Health & Wellness Blog

    

An Eco-Friendly "Magnetic Soap" for Oil Spills

Oil spills have always been a great concern, particularly when it comes to cleaning them up. Up until recently, it was detergents, which of course come with loads of chemicals that were the only way in cleaning up serious oil spills.

Later that detergent soap has to be rinsed out, and although it cleaned up the oil spill, it unknowingly and unavoidably added more chemicals into the environment. Additionally, these dispersants and surfactants (the technical name for a normal detergent soap) mingle with the water and are virtually impossible to separate. Furthermore, the chemicals will either react to the changes in the pH, or the sunlight and can cause other types of reactions.

In turn, this can cause harm to the plants and animals in their own way. Thereby, soap is not solving the problem of oil spill in a complete way.

But not anymore, with the introduction of "magnetic soap for oil spills". This is the first of its kind introduced by researchers at Bristol University in the United Kingdom. In this new soap, iron rich salts are dissolved in water that contained charged particles like chloride and bromide ions. The magnetic soap is then added onto the surface of the oil spill, absorbing and cleaning up the oil from the water.

A magnetic-like field is active in the soap which easily attracts and removes the soap contents completely from the water. As a result, this leaves no trace of the magnetic soap itself in the water, thereby keeping it clean.

Although it is yet to be introduced at a larger scale for domestic use, this innovation would be of great help in industrial, and especially in aquatic, oil spills where the animals affected can be cleaned thoroughly without the added side effects (like that of a normal soap.)

With continuous and advanced research and studies we can expect such innovations to be put to use for the greater good of our planet.

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Somatic Education and Sensory-Motor Amnesia

Somatic education is a means of learning how to properly function and coordinate one's body through sensory motor awareness.

While the term "Somatic" refers to an individual's ability to sense his or her inner processes, education in this practice reflects the learning and increased ability to sense oneself from within. The underlying connection to Somatic Education is mind-body integration, which in turn enhances natural control of the body's muscular system. This can provide more efficiency as well as flow of energy through improved physiological functioning.

The video above is from Somatics.com. It was created by Lawrence Gold, a Hanna Somatic practitioner.

In numerous cases the Somatic education approach has been useful in overcoming chronic pain, as well as improving physical performance. One of the chronic conditions alleviated through this approach is the Sensory-Motor Amnesia (SMA).

What is Sensory-Motor Amnesia?

Sensory-motor amnesia is a state under which we lose our sense of muscular activity and control due to habituated movements. The amnesia occurs as certain muscles take more control of others, causing the inactive muscle to be less effective, and often times tight and sometimes painful.

With Sensory-Motor Amnesia, one is left with a sensation of pain and stiffness in a part of the body without the sense of the action of the muscles causing it. The remedy to this condition is to learn how to sense the muscular actions causing the pain and consequently learning how to control those muscular actions.

Prevalence of Sensory-Motor Amnesia

It is not uncommon for an individual during his or her lifetime to lose a certain degree of awareness in certain muscles. This is often times because we subconsciously hold muscles tight, without being fully aware of it.

However what we are aware of is the pain or soreness, as well as skewed bodily movement. Somatics seeks to overcome that unawareness, and train our minds to recognize those muscles that are being held tight. 

Role of Somatic Education for SMA

Somatics is essentially a method of mind-body training that aids in overcoming common health difficulties that would otherwise be remedied through physical therapy, chiropractic, osteopathy, massage therapy among other treatments.

In the case of Sensory-Motor Amnesia, Somatic education supersedes the traditional physical therapy approaches of stretching and strengthening of muscles to alleviate muscular spasticity. Unlike the standard physical therapies that accentuate strength and flexibility, Somatic education puts an emphasis on control and release of muscular tension.

In addition, while most therapies will use stretching, Somatic education helps one learn to relax which translates to longer lasting and greater freedom of movement.

Practicing Somatics

There are many techniques that have been proven for Somatic education. Body-mind centering is a Somatic approach that relies on experiential anatomy, breathing, use of movement, and our perceptions. Many techniques of somatic education focus to train people on how to make habit changes while using your body with more ease and freedom.

A process of learn-by-doing making various techniques based on movement and sensation is employed during Somatic training. This enhances a sense of awareness to the body parts to feel more intensely thus encouraging a more clearly defined and voluntary control of the muscles. The results of Somatic training is actually self-perpetuating and improves with continuous practice.

Somatics greatly depends on an individual's self-awareness and thus ability to better control his or her muscular control. To learn more about Somatic education, visit Somatics.com.

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Aspirin Linked to Reduced Risk of Cancer

Two new British studies suggest that taking an aspirin daily may lower patients' risk of getting certain types of cancer by up to 37 percent. Doctors are cautiously optimistic about these studies because aspirin's side effects may include gastrointestinal bleeding. More studies are needed to confirm results; however, it seems that aspirin may stop cancer from spreading to other organs or from developing in the first place.

Recent Studies on Aspirin

One study, conducted at the University of Oxford, looked at the cancer rates in both men and women who took an aspirin once a day for three years. This study found that after three years, patients who took a daily dose of aspirin were far less likely have cancer than people in a control group who did not take aspirin. After five years, the group that took aspirin's cancer risk was lower by 37 percent. could taking aspirin reduce the risks of cancer?

The other study, which analyzed the results of several British cancer studies, found that people who take aspirin once a day have a lower risk of metastatic cancer--25 percent--as well as a lower risk of colon cancer. In addition, patients who had esophagus or colorectal cancers had less risk of the cancer spreading to other organs in their body if they took aspirin. The study excluded the results of two other studies that showed that taking aspirin had no significant benefit for cancer patients; however, the excluded studies looked at the effects of taking aspirin several times a week instead of the effects of taking aspirin on a daily basis.

Tradeoffs in Taking Aspirin

The results of the current studies are significant because esophagus and colon cancers are among the most serious types of cancer and are often fatal. If aspirin can stop these cancers, as well as other types of cancer, from spreading to other organs, cancer patients will be less likely to become weak and die from their disease.

Cancer is one of the most common serious illnesses U.S. patients face, and cancer of the colon or of the prostate are especially common in men over the age of 50. About 30,000 people a year die from each of these cancers, and about 40,000 women a year die from breast cancer. For this reason, many people are excited about the possibility of preventing cancer or stopping its spread by taking an aspirin every day. However, doctors are not sure yet whether it is healthy for people to take aspirin every day. Long-term aspirin use has been linked to gastrointestinal bleeding; in addition, aspirin use may increase the patient's risk of having a stroke.

For this reason, most doctors don't recommend that healthy people take aspirin daily. In the past, cardiologists have recommended that people only take aspirin to prevent heart disease if their personal risk of disease outweighs the potential negative side effects of the aspirin. Similarly, most doctors are suggesting that only people who currently suffer from cancer or are highly likely to get cancer should take aspirin to try to prevent it. People who are healthy and have low risk of cancer may risk their health more by taking the drug, so doctors currently don't recommend that they do so.

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Cross Training for Endurance Athletes

When it comes to becoming the best athlete that you can be, it is crucial that you focus on more than just your normal exercises. Most endurance sports like running or swimming require an ideal combination of stamina and strength. This is why it is crucial that you focus on cross training and exploit other sources of exercise to help you improve your abilities.

There are some forms of cross training that offer endurance athletes amazing cardio and strength workouts, and are apart from their more focal form of exercise. Below are some ideas for cross training that you can consider when you are looking to change things up a bit.

TRX

These are suspension straps that are made for body weight workouts and they are certainly made for any type of athlete out there. TRX, however, will not just have you fighting your body weight but also gravity. This is the added resistance that you will be using to help you get stronger.

When it comes to endurance training, it is important that you are able to control your body for a long period of time. TRX training is something that any athlete can benefit from and it is certainly a a cross training technique that you can try. TRX targets functional strength for performance, and offers a wide range of options to get enhance your endurance sport of choice.

Yoga

Yoga is something that you can do to help you relax and get your body back into alignment. With intense training of your particular sport, yoga can help to relax your mind and body. However, you cannot expect yoga to be a walk in the park as people will be surprised at how tough it can be. Getting your body in some of the more technical poses can is not only a strength and balance workout, but also a cardio workout as well.

CrossFit

CrossFit is the ultimate cross training program that you should really consider. This is the hybrid between endurance and strength and it is slowly becoming the main form of exercise for athletes that want to gain muscle and more endurance. Athletes who try CrossFit will admit that it is the best form exercise that should be done by any athlete. It has been called the "perfect exercise" because every type of athlete will benefit from it. IN addition, each CrossFit "workout of the day" is different, offering greater flexibility.

When it comes to becoming the best athlete possible, you will need to learn how to get out of your comfort zone and to try new things. These are only some of the better options out there but you do not need to limit yourself to just these. Cross training is a great way to improve in your particular sport and to also improve your overall health. With the help of cross training, you will see that you can get so much better without having to always practice your own sport.

What types of cross training do you advocate? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

 

 

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FDA Releases New Guidelines to Limit The Use of Antibiotics On Livestock

FDA is seeking to minimize the overuse of antibiotics on animals by limiting their use to treating sick animals. The recent request by the FDA to voluntarily limit the use of antibiotics is driven by concerns that harmful bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to the traditional medicines and treatments.

This is not the first time the FDA is making such a move. In 1977, Congress opposed the regulator's attempts to restrict the use of antibiotics. Since then, medical practitioners, activists and consumer groups have been advocating for restrictions on the use of the antibiotics. Two years ago, the agency denounced the practice and said it was not in the interest of protecting public health.

Risks of Antibiotics in Animal Feed

Adding antibiotics to animal feed and water has been a routine practice since the 1960s. Low doses of antibiotics administered over a long period helps to protect animals from getting sick and accelerates their growth. With the prolonged use of antibiotics, harmful bacteria eventually mutate and become resistant to the treatments, necessitating use of stronger drugs to kill them. This puts consumers of the animal products at risk of potentially dangerous infections when the superbugs are passed to them.

The new guidelines recommend using the antibiotics only on ill animals and under the supervision of a veterinarian. The FDA is urging pharmaceutical companies to stop promoting the commonly used antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline as growth promoters in animals. It argues that a voluntary approach is more effective and will yield faster results. It expects to effect the changes fully within three years.

The shift from using food products from animal treated with antibiotics is already in force in the European Union. Some leading fast food chains who do not accept meat products from animals fed with antibiotics. However, advocacy and consumer groups are skeptical, saying that the voluntary approach has proven ineffective in the past. They want the FDA to make restricted use of antibiotics mandatory.

What do you think? Is this a good move by the FDA, or weak attempt to show concern for our nation's health and wellness?

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15 Facts About Allergies You Probably Didn't Know

Allergies are hypersensitivity disorders of the immune system. You get an allergic reaction when your immune system reacts to substances that are normally harmless (allergen). Allergic reactions are predictable, rapid, and acquired. There are several things about allergies that you probably did not know.

1) Based on statistics from the National Institute of Health, 1 in every 2 U.S. citizens has at least one allergy.

2) The body's immune system runs on white blood cells. These white blood cells are responsible for fighting diseases and sustaining optimal conditions for the body. The white blood cells sometimes lie dormant for years and launch attacks where an attack is not called for. They can be taken to act like the small bands of Japanese soldiers who did not hear about the end of the Second World War for years and who would attack peaceful villagers in guerrilla attacks years after the war had ended.

3) Being allergic to penicillin is the scariest of all allergies. The allergy often causes fatal anaphylaxis. To many people, the most disgusting allergy is allergy to cockroaches.

4) Protein causes most food allergies. The body's immune system responds negatively to some proteins. Studies are however, showing that it is possible to distract the immune system from rejecting proteins. Parasites that will not harm the body can be injected to distract the immune system from proteins. A 2004 experiment by Trinity College, Dublin team worked.

5) The experiment by the team from Trinity College, Dublin was well received in the scientific world. Jasper Lawrence, a British entrepreneur, in 2007 visited Cameroon and acquired hookworms by walking barefoot near pit latrines. He hoped that as the body fought the hookworms, his seasonal allergies and asthma would be defeated. This too, worked.

6) Jasper Lawrence has ventured into the business of shipping parasites to different parts of the world (but not the U.S. where this is prohibited by the FDA). He sells 35 hookworm larvae for $3,000.

7) The hookworm larvae are applied to a bandage and the bandage slapped on. The hookworms will wriggle through the skin after several minutes.

8) Allergies to food cause fatalities. In the U.S., between 150 and 200 people die each year as a result of allergies to such foods as nuts, shellfish, eggs, fish, and milk.

9) Hannes Harms is in the process of coming up with edible radio-frequency ID tags. The industrial engineer who is based in London is designing tags that will be mixed with meals to record the meals' composition. You will then get warnings whenever you are about to eat meals that have ingredients you are allergic to.

10) Walking in the grass could lead to tick bites. Tick bites can cause the body's immune system to produce alpha-gal antibodies, meaning you will not be able to eat lamb, beef, and pork again.

11) 40,000 women in the U.S. are believed to be allergic to the male ejaculate. The condition is called seminal plasma hypersensitivity. This can lead to social and psychology issues as well.

12) Women who suffer from autoimmune progesterone dermatitis can get allergic rashes as a result of their own sex hormones.

13) Your dander can cause an allergic rash in cats and dogs as well as to other humans.

14) Many people in the U.S. are allergic to ragweed pollen. The ragweed pollen season has been lengthening over the years, thanks to climate change.

15) Nickel can trigger a metal allergy that will last a lifetime. Avoid nickel coated jewelry.

Do you know of any interesting facts about allergies that you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

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9 Tips to Keep Your Home its Healthiest

Healthy Home Your home should be a safe haven, not only from the stress you face from day to day life, but also from any illnesses and environmental hazards. As such, you should employ ways that will keep it safe and toxic free. Here are some of the tips to keeping your home healthy.

Below we share with you 9 tips to keep your home its healthiest.

1. Only choose safe cleaning products. A common mistake people make with their cleaning products is not looking at what they comprise of. These cleaning agents are used all over the home ranging from the bathrooms, the kitchen, the living rooms, and even the floors. Selecting cleaning products that are safe and non-toxic ensures your home is safe.

2. Stay away from synthetic materials. Most people will find this step one of the hardest, as synthetic materials tend to be the cheaper option. Thus, you will find most household items such as carpets; clothing, furnishings and more are cheaper when made from synthetic fires. However, if you would like to keep your home safe you would be better off with items made from organic fibers.

3. Let fresh air in. A common mistake most people do is constantly running their air conditioning to keep their air in their home circulating. However, this is not the best way of doing this. It is advisable to open your windows and even your skylight if you have one at least once a day to let in some fresh air into the home.

4. Stay away from paints and glue that contain VOC. You can get alternatives that contain low amounts of these and these tend to be much safer for use in your home. Constant exposure to VOC from the paint in your home could affect your health as well as the people who live in your home.

5. Open the window when taking a bath or a shower. If you do not have a window in your bathroom, install a fan. This is because humid bathrooms are a haven for mold. In small amounts, this mold may not be harmful but when it accumulates over time, it could be a health hazard.

6. Clean your home regularly. Most people probably do this but do not do it thoroughly. Dust bunnies tend to accumulate over time. The more dust bunnies present in your home, the less clean the air that you breathe is. Whether you're cleaning marble countertops or vacuuming the house, be sure to do it thoroughly to keep your home its healthiest.

7. Have the furnaces and heaters in your home inspected regularly. The most common problem that one could encounter with these appliances is leaks. Gas leaks could not only kill you by inhaling the flames, but they also pose a risk of an explosion occurring. Most people assume they would immediately smell a gas leak but slow leaks typically go unnoticed thus it is recommended to have them looked at from time to time.

8. In addition to having your appliances checked for leaks, also ensure that you have smoke and carbon dioxide detectors installed in your home.

9. Switch off electrical appliances when they are not in use. Not only is this cost effective on your utility bills, but it also decreases your exposure to EMFs.

Thanks for reading these 9 tips on keeping your home healthy. If you have any additional tips that you'd like to share, please add them in the comments section below.

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Tips to Avoid Mindless Eating Habits

Tips to Avoid Mindless Eating HabitsMindless eating plagues the American culture as access to food is often times right around the corner. Many of us are guilty of eating without thinking, or eating when we're not even hungry. Whether our excuse is boredom, depression, or some other reason, the excuses for mindless eating need to be put aside.

To break the habits of mindless eating, you need to be conscious of those moments when the fridge or pantry sounds enticing. Being aware of those impulses is the first step to overcoming such eating habits.

Below we offer four tips to help you avoid mindless eating:

1. Stick to Your Healthy Grocery List

Perhaps the best way to avoid mindless eating is to not buy foods that promote such behaviors. These are typically snack foods like chips and cookies that we tend to buy on impulse while at the grocery store.

Simply put: make a health grocery list, and stick to it. Your list may not consist the food you really desire, but the food that's readily available will significantly help you decide if you truly need a snack, or if you’re wandering to the pantry out of boredom.

2. Keep a Food Log

Writing down everything you consume, including the amount, calorie count, time of day, and any notes about how you felt after eating. A food log can help keep yourself in check. And if you're dieting, a food log will help you keep track of you daily calorie intake. In short, you should be well aware of you mindless eating habits if you see them written down over a peroid time.

3. Leave the Cash in the Car

Although this tip might sound a little odd, for some it migh make perfect sense. Keeping a few bucks on you might be a good enough reason to grab that candy bar from the vending machine. The idea is to not even make this mindless purchase an option. If you're easily prompted to buy unhealthy snacks on impulse, leave your cash and coins either in your car or at home.

4. Check Your Emotions

Whether your headed for the pantry or the refrigerator door, pause and check your truly feelings and emotions. Are you hungry? How hungry are you? What would be the ideal thing to eat to satisfy you?

Instead of letting your mindless drive take over your eating habits, be conscious of your motives and be honest with yourself. Some times walking away is the best approach.

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Tips for a Healthy and Happy Family

Tips for a Healthy FamilyAs the seasons change, so do our habits. The weather is cooler and it is time to bundle up and get ready for cold and flu season. Every fall and winter children go home sick from the flu more than any other reason. Protect your family's health with these fall health tips.

Snack on Yogurt

The benefits of yogurt are plenty. The calcium is one of the best ways to build strong bones and teeth. Yogurt is loaded with antioxidants and can help you feel better through out the day. Most yogurts have fiber, which will help you feel full longer. Add more yogurts into your diet for a healthy well balanced routine.

Drink More Coffee

That's right, this just in coffee can actually help you be healthier. Doctor Oz, recently reported on the benefits of drinking more Joe and its effect on your overall body. If you are looking for a little boost to your metabolism, energy and mind power add some more coffee into the diet.

Munch on Bananas

Pack your children's lunch with extra love and care by adding a banana. The bananas are one of the best flu fighting snack because they have so much potassium which can ward of unwanted bacteria in the body. Bananas are a good source of energy as well because they are dense, low in calories and zero fat and low in sugar compared to some other fruits.

Eat More Apples

Apples are a fall time favorite but also a dentist and doctor's dream. Dentist love apples because the crunchy fiber-filled fruit can work like a toothbrush in the event you don't have one. Use an apple as a way to have clean healthy teeth with out even trying. If you want to ensure your child's health is in tiptop shape this fall, add more apples into their diet. Stick to the raw whole apple verses fruit juices or dried apples.

Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal

Recent research shows that brushing your teeth after every meal can help flight cavities in a profound way. Did you know that the food particles that hang around our mouth long after lunch can often cause more damage than we realize. Pack a travel size toothbrush and toothpaste in your work bag and put one in your child's back pack. Explain the benefits of brushing your teeth after each meal to your children. Your entire family will be smiling with these easy to implement health tips.

About the author

Shannon Kaiser is a health and wellness writer. For more health information for you and your family visit Advanced Dental Arts NW, a Dentist in Portland OR.

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Top Superfoods for Optimal Health

Superfoods for Optimal HealthSuperfoods are small category of foods that promote optimal health. Not enough people include superfoods in their daily diet. As a result, those individuals may encounter issues of weak immunity or nutrient deficiency.

So to enlighten you on the various types of superfoods, along with some of the health benefits of each, we describe six of the top superfoods for optimal health.

Blueberries – Great Antioxidants

Blueberries contain both phytoflavinoids and antioxidants, which help promote stronger immunity. They also comprise of vitamin C and calcium, hence nutritionists and doctors like them. They are not only anti-inflammatory, but can also reduce cancer and heart disease risks.

Omega 3 – Better Memory, Joints & Heart

Studies show that omega 3 found in fish reduces risks of heart diseases, helps arthritis and may also help to address Alzheimer’s and loss of memory. There is also evidence that it lowers depression levels.

It is commonly found in cold-water and fatty fish. You should go for wild rather than farmed salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel. You should purpose to have two or three servings each week. You can find other types of omega 3 in flax seed, fortified eggs and walnuts. The superfoods contain monounsaturated fats that can reduce cholesterol levels.

Fiber – Levels Cholesterol & Promotes Weight Loss

A diet full of fiber will assist you to have the right cholesterol levels as well as the required blood sugar amounts. In addition, fiber provides a higher satiety value, thus, it is a perfect tool in managing weight. It is mainly found in beans, fruits, whole grains and vegetables. You can include some beans within your salad or use dried ones. You may also utilize canned ones though they contain large amounts sodium.

Tea – Inhibits Cancer & Controls Hunger

The general antioxidant power contained in black tea is similar to that of green tea. However, green tea contains ECGC, an effective antioxidant that many people have not realized. The most recent Japanese study shows that men who took green tea on a regular basis had lower cholesterol levels compared to those who did not. Research in both the UK and Spain has shown that ECGC can hinder cancer cells from growing. If you want greater health benefits, use tea instead of the sugary sodas

Calcium - Strengthens Bones

You should be aware that calcium helps in prevention of osteoporosis and in building strong bones. You can get this element in supplements or dairy products. There are studies that reveal another benefit of calcium; helping with weight loss. It is recommended that people aged between 9 and 18 years use 1300 mg, those between 19 and 50 years to take 1000 mg and those with 51 or more years to utilize 1200 mg of Calcium.

Dark Chocolate – Level Blood Pressure & is Delicious

Latest research shows that dark chocolate contains antioxidants that help to reduce blood pressure. It is recommended you for the chocolate that has at least 60 percent cocoa content, and the darker it is, the better. Moreover, darker chocolate has a lower sugar and fat content.

What are some of your favorite superfoods? How do you like to prepare them? Let us know in the comments section below!

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