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Relaxing Moments: Peaceful Wind Chimes Meditation

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on October 30, 2012 at 9:33 am

Wind Chimes Relaxation Sounds for 1 Hour

When you add wind chimes to your porch or patio, you bring a new dimension into your outdoor space. The sound of the metal or wooden chimes adds gentle ambiance. There are actually many reasons that the gentle, tinkling is used. Some of these include:

• Soothing — the calming and soothing effects will provide peaceful background noise while you work or play outside.
• Health — there is evidence that the chiming sound created by wind improves health.
• Comfort — the gentle sound will comfort a troubled mind.

It is well known that certain types of music can be beneficial to patients who have high-blood pressure or heart conditions. As a light breeze blows, the wind chime peels its jingling strains in your backyard. To sit and listen will encourage total relaxation, which can be beneficial for many health problems. The psychological benefits actually work to benefit the physical ailments.

There are several places where a wind chime is ideal. You will want to securely attach the apparatus to a roof, beam, rafter or overhang. For this, a simple C-shaped hook that screws into wood usually works well.

You may enjoy your chime in many situations in your yard and around your property. Consider installing yours where you will be able to enjoy it. For example:

• A deck is one of the most obvious places that will be an accessible location where you can hang your chime. You will enjoy the music the breeze creates when you sit and watch the sunset from your deck or when you just sit in the shade to enjoy the fresh air.
• Hang one of these natural instruments near your garden area. You will commune with nature as you dig in earth to the accompaniment of the strains moved into music by the wind.
• A swimming pool or dining area is a great place to enjoy your wind chime. Imagine floating in a pool chair with the tinkling of chimes in the breeze, or having that gentle, natural background music to set the tone for your outdoor dining area.

Many people hang wind chimes on their property. The most popular ones available are made from wood or metal. Often, these are hollow tubes that clink together to create the attractive noise that peels through the air and brings pleasure while you enjoy or work in your yard.

 

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Weight Management and Gallstones

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on October 26, 2012 at 6:44 am

It is estimated that digestive diseases affect 60 to 70 million people in the United States. Gallbladder disease is one of the more common of these diseases. Experts estimate that as many as 20 million Americans have gallstones.

Most people with gallstones do not know that they have them and experience no symptoms. These people may have painless gallstones, or silent gallstones. Sometimes gallstones cause abdominal or back pain. These are called symptomatic gallstones. In rare cases, gallstones can cause serious health problems. Hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and operations occur annually as a result of gallstones.

What are gallstones?

Gallstones are clusters of solid material that form in the gallbladder. The most common type is made mostly of cholesterol. Gallstones may occur as one large stone or as many small ones. They vary in size and may be as large as a golf ball or as small as a grain of sand.

Gallstones develop in the gallbladder, a small pear-shaped organ located beneath the liver on the right side of the abdomen. The gallbladder is about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide at its thickest part. It stores and releases bile into the intestine to help digestion.

Bile is a liquid made by the liver. It contains water, cholesterol, bile salts, fats, proteins, and bilirubin (a bile pigment). During digestion, the gallbladder contracts to release bile into the intestine, where the bile salts help to break down fat. Bile also dissolves excess cholesterol.

What causes gallstones to develop?

Illustration of the gallbladder and adjoining organs, the liver, pancreas, and duodenum.

According to researchers, cholesterol gallstones may form in several ways, such as:

When bile contains more cholesterol than it can dissolve.

When there is too much bilirubin or other substance in the bile that causes cholesterol to form hard crystals.
When there are not enough bile salts to break down fat and when the gallbladder does not contract and empty its bile regularly.

 

What are the symptoms of gallstones?

Some common symptoms of gallstones or gallstone attack include:

Severe pain in the upper abdomen that starts suddenly and lasts from 30 minutes to many hours.
Pain under the right shoulder or in the right shoulder blade.
Nausea or vomiting.
Indigestion after eating high-fat foods, such as fried foods or desserts.

Is obesity a risk factor for gallstones?

Obesity is a strong risk factor for gallstones, especially among women. People who are obese are more likely to have gallstones than people who are at a healthy weight. Obesity in adults can be defined using the body mass index (BMI), a tool that measures weight in relation to height. The table below shows how the BMI calculation works. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 refers to a healthy weight, a BMI of 25 to 29.9 refers to overweight, and a BMI of 30 or higher refers to obesity.

As BMI increases, the risk for developing gallstones also rises. Studies have shown that risk may triple in women who have a BMI greater than 32 compared to those with a BMI of 24 to 25. The risk may be seven times higher in women with a BMI above 45 than in those with a BMI below 24.

Researchers have found that people who are obese may produce high levels of cholesterol. This leads to the production of bile containing more cholesterol than it can dissolve. When this happens, gallstones can form. People who are obese may also have large gallbladders that do not empty normally or completely. Some studies have shown that men and women who carry fat around their midsections may be at a greater risk for developing gallstones than those who carry fat around their hips and thighs.

Is weight-loss dieting a risk factor for gallstones?

Weight-loss dieting increases the risk of developing gallstones. People who lose a large amount of weight quickly are at greater risk than those who lose weight at a slower pace. Rapid weight loss may also cause silent gallstones (painless gallstones) to become symptomatic. Studies have shown that people who lose more than 3 pounds per week may have a greater risk of developing gallstones than those who lose weight at slower rates.

A very low-calorie diet (VLCD) allows a person who is obese to quickly lose a large amount of weight. VLCDs usually provide about 800 calories per day in food or liquid form, and are followed for 12 to 16 weeks under the supervision of a health care professional. Studies have shown that 10 to 25 percent of people on a VLCD developed gallstones. These gallstones were usually silent—they did not produce any symptoms. About one-third of the dieters who developed gallstones, however, did have symptoms and some of these required gallbladder surgery.

Experts believe weight-loss dieting may cause a shift in the balance of bile salts and cholesterol in the gallbladder. The cholesterol level is increased and the amount of bile salts is decreased. Following a diet too low in fat or going for long periods without eating (skipping breakfast, for example), a common practice among dieters, may also decrease gallbladder contractions. If the gallbladder does not contract often enough to empty out the bile, gallstones may form.

A drug called ursodiol that helps dissolve cholesterol in the bile may help prevent gallstones from developing during rapid weight loss. While ursodiol is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent gallstones, its “off-label” use (the practice of prescribing medications for periods of time or for conditions not FDA-approved) has been shown to be effective and safe. If rapid weight loss is highly likely, you should consider talking with your health care provider about using ursodiol.

Is weight cycling a risk factor for gallstones?

Weight cycling, or losing and regaining weight repeatedly, may increase the risk of developing gallstones. People who weight cycle—especially with losses and gains of more than 10 pounds—have a higher risk for gallstones than people who lose weight and maintain their weight loss. Additionally, the more weight a person loses and regains during a cycle, the greater the risk of developing gallstones.

Why weight cycling is a risk factor for gallstones is unclear. The rise in cholesterol levels during the weight-loss phase of a weight cycle may be responsible. It is also thought that each cycle increases one’s risk for gallstones. However, further research is required to determine the exact link between weight loss and the risk for gallstones.

Is surgery to treat obesity a risk factor for gallstones?

Gallstones are common among people who undergo bariatric surgery to lose weight. Bariatric surgery to reduce the size of the stomach or bypass parts of the digestive system is a weight-loss method for people who have a BMI above 40. This procedure is also an option for people who have a BMI above 35 with comorbid conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Experts estimate that about one-third of patients who have bariatric surgery develop gallstones. The gallstones usually develop in the first few months after surgery and are symptomatic.

How can I safely lose weight and decrease the risk of gallstones?

You can take several measures to decrease the risk of developing gallstones during weight loss. Losing weight gradually, instead of losing a large amount of weight quickly, lowers your risk. Depending on your starting weight, experts recommend losing weight at the rate of 1/2 to 2 pounds per week. Losing weight at this rate commonly occurs for up to 6 months. After 6 months, weight loss usually declines and weight stabilizes because individuals in lower weight groups use fewer calories (energy). You can also decrease the risk of gallstones associated with weight cycling by aiming for a modest weight loss that you can maintain. Even a loss of 5 to 10 percent of body weight over a period of 6 months or more can improve the health of an adult who is overweight or obese.

Your food choices can also affect your gallstone risk. Experts recommend including some fat in your diet to stimulate gallbladder contracting and emptying. Current recommendations indicate that 20 to 35 percent of your total calories should come from fat. Studies have also shown that diets high in fiber and calcium may reduce the risk of gallstone development.

Finally, regular physical activity is related to a lower risk for gallstones. Aim for approximately 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week to manage your body weight and prevent unhealthy weight gain. To sustain weight loss, engage in at least 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderate-intensity physical activity.

What is the treatment for gallstones?

Silent gallstones are usually left alone and sometimes disappear on their own. Symptomatic gallstones are usually treated. The most common treatment is surgery to remove the gallbladder. This operation is called a cholecystectomy. In other cases, nonsurgical approaches—drugs—are used to dissolve the gallstones. Your health care professional can help determine which option is best for you.

Are the benefits of weight loss greater than the risk of getting gallstones?

Although weight loss increases the risk of developing gallstones, obesity poses an even greater risk. In addition to gallstones, obesity is linked to many serious health problems, including:

type 2 diabetes
high blood pressure
heart disease
stroke
certain types of cancer
sleep apnea (when breathing stops for short periods during sleep)
osteoarthritis (wearing away of the joints)
fatty liver disease
For people who are obese, weight loss can lower the risk of developing some of these illnesses. Even a small weight loss of 10 percent of body weight over a period of 6 months can improve health and lower disease risk. In addition, weight loss may bring other benefits such as better mood, increased energy, and positive self-image.

If you are thinking about starting an eating and physical activity plan to lose weight, talk with your health care professional first. Together, you can discuss various eating and physical activity programs, your medical history, and the benefits and risks of losing weight, including the risk of developing gallstones.

 

How can I add more movement to my daily routine?

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on October 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Aim to move more for 30 minutes a day

Try to do at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity on most or all days of the week. Moderately intense activities, like brisk walking or dancing, speed up your heart rate and breathing. Getting 150 total minutes spread over the week is suggested. But even 60 total minutes a week of activity that is moderately intense may bring you health benefits.

Start with 10

Fitting in physical activity is not as hard as you may think. You don’t have to do the whole 30 minutes at one time. Start with a 10-minute session three times a day, then move to 15 minutes twice a day.

Strengthen your muscles

Also try to do activities to strengthen your muscles at least two times a week. If you have weights or a rubber exercise band, they are good options to use. You can also lift canned food as weights for strengthening your arms and back. These activities are important because older adults—especially women—tend to lose muscle and bone every year. Activities to strengthen your muscles may help prevent or reduce this loss.

Battle your barriers

Several reasons may occur to you about why you find being physically active difficult. If some of the thoughts below sound familiar to you, try the tips after each comment to overcome things that may keep you from being active.

“It’s too late for me to get physically active.”

It is never too late to start moving more! Physical activity may help you manage your arthritis and osteoporosis (bone loss). Being more active may also help you do the following:

  • Keep your body flexible.
  • Help you to improve your balance.
  • Control high blood sugar, especially if you lose weight.
  • Let you keep living in your own home without help.

“Physical activity is a chore.”

  • Physical activity can be fun once you figure out what you like to do. The more enjoyable it is, the more likely you are to stick with it. Walk or take an exercise class with a friend or a group. That way, you can cheer each other on, have company, and feel safer when you are outdoors.
  • Start a small garden in your yard or in a community space.
  • Break physical activity into short blocks of time. Taking three 10-minute walks during your day may be easier than taking one 30-minute walk.
  • Vary what you do from day to day so you can stay interested.
  • You may not like being active outdoors because of safety concerns. If this is true for you, join your local recreation or fitness center or go to a relative’s neighborhood to walk.

“I spend time and money on my hair and don’t want to mess it up.”

  • Talk with your stylist about hairstyles that fit your budget and your activity level.
  • Try a natural hairstyle.
  • Wrap or pull hair away from your face when you exercise.
  • Get a short or easy-care hairstyle.
  • Try braids, twists, weaves, or locs.
  • To remove salt that builds up in hair from day-to-day activities, shampoo with a mild, PH-balanced product at least once a week.

“It’s too expensive.”

There are lots of ways to be physically active that are free or low cost.

  • Find a local park or school track where you can walk.
  • Walk around a mall.
  • Be active with your grandchildren— take a walk, toss a softball, or ride bikes (don’t forget the helmets).

“I don’t have enough time.”

No matter how busy you are, there are ways to fit in 30 minutes or more of physical activity each day:

  • Spread exercise throughout the day, rather than doing it all at once.
  • Set aside time to be active. For instance, make it part of your daily routine to walk after breakfast or dinner.
  • Get up and move. Take breaks from sitting at the computer or watching TV.
  • If you have a job that requires a lot of sitting, walk around the block when you take your break. Send computer files to the printer farthest from your desk so you can move around a little more.

“I’m not an athlete, so why strength train?”

Activities to build strength are good for everyone, including older adults. For example, lifting weights may help protect your bones. Strength training may also help you perform your daily activities with more ease. In addition to weight lifting, there are many ways to become stronger.

  • Use canned foods or filled water bottles as weights to work your arms, shoulders, and back.
  • If you are able to, walk up stairs—lifting your body weight strengthens your legs and hips.

11 Simple & Effective ways to Super-Boost your Immunity

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on October 5, 2012 at 9:39 am

11 Simple Effective ways to Super-Boost your Immunity

What is immunity?

The immune system protects the body from possibly harmful substances by recognizing and responding to antigens. Antigens are substances (usually proteins) on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, or bacteria. Nonliving substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs, and foreign particles (such as a splinter) can also be antigens. The immune system recognizes and destroys substances that contain antigens.

Your own body’s cells have proteins that are antigens. These include a group of antigens called HLA antigens. Your immune system learns to see these antigens as normal and usually does not react against them.

So, how can you Super-Boost your Immunity?

1. Sleep for no more than 8 hours and no less than 6 hours.

2. Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily, totaling 64 ounce.

3. Take over-the-counter vitamin C pill daily especially during the change of season.

4. Deep breathing: Enhances the vitality of the internal organs and detoxifies the blood.

5. Exercise regularly at least 3-4 times a week with a minimum of 20 min of aerobic activity.

6. Meditation: Relaxes the mind and muscles, improves oxygen uptake, improves bone marrow functions and overall improves immunity.

7. Kill the stress: Stress is the most common cause for reduced immunity.  Try to stay more happy, calm and relaxed.  Avoid getting angry.  Whenever stressed, take a moment and say to yourself 3 times “Relax…… Relax…….. Relax…..”.

8. Listen to calming music.

9. Stretch your body.  Avoid sitting or standing for long hours.  Make sure you take a break every 30-45 minutes to stretch your body.

10.  Do your best and leave the rest.  We cannot control many things in her life.  So stop controlling the outcomes.  Make sure you perform your best with good thoughts and actions.  That is the most important thing in life.

11. Eat healthy: Fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains and fish gives you abundant antioxidants, proteins  minerals and vitamins necessary to skyrocket the immune system.

Follow these 11 simple and effective ways to approach your immunity for a week and see the big difference in yourself.  You will feel much stronger in your mind and body.

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