moderate, rather than severe, chronic arthritis, giving some participants two 600mg tablets per day over eight weeks, while others received a placebo. The study showed that those who took Devil’s Claw found a greater improvement in their joint pain and spinal mobility than the placebo group. However, if you have gallstones or stomach acidity, you should not take Devil’s Claw, as the herb stimulates bile action. Yet, as Devil’s Claw does not work in the same way as conventional arthritis medicines do, it will not cause the associated upset stomach. There are actually very few side effects reported for Devil’s Claw, but, as with any supplement, you should consult your doctor before taking it.
Do you want to live longer? Deep amongst the Aegean Sea sits the small, remote island known as Ikaria – a place where “people forget to die.” It almost sounds as legendary as Zeus turning into a shower of gold or Helios rampaging through the sky dragging the sun behind him. The truth may be even stranger than you may believe. It is noted in the National Geographic by Dan Buttener that Ikaria is one of five “blue zones” (the other four being the Japanese island of Okinawa, Loma Linda in California, Sardinia in Italy and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica) – because of the mystery of its inhabitants' longevity, happiness and overall health. So incredible are its people's health that it is reported that those aged over 90 are of the healthiest in the world. The secret? A daily dose of coffee. Not just any coffee, however. Mediterranean coffee has some of the most incredible and natural substances to date – and in the case of Ikaria, they have the cream of the crop. Boiled in a stove known by the Greek inhabitants as a briki, the finely ground beans are tipped back into a small cup and served with sugar, where it gently foams as the roast beans sink to the bottom. So what makes it so special? Premature death through heart attacks are uncommon in Ikaria. Research done by Athens Medical School suspect that it is down to the daily amounts of coffee that the Ikarians drink. Whilst the exact reasons are unclear, the unusually happy disposition and the lack of cancerous or cardiac issues are certainly linked to the caffeine and antioxidants within the coffee. By increasing the heart rate, it may be the equivalent of regular exercise, where the blood is pumped thoroughly and quickly throughout the body. Buttener noted that it was difficult to get through Ikaria “without walking up 20 hills,” which indeed may be connected to Ikarian longevity. On the other side of the scale however, afternoon naps are also part of Ikarian – and indeed Greek – culture. In a study in Havard School of Public Health in Boston, it was noted that those that took afternoon naps were 30% less likely to die of heart disease. Caffiene, healthy living or pure luck? Perhaps it is worth finding out …
Did you know that herbal tea could help to protect you against getting the flu? You may think that this advice does not apply to you as you have had the flu vaccination and have no need for complementary medicine. This is not quite true: the flu shot only protects against certain strains of the flu, that is, the ones that the manufacturers of the vaccine believe will be most prevalent this year. In order to protect your wellness against this horrible virus, the best thing to do is to build up your immune system. This does not stop you from contracting the virus, but ensures that you are strong enough to fight off the virus without being too detrimental to your wellbeing. One of the best ways to achieve this is through a combination of herbal teas and meditation. Keeping mentally strong through de-stressing techniques, thinking positive thoughts, prayer and meditation for around 5 to 10 minutes per day can help to ward off the flu. As far as tea goes, whole-plant infusions are the best possible kind to keep your body hydrated and well nourished. These types of herbs are packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and free radicals. Infusions should be made as strong as possible by using up to an ounce of the herb (or herb blend) with every quart of water, and it should be allowed to steep for at least four hours, or overnight if at all possible. The herbs that are best for boosting up the immune system and fighting viruses are St. John’s wort (proper name Hypericum perforatum) and Echinacea. If you actually have the flu, the dosage that you take should be greatly increased as at that point the herb is having to work harder to fight off the virus. Soups can also be used to get herbs like astragalus root, eleuthero, dandelion and burdock root into your diet, which also have excellent immune-boosting properties.
During the spring season, many people find that their body is more sensitive to pollen and other allergens. The body's natural defence against allergies is for the immune system to create an anti-inflammatory attack on the allergen - it does this as it believes the allergen to be harmful. The dust, pollen and even the smell of flowers can cause an attack. The antibodies produced by the body in response to these allergens can cause hypersensitivity, such as sniffling, sneezing and rashes on the skin. Most people notice these more in the spring and summer as this is when flowers come into bloom, making the problem worse. In Ayurveda allergies, the symptoms of allergies are rarely caused by the allergens. It's thought that how the immune system reacts to these allergens creates the allergic response, which is why the main factor for allergies is food which has not been digested properly, according to Ayurveda. This is known as Ama - Ama is a toxic substance which blocks channels of circulation, which blocks the body's main line of communication. In order to allow the body to respond without the defensive attack that it usually opts for. Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient form of healing originating from India, which has been practiced for more than 5000 years. It's used to help bring the body up to optimal health and wellbeing. This form of healing focuses on how we interact with the world, as well as our beliefs, perceptions and thoughts. Those who practice Ayurveda believe that our actions coincide with how we live in harmony with the world, ultimately helping us to create a more harmonious relationship with our body. You can help to reduce your allergies through using these techniques - Ayurveda tailors each scheme to each body, as everyone is unique and reacts to allergens differently.
We often think that drugs and chemicals are the only treatment that should be considered for serious health problems, like those caused by knee osteoarthritis. We have relied on traditional scientifically-led medicines for a long time and they are those that are prescribed by doctors and medical professionals. But increasingly we are looking for alternative ways to deal with debilitating conditions. One of the most promising of these is Ayurveda, a traditional Indian approach. Now an Ayurvedic preparation has passed a test as an alternative to high-end drugs for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Perhaps even better news for supporters of Ayurveda is that it has shown few adverse effects, according to the study, which involved government-supported clinical trials across the country. The trials were held in 2006-07 and the findings have been published now in the British journal Rheumatology. The drugs that are commonly used to treat osteoarthritis in the knees are the high-end glucosamine sulphate and celecoxib. According to a number of experts, patients may deteriorate to end-stage arthritis and often require joint replacement surgery, which is very costly and not available for everyone. Osteoarthritis can also be treated with analgesics, which provide symptomatic, long-term pain relief but also expose patients to potentially serious toxins. For the first time ever this study saw scientists making a head-to-head comparison for traditional medicine and the Ayurveda method. They chose Ayurvedic formulations based on texts and expert opinion. They found that two shunthi-guduchi formulations, called SGC and SGCG, were equivalent to taking oral glucosamine sulphate and celecoxib in reducing knee pain and improving knee function in patients. This is very important as it shows that we no longer have to rely on medical science for treatments.
For centuries, Ayurvedic treatments and systems have been used to treat illnesses, boost one’s wellbeing and improve your way of life. But there could be a new sector for this ancient system to be used in now – the beauty industry. According to new research, Ayurvedia is set to be at the forefront of the cosmetics and beauty industry, keeping in line with the more natural approach that many people are opting to take with their lifestyles, diets and weight loss regimes. Ayurvedic treatments take a natural and holistic approach to life, from treating illnesses to improving wellbeing through exercise and mental approach. With so many people choosing a lifestyle that aims to be closer to nature, such as organic produce and natural weight loss regimes that shy away from pills and fad diets, this way of working could lend itself well to the beauty industry’s demands for fewer chemicals but better results. Many people are aware of the dangers of chemicals in and on their bodies, but are at a loss of how to overcome this due to a lack of alternatives. But companies are catching on to what consumers are asking for and are looking to supply it through Ayurvedia. One of the key teachings of Ayurvedia is the control and reduction of stress, which is a common problem in today’s society. Stress is not only bad for your health but it’s one of the key factors in premature ageing, so is an aspect of skincare which the beauty industry is trying to hone in on. Through using Ayurvedic practices, it could manage this element of skincare more effectively through combining stress relief and anti-ageing with a more natural approach to looking after oneself. As the cosmetics companies look to better ways to offer consumers what they need and desire, this could be the solution to everyone’s requests.
The wellbeing of those in Asia may be at risk due to a commonly used complementary wellness therapy. The herbal remedy has already been banned in the US and many European countries, but the plant birthwort may still be harming users in Asia. Since an epidemic of kidney disease among Belgium women was detected in the 1990s, and herbal medicines from a weight loss clinic were found to be the culprit, scientists have monitored the remedy for other potential health risks. The kidney problems were traced back to aristolochic acid (AA), found in the group of plants called birthwort or Dutchman’s pipe. Many people used these plants to improve their wellness, in terms of asthma or arthritis treatment or as a weight loss device, but AA herbs have since been banned for medical use in many countries. However, researchers at King’s College London now report in the Annals of Internal Medicine that millions of people are still being exposed to herbs with aristolochic acid, especially in Asia. Led by Graham Lord, the director of the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, the investigators found that the herbal medicines can still be purchased online, as well as being found in China and other Asian countries. According to Lord, ‘The reason we wrote this paper is to provide a diagnostic classification for aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN) [the type of kidney failure associated with the agent]. For countries that haven’t asked the question of whether this is present, here is diagnostic criteria. We just don’t know what the levels of exposure are throughout the world.’ Lord’s team has developed guidelines to help doctors to recognize cases of AAN, as well as treat the disease’s symptoms, after reviewing 42 case studies and one trial related to caring for the disease. The study authors wrote, ‘We see an urgent need for research addressing many key areas, including determining the true worldwide extent of exposure; deﬁning genetic variants that might confer increased sensitivity or resistance to the nephrotoxic effects of AA; testing the accuracy and utility of diagnostic criteria and optimum screening strategies, including the use of noninvasive biomarkers; and developing therapeutic agents that can reverse or delay progression of the disease.’
Complementary medicine may prove vital in diabetic wellness. This is according to a new study from Chinese and Australian researchers, who have found that a traditional Chinese pill could be a key weapon in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Led by The University of Queensland’s Dr Sanjoy Paul in Australia and Peking University’s Professor Lilong Ji in China, the researchers found that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) significantly improved the efficacy of conventional diabetes drugs, substantially improving type 2 diabetes patients’ wellbeing. This study was the largest, scientifically-designed clinical trial to ever evaluate the safety and efficacy of TCM on glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. 800 type 2 diabetic adults participated in the study, which compared anti-diabetic drug glibenclamide as a stand-alone treatment with the same treatment of glibenclamide in conjunction with the Xiaoke Pill – a compound of Chinese herbs. The Xiaoke Pill roughly translates to ‘wasting-thirst,’ which is a common description of diabetes in TCM. The pill contains 0.25 micrograms of glibenclamide, as well as Radix puerariae, Radix rehmanniae, Radix astragali, Radix trichosanthis, Stylus zeae maydis, Fructus schisandrae sphenantherae, and Rhizoma dioscoreae. Chinese medical journals have already published studies which show how the Xiaoke pill provides significant improvements in diabetes symptoms, but this new study, entitled Efficacy and Safety of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Diabetes: A Double-Blind, Randomised, Controlled Trial, is the first - as the title suggests – to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Xiaoke Pill with randomized, double blind, and placebo-controlled research. After 48 weeks of treatment, the results of the study revealed that the patients who were given the Xiaoke Pill had a significant reduction in risk of hypoglycaemia, also known as dangerously low levels of blood sugar, compared with glibenclamide-only treatment. Those in the TCM group were also less likely to experience other symptoms of diabetes, such as fatigue, hunger, and palpitation. According to Dr Paul, Director of the Queensland Clinical Trials and Biostatistics Centre at the UQ School of Population Health, ‘TCM has long been used to treat diabetes in China and around the world but until now there has been a lack of evidence regarding its safety and efficacy. This absence of scientific understanding has caused scepticism and criticism about TCM.’
Complementary remedies have been proven to guard your wellbeing against the negative symptoms of menopause. This is according to a new study from Hong Kong which found that women who take a Chinese herbal formula experience less than half the number of menopausal hot flashes that they have before the treatment. The study results, which were published in Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, revealed that women who took a herbal mix called Er-xian decoction (EXD), experienced a drop in daily hot flashes of 62%, whilst women taking a placebo exhibited a 52% drop in hot flash frequency. According to Katherine Newton, a researcher who has studied herbal menopause therapies at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, who was not involved in the study, ‘It's a modest effect, but not a zero effect.’ Yao Tong, a professor at the University of Hong Kong and one of the authors of the new study, said that though hormone replacement therapy is considered the most effective therapy for menopause-related symptoms, the potential health risks from hormones mean that women are looking for complementary wellness alternatives. The compounds contained in er-xian decoction (EXD) have been extracted from the roots, stems or leaves of six Chinese herbs. These are then processed into granules which can be made into a tea. For the study, the team of researchers gave a herbal formula to 101 women in their 40s and 50s. These participants were at or near menopause and experiencing symptoms, and were asked to drink the formula twice a day for 12 weeks. One group of women drank a 15 gram dose of EXD, while the other half were given a placebo made up of tea, caramel and an herbal compound called gardenin. The women logged their hot flashes for two weeks prior to the treatment. In the EXD group, the average number of daily hot flashes dropped from 5.8 to 2.2, while those in the other group went from an average of 5 hot flashes to 2.5. These results had stayed put three months after the treatment ended for the EXD women, but the placebo group’s hot flash average rose to 2.9 three months down the line. Dr. Alan Bensoussan, the director of the Centre for Complementary Medicine Research at the University of Western Sydney, commented, ‘Menopausal flushing is notoriously responsive to fluctuations and placebo responses in clinical trials, yet [the researchers] have rigorously demonstrated an improvement in favour of active treatment.’
Of all the complementary healing practices gaining popularity today, Reiki occupies a leading position. Purportedly an ancient form of energy healing, it was channeled in Japan by a doctor and spiritual seeker within the twentieth century. As such, it is said to be a timeless intuitive technique. It provides an excellent method of healing, meditation and wellbeing for patients and practitioners alike. Reiki healing makes use of universal, or ‘life-force’ energy. The healer places their hands on or over the body and, by the power of intention, allows the universal energy to flow through their body, entering at the crown of their head and leaving through the palms. Channeling energy in this way is a capacity open to everybody, but those initiated in Reiki have had their ability to transmit energy opened by a special atonement ritual. The experience of a Reiki treatment brings sensations of calm, relaxation and bliss to the body and mind. Ongoing treatments can provide a significant boost to your wellness in all areas. The transmission of energy from the healer should boost the total energy source in your body, and some people even achieve specific healing experiences, visions, or images of past lives. A successful Reiki treatment relies on the vision and concentration of the healer. They have to be able to maintain their intention to heal, and the relaxed concentration that allows energy to flow through them. Reiki practitioners who develop their ability to do this are able to move on to more demanding forms of Reiki, such as distance or psychic healing. Eventually, they will graduate to become a Reiki Master, meaning they are able to attune others to heal with the power of Reiki. If you are keen to try Reiki, spend some time finding a practitioner who has good testimonials. Reiki courses are cheap and easy to take these days, and that means there are a lot of people out there who haven’t put enough time and effort into developing their practice. While it is true that anybody can be attuned to Reiki, additional personal qualities such as concentration and intuition are the ingredients that make a true healer. Look out for a practitioner you believe to have these qualities, in order to receive maximum wellness benefits from your first Reiki experience.
Today’s increasingly advanced and technologically sophisticated world has developed many solutions for reducing body-pain, stress and tension, whilst promoting tools for increasing health and wellbeing and the body’s healing processes in general. Recently, a new generation of massage chairs has been made available, with a highly intricate and complex design that can help to boost the effectiveness of massages. Such chairs are becoming an increasingly popular part of the massage process and can help to deliver a massage that is more tailor-made for your own individual needs - either within an up-right, recoiled or reclined position. The chairs vary hugely in their style and capability and range from budget friendly, vibration-only chairs to Shiatsu models that are suitable for full-body massage. Whilst most chairs are bespoke in design and have subtle variations, the majority of them share similar components in the shape of motors, gears, rollers and vibration systems that are carefully and efficiently integrated into a frame. Some even more advanced designs, also make the use of curved tracks and mechanical arms that can move left and right or up and down, as well as in small circles. These are powered by motors and are controlled by a small computer that contains pre-programmed movements and patterns that correlate with certain massage techniques. Many massage chairs can perform massage styles similar to the ones you would have experienced with a practitioner, such as body-manipulation that is used to improve blood circulations and offer deep-tissue relief; and some can actually simulate the experience of receiving a massage from a therapist, without having to travel to see a masseur. Given the multiple-benefits of receiving a massage, such as stimulating digestion, boosting the body’s immunity systems, stimulating metabolic and lymphatic flow, and just, well, making you feel good, it may be worth-while getting one for your home.
Quoted by Medical News Today: "Emergency rooms are more crowded than ever, with more than 136 million people making a trip annually. According to a study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) 2012 Annual Scientific Meeting, some of these trips may be preventable under the regular care of an allergist. Such care may also save lives.
Researchers found 25 per cent of individuals who went to the emergency room or were hospitalized for anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, had severe anaphylaxis, which required hospitalization or included heart or lung failure. This notable number of people were also less likely to have filled a prescription for life-saving epinephrine or to have visited with an allergist in the previous year.
"When you have an anaphylactic reaction, epinephrine is important for managing life-threatening symptoms," said Sunday Clark, ScD, lead study author and assistant professor of emergency medicine and public health at Weill Cornell Medical College. "Allergic people at risk should always carry two doses of epinephrine and regularly see an allergist to prevent severe allergic reactions that require hospitalization."
A total of 11,972 people with an emergency department visit or hospitalization from 2002-2008 due to anaphylaxis were studied. Most with severe anaphylaxis were adults and most reactions in this more general sample were not triggered by food.
"Although symptoms may not always be severe, allergies are serious and, in some cases, deadly," said allergist Stanley Fineman, M.D., ACAAI president. "Allergies can be effectively controlled with proper diagnosis and treatment by a board-certified allergist that involves more than just relieving symptoms, but finding the source of the suffering."
While food is the most common trigger of anaphylaxis in children, medications, such as penicillin, can also trigger anaphylaxis. It is also estimated that insect stings lead to about 500,000 allergy-related emergency room visits each year.
If you have had an anaphylaxis attack in the past, ACAAI suggests:
Very recently the website ScienceOmega.com was able to report on the findings that well-maintained vegetation can help to suppress certain types of criminal activity in urban areas and cities. And yet more research in the journal Psychological Science has now reiterated that the idea that greener surroundings, particularly in towns and cities, can affect a significant improvement on the way we think, feel and behave.
The study paper was led by Dr Mathew White, who is a lecturer in risk and health at the University of Exeter Medical School’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health, and it has shown that people who live in urban areas where there is better access to green spaces like gardens and parks naturally experience a better overall wellbeing than those who live in urban areas that don’t have the same levels. The study draws its conclusions from the analysis of data that was collected in a national survey from households in the United Kingdom between 1991 and 2008.
The authors of explained that, while a number of previous studies have looked at the association between the mental health and wellbeing of city and town dwellers and their proximity to green spaces, they had so far all been cross-sectional, looking at a large number of people at a single point in time.
"We cannot tell from those studies whether green space improves mental health or if people with better mental health – perhaps because they are richer or have more stable personalities – tend to move to greener areas," Dr White went on.
The Homecoming is an enthralling journey of vines and ivy that twists and turns its way into understanding the human soul. The self-described “psychodrama” propounded by the novel's writer, Susie Steiner, looks into the mental state of one of the main characters, Bartholomew, the youngest son of a family of four, is a representation of youth's inner-conflict, where he has to deal with the anguish and wishes of the family he loves, against the wishes and desires that he has conceived himself. Within the garden that he works in, Bartholomew finds escapism and a creative outlet to suit his state of mind and resolve his turmoil. Where his elder brother has been handed a responsibility, Bartholomew's mind wanders, with childlike curiosity, into the wilderness of gardening, growth and most important of all, independence. The writer, Susie Steiner, commented that, “The struggle at the heart of the book is one of separation – getting out from under one's original family in order to create one's own life. Bartholomew is struggling to become his own man, on his own terms, away from parents he loves deeply, and this struggle has been played out before in gardening.” The novel seems to question, quite coyly, on what point do we stop living for our loved ones and start living for ourselves. What haunts us? Shapes us? When do we feel the restless urge to escape? Steiner sees the world of gardening as a source of healing, with Bartholomew using it as a creative outlet; his father however, sees it as a feminised version of farming, a rejection of old ways to embrace the new. “It seemed to me that gardening represented a link to his father's farming – a connection to the seasons and a love of the outdoors.” The style suits the setting, said to have a swift, naturalistic style that gently curls up around an unfolding drama that promises to touch the hearts of readers across the nation.
Climate change is one of the planet’s biggest challenges. On a much smaller scale, the changes in the climate and their effect on the weather pose a different sort of challenge for gardeners with longer winters, wetter springs and harder frosts to test their potting mettle. Spring is the busiest time for planting but when the weather refuses to play ball, gardeners have to be prepared to take alternative measures. For example, seed potatoes need to be planted when the air is frost free. A way round this is to use containers instead, from which the seeded plants can be then moved into the ground at a later date. Make sure there are holes in the bottom of the pot or bucket for drainage, then place in a shed or dry place that’s free from frost. You can also use a horticultural fleece to cover your pots and these fleeces are also ideal if you have already planted your potatoes in beds and want to protect them from any unexpected late frosts. Horticultural fleeces really are the spring gardener’s best friend. They can be utilised to protect the new shoots of any perennials that are popping up around the garden from frost or high winds. Use fleeces to cover open flowers and buds on plants and trees. A cold spring makes planting vegetable seeds more troublesome than it should be. Generally vegetable seeds need the soil temperature to remain at a consistent 6-8C and when the mercury is barely reaching 5C, you need to try an alternative. Your ground should be completely defrosted before you attempt to do any preparation or digging – mulching when the soil is still partly frozen will keep the ground chill in place. To get your vegetable seeds underway, cover the soil with plastic sheeting to help raise the temperature below. Sow your seeds in plastic module trays and set them on windowsills where they can soak up any warmth and heat from the sun. Covering the trays with a clear plastic bag or clingfilm will secure the heat and give your seedlings the warmest start in their growing life. When the roots start to show, remove the plastic coat bit by bit to prepare the plants for a hardier life outdoors but only plant them in borders outdoors when the weather is warm enough for you to work without a jacket.
Many children develop allergies and eczema, and scientists are constantly working on ways to help protect them in the future. One complementary theory that is now being suggested is that putting prebiotics into baby formula may be a way of protecting them from eczema. A fresh look at research that has already been carried out has suggested this as a tactic for protecting the wellness of babies and young children who are unable to drink breast milk. Breastfeeding is still recommended as the number one way to protect the wellbeing of young children, and it is thought to help protect them against a variety of conditions in later life, including eczema. Not all babies (or mothers) are able to breastfeed, however, and the research seems to indicate that, in these cases, drinking a formula milk that has been fortified with prebiotics may be an ideal way to help protect them against allergens. Prebiotics are food particles that prompt the body to grow healthy gut flora or bacteria, which work as part of the body’s natural immune system to fight against toxins and allergens. Changing the gut flora is commonly known to change your immunity, so this theory builds on existing knowledge in order to work out how we can use it to help protect babies against these common childhood ailments. Previous studies have claimed that there is not enough evidence that putting prebiotics into formula has any kind of effect, but this fresh look at the evidence sees a different picture emerging. This kind of complementary back up is greatly needed, as around 20 percent of children will develop eczema during their childhood (with 8 percent developing a food allergy and 34 percent developing a respiratory condition such as asthma – both of which could also potentially be helped by the prebiotics).
Arthritis is the cause of debilitating pain that can make everyday living a painful experience. While medication is often prescribed to relieve the symptoms of inflammation and joint pain, many sufferers also seek out natural remedies. Here is a guide to 5 of the most popular herbal remedies and supplements that are known to ease arthritis pain.
Sports supplements from the UK and US have come under scrutiny recently by the Therapeutic Drug Administration of Australia. They found that many of their leading sports personalities may fail a drug test due to the influx of less regulated supplements from the US and UK. Many supplements may contain chemicals that are banned and sometimes not even mentioned on the label. This is extremely worrying from a consumer’s perspective. Over the years, there have been calls for more strict control of vitamins, minerals and supplements in the UK and now an EU directive has banned many manufacturers from selling a whole range of herbal supplements due to the lack of research about the potential risks of many of the ingredients and claims of how they may help you. Many of the public have complained about the ban, claiming that it is their right to choose to take these naturally derived herbs and suggesting that these new regulations are caused by pharmaceutical companies trying to squash the competition from natural herbal products. Most supplements are completely harmless, and only a few show contraindications with specific ailments or when taken with mixtures of other herbs or drugs, which is usually clearly stated by the manufacturer. Suppliers in the UK have got around the new regulations by calling their remedies “food supplements”, which means they are not intended to heal but just simply sources of food without any attributed benefits. The news that supplements could contain chemicals that are not even mentioned on the label is a worrying thorn in the side of the suppliers battling to keep the herbal remedy market alive. Additionally, the news that some of these chemicals include stimulants, hormones and a variety of peptides that are banned by sports associations for their stimulating qualities may make herbal remedy advocates think twice next time they go to a health food store. One hopes that the chemicals are not harmful but we have to admit that we know very little about the true effects on our wellbeing. However, we have to compare this with the massive pharmaceutical companies who usually care more about making money than improving our wellness and have also been reported to have influenced the results of clinical trials to push products to market in the first place. There is also the fact that the longer a patient takes a drug, the better it is for the company, especially when the drug only suppresses symptoms and does not cure the cause. You will have to make your own mind up as to whether you prefer to risk taking a pharmaceutical drug which only suppresses symptoms and in some cases may cause dependency, or a natural herbal remedy that forms part of a more holistic approach though may contain a few chemicals that are not listed on the label.
Hot flushes are a normal side effect for women going through the menopause, but a new complementary health treatment could be the answer to reducing them and to restoring the feeling of wellbeing. A Chinese herbal formula has been shown to reduce the number of hot flashes in menopausal woman by more than half, according to a new study that has emerged from Hong Kong. The herbal mix is known as Er-xian decoction (EXD) and the study involved one group of women taking it, while another group of women unknowingly took a placebo, and then the effect on their wellness was assessed. Hot flushes dropped by 62 percent in the group where the women were taking a concoction of EXD, whereas they dropped by around 52 percent in the group of women who were taking the placebo. This shows that it has some effect, but not necessarily a strong effect, as it does not totally diminish the occurrence of the unpleasant hot flushes, which happen due to the drop in oestrogen that occurs in the female body during the time of the menopause. Herbal menopause remedies are not uncommon, but long-term studies are still needed to be done on this particular group of herbs to ensure that they are safe for women to take. Initial results do look promising and there is a chance that EXD could become a more mainstream form of treatment for the menopause. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is still the most highly effective method of reducing the unpleasant symptoms associated with the menopause, but there are some concerns and health risks associated with it, hence more and more women are turning to alternative therapies to help them get through this stage of life without medication.
You might think what’s good enough for the royals is good enough for you, but action taken by the government’s medicines regulator has shown that, when it comes to your wellness, this may not be the case after all. After an investigation by BBC Inside Out South West, a homeopathic pharmacy, endorsed by the Queen and Prince Charles, has been told to stop advertising sugar pills as childhood vaccines. According to the investigation, specialist retailer Ainsworths has labelled a number of their homeopathic products with the name of childhood illnesses, or as vaccines for those ailments. Amongst the remedies labelled were Meningitis Vac Hib, Measles Vaccine, Rubella Vaccine, Pertussin and Pertussis Vaccine, which is the scientific name for whooping cough, hence the government's medicines regulator stepped in. The findings also included evidence that the company's owner, Anthony Pinkus, was prepared to recommend homeopathic pills to parents as an alternative to the whooping cough vaccination. Last year, 13 babies died of whopping cough and the UK has been experiencing the worst outbreak of the disease since the 1980s. Pinkus denied this recommendation, and did not accept that the remedies labels were misleading as the products were clearly ‘in no sense medical pharmaceutical drugs’. However, the BBC investigators wrote to him posing as a concerned parent of an unvaccinated child, and Pinkus recommended several of his homeopathic pills including Pertussin for whooping cough prevention. He admitted it was a personal choice of his, but when he was asked whether or not the child should be vaccinated, Pinkus said he would use Pertussin ‘alone’, but if the child was vaccinated as a ‘compromise’, the Pertussin pills would ‘offset the side effects’. According to Professor Edzard Ernst, an expert on complementary medicine, ‘Homeopaths say some sort of "energy" stimulates the body to heal itself. That is a very nice theory but it's not supported by any clinical evidence and the clinical trials don't support it either. One of these products is to protect or to treat meningitis. That is a condition that is potentially fatal. Ineffective treatment for fatal disease is life-threatening.’ Ainsworths is a London-based company, and has two Royal Warrants for supplying homeopathic products. Royal warrants are given to companies who supply the Royal Family with goods or services, and they can display the relevant royal arms with the words 'by appointment', albeit under strict rules on using and displaying these royal arms. At present, the only people who can award a royal warrant are the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales, and Prince Charles is a known a supporter of homeopathy in spite of a lack of scientific evidence for its effectiveness beyond a placebo.
Homeopathy is very effective for treating allergies as it works with the natural responses of one's whole body and strengthens the body's defense mechanisms. For this reason, homeopathy treatment pertaining to allergies may be the most effective for you simply because it allows you fix the imbalances inside your immune system and reduces your body's reaction to items contributing to allergies (allergens).
The winter months bring with them far more than just poor weather – they are also brimming with viruses, coughs and colds, and the dreaded flu bug. We all spend a large proportion of the season trying to fend off these ailments, but you can bolster your immune system with some diet friendly ingredients which can help you to fight the colds. Cinnamon: A sweet and warming spice, cinnamon is a well-known antiseptic and can help to fight coughs and colds. Try making a concoction of powdered cinnamon stick, ginger and licorice which you add to boiling water and reduce by half – this will help to keep your lungs clear of congestion and boost your immune system. Ginger: Popular in ayurvedic medicine, ginger plays host to a number of health benefits. Ginger should be used fresh in order to reap the most rewards from it, as the active compounds in it help to alleviate phlegm which can cause respiratory problems. You can add it to stir-frys with plenty of vegetables, or added to hot drinks such as herbal tea. Eucalyptus oil: Eucalyptus oil is a great antiseptic and is particularly good for your lungs – this is one to inhale rather than consume, so try adding a few drops to a cotton ball or handkerchief to breathe in the vapours, or adding some to an inhaler to breathe in the scented steam. Licorice: Licorice is great for thinning mucus and helping the body to rid it from the lungs – it also benefits an irritable cough by coating the insides of the chest and throat. You can boil this with other herbs to make a health-boosting drink. If you’re pregnant, you should avoid this though, as it’s not advised. Natural licorice can also be chewed to help reduce the risk of building congestion with coughs and colds. Soup: Soups are great as remedies for illness, as they contain so many fantastic ingredients for fighting colds and other ailments. You can add whatever you like to a soup, but ingredients such as black pepper, garlic, galangal and chilies are particularly brilliant. These ingredients will helping you to breathe more easily and can reduce congestion. Avoid: If you’re already suffering with a cold, you should avoid dairy products such as cheese or yoghurt, as well as deep fried foods and processed products – these will only coat your insides and make your breathing and congestion worse.
Garlic is more than just a delicious addition to your food. This most pungent of creations also has renowned health benefits and can boost wellbeing. Garlic has been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years and its popularity in food is thought to be one of the prime reasons why the Mediterranean diet is one of the world’s healthiest. Research has shown that garlic, which is part of the allium family that includes onions and leeks, is a powerful antioxidant. Allicin is the organic compound that gives garlic its distinctive aroma and flavour, and is also responsible for its antioxidant properties – antioxidants are essential for good health as they fight off the free radicals that can lead to dangerous conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Eating more than six cloves of garlic a week could reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer by 30% and reduce by 50% your risk of contracting stomach cancer. Including garlic in your diet will give you a healthy lipid profile – some studies claim that garlic can reduce cholesterol levels – and reduce high blood pressure. Garlic also acts as an anti-inflammatory, reducing inflammation in the digestive tract and elsewhere in the body. Allicin also helps garlic have potent antifungal and antibiotic properties. Used when freshly chopped or grated, garlic is shown to fight bacteria and infection. And a British study showed that garlic, taken as a supplement, can reduce the risk of catching a cold. Chewing on a fresh clove will open blocked sinuses, too. And if you worry that smelling so strongly of garlic will be a turn-off for others, remember that garlic has been acclaimed for centuries as an aphrodisiac. There really are no limits to this humble concoction’s abilities.
Quoted by BBC News: "The toilet seat has acquired an unfair reputation as the dirtiest item in the average household. But scientists say there are far filthier places in our house, some of them where we least expect.
Would you chop your vegetables on your toilet seat? I think pretty much all of us would say No. But maybe we should think again.
Dr Chuck Gerba, professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, studies how diseases are transferred through the environment. This involves swabbing household items and measuring how many bacteria - and what sort - develop.
He particularly looks for faecal bacteria such as E.coli and staphylococcus aureus.
His studies have found that on the average toilet seat there are 50 bacteria per square inch.
"It's one of the cleanest things you'll run across in terms of micro-organisms," he says. "It's our gold standard - there are not many things cleaner than a toilet seat when it comes to germs."
We should be more worried about other household items, it seems.
"Usually there are about 200 times more faecal bacteria on the average cutting board than on a toilet seat," he says.
In the kitchen it doesn't necessarily get there through actual contact with faeces. It comes via raw meat products or the viscera from inside of the animal, where a lot of the faecal bacteria originate.
Would Gerba be more inclined to chop his vegetables on a toilet seat then?
"It would seem a safer place," he says. "Not that I would recommend it, but you might treat your cutting board a bit more like you do your toilet seat."
It's because we all fear the dirtiness of the toilet seat so much that we regularly clean it, so perhaps this is the course of action we need to take with our chopping boards.
But the filthiest culprit in our homes is the kitchen sponge or cloth.
According to Gerba, there are about 10 million bacteria per square inch on a sponge, and a million on a dishcloth.
In other words, a kitchen sponge is 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat, and a dishcloth is 20,000 times dirtier.
This is the same the world over.
"Always the dirtiest thing by far is the kitchen sponge," says John Oxford, professor of virology at the University of London and chair of the Hygiene Council - an international body that compares hygiene standards across the world.
Its latest study examines samples from homes in nine different countries, and finds that 21% of "visibly clean" kitchen cloths actually have high levels of contamination. The cloths also fail the bacterial test which looks for E.coli.
The study identifies faecal bacteria in other places around the home, and this varies from one country to another.
Saudi Arabia has the dirtiest fridges, with 95% of the fridges in the study failing the bacteriology test for E.coli. And in South Africa, the dirtiest item is the seal in the bath, with almost two-thirds with unsatisfactory levels of E.coli and 40% for mould.
"It's always a bit delicate which countries are the worst," says Oxford.
"We found that countries like Australia and particularly Canada are high up on the hygiene list... Countries near the bottom are fairly routinely, unfortunately, India and Malaysia."
What about away from our homes? Gerba says the office is particularly bad.
"Many people don't realise they're talking dirty every time they pick up their phone, because they never clean it. "The average desktop has 400 times more bacteria than on a toilet seat."
Beware the supermarket too.
"Shopping trolleys are really bad," warns Gerba. What's more, about half of reusable shopping bags have faecal bacteria in them.
"Some people have more faecal bacteria in their grocery bag than in their underwear, because they at least wash that."
So what does this actually mean for us in terms of health risks?
These numbers of bacteria, particularly for E.coli, are huge," says Oxford.
"E.coli is an indicator bacterium. It may not itself cause horrible disease, but it indicates faeces is around and that might contain other organisms like salmonella and shigella which really are virulently pathogenic."
But we all touch these perhaps startlingly dirty things every day, and on the whole we don't get constantly ill.
"We're jolly lucky that as we've evolved over two million years, we have a whole set of genes whose only function is to get the immune system in action," says Oxford.
"All of us, in all these countries we have gone to, rely on Lady Luck too much, keeping our fingers crossed or sitting on our hands. In a modern scientific society, what we want is people to realise there's a problem here and take action."
Disclaimer: Charlotte Pritchard and the BBC do not recommend chopping any sort of food on your toilet seat. "
With all the fad diets and health trends over the years, one healthy lifestyle has stood the test of time. Eating unprocessed foods, using natural hygiene products and avoiding harmful chemicals are things nearly every doctor will recommend. If you've been suffering from a variety of mystery ailments and generally poor health, consider some of the benefits of living an all-natural lifestyle: Fewer Aches & Pains Many people don't realize they are allergic to the various chemical additives found in so many processed foods. Flavor enhancers, like mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), are found in a variety of foods, including Chinese restaurant dishes, instant noodles and even popular snack foods, like Doritos. These additives are notorious for triggering migraines. Artificial sweeteners, like sugar alcohols, can also have painful repercussions. Because these chemicals aren't digested like natural sugar, many people experience digestive distress after consuming diet products. Boost of Energy Another great reason to go natural is that eating unprocessed foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, can give you more energy and even help eliminate vertigo symptoms and listlessness. While prepackaged meals and fast food are convenient, many people don't realize that the excess sodium, fat and preservatives in these foods can sap you of your energy. Fresh produce and whole grains, on the other hand, supply your body with valuable nutrients and help energize you. Maintain Your Weight Having more energy can motivate you to exercise more often, leading to a healthy weight loss and maintenance of your ideal weight. Also, avoiding processed fats, such as the hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils found in many shelf-stable snacks, can lower your cholesterol and keep your heart healthy. Treat the Cause, Not Just Symptoms Natural remedies, such as herbal medicines and nourishing foods, are more effective at fighting colds and supporting the immune system than many over the counter drugs. In addition, while artificially derived medications may mask various symptoms, they often do not address the underlying cause of an ailment. Supple Skin without Chemicals In addition to consuming as natural a diet as possible, you can experience great benefits from choosing all natural hygiene products as well. A natural moisturizer, such as Shea butter or coconut oil, can dramatically improve skin elasticity without leaching harmful chemicals such as cancer-causing parabens into your blood stream. When you consider the outstanding benefits of natural products and the risks of consuming their chemical-laden counterparts, the all-natural choice is clear.
Aromatherapy bath salts rely on the therapeutic effect of essential oils combined with salt and water to enhance a person's bathing experience. The salt added to the water helps in the healing of dry skin by easing up the opening of the pores where the sweat, dirt and toxins are supposed to pass through to get outside the body. Bath salts can also be used to reduce itching and skin irritation that occurs as a result of insect bites and minor rashes. Those suffering from skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema can benefit from it too. Aromatherapy bath salts' pleasant scents are derived from the essential oils used in their preparation. One can choose to use only one aromatherapy oil or combine more than one in a blend. This helps to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and recover from fatigue and other conditions. Here is an article to help you make your own aromatherapy bath salt at home. Things you will need Of course there are certain kitchen tools you will need to prepare the bath salt. Here they are:
Homemade products are always cost effective and healthier. I remember when I was a child, I loved to sit beside my granny and watch her making soaps and toothpastes at home. The entire process was very complex and it took her hours to make one bar of soap and a small quantity of toothpaste for a single month. No one has the patience and time for such things these days. However, we can also not ignore the benefits of natural products. Here are some easy and quick ways of treating your gum disease naturally. Increase The Intake Of Vitamin D The anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin D strengthen the teeth and soothe swollen gums. The sun is the richest source of vitamin D. Make a routine of standing below the sunlight for at least 10 minutes twice a week no matter if it’s cold or cloudy. According to the results of research conducted by the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, 20 minutes sun exposure on a weekly basis will give skin and gums enough vitamin D to sustain them. Use The Right Blend Of Oils The benefits of herbal oils are known to everyone. However, do you know which blends work? Some oils compliment others and heal more quickly if applied in the form of a blend. Tea tree oil, oregano, manuka, thyme, cinnamon, rosemary, clove, fennel, orange and eucalyptus are some of the most common and easily available herbal oils. Just blend two oils with the same anti-bacterial properties and it will make the treatment more effective. Some of the beneficial blends include wintergreen/peppermint, peppermint/orange/eucalyptus and manuka/tea tree/eucalyptus. Make Your Own Toothpaste And Mouthwash Here is a two-minute process for you to make your own toothpaste. Mix baking soda and salt in a 4:1 ratio. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil blend. Brush with this mixture regularly and see the difference. You can also make your own mouthwash using the same blend of oils. Make a solution of warm water and sea salt in the same proportion. Add five to six drops of essential oils and gargle with this solution at least once a day. The antibacterial properties of sea salt protect the gum from infections and works as an antibiotic for them. Sea salt contains minerals that are also found in the human body. No other synthetic substance is as beneficial as this natural source of mineral. Reduce Stress According to the results of a study conducted at the University of Dusseldorf, excessive stress can lead to plaque and bleeding of gums. As part of this research, a group of students were asked to undergo a professional dental cleaning four weeks before and after an exam. These students were then divided into two groups, one group took the exam and the other did not. After the last assessment, both of the groups had dental checkups. It was found that the former had considerably more cavities, bleeding gums and gingivitis than the latter. If your gums start to bleed every time you are under stress, then you do not need to visit a dentist. Medicines will only minimize the pain for awhile. You may require a proper stress relieving treatment such as mindfulness meditation, relaxation response or diaphragmatic breathing. Reduce The Consumption Of Sugary Foods Like mosquitoes and ants, bacteria are also attracted by the smell and taste of sugar. As soon as your teeth come in contact with any sweet stuff, it triggers the bacterial attacks and causes the formation of plaque. It is not possible to stay away from chocolate and cakes all the time, especially for kids. As soon as you are finished eating sweets, brush your teeth immediately to clean the traces of sugar left on them. After knowing how to treat gum diseases naturally and the benefits associated with it, won’t you want to try these out? Switch to natural treatments and save yourself from the dentists’ tools. Author Bio: Kevin Kerfoot writes about health, nutrition, oral hygiene and skin care for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletter. Click here to learn more about gum disease.
Ten years ago, the practice of yoga tumbled into my life and never left. I had already spent years modifying my diet and performing cardiovascular exercise from an initial desire to be thinner; over time, I learned that there were other valuable benefits to exercise that I came to want even more. Energy! Focus! Mood boosting! And above all, the power to fight stress of all kinds - work; family and friends; anxiety and depression; major life decisions and changes. Yoga took this revelation to a new level; I gained a deeper, more subtle, and more powerful experience of improving my own health. It brought together an awareness of the body and the mind, something I knew I loved - but also introduced the heart. Pattabhi Jois said that “Vinyasa” means “to place in a special way.” This can be attributed not only to careful alignment of our bodies on the mat, but to exploring our thoughts and the effects they have on us; choosing carefully when we express how we feel. With careful attention to the movements of our mind and heart via linking breath to asana, we can explore and refine how we see and hold ourselves, as well as how we relate to the world. As we learn to become more easeful in postures, we also develop an internal capacity for comfort with our external lives and who we are in them. I would like to highlight three ways in which I’ve found Vinyasa yoga can become a playground for well-rounded, healthful living: Strength. We learn to specifically align our bones so that we can derive optimal use of our muscles. We pull energy into our bodies to stabilize, ground, and center. This helps us endure longer holds, as well as retain our focus when we’d much rather leave the pose. This training in endurance can further allow us to diligently stay with feelings that are uncomfortable. Instead of pushing them away, we courageously “stay in the fire,” diving deeper into what is scary, and get to understand our fears better. Creating a solid, secure center is the foundation for developing receptivity to exactly how we show up, in all our forms, light and dark. We have to practice in order to build our mental and emotional “muscles” as much as the ones just below our skin. Flexibility. The most commonly accepted reason to practice asana today is to find more physical flexibility. We make our muscles more pliable so that we can move through our daily tasks with ease and comfort. The same is true for softening our rigid thinking about “right” and “wrong” ways to tackle problems. We can get creative and find more nuanced, unique, and appropriate ways of handling life. We practice a sense of grace as we flow from one posture to the next, without holding on to how it should feel or look, and in the same way we can find a fluidity in our response when the universe hands us something we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves - a sudden financial struggle, an unexpected death of someone near to us, an illness that prevents us from carrying on as we’d planned. We find acceptance - whether it be of the uncooperative body part or the emotionally taxing family member - and soften into the truth that we must relinquish control where it cannot be held, that our own response is where the work belongs. Connection. One definition of yoga is to “yoke.” This can be thought of in a few ways, one being a relationship between our bodies, our thinking, and how we feel. On a gross level we may realize that sitting in a slouched position at work reduces our physical capacity to breathe and subsequently drains us of our energy and motivation. We are left feeling sluggish and foggy, or over longer periods even depressed. On a subtler level, yoga shows us that we often round the shoulders down and forward as a way of shielding the heart from pain. Opening and lifting the chest, allowing space for our breath and life force to flood and move us, can ultimately be the path to shedding our armor, healing our wounds. Another way to think of connection is in the context of our relationships. The internal work we do to become stronger, softer, and more responsive to ourselves translates directly to treating others with the same love-filled respect. We extend a sensitivity and empathy to others. And when others hurt us, we can retain our stability and fluidity in the face of pain. This is where we practice yoga off the mat - through the repeated experiences of relating, loving, and being hurt. We are patient and willing, but know when to firmly, courageously put ourselves first. We are vulnerable and intimate, bringing richness to our relationships. We give equal space to sadness or anger as we do to joy and love. We become resilient. We grow. Sounds like health to me. Yoga helps us step into a deeper listening, to ourselves and others, so that we may be more efficient with our energy and relaxed in our experience. After some time spent with the practice, a lithe body, improved heart function, and injury prevention (among a host of other benefits) seem to be the cherry on top.
There are growing concerns about the level of spiritual wellness support being offered to students across many universities in the United States. This can be illustrated by the example of Rice University which is situated in Texas – one of the most religious areas of the country. Central to religious life at Rice University are the number of student faith groups that are generally led by the Joint Campus Ministers (JCMs). These ministers come from the community outside of the university and, for the most part, have their own congregations away from Rice. The group of JCMs meets twice each semester, however attendance of these meetings is not compulsory, and collaboration between different ministers is often limited. What is more concerning is the fact that the JCMs only include representatives from two faith groups: Christians and Jews. This means that students who practice faith outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition have to go away from the campus to find any level of spiritual guidance. The university also has the Boniuk Center for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance which also plays a part in the religious landscape on campus. However, the centre’s focus has been to bring interfaith engagement in the Houston community rather than to promote spiritual wellness among Rice students and on the campus itself. Therefore the Boniuk Center does not currently take responsibility for promoting spiritual wellbeing at the university. This is a worrying situation for the university when you consider that so many of the student population take faith very seriously. Universities need to understand that their students’ spiritual wellbeing is very important and that adequate guidance should be made available to ensure that they feel happy in their situation.
Since the 15th century, people have been using hatha yoga to improve their lives. It works by helping you to find a balance in the three main components of wellness; mind, body and spirit. The word yoga literally means the union or working together of mental, physical and spiritual health, whilst hatha is another word for balance, and so at its core, the simple and beneficial asanas of hatha yoga have your overall wellbeing in mind. With a combination of stretching exercises, pranayama and meditation, hatha yoga helps you to relax and rejuvenate your senses, relieving you from all the stresses, worries, and tensions in life. It teaches you the most basic of yoga asanas, or exercises, and so you will be comfortable moving on to other forms of yoga. Anyone can benefit and learn from hatha yoga, as it makes you fit, active and healthy and provides mental stability. There are several mental and physical benefits of hatha yoga, whether they are therapeutic or preventative. It calms you, heals your body, improves your blood circulation and provides oxygen to various internal organs. The breathing exercises, for example, provide your body with the inner strength to fight different types of physical pain, such as pain in your shoulder, back, head or neck. One of the greatest benefits of this yoga is that it provides your body with agility and flexibility, especially if you practice this yoga on a daily basis. However, not only will you observe an improvement in your muscle joint mobility, but your posture will also improve with the help of this yoga. This is because the yoga exercises help to strengthen your spine, and increase your stamina. Aside from this, a striking benefit of hatha yoga is that it prevents and fights against a myriad of wellness problems. It has the potential to improve your symptoms of arthritis, fatigue, chronic, asthma, arteriosclerosis, AIDS, diabetes and obesity. This type of yoga is great for weight loss in particular, as it helps to promote fat loss throughout the body. Not only does it boost your metabolic rate, but it also enhances the function of your digestive system, which is another important factor in weight loss. Taking up hatha yoga is especially crucial in the winter months, as it guards your immune system to colds and flu. Finally, if you’re pregnant, hatha yoga can help you to avoid several problems such as backache, depression and excess weight, and it has even been said to help women handle the pains of childbirth in an easier and more effective way.
Pranic energy is said to be the one pervasive energy that governs the subtle laws throughout the universe and reveals the nature surrounding your life. In Chinese it is known as chi, but it’s also known as prana in Sanskrit, Ki in Japanese and ruach in Herbrew. This energy supposedly fuels all aspects of your wellbeing, including physical, emotional, spiritual and even financial wellness. According to complementary therapy experts, if you harness the different frequencies at which pranic vibrates, you can incur healing, psychic protection, spiritual growth, improved relationships and prosperity. Sourced from the sun, air, ground, food, vitamins and spiritual sources, pranic energies are absorbed through the chakras, or energy wheels, that pump fresh pranic energy into your body, while expelling impurities and used-up energies. Master Choa Kok Sui’s Pranic Healing System® asserts that your 11 major chakras are thoroughly cleansed of diseased energies and replenished with fresh pranic energies, distributing them throughout your body, giving you the ability to recharge and heal. When it comes to your thoughts and emotions, these energies play a role at different frequencies. A clairvoyant claims to see the very low vibrating energies of anger and resentment as dirty or greyish-red energies, whereas love and spiritual devotion energies are uplifting and seen as pink, violet and gold. Pranic healing and cleansing techniques can therefore be used to extract the former, and, at some point, replenish them with loving and spiritual energies, pulling you out of your proverbial rut and boosting your happiness and positivity. If you have phobias, anxiety and addictions, you may be able to find relief through pranic healing, and projecting pink and gold energies to loved ones and friends can help to create more harmonious relationships. If certain crystals are used, pranic energies can aid in healing and psychic protection. Practitioners will use a clear quartz crystal for healing, with the aim of projecting a multitude of colour energy frequencies to help different physical ailments. An amethyst crystal is recommended for negative thoughts and emotion, because it emits the same colour of pranic energies that are generated when in deep meditation. Look online for more information.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the ghost that all sufferers could do without. It creeps in, uninvited and dwells against the corner of your thoughts. No matter how it was gained, the terrible trauma that has sank its teeth from within remains unmoved as you try and contend with it each day. One of the strange approaches towards PTSD is the practice of holistic healing; a gentler, natural way to recover from life's harsher experiences. The holistic approach ranges from meditation to breathing exercises to Reiki exercises and more, all of which are focused on loosening memory's iron grip. The aim of holistic healing is to allow the individual to find inner-strength. One of these holistic methods is Reiki, a type of stress-reduction and relaxation. Originating from Japan, this form of therapy helps to channel positive energy and promote healing through energy therapy, acupuncture and massage. In essence, it helps the individual to feel positive and relaxed, as well as feel energetic and healthy, much like an emotional detox! For those more down-to-earth, you can focus on your emotions and thoughts. Assert yourself within them and don't let them control you. One such exercise is take a few minutes in the morning and think of something that you are grateful for. Daily expressions of gratitude can help to improve yourself, to turn your feelings into something positive and golden. Additional Tips:
In the hustle-bustle of city life, it seems to be an in-built act that to fit in, you have to be as stressed as the other guy. You may be amused to realise that in fact, the laid-back approach to life is the way to live it longer and happier. We often hear about the side-effects of stress, ranging from a colourful variety of blood-pressure, heart and brain defects, but we tell ourselves, “I'm not like that. I can handle it.” Of course you can – but you are not a machine. Take time out for yourself. Not sure how to? Have a few tips …