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Foods that improve brain activity

Posted by mandyf on November 30, 2012

Foods that can boost you brain power are all around you and good for your body as well. Some of them even taste pretty good so you don’t have to worry about eating a can of lima beans everyday trying to keep those neurons firing at peak capacity. Of course what some people find tasty may seem pretty nasty to others, but by trying out some of the following foods you’ll be giving your brain and body a treat without spending much money or any special recipes.

One of the best and easiest ways to start your day off is with a breakfast consisting of orange juice and whole grain cereal. Both have plenty of folic acid which helps you process information faster and boosts your memory as well. Other sources of folic acid are lentils, soybeans, green peas, and broccoli. Those work just as well but don’t really taste as good or make for a great breakfast usually, but they are suited for any other meal during the day.

A McLean Hospital study which is an affiliate of Harvard University has discovered in recent studies that citicoline boosts mental energy and efficacy. They say it takes 500mg per day to reach a beneficial value which is a bit high and why they recommend a supplement, but if you want to get it all natural there are options. Choline which is converted to citicoline in the brain can be found in cauliflower and peanuts. As peanuts are a perfect on the go snack and a good source of protein as well they are usually considered the most likely natural source for citicoline.

Salmon and sardines are chock full of omega3 fatty acids which have long been touted as a great memory booster. If you’re not much on either of those fish, as many people aren’t, you can try herring or mackerel. The best thing is you only need one serving per week to reap the benefits and “think” up to three years younger according to a Rush University Medical Center Study.

According to a medical study conducted by Harvard University which ran for 25 years, one of the best ways to boost brain power is to eat plenty of vegetables, the more the better in fact. According to their findings, the 13,000 women whom participated in the study that regularly ate sprouts, spinach, and broccoli did in fact test better on studies regarding memory and processing speed than those who did not. The best results tended to belong to the women that ate the most vegetables so enjoy a salad at lunch (or anytime) and you are on your way to a sharper mind.

A final way to boost brainpower by adjusting your diet is to take in plenty of antioxidants. The antioxidants are very simple to get because they are found in natural snacks like plums, grapes, and berries. It is important to get a dose of these everyday because they come with the added bonus of containing anthocyanin which researchers believe may help slow down and possibly even reverse age related memory loss. Try to stick to blueberries, dark grapes, and even red apples to pack in the most benefits possible.

Eating healthy to boost brain power is simple and it doesn’t mean you have to eat things that taste bad or are expensive. Just try to make a point to get in a little bit of each group each day and in no time you, and likely others as well, will notice the difference.

By Amanda Fox


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Everything you need to know about vaginal rejuvenation

Posted by mandyf on November 27, 2012

Vaginal rejuvenation is a cosmetic procedure which is coming into play with regular women more and more with each passing year. As it is something that many people still consider to be quite novel there are plenty of misconceptions as to what can and cannot be done to enhance the look and sensation in this area. While vaginal rejuvenation is technically considered a cosmetic procedure, thanks in large part to insurance companies, the possibilities go well beyond the basic and dip into the exotic.

To keep things as simple as possible we will go step by step into an exploration of what can be done, how it is done, and what you can reasonably expect. Figures for the cost of the procedures will not be provided as they vary too wildly depending on the surgeon and where they are located. Also please keep in mind that vaginal rejuvenation procedures are serious and not necessarily for everyone and full caution should be taken with any procedure, which particularly means choosing a reputable board certified surgeon.

Vaginal rejuvenation can best be described as procedures designed to strengthen and increase support of the pelvic region including the pelvic floor muscles as well as the vaginal walls. Exterior procedures include such things as labiaplasty. A somewhat newer twist on vaginal rejuvenation is G-Spot enhancement which is designed to provide women the possibility of better orgasms through better stimulation, although only temporary. At this point, the procedures designed to strengthen and tighten the vagina and pelvic region that have gone through child birth, weakening after surgery, and the general impact of aging are the most popular.

Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation (LVR) is an outpatient procedure that generally takes no more than two hours to complete. The main focus of the procedure is to enhance sexual experiences by tightening the vaginal walls. The purpose of this is that with a tighter vagina friction is increased which creates a more pleasurable experience for both the woman and her partner. LVR does this by enhancing muscle tone after vaginal relaxation has allowed things downstairs to loosen up. The perineal body is strengthened or re-supported as well to further increase the overall effect.

From a historic perspective LVR is actually an offshoot of a procedure that was designed as a gynecological procedure to treat stress created by urinary incontinence. The procedure was tweaked to make this a minimally invasive procedure in which the pinpoint control of the a laser could be used to stimulate the muscles to tighten after this was observed as a somewhat temporary “side effect” of the procedure for urinary incontinence. The benefits of the procedure aside from the tightening of the muscles is that it is fairly quick, there is very little blood loss, and the healing is very quick. It is not a permanent procedure as the vaginal muscles may relax again over time, but it is considered a fairly long lasting procedure depending on a persons sexual practices.

Labiaplasty (Also known as Vulvar Surgery or VS) is the reshaping of the labia minora which is the exterior vaginal skin which hoods the clitoris and covers the vaginal opening. The reasons women have a labiaplasty are numerous, but the two most common are to allow sex to be more comfortable, or to address any negative attitudes they may have about the appearance of their vagina. In the case of women with a prominent labia minora intercourse can at times be painful, so in their case the decision is fairly obvious. So far as aesthetics go, some women just do not like the way their vagina looks and feel that a nip and tuck here and there will make a big difference in their own self perception of their anatomy.

While the overwhelming majority of women have a reduction of the labia, there are at times scattered instances in which the labia is increased, but this is an extreme rarity outside of the transsexual community die to the need for skin grafts and the relative lack of spongysium tissue to work with. Labiaplasty is an outpatient procedure in which little pain beyond anything that would be considered minor has been reported by most women. As there are few complications most women can rerun to work or normal activities after a bout 5 days with sexual activity being possible within 4-6 weeks in most cases. The procedure itself is about an hour long and is performed under general anesthesia. With the advances that have been made in cosmetic surgery just in the past decade alone the overall look that is achieved can be highly individualized and still look completely natural.

The technical aspects of a labiaplasty (reduction) general flows along the following pattern. The labia minora is is reduced to adjust symmetry so that the exterior look is as normal as possible making sure there is little or no “hanging” of the lips or too exaggerated an overlap. Any portion that may interfere with the clitoris aside from the natural hood is reduced, and under certain circumstances

the clitoral hood itself may be reduced as well. There is minimal scarring but in general they are not visible unless someone is clued into looking for them. The sensitivity does remain barring the slim possibility of infection that may potentially cause necrotic flesh. After surgery you will need to wear a pad and the application of ice to the area during the first 5 days after surgery is suggested to help with any swelling issues.

Hymenoplasty is also referred to at times by the slang “re-virgination.” While some find this to be an ethically questionable procedure due to the manner it is marketed, for the most part it is hardly a major issue. This is as near to a purely “me” procedure as there is since it really does little to improve a persons sex life and nothing or the outwardly cosmetic appearance of the vagina. In general the reason a person has this procedure is to attempt to meet religious or societal beliefs and pressures. In general most women who seek this do so prior to marriage as what many feel is an attempt to present themselves as virgins. This is a procedure which is not reviewed in teaching facilities or during residencies, yet as it increases in popularity, this may change before long.

The procedure itself is very simple and generally takes less than one hour under general anesthesia. It involves nothing more than laying a track of dissolving stitches to reconnect the skin membrane that covered vaginal opening prior to it being broken. The pain involved is considered minimal and the recovery time is about 6 weeks in most patients. The end result if the procedure is that it allows for a second breaking of the hymen which will include the pain and bleeding that was experienced the first time all over again.

Finally there is G-Spot Amplification which is designed to heighten the sexual experience for the woman. Technically speaking this isn’t really a surgery so much as it is a shot of a human bioengineered collagen product. The shot is considered painless and is performed under local anesthesia in a doctors office. The injection itself takes about 8 seconds to administer in which a tailored dose of collagen is delivered directly to the G-Spot. The procedure start to finish usually takes no more than 15 minutes, most of which is administering and waiting for the local to take effect. The shot then increases the size of the G-Spot to something about the size of a U.S. quarter with a projection from it that is about 3-5mm. The shot generally lasts as long as 4 months, but if a woman would like to maintain the benefits of this it is suggested they repeat the procedure every three months. At this point no complications have been noted about the G-Spot shot.

At this time these are the most common vaginal rejuvenation procedures which are taking place. In the future more may follow. Please do take these procedures seriously as any procedure you put your body through has the potential for complications. Make sure you have an up to date physical and expect that a pre-screening will be necessary before any of these are approved. Vaginal rejuvenation is not for everyone, just as breast implants are not for everyone, and is a highly personal choice so do what you feel is best for you and you alone, after all it is your body.

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Be healthy, not a size: Body Image and young women

Posted by mandyf on November 8, 2012

Carrie Eckles presents an account of her own story about body image and how it has impacted the way she has thought and felt over the years and many changes. Body image is a touchy subject, particularly for young women, and Carrie pulls no punches about how hard it can be. This is an article that is thought provoking and deserves full attention which is why I am sharing it here – it needs to be read, digested and read again to grasp the enormity of this issue. We only have one body, and we have to remember that size does not equate to health or happiness necessarily.

“Human beings are constantly barraged with images and notions of how we should be. Those suggestions come from a variety of places, but the big three scream the loudest: family, friends, and the media. And no human is as susceptible to the preconceived notion of how one should feel, look, and be than the adolescent female.

I was born skinny. My mother ate like a pig throughout her pregnancy, but I still came into the world weighing only 5lbs and 15oz. Throughout my childhood, I was the skinniest one in class. It was just who I was. I was constantly picked on for being a “runt” or looking like a “little rat”. Even teachers would refer to me as “that little beanpole”. I was constantly and incessantly teased. Some people meant well; others truly wanted to be cruel. One girl was convinced my parents didn’t feed me and would watch me eat my school lunch to make sure I was getting proper nutrition.”

Please read this full post Being Every Size: The Demons of Body Image as it is important for not just women, but men to understand this.

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The truth about sugar and its effect on health

Posted by mandyf on October 27, 2012

By the year 2000, the average American was ingesting about 145 pounds of sugar each year without realizing their intake was so high or how consuming so much sugar could impact their overall health. When you consider that since around 1900 the average individual consumption of sugar is up by nearly 2800% this is an issue that does merit examination as it is considered one of the most drastic and significant changes in the diet of Americans over the past century. Some of the ways sugar can effect the health of an individual are well known, while others are a little less publicized.

As a small background to the issue of sugar in our diet, sugar has always been been a staple of the diets of most Americans born in the last 100 years. In prior centuries however, sugar was not as common and had been considered both a treat and just one of many sweetening alternatives along with honey and extracts from fruit which have been noted as used for this purpose for at least some 5,000 years. Sugar itself is a sucrose which is the combination of one fructose and one glucose molecule. The body can directly use glucose, and glucose is the only sugar that can be said of. Fructose on the other hand is converted into glycogen and stored in the liver for use by the body at a later time. This is best demonstrated when the liver detects a drop in the blood sugar level and converts glycogen into glucose to return balance to the blood sugar level.

Examining how this all impacts health is a fairly easy journey to take. For starters the average human should have about 80 calories of glucose, which is equivalent to about three teaspoons, in the bloodstream with an additional 300 calories stored as glycogen in the liver. The body holds about another 100,000 calories on standby stored in body fat which can be converted to glucose as needed. The interchangeability of of converting fats to sugars and vice versa is what keeps the body running without crashes and unsafe spikes. Too much stored sugars and the body begins packing on excess weight which leads to a myriad of potential health issues.

Consider the impact of ingesting just a single 100 calorie soda with four teaspoons of sugar on the body. Immediately two to three teaspoons of that sugar go directly to the bloodstream creating what we call a sugar rush because it doubles the normal blood sugar level. The pancreas responds by by releasing insulin to absorb the excess sugar and convert it to glycogen in the liver. The problem is the

liver is likely at capacity already so the transfer is then re-routed to storage in fat which can lead to obesity because the there will be more stored glycogen than the body has demand or need for.

On a continual basis, sugar intakes following the above pattern can lead to Insulin Resistance Syndrome (IRS) and diabetes. It begins taking the body the production of more and more insulin to keep blood sugar levels in check. As such the pancreas continues produces insulin leading to too much blood sugar being converted which causes hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. As a side note some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia are anxiety, cravings for sweets, tiredness, and anxiety. Eventually the pancreas will stop producing insulin which which results in Type II Diabetes. When you then team this with the fact that by this time an individual is also likely dealing with obesity, heart disease usually follows because of course the heart has been forced to work harder which can lead to heart attacks or strokes.

Then the impact of sugar on other areas of the body like the mouth have to be examined. Sugar is cited as the main cause of dental decay and gum disease. No matter how good a job a person does brushing their teeth and using fluoride, a large intake of sugar can lead to these problems and is usually only slowed down by practicing good oral hygiene. Of course the mouth is not the only area of the body which can be damaged by too much sugar in a diet on a regular basis.

Research has shown, although not to any absolute full agreement among all parties concerned yet, that some cancer cells thrive on glucose, and that some cancer therapies are improved by starving cancer cells of glucose. It is further known that the brain runs on a bit over 300 calories a day. When hypoglycemia occurs, the brain fails to operate at its peak causing brain cells, nerves and muscles to fatigue. This can lead to irritability, nervousness, being faint, and its worst paranoia, neurotic behavior, and a bad temper.

There is no denying that sugar is essential to life, without it a person would die in minutes. There is also no denying that as a whole Americans are consuming sugar at an unhealthy rate and that this over consumption will lead to significant health problems both long and short term for many people. In the final analysis there is a need to watch how much sugar is taken by a person because the long term scenario for a person with a continued high sugar diet can lead to a ripple effect which may lead to a shorter and more difficult lifespan which could easily be avoided.


The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth About Weight Loss, Health and Aging. Diane Schwarzbein/Nancy Devile ISBN 1-5587468-0-3

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Body Image and young women

Posted by mandyf on September 16, 2012

This is  very raw look at what it means to be a woman of different body sizes and how it not only has an impact on the self-image, but how others view an individual as well. It is touching, very real and extremely thought provoking. I ask that you please click through to read this young woman’s account that details these points and how she came to peace with being a woman of many different sizes.


“Human beings are constantly barraged with images and notions of how we should be. Those suggestions come from a variety of places, but the big three scream the loudest: family, friends, and the media. And no human is as susceptible to the preconceived notion of how one should feel, look, and be than the adolescent female.

I was born skinny. My mother ate like a pig throughout her pregnancy, but I still came into the world weighing only 5lbs and 15oz. Throughout my childhood, I was the skinniest one in class. It was just who I was. I was constantly picked on for being a “runt” or looking like a “little rat”. Even teachers would refer to me as “that little beanpole”. I was constantly and incessantly teased. Some people meant well; others truly wanted to be cruel. One girl was convinced my parents didn’t feed me and would watch me eat my school lunch to make sure I was getting proper nutrition.”

Being Every Size: The Demons of Body Image

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Common allergy myths: What is and is not true about allergies

Posted by mandyf on September 11, 2012

Seasonal allergies are on the rise, and no amount of clean living has changed that. It was only a mere 40 or so years ago that many allergists believed people were born with allergies or they weren’t, and it was just that simple. You had hay fever or you didn’t. You were allergic to pollen or you weren’t. By the mid 1970’s that way of thinking had been pretty thoroughly tossed on the scrap heap and an new way of looking at allergies was born. Even with much passage of time, there are many misconceptions about allergies.

Allergists don’t deny that genetics does play a role in allergies, but they now also realize that environment is a factor as well. They don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle to provide a definitive answer as to why some people are allergic to things others are not, or why some people develop allergies late in life while others seem to get over them after years of suffering. As allergists them self are unsure of so many things still, many myths about allergies have survived because they seem to make sense, and all things considered, it’s no wonder.

Many people believe that allergy shots only work on children. This goes back to the 1960’s when allergists believed that the adult immune system was for the most part impervious to any for of inoculation against allergies. Actually, many even felt the same held true for children. The truth is that inoculations can work at any age, the key researchers discovered is the routine. One shot is not going to do anything on its own. In about 85% of people that suffer from hay fever for instance that follow a program, they do get some relief.

The amount of relief is variable, but anyone suffering from severe allergies will tell you anything is an improvement. A typical program would include either one or two shots per week that gradually increase the amount of allergen a person is exposed to for about 6 months. Once that phase is complete a person typically needs a maintenance shot every 3 weeks or so for perhaps as many as 4 to 5 years. At some point though, many people build a tolerance for exposure to the allergen so that when they encounter it naturally it no longer causes a pronounced reaction, or in some cases any reaction at all.

A very persistent allergy myth is that of you are allergic to something, it is just that one specific thing that can trigger the allergy. For example, if you are allergic to the pollen from birch trees, you may think that only that specific pollen in the air will trigger your allergy. The reality is any fruit from a birch tree can trigger that reaction just as easily.

Similarly, proteins found in the skins of certain foods can trigger an allergic reaction. An allergy to ragweed could be triggered by sunflower seeds, cucumber, or even chamomile tea. This definitely is not true concerning everyone, but it is something to be aware of as you can go years unaffected and then out of the blue it triggers your allergies.

One of the biggest allergy myths is that you shouldn’t use any allergy medication until symptoms present them self. In actuality, you should be looking forward and being proactive whenever possible. Allergy medication will work after exposure has taken place, just not as effectively. To get the maximum potential benefit of an allergy medication it should be in your system before exposure as it will desensitize you to the allergen.

The science behind this is that when you experience an allergic reaction to pollen for instance, that means that trace amounts have entered your respiratory tract. The pollen aggravates your system and histamines and leukotrienes are released which is what sneezing, runny noses, itchy eyes, and the full arsenal of general discomfort. By taking the appropriate allergy medication in advance of exposure you prevent histamines and leukotrienes from being released and avoid or greatly reduce any reactive symptoms.

Another fallacy is that you do not develop new allergies as an adult. The fact is allergies can develop at any time, and they can subside at any time just as easily. In fact ins some cases a child may have terrible bouts with an allergy only to seemingly be “cured” from them in the their early adult years. The kicker is those allergies can and often will return later in life. There is in some regards no rhyme or reason as to why this happens in such a seemingly random fashion at this time, but many allergists believe I they can isolate exactly why this phenomena is possible they may be able to learn how to curb many allergies permanently.

The biggest myth of all perhaps is that if you live a clean life – that means you compulsively clean – you will not develop allergies. The truth is that is nowhere near true. That doesn’t mean you should live in a pig sty, cleanliness is a good thing, but it is not going to end allergies unless for example you live in a bubble. In actuality, a little bit of exposure to allergens is a good thing because it helps build your immunity to them.

With that said, cleaning alone is not going to remove allergens from your home if you are not using the right equipment. You can vacuum 24/7 and it won’t make any difference if the allergens are being re-deposited all over your home through the exhaust. If you use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, you really only need to vacuum one or two times a week. Just keeping your windows closed can drastically cut down on the amount of allergens in your home. You do not need to be Felix Unger to keep your home primarily free of allergens.

Studies into allergies have made significant advances over the last decade and should continue to do so. If you have never dealt with allergies before and think you may be for the first time, check for a few symptoms to see if you have allergies or if you are sick

* Your eyes, nose and throat are itchy
* Check your nasal discharge – is it clear runny and thin?
* have the symptoms been present for two or more weeks?

If you answered yes to the above questions the odds are very strong you have an allergy. Before treating it yourself with over the counter medication, you may want to strongly consider visiting an allergists who can perform a test to pinpoint specifically what you are allergic to and make sure you get the proper treatment for it.

http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/ allergies/basics/083.html
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/allergic-reacti on-causes
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/allergic_reaction/art icle_em.htm
http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues /conditions/allergies-asthma/pages/Allergy-Causes.as px?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token

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The abuse of Xanax among teens

Posted by mandyf on September 2, 2012

The abuse of Xanax among teens is a problem rapidly growing out of control. Xanax is a benzodiazapine primarily used for treating anxiety disorders. While when used properly it is highly effective it can become habit forming. When abused the effects are far more gruesome and take a tremendous toll on the mind and body, especially those which are still growing.

Xanax produces a tipsy type of effect in many users which is not much unlike what one might expect after having a few drinks. As such it lowers the users level of anxiety and in proper the proper dose allows the person to function at a reasonably normal level. Xanax is also used as a rescue medication for persons suffering from panic attacks. In a low dose immediate delivery at an attacks onset has a bit of a “magic bullet” effect nullifying much of the effects of the attack. With such broad uses and it’s consideration as a fairly harmless drug under FDA classification it is widely available.

The wide availability of Xanax makes it what we call a medicine cabinet drug in that for most teens it isn’t something they have to search for on the street but rather something many can easily find at home. This fairly ready availability combined with the combination of effects it can deliver ranging from easing tension to providing a feeling of inebriation of sorts makes this incredibly attractive to teens. it is so attractive in fact that as of 2000 the abuse of Xanax by teens was outweighing abuse by adults.

The next problem is Xanax along with it’s generic counterparts are easily obtainable on-line. For a teen with little more than a debit card and an address there are some pharmacies that will issue a “prescription” and fill that so long as the payment clears. This is a problem with most prescription medications not just Xanax. The Regulating agencies often have trouble keeping up with those operating illegitimately and when one closes another seemingly opens. Even though the person placing the fraudulent order faces legal penalties if caught this usually fails to scare a teen who wants drugs.

The trickle down effect of this is that it becomes available on the street at a low enough price a single dose is often cheaper than a bus fare. As such this is easily obtainable for even the youngest of teens, especially when compared to street drugs sold by quantity or that have to be illegally manufactured. With this incredible supply of Xanax available through so many venues at prices low enough for any teen to afford the problem is getting worse every year with no relief in sight.

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The worst conditioners for your hair

Posted by mandyf on August 17, 2012

The worst conditioners for your hair on the market may be a surprise to you, in fact they may be in your bathroom right now! Most people fall into the trap of going with a name brand or the highest price product on the store shelf assuming it will be the best. What all too often winds up happening is people get a poor product in a great package that still leaves there hair greasy, oily, and flat. In order to help avoid buying one of the conditioners that has been lowest rated by Total Beauty they are presented here for you. Take note, just because a conditioner is one of the lowest rated does not mean it will not work for some people, just that for most it has been found to be less than effective.

At number ten is Garnier Fructis Fortifying Curl and Shine Cream Conditioner. While Garnier is usually known for excellent products, this one is rated as a dud. The most common complaints are that while it does a good job of controlling the frizzies, it weighs hair down leaving it flat and and according to some respondents actually seems to make their hair get oily faster. If your willing to trade flat heavy hair that gets oily for a cure for the frizzies, by all means go with this conditioner.

Dove Advanced Care Conditioner looks like another dud. The bottle advertises “sheer moisture” but must people with dry hair said this did absolutely nothing for them but cost five bucks. Other complaints are that it does nothing to soften hair or fight the frizzies, and that it smells bad. Really bad. Enough that some wouldn’t use it even if it did everything promised on the bottle.

The eighth worst rated is the Aveda Blue Malva color conditioner which carries a price tag of $17! The claim of this conditioner is hat it will neutralize brassy tones, however the feedback is that it doesn’t do any such thing. Some respondents said that using a very large amount that if left to sit for five minutes or more does somewhat work, just not very well. What everyone seems to agree on however is that it does a great job of staining the tub or sink with a nice gray color that is no fun trying to remove.

TIGI Bedhead Control Freak Conditioner makes an appearance here by failing to control much of anything. The bottle looks great and at $12 it should because this will never sell based on the conditioner being any good. The most commons complaints are heavy hair and oily roots. Some people even claimed it made their hair hold a static charge because it dried out so quickly. Whatever this conditioner is doing, conditioning isn’t too high up on the list.

At $8.75 the vegan Lush Veganese is supposed to be a green persons best friend in the hair care department as evidenced by it’s $9 average cost. The problem is most people said this dried their hair out and left it in tangles. Others cited this made their hair course and rough and left them with no body at all. Apparently it somewhat controls fly-aways for those with thin hair, but not much else.

At the middle of the pack is the Alberto VO5 Silky Experiences Moisturizing conditioner. The good news is this only costs about $1.25. The bad news is that it isn’t even worth that. Not even with a coupon for 50% off. The most common complaint is flat dry hair you have to fight to get a comb through. Others said the conditioner smells okay in the bottle, but not so hot when it reaches their hair, and of course this does nothing to provide and body for your hair. Survey says- this is a loser!

At number four is Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner. For around $12 you would expect this does something good for your hair, but you would guess wrong. The overwhelming sentiment is it smells great but leaves your hair in a sticky oily mess that is impossible to manage. Others complained it left their hair stiff, and almost everyone said it appeared to do nothing but create more hair problems than before they used it.

Burt’s Bees More Moisture Raspberry & Brazil Nut Conditioner is a bit of a surprising loser with those who tried it. At $6 it isn’t too unreasonably priced, but what it delivers is unreasonably tangled hair that did nothing for curly or wavy hair. In fact one person responded they needed to use another conditioner after using this just to clean up the mess it made of her hair. Others said it made their hair stiff to the point the couldn’t comb through it.

The second worst conditioner of there at a cool $22 is Jonathan Product Condition Leave-In. At this price you would expect something besides a known name and fancy bottle, but again you would be expecting too much. One user said that this was “Sticky, heavy, and smells terrible.” She seemed to pretty much speak for the pack as nobody seemed to find any redeeming qualities in this conditioner. Other said it did nothing to soften hair, and still others cited that it made their skin breakout. For $22 you would expect more than stinky, smelly hair and an itchy scalp.

The worst conditioner of them all as ranked by the Total beauty study is surprisingly John Freida Brilliant Brunette Light Reflecting Moisturizing Conditioner. Think of everything bad that a conditioner can do and this one delivers on them. heavy unmanageable brittle hair with a funky smell that builds up oils like a tanker spilled. That’s about what this conditioner holds in store for its users. Add in that it doesn’t even deliver a little luster and even at only several dollars this is a huge loser.

As said before, these will work for some people, but for most the were a big bust. they just didn’t deliver what their labels promised and generally caused more hair problems than existed before using them. If you’re looking for a new conditioner, these may be the ones you want to avoid.

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Health benefits of music therapy

Posted by mandyf on August 16, 2012

Music is more than something to do some off key warbling to, it is in a sense real medicine. Music is not likely to get rid of your head cold, heal broken bones magically, or make you hair grow thick and lustrous 15 years after it fell out – it’s not magic. Music can however do several things that science can legitimately prove as accurate that are worth knowing about that can improve your overall health and/or mental functionality.

Have you ever heard of the Kenny Rogers Effect? Probably not, but you may have heard of it “Melodic Intonation Therapy.”  It’s sometimes called the Kenny Rogers Effect because as legend has it that just happened his music is what was chosen by the researcher who conducted the first definitive study on IMT otherwise we might have Barry White Effect. What researchers found after playing music for patients that have brain damage – primarily due to lesions or stroke – is that listening to music helped retrain their brain.

Take for instance a person that cannot speak due to left side brain damage, but do have the potential to sing because the portion of the brain dealing with music is housed on the right side. By exposing patients to music they learn to first hum, then to begin singing the words to songs, and eventually to speak again at least on a limited basis. The science behind this is that by re-training the brain to associate speech with music, the right side of the brain will then learn the speech process and assume that function. In electrician’s terms this would be called brain rewiring.

How about using music to help addicts kick their habit – or at least cut down? Music can reportedly help them as well. The basics behind this is that neurotransmitters are what carry information throughout the brain including the information that tells our brain what chemicals need to be released that make us the people we are. When a person uses drugs, the neurotransmitters function at a far lower rate because they need to transmit less information. When drug use becomes habitual, neurotransmitters like anything else you don’t exercise no longer perform their job as they should and the brain therefore does not get signals as to what chemicals need to be produced in the absence of the drug meaning you get withdrawal symptoms.

Music alone is not going to cure a heroin addiction for instance, but it can take some of the edge of of the detoxification process. The science behind it is that calming mellow music lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and muscular tension. This helps provide a buffer, even to some extent a placebo effect, to occupy and stimulate the brain in a low key gradual manner that gives it time to resume functioning properly on its own again – assuming that drug use has not already caused irreparable damage.

Music can help prevent seizures – even in coma patients. For whatever reason, Mozart played on the piano is the most effective music to achieve this. Nobody knows why exactly, they just know it does and has been proved time and again by numerous researchers working independent of each other. In most cases, Mozart on the piano can end a seizure within seconds, sometimes it takes a few minutes. There are plenty of theories as to why this particular music works, but again, nobody has a real answer.

Music can help your memory. In tests performed on people including Alzheimer’s patients, researchers found that familiar music can help trigger otherwise forgotten memories and in some cases even the emotions associated to them at the point of recall. This is something nearly everyone can test or may even know already. Say for instance the first time you had sex Al Green was on the radio singing “Let’s stay together” and that for you is a good memory. Hearing that again – even decades later would have the ability to trigger that memory and the emotion of well being and maybe even satisfaction.

Music can also help increase spatial reasoning, and even help control muscle spasms in people suffering through Parkinson’s Syndrome. Music is not a magic bullet that will cure all your ills or erase years of damage accumulated by the brain, but it can help the brain learn how to function differently and in some cases help offset the damage.

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Skin care tips for women with sensitive facial skin

Posted by mandyf on July 27, 2012

While the actual percentage of women that suffer from what would be clinically termed as sensitive skin is fairly low, at some time or another nearly all women have short term bouts with the negative effects of sensitive skin. The hallmark signs of sensitive skin redness, itchiness, mild burning, and blotchiness to a lesser degree in severe cases. Whether you have naturally sensitive skin or deal with the occasional outbreak of sensitive skin there is good news – it is completely manageable.

One of the biggest mistakes women with sensitive skin often make according to Patricia Wexler who is Mount Sinai’s associate clinical professor of dermatology, is that they don’t know what they are sensitive to which can aggravate sensitive skin, and they they use products they believe will help that actually worsen the problem. Wexler points out that anti-aging and acne formulas can present a particular problem to women with sensitive skin in her January of 2010 Allure magazine interview due to the high presence of hydroxy acids like glycolic acid that most contain. Other irritants to sensitive skin found in most anti-aging and acne formulas are retinol, benzoyl peroxide, and even Vitamin C in higher concentrations due to the presence of citric acid which can cause a burning or stinging sensation.

If you use these products, Wexler recommends ceasing their use immediately if you experience any of the above mentioned issues associated to sensitive skin. Once the problem is under control, you can begin using the products again, however they should be reintroduced one product at a time in a smaller quantity. It is advised you test a product on a small patch of skin on your neck for about one week. If there is no reaction, then the specific product can be considered safe for use on your skin in a limited scope. Wexler advises using each product cleared as safe only three times each week until you can truly determine if the product is friendly to your skin. Continue testing each product you use in a similar manner discontinuing the use of any product that causes a rash, burning, or any form of irritation.

If you are now or in the future suffering from a sensitive skin outbreak there are three simple steps to follow to help quell the symptoms. Before following these steps it is important that you identify what kind of skin you have, ie; oily, dry or combination skin. It is further important you stick with the plan to realize true benefits, one treatment is not going to solve your problems.

The first step is cleansing your skin. Rinse your face with lukewarm water and then apply a fragrance free soap to your face you have previously lathered up on your hands. Gently work the soap over your face with your hands. Do not use a buffer or facecloth as they can be too harsh and serve to aggravate your skin. When you have finished cleansing, use a towel to blot your skin until it is damp, do not scrub your skin dry. Once that is completed be sure to avoid applying any toners even if they are free of alcohol.

Step two is protecting your skin. Using an SPF 30 moisturizer which is specifically designed for sensitive skin is your best bet. Something that contains licochalcone, bisabolo, or feverfew are what you are really looking for as they naturally calm skin. If possible you ideally want this formula to have a sunscreen which uses titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as they are gentler on the skin.

The final step is nighttime care. Each night night after cleansing your skin, apply a lotion that contains ceramides. Ceramides do a great job of penetrating wrinkles and lines to help repair and build the skin barrier that keeps skin looking healthy and reduces the odds of sensitive skin breakouts. If you do have acne problems and need something to help keep that under control, you can use a lotion prior to going to bed to help treat that, but should focus on one that has a salicylic acid level of 2% or less.

As each person has unique issues with their skin and sensitive skin can be particularly difficult to treat, this treatment plan will not work equally well for all women. Most women will find this program helpful, but for serious issues associated to sensitive skin it is best to seek out the advice of a dermatologist who can better identify the exact nature of the problem and the safest and most effective treatment plan.

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