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Archive for January, 2011

Winter is not always kind and gentle to skin. Not all seasons affect the skin in the same way. While getting sunburned is not a worry during the cold winter months there are other concerns that you must think about.

For instance during the coldest months of the year low humidity levels outdoors combined with dry heat indoors can lead to skin that is itchy, dry and on the irritated side.

To treat your skin in the best way possible you need to take the natural approach to keeping it healthy. That means taking care of it from the inside out as well as from the outside in. Your skin needs to be nourished by the foods you eat but also by what you do to it externally.

What then should you do in terms of seasonal skin care?

One of the most important things you can do is to make sure that your skin care regimen includes exfoliation. This is essential for both your face and your body. By skipping this essential step in your skin care process you can easily end up with skin that is dry, flaky and not very flattering. Exfoliating at least once a week will get rid of the layers of dead skin cells and will allow the newer and smoother cells to shine through.

You can exfoliate your face using an exfoliating scrub that is soft and gentle. You can exfoliate your body in the shower using a soft loofah or scrub.

Another option is to do dry skin brushing or a dry brush exfoliation on your body right before you take a shower. Not only does this get rid of dead skin cells but it is also a form of detoxification for the skin. Doing this also improves blood circulation and it reduces puffiness of the skin. It is also believed to be very soothing for the nervous system. Just make sure that you choose a soft natural bristle brush that will not bruise your skin.

Do not spend too long in the shower or bath or take really hot ones. This can dry out your skin. Once you are finished bathing before you dry off slather a rich moisturizing cream on your body that will lock in moisture and will make your skin feel softer.

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and needs to be treated right.

Apply almond oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil to your skin. Or look for a lotion that contains one of these softening ingredients for your winter skin. Other excellent options are lotions that contain cocoa butter, Shea butter or glycerin. These oils will make your skin look great and they will make it feel even better!

In part two of this series we’ll talk about the right foods to eat to help with your winter skin care.

Becca Scott

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You groan in pain as your hand reaches up to gingerly cradle the side of your face. Your tooth is aching and you can think of nothing else but the pain it is bringing with it!

If your dentist appointment could not come soon enough but it is not here yet then you need to find a way to reduce the pain in a manner that is natural, safe and effective!

Many of the herbal remedies for an aching tooth you likely already have in your home. If you don’t then they should be easy to find in most grocery stores and pharmacies. Hopefully relief is no further than your kitchen cupboard or spice rack.

Clove oil is believed to be one of the most effective herbal remedies for a tooth that is in pain. Take a small amount of clove oil and combine it with a pinch of black pepper. Now open wide and apply it to the affected area(s) of your mouth.

Mustard oil is also highly regarded as a natural way to make a sore tooth feel better. Take the mustard oil and combine it with a pinch of salt. From there massage it gently into the gum area around the sore tooth.

Lemon can serve as a balm for a toothache that just won’t quit. If you have lemon juice then take several drops of it and apply it to the affected gum region. You can also squeeze some juice from a fresh lemon and dab it onto the area. It may sting a little bit but it will start to alleviate the discomfort afterward.

If a toothache appears out of nowhere and the gum around the tooth is red and inflamed then add some tea tree oil to a glass of lukewarm water and use it as a mouthwash. Apple cider vinegar also makes for a soothing mouthwash that will help bring down the inflammation and puffiness of the swollen gum. You can also make homemade alternative mouthwashes from calendula and sage.

If a toothache comes calling and you have none of these herbs in your home then reach for a fresh onion for relief. Cut a slice of the onion and place it over the sore tooth and gum. Hold it there for a couple of minutes to let the essence of the onion absorb into the gum. Why this works is a mystery but it does so try it if your mouth is in pain!

When you have a throbbing tooth you do not want to do anything to irritate it further or to make the condition any worse. For this reason you should be careful about what you eat and drink. Stay away from foods that are hot and spicy, as well as anything that is too cold. You should also avoid eating anything that is too sugary.

For the sake of your teeth eat a diet that is composed of a large portion of vegetables and fruits. Foods such as apples are very good for your mouth and can improve the health of your gums.

Samantha Young

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (which is often shortened to the acronym of SAD or S.A.D.) is a mood disorder that brings about feelings of depression as well as changes in appetite, diet and weight during the winter months.

People who suffer from this disorder may feel exhausted and discouraged during the months of the year when there is less sunlight. Other common symptoms of SAD include headaches, irritability, sadness, a reduced libido, craving for carbohydrates and sweets, loss of concentration and achy muscles.

Also sometimes referred to as the winter blues or winter depression, this disorder affects a great number of people throughout the globe. It has been estimated that five to 10 percent of the population suffers from severe symptoms while 25 percent show moderate to mild symptoms.

It has been known for many centuries that seasons and weather have an effect on the moods of human beings. It is also well documented that depression is more prevalent during the winter months. However it was not until the 1980’s that Seasonal Affective Disorder started to receive recognition from researchers and the medical community at large. It was once regarded in a very skeptical light but has since become acknowledged and well established as a real disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder was formally described and then given its name in the year 1984. It was named by Norman E. Rosenthal and his colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health.

The season for SAD ranges from October to April. However not everybody who has it experiences it for all of those months. For many it is worse in January, February and March. It has been estimated that two-thirds of those who suffer from SAD also have an immediate family member who does the same.

Important Information About SAD:

Seasonal Affective Disorder is more common in women than in men (four times more common).  SAD is predominantly a winter problem but there is a version of summer SAD that brings about some of the same symptoms, with the exception of the cravings for sugar and carbohydrates.

The cause of SAD is believed to originate with the pituitary gland. This gland, also known as the hypophysis, is an endocrine gland that weighs about the size of a pea and is located at the base of the brain. The pituitary gland produces a chemical by the name of melatonin. This hormone regulates sleep. The pituitary gland is greatly influenced by the sun and is regulated by it. When there is less daylight and a reduced amount of sunshine the pituitary gland does not produce the proper amount of melatonin in some individuals.

Why this only affects some people and not others is not known.

SAD can often be made worse when stress levels are high. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can also make it worse as can anxiety and panic attacks. While there are a number of symptoms that characterize this disorder the most common ones include depression, extreme lethargy, the desire to sleep more hours, and an increased appetite for foods that are starchy in nature (such as carbs) and  foods high in sugar.

Treatment Options for SAD Sufferers:

There are different treatments for SAD. One of the most popular is light therapy with bright lights or sunlight because it has been shown to be the most successful. Other options include counseling (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy), changes in diet and exercise, and carefully timed supplementation of melatonin. Another option is medication. Tricyclic antidepressants can be taken to help cope with the problem. There are also serotonin enhancers, tithium carbonate and monoamino oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

Samantha Young

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Back a few months ago I wrote about gastric band weight loss surgery and procedures offering an alternative to the surgery using hypnosis. One of these is the Virtual Gastric Band procedure from Sheila Granger.

Recently a study on Virtual Gastric Band was concluded in Milford Massachusetts. The study was organized by Virtual Gastric Band of New England. The Milford study results along with some participant feedback can be found at the VGB New England web site here.

The study consisted of 10 participants and was led by Erika Slater, CH. The study obtained similar results to those performed elsewhere in U.S. and in Europe.

However, what is interesting about this study is it was conducted over the holiday season normally a difficult time for people to lose weight. Slater said the participants were all committed to the program and comfortable with the process.

While the hypnosis sessions are complete as part of the study the participants will be followed during the next twelve months with regularly progress check-ins.

Slater say’s “the Virtual Gastric Band method is not another diet plan but instead teaches you to be satisfied with smaller portions of food at meal times.”  “Unlike weight loss surgery,” Slater added “the Virtual Gastric Band Procedure is available to anyone who wishes to achieve lasting significant weight loss regardless of whether or not they’re candidates for weight-loss surgery.

Weight loss is a huge issue and topic in this country and this is one story I’ll be following over the next year, and I’ll be interested to see if the initial results of the study group continues the progress over the next year.

Erika Slater is offering private and group sessions in the procedure and you can find out more information about her Virtual Gastric Band Boston Massachusetts service here.

Samantha

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In part one of this series we looked at what the acid alkaline balance is, as well as the definition of pH.

Now we will continue our discussion of this topic by looking at the acidity problem that exists in our society as well as what problems having too much acid in your body can bring about.

Having too much acid that has built up in your system is a condition that is known as “acidosis.” The North American diet has made the incidence of acidosis that much greater. The average American routinely consumes a diet that is very high in foods that produce a large amount of acid. These foods include animal products and animal by-products which means meat, eggs and dairy foods.

On the other hand these foods are not balanced out with those that are high in alkaline such as fresh vegetables.

Many processed foods that are consumed often can also produce a great deal of acid. These include sugar, white flour, coffee and soda pop. There are also a variety of drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter ones that can increase the acid level in your system. The same can be said for artificial chemical sweeteners. They can lead to an overabundance of acid in the body.

Some examples of the sweeteners that are used the most often include aspartame, Nutra Sweet and Equal. In order to prevent acid from building up in your system you must become very conscious of what you are eating. You also must rid your diet of the foods and beverages that are the worst acid offenders.

It is when an individual has unbalanced pH and therefore too much acid in their body that any number of health issues can arise.

When you have unbalanced pH then your body may deem it necessary to take minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium from your organs and bones. It does this because it needs to neutralize the acid build up and rid it from the body as fast as it can. Unfortunately this can cause undue damage to the body and can lead to long-term problems.

It is not uncommon for high acidity levels to not be discovered for many years. However once they are diagnosed the damage often has already been done.

Acidosis and You:

Acidosis does not have to be extreme or severe to cause problems with your health. Even mild or moderate acidosis can cause your health to start spiraling downward. There are any number of sicknesses that acidosis can cause. Some of the most commonly seen ones include:

– Immune deficiency problems
– Damage to the heart (which includes a reduction in oxygen and the constriction of blood vessels)
– Weight gain
– An increase in the frequency and speed of free radical damage in the body (leading to mutations of precancerous cells)
– Weak and brittle bones that can cause bone spurs, hip fractures and osteoporosis
– Chronic fatigue, as well as a lack of energy and vitality
– Achy muscles and painful joints, as well as the build up of lactic acid
– Premature aging
– Bladder and kidney problems, such as kidney stones and kidney infections

Once you become aware of what the acid alkaline imbalance is you can then find ways to ensure that you keep your level within a healthy range and do not end up with too much acid in your body. By so doing you will be a healthier human being!

Samantha

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