Archive for March, 2011

Top 7 CDs for Relaxation and Stress Relief

Top 7 CDs for Relaxation and Stress Relief

1. Best of Silk Road, by Kitaro
This is a great mix of soothing, but energizing music that’s perfect for stress relief! The synthesized instrumentation gives it an eastern feel that’s perfect for yoga practice. Light some candles, burn some incense, and feel the tension leave your body!

2. In My Time, by Yanni
For soothing tension, this is one of the best albums I’ve heard. The songs are beautifully played on the piano with orchestral backup, no vocals. You can use the music to add some soothing color to your drive to work, transforming your commute into a special experience and making road rage a thing of the past. These songs have a calming, contemplative, uplifting quality that’s great for stress reduction.

3. Monkey Business by The Black-Eyed Peas
I know, it’s not your typical relaxation music. But this high-energy hip-hop mix transforms the task of cleaning into a fun, high-energy activity more akin to a party than a chore. Feel the tension leaving your body while you create a more nurturing environment to come home to, both worthy stress-management goals. What I love about these tunes is that their subtle nuances mixed with a high-energy beat make them seem to get better with repeated listenings. (Not suitable for small children.)

4. Songs About Jane, by Maroon 5
This is a nice mix of songs, some upbeat, some more mellow, all musically well-put-together. With the smooth vocals and great blend of orchestration, this is a fabulous mix of songs to throw on while cooking and dinner, entertaining guests or just to provide some nice background music as go about your day.

5. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by Music for Relaxation
Studies show that listening to classical music while eating causes people to eat less, savor their food more, digest more easily and attain other health benefits. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is one of my very favorites to savor over dinner.

6. A Day Without Rain, by Enya
Her beautiful, ethereal voice over the gentle orchestration makes Enya a favorite for stress reduction. The calm pace of the music, with romantic and pastoral themes, is perfect for someone wanting soothing music for more active listening, rather than mere ambiance. Fill up a bubble bath and throw on some Enya, and the day’s stress will seem like a distant memory.

7. Pachelbel’s Canon with Ocean Surf
You may not know Pachelbel by name, but you’ve almost certainly heard his work! His classical melodies add magic to wedding ring commercials everywhere and are the epitome of soothing classical music. This album has the sounds of ocean surf mixed in, which is perfect for the practice of mental imagery or meditation, and can also soothe you to sleep.

http://stress.about.com/od/products/tp/toppicksmusic.htm

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Natural Healing Powers of Gemstones – Myth or Science

Natural Healing Powers of Gemstones – Myth or Science

By toknowinfo

Is There a Science to the Crystal Healing?
In ancient times, some cultures believed crystals had special natural healing properties. In addition to healing, crystals were also used to summon the dead, to learn about distant events and as way to tell the future. (crystal gazing known as scrying) Crystals are not a healing force, but thougt to be a reflection of energy from the forces of the universe.

Is there something to this? Well let’s look at what science can tell us about crystals. Quartz for example, is a crystal formed naturally within the earth. Crystals have a symmetrical pattern and many unique and special qualities that have been harnessed in modern technology. An electrical charge that is passed through the crystal will make it vibrate. When it is rubbed, crystal creates electrical currents. Crystal has been used in many inventions of modern times like needles for phonographs, in watches, clocks, telephones, radios., and, radar tvs, and, even in computers. Lasers use quartz crystal as a way to change the current of electricity into light and create a beam of intense focused light beam. Quartz crystal vibrates in precise vibrations to an electrical current and helps conduct electricity. Quartz time pieces are extremely precise instruments because a small circular piece of crystal vibrates at its natural frequency and keeps accurate time with a microchip reading the unfailing vibrations from the quartz.

Because quartz has the natural ability to vibrate, some people believe that cyrstals have natural healing powers and hold some power and energy from the earth. People carry the crystal with them in the belief that it will help them focus on their day better and help with their work performance. Some people place the gemstone under their pillow, as a tiny piece of rose quartz to help them sleep better at night. There is a growing trend, especially with people under 40 years old to part of the “crystal consciousness”. The popularity of this comes from the belief that gems including quartz crystal, tourmaline, amethyst, and citrine have natural healing abilities and can harness power from the universe. It is a pseudoscientific practice called “New Age Thinking”, linked to an ancient spiritualism. There are even crystal therapists who teach people how to control the use of these stones. They give instructions on programming the crystals. The belief that the stones get rid of negative things in your life by combining the electrical field within the person, and a renewed ability to energize themselves. They believe the stone can influence the cells of the body. Different stones, and different colors are used for specific areas of the body that need re-energizing or need to be unblocked. Ancient healers use the colors of the stones to heal different parts of the body.

Crystal Healing and Energy
Spiritual healers use quartz more often than other crystals, because they believe, the structure of the stone helps the body align in harmony. The same way crystal can fine tune a watch, the “New Age followers” believe that rubbing the stone wil amplify emotions and thoughts. Sales of these stones are growing, and stores that specialize in the healing powers of stones are expanding.

Crystals Have Natural Energy
Whether there are real benefits that can be derived from these stones, cannot be explained by science. It is difficult to prove if the crystalling arrangements of gemstones do carry an energy that can be used for natural healing and to harness life’s energy. Science does know for a fact that crystalling structures do let off electro magnetic energy, and that if it is squeezed, there is a piezoelectric effect. A Piezoelectric effect means the object can produce electricity from pressure. In nature silicon bonds with quartz. If there is some healing benefits people can derive from these stones, it could possibly be from a connection with the silicon in our own body. We also have our own electromagnetic field that surrounds us, and there may also be an “electrical” connection with these stones that help promote natural healing.

These crystal healers believe that the stones will cause a change in and around the energies of a person and promote healing. Sometimes people will just hold the stone, or lay in on their body, carry it in their pocket, or wear it as jewelry. Very often, it is used in conjunction with meditation. There a variety of stones that are thought to have natural healing and purifying qualities and to help people with mental and physical ailments. Some believe these crystals can conduct healing through its vibrations and promote healing and positive energy of the gemstone. Quartz is often used for healing physical ailments. Amethyst is used for its spiritual qualities. Rose quartz commonly is used for emotional healing. Fluorite helps enhance spiritual awareness. There are many types of quartz and gemstones that are used for specific purposes to promote healing and create a balanceand harmony.

What you Need to Know About Crystals and Natural Healing Methods
People who are interested in owning these crystals need to make sure improvements were not made to the crystals to make them look better. You would want to buy an unaltered stone. Dealing with a reputable dealer is important. You would want to ask some questions pertaining to the country it came from, and the process used to mine and distribute the stone. You would certainly want to make sure no child labor or toxic chemicals were used. Make sure the stone is legal, meaning it was traded on the black market, and that it was not stolen. The American Gem Trade Association tries to hold dealers to ethical practices.

Should you decide to delve into these ancient natural healing methods, the biggest caution is to be aware that the stones you buy are authentic, unaltered and real nature stones, not man made. The natural healing powers of crystals has been used by centuries in rituals and as a belief that they can channel energy into positive feelings and health benefits for people who let the crystals use their power. Today, crystal healing is considered an alternative healing method. While science can understand how and why crystals work with technological instruments, they cannot understand tje connection these gemstones may have with healing. There is no scientific or medical proof that these crystals work, but for people who believe they do, it is an up and coming trend. The belief in the natural healing power of these stones can easily be debated, however, they don’ appear to cause any harm to the recipients either.

http://hubpages.com/hub/Natural-Healing-Powers-of-Gemstones-Myth-or-Science

Colon Cancer Radiation Treatment

Colon Cancer Radiation Treatment
Article by Dr. Sloan, MD.

Radiation treatment for colon cancer can be given to patients alone or in the form of combined treatment. It is given to shrink the tumor size, kill the residual cancer cell after surgery, relieve the symptoms and prevent recurrence. Usually, radiotherapy is well tolerated by patients.

Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/health/cancer/articles/109243.aspx#ixzz1FkIUnfWP
Radiation Treatment for Colon Cancer
Radiation treatment for colon cancer, also known as radiotherapy for colon cancer, is a type of treatment for colon cancer using high energy particles or waves (eg: X-rays, gamma rays, electron beams) to destroy the cancer cells.
Radiotherapy breaks the DNA strands within the cancer cell that control the abnormal growth rate, multiplication of cancer cells. Unlike chemotherapy that exposes the entire body to drugs that kills cancer cells, radiotherapy is usually a regional treatment, focusing on the cancer affected part only. Thus, with such a targeted treatment, those surrounding healthy tissues are less affected.
Possible Indications for Radiation Treatment
Clinical oncologists may consider radiation therapy for colon cancer patients for the following reasons:
• To destroy residual cancer cells that are found after surgery.
• To prepare the patient for surgery by shrinking the large tumor prior to surgery. This would facilitate the surgical removal of the tumor.
• To relieve the symptoms of colon cancer (pain, bleeding and obstruction) particularly important in palliative care.
• To prevent the cancer recurrence after surgery.
Interestingly, the radiation therapy can be given either as a combination (with chemotherapy or/and surgery) or alone. Certain drugs are capable of making the cancer cells more sensitive to radiation therapy, allowing the radiation to kill more cancer cells effectively. These kinds of drugs are known as radiosensitizers.
Types of Radiation Therapy
Basically, there are mainly two distinct types of radiation therapy for colon cancer:

External Beam Radiation Therapy: Machine generates radiation outside the body targeting the tumor site. The beams of radiation can destroy the DNA of the cancer cells and thus kill them. Careful planning prior to therapy allows the surrounding healthy tissues to be spared.

Internal Radiation Therapy or Brachytherapy: Unlike the external beam radiation, the source of radiation is placed within the body near the cancer site. It is usually given as an extra dose or boost of radiation to the site of surgery.
Possible Side Effects After Radiation Treatment
Once the treatment is discontinued, the side effects usually disappear gradually. However, the bowel function remains altered from what it was before the disease started. Possible side effects occurring after radiation treatment may include diarrhea, frequent bowel movements, fatigue, redness of skin, fatigue and loss of appetite. Many patients are rather surprised to know they are coping better with radiation compared to chemotherapy.

Patients and family members must be reassured that patients are not radioactive after external radiation therapy. This is a myth and must be dismissed so that patients will not be isolated or asked to avoid socializing with other. Though brachytherapy gives off radiation, the radioactivity is confined around the radiation source and not the patient’s entire body.

http://www.brighthub.com/health/cancer/articles/109243.aspx#ixzz1FkJJX873

Yew Tree Bark Cures for Prostate Cancer

Yew Tree Bark Cures for Prostate Cancer
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By Doug Desjardins

The yew tree is native to the Pacific Northwest and its bark is the source of a powerful drug used to treat cancer. Most often known by the trademarked name Taxol, it is particularly effective in treating advanced cases of prostate cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

History
The benefits of yew tree bark were discovered in the early 1960s, when the NCI studied hundreds of plants in search of natural cancer treatments. One of those plants was the yew tree, and follow-up studies and animal tests showed that its bark contained an anti-cancer agent. The product was named “Taxol,” based on “Taxus,” the botanical name of the yew tree.
Development
In 1991, pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers signed an agreement to mass-produce Taxol. But finding an adequate source of bark was a problem, since it took an entire tree to create a single dose of the drug. Chemists at Bristol-Myers soon found that a smaller, more common relative of the yew tree contained a more abundant supply of an agent similar to Taxol, and it could be used to mass-produce the drug.
Effects
Taxol was introduced as a treatment for prostate cancer in the 1990s. It is typically reserved for cases where the cancer is advanced or has recurred, NCI reports. It is also used to fight hormone-refractory prostate cancer that does not respond to hormone-blocking drugs as a first line of treatment. Taxol is used sparingly because of its adverse side effects, which include near-total hair loss and neutropenia, a condition where white blood cells are depleted to the point where the body is unable to fight off even minor infections.
Types
Two types of medications from yew tree bark are used to fight prostate cancer. The first is paclitaxel, a generic version of Taxol. The second is docetaxel—a synthetic form of Taxol sold under the brand name Taxotere—which tends to produce fewer negative side effects than its sister drug.
Potential
Taxol is often used in combination therapies with other drugs to treat prostate cancer. An ongoing study at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York combining the breast cancer drug Herceptin with Taxol shows promise in treating recurrent and more advanced prostate cancer. Herceptin helps slow the growth of prostate cancer cells that are present in men when the disease is first diagnosed.

http://www.ehow.com/about_5617156_yew-bark-cures-prostate-cancer.html

Dieters need a good night’s sleep to fight fat: study

Dieters need a good night’s sleep to fight fat: study

NEW YORK, US – Getting too little sleep might prevent dieters from losing as much body fat as they otherwise would have, a small study suggests.

The findings, published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, add to evidence that sleep habits play a role in weight regulation. They also suggest that people embarking on a weight-loss plan may want to make sure they are catching enough shut-eye each night, researchers say.

The study included 10 overweight men and women who lived in a sleep lab for two separate two-week periods. During both, they were kept on the same calorie-restricted diet; but for one period, the participants slept for 8.5 hours per night, while during the other, they got 5.5 hours.

Researchers found that the dieters lost the same amount of weight under both conditions — just under 7 pounds, on average. But during the sleep-restricted period, they mainly lost muscle rather than fat.

When participants got 8.5 hours of sleep, more than half of their weight loss came from shedding fat; when they got 5.5 of sleep, only one-quarter of their weight loss came from fat – translating to a 55 percent reduction in fat loss.

Instead, the majority of people’s weight loss during the sleep-restricted period came from lean body tissue, which refers to muscle and any other body tissue that is not fat.

“So they lost the same amount of weight, but the composition was different,” said senior researcher Dr. Plamen Penev, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago.

Successful dieters always shed a certain amount of muscle, Penev noted in an interview, but ideally one wants to limit that loss in favor of shedding excess body fat. Insufficient sleep, the current findings suggest, might interfere with that.

The study has a number of limitations. Besides its small size, it also looked only at short-term weight loss. More research is needed to see how sleep duration might affect dieters’ body composition over time, Penev said.

It’s also unclear how well these findings from a tightly controlled sleep-lab setting might translate to the “real world,” according to Penev.

Still, the findings do add to a body of research linking sleep habits to body weight. A number of studies have found that self-described “short sleepers” – typically defined as those who get less than 6 hours of sleep each night – tend to weigh more or gain more weight over time than people who get seven to eight hours of sleep per night.

Those studies do not, however, prove that sleep differences are the reason for the weight differences. Small sleep-lab studies such as the current one help researchers zero in on the effects of sleep itself.

Lab studies have suggested, for example, that sleep loss may alter people’s levels of the “hunger hormones” leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is secreted by fat cells; low blood levels of the hormone promote hunger, while increases tell the brain that body is full and encourage calorie burning. Ghrelin is secreted by the stomach to boost appetite.

In their study, Penev and his colleagues found that under the sleep-restricted condition, participants reported greater hunger during the day compared with the 8-hour sleep condition – even though they consumed the same number of calories during both periods. They also had higher blood levels of acylated ghrelin, one form of the appetite-boosting hormone.

This, Penev said, raises the question of whether, outside the tight control of the lab, the sleep-deprived dieters would have eaten more.

“The study suggests that if you are trying to lose weight by restricting your calories, it may be more difficult if you are sleep deprived,” Dr. Shahrad Taheri, of the University of Birmingham in the UK, told Reuters Health in an email.

As for how much sleep is enough, “I don’t think at this stage we can recommend a specific number of hours of sleep, as sleep is very individualized,” said Taheri, who co-authored an editorial published with the study.

“But what we can do,” Taheri added, “is pay more attention to our daily routines of eating, physical activity, and also sleep.”

Penev agreed that there is no one-size-fits-all prescription for sleep. He suggested that people try to notice how much sleep they generally need to feel refreshed the next morning; for some people that may be 6 hours, for others it may be 8.

Both Penev and Taheri said that more studies are needed in real-world settings. According to Penev, a study might, for instance, follow patients at a weight-loss clinic to see how their typical sleep habits correlate with their weight-loss success.

As for why fewer hours in bed may cause the body to preferentially lose muscle over fat, Penev said he and his colleagues can only theorize. Their guess is that the extra waking hours increase the need for glucose (sugar) in the brain and other parts of the nervous system – and they get that extra fuel from breaking down muscle.

SOURCE: Annals of Internal Medicine, October 4, 2010.

Scoliosis is often painless.

Symptoms
Scoliosis is often painless. The curvature itself may often be too subtle to be noticed, even by observant parents. Some parents may notice abnormal posture in their growing child that includes:

A tilted head that does not line up over the hips
A protruding shoulder blade
One hip or shoulder that is higher than the other, causing an uneven hem or shirt line
An uneven neckline
Leaning more to one side than the other
In developing girls, breasts appearing to be of unequal size
One side of the upper back is higher than the other when the child bends over, knees together, with the arms dangling down

Reductil, three other weight loss drugs suspended

Reductil, three other weight loss drugs suspended

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is suspending the sale of sibutramine products in Singapore with effect from today.

Sibutramine is marketed under four different brands in Singapore – Reductil®, Ectiva®, Reduxade® (all by Abbott) and Slenfig® (Apotheca Marketing). It was licensed for use in Singapore in 2001 as an adjunctive therapy to diet and exercise for obesity and for overweight patients.

The decision to suspend the sale of these products came about after HSA consulted its Pharmacovigilance Advisory Committee (PVAC) and a panel of external experts in metabolic diseases and cardiology about the risks and benefits of the drug.

From a benefit-risk assessment of the drug, HSA concluded that the increased cardiovascular risk of sibutramine outweighed the modest weight loss (up to 2.4 kg) seen in patients.

HSA’s decision also took into consideration the findings from the Sibutramine Cardiovascular Outcomes (SCOUT) study, the use of the product in Singapore, and developments in other international jurisdictions.

The SCOUT study was a large study designed to evaluate the cardiovascular safety after the long-term use of sibutramine in patients who had a history of heart disease and/or type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

The study has shown a moderate increased risk of serious cardiovascular events associated with sibutramine use in patients with pre-existing heart disease.

It also demonstrated that the increased cardiovascular risk of sibutramine outweighed the modest efficacy seen.

Following the preliminary results of the SCOUT study in early 2010, HSA had updated healthcare professionals in January 2010 on the cardiovascular risks associated with the use of sibutramine and advised healthcare professionals not to prescribe the drug to patients with a history of heart disease.

In Singapore, all four sibutramine products are not allowed for use in patients with a history of cardiovascular problems such as coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, tachycardia, peripheral arterial occlusive disease, arrhythmia, stroke and inadequately controlled hypertension.

To date, HSA has received three non-serious cardiovasular-related adverse reaction reports that were associated with the use of sibutramine. All three patients had recovered following the discontinuation of the use of sibutramine products.

With the suspension of sales of sibutramine, doctors have been advised not to prescribe sibutramine to new patients.

Patients who have been prescribed sibutramine are advised to consult their doctors for a review of their therapy.

Patients should also consult their doctors if they experience cardiovascular-related side effects such as increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, or any other discomforts after taking sibutramine.

Earlier this month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended against the continued use of sibutramine as the drug may pose unnecessary cardiovascular risks to patients.

Prior to that, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had decided to suspend the marketing of sibutramine throughout Europe until additional data becomes available.

Abbott Laboratories (Singapore) Pte Ltd has set up a telephone hotline to handle any enquiries related to this suspension of sales at Tel: 6277 6310 from 9am to 5pm (Monday to Sunday).

http://www.asiaone.com/Health/Weight%2Bmanagement/Story/A1Story20101011-241777.html