Warning Signs of Mental Illness and Where to Turn

Mental illness is very common in the United States today. The National Mental Health Institute states that about 26.2% of the population in the United States, or about 57.7 million people, has some kind of mental illness. About 6% of the population has severe mental illness. Mental illness is the major disabling factor in the United States today for adults from 18 to 44 years of age.

“Mental health problems” actually strike everyone at some point in his or her life. Whether it’s an acute but temporary episode of depression caused by the death of a loved one and eases on its own and without professional intervention, over time or the more lasting clinical depression that needs professional intervention and treatment.

“Mental illness” is defined as a disease that causes detrimental changes in behavior and thought that interfere with an individual’s life. Unlike acute episodes of stress or depression brought on by life events (but which nonetheless can themselves benefit from intervention such as a temporary course of medication or work with a therapist, if distressing enough), these changes are prolonged and interfere with an individual’s normal functioning.

Before mental illness is diagnosed, physical problems that may cause symptoms should be ruled out and treated, such as an under- or overactive thyroid. Once any physical causes are ruled out, though, mental illness should be considered a possibility and appropriate treatment sought if any of the following symptoms occur in adults:

  • Thinking becomes disorganized and not clear
  • There is prolonged depression or sadness present (can either be related to a precipitating event such as the death of a loved one or come “out of the blue”)
  • The person exhibits periods of extreme or worsening depression, followed by periods of increasing and extreme excitability, euphoria, energy and/or engages in impulsive behavior such as excessive and inappropriate spending
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Excessive anger out of proportion to the situation at hand
  • Excessive worrying or being overly anxious or fearful
  • Inability to handle normal daily tasks or to function “as usual”
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Denial that there’s any problem when confronted
  • Physical illnesses or complaints with no medical basis
  • Abuse of drugs, alcohol or other mood-altering substances

In children, symptoms can include:
  • A drop in grades or other uncharacteristic changes in school performance
  • Poor grades even when effort is applied
  • Expressing anxiety or worry, such as a refusal to go to bed or unwillingness to go to school
  • Having frequent nightmares
  • Frequently disobeying or showing anger or aggression
  • Having temper tantrums past the appropriate age (i.e., school age)

For adolescents, symptoms can include:
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Inability to handle “everyday” problems or perform daily activities
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Physical illnesses or complaints with no medical basis
  • Engaging in truancy, theft or vandalism or “excessively” defying authority beyond normal teenaged rebellion
  • Obsession with gaining weight
  • Protracted moodiness or depressive behavior, perhaps with changes in eating or sleeping and/or with thoughts of death or suicide
  • Excessive anger out of proportion to the situation at hand

There is help if you or someone you love is suffering from any of the above symptoms and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has resources to assist you in finding help local to you.

Visit http://www.nimh.nih.gov/healthinformation/gettinghelp.cfm for more information, and/or http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/databases , offered by the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to find help in your area.

Disasters, Trauma & Your Mental Health

Disasters and trauma are an unfortunate part of life. Every person is affected differently by a trauma, but none the less, disasters ultimately will have some sort of impact on just about everyone. Different factors determine how a disaster or trauma will affect one’s mental health. Broaching the subject of “mental health” still carries a stigma for some, but there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Realizing what normal feelings and reactions may result from a trauma is the first step in determining if one needs professional help.

What exactly constitutes a “disaster” or a “trauma”? That truly depends on the person. However, the following is a list of such known occurrences:

  • Various accidents
  • Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • War experience
  • Alcoholism
  • Illness, surgery or disability
  • The death of a family member of friend
  • A natural disaster

Obviously, this list is in no way conclusive, but meant as a help for someone experiencing intense emotions due to a traumatic experience.

After someone experiences a traumatic event or disaster, they may feel a whole host of emotions. Most will feel some level of anxiety, grief and/or anger. Other normal experiences after such events include shock, inability to focus, difficulty making decisions, loss of appetite of overeating, crying, headaches and difficulty sleeping. These responses are normal and some are to be expected. Over time, these negative emotions should lessen.

But for some, these emotions and disturbances don’t lessen over time. The following list is a brief example of warning signs that you may need to contact your health provider and seek professional medical help to alleviate your distress.

These signs include:
  • Continued nightmares and thoughts about the event
  • Inability to stop thinking and ruminating about what happened
  • Continual avoidance of thoughts, feelings or conversations that remind you of the event
  • Inappropriate avoidance of places or people that remind you of the event
  • Fearful of the future
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Easily startled or “jumpy”
  • Overly concerned about safety
  • Having intense feelings of guilt, worthless or hopeless
  • Not enjoying activities you once enjoyed
  • Any thoughts of death or suicide

When these feelings are so intense that they affect your daily ability to function, that also is a strong indicator that professional help is in order. Even if the trauma occurred years ago, you may have never fully overcome it. Professional health providers can help diagnose potential underlying problems or prescribe medication that can significantly improve your daily life.

It may even be the case that you have been diagnosed with anxiety, depression or even phobias without realizing that trauma is the cause. It has recently become accepted to look at traumas and disasters as serious causes of mental illness. If your current diagnosis and treatment are not delivering the results that you want, make an appointment with your health provider. Don’t give up on your treatment. Life events occur and can cause great pain and significant emotional disturbances, but these events need not dictate your life. Give yourself time to heal, but do seek professional treatment if your symptoms are significantly disturbing your daily life.

Frozen Shrimp Plus Angel Hair Pasta Makes Easy Diet-friendly Meal

Negative Calorie Foods

Negative calorie foods are those that need more calories to metabolize than the calories they have. For example, if you eat an apple, which has about 65 calories, your body spends about 100 calories in digestion. That is, the body loses about 35 calories in the process and results in weight loss to that extent. Therefore, the apple you have eaten is a negative calorie food. Normally, when you eat any food, your body burns anywhere between 150 and 250 calories, on an average, for its digestion. So if the food you eat has more than 250 calories, say 350 calories, then your gain in weight is equivalent to 100 calories, which represent the excess calories contained in the food eaten over the calories used up in the digestion of that food. Negative calorie foods result in net loss in terms of calories for the body and, naturally, cause weight loss.

Can I lose weight with negative calorie foods alone?
Based on this theory, negative calorie foods have gained immense popularity as means of losing weight quite effectively. However, considerable controversy surrounds the theory. Negative calorie diets attract criticism because of several factors that go against them. There are people who overeat negative calorie foods under the mistaken notion that they will not gain any weight, but instead, they can lose their excess weight faster that way. There is another wrong notion that negative calorie diets work for weight loss, without any physical exercise being included in the weight-loss program. There is no conclusive evidence based on scientific studies that negative calorie foods work the way they are believed to work. Negative calorie foods are only vegetables and fruits, so it is rather difficult to depend exclusively on them, even if you are a vegetarian.

On the other hand, supporters of negative calorie diets say that they are the only diets that work in fact for weight loss, while the other diets never work. You can always add other foods like fish or lean meat to a negative calorie diet containing fruits and vegetables, and they will not fail.

Starvation diets are, they say, a myth, as starvation or skipping meals will only slow down the metabolism in the body, which holds on to its stored fat in times of food deprivation, but will not result in weight loss in the long run. Fat-free and low-fat diets also do not work; speeding up metabolism is the only way for losing weight. There is no end, however, to the criticism directed against one diet or the other.

Almost all negative calorie foods contain antioxidants. They are also full of vitamins and minerals. Most of them possess properties beneficial for preventing diseases and promoting good health.

One can list more than a hundred negative calorie foods that really help you to lose weight. You must incorporate a lot of physical exercise in the negative calorie diets for them to work much better.

Like most others, you may be in search of a wonder weight loss program, which is easy and quick, which works painlessly, which is safe without side effects, which does not put you through unpleasant and strenuous physical activity, which does not deprive you of your favorite dishes and so on, but negative calorie foods do not meet all your conditions.

How Honey Can Help You Stay Young

Honey is a great antioxidant. Studies conducted on the beneficial properties of honey have established that it protects the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. Honey also helps in the rejuvenation of the skin. Free radicals resulting from the metabolism in your body when oxidized are responsible, along with other things, for ageing. Being a natural and superb antioxidant, honey fights the free radicals and decelerates ageing. You can either consume honey or apply it topically to reap its many benefits.

Honey has a high sugar content, moderately high acidity and therefore low pH and low protein quantity. Add to these its antioxidant property and the presence of Hydrogen Peroxide in it, and you have a wonderful anti-bacterial and anti-microbial agent in honey.

To stay, feel and look young, you should have to maintain your face, your skin and your hair. They must have a good and young appearance. Honey will help you do this extremely well. You may not have either the time or the mood to spend a lot of money to go to a spa but that’s okay because honey provides you with an easy and effective alternative.

Honey in history

Legend has it that even since the times of Cleopatra, honey has been used for enhancing and maintaining one’s youthful looks and beauty. As you grow in age or when affected by exposure to unfavorable environmental factors, your skin tends to lose its elasticity, softness and supple character. Honey is a good natural product with excellent properties for restoring these very qualities to the skin. It has the capability of retaining and maintaining the moisture in the skin. Honey inhibits scaling and smoothes the wrinkles on the skin. Because of this, the skin looks naturally young.

Uses for honey

Mixed with some other things, honey can work as a facial mask, a hair conditioner and a skin clarifier. To make dry skin smooth, apply a mixture containing four tablespoons of honey and three tablespoons of milk. After about ten minutes, rinse the skin for a smoother look. Mashed apple mixed with five tablespoons of honey is good for tightening your skin. These mixtures can be topically applied anywhere, face, neck, arms or anywhere you need a healthy skin boost.

Of course, you can use also honey alone. Apply it directly on your skin when it is rough, scaly or dry. Leave it in place for a few minutes and then wash it off to find revitalized skin.

Home facial
A recipe for a home facial consists of two egg whites and about three to four tablespoons of honey. You can make a paste out of these with the help of a little flour. Liberal application of the paste on your face and washing it off with lukewarm water after ten minutes or so will leave your face look squeaky clean.

Honey can be used as a hair conditioner too. Combine ½ cup of honey with ¼ cup of olive oil and add a few drops of the oil of rosemary. Apply this to your hair and hair roots. Leave it for about 30 minutes and then rinse well. You may also use a good shampoo to wash your hair. You will be left with excellently conditioned hair.

How Eating More Often Can Help You Eat Less

Instead of eating three big meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, at approximate intervals of four to six or seven hours, it is always better to eat four to six smaller meals at shorter intervals, say of two to three hours. You may wonder why eating more often contributes actually to eating less or to weight loss.

Lighten the load

Your digestive system works more efficiently on a lighter load. You overeat, overload the digestive system, and see what happens. It slows down considerably. In addition, if you overload the system frequently, it may result in indigestion, which in turn might lead to other health problems. In other words, your metabolism will work favorably for your weight problem when you eat less more often.

Your energy levels drop when the intervals between meals are too long. If you wish to work continuously at peak energy levels keep supplying the digestive system with small amounts of nutritious food every three hours or so.

Starvation or eating too little too infrequently is not at all a solution to your weight problem. Your body holds on to its fat content in that case. If you eat smaller meals of the right type (food that contains proteins, carbohydrates and even a little fat) more frequently, your body burns more fat or more calories than it takes in, resulting in a net loss. It may seem to be the impossible, but it is true.

Steady does it

When your blood sugar levels increase, you have less craving for food. Eating frequent small meals keeps the sugar levels constantly at a high level and you actually eat less ultimately. Low blood sugar levels are accompanied by hunger and you rush to nearest vending machine for that soft drink or lemonade laden with high-fructose corn syrup or other sugar which are turned right to fat, just adding to your weight.

Heavy and infrequent meals make you inactive and lethargic. You might have had the experience of feeling like resting after a heavy meal. You have to be as active as possible during the entire day for weight loss. For this, small meals will be very helpful, as you won’t ever feel stuffed.

Being busy throughout the day, you may not pay enough attention to eating for long hours. In that case, you will feel the calorie-deficiency, and are likely to feel tired. Stress levels also might rise. When you finally get time for food, you have a great tendency to binge. You might not care much for your diet at that time.

Healthy eating in small quantities more frequently will help lower LDL cholesterol, according to some scientific studies. Remember physical activity and exercise will only add to the beneficial effect of small meals on the bad cholesterol levels.

You will certainly get used to eating less and eating more often, if you make eating more frequently a habit. Perhaps you will then have to make a conscious effort at finding more about nutrition and the various foods you would eat in small quantities for good health. Allotting more time for more frequent meals becomes necessary and that itself gives you an opportunity to focus on important weight and health issues that many people do not make the time for.

How to Cope with Failure and Frustration

Failure is defeat and the opposite of success. Everyday, we are likely to experience failures of various degrees, some very insignificant but some others major. We constantly attempt to do or achieve something as part of our daily lives. We are happy and elated when we succeed, but depressed and downcast when we fail. Most of us may be able to somehow cope with the day-to-day minor failures rather easily at least with a little patience and effort. We may tend to forget them quite easily. However, they can hurt and we may need reinforcements to help overcome and cope with these failures and frustrations.

When some major devastating failure strikes you, you have to deal with the experience. A feeling of incompetence may wash over you. You lose your self-confidence. Your self-esteem plunges to an unfathomable low. Life suddenly loses its verve and enthusiasm. You feel weak and helpless, as your situation appears very hopeless. You may think that your very survival is worthless. Some people get so depressed due to their failure that they may go to the extent of giving up their lives.

Therefore, you have to learn to cope with failures, whether small or big. One of the things you can do in this regard is to anticipate failure as a possible outcome, notwithstanding your best efforts for success. Realize that failures are an unpleasant fact. Be prepared to accept them, without being overwhelmed by them in a negative way. While you do your best for success, you should remember that in a world of competition, your best efforts may fall short in rewarding you with the desired outcome.

Learn to look at them as occasions that provide an opportunity for improvement and analysis. Remember, they can really work for your future success, if you care to learn the lessons they teach. Treat failures as passing phases of your life, maybe essential phases that help you in modifying your subsequent actions that might lead you on to a more satisfying and successful path later on.

One must realize that any learning situation is fraught with frequent and even repeated failures, which unfortunately result in creating a sense of frustration. Children have to be made aware of the fact that failures are only an indication that they have attempted to exceed themselves in the process of their learning and that they are sure signs that they are indeed learning properly. This way the effects of frustration due to repeated failures will not be damaging. They will then take failures in their stride.

Accept responsibility for your failure. Searching for a scapegoat and blaming an external factor or another person for your failure will not reduce your pain in any way. It only betrays a weakness of the mind and a lack of appreciation of the limits of your own abilities. If you accept that nobody else need be blamed for your failure, you can actually strive better in future and even taste success because of your heightened effort.

Learn to cope with failure with the same sense of humility that should mark your success. Sometimes, you may need external support to help you deal with your failures and frustrations. Seek it. Learn to face failures with courage and without wilting under the stress of frustration that they cause.

Staying Fit can increase your Sex Drive and How Sex can improve your Fitness

If you want to improve your sex drive then staying fit is the answer to your problems, while this applies to both men and women, men need to be vigilantly aware of this. On this note the more sex you have then the fitter you will be, so on this note, sex is the all around answer to your fitness goals.

The man’s libido, even more so than the women’s, depends greatly on how fit he is. Similarly, the healthier the man is, then the bigger impact it has on his sexual ability and also the enjoyment that he gets from it. Age doesn’t really play a factor in this and it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still develop your sexual ability to its fullest simply by leading a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Stress also plays an important role in a man’s ability to perform. Here again, exercise plays an important role, participating in some form of daily exercise allows you to work off your stress, which in turn makes you feel more relaxed and allows you to let go of whatever worries and anxieties you have collected. Learning how to be able to relax is essential; if the man is faced with long-term stress, then this can cause problems with him being unable to reach an erection and can also have an effect on his fertility. This of course can all be avoided by simply increasing the level of fitness and taking on some form of exercise at least three times a week.

Eating a healthy diet as a part of your keep fit regime is also essential; a poor diet can have a bad effect on the sex life for both the man and women. If you don’t eat a healthy diet full of all the essential vitamins and minerals but instead include too much fatty foods then you risk becoming overweight. If you become too overweight then this could mean that fatty deposits will block the arteries and this could result in the man being unable to gain an erection.

While staying fit will improve your sex life, sex will also help you to stay fit and healthy. One of the greatest forms of exercise is sex because it will give your whole body and muscles a through workout like no other can. One of the biggest killers through lack of exercise is coronary artery disease; during sex the whole cardiovascular system gets a through workout. The heart beats faster and the blood is pumped around the body quickly, the whole body becomes alive. In addition to this all the other muscles are used, so when you give this some consideration you can quickly begin to see why sex is a must for keeping fit, and it is also one of the more enjoyable ways of becoming a fitter and healthier person. Of course if you haven’t been active for a long period of time then it is essential that you build up slowly into a fitness regime, and also that you expect to have aches and pains where you never had them before, because you will be using muscles that you probably haven’t used in a long time.

8 Great Ways to Last Longer in Bed

Is your relationship lacking in the bedroom? Sometimes, despite a good solid relationship outside the bedroom, when it comes to bedroom activities, many are left disappointed or feel that they have disappointed. For all those who wish they could last longer in bed or that there partner could last longer then here are some excellent tips and advice keeping the romance alive.

While it might only sound like common sense, slowing down while making love is one of the best ways to last longer in the bedroom. Foreplay is essential and the longer you take with it, the longer you will last, lots of kissing, touching and caressing will go down great and help to make the experience more sensual and in turn heighten both you and your partner’s pleasure. Enjoy and experience every single touch and caress to its extreme. This means focusing on what you are doing and noticing how the touch feels, the different sensations the touch brings and the way it makes you feel.

Make sure that you are breathing deeply and evenly during lovemaking. If you find your mind wandering towards non-bedroom things, focus in on your breathing and the experience that is at hand. By making yourself more aware of the moment, you will be better able to enjoy the experience your partner is giving you. Instead of focusing on the out come of lovemaking i.e. the release at the end of the act, instead focus on the actual moment and the feelings the moment brings. For example how does the touch or the caress feel, take notice of how it makes your skin feel, does it make you tingle? Take time out to learn about the different parts of the body, the more you know about the body and how it works the better the sexual experience will be.

Don’t go into lovemaking with high expectations in mind, if you have high expectations to begin with then the chances are that the lovemaking is going to fall far short of your ideas, leaving you very disappointed. On the same note, don’t go into the experience thinking that you already know exactly what the other wants. As you grow as a couple, you will enjoy different things. Never be afraid to ask what the other likes and where they enjoy being touched and never be afraid to tell your partner what you like. Sex should be open and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask about preferences. Some people are more sensitive on their backs and across their shoulders, others they find touching the feet and hands an erotic experience, others can’t stand having their feet touched. Knowing what the other wants and being open with your own desires can greatly can heighten the sensual experience and make sex last longer if you spend longer on the areas that are the most sensitive.

Finally don’t be afraid to try something new, take your time and bring sex toys into your lovemaking, experimenting with sex toys and aids is a great and fun way to make the act last longer and can bring great pleasure to both partners. For something different you could try food, whipped cream, body chocolate and fruit are all great introductions in the bedroom and are another fun way to make the lovemaking last and more enjoyable.
Above all the best advice when it comes to lasting longer in the bedroom is to not worry, worrying about how long you can last and if you will disappoint your partner is sure to ruin what should be a wonderful and pleasurable experience between two people.

24 Easy Ways to Lose Weight and Get Healthy

It’s no secret that obesity is a problem round the world. And it’s also no secret that some people can sure seem to abuse their bodies, eating the wrong foods, smoking and even practicing illegal drug abuse, and yet their bodies are much slimmer and healthier than those of people who regularly try to eat the right foods and get the right amount of exercise.

Yet medical science today still has no one-size-fits-all cure for obesity. What they can offer, though, are a variety of helpful hints ad tips that do help a lot of people, depending upon their genetic makeup, and physical environment and other factors. So try these and see which help you the most. And then try our tasty recipes and adjust them for your meals.

1) Exercising before you eat can make you hungry. So exercise AFTER you eat; afterwards is when your body has to work harder digesting the food, too.

2) Don’t skip breakfast – or any other meal. Your body often goes 12 hours without food since your last meal or snack (and often from the day before) and it needs fuel. Plus when you skip meals, the natural tendency is to over eat to make up for it and also not face starvation.

3) Eat a maximum of four egg yolks in a week.

4) Drink skim milk instead of other types, to cut back on fats.

5) Remember these shopping tips: don’t shop when you’re hungry, always shop from a prepared list and no impulse buying (that goes for convenient grocery items on the end of aisles and in check out lines!)

6) If you eat while you are in front of the television, measure out your foods first so they you don’t mindlessly much away and overdo it. In other words, no carrying along an entire bag of chips that can turn into trough eating.

7) Instead of butter and margarine, experiment with apple butter and other healthy fruit alternatives.

8) Fruit juices can be very sweet and high in sugar content, so water them down before drinking them.

9) Add more fish to you diet, fish not prepared with batter and breading that is. Fish has omega 3 fatty acids which help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. So add fish to your weekly diet, at least twice a week is best.

10) Experiment regularly with new recipes so you add new food and experience in your meal planning. Eating the same old things like hamburgers and pizza can equal boredom and cause overeating to try to get your fill for something more.

11) Add more veggies into you daily eating. Try new dips, sauces and fun ways to cook and serve them.

12) Fresh veggies don’t stay fresh too long. And that can be a difficult dilemma for those who don’t have a lot of time to shop. So try adding a quick veggies stop in weekly with a special errand so that you stop at a local farm market or at least the produce section once a week: combine this trip with your weekly bank deposit or post office visit, for example.

13) Practice alternative cooking means than frying: broiling, microwave, steaming, crock pot with rack, toaster oven with rack, grilling, etc.

14) Substitute water for beverages at home and when eating out, even diet drinks. Plenty of fast food joints and good restaurants serve flavored waters. Ask for lemon, if nothing else, in your water. And stock up on lemons and limes at home. Skip the diet pop.

15) Experiment with new veggies, dressings, nuts and fruits in salads to make your meals more interesting, tasty and varied. Try home-made salad dressing recipes, different colored peppers, dried and fresh fruits, different types of lettuce and other goodies.

16) Choose wheat bread over white.

17) Substitute applesauce for oil in baking recipes.

18) Use non-stick no-fat and low-fat cooking sprays instead of adding greasing. And bake on cooking sheets covered with aluminum foil, then sprayed fist, for easy clean up. Place a cooking rack on top of the cookie sheet, too, for allowing fat to drip off meats.

19) Forget about super-sizing. No one needs that much food, especially junk food. Get smaller services and do ask for them. If you don’t ask or you just say something like, “I’ll have a coke and fries” with that, they’ll automatically super-size everything unless you say SMALL with coke and fries when you order. So re-learn how to order and do it!

20) Use portion control, at home and outside the home. No one says you have to eat a whole sandwich, for example, especially if your work is sitting behind a computer where you aren’t doing heavy lifting or anything. So save half your sandwich for another day. Ditto with eating out. Ask for a doggie bag WITH your food order. Then split up your meal and take half of it home for later.

You can also ask for a child’s portion or order an appetizer in place of a regular adult meal. So experiment and watch not only calories and fat, but money you save.

21) When you order out, order your dressing to be off to the side. Some places like Wendy’s are known to load on the mayo, tarter sauce and other toppings. And you don’t need all that fat. So get your toppings off to the side and add them yourself sparingly.

22) Bake with cocoa instead of chocolate; for example use 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder for each ounce of unsweetened chocolate.

23) Substitute nonfat or low fat yogurt for sour cream in salad dressings and other recipes.

24) Add some flavor to low fat and no fat recipes and food choices to make them more appealing: herbs and spices like garlic, basil, ginger, onion or onion powder, oregano and tarragon. Look in cookbooks and also try your own combinations.

Healthy Recipes

Fried Rice


  • 3 cups Cauliflower, grated
  • 3 Green onions, chopped
  • 4 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp Low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Garlic salt
  • 3 Eggs, beaten
  • Oil
  • 4 cups Rice


In a large pan, heat enough oil to cover bottom of pan. Fry minced garlic and onions (white bulbs, not green stems) for 2 min. Add grated cauliflower and fry 5 min, while you stir constantly. Next add soy sauce, garlic salt, green onion stems and stir until mixed. Place all off to the side of pan. Then scramble eggs, adding a little more oil if needed, in the empty side of pan until it’s done, yet still moist. Then stir the eggs into the rice mixture and remove from heat. Makes two servings in approximately 15 minutes.

Mixed Vegetable Variety


  • Large tomato
  • White pumpkin
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Potato small
  • 3 cups Water

(Pressure-cook all the above ingredients and keep it aside)

  • Carrot
  • Capsicum
  • Spring onion sprig
  • Cabbage leaves

(Chop all these vegetables)


  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Boiled, drain pasta (any kind like: noodles, macaroni, spaghetti, etc.)
  • 2 tbsp Red garlic sauce
  • ½ tsp Ginger grated
  • 1 tbsp Tomato ketchup
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Blend the above pressure-cooked vegetables in a mixer and strain. The heat butter in a pan, add ginger and stir. Mix in the chopped vegetables and stir-fry the mixture for approx. 3 minutes. Mix in pureed stock and bring to a boil. Add all of the other ingredients, then stir and simmer for roughly 3 minutes. Makes two servings in approximately 15 minutes.

Banana Power


  • 4 Ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Sesame seeds


Brush peeled bananas with oil, and then with lemon juice. Place them in oiled baking pan and drizzle them with honey and then sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Broil all for about 6 minutes until heated throughout and browned, and until the sesame seeds toasted. Makes two servings in approximately 15 minutes.

Healthy Chocolate Shake

Mix in blender:

  • ¼ cup Cream
  • ¼ cup Cottage cheese (optional)
  • ¼ cup Egg substitute
  • ½ cup Water – ½ cup
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa – 1 tbsp
  • 2 tbsp sugar substitute
  • 2 tbsp Low carb protein powder


Blend a few minutes until all is well mixed, and then add up to 8 ice cubes, blending one in at a time. A super drink for two in approximately 10 minutes.

Healthy Vegetable Soup


  • 9 spinach leaves
  • 5 leaves just below cauliflower
  • 3 coriander leaves
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 Stalk of celery
  • 1 tbsp Ginger peeled and crushed
  • 1 clove Garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp Corn flour
  • ¼ Dried red chilly crushed
  • ½ tsp Sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp Soya sauce
  • ½ tsp Oil
  • 21/2 cups Water


Clean all vegetables and stems. Chop vegetables making them into thin slanted slivers. Heat the oil in a pan and add ginger garlic. Sauté for one minute. Next add vegetables and stir fry until tender. Then add water and bring to a boil. Mix in corn flour with 1/2 cup cold water, then add to soup. Stir continuously until it comes to a boil, then add the salt, sugar, chilly and soy sauce. Boil until it thickens. Serve fresh and hot. Makes two servings in approximately 15 minutes

Spice Up Your Sex Life with Natural Aphrodisiacs

If you are like the majority of couples, you have probably experienced a lull in your bedroom activities at one point or another. Sometimes work, stress, financial obligations, or kids can leave to feeling to drained to satisfy your mate at the end of the day. But when you consider that sex can actually help you deal with the stresses of day-to-day life, you have to ask yourself - why aren’t you taking advantage of this amazing natural anti-stress?

There are many other reasons why your sex life may be put on a shelf for a time, but stress is perhaps the biggest underlying problem for a sudden drop in libido. However, there are many other reasons that cause both long and short-term libido problems for both men and women. To remedy these problems, there are also a wide range of prescription and over-the-counter products that claim to restore or spice up a failing sex life. Many of these are known to have side-effects such as headaches, impaired vision, dependency and in the worst case scenario, heart attacks. Despite claims to the contrary, these types of drugs, such as Viagra, are truly meant to correct erectile dysfunction, not bring the lust back to the bedroom. Just because the man is able to achieve an erection, does not make it an erotic experience. What many people are in search of is a good old fashioned aphrodisiac. Very few people actually need drugs like Viagra, Cialis or Levitra. The fact of the matter is that most people can treat their low libido levels not by taking erection-enhancing drugs but by correcting their diet, attitude and experimenting with natural and herbal aphrodisiacs.

Correcting your diet and eating light

Eating right is the first thing you need to do to spice up your sex life, but by no means is the only thing you should try. With a well balanced diet, you will find yourself more eager and willing to at least get things going. Try to avoid any foods that cause you indigestion and acid-reflux. As soon as the indigestion starts, you’re bound to be irritable and in no mood to be frisky. One of the less obvious suggestions you need to consider is to not overeat. Avoid eating to a point where you feel bloated, heavy or lackadaisical. If you are planning a special night out on the town, think about sharing a meal or visiting a restaurant with lighter fare. Most restaurant meals are packed with calories, fat and ridiculously large desserts that would put anyone out of the mood.

Not only will portion control help put you in the mood, but there are also a wide variety of foods that have been proven to make you think twice about turning the TV on in bed. Some great aphrodisiacs to nibble on include:

Chocolate – Aztecs were the first to use chocolate to seduce their mates and the tradition has continued to this day and spread across the globe.

Asparagus – Your mother always told you to eat your vegetables. This green stalky vegetable was traditionally eaten without silverware and has been used for centuries as an aphrodisiac.

Oysters – This widely coveted delicacy can be difficult to open if you choose to eat raw oysters. So if you are going for their widely acclaimed aphrodisiac effects, avoid injury and eat them cooked.

Strawberries – Looking for a seductive dessert? Try a simple dessert of strawberries and whipped cream and expect decadent returns.

Avocados – In Aztec, the name of an avocado tree is “the testicle tree.” Today we simply recognize the stimulating effects of avocados and it’s scrumptious counterpart, guacamole.

Attitude is everything…well, almost

One of the most overlooked recipes for a natural increase in bedroom fun is a good attitude. Instead of telling yourself you’re too tired, too overworked or too burdened with your everyday activities, try telling yourself how much you are looking forward to the intimacy and snuggling with your spouse. Promise yourself that you will initiate things with your spouse at least XX times per week. Choose whatever number is comfortable to you. Chances are that once you change your attitude and look forward to it, you will enjoy it more too. Don’t expect every time to be a scene from an Oscar-winning romance scene, but expect that you will wonder why you would ever avoid initiating it in the first place.

Natural herbal remedies

Natural herbal remedies can often contain a variety of herbs, spices and flowers right from your own garden. If you lack a green thumb, space or are ready to raise your libido levels now, you can find all sorts of great herbal supplements and remedies at the grocery store or an online drug store. Along with herbal supplements, you can also find ready-made tonics, creams, oils and pills that will have the same desired effects without the undesirable side effects of prescription and other similar manufactured treatments.

While there is no magic pill, herbal aphrodisiacs are thought to help bring back the desire that has been lost. Herbal remedies can serve to increase the production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Other herbs can help you feel more calm and others still can help your circulatory or nervous system function properly for sexual activities. One you are feeling good and have an enhanced emotional state, it will invariably bring your sensual side thus turning you on.

There are many herbs that can be used as aphrodisiacs, many of them can be bought at the store and cooked with food, others can be bought in pill form but should have the overall desired effect: enhancing your sex life. Common aphrodisiac herbs and remedies include:

Ginkgo biloba is one of the most popular herbal remedies and attracts a huge following for it’s aphrodisiac effects. In particular, ginko biloba is thought to be of particular help to males who have trouble achieving erections. It is also known to bring back the sexual desire to those on medication such as Prozac. In a recent study, it actually increased the sex drive of over 80% of those who took part in the trial.

Ginkgo is said to be helpful in sending blood flow to the genital area, it relaxes the blood vessels and is said to boost the flow of blood which improves and maintains the erection. In research half of those men who used ginkgo showed beneficial effects after 6 to 8 weeks of treatment and after 6 months half had regained full potency. It is also said to boost the erection and increase the sex drive in smokers and those who suffer fatigue.

Korean ginseng is the favorite among all herbal remedies for spicing up your sex life; it has been used in China successfully for over 7000 years. It is said to have properties that balance your sex life, it improves the blood flow to man’s genitals and those who have problems with their sex life due to stress, fatigue, overwork or hormone imbalances

Arginine is another great herbal remedy that has been tested to be effective in treating sex drive. It works by increasing blood flow, DHEA – which helps the body produce the hormones estrogen and testosterone.

Muira puama is an herbal remedy from Brazil and has been widely used for many years by the natives of the Amazon and Orinoco river basin. Natives have used it as a way to combat impotence and to increase and enhance sexual desire. The natives have another more popular name for it “potency wood”. It is thought to give a boost to the sex hormones and stimulate sexual drive through the central nervous system. It is also said to work wonders for those with a lack of sex drive and to help the man gain an erection when they are having temporary difficulties.

Yohimbe is an herbal remedy that originated in Africa and has been shown to drastically increase one’s libido and to be an excellent cure for impotence. Unlike most herbal remedies, yohimbe can have a mild side effect of increasing blood pressure.

Katana, meaning “sword” in Japanese is a formula is said to be a formula from Asia which increases the male libido and sexual performance, it contains all natural ingredients which have been used for centuries. The product claims to also strengthen the erection and help the man to overcome insecurities and master sexual dysfunction.

Provestra are pills that can be bought in monthly supplies and contain 100% natural herbal ingredients. They claim to increase the women’s sexual response and sex drive, they work by restoring the hormones and it is also claimed they can increase the pleasure of the women’s orgasm in both frequency and the intensity.

Vigorelle is advertised as an erotic stimulation cream to boost arousal instantaneously. It is a 100% all-natural herbal topical lubricant that is applied directly to the clitoris and immediately triggers response and sensitivity. It is a popular sexual aid and has often been called “the woman’s Viagra”, it can be applied before or during lovemaking and is said to bring unbelievable intense excitement and orgasms beyond all boundaries.

St Johns wort is a very popular herbal remedy that is used for a wide variety of illnesses and problems. It is used to help lift the mood and so boost the sex drive, in recent tests St Johns wort helped and improved 60% of women’s sex life who had a loss due to pre-menopause. It is thought to be most helpful to those who suffer a loss of sex drive due to anxiety, stress, tiredness or depression.

Damiana is a traditional herbal aphrodisiac from Central America; it boosts circulation to the genital area and increases sensitivity to the nerve endings. This brings about an increase in sexual desire, is said to enhance sexual pleasure and stimulate the sexual performance. It is thought to work by gently irritating the urogenital tract to produce a stimulating effect. Those who have difficulty in achieving an erection and who have a loss of sex drive linked to a decrease in sensitivity are thought to benefit the most, the easiest and pleasantest way to take this herb is by brewing a tea.

VigRX - This 100% natural oil contains some of the most powerful sexual stimulants that have been used for centuries including ginseng and ginkgo. VigRX oil works quickly and immediately to improve the quality of the erection and brings increased pleasure to orgasm. Using the skin to deliver the stimulants, oil is applied directly onto the penis and the effects are seen and felt immediately. The oil provides general arousal, increased sensitivity and circulation. It is also said to increase the man’s staying power and boost the strength of the orgasm.

Many of the single herbal aphrodisiacs listed above are combined formulas and there are many, many more that may carry exotic names such as Passion Flower, Wicked Willy or Super Sex. Combinations such as these often include many different ingredients that have been carefully selected to work together in increasing your sex drive.

Safety of herbal aphrodisiacs

Most herbal remedies are considered to be safe and only few have any side effects at all. However, it is always wise to check with your doctor to see if a particular herb is right for you or if it will interact with any medications that you may be taking. When consulting your doctor, make sure the herb is safe for you.

You may find that your doctor is overly eager to prescribe some sort of manufactured drug such as Viagra to treat your problems. He may even argue that herbal remedies don’t work at all. The fact of the matter is that herbal remedies work in a much gentler way than do prescription medications. For this reason you will find yourself more interested in sex, but you will always have to take some initiative in the bedroom. Don’t expect herbal or manufactured remedies to do all the work for you.

Tantalize your sense of smell with essential oils

Essential oils taken from herbs and plants have been used for thousands of years to stimulate your sense of smell and spice up your intimate life. Of the five senses, smell is very elusive and very little is known. However, it is thought that the sense of smell is strongly linked to sex and there are many must have bedroom scents all have been used for thousands of years to raise libido and peak sexual interest. However, not all scents work for all people – don’t be afraid to experiment with a few until you find one or more that work for you and your partner.

Aphrodisiac scents are typically on the rich and robust side of smells. Their tendency to be spicy and warm in scent, such as cinnamon, relates directly for your need to be warm when aroused. You’ll find that most aphrodisiac scents fall into the warm or spicy category and frilly, fruity or light scents probably won’t do much to arouse you.

To properly incorporate essential oils into your normal routine, remember that just a little goes a very long way. You’ll find that just 2-3 drops in enough to enjoy the scent for quite some time. You never want to apply essential oils directly to the skin because they are almost always a skin irritant and can cause great discomfort if used alone. One great way to utilize them is to add a few drops to a bottle of almond oil to create your own sensual massage oil. Use the oil to seduce your partner with a sensual massage that will peak both your interests.

You can create your own sensual room mist by filling a sprayer bottle partway with water and adding a drop or two of your favorite essential oil. Since essential oils do not mix with water, you will have to shake the bottle often to keep them oils mixed up with the water. Use the mist setting and mist your bedroom, sheets or anywhere you need a little more spice.

There is nothing as romantic for setting the mood for a sensual night than a candlelit room and by carefully selecting a properly scented candle you can greatly add to the ambiance. Most herbal stores will stock candles that are scented with a wide variety of herbs and spices. Choose those aphrodisiac scents such as ylang ylang, sandalwood, rosemary, bergamot or geranium. These are all excellent choices for spicing up your sex life but it goes without saying that the only thing you will want to be burning is your desire, so use great care with the naked flame.

Some common aphrodisiac essential oils include:

Ylang-ylang – is a flowery scent with a much sweeter smell than most aphrodisiac scents. It works great when mixed with other, slightly spicier scents.

Patchouli – As one of the most common ingredients in high end men’s cologne, patchouli is known for it’s luxurious and relaxing scent.

Clove – a common kitchen ingredient produced a warm, slightly spicy scent sure to arouse and stimulate more than just your taste buds.

Sandalwood – Most seductive in its natural form, sandalwood has a strong earthy and woody scent that is often attempted synthetically. However, the synthetic sandalwood does not have the same aphrodisiac effect as true sandalwood.

Jasmine – A strong scent is produced from this small white flower. Jasmine is a wonderful addition to massage oils or as a candle scent.

Vanilla – Vanilla is sure to make you and your loved one feel warm and fuzzy inside. Researchers can’t even explain the overwhelming calming effects vanilla has on people, but we know it’s a great scent to make your partner feel close.

Musk – Musk is a very natural scent that will drive your partner wild.

Positive Attitude and Optimism for Promoting Health

Perhaps you know that your mental health has a strong relationship with your physical health. If you adopt a positive attitude and an optimistic view of life, you will lead a more satisfying and healthy life than when you constantly look at the dark side of things or take a negative stance. Studies have shown that people with a happy state of mind live healthier and longer. They lead more fulfilling lives. People who are highly pessimistic are known to run a higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular disorders and other ailments than those who are habitually highly optimistic.

You would like to live a good and healthy life for long, surely. The best way for this is to shed your negative way of thinking and replace it by positive thinking, positive attitude and optimism. This is the very foundation for well-being and a fulfilling and happy life. Real enjoyment in life comes when your good health permits you to reap the benefits of your material wealth. And that is possible if you habitually look at the brighter side of life. The power of positive thinking cannot be underestimated in terms of its effect on promoting health.

Adopt a way of thinking which helps you always to be hopeful, even in times of extreme misery and sorrow. As day follows night, if you remember that a brighter and better life is round the corner and that the present, however poorly lighted it might be, will give way to a brighter future, your attitude is optimistic. It will help you to deal with the prevailing circumstances with fortitude and patience.

Psychological studies conducted on some Harvard students have established a strong correlation between the optimistic attitude demonstrated in their student days and the health they enjoyed after they attained the age of 40 and above. Optimism has proven benefits. You deal with your life’s problems in a better way if you adopt a positive attitude. You will then lead a healthier, happier life and there is a high probability of living longer.

It is not impossible to change your way of thinking from negative to positive, even when you have been a pessimist all along. You can change your attitudes, with a little bit of effort and training. Remember, it is never too late to change, if that change is for the better and holds out hope for a better health and happier life. Start right away by banishing all negative remarks and utterances that you are in the habit of making. Gradually improve upon it by thinking with hope for better things to come, for better health and for a favorable solution to your problems, whatever they might be.

Practice is essential for thinking in a positive manner even when faced with an apparently hopeless situation. Analyze the facts, get rid of your fears and above all take full responsibility for your actions. Just see some good in the worst of situations and events. If you adopt this attitude, you will see for yourself how your life takes a new meaning. You will be healthy and happy.

Super foods for great health: Spirulina

Spirulina has been used for centuries to nourish those in South Africa and is now used in the Western world because of its many benefits. By definition, it is a micro algae which is 60 percent vegetable protein, however, it does have many other beneficial components too including iron, Vitamin B12, beta carotene and iron. It is one of the health foods that has received interest and studies by scientists and is showing to have some remarkable benefits on the health.

Spirulina contains 10 times more beta carotene then carrots do, which means that even if you don’t eat the recommended five portions of fruit and veg per day as long as you are eating spirulina in your diet you can be sure you are getting enough of this much needed substance, which is essential to help build up the body’s defenses.

Spirulina has one of the highest values of protein, which includes all the essential amino acids without having to worry about the calories, as there are just a few minimal calories in spirulina. Another component of spirulina is a product called Gamma linolenic acid, this is only found in mother’s milk and is said to give babies an excellent start in life. Spirulina is the only natural substance that replicates this product.

It can also help to build strong bones and a strong system, along with iron, spirulina contains trace minerals and magnesium and is also one of the highest forms of the Vitamin B12. B12 is valuable in keeping the nervous system under control and in good health.

Spirulina is also one of the easiest forms of supplements to take and taking as little as five mg a day can prove to have substantial effects on the body. It is available in both tablet and powder form and can be taken with, before or after meals on a daily basis, it can also be mixed with fruit juice.

Those who firmly believe in the product and its beneficial effects have said that from the moment you start talking it you immediately begin to feel a difference. Because digestion is the one of the biggest processes that occurs within the body when we eat the body will automatically send the majority of the blood supply to help the digestive organs. However, while this is essential for the digestive system it can leave the body feeling very sluggish and tired, however spirulina can be taken as a liquid and when taken this way it has the effect of nourishing the body and giving it the vitamins and minerals the body needs just the same as when you eat food but it doesn’t give you the sluggish feeling.

One of the biggest pluses of growing spirulina is that acre for acre it gives more nutrition than other food possible can and it doesn’t erode or pollute the environment in which it grows, which means its not only excellent for the body but also for Mother Nature.

Water for Weight Loss and Health

Unbelievably, water is the only natural wonder weight loss product. We all take water for granted. We are too busy looking for miracle potions and remedies and drugs to take a second at look at one of the most common and ordinary compounds that we cannot do without, water. It plays a great multi-dimensional role in our lives. And an important dimension pertains to its help for permanent weight loss.

Water is a natural appetite suppressant. It helps in the metabolism of the stored fat in the body. This fact has the support of scientific studies, which prove that water deficiency in the body causes the rise in its fat deposits. If you drink more water, the body’s fat deposits dip. A scientific explanatory support to the role of water in regulating fat levels in the body can be given, quite easily. When water deficiency occurs in the body, the kidneys cannot do their work well without enough water supply and the liver rushes to help the kidneys in their function. In the process, the liver is obliged to leave behind some of its own work, which is to metabolize the stored fat into the energy that the body needs. The net result is obvious: increase levels of fat in the body.

Since water is essential for survival, if you do not drink enough water, the body reacts by holding on to every little drop of water that is there in it and retains it in the spaces outside the cells (extra-cellular spaces), with the result that you have swollen limbs. While diuretics help in releasing this trapped water, and therefore reducing the swelling but the condition will return not long after. Ironically, drinking more water is a better solution to the problem of water retention in the body. Additionally, perhaps, you may have to reduce your salt intake, for discouraging your body from retaining water in this way. This is because the excess sodium coming into the body through excess salt intake is usually the main culprit for water retention. Therefore, drinking more water and taking in less common salt is essential. If you allow, water retention in your body, your weight increases. Drink more water for weight loss.

Water prevents dehydration. Your muscle tone improves, your skin grows healthier and softer, and your body sheds its waste products better, if you drink plenty of water. For getting rid of constipation, water is essential. It aids the passage of food through the digestive tract and helps the bowel movement.

It is true that drinking too much water causes many health problems for the brain, the heart, the muscle and so on. “Water intoxication” may cause dizziness, nausea etc. It is equally true that drinking too little water also causes many other problems. You must know, therefore, how much water intake is good for you. Most health care professionals and weight loss experts advise you to drink about 2 ½ liters of water per day. However, during days of hot weather, you should drink more. Also, when you do a lot of physical activity or exercise, your body needs more water. It is better to drink cold water, as it burns more calories, and helps you to lose weight.

Remember, most foods and drinks that you consume have water in them. Follow the golden rule about water intake for health and weight loss: not too little, not too much, but enough.

Herbal remedies for hair loss

While hair loss is only nature at work a great majority try anything and everything to bring back their locks. Or at least some of their once full head of hair. While it would be wrong to assume that you will sprout a full head of glorious hair equivalent to your youth it seems that in some cases herbal remedies have promoted hair re-growth.

While everyone is different of course and so will see different if any results, it seems that herbal remedies could be worth trying when all else has fails and does seem to offer some hope. Here we take a look at some of the more popular forms of herbal medicine that have thought to help with hair re-growth.

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a very popular herbal remedy that is thought to help with many problems, among them improving the circulation of blood to the brain and skin. The majority of herbalists who prescribe this for loss of hair do so believing that the increase of blood to the brain and skin delivers more nutrients to the hair follicles and so promotes hair re-growth.

Green tea

Green tea is another popular herbal remedy it is thought that the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase is inhibited by the catechins found in the green tea. This herbalist’s claim help to reduce the risk of male pattern type baldness if you drink several cups on a daily basis.

He Shou wu

He shou wu is an ancient Chinese herb that has been used for centuries for hair loss and baldness. It is frequently available in both tea and capsule form and is one of the main ingredients found in many commercial remedies for the treatment of hair loss.


Pygeum is taken from the bark of the evergreen tree and works in a very similar way to green tea. It has been used to treat problems with the prostrate for many years in China and can be taken in pill or capsule form.

Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto is a very popular choice among with hair loss; this is due to the fact that it also has the ability to protect the prostrate. Not only does it encourage the hair to re-grow but it also slows down the loss of hair.

Stinging nettle

Stinging nettle blocks the conversion of testosterone into DHT; this is the main cause of hair loss in men. It can be bought in either pill or capsule form and is said to be more effective when used in combination with saw palmetto or pygeum.

Other natural remedies

Other herbal remedies can be used in the treatment of hair loss in a similar way to shampoo, by rubbing into the scalp. The most popular forms of external herbal remedies include onion and red pepper. Onion is thought to help because it has a high content of sulfur. Sulfur is thought to be a hair healing mineral and it is thought that by rubbing half an onion into the scalp or hair before washing can help to promote hair re-growth. Red pepper is also thought to help re-growth as it draws blood to the scalp because of irritation. It is also said to help encourage the release of histamines that stimulate hair re-growth.

The Secrets of Traditional Chinese Medicine

“A single untried popular remedy often throws the scientific doctor into hysterics.” -Chinese proverb

With modern medicine to take care of every scrape and pain, we may find ourselves reaching for the Tylenol bottle and band-aids much too quickly. Popping pills has almost become routine and you can take them for anything that ails you. However, we don’t have to be chained to modern medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine has been around for thousands of years keeping people healthy and happy and continues to do so to this day.

As we begin our study of traditional Chinese medicine, we must keep in mind that for those that practice traditional Chinese medicine, this is a way of life. It is not like the modern medicine we experience in the United States, in fact, it is quite different. This traditional form of medicine treats more than just the illness. You would not pop a pill every time you got a headache. You may consider other treatments such as massage or acupuncture to cure your headaches, especially if it is a chronic condition. There are three major branches of traditional Chinese medicine include only herbal, massage and acupuncture.

Today in China, traditional Chinese medicine is a distinct branch of medicine that is practiced in conjunction with modern western medicine. It is important to note that western medicine is far superior in treating trauma cases while traditional Chinese medicine excels in treating things such as: infections, chronic conditions and the side effects of chemotherapy and drug addiction withdrawals. This in no way is meant to infer that traditional Chinese medicine is inferior to its western counterpart. It is simply good to remember Chinese and western medicines are two distinct ways of treating illnesses. Traditional Chinese medicine offers a more comprehensive look at your overall health and will help maintain a better overall well-being while western medicine is more focused on treating the illness at hand.

Controlling your Chi

Much of the basis for traditional Chinese medicine lies in the concept of Chi. (This word is also commonly spelled “Qi” or “ki” –there is no “correct” way since it is just the sounds of the words being transcribed into roman letters). Chi is the energy of life that we all possess and control. Literally, the word translates as “breath” or “energy flow.” Similarly, the Chinese symbol used for the word Chi is symbolic of steam rising off of rice while cooking.

Since Chi is the flow of energy throughout your body, illness is thought to occur when this energy cannot flow properly, it’s path becomes too narrow or is blocked from flowing all together. Although some may claim to control Chi with their mind, this is not the mainstream idea behind controlling your Chi. Typically, a Chinese healer will use massage, diet, herbs and possibly exercise to help increase the flow of Chi.

As a westerner, we can still control our Chi through similar practices as the Chinese. To begin to understand how to feel your Chi, you can rapidly rub your hands together until they start to become warm. Then slowly separate them until they are about one inch apart. Between your hands you will feel your Chi flowing from hand to hand. Although this little exercise will be fun to show your friends, a much more serious way to begin to actually control your Chi is through meditation. Find a quiet corner where you can begin to focus your mind on your Chi. You must remain calm and concentrate intently on finding the force of life as it flows throughout your body. You may be able to focus in on the energy itself, however, many people are also successful at visualizing it as it travels through the body. As you experiment, you will gain more control over your Chi and be able to direct it throughout your body to help relax and heal you.

Yin and Yang

Yin and yang is a traditional Chinese concept of philosophy that explains the difference between dark and light. Yin and yang is a metaphor for all opposites and tradition holds that although forces may be opposite, they are also complimentary. Yin is thought to be the dark force, representing dark or night and all things passive. Yin does not represent evil, as is a common misconception among westerners. Since yin and yang are complimentary, neither one can possibly a representation of good or evil. They are simply different. Yang, being the opposite of yin, is viewed as things that are bright and sunny and is often symbolized with fire. Yang is a force with active qualities.

The concept of yin and yang is also unique in that it is not an absolute theory. No one thing is purely yin or yang. Everything is constantly changing and so is the balance of yin and yang. You can also not have one without the other. They are interdependent entities that need each other to survive.

The concept of yin and yang is directly applicable to your health. In traditional Chinese medicine, if the two are consistently unbalanced and one dominates over the other, then the result will be sickness and disease. Chi, yin and yang are all common threads that tie the branches of traditional Chinese medicine together.

Acupuncture as a healing aid

Acupuncture, meaning, “needle prick,” is a form of treatment that involves sticking needles into various points, known as “acupuncture points.” These points are specific to what ails you and acupuncture has been proven effective in treating pain, headaches, nausea and other various ailments. However, in traditional Chinese medicine, the purpose is more than merely curing what ails you, the purpose is to put your Chi and body in harmony and to ensure that each part of your body had adequate yin and yang.

The acupuncturist will typically use solid, thin stainless steel needles (But copper or silver needles work well too) at each acupuncture point you need treated. Most points are not tied directly to any one specific part of your body, such as the liver or lungs, but rather, each point represents an area or function of the body.

To diagnose a patient, an acupuncturist will often take many signs from the face area to determine the correct course of treatment. After a quick study of the tongue and mouth, the acupuncturist will often inquire about your recent well-being. Then, before the actual treatment, the acupuncturist may try to locate “ashi” points on your body, or soft spots, to help determine the proper course of treatment. There is then a complex array of points, channels and systems for determining the acupuncture points, of which there is not enough room to discuss for the purposes of this article. The important thing to know is that each acupuncture point is a way to redirect your Chi to improve the function of your various body parts.

It is still a secret how acupuncture works to relieve pain and there are many theories surrounding it. One of the leading theories is that the needles used release hormones or other chemicals that interact with pain in a positive way. Others believe that it has a good effect on blood pressure to improve circulation and target pain at its source.

Herbal Medicine

Traditional Chinese herbology is just about as complex as modern medicine itself. A traditional Chinese herbologist would not simply prescribe an herb for whatever condition it is you have. Instead, the herbologist would choose one or two main ingredients to target your illness and then augment the concoction with other herbs to put the rest of your body back into harmony. Equally important, a Chinese herb doctor will include certain herbs to act as a catalyst to the main ingredients and others to nullify the toxic effects that some other herbs may have. Traditional Chinese herbology holds that no single herb is the key to health or treating pain. Each patient actually needs an herbal remedy tailor fitted to them.

The herbs themselves are not long held Chinese secret, but the manner in which they are combined and used is. Common herbs and their corresponding remedies include: tangerine peel to help regulate your Chi, Hawthorn fruit for improving gastrointestinal function, pumpkin seed to kill parasites, red sage root to invigorate your blood and aster berry to help eliminate phlegm. There are literally hundreds of herbs and combinations of herbs that can be used for various aches, pains and diseases.

Today, off the shelf varieties of traditional herbal remedies can be bought over the counter in China. Two major brands of Chinese herbal remedies are exported to the United States: Plum Flower and Mín Shān. It is important to use one of these two mainstream Chinese brands or buy something made in the United States because off brands may contain higher than recommended quantities of undesirable substances such as mercury or lead. Although manufactured pills lack the individual quality found in true traditional Chinese medicine cocktails prepared by herb doctors, the various groupings of herbs are still very effective in treating minor things. For more severe cases of pain, it becomes more important to go the more traditional route of having a true herb doctor find the right balance of herbs for you.


Chinese massage is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine, and rightly so. Chinese varieties of massage focus on the principles of chi or acupuncture, depending on the style of massage being practiced.

Zhi Ya is a form of Chinese massage that focuses on the acupuncture points. Pinching or pressing each particular acupuncture point helps to stimulate these points and achieve increased flow of chi. Tui Na is a form of Chinese massage that focuses less on the acupuncture points and focuses more on relaxing the muscles themselves by kneading and stretching them. Although these are both bona fide methods of Chinese massage, perhaps the most traditional method is Tai Ji massage, a method that focuses on cleansing the body through massage to create balance between your yin and yang.

Does it really work?

Just like modern medicine, what works for some, may not work for others. Some may find peace with traditional Chinese medicine and find that they are healthier and happier for practicing it. Although there is evidence that many of these traditional practices have been successful, it is not a branch of medicine based in scientific fact. However, when you take a look at the individual components of traditional Chinese medicine you can see that they are all factors in creating harmony in your life and keeping you in a position less prone to sickness.

Through controlling your Chi, you will find yourself more in tune with your body, more willing to cut out stress from your life. You will probably also find yourself eating healthier, participating in healthy exercises as well as other health promoting things. Massage and acupuncture will work with your body in much the same way, you will become more in tune with your body and able to diagnose sicknesses and realize the times your body needs rest, relaxation or even increased activity. Chinese medicine may be successful due to the increased awareness of your body and self. If you know that your Chi is blocked, you know you need to so something about it.

The results of traditional Chinese medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine will undoubtedly help to create a better, more well-rounded you. By concentrating on your Chi and balance of yin and yang, you are guaranteed to live a more serene life. If you haven’t guessed it by now, the true secret to traditional Chinese medicine is that you will stop focusing only on sickness but include your wellness as a health aspect. When you become stressed out from work or family affairs, you will be able to recognize that and find ways to better balance your yin and yang and work through the stress. You won’t keep bad things from happening to you, but with traditional Chinese medicine, you will be able to better deal with any challenge that you face.