Critical Health News

Not Just Stretching, The 8 Limbs Of Yoga

Yoga

When most of us hear the word yoga, we visualize super bendy, gooey-muscled gurus and impossible contorted poses. If we know a little more, we may think of relaxation or centering and strengthening. While it’s true that yoga can be all of these things, just 5 or 10 minutes of daily yoga can relax both body and mind, releasing tension that accumulates in the muscles, and pacifying an overworked brain. In actuality, yoga is so much more.

The term “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word for unification, as in to “yoke” or connect. Yoga was originally intended to describe a complete physical, emotional, mental and spiritual practice that linked of these four aspects of being. Historically, this connection was solidified by activities that consisted of 8 fundamental elements which, when they were exercised regularly and consciously, were said to support and promote a joyful and actualized life through moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline. This eightfold path, called Ashtanga – which literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb) – directs our minds toward our health and well-being, while helping us acknowledge all aspects of our nature and the nature of others.

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Can Cheese Increase Your Lifespans?

These days, most folks are aware that there are good and bad fats. Avocadoes, olives, nuts and seeds containing healthful Omega 3s and 6s are widely recognized as beneficial, while we've been told to avoid fried, hydrogenated and processed fats. For many, dairy is also verboten; Often patients are advised to stay away from milk and cheese, which are considered fodder foods for clogged arteries and heart disease. They are, we're told, high in so-called “saturated fat” (the “bad” kind), and they’re loaded with sodium, blamed for circulatory issues, hypertension and kidney problems.

But, as with all subjects that are “common knowledge”, things are not always so simple. Sure, it’s true that homogenized saturated fats are considered a cause of heart disease, the salt they contain may throw off electrolyte balances and swell blood volume burdening microscopic renal capillaries, but these foods also contain quality protein and beneficial minerals that are important for building muscles, bones and blood vessels, for strengthening the immune system, and for optimum functioning of the brain and nervous system.

Now, as it turns out, there’s a new dairy nutrient kid on the block. It’s found to be particularly abundant in cheese. According to a recent article published in the December 2016 edition of the journal Nature Medicine, eating enough of this nutrient may improve heart health and help you live longer too!

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Health Warnings In Fingernails

Fingernails

We humans love our nails. We spend nearly 8 billion dollars a year on those hard dead shell like materials on the tips of our fingers and toes. While adorning them with polish, varnish and even art may imply “cosmetic” and “superficial”, as it turns out, their condition, for better or worse, is a function of the entire body, and if you’re observant you can tell a lot about overall physical health by looking at the nails.

Technically speaking, nails are an extension of the skin. They’re a modified version of the epidermis, the top layer that composes about 10 percent of the body’s largest organ. Although it may look like one uniform structure, in reality, the nail (like the skin) is composed of numerous layers lying atop of each other. In fact, the average fingernail is composed of 25 of these ultra-thin slices that fuse into a firm, slightly elastic form by the action of microscopic threads called keratin. This is what gives them remarkable resilience and horse-hoof like strength. Keratin is a hard, flexible protein substance that is a common feature of hooves, horns, antlers, as well as the outer sheath that coats human hair. In addition to keratin, nails contain lots of minerals too, including: Iron, Carbon, Magnesium, Selenium, Silica, Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Sulfur and Oxygen, all of which contribute to their characteristic qualities. Interestingly the nail appendage (technically called the “nail organ”) also contains small amounts of the well-known cosmetic ingredient called glycolic acid, which acts to trap water and assure hydration.

Because of their rapid growth (healthy fingernails grow up to 4mm a month) the nails are an accurate portal into the inside of the body. While the eyes may be the window to the soul, the nails can be thought of as windows to your biochemistry. There’s a lot of information a good health care professional can glean from their appearance.

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Rosacea: More Than Skin Deep

Rosacea

Rosacea is a distressing and psychologically debilitating skin condition that affects an astounding 16 million or 5 percent of Americans. If you believe recent reports from the National Rosacea Society (NRS), the figures may be even worse. In a Harvard Medical School study, NRS researchers found a prevalence rate for rosacea of 16 percent in Caucasian women and an overall rosacea incidence of nearly 10 percent ina total population that also included Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians and Indians.

Rosacea, a Latin term that can be defined as “rose-colored”, shows up as redness on the cheeks and nasal area, although it sometimes involves oily skin, at which point it acquires the moniker “seborrhea”. In some especially unfortunate patients, blemishes and pustules can form and the skin around the nose can become thickened. Even more disturbing is rosacea that affects the eye, a condition that can result in ocular dryness, grittiness and a burning sensation. Still, despite it’s appearance, rosacea is best thought of not as a skin or eye problem, but rather as a circulatory one. This should be obvious, as the dilated blood vessels that are the featured characteristic of the rosacea patient, are located, not on top of the skin, but rather in the blood vessels located in the deeper tissues below.

Still, dermatologists and estheticians, as well as their patients, address the surface of the skin as the main target of therapies to alleviate the distressing ruddiness of rosacea. If you go to a skin care professional to treat the condition, more than likely, you’re going to leave with a prescription or suggestion for a topical cream or lotion, most often an antibiotic and occasionally an anti-inflammatory steroid. Sometimes laser therapy is suggested and occasionally exfoliation and skin peels are used. Recently, a pharmaceutical company called Foamix announced, with great fanfare, the results of a study on a new product called FMX 103, that showed a “statistically significant” reduction in lesions and pustules of rosacea patients. FMX 103 is a patented foaming, retooled version of minocycline, an old-time antibiotic that has been used to treat various skin conditions for 50 years.

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