Friday, October 27, 2006

Use of Aromatherapy to Treat Asthma

Asthma – for those affected by this complaint the very word will sometimes bring cold shivers.

For those lucky people who don’t know much about asthma, it is a respiratory disorder characterized by recurring episodes of wheezing, shortness of breath, cough and thick mucous production caused by inflammation or spasm of the bronchi.

An attack of asthma can be triggered by exposure to an allergen, strenuous exercise or infection. In between attacks, the sufferer breathes normally, but treatment should be ongoing to help prevent inflammation, and thus attacks that are in some cases, life-threatening. This is because during an attack the respiratory mucosa lining the airways swells, the smooth muscle lining the bronchiolar walls contracts and much thick mucous is secreted into the airways causing the sufferer great difficulty in breathing.

Another problem is the body’s own response to the inflammation of the airways. The immune system sends out white blood cells containing leukotrienes to deal with it, but these chemical compounds cause further swelling of the mucous membrane, constriction of the smooth muscle and even more mucous, thus exacerbating the problem.

During an attack the suffer experiences extreme fatigue and anxiety which both make the condition worse. Treatment consists of the use controlling or preventing the inflammation from occurring in the first place by removal of the offending allergens or cause, but in the case of allergens, it is not always possible to identify the culprit.

Bronchodilators must be used to expand the airways, with constant use of two medications that give both long and short-term relief. It is also possible to use aromatherapy to aid in both prevention and treatment of asthma, but the sufferer should never simply go off medication prescribed by the doctor.

To reduce air pollution (bacteria and allergens) place in an atomizer containing an ounce of purified water, 1 drop each of peppermint (mentha x piperita)and tea-tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia), 2 drops of pine oil (pinus sylvestris) and bergamot (citrus bergamia) and 3 of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora). Spray the air frequently or dampen a tissue with it and inhale.

Another good inhalation that can also be used in the bath or as a chest rub to stimulate the removal of mucous, is a mix of 12 drops of Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea), 2 drops of Ravensara aromatica with 28 drops of Cedarwood, (Juniperus virginiana).

Two oils containing anti inflammatory and anti-infectious properties are Clove Bud (Eugenia caryophyllus) and Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus). They should be mixed together in a 3/1 ratio respectively, and inhaled when the presence of cold and flu viruses are suspected.

Another calming inhalation and chest rub can be made by mixing 16 drops Lemon, (Citrus limon), 12 drops Clary Sage, (Salvia sclarea) and12 drops Angelica, (Angelica archangelica)

A massage oil to help to loosen tight back and chest muscles after an attack of asthma can be made from the following ingredients. Take 2 tablespoons of almond oil and add 3 drops Ylang, Ylang, (Cananga odorata), 3 drops Eucalyptus, (Eucalyptus smithii), 16 drops Lavender, Lavendula angustifolia and 3 drops Peppermint, (Mentha x piperita).

Many of these oils can aid in calming the sufferer during an attack, a difficult emotion to achieve while struggling for breath. However, anxiety makes the body’s oxygen needs escalate, while a person who can remain calm needs much less oxygen and can remain more in control of the situation.

Until Next Time, Good Health and Well-Being!

Dave Kettner

Monday, October 23, 2006

Hair Removal

Unwanted hair on the face (eyebrows, upper and lower lips, cheeks, chin, hairline, bridges of the nose between the eyebrows and sideburns) as also on the neck, shoulders, arms and underarms, breasts, abdomen, bikini line, legs, back and the chest often makes hair removal quite essential. Particularly for those who are active and need to meet others daily. For female swimmers it is absolutely vital since the scanty swimsuit reveals most of the body to others. Hair also slows down the swimmer due to friction. The matter becomes even more embarrassing for women who are rather liberal with their dresses as compared to the average male whose attire covers almost the whole body.

Genital Herpes

Herpes Simplex type-2 virus (HSV-2) causes genital herpes. It is a painful and embarrassing ailment for which there is no therapeutic cure. It is also a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and once a person is infected, the virus remains in the victim’s nerve cell of the skin or within the central nervous system from where it is difficult to eradicate. It is highly contagious and is spread by contact with the fluid in the blisters or through sexual intercourse. The first symptom of genital herpes is a tingling, burning or numb feeling, followed by painful fluid-filled blisters. Fever may or may not accompany the general distress. Women often develop painful sores on the vulva, on the cervix and inside the vagina. The situation worsens if the person is hirsute as profusion of body hair makes the blisters unmanageable. As precautionary measures, the skin should be kept clean, dry and as much bereft of hair as possible. Some painless hair removal technique may be applied to avoid general discomfort.

Hair removal methods

There are several methods that can be used to remove the unwanted body hair. Laser hair removal is rather costly and has to be repeated over and over again as it cannot remove the hair permanently. Electrolysis hair removal involves inserting a needle under the skin to get at the hair follicles. However this is a painful method and requires several sittings. Other hair removal systems such as Waxing, Shaving and Depilitories. Some of them are outdated and nobody needs them these days. Also gone are the days of the electric shavers with their whirring motors and rotary cutters for hair removal. A ground-breaking new method of hair removal involves a process in which painless radio frequency waves are sent through the hair that deadens the unwanted hair at the root. The entire process is an FDA approved noninvasive form of permanent hair removal and may be used in the privacy of one’s room without any outside aid. Over and above, there is no pain, redness of the skin or possible scarring of tissue with its use and so can be safely applied to face or neck.

Hair removal – Where it is a Must

Under certain circumstances hair removal is a must. Take for example the case of accident victims. In case of a head injury, the doctor can do nothing unless the entire head is shaved clean for proper examination. In the case of surgery, the first action taken on the patient is removal of the body hair. Even in non-surgical matters like ECG of the heart, hair from the chest is removed methodically so that the terminals may set properly to record heart condition. Checking and recording of the curves of a rhythmic and arrhythmic heart could never have been possible if the terminals were set on a hairy chest.


Hair removal has become a fashion these days. Most preferred to remain clean shaved. Very few men would also feel attracted towards a hairy woman. So the demand for hair removal is high.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Invest in Your Health

What if a trusted friend were to tell you about an investment where you could not possibly go wrong...what would be your reaction? And what if there was a virtual mountain of credible information that supported the investment claims...wouldn't you be inclined to take advantage of the opportunity and not miss out on the rewards? Although the answer to these questions seems apparent, when it comes to investing in our health and quality of life we often choose to ignore what obviously works. Take for example, exercise...

Physical fitness may be the ultimate investment opportunity. Think of it this way. If you are willing to make the commitment (investment), you will feel and look healthier, have an abundance of energy, be more self-confident, more productive and discover a more joyous and fulfilling life. These are rewards that money cannot buy and the substance of high quality living. And, the investment of exercise becomes even more attractive when you consider that there is absolutely no down-side risk. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. How much better can it get? How many times can you remember ever having a better offer? The honest answer is probably never, and yet many of us fail to act on this extraordinary opportunity. We simply choose to procrastinate or ignore the proven benefits of exercise!

Here are a few reasons that sometimes inhibit our willingness to "step out" and make a change or take a chance:

- Sometimes our vision gets clouded. We lose tract of what is really important. Forget about the less important activities that tend to clutter our daily routine and focus on exactly what needs to be accomplished to reach your goal.

- Looking at the "big" picture can seem overwhelming. And the bigger the task, the more overwhelming it can seem. Break the task apart into smaller pieces. If you want to lose 50 pounds try losing 10 pounds and repeat the process five times! Need to start an exercise program? Begin with short, simple exercises and then slowly expand your routine. Don't exercise too hard when first starting-out or you will become stiff, tired, disillusioned and soon quit.

- Have you ever not wanted to start something for fear of failure? Take the first step, acknowledge the fear and the next step will come easier. Once fears are acknowledged, they usually quiet down.

- Sometimes we start to think that a task is unpleasant or boring. Just like any other activity, this can also be true for exercise. There are days when we just plain lack the enthusiasm and motivation to continue. It's part of human nature. On days like these focus on 'why' you are doing it. Think about all the people you care about and who may need and rely on you. What would happen if you became ill or disabled and was unable to work for a period of time, or worse, if you were out of the picture completely. How would things change? If something happened tomorrow, how would your family or business manage without you? What do you want your life to be like in the future? There are many tasks or chores we do, that we may not like, but are necessary to live a happen and productive life. Focus on the bigger picture.

- Indecision can be defeating, but doing "anything" is better than doing nothing. There are no wrong choices and very few choices that can't be undone or done again. Can't decide on a particular exercise program or routine? Pick a few exercises and start with something simple. If you don't like it, go on to the next exercise.

- When you lack the confidence to start something new, take a deep breath and try to figure out why. Are you hesitating because you really lack the skill or is it just imagined? If it's real, try to find out where to gain the skills you need or find someone with the right skills who can help. In the case of exercise, finding a qualified personal fitness trainer can sometimes do the trick, but be wary...some PFT's are overzealous and tend to start newcomers on programs that are too strenuous.

- Life just seems too busy to find time for some activities. Large, uninterrupted chunks of time are very hard to come by. And if we're honest, when they do come, we'd rather do something totally pleasurable! Exercise has to become part of your routine. It can't be an option. Make it a high priority just the same as your career, and other areas of interest. You will be surprised at how easy exercise becomes when approached this way!

- Have you ever subconsciously (or otherwise) invited distractions so that you have a "good" reason not to get something done? Sometimes it's the simple things like answering the phone or sitting down to watch that "one" TV program, that distract us. When you find yourself doing this, take control of the situation and make a conscious decision to do what you are avoiding.

To reap the benefits of exercise, or any other health related endeavor, you must agree to become a willing participant. This will require due diligence on your part. And remember, as you embark on your mission you are investing in something near and dear to your own heart...your life and a future of healthy living.

Until Next Time, Good Health and Well-Being!

Dave Kettner

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Personal Growth through Sacrifice and Discipline

Sacrifice of self to self. What does it mean? It means letting go of the old self for a new and better self. This is a hard thing to do as we get comfortable with whom and what we are. Our old self is familiar, seems safe, and is relatively effortless to maintain.

Change takes us beyond our boundaries, challenges us to what is not familiar, and forces us to give up well-worn habits. It requires effort and sacrifice of things we have learned to enjoy. Those are things that are pleasant but stand in the way of highest good.

We think we are a mind and a body and do what we can to satisfy the desires of mind and body. Seldom do we step beyond. Being stuck in a limited perception, the selfish do not sacrifice.

Do you want to live forever? Well, maybe you do live forever, but not as you are now. Death means new beginning. Sometimes we are not ready for it. Other times we feel stagnant and embrace it.

What does it mean to die daily? It means sacrificing your immediate wants to affect a future result or metamorphosis. Actually sacrificing of self to self, quite often to the benefit of others as well. Totally surrender your self and you will find your true self.

Giving is a virtue. You've no doubt heard that it is better to give than to receive. But oh, how we all like to receive! Receiving is good too. Exchange cannot take place without both present. One cannot take place without the other, and it is not just a one-way exchange.

There is a law of compensation. If you give, you get. We do not live in a vacuum. Our actions always bring results of one kind or another, whether we immediately realize it or not.

What I am saying is do not ever feel frustration when trying to improve your self. Any efforts you make do not go wasted; so do not think there is such a thing as wasted effort. You are creating ripples and building a store of experience that will eventually bear fruit.

Do a big thing, or do any little thing many times toward your goal. Know that fulfillment will happen through persistence. If you give up and stop persisting then simply start again.

There may be something you want to have or something you want to be. That is your goal. You've no doubt thought about it and how to obtain it. Let's go further and write the goal down on paper to give you more focus. Put it at the top of the page in pen.

Grab a red marker and draw an arrow pointing up toward your goal. Now go back to your pen and write along the line of the arrow. Write things you can do to work toward achieving the goal and how you can make arrangements to put in the work.

Review this paper often. This is your action plan. It has one direction and one intention - your goal. You are the archer with your bow drawn and arrow pointing toward your target. Now let go the string.

Your new self is the you that has attained the goal. The old self may try to stand in the way of reaching it. You sacrifice your old self by keeping discipline, for discipline is what sacrifices require. Goal achievement often is a process of personal growth.

Sometimes discipline means not trying to get the whole thing at once. Anxiousness and impatience are not qualities of discipline, and neither is selfishness. You may have to put in effort a little at a time over a long period. Don't worry about it, worry destroys discipline.

Don't get angry about it either, but if you do get angry, then be happy. Why? Because having anger means you have lots of energy. Channel that energy toward your goal rather than just blowing off steam and maybe you just might get the whole thing at once.

Discipline makes the difference. It means you have an ideal that you are willing to sacrifice for.

Got Discipline? Just keep regularity in your efforts and you will find that discipline builds from there.

Until Next Time, Good Health and Well-Being!

Dave Kettner

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Exercise and Arthritis

Your bones hang out in a lot of joints. Knee joints. Hip joints. The joints in your fingers and the joints in your toes.

Wherever bones meet, there is also cartilage, a rubbery, protective layer that ensures your joints bend smoothly and painlessly. But even cartilage cannot do this tremendous job alone. A thin membrane called the “synovium” provides fluid that lubricates the moving parts of the joint. When the cartilage wears out of the synovium becomes inflamed, the result is generally a case of “osteoarthritis” or “rheumatoid arthritis.”

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage can be eroded so much that bone does rub on bone. Thos type of arthritis develops gradually over a lifetime as a simple result of the wear and tear placed on your joints over the years. Very few people escape some degree of osteoarthritis, though the severity varies a great deal.

As a matter of fact, if you are over the age of 50, you are likely to have at least one joint affected by osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis affects men and women equally and is by far the most common type of arthritis, with almost 16 million Americans in the list.

In rheumatoid arthritis, damage to the synovium is at the source of trouble. Doctors and researchers are not absolutely sure what causes it, but most think that rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system actually attacks certain tissues in the body, including those that connect the joints and the synovium.

Rheumatoid arthritis begins with swollen, red, stiff, and painful joints, but it may progress until scar tissue forms in the joint or, in extreme cases, until the bones actually fuse together. Almost 75% of the 2 million people with rheumatoid arthritis in the United States are women. The disease can hit as early as teen years.

Exercising Your Prevention Options

Investing a little time in developing a good weight-bearing low-impact exercise and stretching plan can add up to great results when it comes to staving off arthritis pain. Strong muscles help protect the joints from wear and tear, and the movement keeps joints flexible.

That is why the quest for fitness is at hand, even if you are 50 years and over. However, most Americans over 50 are still right where they always were sitting back and watching others jog by. Most of them contend that that is just for people who have been athletic all their life, or some say exercise is for young people and engaging into exercise will do them more harm than good.

There are still some that insist on excusing their selves in exercise routines because they do not just have time or they have less energy than ever before. These are all lame excuses. Hence, it is time to start to get rid of those pains. Start exercising.

Consequently, preventing arthritis is not an exact science, but physicians have discovered a few ways to lower your risk. Here is how:

1. Do not weight around

The single most important measure anyone can take to prevent osteoarthritis of the knee is to lose weight if they are overweight. Extra weight puts extra stress on your knees. If you are 10 pounds overweight, for example, you put 60 pounds per square inch of extra pressure on your knees every time you take a step. That extra pressure can slowly but surely erode the cartilage in your knees, leading to arthritis.

A study has clearly supported the theory that weight loss weighs in on the side of prevention. In the study, overweight women who lost 11 pounds or more over a 10-year period decreased their risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee by 50%.

2. Stretch those muscles

Any kind of stretching is good as long as you do not bounce, which can lead to a muscle pull. This is according to some of the professors of clinical medicine in New York City.

Try to hold a slow, steady stretch for 15 to 20 seconds, then relax and repeat. It is best to flex up by stretching before any exercise, especially running and walking. But it is also a good idea to stretch each day. Ask your doctor to teach you stretches that focus on potential arthritis trouble spots, such as the knees or the lower back.

3. Walking is always the best exercise

Take a good long walk at least three times a week or participate in a step-aerobics or low-impact exercise routine maximum results. There is no proof that running is bad for the joints, but remember, it may aggravate an injury if you already have one. Just remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

The bottom line is that of all the healthful habits, exercise is the most important. This is because people are designed to be active. Hence, it is really important for people to exercise in order to stay healthy and keep those joints free from wear and tear.

Just keep in mind that the unexercised body, even if free from the symptoms of illness or problems like arthritis, is not at its full potential. Hence, start exercising right now!

Until Next Time, Good Health and Well-Being!

Dave Kettner

Friday, October 13, 2006

How to Grow Sprouts

Sprouts not only taste good, but they are also a great source of vitamins, fiber, protein, anti-oxidants, and enzymes. A sprout is produced when a seed starts growing into a vegetable. Sprouts can grow from the seeds of vegetables, from grains such as buckwheat, and from beans. While Mung beans are perhaps the most common source of sprouts, you can also obtain good results from lentils, soybeans and chickpeas just to name a few.

Sprouts can be grown almost anywhere and the best part is you only need a few basic supplies to get started. By following a few simple steps, you can receive a continual supply of nutritious sprouts.

While there are several commercial products available to cultivate sprouts, here are three of the easiest methods to help you get started.

- Growing Sprouts in Flower Pots -

1. Start with a clean clay or plastic flower pot. Make sure there is a hole in the bottom of the pot to ensure good drainage. Then place a piece of cheesecloth or muslin in the bottom of the pot over the hole so that the seeds/beans cannot fall out.

2. Next, soak the seeds or beans overnight and then put them in the pot. Remove any that are broken or damaged. Cover the plant pot with a dish.

3. Once a day, hold the pot under running water for a few minutes. This is to soak the seeds/beans thoroughly.

4. Once the sprouts begin to show, remove the dish and cover the pot with a piece of clear plastic wrap to let in the light. Place the sprouting pot near a window that allows daylight but is not in direct sunlight.

- Growing the Sprouts in Trays -

1. Soak the seeds or beans overnight. Remove any that are broken or damaged before you begin the sprouting process.

2. Select a low, flat dish (like a pie plate) or tray. You can purchase growing trays wherever planting supplies are sold.

3. Next, spread out a 2-inch layer of soil and then sprinkle the soaked seeds or beans on top of the soil.

4. Cover the seeds/beans with four layers of damp newspaper.

5. Cover the top of the tray with clear plastic wrap.

6. When the sprouts start to lift the plastic cover, (usually about three days) remove the newspaper.

7. Place the tray in a window so that the light can turn the sprouts green. You will need a space to place the sprouting tray that receives daylight but is not in direct sunlight.

8. Because the thin layer of soil dries out quickly, water twice each day.

9. After about 8-10 days, you will have sprouts tall enough to harvest.

- Growing Sprouts in a Jar -

1. Soak the seeds, grains, or beans in lukewarm water overnight in a wide-mouth glass jar. Remove any that are broken or damaged before you begin the sprouting process. (Sprouting increases the seed volume. 4-tablespoons will be sufficient for a quart size container.)

2. In the morning, pour off the water in the jar and rinse the seeds/beans thoroughly.

3. Place a piece of cheesecloth or muslin over the mouth of the jar. Use a rubber band to hold the material securely in place. This makes rinsing easier.

4. To keep the sprouts constantly damp, repeat the rinsing 2-3 times a day. Remember to drain any excess water because the sprouts should not stand in water.

5. Keep the jar away from the light for the first few days.

6. When the seeds/beans begin to sprout, (usually about the forth day) move the jar into the light to activate the chlorophyll and turn the sprouts green.

- Harvesting and Storing the Sprouts -

Newly germinated grain, seed, and sprouts, increase in food value in the very first period of growth. Grains should be harvested and eaten from when they are six days old until they are 4-5 inches tall. To harvest, just take your kitchen scissors and cut what you need.

Sprouts from beans, peas, etc., are ready earlier and can be eaten when they are 3-6 days old, depending on the type of sprout. For spouts grown in no soil or in seed trays, you can harvest the green "grass" when it starts to grow. Sprouts, from grain sown in jars, are ready sooner and are edible even before they turn green. Seeds sown in soil take a little longer.

If necessary, wash the sprouts thoroughly to remove the seed coat. Sprouts need to be stored in the refrigerator once they are ready to eat. Put the sprouts in tight sealing bags, and they will remain flavorful and crisp for one to two weeks. Rinsing the sprouts daily under cold water can extend their life.

Sprouts may be frozen by blanching them over steam for three minutes and then cooling them in ice water. Drain them and pack into freezer containers.

- Some of the Kinds of Seeds/Beans You Can Sprout -

The following list gives some of the popularly sprouted seeds/beans. It is not all inclusive as you can sprout almost any kind of seed. Remember that seeds soak up 2-3 times their dry volume in water and sprouts need at least six times the volume occupied by the seeds. So be sure that your container is large enough, and start with a minimal amount of seed in a container like a jar, until you determine the correct quantity that will grow to the sprout size you like, without being difficult to remove.

Your local garden shop or health food store will carry a line of seeds for sprouting. When purchasing seeds for sprouting, be certain that the seeds are intended for food and not for planting. This precaution is necessary because some seeds meant for planting have been treated with fungicides or insecticides to protect the young seedlings when planted in a field or garden.

Alfalfa - should be soaked for 6-12 hours. The seeds can be planted in the pots or jars and also in the flats with soil. 1-part seed gives 10-parts sprouts in approximately 5-6 days. Sprouts can be eaten after 3 days. When the root is 1-2 inches long, it will begin to develop tiny green leaves. At this stage, it needs to be eaten immediately so the plant will not switch to photosynthesis that exhausts the stored food in the seed.

Peas - when soaked in a glass jar, will grow sprouts in about 3 days. When the roots are 2-inches long, they are ready to eat. 1-part peas gives 2-parts sprouts.

Lentils - can be grown in either a glass jar or a plant pot and need to be soaked for 12-hours. The sprouts are ready in 3-4 days. Lentil sprouts are ready to be eaten when the root is 1-inch long. 1-part lentils gives 6-parts sprouts.

Barley, Oats, and Rye - should be soaked for 12-hours and then can either be grown as "grass" to harvest, or sprouts ready to eat after 3-4 days. The ideal length for eating is about 1/2-inch. 1-part seed gives 2-parts sprouts.

Soybeans - can be grown in a glass jar or a pot. They need to be soaked for 12-hours and sprouts are usually ready after 3-5 days. They are ready to eat when the root is 2-inches long. 1-part beans gives 4-parts sprouts.

Mung Beans - after soaking for 12-hours, these beans can be grown by any method. Mung beans are the most commonly grown sprouts and are usually ready to eat after 3-5 days. When the bright, white root grows from 1-2 inches long, they are ready to eat. 1-part beans gives 4-parts sprouts.

By growing your own sprouts, you will save yourself money because it is less expensive to buy sprout seeds and grow and harvest the sprouts yourself, than it is to buy the sprouts from a market. Sprouting at home takes only a few minutes a day, and can produce a good part of your daily requirements of the nutrients you need from fresh produce. The hassles are minor, the costs are low, and the freshness is wonderful.

Until Next Time, Good Health and Well-Being!

Dave Kettner

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Give Your Stomach a Rest

Without doubt one of the most overlooked reasons why so many people today suffer from fatigue is their eating habits. They may have no desire or appetite for food, but the "clock" dictates when it's time to eat, so they eat.

People have been brainwashed into believing they have to eat three or four large meals each day, whether their body actually needs the food or not. Do animals look at a clock to govern their eating habit? Certainly not. They eat when they are hungry and hence reap the benefit of living long and healthy lives.

The stomach works hour after hour, day after day, to digest food. Including way too much of the toxic junk we eat. Although the stomach does an awesome job in trying to process this deluge, the strain we place upon it is often too great. The end result is lethargy, fatigue and sometime even serious disease.

The stomach needs time to digest rest and then prepare digestive juices for the next intake of food. Then, and only then, will the stomach do an efficient job of digestion the body be able to reap the benefits.

Natures has evolved a simple and fail safe system for the intake of food, however most of us rarely pay attention. The stomach, when ready, will send out hunger pangs that in turn will increase the activity of the saliva glands. This process is vital for the correct digestion of food.

Sadly, the stomach has become the main victim of food addiction because it works in a state of constant overload. It cannot cope with all the undigested food that soon starts to ferment and putrefy. Is it any wonder that the brain becomes fogged and energy levels are depleted...or that the breath begins to smell bad? As toxic sludge permeates throughout the body, unpleasant odors are often quite common.

With the proliferation of junk food the stomach's woes have increased tenfold. It now has to deal with chemicals, some highly toxic, which it was not designed to do. All this extra work takes time, something most individuals are unwilling to give.

Finally, always remember that digestion is a dual process. The first process takes place in your mouth through chewing, which prepares the food for final digestion. The final process of digestion is completed in your stomach.

Be honest with yourself and decide if food has become an addiction. If it has, remember that you are dealing with a habit and habits are difficult to break. Your body may start to send out all sorts of weird signals when your eating habit improve, but don't give in. Stay the course and say hello to a new you.

Eat to live, don't live to eat. The results will astound you.

Until Next Time, Good Health and Well-Being!

Dave Kettner

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Live Healthy by Using Essential Oils, Roots and Herbs

Essential oils, roots and herbs can be used in a variety of ways to promote healthy living. They are used to create natural remedies for treating ailments common to both people and animals, to add flavor to food, to make perfumes and to create environmentally friendly cleaning products.

You do not have to own a garden to tap into the benefits of plants, roots and herbs. A few herb pots located by a sunny window are enough to get you started. Then, all you need are some essential oils and you are ready to go.

For therapeutic purposes, only the purest oils will do. It is possible to be fooled into thinking that you are purchasing a pure oil. Often, a lesser quality blend of several oils is used to mimic the properties of the pure oil. Blended oils are acceptable for fragrance purposes such as for perfuming a room, but pure oils are a "must" for medicinal purposes.

A reasonable guide to the purity of an essential oil is its price. Pure essential oils are generally more expensive. Common oils such as lavender and geranium are much cheaper than frankincense and carnation oil. It is advisable to become familiar with essential oil prices and then rely on this knowledge when purchasing oils from unfamiliar sources. Keep in-mind that you will generally get what you pay for. A price list from a reputable dealer is a valuable resource when purchasing essentials oils.

Usually, pure essential oils cannot be applied directly to the skin and must be mixed in a base oil to reduce their strength. Base oils such as almond oil or wheatgerm oil are commonly used for this purpose. Base oils are generally derived from seeds, nuts or vegetables and allow you to create essential oil remedies that can be massaged into the skin.

So, what do you need to get started with essential oils and natural remedies?

Without a doubt, Lavender is one of the most useful and desirable oils. Not only does it work wonders on cuts, bruises and burns, it also aids sleep and helps with relaxation.

The Tea Tree and Eucalyptus oils are useful for treating a variety of respiratory ailments. These are excellent for the treatment of colds and coughs. They can be massaged into the chest or burned in an oil burner to help clear the airways and prevent congestion. Tea Tree oil is a natural antiseptic and can be dabbed on cuts, bites and stings. It is often used to treat spots and pimples and when diluted with water, acts as a mouth gargle (keep in-mind it should never be swallowed).

Another basic antiseptic is Geranium oil. With its distinctive perfume and pain relieving properties, it is a necessary inclusion when starting out.

Peppermint oil should also be purchased as it treats digestive complaints and may be used in preparations for freshening breath.

For fragrant perfumes and establishing ambience in a room, buy some Patchouli and Ylang-ylang oils. Often combined in scented candles and air fresheners, a few drops of each in an oil burner creates a wonderfully perfumed home. Orange oil mixed with Cinnamon oil is a lovely winter alternative that evokes seasonal, holiday smells. Besides their perfume qualities, all four of these oils have other properties. Patchouli treats eczema and dandruff. Ylang-ylang is reputed to relieve stress, palpitations and high blood pressure. Orange is used in natural remedies for depression and nervous tension and Cinnamon is excellent for warts and viral infections.

The herbs, Thyme and Rosemary can be grown in pots and used when needed. To create essential oils from herbs, stew some large amounts in pure water, collect the steam and cool it. The oil will rise to the top of the drained water and can be collected with an eyedropper. Alternatively, a "flower still" can be purchased to make the job easier. Thyme and Rosemary are both antiseptics and can be used in skin care preparations. They are also delicious when used in cooking.

Lemon oil and fresh lemons will purify water and, when mixed with honey, are effective remedies for colds and flu. Lemon and white vinegar are highly efficient cleaning agents that can be used for domestic cleaning tasks without damaging the environment. Use white vinegar as a natural disinfectant or mix it with water to clean windows and wooden floors. It is also handy to keep a bottle of white vinegar in your car if you swim in the ocean. It will bring instant relief from jellyfish stings.

Citronella oil is perfect in summer to keep the insects at bay. Another natural repellent is Garlic. Fleas will not bite a dog that has been eating garlic, so a few garlic capsules in the dog food are a cheap solution to your pet's flea problem. A soft collar soaked in Citronella will also do the job.

Garlic also helps to promote a healthy immune system when the weather turns cold and viruses begin to circulate. In fact, most of the oils and herbs listed above are effective in helping to prevent many common winter illnesses.

Whether you are looking for remedies or nature friendly products to use around the house, the oils and herbs suggested above should help get you started. You will be ready to make some healthy changes in your way of life!

Until Next Time, Good Health and Well-Being!

Dave Kettner

All Holistic Health

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Toxic Ingredients in Cosmetics and Skin Care Products

Have you ever examined the ingredients listed on the labels of your cosmetics or other skin care products? Do you know what those ingredients are?

What you may not realize is that many of the skin care products and cosmetics you are buying contain ingredients that are not only harmful to your skin, but also to your long term health. Many of these ingredients are known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) and are used by the cosmetic industry simply because they are cheap!

Harmful Ingredients Commonly Found in Skin Care Products and Cosmetics
The following are just some of the synthetic chemicals that have been identified by scientific studies to be harmful to our health.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS)
Often described as being "derived from coconut" to disguise their toxic nature, these chemicals are commonly used in shampoos, toothpaste, foaming facial and body cleansers and bubble bath. SLS and ALS can cause severe skin irritation, and are easily absorbed into the body, building up in the brain, heart, lungs and liver, leading to potential long term health problems. SLS and ALS may also cause cataracts, and prevent children's eyes from developing properly.

Paraben Preservatives
Parabens are widely used in cosmetics, deodorants, skin care and baby products to prolong their shelf life. They are known to be highly toxic and have caused rashes and allergic reactions. Recent scientific studies in the UK found a strong link between the use of parabens and the increasing rate of breast cancer in women. Researchers found a high concentration of parabens in 90% of breast tumors tested.

Propylene Glycol
Found in many beauty creams, cosmetics and cleansers, Propylene Glycol can cause skin rashes and contact dermatitis, and has been shown to cause damage to the kidneys and liver.

Isopropyl Alcohol
Alcohol is used as a solvent in many skin care products. It causes skin irritation and strips the skin of its natural acid mantle, promoting the growth of bacteria, moulds and viruses. It may also cause premature ageing of skin.

DEA (Diethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine) and MEA (Monoethanolamine)
These substances are harsh solvents and detergents that are used in cosmetics and face and body creams as an emollient. They can cause allergic reactions, and long term use of DEA-based products (such as Cocamide DEA) have been linked to an increase in the incidence of liver and kidney cancer.

A common ingredient in antiperspirants, aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer's Disease.

Mineral Oil
Derived from petroleum (crude oil), mineral oil is commonly found as a main ingredient of face and body creams and cosmetics. Baby oil is 100% mineral oil! It coats the skin like a plastic film, clogging pores and stopping the skin from eliminating toxins, which can lead to acne and other skin disorders. Other petroleum based ingredients include paraffin wax, paraffin oil and petrolatum.

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
Used as a thickener in skin care products and cosmetics, PEGs interfere with the skin's natural moisture balance, causing an increase in ageing and leaving the skin vulnerable to bacteria.

Talc is a soft mineral used in talcum powders and cosmetic powders. Scientific studies have shown that routine application of talcum powder to the genital area is linked with a three-to-fourfold increase in the development of ovarian cancer. Inhaling cosmetic powders containing talc may also be harmful to long term health.

How To Avoid These Toxins
Examine the labels of your cosmetics and skin care products carefully, and learn to recognize ingredients that are harmful to your skin and to your health. Many web sites have lists of potentially harmful ingredients in addition to those shown above (e.g. Environmental Working Group).

Don't be fooled by the words 'natural' or 'organic' on the front of the label. Many products contain at least one or two natural or organic ingredients, but they may also contain harmful synthetic chemicals as well.

Whenever possible, choose products with 100% natural ingredients such as essential oils and herbs. Your skin will love you for it!

Until Next Time, Good Health and Well-Being!

Dave Kettner