Common Tricks against Insomnia

9

Insomnia is one of the more utterly frustrating problems of man. It is especially bothersome when you have had a long day and your body is exhausted and yet, ironically, sleep still eludes you. Here are some of the most commonly used techniques throughout the years to induce sleep.

Take a warm bath to soothe tired muscles and ease out the day’s troubles. Throw in bath salts and baking soda to remove toxins from your body and help you relax. Light candles laced with scents like lavender and cardamom for an even more comfortable atmosphere.

  1. Play some music. You can have ballads or steady rhythms in your cassettes or radios. The sound of water will be especially soothing to help you sleep.
  2. Drink warm milk or a cup of hot tea before sleeping to calm your nerves and help you get ready for bed. Make sure you get the decaffeinated type of tea. Chamomile, fennel, anise and catnip tea are recommended.
  3. Get a gentle body massage. This will be most helpful to ease out tension from your muscles. Focus areas are your back, scalp and face. You can combine the massage with some music and candles.
  4. Avoid naps during daytime to avoid restless bedtime hours.
  5. Get up at least half an hour earlier than usual to maximize working hours. By bedtime, your body will be tired. After a warm bath and milk, you will be ready to hit the sack and doze off.
  6. Make your bed for sleeping alone. Avoid working or studying in bed. Letting your mind and body associate your bed with sleeping will help you get rid of restlessness.
  7. Avoid caffeine by not drinking sodas, coffee and caffeinated tea at least an hour before sleeping. Cigarettes and tobaccos are also stimulants which you should stay away from if you are not anticipating a long night of tossing and turning.
  8. If you really cannot sleep, get up and do something non-stimulating to make you tired. Examples are folding your clothes, combing your hair or even doing a page of a coloring book.
  9. Keep your bedroom as dark as possible. Avoid glow-in-the-dark decors, nightlights or an illuminated clock. These things will merely make you aware of the passing time which in turn will frustrate you even more.

If all else fails, you can always try the ancient technique of counting sheep. Create a relaxing atmosphere for this exercise. Imagine a carpet of green grass and lots of clouds. And picture a sheep gliding by every three seconds. Or you can try alternative recommendations by chiropractors.

Alternative Ways to Make You Sleep as Recommended by Chiropractors

10

Are you tired of tossing and turning at night, constantly courting sleep and miserably failing to win it over? Are the so-called time tested ways of inducing sleep not effective? Then, it is high time to try three unconventional techniques recommended by chiropractors to combat insomnia.

The Quiet Ears Technique

“Quiet Ears” is an ancient Chinese meditation style. Its effectiveness has been proven by the masters of this type of art. This technique has four simple steps.

STEP ONE: The starting position is lying flat on your back. Bring your two hands behind your head, cupping it. Make sure that your fingers are intertwined.

STEP TWO: Maintain your first position. Then cover your ear canal by folding the flap of your ears using your thumbs.

STEP THREE: Maintain your first two positions. Quietly listen for the buzzing sound in your ears. This is a result of blocking off all other sounds by covering your ears. The steady rhythm is the key to this meditation technique. Concentrate on this sound for about 15 minutes.

STEP FOUR: Put your arms on your side. Relax. And go to sleep.

The Sleeping North Approach

The second style is called “Sleeping North.” Its basic philosophy is tuning in your energy with that of the earth by aligning your position with the magnetic field of earth. By doing this, your energies will not counter the energies of our planet while it makes its way around the sun. Your body will then be able to harmonize its system with the position of our planet. This helps signal our body to relax since the position of the earth on those particular hours is not directly facing the heat of the sun. Night means time to rest. Thus, using a compass, find north and sleep with your head towards that direction.

The Toe Wiggling Method

The third style is simply called “Toe Wiggling.” This is a contribution from the science of reflexology. The key is relaxing your whole body by making the energy flow. The technique merely involves wiggling your toes, up and down 15 times.

Now, if any or all of these techniques still do not work in giving you a good night’s sleep, then chiropractors advice that it’s time to visit them so that they can perform a spinal adjustment that will restore your nervous health and help you get that sound sleep every night.

Can Quick Fixes Effectively Fix Stress?

8

When we are stressed, we sometimes look for quick fixes such as cigarettes or drugs to help us feel better. However, these quick fixes do not help us. Instead it makes the situation for us worse. It gives us more stress than it took away.

The effects of quick fixes quickly come giving us a good feeling instantly, but it also quickly goes. The results are temporary. Because of this, we look for more of these quick fixes and become dependent on them. We become addicted to them just to get their effects. Take for example the effects of cigarette. The elements in the cigarette can give us a feeling of relaxation. However, after we stop smoking, our body gets back to its previous condition, or to a worse situation. Thus, we again have the desire to eliminate this undesirable situation. Knowing how the cigarette made us feel temporarily makes us want to reach for another one just to get temporary relief. All we become concerned with is how good we feel at the time being. We forget what we will feel after the effects of the cigarette have ceased.

The fact that it is addicting is in fact more stressful. We worry about losing supply of the source of the quick fix. Dependence makes us more prone to stressful situations. We get stressed easier and tend to need more of these quick fixes just because of a little stressor. Also, since the source of the quick fix becomes part of our habit, we take them even if we do not need them because if we stop taking them, we will feel nervous or depressed. They cease to be a quick fix and become an integral part of our system.

Also, because we become dependent on these fixes to make us feel good, our coping skills do not develop. There are healthy ways of dealing with stress such as thinking positively and developing the ability and strength to face the situation causing the stress. However, we do not develop this strength because the first thing that comes into our mind when we become stressed is not the cause of the stress and how to eliminate and deal with it. This is the case with insomnia too. We concentrate on the feeling it gives us and to the fact that we can do something to feel good quickly. We thus do not develop the maturity to face these situations on our own. We instead look for the escapes provided to us by these quick fixes.

Also, quick fixes often come at a high price. Obviously, they are expensive additions to our expenses. Also, they may cause certain negative effects such as illness that cause death. Thus, it is better to avoid these quick fixes and look for solutions that are long-term. So the next time you have the urge to take a quick fix, think. Will you get more by doing that or will it worsen the situation for you? The decision is yours.

Common Applications of Acupuncture

7

Acupuncture is an ancient medical technique which involves inserting needles in various pressure points throughout the body. This practice comes from China and has been used for over 2,000 years now.

Like any other procedure, be sure to let the doctor or practitioner outline the treatment, its benefits, disadvantages and of likelihood of success vis-à-vis your health condition or malady.

The practice was introduced in the United States in 1971. Americans enjoy a hybrid kind of acupuncture, with influences coming from Korea, Japan and China.

People who have gone through the procedure say that they feel little or no pain at all. Acupuncture practitioners say that pain will not be felt if the patient lay still and the needles are placed properly.

For safety reasons, make sure you go to a qualified acupuncture practitioners. In addition, find out if the clinic you go to use sterile, nontoxic needles which should be thrown away after every use. Disinfecting treatment sites should also be enforced.

Acupuncture is said to cure a wide-range of diseases like chemotherapy nausea, dental pain, cysts, asthma, and more. Some adhere to this type of procedure for relaxation. Below are the common applications of acupuncture:

  • Arthritis
  • Back problems
  • Bell’s palsy (face paralysis)
  • Boils
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Dental Surgery
  • Withdrawal from addictions such as drug and alcohol dependency
  • Eye, ear, nose, throat, respiratory, gastrointestinal and muscular disorders
  • Problems with the nervous system
  • Relief of nausea caused by morning sickness
  • Anesthesia
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Headache
  • Osteoporosis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Gastritis
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Hemorrhoids
  • High blood pressure
  • Impotence
  • Infertility
  • Obesity
  • Rhinitis
  • Sciatica
  • Sinusitis
  • Stomach ulcers

In addition to this, acupuncture may also be useful for the treatment of mental, psychological and other disorders such as the following:

 

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Depression
  • Alcoholism
  • Addiction
  • Smoking
  • Eating disorders
  • Fears
  • Claustrophobia
  • Travel sickness
  • Tiredness

As acupuncture gains popularity, medical doctors such as neurologists, specialists in physical therapy and health care, and anesthesiologists are now training to become licensed acupuncturists. They may charge a little more than non-physician acupuncturist.

There are acupuncture organizations which can provide reliable acupuncture practitioners.

Most insurance companies cover malpractices in an acupuncture procedure. It is however advised to check first with your insurance agent to make sure that your policy covers such treatment.

During your first visit, you can be assured that no needle will be inserted in your body just yet. The practitioner will first ask for extensive information about your health, operations, behavior, lifestyle and sicknesses.

Why Chiropractic Care is Better than Acupuncture

6

Both chiropractic care and acupuncture are types of alternative medicines that don’t involve medications and surgery, making them technically safer than traditional medical approaches. While their concepts are different from one another, with chiropractic care involving spinal manipulations and acupuncture involving needle sticking on the skin, it can’t be avoided to compare them as to which is better, safer, and/or more effective.

Because chiropractic treatment does not utilize any tool and rely only on the bodily adjustments, it is considered by many health practitioners that it poses less risk than acupuncture, although they do not eliminate the possibility that it also has health risks.

Acupuncture might have its beneficial uses. However, practice and experience shows that there are many risks involved in the practice of acupuncture, some minor while some may be fatal. Below are some of the risks which may be encountered when undergoing acupuncture, making it generally more harmful than chiropractic care.

  1. By its very nature, acupuncture a technique that is both invasive and dangerous as it involves sticking needles in to the skin. With this practice, there is always the danger of mishandling the needles thereby damaging internal organs. In the past, there already have been cases of lung and bladder punctures on patients. Aside from this, there are other dangers involving improper insertion of the needles. Puncturing of any part of the circulatory system may be a cause of Hematoma. There also are dangers of damaging the lung and the kidney if the needle is inserted too deeply. Most importantly, improper needling might cause accidental puncturing of the nerves and of the base of the skull thus resulting to damages ranging from nerve injury to brain damage.
  1. Improperly sterilized needles may cause allergies and infections. It may also facilitate the transfer of diseases to the patient. Examples of the diseases which may be transferred through unsterilized and dirty needles are hepatitis and HIV. Despite compliance with strict standards of hygiene and sterilization, there still is a large possibility that the virus left in the needle may not be completely killed and eliminated. Those viruses are easily transferred to the skin due again to the fact that acupuncture penetrates the surface of the body.
  1. The needles used in acupuncture are special. They are not similar to the needles usually produced and used by the people. Needles used in acupuncture are unusually long and thin. These qualities of the needle make them highly susceptible to breakage leaving part of the needle inside the skin thereby requiring removal through surgery.
  1. There is also a possibility of allergy and irritation and allergy due to the composition of the needle used. And since the technique is internal, the allergy or irritation has a tendency to be more severe compared to treatments which involves on the surface of the skin or which involves minimal skin contact.

These are just some of the dangers associated with acupuncture. However, that these dangers exist does not mean that they always happen. Like other modes of treatment there always are existing risks. The choice is with the patient to decide whether to undergo acupuncture or not. If you choose to undergo acupuncture, you have been forewarned. It is then your responsibility now to take the necessary precautions to minimize the dangers associated with the process.

What You Need to Know about Acupuncture

5

“Going natural” – This mantra is gaining popularity nowadays for health buffs. From food to beauty treatments to medicines, people are seeking the “natural’” way. In medical care for example, alternative treatments like acupuncture have gained a large following. In the West, it is widely used as an analgesic.

Acupuncture generally focuses on a holistic, energy-based approach. This method, which utilizes the use of needles as therapeutic tools, dates back to 4,000 years in China. Then, the needles were used to heal boils and abscesses. Its main principle is that health is deep-rooted in a well-balanced internal constitution. It was developed in response to the principle that the energy called chi or qi flows between meridian points on the internal organs and the skin, of which 365 out of 2,000 are commonly used. When a person is ill, the flow of chi along these pathways is interrupted. Other interruptions include food intake, weather, coffee, drugs, tobacco, alcohol, stress and physical activity. By inserting and twisting needles at the designated acupuncture points or near the site of the illness, pathways are unblocked, thus restoring balance in the energy flow.

Although the idea of chi is accepted by most acupuncture practitioners, Western researchers present two different theories as to how the mechanism of acupuncture works. One suggestion is that the acupuncture encourages the release of pain-relieving hormones from key organs in the body. These hormones, called enkephalins and endorphins, stop pain signals by blocking their pathway through the spinal cord. This theory means that elderly people suffering from body pain can now do away with the intake of pain killers for relief.

The other theory says that acupuncture initiates changes in the release of cellular signal, receptor molecules, neurotransmitters and hormones that can be treated due to enhanced secondary immune response.

However, no matter how “natural” acupuncture is, safety precautions have to be taken. Acupuncture is not for everyone, especially those with surgical-implanted devices inside their bodies and those with nerve-damaging disorders. Make sure to go to a licensed and reputable acupuncture practitioner. Unnecessary punctures and infected needles can cause serious damages. Official acupuncturists have the either of the following credentials: Diplomate of Acupuncture (Dip. Ac.), Certified Acupuncturist (CA), Doctor of Oriental Medicine (OMD), Master Acupuncturist (MA) and Licensed Acupuncturist (Lic. Ac.).

Before considering acupuncture, make sure you are fully assessed by a physician. And still, always keep in mind that no method or treatment is effective without the aid of a healthy lifestyle, well-balanced diet and sufficient exercise.

How Acupuncture Works

4

Acupuncture is a traditional healing practice in Chinese medicine, which utilizes thin needles put at specific points in the body in the healing process. It has been developed and used for thousands of years. Though primarily employed to relieve pain, it is now also used to treat many other conditions. It has grown in popularity worldwide. More than three million American are reported to use acupuncture. It is even more popular in other Western countries. In France for example, twenty percent of their population have used acupuncture.

Some skeptics on the other hand, argue that the reason why users of acupuncture benefitted from this healing method is what they refer to as the placebo effect – they were healed because they believed that they will be.

 

Principles of Acupuncture

Acupuncture identifies fourteen energy pathways in the body. It is the points along these pathways that acupuncture tries to stimulate to allow the release of the body’s flow of vital energy, it calls “chi”. Scientists suggest that the needles trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, which may also boost blood circulation and cause a change in the brain activity.

The needles used in acupuncture are very thin and cause very little or no pain at all when inserted in the points in the body. They can, however, cause temporary soreness. People who undergo acupuncture often feel relaxed or energized after the treatment.

Benefits of Acupuncture

The benefits of using acupuncture are well documented. It has been proven to be effective in the treatment of the following conditions and symptoms:

  • Headaches and migraines – Acupuncture helps relieve tension headaches and pain from migraines. Studies showed that people with tension headaches suffered fewer days with acupuncture treatment than those who received conventional care.
  • Low back pain – Studies showed that acupuncture worked more effectively than conventional treatments especially for chronic back pain.
  • Arthritis pain– A research showed that acupuncture eased the pain in cases involving knee arthritis. Acupuncture can also complement conventional osteoarthritis treatment methods.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – A research comparing the effect of acupuncture in the the relief for hand and arm pain from carpal tunnel syndrome with steroid pills reported that acupuncture provided better relief for a longer period of time than with medications.
  • Pain from tooth extraction or surgery – One of the conditions where acupuncture is helpful in providing relief is dental pain.
  • Many other types of pain – People who avoid medications for muscle pain, neck pain, tennis elbow, and even menstrual cramps have been successful in using acupuncture as a treatment. The World Health Organization has listed 28 health conditions that may be treated with acupuncture.
  • Nausea – Studies comparing the effect of acupuncture to drugs developed to block nausea or vomiting found that acupuncture worked better.

Acupuncture is sometimes employed to let people cope with the symptoms of cancer or chemotherapy because it has been known to provide relief of pain and prevent nausea and vomiting.

Used in conjunction with fertility treatments, acupuncture can help boost women’s fertility. It is believed that acupuncture helps reduce stress and increase the flow of blood to the ovaries, in the process boosting fertility along with the fertility treatments.

 

Acupuncture is in general, very safe and there have been rare serious problems with it. Even children can benefit from acupuncture treatment. One of the few risks associated with it are infection from the use of non-sterile needles. Another is too deep insertion of needles that can puncture vital organs like the lungs or gallbladder or affect blood vessels. It is prudent to check that the practitioner you will choose is well-trained and and experienced in acupuncture.

Acupuncture is both an alternative medicine and complementary medicine. It is a good potential alternative to medications for pain management and steroid treatments. It can also be a complementary medicine to go along with other therapies that aim to improve the quality of life.

 

What is Acupuncture?

3

Acupuncture, when translated into English, literally means “needle piercing”. It is formed by combining from the Latin words acus, which means “needle”, and pungere, which means “to prick”.

The Origin of Acupuncture

As an alternative medical technique, its main purpose is to promote health and to alleviate pain. Acupuncture is a part of a larger system of healing known as Oriental Medicine, which herbology, physical therapy, dietetics, and special exercises. Originally of ancient Chinese roots dating as far back as the 1st millennium BC, acupuncture arise as a practice with the discovery the functioning of certain organs in the body is affected by stimulation of certain areas on the skin. Later on, it developed as a part of the traditional medicine of China, Japan and other Eastern countries.

How Acupuncture is Done

Based on the name given for the method, acupuncture is traditionally done by puncturing the skin with fine, slender needles in areas which acupuncturists call as “acupuncture points” or “acupoints”. At present, there are other techniques developed and done simultaneously with needle piercing. Some of these involve the use of heat, pressure, friction, suction, electromagnetic energy, lasers and herbs.

Acupuncture is basically about stimulation. Acupoints are stimulated by needles to regulate, balance and correct the movement or flow of the energy called “qi” for the purpose of restoring health. The belief is that the qi flows through the body through different pathways called meridians. When the opposing forces of yin and yang are in harmony, the qi flows freely through the meridians thus the person is healthy. An obstruction of the qi from flowing freely in through the meridians resulting from energetic imbalance between the yin and the yang causes sickness or injury.

The 12 Primary Channels

There are 12 primary channels or meridians that the acupuncturist should master. These meridians run vertically, bilaterally and symmetrically and corresponds to 12 Zang Fu or organs. There are each three yin and yang channels on each hand. The three yin channels of the hand are composed of the lung, the pericardium and the Heart. They begin on the chest and travels along the inner surface of the arm to the hand.

On the other hand, the three yang channels of the hand are the large intestines, san jiao and small intestines. They begin on the hand and travel along the outer surface of the arm to the head. Next, the three yang channels of the foot are composed of the stomach, gallbladder and the bladder. They begin on the face, in the region of the eye, and travels down the body, along the outer surface of the leg to the foot.

Lastly, the three yin channels of the foot are the spleen, liver and kidney. They begin on the foot and travel along the inner surface of the leg to the chest or flank. Qi flow through these 12 channels through an internal and external pathway, describing the three complete circuits of the body.

Understanding Conjunctivitis: Causes and Cure

7

Conjunctivitis is one of the most occurring eye problems with children. It is characterized by the presence of inflammation, redness, and itching of the eyes.

When there is conjunctivitis, you will notice that there may be yellow, greenish, white or clear liquid that collects in the eyes. It is also called the “pinkeye” because, when it occurs, the white part of the eye and the insides of the eyelids turn pink. It may affect one eye at first, but there may be times that it can in the onset affect both.

Conjunctivitis is usually not painful, but to have one means discomfort since it can be a bit itchy. It usually lasts for about a week or even less. It can be treated or it can be left alone and it will simply go away.

How Conjunctivitis is Contracted

Kids normally contract conjunctivitis from infectious bacteria. Some kids, however, who suffer from ear infections almost always will get conjunctivitis as they are of the same kind of infectious bacteria. The same could be said of the same bacteria causing your colds.

Conjunctivitis is highly contagious. It can actually be contracted by mere touch when you get contact with the hands of an infected person who touched his eyes. When your hands get contact with your eyes the contagion will be completed.

Hence, the proper and frequent washing of hands is most recommended. It is also advised that you should wash your hands with warm and soapy water. But not all conjunctivitis is contagious like in cases where kids got conjunctivitis theirs from allergies.

Dealing with Conjunctivitis

If your feel itchiness in your eyes and you notice that they are reddish or more crusty than usual, you should have them checked since the disease spreads easily.

Your doctor will know if what you have is actually conjunctivitis simply by looking at your eyes carefully. He will also inquire if you’re vision is impaired or if you have gotten something in contact with your eye recently.

To rule out the irritation as caused by allergies or other illnesses, he may examine your ears for the presence of other bacteria. If you’re conjunctivitis was caused by bacteria, he will most likely prescribe antibiotic eye drops. But if your conjunctivitis is caused by your allergies, your doctor may prescribe special eye drops to lessen the irritation.

If you are already with conjunctivitis and your eyes are causing discomfort, try using cool or warm washcloth on your eyes but be sure to control yourself from touching your eyes. Also, make sure that you always wash your hands to avoid spreading it to others.