What Can Chinese Art Teach Us about Healing?

By Sally Perkins

“Where the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity,” said Hippocrates, highlighting the fact that medicine is a creative as well as a scientific pursuit. Medical professionals, after all, have a range of tools, knowledge, and experience at hand but often, in order for all these to align in the correct balance, creative choices need to be made. Ancient Chinese art, like ancient writings, are a rich source of information about medical practises, some of which are still used with patients today. They are also testimony to the celebration of humanity in all its facets and an open window into the suffering and joy involved in illness and healing, respectively.

Suffering for a Higher Good

The work Moxibustion, a hanging scroll by the Song artist Li Tang, depicts an itinerant doctor conducting moxibustion - a form of heat therapy in which dried plant materials (moxa) are burned close to or on the surface of the skin, to invigorate the flow of Qi through the body and to eliminate toxins. In the beautifully detailed scroll, the man being treated contorts his face in pain and others hold onto him or try to accompany him during this difficult time. The work is not only illustrative of the importance of balanced Qi but also a symbol of the sacrifices that must be made to achieve it and the pain this can involve. In order to be healthy of mind and body, everything from one’s choice of diet to one’s breathing and exercise habits must work in unison since prevention is always better (and less painful) than cure.


Photo by Jade Lee on Unsplash


The Harmony of the Eight Brocades

The Eight Brocades are a set of qigong exercises that focus on a different meridian, once again focusing on a different meridian to encourage the optimal flowing of qi through the body. The work Illustrated Album of the Eight Pieces of Brocade, created by an anonymous artist during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) portrays the eight exercises as well as breathing exercises. In the illustrations, both the beauty of the human form and the peace and joy that result from prioritizing health, are evident. In some postures, the subjects open their mouths to breathe but also seem to smile, their mouths turned upwards and their eyes both concentrating and enjoying the moment they are in.

Recreating the Beauty of Ancient Chinese Art

Art in itself can be a means of healing. It can inspire one to lead a healthier lifestyle and aspire to a higher ideal of health - a holistic, all-encompassing state of body and mind, one in which Qi is unblocked. If you wish to follow the example laid out in ancient Chinese art, begin by drawing the human face and body, paying special attention to proportion and perspective. If you are a beginner to drawing and you wish to express pain, joy, peace, and other qualities through the eyes, take advantage of online resources to hone the basics of eye sketching. Basic steps include making and joining curved lines, adding the iris, and adding color and details. As your skills improve, you can start to include more people in your drawings and create more sophisticated compositions.



Photo by volc xia on Unsplash


Following the Examples Set in Ancient Chinese Art

You can also visit exhibitions featuring medical and health subjects to enlighten you on how to lead a healthier life. From studying the different positions and breathing techniques of qi gong right through to learning more about healing herbs, diet, and traditional medicines, you can balance the vital force of energy within you and feel more invigorated. In this state, it is easier to embrace creativity in everything from your work to your leisure time.

Art and science have a strong link and nowhere is this more evident than in highly praised objects of ancient Chinese art. The latter displays suffering, treatment, and healing methods. It also shows the importance of breathing and exercise to strengthen the body and enable Qi to flow as it needs to.


Featured image photo by Lisanto 李奕良 on Unsplash - photo from Sanxia District, New Taipei City, Taiwan


Using Traditional Chinese Medicine To Heal Common Gardening Injuries

Using Traditional Chinese Medicine To Heal Common Gardening Injuries

By Sally Perkins

Gardening has become a favorite hobby worldwide as a study indicates that in 2020, over 20 million novice gardeners began planting and digging in the soil for the first time in their lives. Not only has it become a great pastime and stress-reliever, but gardening has also enabled many individuals to grow their own food in their backyard. Though gardening has multiple benefits for physical and mental health, it also comes with its own set of hazards that can lead to injuries and various body aches and pains. Fortunately, there are ancient Chinese remedies that you can use to deal with these various injuries and have a pain-free time in the garden.


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

For cuts and scrapes

Getting injured in the garden is a common occurrence for both novice and seasoned gardeners. In fact, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand notes that emergency rooms treat more than 400,000 gardening-related accidents each year. Some of the most common injuries include cuts and scrapes, and while most cases may not warrant a trip to the hospital, they still need to be looked after to prevent infection. The ancient Chinese typically used a combination of four plant-derived ingredients, which are agrimony, sacred lotus, frankincense, and cattail pollen, to heal wounds. You can find a pulverized version of these four ingredients in Chinese herbal stores and apply the mixture to cuts, scrapes and wounds to speed up healing and reduce scar formation.  You may also use powdered Yunnan Baiyao to treat bleeding cuts or wounds to prevent further blood loss. Just make sure to clean the wound or scrapes thoroughly before applying the powder to minimize the risk of infection.

Photo by Brian Patrick Tagalog on Unsplash

For sunburn

Gardeners are at a high risk for sunburn. Not only can it lead to pain and discomfort, but constant and prolonged exposure to the sun may also cause skin aging and skin cancer. To prevent sunburn, it's important to apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before going outside. Gardeners should also have a shady spot in the garden where they can rest and seek respite from the hot sun. Consider creating a sitting area under a shady tree by installing a comfortable hammock, then add a small table where you can put drinks or a bottle of water so you can hydrate while you rest. If you do get a sunburn though, there are several things you can do to relieve the pain.

Traditional Chinese medicine views sunburn to be a condition wherein damp heat is trapped in the skin, and it's usually treated with a combination of topical herb therapy, rehydration, and acupuncture to release the trapped heat. For a sunburn, TCM practitioners often recommend eating cooling foods such as celery, cucumber, watermelon, pears, and cantaloupes. Drinking a glass of water every hour, as well as some green tea and calendula tea, is also recommended to repair skin cell damage from sunburn. A topical application of aloe vera gel mixed with crushed dandelion greens is also used to soothe redness and pain.

Gardening is a healthy hobby that can benefit your life in so many ways. Though it does come with some hazards, you can stay safe and have an enjoyable time in your backyard by staying hydrated, protecting yourself from the sun, and using tools carefully. Should you get scrapes, cuts, or a sunburn while gardening, consider using traditional Chinese medicine to heal your skin, and always consult a professional before using any herbal remedies.

Photo by Jordan Wozniak on Unsplash


Featured image photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash


This Is How Nightmares Are Linked To Brain Creativity

By Tiffany Harper

Etymologically speaking, the word ‘nightmare’ is weird itself. It's obvious why it has a night in it, but there's a history to the mare part of the word. ‘Mare’ was the word used to describe demons thought to people during their sleep in old English. So the word 'nightmare' originally was a term used to describe spirits. It was much later that it was used to refer to dreams these demons caused.

This term has remained, even in our modern world; however, there seems to be a new twist to the whole idea of nightmares. There's more to nightmares, and they may indicate something in people. According to psychologist Michelle Carr, who works on dreams at the Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine, University Of Montreal, there are two dominant theories to explain nightmares. The first is that nightmares are a reaction to some negative experiences people have during their waking hours. The second one is the ‘threat simulation theory.’ This is the idea that humans evolved to have nightmares to prepare them for future adversity, so when something terrible happens in real life, they can handle it much better.

 

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

It’s hard to say if nightmares are rehearsals for negative real-life experiences. However, one thing that has been noted is that nightmares have benefits for those that have to live and fight through them in their sleep. According to a study, as stated in college paper reports in 2013 [1], people that suffer from frequent nightmares tend to be more empathetic towards others in real life. They also tend to mirror other people unconsciously in different ways, like contagious yawning, which studies have revealed is a good indicator of empathy. Meanwhile, Carr's studies [2] have found that people that have nightmares constantly tend to think outside of the box when dealing with word-association tasks. There has also been other research to support the idea that there's a link between nightmares and creativity in people. A previous study by Ernest Hartmann, a sleep researcher, and psychiatrist at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, during the 1980s, discovered that people that seek therapy for nightmares didn’t do it because they were more anxious or fearful, but because they were generally sensitive to all emotional experiences. According to him, the driving force for intense dreams is sensitivity. When a person’s sensitivity is heightened towards fear or threat during the day, they're likely to have nightmares and bad dreams. In the same way, if a person has their passion or excitement heightened during the day, they may have intense positive dreams. It's also possible that both forms of dreams find their way into the person’s waking life and may increase their distress after a nightmare or promote their empathy and social bonding after positive dreams.

 


Photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash

There are still other effects to this. During Hartmann’s study, he found that people's sensitivity spills into their thoughts and perceptions. So, people that have experienced nightmares constantly also experience some dreamlike qualities in their waking thoughts. This is the kind of thinking that gives them an edge and heightens their creativity. Studies reveal that people like this may have higher artistic expression and creative aptitude. This is something that Carr confirmed in her research with two of her subjects, Chris and Jess, scoring exceptionally high on a boundary thinness scale, which was a test measuring their artistic expression and creative aptitude. It comes as no surprise that both of them are artists. Chris is a musician, while Jess is a photographer and painter. As nature likes to balance things up, Carr also discovered in her research [3] that people that experience frequent nightmares also have a higher tendency to experience positive dreams than other people. There is evidence pointing to the idea that instead of interfering with their normal activity, people that unfortunately suffer from lots of nightmares also have an opposite dream life that’s as vivid, positive and creative, as they have the terrifying and distressing one as well. It’s also interesting to note that their imaginative richness isn't confined to when they’re asleep alone. It permeates through to their daydreams and waking thoughts. So after these people shake off the demon and wake up from their nightmares, there are still traces of it left behind, which they possess throughout the day. As Carr admitted, these new views of nightmares have their roots in the work of Dr. Hartmann and his research associate, Dr. Van Der Kolk. Their research found that nightmares play a role in a person’s mental life, even though they were more speculative with their conclusions at the time. During their research, they studied 50 women and men reported to have at least a nightmare per week since childhood. These subjects were recruited through an ad in the Boston newspapers.

Photo by Martin Látal on Unsplash

The commonest nightmares that people had were being chased, hurt, or threatened by someone or something. However, unlike ordinary dreams, nightmares mostly come in colors and also have other sensations that are very vivid, like pain that people rarely experience in ordinary dreams. One thing that struck Dr. Hartmann was that many of the research subjects had trauma-free childhood. From his research, he indicated that when a disturbing incident occurred very early in the subjects’ lives, such as being raped or mugged, that incident found its way into their nightmares for weeks. It combined with old themes before fading out later. Traumatic incidents
like that caused them to have frequent nightmares for a while, just like other stresses like having a hard time at work or school. In his view, one thing that stood out for him significantly is that the nightmare sufferer has a general personality. People like this are primarily defenseless and open and have failed to develop the psychological protection most people have. According to him, they have what he called thin boundaries. As a result, they’re likely to let things through. The majority of his study subjects also described themselves as being unusually sensitive from their childhood. They’re hurt easily and particularly more responsive to other people’s feelings.
They weren’t happy as children even when they weren’t experiencing any family problems. It was also common among them that some of their relatives were hospitalized for schizophrenia, and even some of the subjects themselves claimed to be schizophrenic. These are why Dr. Hartmann proposed that people who continue to suffer from constant nightmares through their adolescence have a greater risk of suffering schizophrenia. When reporting his study in an article for The American Journal of Psychiatry, he wrote that his study subjects were not particularly anxious and weren’t neurotic. However, he also noted that his subjects are biologically vulnerable to schizophrenia, but most of them hadn't developed any chronic mental illness signs. According to him, the same factors that set these people apart and make them more susceptible to suffering mental illnesses have also allowed them to be more creative in pursuing activities in the arts. This will enable them to use their vulnerability, openness, and sensitivity more positively and creatively. Dr. Hartmann’s study subjects included people mainly in creative arts, such as musicians, poets, movement therapists, and art therapists. However, many of the other people saw themselves as artists somehow even though they were doing other things to support themselves. This was the first link between nightmares and brain creativity before Michelle Carr’s more recent work. There has also been other research over the years to support this claim. So, the next time you find yourself trying to escape from zombies in your movie, wake up and remember that you can put that energy into creative use.


Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash


Featured image Photo by Soundtrap on Unsplash


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.


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.

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

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

Photo by Ashley Byrd on Unsplash

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.


Featured image photo by bruce mars on Unsplash 


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

Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash

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

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

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

Photo by Freepik


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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Featured Image Photo by Freepik


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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.


Beautiful featured image photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash


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.


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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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