How Acupuncture Can Make You Sleep Better

Acupuncture is an ancient practice where needles are strategically inserted into the skin by a professional, stimulating specific parts of the body. Acupuncture is still popular today to treat many conditions, including insomnia. Therefore, acupuncture could potentially help people sleep better.

How Does Acupuncture Affect Sleep?

Many people believe acupuncture is a neuromodulator, meaning that it can tone down the perception of the brain’s sensory signals, even the pain signals. Various parts of the brain will light up on functional MRIs. Therefore, it is fairly easy to see how acupuncture influences the brain.

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How Acupuncture Can Help You Sleep

Experts are not exactly sure about how effective acupuncture is for insomnia, as there is not enough research done on it yet. However, that does not mean that it is not helpful, nor does it mean there is a lack of studies. Some physicians are skeptical of it, but there is a lot of evidence that can suggest acupuncture can be beneficial. Some doctors who specialize in sleep medicine practice acupuncture on their patients and see good results. While more research would be required to prove that it is truly effective, acupuncture could help alleviate or treat symptoms like:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep apnea
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Depression
  • Pain

Many professionals like to offer acupuncture to their patients because the potential benefits far outweigh the small risks. In most professional’s eyes, they notice more benefits than side effects, and the patients at least feel calmer after an acupuncture session, helping them sleep well for a few days.

General Insomnia

Many people find it hard to sleep on occasion, but insomnia is a real condition many people deal with. It can impact how a person functions throughout the day due to poor sleep. Symptoms of insomnia can appear for several days, but they can last for months or even longer. Some common symptoms can include:

  • Waking up in the middle of the night, difficult going back to sleep
  • Finding it difficult to fall asleep
  • Waking up earlier than expected

Some common reasons why insomnia can occur include:

  • Medical conditions like sleep apnea
  • Chronic pain
  • Mental health disorders like anxiety
  • Improper sleep schedules

Many doctors enjoy offering their patients options, so offering their patients a safe alternative or addition to their medication can make them feel better, at least mentally and emotionally. Moreover, it has fewer risks compared to drug therapy. The current research suggests that acupuncture could help obstructive sleep apnea, anxiety, insomnia and restless legs syndrome. However, the evidence should not get exaggerated because they are somewhat mild to moderate, but it is still there.

Primary Insomnia

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Some evidence suggests acupuncture could treat insomnia if it does not have specific causes. While there needs to be more research before there is a conclusive answer, many patients who have insomnia can benefit from getting it done. Traditional acupuncture is when the needles do not get inserted far into a person’s skin. One study had 72 people who had primary insomnia get this treatment 3 times a week for about 4 weeks. The results found that it was effective at enhancing total sleep time, sleep efficiency and insomnia symptoms during the sessions. Another double-blind study involved 180 patients who had primary insomnia. In this study, they noticed that traditional acupuncture had good results when it came to daytime functioning and enhancing sleep quality compared to sedative medication and sham acupuncture.

Sleep Apnea

OSA, or obstructive sleep apnea, is when a person stops breathing when they sleep, which is a dangerous condition. Even if a person sleeps all night, it causes oxygen deprivation that makes them feel tired the following day. Several studies suggest that acupuncture could alleviate sleep apnea symptoms. However, the evidence is not solid enough to make it a viable treatment option for sleep apnea.

Mental Health Disorders and Insomnia

People who have depression and anxiety are more likely to have trouble sleeping. Limited research is available to state that acupuncture can help. However, one study with 90 people who had insomnia and depression found that electroacupuncture (acupuncture with electro currents) 3 times a week for about 8 weeks experienced:

  • Better sleep efficiency and quality
  • Depression
  • Total sleep time

There are no big studies that study acupuncture’s effects on people who have insomnia and anxiety. However, one review of the 20 studies of the effects of acupuncture on anxiety showed that it can improve anxiety symptoms, so it is not a complete loss.

Pain and Insomnia

Certain people can find it hard to sleep because of chronic pain. Chronic pain is pain that would last for 3 months or longer. One review was done for nine studies that had almost 1,000 participants with insomnia that was from chronic pain. The review found that acupuncture offered better results at enhancing sleep quality when compared to medication and sham treatment.

Acupuncture for Sleep: What Should You Expect

You can expect a few things when you visit an actual practitioner, which includes:

  • An hour-long session
  • A very thorough intake from the practitioner, which would include medical history
  • Around 20-30 needles were inserted in different points
  • The practitioner may palace seeds or needles in your ears

Before any session, practitioners in the acupuncture clinic diagnose what the potential root cause of the patient’s problem would be. For instance, they will try to figure out if stress causes your sleep problems so that they can choose acupuncture points to correspond to the diagnosis.

All in All

Acupuncture could help patients who have insomnia. While there is no conclusive evidence yet, it definitely has more benefits that outweigh the small risks of acupuncture.


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How to Cope with Stress: Learn How Pandemic Impacts Kids and Parents in Different Ways

By Tiffany Harper

There is no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic affected us all. While parents have lost their jobs or need to work from home, children have a hard time adapting to the new life format. Classes are held online; they no longer interact with their school friends or take part in group activities. Stress is a natural reaction to these hard and new times. In fact, stress appears when there are big changes in one’s life, like this one. It has effects not only on your mind or wellbeing but on your body and habits too.

Stress caused by a world pandemic will likely be felt by anyone, by parents and children alike. But the most important thing is your perspective on stress.

There are many ways you can cope with stress, but as a parent, it is important to help your children do the same.

Stress Effects

The effects of stress are quite visible, although not anyone is aware of them. Kids will have a harder time identifying them, but they might have digestive problems, headaches, throw tantrums, or have difficulties falling asleep. They do not socialize as much as they did before, and meeting your friends, playing games, and talking with them is something all kids long for.

Social support is important not only for children but for their parents too. Stress might arouse emotions of anxiety, anger, frustration, and fear. You might have a hard time focusing or making decisions, and physical symptoms such as the loss of appetite, chills, or stomachaches are present.

One of the most important things about this unpleasant and stressful situation is that children learn how to cope with stress as they grow up. They learn all these mechanisms from their parents because we all know that kids are like sponges.

So, it is important how you choose to face the current context of the world. Because this will help your kids learn healthy ways of coping, and this will be very helpful not only in this moment but later in their lives too.

Limit Your Time Watching or Reading the News

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We often think that if we gather more information about this subject, we have more power over it. But the truth is, it is a virus that spreads very quickly. All we can do is try to protect ourselves as much as we can and follow strict hygiene measures.

As stated in some reports of the lab report writer, hearing and reading all day about the coronavirus pandemic will not do any good. It will only intensify the feelings of anxiety, fear, and helplessness. And it is not only about the TV or news, but about social media too.

So, limit your time spent watching or reading the news and try to replace this habit with another one more positive. Like this, you will teach your child to try and find comfort in pleasurable activities, instead of focusing on what you cannot control.

Find Activities You Enjoy

This relaxing photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Stress makes us often think that there is nothing pleasurable in our lives anymore. Think about your kids, too. They take their happiness and positive feelings from play with friends, games, sweets, travelling, and small things.

They are mostly deprived of interaction and socialization with friends, and even though they can do this online, face-to-face socialization is necessary for healthy cognitive development. So, it is important to find things and activities you all enjoy.

Some of them can be board games or card games to play with your kids. They will surely help you get some fun and feel good.

But you can also find other interesting activities such as watching docuseries, reading, painting, coloring or drawing. All these can be done together with your children, and so you lead by example and nurture a genuine desire to learn more about the world around us in your kids.

Also, educational games might be a great choice. Some great options could help you learn along with your child the mysteries of chemistry, physics, science, astrology, biology, and many more.

Write Your Feelings Down

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We need to admit that this period is marked by uncertainty. We do not know much about this virus, how long it will last or when it will be eradicated. Its impacts are visible: the demand for resources has gone up, while the rate of employment has gone down.

Even though kids do not completely understand the current world state, they can feel it. And they do not have the necessary equipment to face these strange times, so parents need to provide security and comfort.

You can do this by encouraging your children to write their feelings down. This is a helpful activity not only for them but for you too. So, you can do it together.

Writing your feelings down helps you put things into context. It acts as a stress relief because it helps you get rid of negative thoughts. Also, considering the uncertainty of the situation, it can help children understand that it will eventually pass. By writing down your thoughts, you can better learn how to label your emotions, become aware of them, identify their source, and work on them.

Exercise

This joyful photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash 

Kids surely miss the energy and outdoor activities they were doing at school. And this is understandable. Every type of sport leads to a release of endorphins in our brains, which makes us feel better.

Give yourself the time to exercise and keep your body healthy. Find some interesting physical games and activities you can do with your children. Exercising acts as a stress relief for parents and kids alike,
so it is a healthy stress-coping mechanism.

Conclusion

The coronavirus pandemic changed the world totally and it will never be the same. All these abrupt changes come with stress and negative feelings and emotions. Children and parents react differently to these stimuli. And while parents can be more equipped to face this stress, kids need guidance and help to understand the context we are living in now.

So, it is important to know that you lead by example and kids learn how to cope with this kind of moment from you. Limit your news intake and find interesting, funny, and educational games and activities to play with your kids. Encourage your kids to write down their thoughts to better define the context and their emotions.


Lovely featured image photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash (thank you <3)


About the author:
Tiffany Harper is a training guru who’s been working in the corporate sector as a technology expert for several years now. She is a management graduate and loves to share her experience through blogs and expert articles. For her love of writing, she provided online consultations for one of the dissertation help writers, while working with UK Best Essays. Please do not hesitate to contact her on LinkedIn.


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Health Benefits of Your Smile and How To Achieve It

By Luke Douglas

While smiling might seem like the simplest, most intuitive action we can perform, it is actually much more powerful than we might initially think. Smiling has a great impact on our physical and mental well-being, allowing us to become healthier and happier with just a single action.

For that reason, we should aim to maintain a perfect smile as best as we possibly can, and here are some ways you could achieve just that, as well as few health benefits you might enjoy as a result:

The importance of oral hygiene

It’s a well-known fact that practicing good oral hygiene is essential for achieving optimal oral health. Apart from allowing you to maintain a clean and bright smile throughout your entire life, good oral hygiene will also help to prevent common tooth and gum diseases, while ensuring your pearly whites stay strong and healthy even in old age.

However, what many of us don’t realize is that our oral health is directly related to our overall health as well. Research has shown that an unhealthy mouth could be connected to a variety of illnesses and conditions such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Evidently, a good smile is also a reflection of good health, and not merely a result of positive habits.

The health benefits of smiling

While oral hygiene might be an indicator of good health, the act of smiling itself can be quite beneficial for your mental health and overall well-being as well. Smiling can instantly lift our spirits, allow us to be more positive, help with relieving stress, make us appear more attractive, and even have a ripple effect on other people.

What’s more, smiling can also have a great impact on our overall health. Helping us to relieve pain, lower blood pressure, and even improve the immune system, smiling is evidently one of the best things we could do for our overall well-being, which is why it pays to invest in our oral hygiene and maintain a beautiful smile.

Achieving a perfectly straight smile

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Even though we might want to smile more often, whether due to the health benefits or simply in an effort to enjoy life more, some of us might feel too insecure and self-conscious about the appearance of our smile to laugh more frequently. And one of the main reasons for this occurrence is crooked, overlapping, or otherwise misaligned teeth.

Thankfully, the solution to these conditions is quite simple. In case you are suffering from such malocclusion as well, braces for adults can offer the best and most lasting results. Made to efficiently treat your specific condition without attracting any unwanted attention, cosmetic braces can be a wonderful option for misaligned teeth and jaws, as well as a number of other dental complaints.

Improving the brightness of teeth

In case stained, discolored, or otherwise imperfect teeth are what’s stopping you from smiling more frequently, modern dentistry has a great solution for improving the brightness of your smile as well. Although flossing at least once, and brushing your teeth at least twice a day can be of great help, discolored teeth might require some additional assistance.

To remove any surface stains and improve discoloration to a certain extent, whitening toothpastes and at-home teeth-whitening kits can deliver quite beneficial and noticeable results. However, if you’re looking for a way to achieve perfectly white and bright teeth, getting a professional procedure done by a dentist might be the best solution.

Deciding on cosmetic procedures

Braces and teeth whitening aren’t the only available options; there are many other cosmetic dental procedures that will allow you to achieve a perfect smile you won’t have to hide any longer. Dental bonding, for instance, is a great choice for chipped, cracked, misshapen, or discolored teeth, instantly improving your smile with a subtle and natural look.

On the other hand, if you have severely discolored, damaged, or even missing teeth, procedures such as dental crowns, veneers, and dental implants can all help to revive your smile and lead to healthier, straighter, and brighter teeth.

Evidently, smiling has a number of important health benefits, which is why you should attempt to practice it more often. In case a cosmetic or health issue is stopping you from smiling, use the tips mentioned above to achieve the perfect smile you’ll never have to hide.


Luke is a lifestyle blogger. He is editor in chief at blog Ripped.me and one of the contributors at blog Trans4Mind. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.
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Ancient Chinese Remedies To Cure Common Personal Hygiene Problems

By Sally Perkins

Having good hygiene is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself against common illnesses. Taking good care of yourself also benefits your overall wellbeing, improves your social interactions, and boosts your confidence. However, a recent study has shown that most people do not adhere to basic hygiene guidelines, and 42 percent of people admit that they don't wash their hands each time they use the restroom. Moreover, while two thirds of Americans shower everyday, some people rush through the process, and aren't cleaning themselves the right way. Bad hygiene can lead to infection and discomfort, and while medication can reverse the effect of poor hygiene habits, using ancient Chinese remedies can also help to cure the following common personal hygiene problems naturally.

Bacterial vaginosis

One in three women will get bacterial vaginosis at some point in their life. While bacterial vaginosis, or BV, isn't a serious problem, it can cause a lot of discomfort, since it causes pain or itching in and outside of the vagina, a burning sensation when urinating, discharge, and a fishy odour emanating from the vagina, which seems to get stronger after sex. BV happens when there is an imbalance in the pH levels in the vaginal area, and the disrupted pH levels may be caused by various factors such as using certain condom or vaginal douche brands, having a new sex partner, or having multiple sex partners.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash


To improve vaginal health naturally and get rid of BV, you can use a gentle vaginal wash, eat yogurt, and cut back on sugary treats to restore your pH balance. You may also consider using traditional Chinese medicine, such as dong quai, which TCM practitioners prescribe to treat female health and reproductive problems. This plant grows in East Asia, and the roots are harvested to make tea, powders, drinks, and tablets. Just like yogurt and other fermented foods, dong quai is rich in probiotics, and it may help to restore the vagina's pH levels and alleviate discomfort. Drinking tea made from red clover flowers can also help to relieve the symptoms of BV. To make the tea, steep two and a half teaspoons of red clover flowers in three quarters of a cup of hot water for 15 minutes, and then drink the tea after meals.

Bad breath

TCM practitioners believe that bad breath may be the result of stomach problems. Moreover, eating too much spicy food and smoking is believed to cause halitosis, so TCM experts usually recommend eating milder foods to cure this hygiene problem. Consuming white fungus soup with honey is also believed to get rid of toxins that can cause bad breath. To prepare, simply cook the white fungus in plain water until it softens, stir in honey, and eat daily to get rid of bad breath.

Excessive sweating

Excessive sweating can lead to skin problems and body odor. Showering daily can keep your skin healthy and odor-free, but to address the health issue directly, you may want to consider acupuncture to reduce sweating. To treat excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis, acupuncturists insert needles in various areas of the body to alleviate armpit and palm sweating, night sweats, and sweating in other parts of the body. Since excessive sweating is believed to be a symptom of anxiety problems, TCM practitioners may also recommend taking xiao yao san, which is a blend of herbs that is used in ancient Chinese healing practices to reduce depression, pain and anxiety. It can be drunk as a tea, or taken in pill form for convenience.

Good hygiene can boost your self-confidence and protect you from a variety of illnesses. If you're currently dealing with bacterial vaginosis, bad breath, or excessive sweating, consider these ancient Chinese remedies to cure your personal hygiene problem, but remember to consult a certified TCM to get the best results.


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Ancient Chinese Medicine Secrets For Younger Looking Skin

By Sally Perkins

Skin aging is a common concern among millions of people all over the world, and some people won't hesitate to spend a lot of money to keep their skin looking young. According to a survey, most people spend over 25 percent of their beauty maintenance budget on their face alone. Moreover, it was found that more women in their 30s choose to invest in anti-aging products and facial moisturizers than any other age group. Using pricey creams and serums may give your skin a youthful glow, but traditional Chinese medicine and therapies may be even better to prevent and combat wrinkles, fine lines, and other visible signs of skin aging. Here's are some ancient Chinese medicine secrets for younger looking skin.

Almonds to reduce fine lines

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Several factors, such as constant exposure to direct sunlight, lifestyle habits, and an unhealthy diet can cause skin aging. Having dry indoor air can also result in dry skin and make it look older than it really is. This is why it's important to increase the moisture in the air with a humidifier to keep your skin looking supple and young. Apart from adding humidity to your indoor air, another thing that you can do to keep your face smooth and wrinkle-free is to use almonds as part of your beauty regimen.

Almond oil has been used in ancient Chinese practices to help soothe and soften the skin. Since it contains Vitamin A, it can also stimulate the production of new skin cells and reduce fine lines. You can use a small amount of almond oil as a facial moisturizer, or use it as a makeup remover. You can also try using ground almonds as an overnight mask. Prepare an ancient Chinese skincare recipe by soaking almonds in water and peeling the brown skins off. Grind the peeled almonds and mix with one egg white. Apply to your face and leave it overnight; rinse it off in the morning with cool water to reduce fine lines.

Acupuncture for wrinkle-free skin


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Acupuncture can stimulate the body's healing responses, depending on where the needles are inserted. To improve wrinkles, an acupuncturist will insert needles in certain facial points to trigger the production of collagen in the body. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, but as we age, our bodies produce less and less collagen, which can result in wrinkles and older looking skin. By increasing the body's collagen stores, acupuncture can help to give you that radiant glow that you once had. Avoid reversing the effects of facial acupuncture by limiting your exposure to direct sunlight, avoiding smoking, and refraining from eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Soy to increase skin firmness


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Food therapy is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine since the food we eat can have an effect on the way we look and feel. Soy products such as tofu and soy milk have always been consumed by women in various parts of Asia, which may explain why their skin looks younger than their years. Studies show that the nutrients in soy can increase the production of elastin in the body, which can make the skin stronger, firmer, and less likely to sag. You can include tofu or miso in your everyday meals, or mix warm soybean milk with a little ground almond, and drink it in the morning to enhance your skin's firmness.

Having younger looking skin doesn't have to cost you a fortune. Try these traditional Chinese remedies to get rid of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging, and enjoy having beautiful and healthy skin as you age.


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The Stages of Drug Rehab and Recovery

By Emily Blunt

To overcome an addiction is not a simple process. It is a journey through unknown territories before you can finally reach your destination. Understanding the concept can be helpful when you are looking into treatment options for yourself or your loved ones.  When you are coping with drug addiction, you believe it is time to clean up your body, and you should enter a professional drug treatment program.

Recovery from drug addiction requires effort, time, support, and willpower. When you choose to go with a professional drug treatment program, you will enter into a journey through four different stages of rehab recovery as you learn to develop a healthy and sober lifestyle. Every treatment program for drug or alcohol recovery goes through a series of steps. Here, we will discuss the stages of drug rehab treatment.

The four stages of drug rehab treatment are as follows-

  • Treatment initiation
  • Early abstinence
  • Maintaining abstinence
  • Advanced recovery

Stage 1- Treatment Initiation

When you get out for help from a professional drug rehab program, you start with the first stage of your recovery, treatment initiation. In the early days of your rehab, you probably will have some conflicting feelings about giving up your drug permanently, and you may think that your substance abuse problem is not as bad as others.  At this point in the treatment, the aim is to help the individual participate in treatment actively and accept that frugality is the aim.

To achieve this, a substance abuse counsellor may help the individual to do the following-

  • To look at the damaging effects of addiction
  • Explore the feeling of refusal with regards to the problem
  • Help the person to become motivated or recover

However, during this stage of treatment, an individual’s drug use history evaluation will be held. The treatment program will be initiated, and the counsellor will work with the individual to develop a treatment plan.

Stage 2- Early Abstinence

Once you decide to continue treatment for your substance abuse problem, you will enter the second stage of rehab, known as early abstinence. However, early abstinence from drugs is significantly associated with positive treatment outcomes. This can be a challenging stage to handle because of many factors, which include the following-

Continued withdrawal symptoms

  • Physical cravings
  • Psychological dependency
  • Triggers that can appeal you into a relapse

Threats at this stage of treatment can include cravings, social pressure to drink, and high-risk situations that can target alcohol consumption. During the early abstinence stage, your addiction counselor will start to teach you the coping skills you need to live a sober life.

Some helpful strategies include the following-

  • Encouraging participation in healthy activities
  • Finding alternative behaviors to occupy in rather than turning to alcohol
  • Participation in self-help group that offers support and information
  • Recognizing environmental triggers that can lead to cravings, including people, place, or a thing.

Stage 3- Maintaining Abstinence

After 90 days of abstinence, you will move from the early abstinence stage of recovery to the stage of maintaining abstinence. If you have started with a residential treatment program, you will now move to the counselling phase of rehab program on an outpatient basis.

The focus of this stage of rehab is to maintain abstinence by avoiding a relapse. You will learn the warning signs and the steps that can lead to deterioration. The maintaining abstinence stage of rehab will begin about three months into your rehabilitation program and last till you reach five years clean and sober.

Stage 4- Advanced Recovery

After five years of abstinence, you will reach the fourth and final stage of your rehab, advanced recovery. At this point, you take all your tools and skills that you have learned during your rehab counselling and put them to use to live a satisfying life.

In this stage, the below strategies can help-

  • Developing a long-term goal
  • Creating a daily schedule
  • Developing social relationships with people who are not addictive
  • Engaging in recreational activities which do not involve drugs
  • Finding ways through spirituality, religion, social action, or community work

Learning to apply these strategies will help you remain sober, but you will also have the skills to become a healthier person and a better family member. After all, recovery is much more than just staying sober. It is more of learning to live a happier and healthier life.


Author Bio

Emily Blunt is a passionate blogger who is exploring the field of addiction recovery. With the help of her blogs, She provides information and knowledge about various addiction recovery techniques and rehab centers.


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Chinese Medicine Now Used To Treat Common Oral Health Issues

By Sally Perkins

Chinese medicine - particularly the use of traditional herbs - has been used for centuries in various Asian countries (including Korea, Japan, and the Philippines). However,  a study on Chinese parental units with children aged under 12 in Houston and Boston has found that 45.6% of parents and 19.1% of children use Chinese medicine to treat specific oral conditions. These include bad breath, gingivitis, canker sores, herpes labialis, and tooth pain or sensitivity. The most commonly used medication, researchers at the University of Texas School of Dentistry found, were watermelon frost, niuhuang jiedu pian, and honey/propolis. What are these substances used for, and how can they help preserve better oral health as a whole?

Rebalancing Energy To Battle Halitosis

Traditional Chinese medicine recommended that people adopt a healthy lifestyle so as to keep energy balanced. Halitosis can arise from a wide array of causes, however - including digestive issues, tooth decay and gum disease. Inflamed gums caused by plaque build-up (gingivitis) are often characterized by an unpleasant smell. This is because the bacteria that irritates the gums can proliferate and cause bad breath. Left unchecked, gingivitis can cause loss of bone and teeth, severely harming your oral health and wellbeing. To battle gingivitis, daily brushing of the teeth and gumline and flossing are important. Chinese medicine commonly utilizes herbs such as danpi, huanglian, and huang qin to dispel heat. Doing so can also help reduce mouth ulcers and battle constipation. When halitosis is caused by a yin deficiency in the lungs, meanwhile, liquorice, ophiopogon root, and almonds are often recommended. There are other causes for halitosis - including deficient energy in the kidney and other systematic problems. It is important to determine the cause prior to taking a specific herb or set of herbs.


Photo by Shiny Diamond from Pexels

Tooth Sensitivity And Chinese Herbs

When a patient has tooth sensitivity or pain, it is important to find the cause. This can originate from the stomach, kidney, mouth (for instance, owing to a tooth infection), amongst other areas. Usually, the type of pain or sensitivity will be determined by the situation. For instance, if tooth pain is acute and aggravated by eating hot food (but alleviated by eating cold foods) then the problem may be an ‘invasion of wind-heat, which can be dispelled by clearing heat and removing toxins. Herbs used to achieve this aim can include jin yin hua, lian qiao, and jing jie sui. Recommendations are usually amended depending on the presence or absence of symptoms such as swollen gums, a headache or a cough.

Acupuncture For Dental Pain, Dental Anxiety, And Dry Mouth

Acupuncture is used in both traditional Chinese medicine and modern western medicine to treat a host of dental disorders. These include dental pain, dental anxiety and gag reflex, TMJ, facial spasms, headache, dry mouth, nerve pain, and a burning or numb sensation in the mouth. Study after study has shown that acupuncture can help reduce pain and other symptoms. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Statement on Acupuncture of November of 1998, for instance, reports that acupuncture can successfully help quell postoperative dental pain. Another study (Ernst and Pittler) showed that acupuncture can help treat acute dental pain. Additional research by Johnstone and Furness showed that acupuncture could help relieve dry mouth in patients who had received radiotherapy for head and neck cancers.

Chinese medicine is increasingly being used across the globe to treat a variety of issues - everything from bad breath to dry mouth. Specific lifestyle recommendations and herbs can help deal with issues such as excess heat, which can result in gum inflammation, pain, and other problems. Acupuncture, meanwhile, is used widely to treat everything from dry mouth post-radiotherapy to dental anxiety.


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5 Wise Tips to Gain Weight and Lean Muscle in a Healthy Way

By Luke Douglas

Many people are concerned about their weight, but rarely do you hear someone wishing to add weight to their frame. For the most part, people want to achieve sensible weight loss to eliminate unwanted fat and reach a healthier weight target. Needless to say, losing weight is a healthy decision if you’re currently overweight, and especially if you’re experiencing certain symptoms that might deteriorate your health.

But then there are the people on the other end of the spectrum. Many of us are actually looking for a way to optimize our nutrition to gain weight in a healthy way and if possible, build lean muscle mass to shape our physique and make us stronger in the process. If you are currently for ways to add weight to your frame without adding unwanted fat, then you have to take a careful and calculated approach.

Let’s take a look at some important tips that will enable you to gain weight and lean muscle in a healthy way this year.

Prioritize your calories

You probably know by now that the most important element of weight loss or weight gain is how you manage your calories on a daily basis. Simply put, you need to eat more calories than you’re expending during the day in order to gain weight, and do the opposite if you’re trying to drop pounds off your frame. However, restricting calories can be much easier than adding them, because you’re not used to eating more and because you have to be very careful about the kind of calories you add to your diet.

Typically, you would always want to prioritize calories from protein-rich foods if your goal is to add lean muscle and sculpt your physique. Keep in mind that carbohydrates and fats are not fattening per se, but focusing on maximizing your protein intake will ensure that you keep growing muscle while burning fat. It takes more energy for your body to process proteins than other macronutrients, and protein is the building block of muscle.

Focus on the right exercise program

Once you know that you need to consume more calories, you can start complimenting your diet plan with muscle-building exercise. Remember, it’s much easier to add pounds to your frame by complementing your lifestyle with exercise, particularly if your training sessions revolve around resistance training.

You should focus your resistance training on hypertrophy (building muscle) and strength, because muscle is lean, and it shapes your body. If, on the other hand, you start eating more but don’t exercise, you can expect to add only fat to your frame. With that in mind, be sure to work closely with your personal trainer to create a workout routine that will prioritize strength and lean muscle growth.

Include the right supplements into your diet

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to use healthy supplements in the form of vitamins and minerals. However, when you’re trying to build muscle and add weight, then it’s important to use specific supplements for muscle gain that will help optimize your metabolic rate, increase hunger steadily, and get more nutrients like protein into your system.

That said, supplementation is not a substitute for a healthy diet, but it can help you get more of the right calories into your body on a daily basis. After all, eating more is a difficult task, and you have to ensure that you stay consistent. The right weight gain supplements will focus on quality proteins but also the right micronutrients to help you slowly but surely start eating more healthy foods.

Try eating more frequently

Speaking of eating healthy, you can’t hope to put more food on your plate but eat the same number of meals every day. For many people who are struggling to add weight to their frame, eating more is impossible, but eating more frequently is a smart alternative.

The key is to add healthy meals into your daily routine, preferably something like a plant-based diet rich in fiber, vitamins, and various minerals. Eating more frequently is not only a great way to nurture your metabolism, but it’s also one of the best ways to safely add calories to your diet without even noticing the difference.

Hydrate throughout the day

Last but not least, remember that it’s not just about the calories and the supplements – it’s also about healthy hydration. Most of us forget to drink ample amounts of pure aqua every day, and that’s a bad habit that you’ll need to change if you want to add lean muscle and weight to your frame in a healthy way.

Hydration is extremely important for athletes, whether you’re exercising occasionally or every single day. Over the long term, proper hydration will help you stay energized and it will allow you to push your limits in training. Of course, you should try to drink more water between meals so that you don’t ruin your appetite.

Wrapping up

As with every habit in life, the key to healthy weight gain is to stay consistent. Follow these tips but make sure to adhere to them consistently over the following weeks and months and you should have no problem adding lean muscle and weight to your frame, sculpting the physique of your dreams.


Luke is a lifestyle blogger. He is editor in chief at blog Ripped.me and one of the contributors at blog Trans4Mind. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.
Connect with him on Facebook & Twitter


Featured image photo by Mor Shani on Unsplash


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Chinese New Year & The Chinese Zodiac

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Chinese New Year

The celebration of the New Year is the longest, most important and most anticipated Chinese holiday. The Chinese New Year is celebrated by an estimated one-sixth of the population or one billion people! Because it is traditionally a holiday spent with family, the coming New Year causes an enormous number of people to travel to be with loved ones and has been called the largest annual human migration in the world. The traditional holiday period is 23 days long and is called the Spring Festival. it is broken up into three parts. The first eight days are called Little Year. This is when the preparations for the New Year begin and go until New Year's Eve. Chinese New Year officially begins on the ninth day and runs for the next ten days, for eleven days in total. This is officially called the Spring Festival. The last four days are called the Lantern Festival. Preparations begin on the first day and the Lantern Festival is held on the last day. Below is a chart to help you visualize it.

 


Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels

The Lunar Calendar

The date for the Chinese New Year varies each year because the Chinese Zodiac system is based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar and not the solar or Gregorian calendar that is used in the West and internationally. Using the lunar calendar, the first day of the month begins on the new moon. Chinese New Year's day is the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. This is why the specific date of the Chinese New Year changes every year but is always between January 21st and February 20th.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels

The 12 Animals of the Chinese Zodiac

There are twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac and they go in a specific order. Every New Year it signifies the movement to the next animal in the cycle. The really interesting thing is that each animal year has lots of personality traits associated with it, and people born in that year are seen to be imbued with those particular traits.

What's Your Zodiac Sign?

The year you were born determines your Chinese zodiac sign, but, because it is based on the lunar calendar and not the solar, or gregorian calendar. People born in January or February have to pay special attention to their birth date as well as the year to make sure they get their Chinese zodiac sign correct as the exact date of the transition between animals varies every year. Here are the animals in the Chinese zodiac in order, starting with the year of the rat.

RAT - OX - TIGER- RABBIT - DRAGON - SNAKE - HORSE - GOAT - MONKEY - ROOSTER - DOG - PIG

Rat

People born in the year of the rat are highly organized and love saving money and collecting beautiful things. They are very discerning with the people they spend their time with. Rats don't like to be the centre of attention but are highly observant and very sensitive.

Ox

People born in the year of the ox are strong, quiet and very hard working. They have a strong sense of responsibility, and will always get the job done. They keep their emotions (and most other things) to themselves. If they run into difficulties, they always persevere. They don't lose their temper often but when they do, it is explosive.

Tiger

People born in the year of the tiger are highly protective, independent and are natural-born leaders. Justice is important to them and they are not afraid to fight to get it. In Chinese culture, tigers are believed to be the guardians of children so children often wear clothing, hats and shoes with tiger designs for protection.

Rabbit

People born in the year of the rabbit are gentle and kind. They are responsible and have great attention to detail. They are intelligent and excellent with their hands, making them excellent artists, craftsmen, builders and chefs. In Chinese culture, the rabbit represents the moon.

Dragon

The dragon is the only mythical creature in the Chinese zodiac. People born in the year of the dragon are mysterious and majestic. They are full of personality and love lives full of adventure. They are natural leaders and very charismatic. They will never lead a boring life. They are extremely ambitious and achieve great things. Dragons are a very revered creature in Chinese culture and represent royalty. Emperors were often seen as the reincarnation of dragons.

Snake

People born in the year of the snake are determined and devoted. They are rational, calm and thoughtful. They love solving complex problems and have many talents allowing them to be able to choose many different professions. Snakes are graceful and are loyal to all the people in their lives.

Horse

People born in the year of the horse are strong, powerful and elegant. They have great strength and enthusiasm. They love their freedom and have a strong sense of adventure. Horses are intelligent and quick-witted making them suitable for fast-paced professions as they can think on their feet and adapt to change.

Goat

People born in the year of the goat are loving, kind and gentle. They are lovers of animals, children and nature. They love to care for others because they are thoughtful and good-natured. They have many friends as they are great listeners and always understanding and kind.

Monkey

People born in the year of the monkey are highly intelligent, clever and adventurous. They are creative thinkers, have many interests and excel in many areas. They tend to be tricksters, but are good-natured. they are very sociable and humourous and are well-liked by their many friends. They make excellent leaders.

Rooster

People born in the year of the rooster are magnetic, confident and high energy. They love being the centre of attention and are charismatic, very sociable and successful. Roosters are intelligent, and organized, resourceful and courageous, they will lead an exciting life.

Dog

People born in the year of the dog are loyal, honest and kind. Because of their intense loyalty, they love to serve others. Warm-hearted, sensitive and generous, they always have many people around them who love them. They are dependable, intelligent and resilient, making them great friends and allies.

Pig

People born in the year of the pig are intelligent, generous and helpful. Sincere, romantic and generous, they have a laid back attitude and don't let things get to them. They are able to see the big picture and not get caught up in the details. They are calm and collected and are great at settling disputes.

RAT - OX - TIGER- RABBIT - DRAGON - SNAKE - HORSE - GOAT - MONKEY - ROOSTER - DOG - PIG


This cute image from cafeastrology.com

Being In Your Animal Year or Ben Ming Nian

Being in your birth year, or Ben Ming Nian in the Chinese zodiac happens every twelve years. You would think that when your animal rolls around that it would be a good thing, because it is YOUR animal so it must signify all kinds of good things for you, right?

Unfortunately, the opposite is true. It is considered a year that you have to be especially careful and where you are most predisposed to attacks from evil spirits and general misfortune. Good news though, something you can do to ward off any bad luck or calamity during your year is to wear red underwear every day. Yup, every day...

So why is it that being in your animal year is considered to be such bad luck? According to Chinese astrology, people in their animal year are believed to offend the 'God of Age' Tai Sui. Tai Sui is called a star, but is not in fact a star but roughly corresponds to Jupiter. Jupiter takes 11.86 years to orbit the earth and is an imaginary star that changes its position exactly 30 degrees each year, which means it orbits the earth exactly every twelve years.

The 'star' Tai Sui is said to bring back luck and misfortune to people in the zodiac year of the animal in which they were born. For example, if you were born in the year of the rat and you are presently in a rat year, you may be in for a rough year. Tai Sui eventually evolved into the God of Age and has been worshipped by many generations of Chinese. People offer the God of Age sacrifices to keep themselves safe from bad luck and offer blessings in their zodiac year. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can fend off bad luck in your zodiac year.

Getting Good Luck in Your Animal Year

Wear Red

Red is one of the luckiest colours in Chinese culture and is seen to ward off evil spirits and drive away bad luck. Red symbolizes prosperity, success, loyalty and happiness. Wearing red items like clothing, shoes, belts or socks in your animal year will bring you good luck and give you a better chance of having a good year. Red clothing will bring luck, but red underwear seems to really amplify red's luck producing effects. There is an important rule though to make sure that wearing red will have the desired effects - the red items (and especially the underwear) must NOT be bought by you, it must be bought by someone close to you like your spouse, family member or friend.


Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels

Wear Jade

Wearing jade accessories like jewellery during your animal year is also seen to ward off evil spirits and encourage good luck.

Facing Away From Tai Sui

Because Tai Sui is seen to change position by 30 degrees every year, Chinese astrologers say that if you simply face away from the direction Tai Sui is presently occupying you can not only ward off bad luck, but you can bring good luck by simply facing in the opposite direction. Some Chinese take this seriously changing the position of furniture in their homes and sometimes where they live and work so they can be facing away from the God of Age and preserve their good luck for the entire year.

Origins of the Chinese Zodiac

The Chinese Zodiac or Sheng Xiao (生肖) is thought to have its origins in animal worship and dates back to the Qing dynasty, more than 200 years ago.

Legend has it that the creation of the Chinese zodiac comes from the Jade Emperor. The Jade Emperor is one of the most important deities in Chinese mythology. He is the ruler of heaven and the first emperor of China. He was renowned for his fairness, benevolence and mercy. Even in the present day, the Jade Emperor plays a significant role in Chinese life, especially during the New Year when the Jade Emperor is said to judge the character of each individual over the past year and reward or punish them accordingly.

The legend has it that the Jade Emperor summoned all the animals to his palace for a great feast, and they order in which they arrived determined their place in the zodiac.

The Chinese zodiac is extremely popular in China and the rest of Asia to this day and is an integral part of everyday life. The zodiac is used to determine what will happen during the year ahead, relationship compatibility, career and financial advice, the best time to have a baby and many aspects of daily life.

 

*Featured image by Min An on Pexels


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Welcome To The Year of the Ox!

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

The Chinese New Year arrives on February 12th this year. The celebration of the Chinese New Year is called the Spring Festival and is the longest and most anticipated Chinese holiday. It is also celebrated by an estimated one-sixth of the world's population or one billion people! The traditional holiday period for the Spring festival is 23 days and is broken up into 3 parts. The first 8 days, this year from February 4th to the 11th is called Little Year. This is when preparations for the New Year begin and go until New Year's eve. Chinese New Year officially begins on February 12th and ends on February 22nd. This is the Spring Festival. And the last four days, this year February 23 to the 26th are called the Lantern Festival. Preparations begin on the 23rd and the lantern festival is held on February 26th.

Chinese Lantern Festival takes place on February 26th in 2021.
Photo by Leon Contreras on Unsplash

Lunar Calendar

The date for the Chinese new year varies each year because it is based on a lunar calendar and not the gregorian calendar that we use in the West. Using the lunar calendar, the first day of the month begins on the new moon. This is why Chinese new year falls on a different day each year.

Chinese New Year - February 12, 2021

The Twelve Animals of the Chinese Zodiac

Each Chinese New Year is associated with an animal. There are twelve animals in total and they go in a specific order and repeat every twelve years in a continuous cycle. 2021 is the year of the ox, which is the second animal in the zodiac. Each of the years also has an element associated with it. There are five elements and they are fire, earth, metal, water and wood. 2021 is the year of the metal ox.

Ox Years: 1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021

Here are the animals in the Chinese zodiac listed in order with their corresponding year.


This image from cafeastrology.com


The Ox Personality

People born in the Year of the Ox are hard-working, loyal, trustworthy and conscientious. They are also reliable, methodical, fair and inspire confidence in others. As a result of these traits, they make friends easily and keep them for the long term. They are usually quiet and say little, but have strong opinions. They believe strongly in themselves but are also stubborn and hate to fail or be challenged. They usually have a great deal of common sense and intelligence. They are hard workers but never want praise or to be in the spotlight. In Chinese culture, the ox is a highly valued animal because of its work in agriculture. The twelve animals were chosen because of their importance to the people and the way they benefited their lives. Below are some of the personality traits of people born in the year of the ox.

  • strong
  • reliable
  • fair
  • conscientious
  • calm
  • patient
  • methodical
  • trustworthy
  • intelligent
  • loyal
  • quiet
  • serious
  • positive
  • grounded
  • workaholics
  • inspire confidence in others
  • opinionated
  • stubborn
  • hate to fail
  • don't like being challenged

According to astrologers, the year of the ox denotes hard work, positivity and honesty and these are the qualities that will manifest in all of us over the next twelve months.

Compatability

Most Compatible with Ox

Most compatible with Ox are Rat, Snake and Rooster.

Least Compatible with Ox

Goat, Horse and Dog.

Lucky Things for Oxen

Colours: Blue | Green | Yellow
Numbers: 1 & 4
Flowers: Lucky Bamboo | Lily of the Valley

Unlucky Things

Colours: Brown | Red
Numbers 3 & 6

What Animal Are You?

Check the chart below and find out your Chinese animal...

This image from changechecker.org

Featured image is by Photo by V Srinivasan on Unsplash


Download This Sheet - Chinese Year Of The Ox

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