Articles from: February 2013

Creative Reuse: New Life for Old Bedding

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Reusing, recycling or repurposing a worn-out mattress is a far better solution than adding another to the 20 million or so that annually end up in landfills. Before discarding, first check with family members, friends or coworkers, or post a note on a community bulletin board or on the Internet (Freecycle.org) about the availability of a free, gently used mattress.

Next, offer to donate the mattress to The Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries or a local consignment or thrift shop, church, shelter or disaster relief organization. Note that this option may require professional cleaning prior to donation. Many nonprofit outlets provide free home pickup of items, which can be claimed as a charitable tax deduction.

Peel-Good Energy

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Consumers do not need to buy overpriced, sugary sports drinks in order to replenish carbohydrates and electrolytes during or after exercise, say researchers at the Appalachian State University Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus, in Kannapolis. Instead, just grab a banana. The tasty fruit not only offers the same performance boost as sports drinks, but additional advantages, as well. Bananas provide antioxidants not found in the manmade beverages, plus a greater nutritional boost, including fiber, potassium and vitamin B6. Bananas also boast a healthier blend of natural sugars than sports drinks.

 

Alexander Technique Lessens Back Pain

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Notoriously difficult to treat, chronic back pain may be behind more disability and days off from work than any other health condition. A recent study published by the British Medical Journal, involving more than 500 patients, concludes that practicing the Alexander Technique, an awareness practice to identify and correct unconscious negative physical habits related to posture and movement, breathing and tension, combined with moderate exercise, can help.

The patients were either given normal physician care, massage or six or 24 lessons of the technique, which helped them learn to align the head, neck and back muscles, release unnecessary restrictions and improve overall balance. Half the patients in each group were also assigned to walk briskly for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
 
Massage provided pain relief for the corresponding group for the first three months, and then the benefit had to be reinstated. Patients trained in how to daily use knowledge acquired from practicing the Alexander Technique reported less pain and an ability to do more by the end of the year. Individuals that received six lessons and stuck to a recommended exercise routine did nearly as well those that had 24 lessons.
 
For more information visit AlexanderTechnique.com.
 

Dr. Orloff Presents “Intuitive Healing and Mindfulness” Workshop

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Judith Orloff, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and author of the New York Times and international bestseller Emotional Freedom, will present a lecture on Saturday, March 16 from 1 p.m to 4 p.m. in association with UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC). UCLA’s Neuro-Psychiatric Institute (NPI) Auditorium serves as the venue. The workshop is open to the public, and the session qualifies for Continuing Education (CE) credits (3 hours) for health professionals.

UCLA Family Commons Offering New Mindful Awareness Class

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The UCLA Family Commons will be offering a new six-week session of Maps I: Mindful Awareness for Daily Living beginning on Monday, March 11. The class will meet on Mondays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. through April 15. The program is designed as an introduction to mindful awareness practices (MAPs) and is intended to reduce stress and develop greater mind-body awareness. Attendees will learn practices that include sitting and walking meditation and how to work with difficult thoughts and emotions. 

Free Gas: Promise of New Sustainable Power Source at Hand

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British engineers at Air Fuel Synthesis have succeeded in using an innovative new “air capture” technology to remove carbon dioxide greenhouse emissions from the air and transform them into synthetic gasoline.

The two-year experimental project mixes sodium hydroxide with carbon dioxide before electrolyzing the sodium carbonate that it produces to form pure carbon dioxide. Hydrogen is then produced by also electrolyzing water vapor captured with a dehumidifier. The carbon dioxide and hydrogen then produce methanol, which is passed through a gasoline fuel reactor to create the fuel. The prototype mini-refinery, in Stockton-on-Tees, in Teesside, produced five liters of gas in less than three months. A larger plant might produce more than a ton of gasoline every day, and a refinery-sized operation is envisioned within 15 years.

Red, White and True

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Bag the guesswork of grocery shopping and let the American Heart Association (AHA) Heart-Check mark help identify healthy foods. The red-and-white icon, created in 1995 and now found on product packaging is a solid first step in building a heart-friendly diet.

The AHA is now beginning to include foods with high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—the “good” fats— in the Heart-Check program. Updated requirements also covering sodium, sugar and fiber will take effect in 2014 to allow food manufacturers time to reformulate their products.
 

Hot Peppers Help the Heart

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February is Heart Health Month, and individuals that like hot peppers have another reason to continue their spicy habit, according to recent research. A study presented at the latest National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society focused on the benefits of capsaicin and its fiery-hot relatives, a piquant family of substances termed capsaicinoids, that give cayenne, jalapeños, habanero and other chili peppers their heat.

The research team discovered that these substances boost heart health in several ways: They block the action of a gene producing a substance that makes arteries contract and restrict the flow of blood to the heart and other organs; lower cholesterol by reducing its accumulation in the body and increasing its breakdown and excretion; decrease the size of cholesterol deposits already formed in blood vessels that narrow arteries and increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes; and reduce overall levels of so-called “bad” cholesterol while not affecting levels of “good” cholesterol.
 

Health Freedom Expo Returns to Long Beach

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The 2013 Health Freedom Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., March 1 and 2, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 at the Long Beach Convention Center. The expo’s mission is to deliver the finest natural health information, products and services to the public. The event is sponsored by The HealthKeepers Alliance, a lobbying organization working to defeat restricting legislation that limits positive health freedom choices and awareness.

Parasite Protection: Animals’ Native Remedies Offer Insights

We can learn much from animal species that self-medicate themselves naturally. Some have developed the ability to alter their diets and behavior in ways that provide protection from lethal, microscopic parasites.

Chimpanzees held captive often succumb to infection by a parasitic worm, which can lead to lethal intestinal blockages or secondary bacterial infections. But chimps in the wild rarely experience such deadly ailments. More than 30 years ago, Michael Huffman, who studies evolution of social systems at the University of Kyoto, in Japan, noticed that wild chimps treated themselves by ingesting foods with special properties that fight intestinal worm infections.