Relief for Computer Users

Relief for Computer Users
 
Mary Betts Sinclair
According to the American Optometric Association, 46 percent of Americans spend at least five hours a day on a computer or smartphone. When looking at a screen, many people hold their head forward of center and slouch, which puts many upper-body muscles in a shortened position. 

Here are some ways to avoid pain and strain:
Computer users tend to blink very little and stare straight ahead, not using their peripheral vision. Be sure to keep blinking, which washes your eyes in naturally therapeutic tears and breaks up your stare.

Take frequent rest breaks using the 20-20 Rule: every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something far away, preferably gazing out a window. Also, stand up and move as much a possible. This is a great time to do eye-muscle stretches and range-of-motion exercises for your back and neck. Use your fingertips to gently massage around your eyes, temples, and forehead. Finally, rub your palms together and gently cup your closed eyes. Relax and breathe freely. 

Make sure you have good light, and check that your monitor is the correct distance away from your eyes and at the right height. Also, adjust the screen settings to where they are comfortable in terms of resolution and flicker. 

If you wear eyeglasses, have them checked. For example, in order for some people to see clearly with their heads held in an upright and balanced position, and without chronic tightness in the back of the neck, they may need to have a prescription for a longer focal length or larger bifocal inserts, or have an adjustment of their eyeglass frames if they are bent or twisted. Some people may need a stronger or weaker prescription. If your doctor has prescribed a pair of glasses specifically for seeing the computer screen, wear them.

Mary Betts Sinclair is an Oregon-based educator and bodyworker. Learn more about her at www.marybettssinclair.com.

Somatic Semantics

Somatic Semantics
What Exactly is CAM?
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) refers to healing modalities that don't fall into conventional Western medical philosophy, including bodywork, acupuncture, herbology, homeopathy and mind/body techniques. CAM is becoming a more familiar term as approximately 125 million Americans suffering from chronic illness -- arthritis, back pain, hypertension, and depression -- look for solutions that conventional medicine can't provide.

"Complementary" modalities are used together with conventional medicine, such as utilizing aromatherapy to lessen a patient's discomfort following surgery. "Alternative" modalities are used in place of conventional medicine, such as using herbs to treat stomach upset rather than taking pharmaceuticals. And the merging of alternative and conventional medicine is referred to as "integrative medicine," connoting the idea of combining the best of both healing philosophies.

CAM is continually gaining the respect of the Western medical system, as indicated by the nearly 100 medical schools now offering courses in alternative therapies. The University of Arizona is an exceptional model of such a school, offering the nation's only postgraduate, two-year Program in Integrative Medicine (PIM). Founded in 1994, PIM is designed to teach small groups of physicians how to integrate holistic modalities into their practices. These doctors are committed to a fundamental redesign of medical education including such principles as:
--Appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body's innate healing response,
--Consideration of all factors that influence health, including mind, spirit, and community,
--A philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative medicine uncritically.

For more information and research about CAM, visit the nonprofit Alternative Medicine Foundation's website, www.amfoundation.org.

Clear Skin Depends on Internal Wellness

clear skin comes from withinElimination Effect
Shelley Burns, N.D.
Do you often wonder why a skin blemish has not resolved or why acne outbreaks continue in spite of countless therapies? If so, you may need to dig a bit deeper and look inside--inside your body, that is. Good digestive health and the health of your colon can mean healthy skin.

The Question Is, How?

Both the colon and skin are responsible for absorbing and releasing chemicals, water, and other metabolic products. The colon is the largest internal organ in the body. Its function is specifically to absorb food, nutrients, and water.

One function of skin is to help the body breathe. It inhales and exhales similar to how the lungs work. Inhalation and exhalation by the skin allows it to open pores and perspire. So, sweating is a good thing.

When the colon is unable to get rid of waste produced from food, the colon becomes constipated and toxic. The skin also becomes toxic in trying to perform the elimination function, and often results in skin eruptions in the form of acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Prevention
You can avoid some of this trouble with these tips:

  • Consider removing certain foods from your diet--especially dairy. An allergy to milk and other dairy products can cause severe acne.
  • Drink at least 64-80 ounces of water every day, as it lubricates the colon and helps with regularity.
  • Refrain from dehydrating beverages like alcohol, coffee, and soda, as they can cause constipation.
  • Strive for a daily bowel movement-- try 1-3 teaspoons of ground flax seeds added to your breakfast.

Beautiful skin starts from the inside out. Adopting these practices will not only improve colon and skin health, but will promote your overall health as well.

The Art of Bathing

The Art of Bathing
Simple Recipes to Soothe Mind and Body
From bubble baths to essential oils to Dead Sea salts, prepared bath products are designed to enhance a bathing experience, but they can be expensive. Instead of spending the extra money on special bath products, try one of these natural, simple bath recipes with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard or refrigerator.


Epsom Salts
Add 2 cups Epsom salts to bath water.
Magnesium sulfate, or Epsom salts, has been used for centuries as a folk remedy, and research now confirms its numerous benefits. The second most abundant element in human cells and a crucial component for bone health, magnesium is also needed for muscle control, energy production, and the elimination of toxins. Magnesium eases stress, aids sleep, and improves concentration while reducing inflammation, joint pain, and muscle cramps. Sulfates help to flush toxins from the body, prevent or reduce headaches, and even improve brain function.

Most American diets are deficient in magnesium. However, one of the best ways to boost dietary intake is by bathing in Epsom salts, which are readily absorbed through the skin.


Milk
Add 2-4 cups milk or buttermilk to bath water.
Rich in calcium, protein, and vitamins, milk replenishes the skin, while lactic acid found in milk acts as a natural exfoliant. A member of the alpha hydroxy acid family, lactic acid breaks the glue-like bonds between the outer layer of dead skin cells. Soak in a milk bath for 20 minutes, then gently scrub skin with a loofah or washcloth.


Honey
Add 1/4 cup honey to bath water. A fragrant, natural humectant, honey helps skin attract and retain moisture. Its antibacterial and anti-irritant properties make it an ideal cleansing and soothing additive to a warm bath.

Hibernating is for the Bears

Plan to Stay Fit This Winter
Winter's here, and you've moved your running shoes to the back of the closet until April. Yet that piece of pumpkin pie has your name on it.

With the onset of colder weather, shorter days, and snow-covered streets, we eat more and exercise less, waiting for the spring thaw to get back in shape. Instead of having to make New Year's resolutions to lose holiday weight and join a health club, why not set goals to stay fit this winter?

Move Fitness Indoors
Winter is the perfect time to start a weight-training program. When it's sunny and warm in summer, you'd rather be outside cycling or rock climbing. When it's snowing, why not lift weights for 30 minutes during lunch? Statistics show that more people suffer heart attacks in winter from shoveling snow, often because they're out of shape. With regular strength training, you'll be able to shovel that snow and get a head start with outdoor sports when spring comes around.

Walk Outside on Weekends
Going for a jog or walk during mid-day when the sun is high is a great time to get outside and catch a few rays. Be sure to dress warmly, wear sunscreen, and drink plenty of water. Dehydration is most common in colder months when you're less aware of fluid loss.

Take a Dance Class

Accept that invitation to the New Year's Eve celebration and take a class in ballroom dancing. While you're dancing, you're not hanging around the buffet table or the bar, and your waistline will thank you for it.

Rediscover Ice Skating
Whether it's on a frozen pond or at a rink, ice skating provides seasonal exercise opportunities, especially good for the legs. And it's great fun, bringing out the kid in all of us.

Consider Snowshoeing
Snowshoeing is just a matter of strapping snowshoes onto your boots and walking. Snowshoes make hiking trails and snowy city parks accessible and can be rented from sporting goods stores at a relatively inexpensive price.

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