Friday, April 18, 2014

Clever Tips to Simplify Your Life

Here are some clever tips for using common household objects to help simplify your life.
Office Clip and Phone Charger

Marshmallow As Brown Sugar Softener

Convert an old canning jar into a container with a pour spout

Common Appliances, Uncommon Uses

The [new] secret to easy-to-peel boiled eggs
Hanging Art with Soda Pop Tabs

Use a Coffee Filter to Clean Your LCD Screens

Slip-Proofing with Acrylic-Latex caulk

Apple Puzzle - keep apples from turning brown with a rubber band

Remove a Stripped Screw with a Rubber Band

Use a Parmesan Cheese Lid to Turn a Canning Jar into a Shaker

Repurpose a hanger into a chip clip

Bobby Pin Magnetic Strip

Use Chalk To Rid Your Clothes Of Greasy Stains

Money-Saving Tip: DIY Sweater Shaving

Tips for re-growing green onions from scraps

How to make Cinnamon Rolls in a Waffle Iron

Stress and Relaxation Techniques (includes: 5 Things to Know About Relaxation Techniques for Stress)

Stress is a physical and emotional reaction that people experience as they encounter changes in life. Occasional stress is a normal coping mechanism. However, long-term stress may contribute to or worsen a range of health problems including digestive disorders, headaches, sleep disorders, and other symptoms. Stress may worsen asthma and has been linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.

Some people use various relaxation techniques to induce the relaxation response, which helps release tension and may counteract the ill effects of stress. Relaxation techniques often combine breathing exercises and focused attention to calm the mind and the body. Some examples of relaxation response techniques are autogenic training, biofeedback, deep breathing, guided imagery, progressive relaxation, and self-hypnosis.

In the past 30 years, there has been considerable interest in the relaxation response and how inducing this state may benefit health. Research has focused primarily on illness and conditions in which stress appears to play a role either as the cause of the condition or as a factor that can make the condition worse. In general, relaxation techniques appear to be safe.

Currently, there is some evidence that relaxation techniques may be an effective part of an overall treatment plan for some stress-related disorders, including:

Anxiety - Studies have suggested that relaxation techniques may assist in the treatment of phobias or panic disorder. Relaxation techniques have also been used to relieve anxiety for people in stressful situations, such as when undergoing a medical procedure.

Depression - In 2008, a major review of the evidence for relaxation in the treatment of depression found that relaxation techniques were more effective than no treatment for depression, but not as effective as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Headache - There is some evidence that biofeedback and other relaxation techniques may be helpful for relieving tension or migraine headaches. In some cases, these mind and body techniques were more effective than medications for reducing the frequency, intensity, and severity of headaches.

The results of research on relaxation to promote overall health or well-being or to treat other stress-related health conditions have been mixed or unclear. These conditions include:

Asthma - Several reviews of the literature have suggested that relaxation techniques, including guided imagery, may temporarily help improve lung function and quality of life and relieve anxiety in people with asthma. A more recent randomized clinical trial of asthma found that relaxation techniques may help improve immune function. However, more studies are needed to confirm this finding.

Heart Disease and Heart Symptoms - Researchers have looked at relaxation techniques for the treatment of angina and the prevention of heart disease. When a cardiac rehabilitation program was combined with relaxation response training in a clinic, participants experienced significant reductions in blood pressure, decreases in lipid levels, and increases in psychological functioning when compared to participants’ status before the program. Although studies have shown that relaxation techniques combined with other lifestyle changes and standard medical care may reduce the risk of recurrent heart attack, more study is needed.

High Blood Pressure - A 2008 review of evidence for relaxation techniques in the treatment of high blood pressure found some evidence that progressive muscle relaxation lowered blood pressure a small amount. However, the review found no evidence that this effect was enough to reduce the risk of heart disease; stroke, or other health issues due to high blood pressure. In a randomized controlled trial, 8 weeks of relaxation response/stress management was shown to reduce systolic blood pressure in hypertensive older adults, and some patients were able to reduce hypertension medication without an increase in blood pressure.

Insomnia - There is some evidence that relaxation techniques can help in treating chronic insomnia.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Some studies have indicated that relaxation techniques may prevent or relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in some participants. One review of the research found some evidence that self-hypnosis may be useful in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

5 Things to Know About Relaxation Techniques for Stress

When you’re under stress, your body reacts by releasing hormones that produce the “fight-or-flight” response. Your heart rate and breathing rate go up and blood vessels narrow (restricting the flow of blood). Occasional stress is a normal coping mechanism. But over the long-term, stress may contribute to or worsen a range of health problems including digestive disorders, headaches, sleep disorders, and other symptoms.

In contrast to the stress response, the relaxation response slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases oxygen consumption and levels of stress hormones. In theory, voluntarily creating the relaxation response through regular use of relaxation techniques could counteract the negative effects of stress.

1.Relaxation techniques are generally safe, but there is limited evidence of usefulness for specific health conditions. Research is under way to find out more about relaxation and health outcomes.

2. Relaxation techniques include a number of practices such as progressive relaxation, guided imagery, biofeedback, self-hypnosis, and deep breathing exercises. The goal is similar in all: to consciously produce the body's natural relaxation response, characterized by slower breathing, lower blood pressure, and a feeling of calm and well-being.

3. Relaxation techniques often combine breathing and focused attention to calm the mind and the body. These techniques may be most effective when practiced regularly and combined with good nutrition, regular exercise, and a strong social support system.

4. Most relaxation techniques can be self-taught and self-administered. Most methods require only brief instruction from a book or experienced practitioner before they can be done without assistance.

5. Do not use relaxation techniques as a replacement for conventional care or to postpone seeing a doctor about a medical problem. Talk to your health care providers if you are considering using a relaxation technique for a particular health condition. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

External Links

Management of Traumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Reaction (VA/DoD)
Systematic Reviews/Reviews/Meta-analysis (PubMed®)
Randomized Controlled Trials (PubMed®)

Complementary Health Approaches for Smoking Cessation (includes: 5 Things To Know About Complementary Health Approaches for Quitting Smoking)

Many smokers make quitting a New Year’s resolution. Nearly two out of three smokers want to quit, and about half of adult smokers attempt to quit each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most of the attempts to quit smoking are unsuccessful, but getting help through cessation advice by health care providers; individual, group, and telephone counseling; and cessation medications have been shown to be effective.

Recently, there has been emerging interest in the use of complementary therapies such as hypnotherapy, yoga, or mindfulness meditation to aid in smoking cessation. To date, several of these interventions have shown some promise in preliminary, non-randomized studies, but there is not enough evidence to establish if mind-body practices are as efficacious as other evidence-based smoking cessation treatments. A few studies have been conducted on the dietary supplements SAMe, silver acetate, and St. John’s wort for the treatment of tobacco dependence, but there is no current evidence that any natural product improves smoking cessation rates.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a mind-body practice which cultivates abilities to maintain focused and clear attention, and develop increased awareness of the present. Research has demonstrated that mindfulness-based approaches may help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.  To date, there have been a few randomized studies on mindfulness-based interventions for smoking cessation, but overall, there is not enough evidence to know whether mind-body practices are as efficacious as other more established smoking cessation treatments.

  • A 2011 randomized controlled trial comparing mindfulness training with a standard behavioral smoking cessation treatment found that individuals who received mindfulness training showed a greater rate of reduction in cigarette use immediately after treatment and at 17-weeek follow-up.
  • A couple of studies have used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the effects of mindful attention on the anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortex in smokers, the areas of the brain associated with cravings and self-control. In one study, participants’ self-reported results demonstrated that mindful attention reduced cravings. In addition, the brain imaging results indicated that mindful attention reduced neural activity in a craving-related region of the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex. In another study, a 2-week course of meditation (5 hours in total) produced a significant reduction in smoking, compared to a relaxation training control. Results of brain imaging showed increased activity for the meditation group in the anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortex.

Meditation is considered to be safe for healthy people.  There have been rare reports that meditation could cause or worsen symptoms in people who have certain psychiatric problems, but this question has not been fully researched.


Hypnosis (also called hypnotherapy) has been studied for a number of conditions, including state anxiety (e.g., before medical procedures or surgeries), headaches, smoking cessation, pain control, hot flashes in breast cancer survivors, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Strength of Evidence
Many studies have investigated the effects of hypnotherapy on smoking cessation.

  • A 2010 Cochrane review of eleven studies compared hypnotherapy with 18 different control interventions. The authors found that hypnotherapy did not have a greater effect on 6-month quit rates than other interventions or no treatment. They concluded that there is not enough evidence to show whether hypnotherapy could be as effective as counseling treatment.
  • A 2012 meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and aversive smoking increased smoking abstinence, but the patient population in the analysis was small and reports of smoking cessation were not validated by bio-chemical means.
  • A 2008 randomized trial of 286 smokers found that hypnosis combined with nicotine patches yielded long-term smoking cessation rates that were slightly higher than those for behavioral counseling and nicotine patch.

Hypnosis is considered safe when performed by a health professional trained in hypnotherapy.  Self-hypnosis also appears to be safe for most people. There are no reported cases of injury resulting from self-hypnosis.


Yoga is a mind and body practice with origins in ancient Indian philosophy. The various styles of yoga typically combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. There are numerous schools of yoga. Hatha yoga, the most commonly practiced in the United States and Europe, emphasizes postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama). Some of the major styles of hatha yoga are Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vini, Kundalini, and Bikram yoga.

Strength of Evidence
Only a few studies have been conducted on yoga for smoking cessation.

  • A 2012 NCCAM-funded study examined the effect of yoga on smoking cessation. Results of this study provide preliminary evidence that yoga may be an effective adjunctive treatment for smoking cessation in women.
  • A 2011 study examined the effects of physical activity, including cardiovascular exercise and Hatha yoga, on craving to smoke and smoking withdrawal. Participants who engaged in physical activity reported a decrease in craving to smoke, an increase in positive affect, and a decrease in negative affect.

Yoga is generally low-impact and safe for healthy people when practiced appropriately under the guidance of a well-trained instructor.  Overall, those who practice yoga have a low rate of side effects, and the risk of serious injury from yoga is quite low. However, certain types of stroke as well as pain from nerve damage are among the rare possible side effects of practicing yoga.  Women who are pregnant and people with certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, glaucoma (a condition in which fluid pressure within the eye slowly increases and may damage the eye's optic nerve), and sciatica (pain, weakness, numbing, or tingling that may extend from the lower back to the calf, foot, or even the toes), should modify or avoid some yoga poses.


The term acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving the stimulation of points on the body using a variety of techniques. The acupuncture technique that has been most often studied scientifically involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation.  Although millions of Americans use acupuncture each year, often for chronic pain, there has been considerable controversy surrounding its value as a therapy and whether it is anything more than placebo. Research exploring a number of possible mechanisms for acupuncture’s pain-relieving effects is ongoing.

Strength of Evidence
Several studies have been conducted on the effects of acupuncture or acupressure for smoking cessation.

  • A 2011 Cochrane review concluded that there is no consistent, bias-free evidence that acupuncture, acupressure, laser therapy or electrostimulation are effective for smoking cessation, but firm conclusions cannot be drawn because of the limited quantity and quality of available evidence.

Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA, in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used. Still, complications have resulted from inadequate sterilization of needles and from improper delivery of treatments.  When not delivered properly, acupuncture can cause serious adverse effects, including infections and punctured organs.

Tai Chi

Tai chi, which originated in China as a martial art, is sometimes referred to as “moving meditation"—practitioners move their bodies slowly, gently, and with awareness, while breathing deeply.

Strength of Evidence
To date, only a few studies have examined the effects of tai chi for smoking cessation.

  • Findings from a 2013 study on the effects of tai chi for smoking cessation suggest that tai chi may be an effective method for enhancing mindfulness and awareness for breaking cycles of addiction and habit.

Tai chi is a relatively safe practice for most people. Those who are pregnant, or have a hernia, joint problems, back pain, fractures, or severe osteoporosis, may want to modify or avoid certain postures in tai chi.

5 Things To Know About Complementary Health Approaches for Quitting Smoking

Nearly 70 percent of adult smokers want to quit smoking, according to a national survey. Conventional quit-smoking treatments, including counseling and medication, can double or triple the chances that a smoker will kick the habit successfully. For more information on quitting smoking, visit, the National Cancer Institute’s quit-smoking resource.  Some people also try complementary health approaches to help them quit smoking. Here are 5 things you should know about what the science says about several complementary health approaches for quitting smoking:

1). Current evidence suggests that several mind and body practices may help people quit smoking. A few studies have found that mind and body practices such as meditation-based therapies, yoga, and guided imagery (a relaxation technique) can help reduce cigarette use and cravings.

2). Research results on other mind and body practices, including acupuncture and hypnosis, show little evidence of benefit. A 2010 systematic review of the scientific literature concluded that hypnotherapy did not provide any greater effect on the rates of quitting than 18 other therapies or no treatment. A 2011 systematic review of acupuncture studies found no consistent evidence that acupuncture is effective for smoking cessation, but that firm conclusions can’t be drawn because of the limited quality and quantity of available evidence.

3). There is no current evidence that any dietary supplement helps people quit smoking. A few studies have been conducted on the dietary supplements S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), silver acetate, lobeline (from the herb Lobelia inflata), and St. John’s wort, but none have been shown to be effective.

4). The mind and body practices discussed here are generally considered safe for healthy people when they’re performed appropriately. If you have any health problems, talk with both your health care provider and the complementary health practitioner/instructor before starting to use a mind and body practice.

5). If you are considering a dietary supplement, remember that “natural” does not necessarily mean “safe.” Some supplements have side effects, and some may interact with drugs or other supplements to produce adverse effects. In particular, St. John’s wort has been shown to interact with many drugs.

Systematic Reviews/Reviews/Meta-analysis (PubMed®)
Randomized Controlled Trials (PubMed®)
Mind and Body Approaches for Smoking Cessation: A Review
Pilot Study Suggests Yoga May Help Women Quit Smoking
How to Quit (CDC)
Your New Year Quit Smoking Plan (CDC)
Free Help to Quit Smoking (NCI)
Quit Now (HHS)
Guide to Quitting Smoking (American Cancer Society)

How to Strengthen Your Nails

There is no way to actually speed up the growth of your nails, because nail growth is linked to your genetics. There are, however, ways to make your nails stronger and less likely to break, which will make them appear as if they're growing more quickly.

Dana Stern, M.D., a New York City-based dermatologist who specializes in nails and nail disorders say:

"Nails are composed of very small cells called onychocytes, which are mainly made up of keratin,  If you were to look at the nail under a microscope, it actually looks almost like layered roof shingles. So these cells are very delicate and the nail is actually extremely absorptive," she says. "It’s about 10 times more absorbent than skin", which is why when you take a long bath, your nails get super soft and bendy.

"It’s important to note that if your nails become extremely brittle out of nowhere, it could be a sign of a health issue, such as anemia, or a thyroid condition, says Stern. If that’s the case, you should see your doctor. In addition, those who suffer from an eating disorder or are undergoing chemotherapy may have chronic brittleness due to severe protein deficiency. If you don’t have any of these health woes but have had weak nails for as long as you can remember, it could be genetic. "If your mother has brittle nails there’s a good chance you’re going to have them, too," Stern notes.

According to Stern, here are three culprits that could be causing nail problems:

Water Exposure - When you wash your hands, or take a bath, or even when you get a manicure, water is absorbed into your nails. Eventually, that water diffuses back out. This constant change in water content causes the cells to expand and contract, straining them as they continually change size to accommodate more or less water.

Seasonal Weather Changes - In the winter, your days are spent going from a 70-degree indoor environment to a cold, below-freezing outdoor environment. And with the changing temperature also comes varying levels of humidity. Just like your body temperature adjusts to these dramatic temperature changes, so do your nails.

"The water content of the ambient environment is in flux, and so is the water content of our nails," Stern says, "which causes the same type of strain and weakening that water exposure does."

Chemical Exposure - Nail polish remover is the ultimate enemy.

"Polish remover is really a solvent – it’s strong, almost like a paint thinner – and it really dries out the nail," Stern says. "The most offensive chemical is acetone, but that doesn’t mean non-acetone removers are a whole lot better. "The non-acetone version requires more of the liquid and more exposure time," she points out. To date, no formal studies have been done on which is actually better, but Stern suggests that "forgoing acetone might be the better route."

"As for polish itself, Stern says that "it can actually help hold the delicate nail cells together, preventing the tips from peeling. The problem is that eventually you have to take it off. And you should never ever pick it off. The problem with picking off polish is you’re not only taking off the polish but you’re also taking off the top layer of nail cells," says Stern. Which can be an issue with gel manicures if you’re not going into a salon to get them removed properly."

Regain Nail Strength
It is fairly easy to protect your nails against these damaging factors. Try Stern's simple suggestions that can help create a healthy environment for your nails to grow long and strong:

  • Wear gloves when handling any chemicals, doing the dishes, or hand washing clothes to avoid water exposure.
  • Don't bite your nails. If you want to bite your nails, try sitting on your hands, if possible, until the urge passes, so you can't get at them so easily, or try putting a band-aid or a piece of tape on each nail for a couple of days, if possible. This will prevent you from biting them. Remember that severe nail-biting can also cause health problems. When you are biting your nails, you are constantly transferring bacteria from your hands to your mouth. Nail biting can also transfer pinworms [] or bacteria buried under the surface of the nail to your mouth (that right there should be enough to make you stop biting your nails!)
  • Steer clear of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. They’re very drying. Instead, wash hands with moisturizing soap.
  • Apply a moisturizing cream or lotion after washing your hands.
  • Keep your nails short to minimize surface area where water and chemicals can be absorbed.
  • Use cuticle oil or cream to avoid dry skin and hangnails. Cuticles help prevent water from getting into your nails, which can create an environment for bacteria to grow - so don’t cut your cuticles! - keep them moisturized and simply push them back g-e-n-t-l-y to avoid infection and let them do their job.
  • Take a 3 month nail-polish holiday. If you’ve tried other precautions and still are suffering from brittle nails, take a break from polish to give your nails some time to get back into shape.

"The only supplement that has any scientific evidence [to improve nail health] behind it is biotin," Stern says. "Nails take six months to replace themselves", so she suggests "taking biotin supplements for at least four months to see if it works."

Natural Ways to Strengthen Nails

Lemon Juice and Olive Oil - You can create a mixture out of really easy to find ingredients, lemon juice and olive oil, to fortify your nails. All you need is a few drops of the juice and about a tablespoon of the olive oil. Then all you have to do is rub the mixture right onto/into your fingernails. It's best to follow this up by pulling on some plain what cotton gloves. Ideally you should do this at night, because then you can leave the gloves on while you sleep! If you do this two times a week, your nails will soon be much stronger.

H2O - Drinking plenty of water is a great way to strengthen your nails. In fact, if your nails are brittle, dull, and weak, it might actually be a sign that you aren't getting hydrated enough. You need to drink at least 2 liters of water everyday, and not only will you notice an improvement with your nails, your hair and skin will improve as well.

Vitamins and Minerals - Vitamins and minerals are all necessary to keep your body healthy, strong and functioning properly. Deficiencies can cause a wide variety of symptoms, and in the case of nails
a vitamin/mineral deficiency can cause the nails to peel, weaken, become brittle, or develop ridges or spots.

Important vitamins and minerals that help to keep nails healthy include (but are not limited to):

Biotin (vitamin B7 or vitamin H - found in egg yolks, tomatoes, milk, yeast, liver, some fruits and meats, and some beans and nuts. The fatty acids help promote new cell growth, which may result in stronger and healthier nails, skin, and hair.),

Calcium (found in milk, yogurt, and cheese are the main food sources of calcium for the majority of people in the United States. Kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage are fine vegetable sources of calcium. Fish with soft bones that you eat, such as canned sardines and salmon, are fine animal sources of calcium. Most grains (such as breads, pastas, and unfortified cereals), while not rich in calcium, add significant amounts of calcium to the diet because people eat them often or in large amounts. Calcium is added to some breakfast cereals, fruit juices, soy and rice beverages, and tofu. To find out whether these foods have calcium, check the product labels.

Zinc (found in oysters, which are the best source of zinc. Red meat, poultry, seafood such as crab and lobsters, and fortified breakfast cereals, which are also good sources of zinc. Beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products, which provide some zinc),

Iron (found in lean meat and seafood. Dietary sources of nonheme* iron include nuts, beans, vegetables, and fortified grain products).

You can get the recommended daily amounts of vitamins and minerals by eating a variety of foods, however, in the hectic world we live in, it is sometimes difficult to eat a proper balanced diet, so you can take a daily multivitamin/multimineral supplement to get the amounts your body needs to stay healthy.

*Dietary iron has two main forms: heme and nonheme. Plants and iron-fortified foods contain nonheme iron only, whereas meat, fish, and poultry contain both heme and nonheme iron.

USDA National Nutrient Database, National Agricultural Library
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements

  • Start eating healthy foods more often.
  • Be patient. Your nails- like everything else in life- didn't become weak and brittle in a day, so nothing you can do will have lasting, real effects right away. Give it time, and you'll be pleased when you see your nails beginning to recover!
  • There are conflicting reports regarding the effectiveness of consuming gelatin to encourage stronger nails and longer hair. Some people swear by it, others say it's an old wives tale that has no basis in fact. Though if you enjoy eating jell-o, it couldn't hurt to try it. Applying unflavored, runny, gelatin topically to properly moisturized nails may help regain nail health.
  • Buffing natural nails often will cause weak and flimsy nails because remember you are taking OFF layers of your nail making it not as thick and strong.
  • Learn to love the natural look.
  • You may need to see a doctor. There are many reasons for weak fingernails.


It is easy to buy into the promises that cosmetic companies make, but try to avoid polishes or lacquers promising to make your nails stronger or harder, or luring you in with phrases like "all natural", "growth complex" or "results guaranteed!" At the end of the day, these polishes are just that- nail polishes, filled with toxic and nail-harming chemicals. Stay away from them. Artificial nails (acrylic, gel, etc.) are great if you want long nails fast, but they can seriously damage your real nails and even lead to nail fungal infections. Strong chemicals can leech moisture out of your cuticles, and nail shapers can damage the nail plate (which is extremely painful!) What seems like a quick-fix can actually cause long-term damage to the nail!

Monday, December 16, 2013

House Blessing

Holistic Lifestyle wishes you much Love, Health, Joy, Inner Peace and Prosperity!

Pink candle. source: public domain clipart.
A "house blessing", also known as a house healing, house clearing, house cleansing, house purifying, and space clearing is an ancient tradition performed, in one form or another, by many religions and cultures around the world. Its intended purpose is to bless and provide spiritual protection for the dwelling and its inhabitants. A house blessing is generally performed on a dwelling before moving in, but it can also be performed on an existing dwelling after the inhabitants have taken possession.  As the prayer/blessing was recited, Native Americans used dried white sage as a "smudge stick" to remove bad spirits or negative energy from a dwelling, themselves or another person, or an object. After the ritual was complete, the smudge stick was placed in an abalone shell and left to burn out on its own.

A pink candle representing love/heart energy can be lit while reciting the prayer/blessing.


 To perform a house blessing:

1. Walk into each room of the dwelling.
2. Set the candle down (make sure the candle is on a stable fireproof surface!) in the middle of the room.
3. Recite the prayer/blessing by speaking it out loud in a normal tone of voice (no need to shout).
4. Walk into the garage. Set the candle down in the center of the garage. Recite the prayer/blessing.
5. Walk around the perimeter of the dwelling holding the candle. While holding the candle, recite the prayer/blessing on the North, South, East and West sides of the dwelling.
6. Walk around the yard/property. While holding the candle, recite the prayer/blessing on the North, South, East and West sides of the yard/property.

There is no right or wrong house prayer/blessing. If you feel so moved you can make up your own blessing. Many examples of house prayers/blessings can be found on the internet. A house blessing should be done at least once a year, however, you can perform the house blessing on a monthly or weekly basis if needed. For example, if misfortune occurs, the energy level in the house or its inhabitants seems low, there is illness, strange occurrances, etc.

Examples of House prayers/blessings:

Example #1
"[To the Divine Spirit or Universal Energy or Supreme Being or Great Spirit or God, etc], in lighting this candle we summon love, harmony, peace, and prosperity into our home. May we be blessed with good health, happiness, success, and abundance. May this home be a sacred dwelling for us and our children. May those who visit us feel peace and love. We decree that this home is now shielded from harm, illness, or misfortune. Thank you for bringing divine light, love and energy into our hearts, rooms, and endeavors. With tremendous gratitude, we thank you. In full faith, so be it and so it is!"

Example #2
"[To the Divine Spirit or Universal Energy or Supreme Being or Great Spirit or God, etc], bless this house and all who live here. Fill this dwelling with an ambiance of peace, prosperity, health, happiness, harmony and love. Let this space shine with divine light and beauty and provide a warm, comfortable haven from the world. May only beings that are kind-hearted and well-intentioned enter here. May nature's spirits feel welcome and live with us as friends. May all who enter here receive what they need, and feel richly blessed with their heart's desires."

House Blessing Prayer 

Disclaimer - Holistic Lifestyle Community Blog - Information
These statements have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Holistic Lifestyle disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this or any other information contained in this Web site. The information provided using the Holistic Lifestyle Web site is for educational use only. It is only intended to be general summary information to the public. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. It is not Holistic Lifestyle’s intention to provide specific advice, medical or otherwise, but rather to provide users with information to better understand and manage their life, environment, personal health and wellness, and their diagnosed disorders. Holistic Lifestyle urges users to consult with a qualified health care professional for diagnosis and/or for answers to their personal medical questions. If you have a medical emergency call 9-1-1. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by Holistic Lifestyle. Any mention in the Holistic Lifestyle Web site of a specific brand name is not an endorsement of the product.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dietary Supplements and Cognitive Function, Dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease

Concerns about forgetfulness and whether it is the first sign of Alzheimer's disease are common, particularly among older patients. Your patients may also ask questions about use of dietary supplements, which are often marketed with claims that they enhance memory or improve brain function and health.

Title: Woman Staring Out Window Source: National Cancer Institute. Creator: Rhoda Baer (Photographer). Reuse Restrictions: None - This image is in the public domain and can be freely reused. Please credit the source and/or author listed above.
This issue of the digest summarizes current information on “what the science says” about several dietary supplements that have been studied for cognitive function, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Research on several other dietary supplements to determine whether they have any effect on the progression of cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease is ongoing. In addition, research on some mind and body practices such as music therapy and mental imagery, which have shown promise in treating some symptoms related to dementia, as well as alleviating stress among caregivers, is underway.



Strength of Evidence
  • Numerous studies of ginkgo have been done for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Research Results

  • A large, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial funded by NCCAM and NIA studying the well-characterized ginkgo product EGb-761 found it ineffective in lowering the overall incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly. Further analysis of the same data also found ginkgo to be ineffective in slowing cognitive decline, lowering blood pressure, or reducing the incidence of hypertension. In this clinical trial, known as the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study, researchers recruited more than 3,000 volunteers age 75 and over who took 240 mg of ginkgo or placebo daily. Participants were followed for an average of approximately 6 years.
  • While some smaller studies of ginkgo for memory enhancement have had promising results, a trial sponsored by the National Institute on Aging of more than 200 healthy adults over age 60 found that ginkgo taken for 6 weeks did not improve memory.


  • Side effects of ginkgo may include headache, nausea, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, dizziness, or allergic skin reactions. More severe allergic reactions have occasionally been reported.
  • There are some data to suggest that ginkgo can increase bleeding risk, so people who take anticoagulant drugs, have bleeding disorders, or have scheduled surgery or dental procedures should use caution and talk to a health care provider if using ginkgo.
  • Fresh (raw) ginkgo seeds contain large amounts of a chemical called ginkgotoxin, which can cause serious adverse reactions—even seizures and death. Roasted seeds can also be dangerous. Products made from standardized ginkgo leaf extracts contain little ginkgotoxin and appear to be safe when used orally and appropriately.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Strength of Evidence

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are the subject of extensive research across NIH, in part because there is laboratory and observational evidence of potential health benefits, and in part because they are widely used by the public. Recent NCCAM-sponsored studies have been investigating whether fish oil can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Research Results

  • Currently, there is not enough scientific evidence from these and other studies to determine whether fish oil is useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease.


  • Omega-3s appear to be safe for most adults at low-to-moderate doses. The FDA has concluded that omega-3 dietary supplements from fish are “generally recognized as safe.”
  • Some have questioned the safety of fish oil supplements because some species of fish can contain high levels of mercury, pesticides, or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). However, fish oil supplements do not appear to contain these substances.
  • Fish oil supplements may cause minor gastrointestinal upsets, including diarrhea, heartburn, indigestion, and abdominal bloating.
  • In high doses, fish oil can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and drugs used for high blood pressure.

B Vitamins

Strength of Evidence

  • Several studies have been conducted on vitamin B supplements and cognitive function in older adults.

Research Results

  • Results of short-term studies suggest that B-vitamin supplements do not help cognitive functioning in adults age 50 or older with or without dementia. The vitamins studied were B12, B6, and folic acid, taken alone or in combination.


  • There are some health risks from excessive intake of some B vitamins. In addition, vitamin B6 can interact with certain medications, and several types of medications might adversely affect vitamin B6 levels, including the antibiotic cycloserine and some anti-seizure drugs. Vitamin B12 has the potential to interact with metformin, proton pump inhibitors, the antibiotic chloramphenicol, and H2 receptor antagonists.

Asian Ginseng

Strength of Evidence

  • Asian ginseng has been widely studied for a variety of uses. Most of the evidence is preliminary—i.e., based on laboratory research or small clinical trials—but a few high-quality clinical trials have been conducted on Asian ginseng for Alzheimer’s disease.

Research Results

  • Research results to date do not conclusively support health claims associated with the herb.


  • Short-term use of ginseng at recommended doses appears to be safe for most people. Some sources suggest that prolonged use might cause side effects.
  • Asian ginseng may lower levels of blood sugar; this effect may be seen more in people with diabetes. Therefore, people with diabetes should use extra caution with Asian ginseng, especially if they are using medicines to lower blood sugar or taking other herbs, such as bitter melon and fenugreek, that are also thought to lower blood sugar.
  • The most common side effects are headaches and sleep and gastrointestinal problems.
  • Asian ginseng can cause allergic reactions.
  • There have been reports of breast tenderness, menstrual irregularities, and high blood pressure associated with Asian ginseng products, but these products’ components were not analyzed, so the cause is unclear.

Vitamin E

Strength of Evidence

  • Many laboratory and animal studies have investigated the role of vitamin E in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease; evidence from human studies is much more limited.

Research Results

  • A 2012 Cochrane review found no convincing clinical evidence that vitamin E is of benefit in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment.


  • Research has not found any adverse effects from consuming vitamin E in food. However, high doses of alpha-tocopherol supplements can cause hemorrhage and interrupt blood coagulation in animals, and in vitro data suggest that high doses inhibit platelet aggregation.
  • Recent results from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention (SELECT) Trial suggest that vitamin E supplements (400 IU/day) may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Follow-up studies exploring this finding are underway.
  • Vitamin E supplements have the potential to interact with several types of medications, including anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications, simvastatin and niacin, and chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Grape Seed Extract

Strength of Evidence

  • A few preliminary studies of the effects of grape seed extract and its components on cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and other brain disorders have been undertaken.

Research Results

  • There is currently insufficient evidence to determine if grape seed extract is helpful in the prevention or treatment of cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease.


  • Grape seed extract is generally well tolerated when taken by mouth. It has been used safely for up to 8 weeks in clinical trials.
  • Side effects that have been reported include a dry, itchy scalp; dizziness; headache; high blood pressure; hives; indigestion; and nausea.
  • Interactions between grape seed extract and medicines or other supplements have not been carefully studied.


Strength of Evidence

  • A few preliminary clinical studies exploring the effects of curcumin on Alzheimer’s disease have been conducted.

Research Results

  • Evidence of benefit of curcumin on Alzheimer’s disease has not been found.


  • Curcumin is considered safe for most adults, but high doses or long-term use may cause indigestion, nausea, or diarrhea.
  • In animals, very high doses of curcumin have caused liver problems. No cases of liver problems have been reported in people.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fashion Tips for Your First Date

Whether you have met a guy in town, at a bar, know him  from work, or have been chatting to him online for weeks before meeting up with him, a first date is always nerve racking. If you start dating  someone you have known for a long time as a  friend, it  can even  be a little awkward, but we’re going to focus on the positive aspects here.

One of the big things you are probably worrying about is what you are going to wear for the first date. Make no mistake; this can be extremely tricky. You might want to go for the conservative look but end up looking frumpy, while too much of an “out there” look can leave the wrong impression on many fronts. What you need to do is ensure you achieve the correct balance in your outfit. Here are some tips that will help you.

Leave it to the Imagination
Everyone wants to look desirable and sexy,  but  you  do  not  have  to  be  flaunting  legs  and cleavage in order  to achieve  this. Wear something  that makes you look sultry, but ensure  the focus is going to be on you, the conversation, and that you will be able to achieve plenty of eye contact with your man.

If your date sees everything the  first time you meet him, it takes away a part of the incentive for him to want to see you again. If you dress over the top just to impress him, that will come through in your own anxiety, too, which is never attractive.

Choose Comfort Every Time
If we were talking about any other occasion, we would be saying that you can  forget comfort for  a  while  as  long  as  you  look  good.  However,  if  you  are  having  to  adjust  shoes  or  a  belt during a date, it isn’t the best of looks. With that in mind, it is better to wear something that makes you feel good and that you will be comfortable in. Yes, dress to impress, but do not put something on with looking good the only thing on your mind. If he’s worth it, he’ll be interested in much more than your appearance, anyway.

Keep it Simple & Familiar
You  want  to  know  the  reason  why  fashion  disasters  happen  on  a  first  date?  It  is  because both women and men spend too much time worrying about what to wear, and go out to buy something new. Not a problem, you might think, but the emotion that tells us we have to buy something distorts our view of certain  things, and we end up buying something we ordinarily wouldn’t. Then, when it comes to the date, we start to feel anxious and uncomfortable because we realize we don’t like our new dress, blouse, or pair of jeans. Stick  to  something already in your wardrobe, a “go to” item you know you look good in, and this will filter through to your confidence, your mood, and the whole date.

Author Bio: Jessica enjoys going shopping on first dates as she finds it is a great ice breaker; she picks up some fun and quirky items, too! During her last first date, Jessica found some stylish hijab pins which she purchased for one of her friends.

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