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.
Apparently, some of us are behind the curve. There is a large and growing segment of the population using Far Infrared Ray (FIR) Saunas instead of steam saunas and they are wondering why the rest of us are not. Let’s see what all the excitement is about. Steam saunas must operate at a higher temperature than infrared saunas in order to get the same results. FIR saunas are able to directly heat our bodies instead of heating the enclosure and air around our bodies. This is possible because of the infrared rays. This form of light ray is the part of the sunlight spectrum that is healthy for us, and invisible. It penetrates our skin directly and heats us from within, which eliminates the difficult breathing environments found in steam saunas. Infrared heat gets deeper into our bodies that steam heat can. This deeper heat penetration is more effective in a good detox. Muscle relaxation improves because at a 2-3 inch or 5-8 cm level of penetration more muscles are being reached and soothed.
The dry heat that comes from infrared saunas is free of mildew and mold. Steam saunas can be more conducive to spreading and cultivating bacteria. This makes the FIR sauna the more sanitary of the two. According to the International Institute of Holistic Healing, humans sweat differently in a FIR sauna compared to steam saunas. Their research shows that typically the sweat from an infrared sauna contains 15-20% heavy metals, sulfuric acid, sodium, ammonia, uric acid and other fat-soluble toxins. Whereas, steam sauna sweat is mostly water with about 3% of it being toxins. FIR saunas are 4-5 times more efficient wit electricity than the average steam sauna. Operating powerfully but at a lower heat requires much less energy. No matter how expensive the power in your area is there will definitely be savings when going with the infrared sauna. In many cases FIR saunas are portable. Their portability is a huge advantage to steam heat saunas and has added to their popularity. Portable saunas can be packed up in just a few minutes and tossed into the back of your compact car. Far Infrared Ray (FIR) saunas are poised to be the sauna of choice in the future. Their ease of use, antibacterial technology, gentleness on the lungs make, and amazing health benefits make them an easy sell.
The growing trend in America of inducing labor has long been an issue that stirs controversy. Induced labor is often planned, but in many cases it is a decision made by a concerned doctor who doesn’t think the pregnancy should go on any longer. Whatever the case, new research is showing a direct link between inducing labor and c-sections. Dr. J. Christopher Glantz at the University of Rochester School of Medicine discovered that inducing labor introduces a risk of 1 to 2 cesareans per 25 inductions, which by waiting for spontaneous labor to begin could have been avoided. In a report in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology Dr. Glantz emphasized that while c-section procedures have become more common, C-sections are still major surgeries which carry serious risk of infection, blood clots, bleeding, and injury to other organs. Dr. Glantz recommends that pregnant women wait for spontaneous labor, emphasizing that they may be better off doing so. “Try to reserve interventions for situations where risk outweighs benefit,” said Glantz, such as in cases of diabetes, a baby that is not growing well, high blood pressure, problems with the placenta, or a woman being 10 days past her due date.
The normal heel-to-toe method of running has come under scrutiny over the years because of its damaging effects on the human body. The damaging impacts that occur from heel-to-toe running are equivalent to two to three times a runner’s body weight. Scientists seem to have found a way to keep runners healthy and happy -running barefoot. Professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University, Daniel E. Lieberman explains, “People who don’t wear shoes when they run have an astonishingly different strike. By landing on the middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than most shod runners generate when they heel-strike. Most people today think barefoot running is dangerous and hurts, but actually you can run barefoot on the world’s hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort and pain. All you need is a few calluses to avoid roughing up the skin of the foot. Further, it might be less injurious than the way some people run in shoes.” Lieberman goes on to explain that humans have evolved strong, large arches that we use as a spring when running. By running toe-to-heel we are tapping into the body’s natural ability to excel at running safely and comfortably. However, one should be mindful before taking off their shoes. “Running barefoot or in minimal shoes is fun but uses different muscles,” says Lieberman. “If you’ve been a heel-striker all your life you have to transition slowly to build strength in your calf and foot muscles.”
Traditionally, the practice of restricting fluids and food during labor has been thought to be beneficial. Practitioners have held this view since the 1940s. The restriction is thought to prevent Mendelson’s syndrome (named after work by Dr. Carl Mendelson), a very rare, but sometimes fatal, result of regurgitated acidic stomach contents entering into the lungs when a general anesthetic is given. Research coming from Queen’s University is poised to change this long held belief. “Based on our review, there is no convincing and current evidence to support restriction of fluids, and perhaps food, for women during labor. Women should be able to choose for themselves,” says Dr. Joan Tranmer of the Queen’s School of Nursing. “The food and fluid restriction can be stressful and uncomfortable for some pregnant women, especially for those who are in labor for more than 12 hours and unable to eat.” Dr. Tranmer continues, “Instead of eating ice chips, a snack can provide some nourishment, comfort and much needed energy.” Professor Tranmer went on to explain that the use of general anesthesia is quite rare nowadays, and when it is used the techniques have improved so much since the 1940s, that the risk of maternal death or illness is very low.
It has long been known among medical professionals that taking broad-spectrum antibiotics over a long period of time can lead to severe secondary bacterial infections and the overall weakening of the immune system. Only now researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine seem to have figured out why this is so. “One of the complications of antibiotic therapy is secondary infection,” Jeffrey Weiser, MD, professor of Microbiology and Pediatrics explains. “This is a huge problem in hospitals, but there hasn’t been a mechanistic understanding of how that occurs. We suggest that if the immune system is on idle, and you treat someone with broad-spectrum antibiotics, then you turn the system off. The system is deprimed and will be less efficient at responding quickly to new infections.” For many years researchers have understood that most bacteria in the body are good. In fact, humans have a symbiotic relationship with these microbes that greatly impact, among other things, metabolism and weight homeostasis. Now we have an even more clear view of bacterial microbes’ effect on the immune system.
New research coming out of the University of Michigan tells us that “exercise doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and it is very important to look at both the effects of exercise and what you’re eating after exercise.” These new findings are changing how people are looking at their work our regimens. The study’s senior author, Jeffrey F. Horowitz explained that “differences in what you eat after exercise produce different effects on the body’s metabolism.” Researchers concluded that high carbohydrate foods eaten directly after a workout will minimize the benefits on a person’s metabolism. Keep in mind that weight loss is still important for improving metabolic health of overweight and obese people, but these results seem to say that people can still reap important health benefits from exercise without having to under eat or lose weight, Dr. Horowitz said.