Story at-a-glance −
Meditation helps you take a deliberate break from the stream of thoughts that are constantly flowing in and out of your mind
Practicing “mindfulness” means you’re actively paying attention to the Continue reading
Story at-a-glance −
Meditation helps you take a deliberate break from the stream of thoughts that are constantly flowing in and out of your mind
Practicing “mindfulness” means you’re actively paying attention to the Continue reading
Story at-a-glance −
British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh describes the fear and uncertainty that comes with brain surgery along with the sense of excitement and wonder Continue reading
Did You Know…you can overcome your body’s built-in stress response by using easy deep breathing techniques, an exercise that also produces a wealth of health benefits throughout your entire body?
A previous article on deep breathing, showed it was the single most powerful daily practice for advancing your health and well-being…which is breathing.
But the health benefits of deep breathing techniques are so important that a single article couldn’t possibly do it justice. Continue reading
Many people wonder whether it is safe to exercise outdoors during cold weather, especially below freezing. Continue reading
Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years, originating in India. As a spiritual system, it focuses on obtaining a higher state of consciousness while releasing your spirit from suffering. As is the case in most religious practices, there are differences in the belief systems, but mainly yoga is an ascetic philosophy in which people achieve purity by withdrawing from the world. Continue reading
To hear many people in the mainstream media as well as mainstream medicine describe it, dementia is something similar to a curse: you will get it or you won’t, so all you can do as you get older is just wait and see. Fortunately, evidence is mounting that shows this simply isn’t so, and healthy and natural lifestyle choices can protect the brain and may prevent various forms of memory and identity robbing dementia.
For example, as NaturalNews previously reported, scientist William B. Grant, PhD, of the Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center (SUNARC), is researching a link between a lack of vitamin D and Alzheimer’s disease and other vascular dementias (http://www.naturalnews.com/026392_V…). And now comes word from two new studies that restful sleep and exercise Continue reading
Chronic pain is estimated to affect over 76 million people, more than diabetes and heart disease combined, and back pain is our country’s leading cause of disability for people under 45. And though the pharmaceutical industry seems very adept at introducing one new painkiller after another, the pills don’t always help. A new study in the Journal of Neuroscience, however, suggests something else might: meditation. It seems that improving your meditation technique could very well be more effective than painkillers at cutting down on pain, and that could save you hundreds in prescription drug costs.
The details: This was a small study that looked at just 15 adults who sat through four 20-minute training sessions on mindfulness meditation. However, before and after the training, the participants’ brains were scanned using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) Continue reading
We breathe every single minute of every day, and without breathing we cannot live.
Often people experience difficulty breathing fully, due to impaired sinuses. Also known as the paranasal sinuses, our sinuses are connected to our nasal cavities, and include the maxillary, frontal, ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses. When we have a cold or allergies, the sinuses become inflamed, the sinus tissues swell and breathing becomes congested. Virtually everybody has experienced this. Additionally, accidents involving head trauma can occlude the sinuses, and cause long-lasting or even permanent obstruction.
Some obese adults may be at increased risk of having their breathing difficulties misdiagnosed as asthma, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that among nearly 500 Canadian adults who said a doctor had diagnosed them with asthma, objective lung-function testing ruled out the lung disease in 150, or 30 percent.
When the investigators looked at risk factors for misdiagnosis, obesity in general did not play a clear role. However, among patients who had sought emergency care for breathing problems in the past year, obese men and women were four times as likely as their normal-weight counterparts to be misdiagnosed with asthma.
The study, reported in the journal Chest, could not ascertain the reasons for patients’ misdiagnoses or for the higher risk among obese adults who sought urgent care.
But past research has indicated that spirometry, a standard test of lung function, is not used as often as it should be in diagnosing asthma, said Dr. Smita Pakhale of the Ottawa Hospital in Ontario, Canada, who led the new study.
Asthma should be diagnosed based on both symptoms and lung-function testing, and underuse of the latter could be a factor in some of the incorrect diagnoses in this study, Pakhale told Reuters Health — though, she added, that is just speculation.
Pakhale also pointed out that obese adults are at heightened risk of a number of health problems that could cause asthma-like symptoms such as breathlessness and chest tightness. Those include low fitness levels, acid reflux and heart disease.
Pakhale said that people who are told they have asthma after seeking care at an emergency room or walk-in clinic should be sure to follow up with their primary care doctor. That way, she said, they can get any additional evaluation or testing that may be needed — which may uncover the actual cause of the symptoms, if it is not asthma.
The study included 496 randomly selected adults from eight Canadian cities who said a doctor had diagnosed them with asthma. Roughly half were obese and the rest were normal-weight.
Overall, lung function testing confirmed the asthma diagnosis in 70 percent of study participants. Of these men and women, 14 percent and 15 percent of obese and normal-weight people, respectively, had sought emergency care for breathing problems in the past year.
Of study participants who turned out not to have asthma, 21 percent of obese individuals had sought urgent treatment for respiratory symptoms in the past year. That figure was less than 10 percent among normal-weight men and women.
When Pakhale’s team considered other factors, including socioeconomics, obese study participants who needed emergency care were four times more likely to have been misdiagnosed with asthma as their thinner counterparts.
The researchers also found that the time since diagnosis mattered: study participants who had been diagnosed in the past few years had a higher likelihood of misdiagnosis than those who had been told they had asthma “many” years ago.
It’s possible, Pakhale speculated, that increased asthma awareness among the general public and doctors — possibly via the recent proliferation of asthma-medication ads — could have something to do with that finding.
Courtesy of Reuters
Gasping for breath. Patients suffering from asthma appear to be gasping for breath. Actually, they have more difficulty in breathing out than breathing in, and this is caused by spasms or sudden involuntary muscular contractions of the smaller air passages in the lungs.
Asthma is caused by a variety of factors. It may be due to an allergy caused by weather conditions, food, drugs, perfumes, and other irritants. Allergies to dust are the most common.
Asthma treatment using Honey
Honey is one of the most common home remedies for asthma. It is said that if a jug of honey is held under the nose of an asthma patient and he inhales the air that comes into contact with it, he starts breathing easier and deeper.
Asthma treatment using Figs
Among fruits, figs have proved very valuable in asthma. They give comfort to the patient by draining off the phlegm. Three or four dry figs should be cleaned thoroughly with warm water and soaked overnight.
Asthma treatment using Lemon
Lemon is another fruit found beneficial in the treatment of asthma. The juice of one lemon, diluted in a glass of water and taken with meals, will bring good results
Asthma treatment using Indian Gooseberry
Indian gooseberry has also proved valuable in asthma. Five grams of gooseberry mixed with one tablespoon of honey forms an effective medicinal tonic for the treatment of this disease. It should be taken every morning
Asthma treatment using Bitter Gourd Roots
The roots of the bitter gourd plant have been used in folk medicine for asthma since ancient times. A teaspoon of the root paste, mixed with an equal amount of honey or juice of the holy basil leaves, given once every night for a month, acts as an excellent medicine for this disease.
Asthma treatment using Drumstick Leaves
A soup prepared from drumstick leaves, and taken once daily, has been found beneficial in the treatment of asthma. This soup is prepared by adding a handful of leaves to 180ml of water and boiling it for five minutes. After being allowed to cool, a little salt, pepper, and lime juice may be added to this soup.
Asthma treatment using Ginger
A teaspoon of fresh ginger juice, mixed with a cup of fenugreek decoction and honey to taste, acts as an excellent expectorant in cases of asthma. The decoction of fenugreek can be made by mixing one tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in a cupful of water. This remedy should be taken once in the morning and once in the evening.
Asthma treatment using Garlic
Garlic is another effective home remedy for asthma. Ten garlic cloves, boiled in 30 ml of milk, make an excellent medicine for the early stages of asthma. This mixture should he taken once daily by the patient. Steaming ginger tea with two minced garlic cloves in it, can also help to keep the problem under control, and should be taken in the morning and evening.
Asthma treatment using Bishop’s Weed
The herb bishop’s weed has been found valuable in asthma. Half a teaspoon of bishop’s weed should be mixed in a glass of buttermilk and taken twice daily. It is an effective remedy for relieving difficult expectoration caused by dried-up phlegm. A hot poultice of the seeds should be used for dry fomentation to the chest twice daily. The. patient can also inhale steam twice a day from boiling water mixed with carom seeds. It will dilate the bronchial passages.
Asthma treatment using Safflower
Safflower seeds are beneficial in the treatment of bronchial asthma. Half a teaspoon of powder of the dry seeds, mixed with a tablespoon of honey, can be taken once or twice a day in treating this disease. This acts as an expectorant and reduces the spasms by liquefying the tenacious sputum. An infusion of five grams of flowers mixed with one tablespoon of honey, taken once daily, is also useful in this disease.
Diet for Asthma
The patient should avoid common dietetic errors. Ideally, his diet should contain a limited quantity of carbohydrates, fats and proteins which are ‘acid-forming’ foods, and a liberal quantity of alkali-forming foods consisting of fresh fruits, green vegetables, sprouted seeds, and grains. The patient should avoid foods which tend to produce phlegm, such as rice, sugar, lentils, and yoghurt. He should also avoid fried and other difficult to-digest foods, strong tea, coffee, alcoholic beverages, condiments pickles, sauces and all refined and processed foods.
Fasting and exercises
The patient should also follow the other laws of nature. Air, sun, and water are great healing agents. Regular fasting once a week, an occasional enema, breathing exercises, fresh air, a dry climate, light exercises, and correct posture go a long way in treating the disease.
Asthma is a disease affecting the airways that carry air to and from your lungs. People who suffer from this chronic condition (long-lasting or recurrent) are said to be asthmatic.
The inside walls of an asthmatic’s airways are swollen or inflamed. This swelling or inflammation makes the airways extremely sensitive to irritations and increases your susceptibility to an allergic reaction.
As inflammation causes the airways to become narrower, less air can pass through them, both to and from the lungs. Symptoms of the narrowing include wheezing (a hissing sound while breathing), chest tightness, breathing problems, and coughing. Asthmatics usually experience these symptoms most frequently during the night and the early morning.
Asthma is Incurable
Asthma is an incurable illness. However, with good treatment and management there is no reason why a person with asthma cannot live a normal and active life.
An asthma episode, or an asthma attack, is when symptoms are worse than usual. They can come on suddenly and can be mild, moderate or severe.
What happens during an asthma attack?
• The muscles around your airways tighten up, narrowing the airway.
• Less air is able to flow through the airway.
• Inflammation of the airways increases, further narrowing the airway.
• More mucus is produced in the airways, undermining the flow of air even more.
Asthma Attacks Vary
In some asthma attacks, the airways are blocked such that oxygen fails to enter the lungs. This also prevents oxygen from entering the blood stream and traveling to the body’s vital organs. Asthma attacks of this type can be fatal, and the patient may require urgent hospitalization.
Asthma attacks can be mild, moderate, severe and very severe. At onset, an asthma attack does allow enough air to get into the lungs, but it does not let the carbon dioxide leave the lungs at a fast enough rate. Carbon dioxide – poisonous if not expelled – can build up in the lungs during a prolonged attack, lowering the amount of oxygen getting into your bloodstream.
With experience you will learn to keep away from things that irritate your airways, know when to take your medication, and better control your asthma. Effective asthma control allows you to take part in normal everyday activities.
Consequences of Not Controlling Your Asthma
If you don’t control your asthma you will miss school or work more often and you will be less likely to be able to take part in some activities you enjoy. In the USA and Western Europe, asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism.
According to recent estimates, asthma affects 300 million people in the world and more than 22 million in the United States. Although people of all ages suffer from the disease, it most often starts in childhood, currently affecting 6 million children in the US. Asthma kills about 255,000 people worldwide every year.
Children at Risk
Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children – especially children who have low birth weight, are exposed to tobacco smoke, are black, and are raised in a low-income environment. Most children first present symptoms around 5 years of age, generally beginning as frequent episodes of wheezing with respiratory infections. Additional risk factors for children include having allergies, the allergic skin condition eczema, or parents with asthma.
Young boys are more likely to develop asthma than young girls, but this trend reverses during adulthood. Researchers hypothesize that this is due to the smaller size of a young male’s airway compared to a young female’s airway, leading to a higher risk of wheezing after a viral infection.
Almost all asthma sufferers have allergies. In fact, over 25% of people who have hay fever (allergic rhinitis) also develop asthma. Allergic reactions triggered by antibodies in the blood often lead to the airway inflammation that is associated with asthma.
Common sources of indoor allergens include animal proteins (mostly cat and dog allergens), dust mites, cockroaches, and fungi. It is possible that the push towards energy-efficient homes has increased exposure to these causes of asthma.
Tobacco smoke has been linked to a higher risk of asthma as well as a higher risk of death due to asthma, wheezing, and respiratory infections. In addition, children of mothers who smoke – and other people exposed to second-hand smoke – have a higher risk of asthma prevalence. Adolescent smoking has also been associated with increases in asthma risk.
Allergic reactions and asthma symptoms are often the result of indoor air pollution from mold or noxious fumes from household cleaners and paints. Other indoor environmental factors associated with asthma include nitrogen oxide from gas stoves. In fact, people who cook with gas are more likely to have symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness, asthma attacks, and hay fever.
photo of city from high in the air
Pollution, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone, cold temperatures, and high humidity have all been shown to trigger asthma in some individuals.
During periods of heavy air pollution, there tend to be increases in asthma symptoms and hospital admissions. Smoggy conditions release the destructive ingredient known as ozone, causing coughing, shortness of breath, and even chest pain. These same conditions emit sulfur dioxide, which also results in asthma attacks by constricting airways.
Weather changes have also been known to stimulate asthma attacks. Cold air can lead to airway congestion, bronchoconstriction (airways constriction), secretions, and decreased mucociliary clearance (another type of airway inefficiency). In some populations, humidity causes breathing difficulties as well.
Overweight adults – those with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30 – are 38% more likely to have asthma compared to adults who are not overweight. Obese adults – those with a BMI of 30 or greater – have twice the risk of asthma. According to some researchers, the risk may be greater for nonallergic asthma than allergic asthma.
The way you enter the world seems to impact your susceptibility to asthma. Babies born by Caesarean sections have a 20% increase in asthma prevalence compared to babies born by vaginal birth. It is possible that immune system-modifying infections from bacterial exposure during Cesarean sections are responsible for this difference.
When mothers smoke during pregnancy, their children have lower pulmonary function. This may pose additional asthma risks. Research has also shown that premature birth is a risk factor for developing asthma.
People who undergo stress have higher asthma rates. Part of this may be explained by increases in asthma-related behaviors such as smoking that are encouraged by stress. However, recent research has suggested that the immune system is modified by stress as well.
It is possible that some 100 genes are linked to asthma – 25 of which have been associated with separate populations as of 2005.
Genes linked to asthma also play roles in managing the immune system and inflammation. There have not, however, been consistent results from genetic studies across populations – so further investigations are required to figure out the complex interactions that cause asthma.
Mom and Dad may be partially to blame for asthma, since three-fifths of all asthma cases are hereditary. The Centers for Disease Control (USA) say that having a parent with asthma increases a person’s risk by three to six times.
Genetics may also be interacting with environmental factors. For example, exposure to the bacterial product endotoxin and having the genetic trait CD14 (single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) C-159T) have remained a well-replicated example of a gene-environment interaction that is associated with asthma.
Researchers are not sure why airway hyperreactivity is another risk factor for asthma, but allergens or cold air may trigger hyperreactive airways to become inflamed. Some people do not develop asthma from airway hyperreactivity, but hyperreactivity still appears to increase the risk of asthma.
Atopy – such as eczema (atopic dermatitis), allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic conjunctivitis (an eye condition) – is a general class of allergic hypersensitivity that affects different parts of the body that do not come in contact with allergens. Atopy is a risk factor for developing asthma.
Some 40% to 50% of children with atopic dermatitis also develop asthma, and it is probable that children with atopic dermatitis have more severe and persistent asthma as adults.
NEW YORK – Use of herbal remedies results in poorer quality of life and increased frequency of symptoms in asthma patients, according to a study published this month in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
“Results indicate patients using herbal remedies are less likely to take their prescribed medications,” said
The study tracked 326 asthma patients over a 33-month period. Of those, 25 percent reported herbal remedy use and lower adherence to use of prescribed inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Patients using herbal remedies were younger, more likely to have been hospitalized or intubated for asthma, have concerns about possible adverse effects of ICS and have difficulty following a medication schedule.
“Patients interested in herbal remedies need to use them to complement treatment and not as an alternative, or they will not maximize their health and may actually hinder it as this study shows,” said
Consumers and patients can take a simple online test to gauge their asthma symptoms and obtain a personalized plan on how to get relief at http://www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.
“Anyone with asthma should be able to feel good, be active all day and sleep well at night,” said
PITTSBURGH – If you get seasick easily, you may prepare for boat rides with pressure-point bracelets, ginger, or a prescription skin patch. Now there’s one more remedy: timing your breathing to counteract the nauseating motion. The technique presumably works because it helps control gravity sensors in the abdomen–a lesser-known input to our fine-tuned balance system.
The brain is traditionally thought to sense body position in three ways. The inner ears sense motions of the head; the eyes see where the head is; and tiny sensory organs in muscles and tendons sense where the rest of the body is. More recently, researchers have realized that sensors in many other parts of the body also play a role: in the abdomen, the lower organs, and even blood vessels. As long as all of these sensors send matching signals to the brain, we feel oriented. But if one or two don’t match up, the brain gets confused and we become nauseated.
Scientists knew the most sickening motions closely match the rate of natural breathing; they also knew that people naturally tend to breathe in time with a motion. In fact, Navy seamen in World War II discovered that they could use certain breathing tricks to combat motion sickness. But no one had ever tested whether breathing out of time with a motion could prevent nausea.
Researchers from Imperial College London enlisted 26 volunteers to sit in a tilting, rocking flight simulator and coordinate their breathing in various ways with the motion. The tests lasted up to 30 minutes, or until subjects felt moderately sick. The natural tendency was for volunteers to inhale on every backward tilt, in rhythm with the rocking. But if the subjects exhaled on every backward tilt, they didn’t get sick as quickly. They felt even better if they breathed slightly faster or slower than the cyclic heaving of the chair; using that technique, the time until onset of nausea was 50% longer than during normal breathing.
So why do these tactics work? Abdominal sensors are known to send motion signals to the brain more slowly than those in the inner ear because they’re farther away from the brain and because abdominal organs have more mass, which means they resist movement a tiny bit longer. The time lag between the two types of sensors creates a mismatch that builds up in the brain and makes us gradually sicker, the researchers say. But if the diaphragm opposes gravity-induced stomach motions with controlled breaths, there is less sensory conflict and less nausea. “This technique is very good for mild everyday challenges,” says medical research scientist Michael Gresty, a member of the study team. “It’s completely safe, and it’s not a drug.” The results appear in the December issue of Autonomic Neuroscience.
“It’s a carefully designed study that shows there’s some modest effect of controlled respiration on motion sickness,” says neuroscientist Carey Balaban of the otolaryngology department at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. But, he says, more controlled experiments are needed to confirm the proposed mechanism.
TORONTO – Giving coffee to babies won’t keep them awake as in case of adults, in fact the hot beverage would have a long-lasting and detrimental effect on little ones’ sleep and breathing patterns in adulthood, says a new study.
Breathing problems are the leading causes of hospitalization and death in premature babies. These babies are therefore often given caffeine because of its qualities as a respiratory stimulant.
Up till now, the long-term effects of this treatment in humans have not been examined.
However, in the Journal of Physiology,
Sleep abnormality is a significant indicator for ill health and reduced life span.
When the caffeine-treated rats reached adulthood, their sleeping time was reduced, the length of time they took to reach the first stage of sleep was increased, and their non-REM sleep was fragmented. Breathing at rest was higher than in rats not treated with caffeine.
In his review of the study, F1000 Faculty Member James Duffin of the University of Toronto says the results “raise concerns about the long-term consequences of neonatal caffeine administration on brain development and behavior.”