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Archive for February, 2013|Monthly archive page

Probiotics: A Friend You Can Count On

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on February 26, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Hand on belly

It may be unbelievable to think that ingesting bacteria is helpful to your health but in the case of probiotics it’s completely true. Probiotics are good bacteria that are normally found in our body to help keep us healthy. Most people believe that bacteria are only responsible for causing disease but they also play an important role in our overall health. There are more than 500 different types of bacteria that aid digestion, help the body absorb vital nutrients from the digestive tract and stop the growth of harmful bacteria and viruses to boost your immunity.

Amazingly enough, as probiotics enhance the functioning of the digestive tract, they keep the whole body healthy. The medical community is beginning to use probiotics as a treatment for Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and to treat diarrhea in young children and babies. You may find that your doctor recommends probiotics when taking birth control or antibiotics to keep your good bacteria in balance.

Nutrition is still the best way to get a healthy dose of probiotics. There are many brands of yogurt, cheese and dairy beverages on the store shelves that are a good way to get probiotics. You can also find probiotics in miso, soy beverages and some juices. By 2003 Americans had already spent about triple the money on products containing probiotics compared to previous years. So no wonder food manufacturers are eager to cash in on this trend, so be careful to buy only products that say they contain live and active cultures, otherwise you may not actually be getting any of the probiotics that you are paying for.

Supplements can also provide probiotics in the form of capsules, powders and tablets. These supplements usually contain Lactobacillus acidophilus with other probiotics like Bifidus, which are both species of bacteria found in the digestive tract of healthy individuals.

The health benefits of probiotics vary widely. Some people take probiotics to combat gas, diarrhea, constipation and stomach cramping. These symptoms may be alone or part of an illness like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Crohn’s disease. In addition there are some probiotics that are less well known that are for a healthy mouth, teeth and gum, as well as some used for treatments of children’s respiratory infections. Many people use probiotics to combat skin infections, skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or unexplained rashes. No matter what your health condition you may find some benefit from adding probiotics to your diet.

bloating

Studies are showing that we are only at the beginning of understanding probiotics. We will have probiotics in the future for the prevention of most illnesses. For example probiotics are known to strengthen immune defenses and this has implications in cancer and HIV/AIDS treatments.

For the time being, enough is known about probiotics to convince me to consume foods and supplements to get some probiotics daily. A serving of yogurt every day will at the very least make your digestive system run more efficiently and in turn make you feel better.

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VERY EASY GUIDED MEDITATION

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on February 18, 2013 at 11:31 am

Please make sure you sit in a quite place. Listen preferably with headphones. Do not hear while driving. These 20 minutes will change your world.

Guided meditation is a form of meditation where an individual is verbally guided into a beneficial state of consciousness either by a person’s live voice or by a recording of a voice. This process and practice of meditation requires an individual to follow verbal instructions that teach you how to relax the entire body; clear the mind; concentrate on breathing; and focus one’s awareness and attention.In meditation, one may choose to keep it simple by just sitting quietly every day for five to twenty minutes or one may decide to fully explore the tremendous subtleties and depth for hours on end. What one chooses to explore when meditating all depends on the individual’s intentions, needs, and level of interest and passion.

In the fast-paced 21st century society, individuals’ lives are becoming increasingly busier every day. Whether one’s busy schedule is due to responsibilities for their occupation, education, community, recreational activities, family-life, and/or social-life, the stresses in our daily life can feel suffocating. Evidently, when an individual is so consumed by their daily responsibilities, expectations put on themselves, and obligations needed to be fulfilled for the gain of other’s, one can lose sight of their own personal goals. In order to feel in control of your life and reduce stress, one’s thoughts need to be balanced.Through meditation, one can clear the mind of everyday thoughts and stresses and focus all of their attention on living in the present and simply being, thus creating feelings of tranquility, physical relaxation, and psychological balance.

The first few attempts at meditating by oneself can be frustrating because it is not always an easy task to clear the mind of its daily thoughts and/or to focus all of your awareness on yourself alone. Many individuals decide to use guided meditations, as opposed to traditional meditation, when first learning how to meditate because the latter requires that the individual guide themselves into a focused state of awareness, instead of being guided by someone else.

“No matter what technique you choose, the secret of meditation lies in developing, focusing, and directing your awareness.”
Start by selecting a guided meditation.
Find a quiet place to sit or lie down comfortably, ensuring that your back is straight. Press play on your guided meditation. (Headphones are ideal).
Close your eyes; breathe deeply in and out through your nose; and relax your body. Forget about everything that is on your mind and live in the present.
Pick an object to focus your attention on. (Depending on your preference, you may decide to focus on a word or phrase that has a special meaning to you, a simple geometric object, or your inhale and exhale).
Become more aware of your breathing, feeling and hearing your breath as it goes in and out. In addition to focusing your attention on your chosen object, listen to and follow the instructions verbalized by your guide.
Continue to concentrate on your chosen object and breathing until the guided meditation is finished or until you have had enough.
Once you’ve finished your meditation, open your eyes to reorient yourself and slowly get up and continue with your day.
As long as the above technique (or technique instructed in your chosen guided meditation) is carried out properly, the benefits will be felt instantly.

 

What is Meditation?

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on February 11, 2013 at 8:00 am

Acupressure Reflexology Healing Grip magic mat beyond healing tea hypnotherapy (17)

What is Meditation?

Answer:
Meditation is a conscious effort to change how the mind works. The Pali word for meditation is ‘bhavana’ which means ‘to make grow’ or ‘to develop’.

Question:
Is meditation important?

Answer:
Yes, it is. No matter how much we may wish to be good, if we cannot change the desires that make us act the way we do, change will be difficult. For example, a person may realize that he is impatient with his wife and he may promise himself: “From now on I am not going to be so impatient.” But an hour later he may be shouting at his wife simply because, not being aware of himself, impatience has arisen without him knowing. Meditation helps to develop the awareness and the energy needed to transform ingrained mental habit patterns.

Question:
I have heard that meditation can be dangerous. Is this true?

Answer:
To live, we need salt. But if you were to eat a kilogram of salt it would kill you. To live in the modern world you need a car but if you don’t follow the traffic rules or if you drive while you are drunk, a car becomes a dangerous machine. Meditation is like this, it is essential for our mental health and well-being but if you practice in a stupid way, it could cause problems. Some people have problems like depression, irrational fears or schizophrenia, they think meditation is an instant cure for their problem, they start meditating and sometimes their problem gets worse. If you have such a problem, you should seek professional help and after you are better then take up meditation. Other people over reach themselves, they take up meditation and instead of going gradually, step by step, they meditate with too much energy for too long and soon they are exhausted. But perhaps most problems in meditation are caused by ”kangaroo meditation’. Some people go to one teacher and do his meditation technique for a while, then they read something in a book and decide to try that technique, then a week later a famous meditation teacher visits town and so they decide to incorporate some of his ideas into their practice and before long they are hopelessly confused. Jumping like a kangaroo from one teacher to another or from one meditation technique to another is a mistake. But if you don’t have any severe mental problem and you take up meditation and practice sensibly it is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Question:
How many types of meditation are there?

Answer:
The Buddha taught many different types of meditation, each designed to overcome a particular problem or to develop a particular psychological state. But the two most common and useful types of meditation are Mindfulness of Breathing (anapana sati) and Loving Kindness Meditation (metta bhavana).

Question:
If I wanted to practice Mindfulness of Breathing, how would I do it?

Answer:
You would follows these easy steps: the four Ps place, posture, practice and problems. First, find a suitable place, perhaps a room that is not too noisy and where you are not likely to do disturbed. Second, sit in a comfortable posture. A good posture is to sit with your legs folded, a pillow under your buttocks, your back straight, the hands nestled in the lap and the eyes closed. Alternatively, you can sit in a chair as long as you keep your back straight. Next comes the actual practice itself. As you sit quietly with your eyes closed you focus your attention on the in and out movement of the breath. This can be done by counting the breaths or watching the rise and fall of the abdomen. When this is done, certain problems and difficulties will arise. You might experience irritating itches on the body or discomfort in the knees. If this happens, try to keep the body relaxed without moving and keep focusing on the breath. You will probably have many intruding thoughts coming into your mind and distracting your attention from the breath. The only way you can deal with this problem is to patiently keep returning your attention to the breath. If you keep doing this, eventually thoughts will weaken, your concentration will become stronger and you will have moments of deep mental calm and inner peace.

Question:
How long should I meditate for?

Answer:
It is good to do meditation for 15 minutes every day for a week and then extend the time by 5 minutes each week until you are meditating for 45 minutes. After a few weeks of regular daily meditation you will start to notice that your concentration gets better, there are less thoughts, and you have moments of real peace and stillness.

Question:
What about Loving Kindness Meditation? How is that practiced?

Answer:
Once you are familiar with Mindfulness of Breathing and are practicing it regularly you can start practicing Loving Kindness Meditation. It should be done two or three times each week after you have done Mindfulness of Breathing. First, you turn your attention to yourself and say to yourself words like “May I be well and happy. May I be peaceful and calm. May I be protected from dangers. May my mind be free from hatred. May my heart be filled with love. May I be well and happy.” Then one by one you think of a loved person, a neutral person, that is, someone you neither like nor dislike, and finally a disliked person, wishing each of them well as you do so.

Question:
What is the benefit of doing this type of meditation?

Answer:
If you do Loving Kindness Meditation regularly and with the right attitude, you will find very positive changes taking place within yourself. You will find that you are able to be more accepting and forgiving towards yourself. You will find that the feelings you have towards your loved ones will increase. You will find yourself making friends with people you used to be indifferent and uncaring towards, and you will find the ill-will or resentment you have towards some people will lessen and eventually be dissolved. Sometimes if you know of someone who is sick, unhappy or encountering difficulties you can include them in your meditation and very often you will find their situation improving.

Question:
How is that possible?

Answer:
The mind, when properly developed, is a very powerful instrument. If we can learn to focus our mental energy and project it towards others, it can have an effect upon them. You may have had an experience like this. Perhaps you are in a crowded room and you get this feeling that someone is watching you. You turn around and, sure enough, someone is staring at you. What has happened is that you have picked up that other person’s mental energy. Loving Kindness Meditation is like this. We project positive mental energy towards others and it gradually transforms them.

Question:
Do I need a teacher to teach me meditation?

Answer:
A teacher is not absolutely necessary but personal guidance from someone who is familiar with meditation is certainly helpful. Unfortunately, some monks and laymen set themselves up as meditation teachers when they simply don’t know what they are doing. Try to pick a teacher who has a good reputation, a balanced personality and who adheres closely to the Buddha’s teachings.

Question:
I have heard that meditation is widely used today by psychiatrists and psychologists. Is this true?

Answer:
Yes, it is. Meditation is now accepted as having a highly therapeutic effect upon the mind and is used by many professional mental health workers to help induce relaxation, overcome phobias and bring about self-awareness. The Buddha’s insights into the human mind are helping people as much today as they did in ancient times.

 

Source: www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/qanda06.htm

 

MAINTAIN YOUR SANITY- Meditate

In Health on February 4, 2013 at 2:37 pm

MAINTAIN YOUR SANITY

Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or as an end in itself.
The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices (much like the term sports) that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy (chi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration[4] single-pointed analysis, meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity.
Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way. Meditation can help clear the mind and ease many health issues, such as high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety to name a few. It may be done sitting, or in an active way, for instance Buddhist monks involve awareness in their day-to-day activities as a form of mind-training. Prayer beads or other ritual objects are commonly used during meditation in order to keep track of or remind the practitioner about some aspect of the training. Meditation may involve generating an emotional state for the purpose of analyzing that state — such as anger, hatred, etc. — or cultivating particular mental response to various phenomena, such as compassion. The term “meditation” can refer to the state itself, as well as to practices or techniques employed to cultivate the state. In brief, there are dozens of specific styles of meditation practice; the word meditation may carry different meanings in different contexts. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs.

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