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Archive for May, 2009

Ha! Ha! Ha! If you keep laughing like that, you just might find yourself getting … healthier!

If you enjoy laughing and find as many occasions as possible throughout the run of a day to be jolly then you will be filled with glee to know that this can lend itself to a happier and healthier human being.

Laughter is good in so many ways but studies have shown that as adults we simply do not do enough of it. If you have children then you probably have noticed that they giggle about everything from a spilled glass of milk to a funny cartoon character on television to something their best friend said to how mommy put their shirt on inside out when they were getting dressed in the morning.

Children know how to laugh and enjoy life and it shows. Research has shown that despite our maturity and (hopefully!) wisdom from our life experience, adults could learn a thing or two from the younger set. The average child laughs as many as 400 times a day. 400 times! On the other hand, the average adult- wait for it- laughs only an estimated 15 times on a given day, or in some cases, less.

Can you believe it?!

Did you think that adults would rate higher on the laughter scale? As we age we become bogged down with the business of work and responsibilities and an array of details. What this means is that the lighter and more humorous side of life is often lost to us. We practice being serious until it becomes an art form. We are afraid that we will not be taken seriously if we don’t appear as such. People who laugh too much are often perceived as not being on the same plain of life (and sanity!) as the rest of us.

Know what I mean?

The thing is that laughter has so many benefits. In brief, these benefits include:

• Lowers blood pressure
• Exercises the heart (which is why it is sometimes called “an internal jog”)
• Provides a workout for the diaphragm (which is cleansing for the lungs)
• Improves the work of the immune system
• Reduces the level of hormones that cause stress
• Controls as well as reduces pain in the body
• Relaxes the muscles throughout the body

Have you ever noticed how you feel after a hearty laugh? It feels good, doesn’t it? That is another benefit of laughter therapy. There is an emotional and physical release from it that does every part of you good. Your skin will be a little pinker than it was before but it will glow with life and your eyes will be bright and shiny. So go ahead- laugh as often as possible because it is a form of therapy that is most enjoyable and entertaining!

Samantha

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Aromatherapy is an ancient art that has been used for thousands of years as an aid to both emotional and physical well-being.

The practice of aromatherapy can be traced back as far as the ancient Egyptians who made use of the therapeutic powers of essential oils. It is also a practice that people in China and the Far East have been using with much success for a long time.

Aromatherapy can be used for many purposes. The most common of these include stress reduction, pain relief, sleep problems, restlessness and calming the mind and body.

Aromatherapy uses essential oils and specific scents, such as vanilla and lavender as a way to improve mood and to improve a person’s overall well-being. Many people don’t realize how strong their sense of smell is. It is also well-developed as the brain responds to fragrances. The smell of a particular plant oil can soothe the brain, conjure up past memories and make it possible for a person to become more invigorated. Suddenly the experience of being alive takes on a greater meaning and there is less tension, anxiety and unrest in the person’s being.

It has been theorized that aromatherapy has a positive and relaxing effect on the nervous system. Yet others believe that it works simply because it is suggested that it will. No one really knows. Aromatherapy is ancient and holds many mysteries that Western society has yet to fully understand or that the practice is willing to reveal. Despite its secretive nature, aromatherapy can benefit everyone.

Let us look at an example of this. Lavender is a type of herb that has a very calming scent to it. It is commonly used to help those who have trouble falling asleep. Many years ago lavender was placed inside pillows and then sewn into them. It was believed that the person who laid their head down on the pillow would have a restful and peaceful night’s sleep.

Yet another common scenario for lavender was that it was sprinkled on handkerchiefs and sniffed when needed. Why was that? It was thought to calm the nerves and make a person feel less tense and uptight.

If you ever look closely at products marketed for babies you will discover that many of the lotions, creams, oils and powders include lavender as an ingredient.

Essential Oils for Aromatherapy

There are many different types of essential oils used in the practice of aromatherapy but the most common and recommended ones include:

• Chamomile
• Eucalyptus
• Geranium
• Lavender
• Rose
• Rosemary
• Sandalwood
• Marjoram
• Jasmine
• Neroli

You may be very familiar with some of these oils but not so much with others. The oils can be used to treat everything from skin problems to indigestion to premenstrual pain to infections to, as previously mentioned, calm the nerves. For example, chamomile can be purchased as a tea. Its calming properties on the stomach are well documented. This is an excellent tea to drink if you are preparing to fly and are feeling nervous and apprehensive.

Essential oils for aromatherapy can be added to a bath and then soaked in for a feeling of total relaxation. Always remember however that a little goes a long way. They can also be sniffed in much the same way that you would take in the scent of a perfume that appealed to you.

Many people believe that aromatherapy and massage go well together and therefore make their own massage oil. Together the two combined make for a very relaxing experience! Aromatherapy candles are also very popular if you prefer to smell the scents in your home but not have them on your body.

To learn more about aromatherapy please visit these sites:

http://www.aromaweb.com/
http://www.aworldofaromatherapy.com/

Samantha

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Acupuncture is an ancient form of healing that has been shown to be most effective for those who suffer from chronic pain.

Chronic pain is pain that persists and/or continues to progress over a lengthy span of time. Chronic pain is a part of many diseases and takes not just a physical toll on the sufferer but often an emotional one as well that is also felt by those who are closest to the person.

Treatment Plan for Chronic Pain

Due to the nature of chronic pain, doctors work to find a treatment plan that will provide the most therapeutic benefits. Often the best treatment plan is one that combines a variety of approaches. In other words, a fusion of conventional Western medicine coupled with alternative therapies. Acupuncture is a common type of therapy for chronic pain because studies have borne out its effectiveness.

It is important to stop for a moment and clarify a point- acupuncture is not a cure for chronic pain. As well, it is generally not as effective when used on its own but works better when it is paired with other therapies.

Acupuncture Eases Pain

Instead, acupuncture is meant as a natural way to help ease pain and suffering in order that the person is able to go about their daily activities and live a higher quality of life.  Bear in mind that not everyone who undergoes acupuncture treatments will experience the same responses and/or results. Everyone is very different in this respect.

The true worth of the practice of acupuncture is catching on in this part of the world as evidenced by this- the World Health Organization has chosen to endorse acupuncture as a viable form of treatment for more than 40 different types of medical conditions. Chronic pain is included here.

Acupuncture to the Rescue for Chronic Pain Sufferers

In particular acupuncture has been shown to help chronic pain sufferers who live with the following conditions:

• Osteoarthritis
• Fibromyalgia (and soft-tissue pain)
• Neck pain
• Lower back pain
• Pelvic pain
• Migraine headaches
• Tennis elbow
• Pain following surgery

Acupuncture does not look at a disease per se or even the symptoms of it but instead looks at the individual as a whole and works from there. A trained acupuncturist will also consider other relevant aspects of health for the individual such as the role that the mind-body connection plays.

How Many Treatments are Necessary?

The number of treatments you will require is dependent on the type of condition you suffer from as well as how you respond to your first acupuncture treatment. It is rare that one treatment will be enough to help you.

In most cases you will probably need to have several treatments over the course of a number of weeks or months before you begin to notice positive changes in your body. If you have suffered from a condition for many years, such as in the case of a person with osteoarthritis, you are well advised to employ acupuncture on a long-term basis for optimum results.

One of the greatest benefits of acupuncture for chronic pain is that no drugs are used to reduce pain. As well, it is a safe practice that has no known side effects. Patients often describe a feeling of total relaxation after they have finished having a treatment.

To learn more about this topic please visit these sites:

http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/987115954.html
http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/guide/arthritis-acupuncture?page=2

Samantha

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Acupuncture is a type of alternative therapy that got its start in China and has been used for centuries.

As a form of natural healing, acupuncture has been part of the Chinese culture for over 2,000 years. It is finding its way into western society more and more all of the time. While acupuncture is not generally used to replace Western medicine, it can often work as a complement to it.

Acupuncture Restores Balance

The Chinese believe that imbalances in the body are a result of an imbalance of vital energy known as “chi”. This energy is believed to circulate throughout meridians in the body which are invisible energy lines. It is the belief of the Chinese that the body is made up of 12 meridians and each one is connected to different organs. When an imbalance occurs to chi, that is when disease and sickness arises.

In order to restore the balance and harmony of energy back to normal, you can visit a qualified acupuncturist who will insert fine needles into the relevant points along the meridian lines that relate to the problem you are experiencing. There are approximately 1,000 acupuncture points on the human body that can be utilized for this purpose.

The Purpose of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is very strange in the way it is administered but if it does what it was meant to do, does it really make that much difference? The purpose behind it is to restore one’s health to a positive state and to lessen pain and discomfort. In particular, acupuncture has shown a tremendous amount of promise in helping chronic pain sufferers, such as those who suffer from osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. It has also shown promise for cancer patients and for those who suffer with fertility issues.

Theories about How Acupuncture Works

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an estimated $500 million is spent on a yearly basis by people seeking acupuncture treatments to help what ails them. Acupuncture is one of the most well known of all of the natural healing therapies.

How acupuncture works however remains somewhat of a mystery. There have been a variety of theories put forth to explain its success at relieving pain. For example, some researchers theorize that acupuncture manages to stimulate the release of endorphins in the brain which then counteracts pain. Others think along the same lines but believe that neurotransmitters are release during treatments, thus sending nerve impulses to the brain.

Some individuals believe that acupuncture affects the electrical currents in the body which then facilitate healing. Two other common theories are that the insertion of needles along the meridians stimulate circulation or that acupuncture impacts the autonomic nervous system.

Which theory is correct is not known but studies have shown that acupuncture can help to alleviate certain types of pain. Enough said?

Many people are frightened off by the thought of needles because they think that acupuncture is a painful form of therapy. While you may feel a slight sting to your skin when the needle is first inserted, once it is in the discomfort will be no more. In fact most acupuncture patients describe the treatments as being relaxing, peaceful or calming.

If it helps your pain, even if it seems a little unusual, acupuncture is worth a try. Wouldn’t you agree?

Samantha

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There are many natural ways to strengthen the immune system that can result in rejuvenation, more vitality and a greater sense of wellness.

The immune system is one of the most overworked and unappreciated parts of the human body. Like the heart, it never gets to rest. An immune system that is healthy and in excellent working order serves to regulate the body’s ability to heal itself and to protect against the invasion of any number of infections and diseases.

On the other hand, when the immune system is compromised in any way and not working at its full capacity, this can result in excessive fatigue, respiratory problems and premature aging. Stress is one of the worst enemies that the immune system must do battle with on a daily basis.

Finding natural ways to protect and strengthen the immune system can result in a person who is healthier, bursting with energy and feels as young as possible.

Natural Ways to Boost Your Immunity

How can you help your immune system to do the best job that it possibly can to keep you healthy? Well for starters, keep reading …

Eat foods that provide you with plenty of antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E and lycopene. Also eat foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids (found in flax seeds, walnuts and soybeans) and folate (which is present in orange juice and many dark green vegetables).
Exercise as often as possible. Make it a daily part of your routine and your immune system will thank you. Walking is beneficial as is dancing, swimming, taking a class, biking, playing team sports etc. Even gardening or taking your dog to the park would qualify as a natural (and effective) way to strengthen your immune system.
Simple stretching exercises can help to improve your immune system because stretching helps to alleviate stress and anxiety in the body and the mind.
Doing yoga follows right along with stretching. Yoga involves slow movements and postures that help breathing, balance, flexibility, blood circulation and muscle strength. All of these things in turn can give the immune system a push in the healthy direction.
Enjoy your life and laugh often! Laughing reduces the amount of stress hormones in the body and keeps them from becoming larger than life. Laughing, whether it be from a joke, a funny story or a comedy you saw on television can increase the number of Natural Killer T-cells which fight viruses and cells that are damaged. Laugh it up and make no excuses for it!
Practice exceptional hygiene. This is such a basic way to improve the function of the immune system but even adults need a reminder from time to time. Wash your hands frequently. Wash them before you eat and when you first come home from work. Wash them whenever you are in doubt. If you are somewhere where there is no soap and water available then carry hand wipes with you or tote along with you one of those hand sanitizers that kill germs and bacteria.

There are many natural ways to strengthen the immune system. The more effort you put into it the healthier will your body’s defense system be. To learn more ways to help your immune system be good to you, please visit the sites listed below:

http://www.thevegetariansite.com/health_stress.com
http://www.immunesystemremedies.com/strengthen-your-immune-system.html
http://www.get-healthier.com/strengthen-your-immune-system.html

Samantha

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You might be surprised to know that there are many healing foods that can help your body to be as healthy as possible.

Learning about the foods that can help to heal you can improve the quality of your life because you will feel better, look better and be better able to fight off many of the viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses.

If your eating habits have gotten lazy and you could use a lesson in foods then you came to the right place! Read on for some healing foods and then choose wisely!

Artichokes– These vegetables are kind of strange looking and only a small portion of them can be eaten but they are good for your health. Artichokes protect the heart and liver from disease. They also lower cholesterol, improve the digestive process and can stabilize blood sugar if it is too high.

Nuts– Ready to go nuts for nuts?! Nuts are good for the heart and help to lower cholesterol. The best options are walnuts which have tremendous healing properties, almonds, chestnuts and pistachios. Even regular peanuts are tops but always look for plain, unsalted and unflavored ones. Chestnuts are also beneficial for those who wish to lose weight. (Please note that walnuts are also believed to fight cancer, lift the mood and improve memory).

Chilli Peppers– These peppers might be a little strong for the palate that is not used to them but they help to perk up the immune system and are helpful in the fight against cancer. But that is not all. Chilli peppers are actually good for digestion and they are beneficial for stuffed up sinuses and a sore throat. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers must be onto something!

Green Tea– Tea is good for you in general but green tea is the bomb! Green tea protects the heart and is beneficial in preventing strokes. It is also helpful in the fight against a variety of cancers. Green tea kills bacteria that threaten to enter the body and it is theorized to be good for the enamel of the teeth! Those looking to shed some pounds would also do well to begin drinking green tea on a regular basis. To get the most benefit from green tea, drink at least two cups a day and drink it without any milk or sugar (a little bit of honey or lemon as a sweetener is permissible though).

Honey– Speaking of honey, it makes our list of healing foods. Honey is reputed to be one of nature’s purest foods. Honey is not only tasty but it is excellent for digestion and it helps to heal wounds as well as protecting against the start of ulcers. But the benefits of honey don’t end there. Honey can provide a boost to sagging energy levels and is instrumental in the fight against a selection of allergies. Enough said?

This list of healing foods is by no way exhaustive. If you wish to learn more about healing foods please visit http://www.aarpmagazine.org/food/healing_foods.html.

Samantha

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If pain is no stranger to you when it is that dreaded time of the month, then you need to become acquainted with herbal PMS remedies that work.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a collection of physical and/or emotional symptoms that some women experience the week or two before their period begins. In most cases the symptoms begin to lessen the closer one gets to the start of menstruation. If you are a sufferer of PMS you may notice that some months your symptoms are worse than others and also that your symptoms might vary from month to month.

The question then becomes- how do you lessen these symptoms in order that they will not interfere with your daily life? This is where herbal PMS remedies can help. There are many alternative options to choose from. Here we highlight a few of the most popular ones.

Evening Primrose Oil
The first one my doctor ever told me about was evening primrose oil. It should be easy to find in your local grocery store or health food store. Evening primrose oil is plant oil that is made up of an omega-6 essential fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid. This type of acid plays a key role in the metabolism of substances that resemble hormones called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins regulate the level of pain in the body, as well as the inflammatory response. This herbal PMS remedy is extremely popular in England.

Calcium and Magnesium
It is not uncommon for women to experience a drop in their calcium levels approximately 10 days (or thereabouts) before their period begins. This can lead to headaches, cramps and depression. Taking an extra dose of calcium and magnesium can help to get this problem under control. Take a daily supplement of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 200 milligrams of magnesium for optimum relief. Many stores sell calcium and magnesium supplements together.

Chasteberry
Chasteberry, also sometimes written as chaste tea berry, is a natural cure for PMS and an herbal remedy that is a natural anti-inflammatory. Like evening primrose oil, chasteberry is a well known herbal PMS remedy throughout Europe. This herb is well documented to reduce breast tenderness, and headache related to PMS, as well as to ward off frustration, anxiety, irritability and mood swings.

Dandelion
The thought of dandelions conjures up images of weeds taking over your lawn. The good news is that dandelions do have some medicinal value for premenstrual sufferers. Dandelion is an herb that is very rich in vitamin A, iron and potassium. Dandelion can help relieve many problems associated with the pain and discomfort of the premenstrual cycle such as water retention, bloating, acne, anemia, tender and sore breasts, inflammation and muscle spasms.

Prepare dandelion in a brewed tea (two cups of dandelion root) or eat fresh dandelion leaves in a salad in order to relieve many of your PMS symptoms. When you have PMS dandelion takes on a whole new meaning!

Herbal PMS remedies provide a natural alternative to taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs for pain and discomfort. You may want to experiment with different types of remedies to find the one that is best suited to your monthly symptoms. Rest assured however that with these remedies help is on the way!

Samantha

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