Contrasting reports, conflicting evidence, and dazzling displays of monetarily driven misinformation have complicated the task of figuring out what the effects of exposure to sunshine can have on human wellbeing. Confusion about skin cancer, sunscreen, and general exposure to sunlight being either beneficial or detrimental is due to various factors, one of which is the belief that sunshine is either one, or the other; good or bad. By polarizing the conversation about the effects of sun exposure, the ability to find comprehensive answers to questions is made much more difficult. The majority of prominent health institutions clearly state that sun exposure is harmful, period. “Protection from sun exposure is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the beach. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as bright and sunny days. UV rays also reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow. The CDC recommends easy options for sun protection: 1. Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection. 2. Wear clothing to protect exposed skin. 3. Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck. 4. Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible. 5. Seek shade, especially during midday hours.” –Center for Disease Control Meanwhile, popular alternative medicine practitioners continually express views that are completely opposite of the mainstream institution’s statements about sun exposure and skin cancer. “UVA rays produce a tan that not only makes your skin more pleasing in appearance, but is also your body’s natural defense against sunburn. Exposure to the sun has many benefits…The key is to never burn.” –Dr. Joseph Mercola Most controversies are presented in extremes, just like the issue of skin cancer and sun exposure. Stepping back and breifly looking at a few of the basics surrounding the issue will give us the information we need in order know exactly which portions of which claims are accurate. There are three Types of Skin Cancer: Basal cell carcinoma –The most common form of cancer worldwide. In the United States, it accounts for approximately 80 percent of all skin cancers. The majority of basal cell carcinomas are easily and successfully treated with current therapies. Basal cell carcinomas rarely spread throughout the body, and deaths from this disease are very rare. However, because basal cell carcinomas often occur on the face, they can cause serious cosmetic damage if not diagnosed and treated early. Squamous cell carcinoma –The second most common form of skin cancer, accounting for about 20 percent of skin cancers in the United States. The vast majority of squamous cell carcinomas can be cured when detected early. However, this type of skin cancer can be more difficult to treat and can cause cosmetic damage if not treated immediately. Squamous cell tumors can be more aggressive than basal cell tumors and are slightly more likely to spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma –The aggressive and often deadly form of skin cancer that begins in skin cells called melanocytes, which produce the pigment melanin. Melanoma is not as common as the two other major types of skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma) – the average lifetime risk of developing skin melanoma is about 1 percent. Much of the confusion regarding the connection between sunshine and skin cancer can be traced back to the public’s inability to differentiate the first two types of relatively benign cancers from the third, and often deadly cancer, Melanoma. According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, “Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the single most important cause of skin cancer, especially when the overexposure resulted in sunburn and blistering.” This is a true statement that can be misleading if we don’t ask which skin cancers they are referring to. Further inquiry would reveal that “although it is clear that UV radiation can damage DNA, and that high levels of sun exposure are associated with melanoma risk, the exact relationship between UV exposure and melanoma remains unclear.” – Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Here we see the same renowned cancer center seemingly contradicting itself, when in reality it is simply clarifying. Melanoma, the aggressive and often deadly skin cancer that most Americans fear, has not actually been clearly connected to the sun’s UV exposure. Due to genuine concerns on both ends of the argument, cancer centers and alternative medicine practitioners both are guilty of exaggerating portions of the scientific evidence that suit their respective agendas. The public at large is best served by knowing basic facts, which prepares them to better interpret information from all the various experts. This also serves to build a healthy (verses a blind trust) trust in the many media outlets, recognized medical experts and alternative medical sources. Knowing that there is more than one type of skin cancer and that the causes for Melanoma are still being established is key for consumers. This is a great starting place. Look for Part II of Sunshine And Skin Cancer, where I will explain the causes of the other two skin cancers, whether or not sunscreen helps to prevent any type of skin cancer, natural prevention claims etc. Talk to you then!
Weight gain for a pregnant woman seems like a given to most people. What most of us don’t think about is how much weight can be gained without posing a health risk to the mother and the child. Resent conclusions coming out of an ongoing study are revealing that there are indeed dangers in a pregnant woman gaining too much weight -the danger of gestational diabetes to be specific. Researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research are reporting that women who gain more weight than is recommended by the Institute of Medicine have a 50% increased risk of developing GDM (gestational diabetes mellitus). Their study involved nearly 1,200 women from varying ethnic backgrounds over a three year period of time. The danger of pregnant women developing gestational diabetes is that it causes complications in as much as seven percent of pregnancies in the United States. GDM can lead to C-sections, early delivery and type 2 diabetes, and increases the child’s risk of developing obesity and diabetes later in life. Monique Hedderson, PhD, a scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and lead researcher recommended that “health care providers should talk to their patients early in their pregnancy about the appropriate gestational weight gain, especially during the first trimester, and help women monitor their weight gain. Our research shows that weight gain in early pregnancy is a modifiable risk factor for gestational diabetes.”
Garlic has long been held in high regard as an effective and natural source for healing. New research is giving credence to garlic as a potent method of preventing and mitigating the destructive influences of cancer. Scientists from Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center have created a new method for testing urine that shows a person’s garlic consumption levels, as well as the risk for cancer. The study’s lead researcher Earl Harrison explained: “What we were after was developing a method where we could measure in urine two different compounds, one related to the risk for cancer, and the other, which indicates the extent of consumption of garlic.” “Our results showed that those were inversely related to one another — meaning that the more we had the marker for garlic consumption, the less there was of the marker for the risk of cancer.” The trend towards using nutrition as a means of fighting and preventing cancer is encouraging. More and more people look to garlic as one of the many remedies that nature provides for an ailing humanity.
One of the reasons that we moved HEALTHandMED.com to Cedar City, Utah from the Chicago area was to be able to enjoy the mountains. I have begun taking my daughters Liahona (age 13) and Saige (age 12) cross country skiing with the Cedar Mountain Nordic Ski Club. I’m kind of surprised how swift the girls can ski. Maybe they will be competing in the 2014 Olympics instead of watching at home? We were using rented skis, but I went ahead and purchased three sets of cross country skis off of ebay last week. On Saturday, the club went to the Duck Creek area, which is 30 miles east of Cedar City. This time we didn’t go on a groomed trail — we went off into undiscovered corners of the woods. It was pristine wilderness. We even saw a loon. I was taught many years ago in school that cross country skiing is one of the very best forms of exercise that a person can do. First of all, it is the ultimate calorie burner. Vigorous back country mountain cross country skiing burns 1,122 calories per hour and brisk recreational cross country skiing burns 612 calories per hour. It is also a total body workout — using all the muscles in both the upper and lower body. Because no single muscle group is overstressed, the activity can be sustained for hours on end, which results in a fast heart rate sustained over a long duration. This is exactly what our hearts need in order to improve their capacity to pump blood. Lung capacity is increased. For many people, the sunlight absorbed through the skin might be the only natural source of Vitamin D that many people get over the winter months. Cross country skiing is a low impact workout that does not damage the joints. And the second wind that a cross country skier feels during a good workout on the trail is second to none. Like I said, we’re hooked. One of these days, I will need to get my wife and three younger daughters out on the trails. Of course, another great way to burn calories and improve heart health and overall health is by to use the FIR-Real portable far infrared sauna, which actually burns 300 calories in 15 minutes. (even more calories per minute that cross country skiing!) You don’t even have to exercise but you get many of the benefits of exercise. I agree that this is not as fun as cross country skiing but it is very convenient to do in in your home and doesn’t take up much space. See FIR-Real Sauna.
We have seen continual growth here at HEALTHandMED.com and last week we set a new record. We shipped so many packages in one day that the UPS man almost had to come back for a second pick up. We managed to capture some of it on video and make it available on YouTube for everyone’s enjoyment. Here it is:
Joint pain seems to be the one ailment that everyone is afflicted with at some point in their life. At the same time, it’s one of the more difficult problems to treat. Even though there are a plethora of pain treatment methodologies out there, most patients go away with only partial pain alleviation. In the search for functional and non-invasive methods for dealing with joint pain and stiffness, people are looking more to the modalities of complimentary medicine, or more specifically infrared saunas. Infrared saunas penetrate directly into the body, assuring good heat at the right spot. The possibilities for using an infrared sauna for joint pain treatment increased when research to explore its effects on joint stiffness was done. The research showed a twenty percent decline in stiffness for people with rheumatoid finger joints treated at 112F, as compared to patients who’s joints were treated at a lower temperature.
When heated to 112F and then stretched, tissues become elongated by about 0.5-0.9% which persists even after the stretching has stopped. When stretching at normal temperatures this does not occur. Researchers have concluded that by doing 20 stretch sessions, a person can increase the length of their tissues by 10-18% when they are heated and stretched. -Justus F Lehmann M.D., Williams and Wilkins, Therapeutic Heat and Cold, 4th edition. When working with ligaments, joint capsules, tendons, fasciae, and synovium that have become scarred, thickened or contracted this stretching method is very useful. By stretching at 112F instead of room temperature, the damage that normally occurs when stretching is much less. Since stretching after sauna use is safer, many athletes make use of the advantages that can be had from a quality, deep stretch. Obtaining joint pain relief is of serious concern to many people. Having access to an infrared sauna has given each person the opportunity to find greater and longer lasting natural pain relief. The healthy, non-intrusive nature of infrared portable saunas makes them worth the investment.
The routine nap is common place for children, but somewhere along the way most people grow out of the habit of taking a daily nap. In many cases, adults who take regular naps are looked upon as lazy or unhealthy. New research about the vast benefits of regular napping is shifting the way our culture sees the afternoon nap. In a recent UC Berkeley sleep study researchers found that to clear the brain’s short-term memory storage and make room for new information humans need sleep. “Sleep not only rights the wrong of prolonged wakefulness but, at a neurocognitive level, it moves you beyond where you were before you took a nap,” said Matthew Walker, the lead investigator of these studies and the assistant professor of psychology at UC Berkeley. Over the past several years, various researchers have concluded that fact-based memories are stored temporarily in the hippocampus before being sent to the brain’s prefrontal cortex where it’s believed that the brain has more storage space. Walker explained that “it’s as though the e-mail inbox in your hippocampus is full and, until you sleep and clear out those fact e-mails, you’re not going to receive any more mail. It’s just going to bounce until you sleep and move it into another folder.” “I can’t imagine Mother Nature would have us spend 50 percent of the night going from one sleep stage to another for no reason. Sleep is sophisticated. It acts locally to give us what we need,” said Walker. Napping can be seen as less a lazy person’s pass time, and more a scientifically supported way of improving one’s learning ability, as well as their general well being. Now let’s all go take a nap.
Since HEALTHandMED.com launched it’s fundraiser last week for Ginger Roth’s therapy at the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding her treatment and what we are doing to ensure she gets it. We thought it would be fun to post this essay that she wrote about horses so we can all get to know her a little better.
I Like Horses
Horses come in many different colors, shapes and sizes from small to big. The biggest can weigh almost 3000 pounds. They can stand as high as 6 feet at the shoulders down to small or miniature horses and ponies as well. Horses come in a variety of colors from brown, black, white, gray, tan, and many variations in between including dots and unique markings. Horses live in the wild as well as being kept outside in pastures and barns and stalls. Humans and horses have been together for centuries and have really benefited each other especially before the invention of cars. Horses can have babies called colts and fillies and have live births like humans. When they are first born they need encouragement from their mom’s to stand and then eventually nurse and survive. I like horses because you ride on their backs. I like horses because they are an animal that you have to take care of. They like to eat hay and you can give them horse treats if they like them. They have a neck and they have a mane of hair down the back of their neck. They have two feet in the front and two in the back with hooves as the end of their feet. They can also wag their tail and swing it high when they are happy. Horses drink water and they eat hay and sometimes are fed grains and horse treats. They also like carrots and apples, like I do. They have to be brushed and groomed. They like to be brushed after you ride them and before they get put away in their stalls. You also need to keep their hooves clean and some horses wear horseshoes. You have to take good care of horses otherwise they die. And if you do take good care of them, then they stay alive. To take care of a horse you have to brush them and groom them and feed them and water them and make sure they are taken good care of. You have to be gentle with a horse and you have to move slowly around the backside of a horse so that you don’t get kicked. My horse Zippy sometimes lifts her tail up when I walk behind her. Horses sometime poop and pea like people do, only they go on the ground and then you have to clean up poop out of their stalls. I get to ride a horse named Zippy at the Colorado Therapeutic Riding center (CTRC). She is a good horse. Sometimes she likes to trot and run fast. Sometimes she’s bad and sometimes she’s good. She is an Appaloosa that is white with brown spots and brown eyes. She used to be in rodeos and would carry the rodeo queens in parades. She is a beautiful show horse. I love to ride Zippy. She is my favorite horse. I wish that someday I could own Zippy or an amazing horse like her. I love horses!
Thank you Ginger for your essay, and thanks to everyone who is helping to fund her therapy.
There does not seem to be any end to humanities search for ways to deal with pain. Zen meditation has long been known as a powerful method of pain mitigation; however, a study has just been published in Emotion, the American Psychological Association journal, which is rekindling the debate over the possible benefits to be had from this ancient practice. “Through training, Zen meditators appear to thicken certain areas of their cortex and this appears to underlie their lower sensitivity to pain,” explained lead author Joshua A. Grant. “We found a relationship between cortical thickness and pain sensitivity.” Grant went on to explain that meditative practices can be helpful for pain management, for any condition where the grey matter is compromised such as stroke or for preventing normal age-related grey matter reductions. “The often painful posture associated with Zen meditation may lead to thicker cortex and lower pain sensitivity.”
HEALTHandMED.com needs your help. Our goal is to raise $1,500 for one year of therapeutic horseback riding lessons for ten year old Ginger Roth. She has cerebral palsy and this treatment has been crucial for her progress. Starting right now, HEALTHandMED.com will donate 5% of revenues from all portable FIR-Real Portable Sauna purchases for Ginger’s therapy. Ginger can receive her necessary therapy only with the help of donations because she lives with her mother who was laid off last year due to the recession.
HEALTHandMED.com would like your help in providing a year of therapy for Ginger. We are raising $1500, which will provide a year of treatment. To reach this goal, we will be donating 5% of every FIR Real Sauna sale to Ginger. To see Ginger riding her horse, go ahead and watch this video: According to Ginger’s mother Maryann Baker (pictured to the right), “She contracted cerebral palsy due to a stroke
during pregnancy. When she’s on a horse there are no disabilities; she’s totally free; she’s beautiful; she loves it; she doesn’t know that she’s going to therapy. And you know; you see the grin on her face; you see the freedom and beauty of this child. We do see an increase in her stamina, in her balance, in her agility, and especially in her core body strength, as well as her confidence level. As the parent of a special needs child this is the very best thing we have ever done for her.” Says Carol Heiden, Director of Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center “That is wonderful that HEALTHandMED.com is working to raise money for Ginger’s riding! Ginger is riding GiGi, a quarter horse mare. If you want to see GiGi you can visit our website.”
Help Ginger continue her therapy today!
To see how the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center is helping Ginger and other kids with disabilities, check out this video.