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Did you know that 90% of doctor visits are for stress related symptoms?

Stress bombards us every day from all directions.  Maybe it’s sitting in the midst of highway gridlock when you are already late for an important appointment.  Or how about the bill you forgot to pay?  It could be a phone call from the school complaining about your child’s behavior.

These are just the annoying little stress triggers that we handle every day.  What about the larger issues?  Retirement, moving, divorce or, heaven forbid, the death of a loved one or friend can come out of the blue and here comes the stress, launching you into treading murky waters one more time.

The impression is that the feelings of stress come from outside sources when, in reality, it happens inside of us.

When we feel as though we are under pressure, our bodies react the same way that we have trained them to do with a rise in blood pressure, tightening of muscles and accelerated breathing.

These physical symptoms are generally referred to as “fight or flight” responses.  This is a term left over from historical times when the choices were to flee or stand and fight.

Unfortunately, today we don’t have those options.  Each situation must be dealt with and that’s where the stress comes in.  Some stress is unavoidable and is actually good for you as we will discuss further on.  But too much stress leads to troubles that can range from upset stomach to anxiety attacks and even as serious as heart attacks.

There’s a whole arsenal of stress busting tools available that we will discuss here.   Hopefully, the more you understand your stress, the better prepared you will be at controlling your body’s response to stress and restoring a calmer state of mind.

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Chemically, stress is a condition that your body enters as the result of a message received from your brain telling it to prepare to run or fight.  The body reacts by preparing for that eventuality.  The brain tells the adrenal glands to send a rush of two hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline) to the muscles in preparation for them to respond to a fear or a threat.

It is the job of the brain to protect the body.  It accomplishes this by telling the noradrenaline to redirect blood flow from lower priority areas of your body (like skin or your abdomen) to the muscles to give you a “power boost.”

At the same time, the brain is also telling the adrenaline to speed up your breathing to take in more oxygen to feed the work being done on the muscles with the noradrenaline.

Unfortunately, when you can’t make a decision about how to react (fight or flight), these two hormones are caught in limbo rushing around madly waiting for you to decide what you want them to do.  Since you aren’t doing that, the only choice they have is to cause vomiting, make you tremble, panic or maybe even pass out.

It’s actually a very efficient process and has worked wonderfully for thousands of years.  When we were running across the plains barefoot with a spear in our hand bearing down on supper, we needed this process to protect us.  Indeed, the entire system is just the result of the brain doing what it is supposed to do … keep the body functioning and protect it.

We no longer chase the woolly mammoth nor does our survival revolve around running away from a rival tribe (well maybe just a little).  The battles today are demanding employers, uncontrollable traffic, annoying neighbors, partners, children and oh yes, taxes!

Here’s where the interesting part of this analysis comes in.  Even though our situation has changed, the chemicals are still there along with the vehicle to drive them.

The system is very efficient and works quite effectively.  This is why you have stress.  It is merely a response to a perceived threat and the brain will set it in motion on a subconscious level even at the slightest sensation of danger.  In fact it will DEMAND this action.

Since we now live in an “enlightened” society, we are conditioned not to throw a spear at the boss, strangle our spouse or set the neighbor’s house afire.

What is needed is the ability to change our programmed responses.  We need to discern the difference between real threats and our own internalized perceptions of danger.  Sounds pretty simple, huh?

Sure it does.  Until you’re sitting in that freeway gridlock, half an hour late for the most important career busting appointment of your life, knowing full well that your blankety blank boss will turn the account over to that jerk in the office and you’ll never get the raise you were counting on when your son starts college in the fall. … whew!

Here come the chemical twins, adrenaline and noradrenaline ready to do battle with no battle to go to.  They’re rushing through your body and have got to attack something.  Your muscles aren’t responding by running or fighting so they’ll just pick any old organ to attack instead.  A good one is the heart.

Sometimes a dose of the chemical twins is a good thing.  After all, even though we are now “civilized” there are still very real threats in the world.  Just take a look at the evening news or read about the latest “mugging” in the newspaper.

So, here is the paradox.  You need the chemical twins to protect you from real danger but you don’t need them to cause illness, unhappiness and stress.  The challenge is knowing when to have them and when you don’t need them.

Logically you know that you don’t need them under most normal situations like: at work, at a party or when the kids are screaming in your ear.

So what can you do?  Some people turn to drugs or alcohol and others take out their frustration on the people they care about the most.  You can learn how to control the twins. Let’s do that now.


What’s causing your stress?

A slow buildup of everyday annoyances: a dead car battery, traffic jam, buttons that pop off your clothes as you are going to an important meeting.  It’s the little things that get under your skin

Is it a tight schedule and seemingly insurmountable problems?  Bills to pay, a boss to please, a colicky baby to pacify?  Juggling many roles is a main cause of stress.

Maybe it’s positive and negative life changes, from the joy of a wedding to the loss of a spouse, from the exhilaration of a job promotion to sadness at moving away from old friends.

Perhaps the cause of your stress is inner conflict.  Anger with your boss actually may be old anger against a parent bubbling to the surface.  If you can recognize a pattern from the past, this can be an instant stress reliever.  Take some time, even just 30 seconds and write down your feelings.

What you need to do is relax.  Huh?  It can’t be that simple!  Yes, it can and you can do it.  No, we can’t control other people and situations.  What you can do is control how you respond to people and events.

What you have done is to give away control to others.  What you need to do is regain that control, seal it up and only let the twins out when it’s really necessary.

When was the last time you actually relaxed?  Can you remember what it was like?  Were you calm and collected?  Was your breathing normal?  Were your muscles loose?  And, did you feel that way without any outside stimulants like drugs?  If so, the good news is that you can restore that same feeling at will.  Yes, you can definitely take it back whenever or wherever you choose.

When your mind is bypassing the chemical twins and sending truly relaxing messages to your body, wonderful things begin to happen.  Just as the chemical twins jump to attention when you stress, other chemicals go to work when you relax causing you to have a feeling of contentment.

While relaxing, actions taken by people and external events are still important but not necessarily personal.  You are able to discern that no one is launching a direct attack upon you or anyone or anything of yours.

Small problems remain small problems and not the woolly mammoth charging down upon you.  Large events will become smaller and not cause you to get out of your car during gridlock and shout obscenities to the drivers in front of you.

Those people who are horrible and annoying, shrink to a caricature serving up no more significance in your world than an ant on a picnic table.   As you continue your journey toward relaxation, you can watch these people with amusement.  When you reach the point of total relaxation you are able to see your world as it is, not for how you feel about it.

Everything you do is a matter of choice.  You choose to be angry, happy or indifferent.  You make a conscious choice to take action or not to take action.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the chemical twins controlling what you know is stress and you are bumped, pushed and thrown into chaos.  No choice and no idea why you don’t have a choice.

Obviously, relaxing is a good thing because it gives you choice.  It puts you back in the driver’s seat instead of the chemical twins.

So relax already!  Sure, just like that.

Do you remember tormenting your neighbor’s cat as a child?  You had the upper hand until kitty fought back.  You’d step away from the torment and probably forget all about it until the next time you scratched.  It took a few lessons, but pretty soon you understood if you tormented the cat, the cat would fight back. So you stopped. That was a conscious action taken to prevent being hurt.  It was a survival strategy just like fight or flight, except that this was behavior modification instead of an automatic response.

As you grew older, the behavior for survival changed but the bottom line is that you probably used a dozen behaviors without even thinking about it every day of the week.  The one behavior that you probably overlooked is the most important one of all, the behavior to relax.

If relaxation is just another behavior, then that means it’s a learned response.  And, if that is the case you are able to change the behavior.  Chances are you were never taught how to do that, which is why you are reading this in the first place.

You have to teach your brain how to do it.  Actually, your brain already knows how subconsciously, but you need to teach it how to do it consciously.  In order to do that, you need an understanding of how your mind works.

Everything you have ever encountered or done in your entire lifetime is permanently recorded in your subconscious mind. Most of it is not remembered consciously.  If I ask you, “How much is two and two,” you will immediately answer, “four.”  That was from your conscious memory.  But if I ask you what you had for dinner ten years ago tonight, it will more than like be impossible for you to consciously remember it at all.  However, your subconscious remembers it in great detail.

When you drive your car, you are probably thinking about all kinds of things other than driving the car.  Your subconscious, through habit, is controlling all your driving actions.  You just automatically arrive at your destination without giving it detailed conscious thought.

You don’t have to think “push the brake” or “ease up on the gas pedal.”  You do it all automatically, controlled by your subconscious.  Your subconscious is designed to protect you.  It controls all body functions.  If you are cold in the night, it awakens you.  If you need to go to the bathroom, it awakens you also.  It controls your heartbeat and all other involuntary functions of the body.

Your subconscious doesn’t rationalize; it doesn’t ask questions, doesn’t know truth from falsehood.  It merely acts upon whatever information is stored within.

There are actually four states of consciousness, but for our purposes we will be dealing with just two:

Beta – this is our waking state

Alpha – first step to the subconscious

The Alpha state is where we will begin our work.  This is the state where you are relaxed, the normal machinations of your conscious mind are just a little distant and you feel warm and comfortable.  The chemical twins are sealed up where they belong

Have you ever sat in a car waiting for a friend or family member to run in and make a quick purchase or run an errand?  It may be a warm, sunny, spring day.  The window is open and you can feel a gentle breeze caress your cheek and fluff your hair.  The sun feels warm and cozy on your face.  Before you know it, your eyelids begin to droop as you sit and enjoy a moment of oneness with your surroundings.  Not awake and not asleep, you are totally relaxed and content to drift along quietly enjoying the sensation of the warm sun and the gentle breeze.

If you have ever had this or a similar experience, you were in that Alpha state.  Close your eyes and see if you can recapture the same sensations you had while you were in that state.  Take a few moments to do that, then imagine a car door slamming and pulling you instantaneously back into the Beta state.  Wow!  What a rude awakening.

Alpha level is where you can do the best work for yourself on a subconscious level.  This is also a state of meditation, and the level you work with using self-hypnosis.

The truth is that you are actually in this state every single day at least two times.  Those times are the fleeting moments just before you drift off to sleep and just as you awaken.

Your conscious mind has the ability to reason out a course of action that would be helpful to you.  However, the conscious mind needs the cooperation of the subconscious and will send its energy out to implement the decision.

Your energy source is the subconscious mind.  No matter what you consciously do to instruct the subconscious mind to do something there is no way to permanently override what the subconscious mind has been programmed to do.

Let’s take a look at some examples.  If a very young child is told by a parent, teacher, elder sibling or anyone else in a position of authority:

“You never do anything right.”

“What’s the matter with you?”

“Why can’t you be more like Billy?”

“Don’t you have a brain in your head.”

“Why are you so stupid?”

“You will never amount to anything!”

This child will often be a failure in life.  The reason is that this child’s conscious mind is not developed enough to block this type of information.  Therefore, it becomes a fact in his subconscious mind.

As he/she grow to adulthood, his subconscious will be a very good student and apply everything it has learned.  Remember, the subconscious is not right or wrong, good or bad, it is merely a computer just like the one you are reading from now.

The subconscious will force the conscious to act in exactly the same manner that was programmed as a child.

The subconscious mind will only accept what the conscious mind believes at the time the suggestion is offered.  However, if the conscious mind changes an opinion on a given matter after it has become embedded in the subconscious the subconscious will not change with it.

These factors are important to understand before you begin your work.  There are certain “tapes” in your subconscious mind that will not be changed.  What you can do is create “new” responses.


Now that you have a very basic understanding of how the conscious and subconscious mind work, your first step is to learn how to put your mind in an Alpha state yourself in order to facilitate the changes that need to be made.  Since self-hypnosis is simple to learn we will begin with that modality and give you several examples that you can use for self-hypnosis.

The first thing you need to do is learn how to hypnotize yourself.  There are three tools that you will be using: suggestion, concentration and imagination.  If you have a good imagination you will have no trouble mastering these techniques very quickly.

It is important not to try too hard.  The whole concept is to just relax and let yourself go.  If you try too hard you will become tense and this is exactly what you don’t want.

Also ignore any analytical attitude.  If you don’t, you will keep the conscious mind awake and the whole object of hypnotizing yourself is to relax.

We assume you want to hypnotize yourself or wouldn’t be doing this.  You can’t go into self-hypnosis against your will.  Therefore you can’t do it unless you follow the rules.

Before we begin, it is important to realize that there is no set “script” to the verbiage of a hypnotic trance.  There are different techniques used by pioneers in hypnotherapy.  The first technique was developed by one of those pioneers.  His name was Charles Tebbetts who was already a teenager by World War I.  Charles is known for his comment that, “all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, and the power is in the mind of the person being hypnotized.”

Our first technique is called “Fractional Relaxation,”  and is one of the best induction methods for beginners.  It takes a little longer than some other formulas, but it’s a great conditioning technique for faster methods which can be more easily learned later.  It relaxes the body completely, often to the point of partial or total loss of bodily awareness.  Tension is released and the conscious mind drifts in and out of awareness of the surroundings, often viewing mental images of forgotten events from the subconscious.   Here’s how you do it:


Lie down on your back, arms parallel to your body, fingers loosely outstretched and palms downward.  Separate the feet by eight or ten inches so that no part of your thighs are touching.  Use a pillow if you wish, and make yourself as comfortable as possible.  Remove or loosen clothing that binds you in any way and remove your shoes if they are tight.  The idea is to get comfortable and relaxed.

If you are recording this procedure, use the second person throughout, but if you intend to use it without a recording, memorize it in the first person.  It is given here in the second person so it may be read directly fro the book into the microphone.  Start reading in a soft voice, rather slowly, and gradually slow down more and more, drawing out your words and pausing often between sentences.  Your voice and the pace of your speech must suggest drowsiness and relaxation.  Speak in a very slow monotone.

Now let’s assume you are in the described position, and are listening to your voice coming from your recorder.  He is what you should hear:

“Fix your eyes on a spot on the ceiling and take three long, deep breaths.  Inhale, hold the air in  your lungs for three seconds, and as you exhale slowly, you will relax all over.  Now let’s take the first breath.  Inhale. (pause) Exhale – Sleep now (pause) Now another deep breath, even deeper than before. Inhale. (pause) Exhale – Sleep now. (pause) Now another deep breath, even deeper than before.  Inhale. (pause) Exhale – Sleep now.  (pause) Now as your whole body begins to relax, and as every muscle and nerve begins to grow loose and limp – your eyelids also become heavy and tired.  They grow heavier and heavier, and will close now.  The lids have become so tired and so heavy, it would be difficult to open them, but you have no desire to try because you want them to remain closed until I tell you to open them. (pause)

Now, I want you to concentrate all of your attention on your right foot.  Relax the toes of your right foot.  Imagine they are like loose rubber bands dangling from your foot. (pause)  Let this loose feeling spread back through the ball of the foot, and then all the way back to the heel.  (pause)  (Drag out the word all and speak very slowly fro this point on, pausing between ALL sentences.)

Now, let this relaxed feeling go up into the calf of the leg.  Let the calf muscles go loose-and-limp and LA-A-A-ZY.  (long pause)  And now, while your muscles and nerves are relaxing, let your mind relax also.  Let it drift away to pleasant scenes in your imagination.  Let your mind wander where it will, as you go deeper – deeper into drowsy relaxation.  You are breathing easily; all of your cares and tensions are fading away, as you go deeper – d-e-e-p-e-r into drowsy slumber.  Every breath that you take – every noise that you hear makes you go deeper, deeper, into pleasant, comfortable relaxation.

Now let the wonderful wave of relaxation move from your right calf up into the large thigh muscles.  Let them go loose and limp.  The right leg is now completely relaxed and comfortable. (pause)  Now the left foot.  The toes relax, the whole foot relaxes just as the right one did – limp and lazy.  Let the feeling of pleasant relaxation go up into the left calf.  Let the calf muscles go.  Your legs are feeling heavy like pieces of wood.  As you relax the left thigh muscles, they feel heavier and heavier and you become more and more drowsy.  Now as the wave of relaxation moves upward through your hips and abdomen, you let go more and more.  Think of your abdomen as an inflated ball.  Your are letting the air out of the ball and it spreads out and relaxes completely.  Stomach and solar plexus relax.  Let them go – as you go further into deep – deep slumber. (pause)

(slowly)  The fingers in your right hand are now relaxing and so is your wrist.  Now your forearm relaxes.  On up to your right shoulder – your whole right arm is relaxed and numb.  You probably feel your fingers or your toes tingling.  This is a good sign, so continue to go deeper.  And now, just go on over, into a deep, deep hypnotic sleep. (pause)

The fingers on your left hand are completely relaxed.  Your hand and forearm are letting go.  Up, through your elbow, to your upper arm, relax.  Now the left shoulder, let go – loose, limp and lazy.  Now relax all the large back muscles, from your shoulders all the way down to your waist – let them all go limp and loose.  (Remember, plenty of pauses.  Continue to speak softly and very slowly.)

Relax the muscles in your neck.  Let your jaws separate and let the  chin and cheek muscles go loose and rubbery.  (pause)  Now let your eyes go.  Let them go completely – relax and feel comfortable and good.  Relax the eyebrows too and the forehead.  Let the muscles rest.  Back across the scalp – let the entire scalp relax – from the forehead all the way back to the back of the neck – all relaxed – all resting – all loose.  You are now completely relaxed.  Your body feels boneless.  You are going deeper and deeper into restful hypnosis.  Your mind is experiencing a wonderful feeling of tranquility.  Your subconscious is now receptive to the helpful suggestions I am now going to give it.  (At this point the suggestion is given to the subconscious mind.)”


What we are using in this next example is a variation of the Fractional Relaxation Technique called the “Rapid Induction Technique.”


1. Make yourself as comfortable as you can on a mat, a couch or a chair.

2. Inhale deeply and exhale, releasing all muscular tensions everywhere in the body.  Continue to breathe naturally, easily and gently.

3. Close your eyes.  Focus your attention gently on your subconscious mind and give it the following commands silently and in sequence:

a. Address yourself by name.  (The name or nickname to which you usually respond automatically when called by another person.  Say silently to your subconscious mind, “I WANT YOU TO RELAX, VERY DEEPLY, NOW!”

b. Let go and let down.  Feel your mind, your emotions and your physical body sink quickly and deeply into relaxation, drifting ever deeper and deeper until you reach a plateau of relaxation.

c. At this point, again address your subconscious mind by name and once more say silently to yourself, “I WANT YOU TO RELAX MORE DEEPELY, NOW!”

d. Feel yourself plunging deeper into relaxation, going down further and deeper until you reach another plateau of relaxation.

e. Once again, address your subconscious mind quietly, silently, by name and repeat the command, “I WANT YOU TO RELAX MORE DEEPLY NOW!”

f. And finally, once more, address yourself in a silent whisper, calling yourself by name and giving yourself a final command, “I WANT YOU TO RELAX MORE DEEPLY NOW!”

g. At this time you should reach a very effective level of deep relaxation when you can give yourself very effective suggestions toward achieving your desired goals.

h. You may give yourself suggestions in the form of visualizations, positive verbal suggestions, altered feelings or emotions such as:

1) Visualizing your ideal configuration and weight.

2) Replacing any fears, anxieties, depressions or other negative feelings by a sense of self confidence, optimism, pride or other positive emotion through verbal suggestions and suggested feelings.

3) Permitting a feeling of deep pervasive peace to envelop you.

4) Suggesting to your subconscious mind – time contractions – for example, that the next hour will seem like only ten minutes have passed.

5) Any other suggestions consistent with your selected goals.

4. With daily practice for about two weeks, using this Rapid Self Induction Technique, you should be able to put yourself into an effective level of deep relaxation, within 30 seconds whether lying down, sitting or standing up.

5. After you have mastered the Rapid Self Induction Technique, with an additional 1 to 3 weeks of daily practice to achieve a state of deep, effective relaxation within 1 to 5 seconds merely by closing your eyes and silently saying to yourself, “RELAX.”  This almost instant self induction should be practiced consistently in all positions (lying, sitting and standing) to maintain proficiency.


Now that you have learned how to induce an advanced state of relaxation, you must learn how to structure the suggestion you would like to teach to your subconscious mind.

The subconscious mind must obey suggestions as though they were orders.  While in hypnosis, with the conscious mind somewhat inhibited, it is possible to reach the subconscious mind directly with the suggestions that you want it to program.

It is very important to understand that the subconscious operates without the benefit of your conscious reasoning.  Therefore you must be extremely careful with wording your suggestions.  Structure them correctly and the subconscious will carry them out for you faithfully without conscious effort of any sort.  Your motivation must be strong.

Start your suggestion with your motivating desire:

“Because I have a strong desire to live stress free, highway gridlock no longer upsets me”

“Because I have a strong desire to have an attractive, slim figure and because I enjoy wearing a size nine dress my body no longer requires more calories than it needs to live healthy”

There are examples of two complete auto suggestions.  A couple of factors are important.  You must always phrase the suggestion in the present tense as if the action has already occurred.  You must never mention the negative behavior you wish to eliminate.

Suggest action not the ability to act.  In other words, don’t say, I have the ability to live stress free. . . .and so on.  You must be specific.

Use repetition when writing your suggestion.  Repeat it, enlarge upon it and repeat it again in different words.  Embellish it with convincing adjectives.  Repeat your suggestion daily until it becomes entrenched in your subconscious.

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Research has shown that the stress hormone cortisol reduces a person’s ability to retrieve information and memory.  Even worse, this same stress hormone is linked to progressive shrinking of the hippocampus – an important memory center in the temporal region.  High levels of stress also promote depression, which severely impairs memory and increases the risk for dementia.

To reduce stress, try relaxation exercises.  Sit quietly and breathe deeply and slowly.  Relax each part of your body, starting with the top of your head and finishing with your toes.

Look for humor in tense situations and talk about your feelings with family members, friends or a therapist, if necessary.

Try reducing stress and anxiety with fresh, natural scents.  In general they induce a calming state.  In one recent study, volunteers became extremely anxious when they were confined in coffin-like tubes, but then calmed down when the tubes were infused with the smells of green apple and cucumber.  These odors seem to have an impact on the limbic systems, the emotional center of the brain.

If you anticipate a situation where you will feel anxious, try a shampoo with green-apple flavored shampoo.  Here are a few tips that will lower stress in five minutes or less:

• Move around.

• Walk rapidly around your workplace.

• Take a quick walk around the block.

• Climb rapidly up and down a flight of stairs to really get the heart pumping.

• Do 15 jumping jacks in place.

• Stretch while seated at your desk.  Link your fingers under a knee and draw it to your chest.  Repeat with your other knee.  This stretches the legs and the lower back.

• Stretch your arms above your head, palms up and fingers linked.  Dangle hands at your sides, then raise right shoulder to right ear, keeping the head vertical.  Repeat this with the left shoulder.  Finally, flex and bend back the fingers of each hand.  Hand stretches are especially important if you use a computer for long periods.

• Take 10 long deep breaths.  Your belly should expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale.

• Massagie your eyes by placing your palms over them and  apply gentle pressure while spiraling your palms.  Try the same technique for your ears.  Periodically, try to block out all sight and sound for just a second or two.  Researchers report that this can be a refreshing experience from a psychological standpoint.

• Experiment with aromatherapy.  A drop of citrus essential oil like lemon-lime or orange is refreshing for your office or home and is not overbearing.

• Early morning sleep is really the most restful sleep you can get.  Men sent to bed at 2:15 a.m. and awakened at 6:15 a.m. slept more soundly than ones sent to bed at 10:30 and awakened at 2:30 a.m.  So, if you are stressed and can get only four hours of sleep, stay up as late as possible to get the most benefit from your limited sleep.  This does not replace a full night’s sleep.  Resume normal sleep pattern as quickly as possible.

Meditation is a favorite stress buster for some people.  Getting away from the everyday hassles of the world and turning your thoughts inward is a great stress buster.  Meditation helps you see the objectivity in your own life and thoughts in a detached manner.  Meditation is proven to reduce anxiety, work related stress. . .and blood pressure, too.

There are many meditation techniques, but here is a common one that is simple:

• Sit quietly and comfortably in a place where you will not be disturbed.

• Focus your attention on your breathing.

• Feel the breath as it comes into your nose. . . . and when it goes out.

• Other thoughts will enter your mind.  Just observe them and let them go.  Return your attention to your breath.

Start practicing meditation for five to 10 minutes a day, gradually increasing it to 20 to 30 minutes.   Keep a clock nearby so you can keep track of the time but don’t use an alarm that might be jerk you back to full alertness too quickly.

Regular moderate exercise reverses much of the damage caused by stress and can also improve immune system function, lower blood pressure and improve your mood.  The reason is because any physical activity negates the fight-or-flight response and can leave you feeling less tense, anxiety free and invigorated.

Aerobic exercise is an effective stress buster but you may be more suited to relaxed walking.

Any exercise that suits you is fine. Just be sure to do it for at least 20 minutes each day.  Don’t overdo it, however, because more is not necessarily good for you.

Human beings have an inborn affinity for nature.  The scientific name for it is “biophilia.”  What that means is we enjoy things having to do with nature.  Having “natural” things around us is psychologically beneficial.  For example:

• Having an office with a view is not just prestigious.  Studies have shows that workers who have a view of grass and trees exhibit less stress than who look at parking lots.

• Dentists who have an aquarium in their waiting room report that their patients are less anxious.

• Eating lunch on a park bench will relax your body.

• To reduce stress try spending time in the garden and your troubles will seem unimportant.

• Living in the city has its own stress factors.  When it comes to a vacation, try planning it in a totally different environment like the mountains or seaside.

• Research studies show that people who have pets are generally healthier and have better methods of coping with stress. Consider obtaining a cat, dog or even a bird.

Humor is a great stress buster.  Keeping a sense of humor and learning not to take yourself so seriously definitely helps.  It’s hard to remain stressed when you are laughing at yourself. Try looking for the lighter side of every situation.  Indulge your taste for entertaining books and movies.

If you have a favorite cartoon or saying, cut it out and put it on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator.

Try silly antics.  Things that you would normally not even consider like walking in the rain or feeding birds in the park.

Cultivate friendships.  Having close ties with others can make you feel warm inside.  Having someone to talk to about your problems makes the problems much easier to deal with.

Just having a friend helps reduce your blood pressure and research has shown that those who have lots of friends tend to have a lower level of cholesterol and strong immune systems.

Following a high carb, low protein diet can help with reducing stress for a short period of time, but should not be undertaken on a long term basis as the carbs represent just a short term energy boost.

Other foods that fight stress are foods that are rich in vitamins C and A like raw carrots peppers and broccoli.  There’s a bonus as well, chewing crunchy foods helps to dissipate the tension.

How about some natural therapies for stress?  Here are a few:

Lavendar – Use the flowers.  This is a beautiful herb and is widely used.  Many do not realize that it is an effective treatment for headaches related to stress.  Also good for depression.

St. Johns Wort – Taken internally, has a sedative and pain reducing effect.  Use in treatment of neuralgia, anxiety, tension and similar problems.

Vervain – Also known as Wild Hyssop.  Will strengthen the nervous system while easing depression and melancholia.  Good for fever and best for colds, and for menopausal irritations.

Here are more tips to consider for reducing stress:

• This one is a “no-brainer” and we won’t go into detail here, but if you are a smoker – STOP!

• Try to avoid tight deadlines, keep your schedule looser.

• Ask for help instead of insisting on doing it all yourself.


The standard tests that doctors use to tell whether you are an easily stressed “hot reactor” (and at greater risk for disease) are pretty simple, so take your pick, says Frank Barry, M.D., a family practice physician in Colorado Springs and author of Make the Change for a Healthy Heart.  For the first two tests, you’ll want to take a blood-pressure reading twice – once before the test and once during the test – for comparison.

Test 1:  Chill out.  In Test 1, put your hand into a bucket of cold water for one minute and have someone measure your blood pressure right after you have done it.  If it goes up into the high range in response to physical stress, you are a “hot reactor.”

Test 2:  Do some math.  Test 2 is a little more cerebral.  Start with the number 100 and mentally subtract 7, then continue to subtract 7 until you get to 2.  In the midst of your figuring, have your blood pressure taken.  “There’s no exercise, no threat to your life, but a lot of people still feel mental stress and their blood pressures shoot up,” says Dr. Barry.

Test 3:  Talk to yourself.  You can also test yourself without the shock of cold water or the mental anguish of math.  As yourself:  “Are you working toward your own true goals or someone else’s? ” If you are  busy trying to keep up with the Joneses, you’re still in the rat race, even if you have retired.  You’re much more likely to feel the effects of stress regardless of whether you’re a “hot reactor,” says Dr. Barry.


The greatest challenges to your confidence come when you’re facing a situation that looks impossible. When this happens, you must tap in to the unseen force of self-assurance so that you can press beyond supposed limits. It’s not a matter of what things look like on the outside — the key is to recognize what you have working on the inside.

Confidence is often the missing link to seeing yourself accomplish the impossible. You just have to believe that you have what it takes to be successful, and don’t back down from your capable stance.

You are in control of your thoughts. If you choose to believe you have confidence – that you’re energized – then you will be. The next time you face a big challenge, take a deep breath and fill your heart with the belief that you have unlimited energy running through your veins. Build your confidence by reflecting on those things you’ve already accomplished. If you did it once, you can certainly do it again.

Today, receive the confidence you deserve—and you’ll find that you always had it within you.

Don’t confuse self-esteem with arrogance: Arrogance is an over evaluation of your worth, while self-esteem is a healthy opinion of yourself—it’s valuing yourself to the point that you don’t allow other people or negative situations and circumstance to influence the way you feel about yourself. Until you value yourself, you won’t value anything, and other people won’t value you either. After all, your relationship with yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have.

When you’re filled with self-doubt, give yourself a little pep talk. Repeat

“[Your name], you are great! You are a unique individual, a new kind of person the world has never known. You were born to do well. You were born to succeed. You were born to bless the lives of others. You were born to be great, and you have what it takes to be great. You are enthusiastic, optimistic, and a change-embracer. You are a giver, rather than a taker. You are organized. You are a hard worker. You are happy. You are a master over yourself, you are a leader. You are a big thinker. As blessed as you are with all these talents, there isn’t one thing in the world you can’t do. You will never fail. [Your name], go out and make today an ‘attitude is everything’ day!”

By making this profession every day, you’ll experience an awesome self-esteem boost! Remember, you are priceless—your past is history, and your future is now!


Let’s review some of what you have learned about stress.  Steel will snap from it and a pressure cooker will blow its lid.  Stress, pressure, tension is a fact of everyday life for most of us.

Remember that it puts you at risk for heart attack, stroke, insomnia, backache, headache, irritable bowel syndrome, sports injuries and infertility.

Stress can trigger serious illness like Graves’ and fibromyalgia.  Stress even makes us more susceptible to the common cold.

With your health at stake, it is essential to use some of the methods we have discussed.  Also, it’s important that you remember that stress is a physiological response.  It isn’t all in your head!  You owe it to yourself to take the time to use the stress-reducing techniques on a daily basis.

We’ve already given you a great selection, but we want to make certain that you have a wide range of coping skills to use at home, work and other places. So here are an additional 12 keys to stress reduction to help you open the door to a more relaxing life.  They contain dozens of additional helpful hints.  Choose those best suited for you.

Breathe deeply.  Relax your muscles, expanding your stomach and chest.  Exhale slowly.  Repeat several times.

Follow your breath as it flows in and out.  Do not try to control it.  This is a good way to relax in the midst of any activity.  This technique allows you to find a breathing pattern that is natural and relaxing to you.

Use this yoga technique:  Inhale slowly, counting to eight.  Exhale through your mouth, even more slowly, counting to sixteen.  Make a sighing sound as you exhale, and feel tension dissolve.  Repeat 10 times.

Exercise regularly.  Aerobic exercise, such as walking and swimming, produces brain chemicals that uplift your mood and mental well-being.  Exercise also improves sleep and gives you time to think and focus on other things. Beware of compulsive exercise, however.

Yoga is an age-old system for stretching and strengthening the muscles.  Take a class or learn at home with a good book or video.

Neck and shoulder exercises are useful for the desk-bound and arthritis sufferers.

Neck roll:  Look to the right, then roll your head forward, as if you are trying to touch your chin to your chest.  Keep rolling until you are looking over your left shoulder.  Repeat in the other direction.

Shoulder lift:  Relieve tension in the neck by lifting the shoulders toward the ears, then dropping them as low as they will go.  Repeat 10 times.

Eat healthy foods.  You should never skip meals.  Take time out for lunch no matter how busy you are.

Carry nutritious snacks to the office, or even the shopping mall.  A nutritionally balanced diet is important.  For example, researchers have found that even small deficiencies of thiamin, a B-complex vitamin, can cause anxiety symptoms.  Pantothenic acid, another B-complex vitamin, is critical during times of stress.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sweets, which can aggravate symptoms of stress.

Don’t let others get you down. Choose positive friends who  are not worriers.  Friends who constantly put you down or talk gloomily about life will increase your anxiety.

Ask a good friend to help you talk out a problem and get it off your chest.  A long-distance call to an old pal can be great therapy.

Forgive others instead of holding grudges.  Relax your standards – for yourself and others.  Perfectionism is not the way to happiness.  Become more flexible.

Communicate clearly with your co-workers and boss.  Ask questions.  Repeat instructions that you are given.  Clarifying directions at the start of a project can save hours later straightening out misunderstandings.

Be truthful with others.  Lies and deception lead to stress that always takes it toll.

Be optimistic.  Count your blessings, especially when everything seems to go wrong.   Believe that most people are doing the best that they can.

Don’t blow problems out of proportion.  Live by a philosophy of life that whittles problems down to size.  The maxim, “Live one day at a time,” has helped millions.

Plan your time wisely.  And realistically.  For example, don’t schedule back-to-back meetings with tight travel time.  Remember to leave room for unanticipated events – both negative and positive.  Be flexible about rearranging your agenda.

Get up 15 minutes early in the morning.  Allow an extra 15 minutes to get to all appointments.

Avoid procrastination.  Whatever needs doing, do it now.  Schedule unpleasant tasks early, so that you won’t have to worry about them for the rest of the day.

Keep an appointment book.   Don’t rely on your memory.

Do one thing at a time.  Focus your attention on the person talking to you or the job at hand, instead of worrying about other things.   This also reduces mistakes — which lead to more anxiety.

Be prepared to wait.  Carry a book to read in case of delays.

Say “no” to requests that stretch you to the limits.

Delegate.  You don’t have to do it all yourself.  Break a job into separate tasks and assign them to people with the appropriate skills.  Then leave them alone to do their work.

Prevent problems before they occur.  This takes some planning.

If you are flying to another city for an important meeting, carry your presentation materials and dress suit on board the plane.  Baggage does get lost.

Buy gas for the car before the tank is empty.  Get regular oil changes and checkups.

Keep food staples on hand so you can fix a fast meal without going to the store.

Keep food, toilet paper and toiletries on hand so you never run out.  The same goes for postage stamps, paper and envelopes.

Keep duplicate keys for home, car and office in secure locations.

Retreat to recharge your spirit.  Schedule private time every day.  You deserve it.  Unplug the telephone and enjoy a quiet evening alone or with your family, or even 15 uninterrupted minutes in the shower or bathtub.

You may want to spend a few minutes writing your feelings out in a journal.  It can help you find a new perspective and relieve hidden conflicts.

Here are more spirit rechargers:

Wear earplugs for instant peace anytime, anyplace.

Learn a meditation technique.  Two methods:  Observe your thoughts as they pass through your mind.  Or, repeat a word or phrase with an uplifting meaning.

Practice progressive relaxation for 20 minutes twice a day to relive high blood pressure and other physiological responses to stress.  Tighten and release each muscle group in turn, starting with the soles of the feet and slowly working up to the scalp.

Plan a weekend activity that is a change of pace.  If your week is heavily scheduled, relax and enjoy noncompetitive activities.  If you are never able to finish anything during the week, choose a project that you can complete in a few hours on Saturday or Sunday.

Take time out for a diversion in the middle of your workday.  When the pressures of completing a project are too great, your productivity can drop.  Take a walk or stop for lunch.

Savor life’s little delights.  Give yourself some physical pleasure to help your stress slip away.

Treat yourself to a professional massage, or trade massages with a loved one.

Give yourself permission to enjoy a movie, watch a sports event, listen to music or read a book.

Savor a soothing cup of chamomile herb tea with a dollop of honey.  Chamomile has long been used to relieve nervous tension.

Plan a day of beauty with a friend.  Do each other’s hair, or paint your nails and chat.

Create a simple steam facial at home by boiling water.  Remove the pan from the stove. Cover your head with a large towel so that it creates a tent over the pot.  Steam your face for five or 10 minutes.  Add aromatic herbs to the water for a sensual touch.

Focus completely on any of the senses – hearing, seeing, eating or body movements – for a few minutes.  Even washing your hands can become a sensual experience.

Use visualization and affirmation techniques.  You can inoculate yourself against a situation you fear by going over the event in your mind.  Imagine the scene in vivid detail and picture the best possible outcome.

You can also shrink an imagined fear down to size by picturing the worst possible results.  Imagine describing this worst case to your best friend the next day and the sympathy you receive.  Imagine telling a group of friends the next month, who share their similar experiences.  Finally, imagine joking about your unpleasant experience with a complete stranger a year later.  If you carry this exercise through to the end, your stress will become something to laugh about.

Replace negative self-talk with affirmations.  The chatterbox in your mind is filled with gloom:  You’re too fat. . . you’re too old. . .you’ll never amount to anything.  Like the little engine that could, nourish your mind with a constant stream of “I know I can.”

Get enough sleep.  Determine how much sleep you require for optimum performance.  Sleep deprivation aggravates the body’s responses to stress.  Consider setting an alarm clock to remind yourself that it is time to go to bed.

Strive for your dreams.  Plan ahead to meet your most cherished goals in life.

Time management experts emphasize the importance of writing down your important goals.

Break big projects down into a series of small steps that you can work on every day.  Want to change jobs?  Make one phone call contact today.  Is writing a book your dream?  Commit to writing one page a day.

Knowing that you are striving toward your dreams relieves frustrations that mount when you feel stuck in a rut of endless responsibilities that seem to lead nowhere.

Even if you only use these last 12 keys to stress relief, you can become a happier, healthier person, a more efficient worker and a better friend to others.  Keep a notebook as new ideas come to you through your reading and your own creativity.  The most important key is your decision to take time for yourself and to simplify your life whenever possible.

Resources:  The Stress Test

How To Stop Worrying And Start Living By Dale Carnegie

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Your Environment And Disease



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DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for

educational and informational purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a

substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek

the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions

you may have regarding a medical condition.  Never disregard professional medical

advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA approved they must be

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The truth is we begin the aging process just as soon as we pop out of the womb.  Every day of our lives our bodies slough off and regenerate new cells.  The speed at which that process takes place when we are children is vastly different as we get older.

For years explorers searched for the illusive “fountain of youth.”  Unfortunately, it does not exist or you wouldn’t be reading this.

Every day you are bombarded daily with commercial messages that attempt to lure you into believing that the most recent miracle drug is just what you need to fight off the ravages of Mother Nature.

At times it seems as though there are more miracle methods than ever being flashed in front of your eyes each day. . .and there are.  Ask any advertising executive and they will admit that there are more advertisements than ever touting everything designed to cash in on a huge market.  What is that market?  It’s the aging Baby Boomers.

We are living longer as a whole.  Singularly, that can be a curse or a blessing depending on your perspective.   In this book we will explore low and no cost methods you can use to help in the anti-aging process.

Some of our material may be new and some serve as reminders of things we may have forgotten.  We may not have had much say in how we arrived on this earth, but we can certainly determine how and when we will depart.  Just remember, YOU are in control.

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We have to discuss it.  You’ve heard it before but it must be repeated.  You ARE what you eat.  There are over 13.5 million Americans alive today who have a history of heart attacks, angina or a combination of both.  50% of them are age 60 or older and 83% who die of heart attacks are 65 or more.

Today, many doctors rank fat intake right up there with smoking for leading cause of death.  What can you do about it?  Plenty.

Fat – Americans love fat.  We love fat so much that we eat the equivalent of 1 ½ cups of butter every week!  Yes, that’s correct.  Walk to your refrigerator and pull out 6 sticks of butter and imagine them placed at different points in and out of your body.  Pretty scary, isn’t it?  Excess fat intake is directly attributable to:

♣ Elevated cholesterol

♣ Elevated triglycerides

♣ High blood pressure

♣ Diabetes

♣ Excess weight.

Taking control of just this single area of your overall health will substantially reduce your chances of heart disease as well as reducing the risk of stroke.  Stroke occurs when blood clots block arteries that supply blood to the brain.

French researchers examined 250 men and women age 60 to 70 and found that those who had fatty plaque narrowing the main artery out of the heart were 9 times more likely to have a stroke than those who did not have this buildup.

Cancer is another possible by-product of excess fat in the diet.  In fact dietary fat is credited with playing a role in as much as 40% of cancers in men and 60% of cancers in women.  Read meat is considered to be one of the biggest culprits, increasing the instance of colon, rectal and prostate cancer in men.  For women the results are colon and possibly breast cancer.  And, researchers are now beginning to believe it may play a role in lung cancer as well.

So why do we still eat it?  Believe it or not, many of us just haven’t gotten the word yet, especially those over 60.  Even though the information about fat has been around for a long time, many people believe that fat is a necessary part of diet.  Yes, it is true that dietary fat exists for a reason.  It does provide us with the fatty acids we need to control our body temperature, give us healthy skin and hair and protect nerves and our vital organs.

The problem is that not all fats are created equal and many of us just don’t understand the difference.

Monounsaturated fats such as olive and canola oils and polyunsaturated fats like corn and safflower oils are considered somewhat healthy when taken in moderation.

Saturated fats that we find predominantly in meat, eggs and dairy products are attributed with causing major health problems especially when consumed in large amounts.

Trans-fatty acids are another type of harmful fat.  These are unsaturated fats that food manufacturers use to solidify certain foods like margarine and vegetable shortening.  In addition to being harmful they have no dietary value at all.

It is unfortunate that a typical American meal does not consist of one type of fat or another but a combination of several so that when we eat we can consume a large amount of bad fat.

Switching to a low-fat style of eating mostly unsaturated fats you may very well quickly feel rejuvenated regardless of your age.  No matter what your age or medical conditions might be, diabetes, high cholesterol, gout or heart disease a low-fat diet is the way to go.

Limit saturated fat to less than 10% of your daily calories and cut back on the fatty acids and the benefits will increase life expectancy.

Fiber – If there was one element of our diets that we would ‘wish away’ it might be fiber.  Fiber is what is left over after our bodies have squeezed every bit of nutritive value from the foods we eat.  Don’t discount fiber, however.  It is a very important part of a healthy diet.

Sadly, most older Americans get no more than 14.8 grams of fiber a day when you actually need 25 to 35 grams to protect against disease!

You can make up the difference by changing dietary habits and do it easily.  Researchers have found an astounding 33% drop in cholesterol in some patients who did nothing more than increase fiber and reduce fat.    And, there is research being conducted that indicates the perillyl alcohol contained in fiber shows promise of actually slowing down the growth of certain cancer tumors.

Before we take a look at how fiber can combat cancer, we need to explore the two different types of fiber – insoluble and soluble.  Each type works differently to fight disease.

Insoluble fiber comes from a substance that forms in the cell walls of plants.  The reason it is called insoluble is because your body does not break it down as it passes through the digestive system.  It is what gives your stool its bulk helping it to move faster through your system.  This is why certain foods that are high in soluble fiber like bran are said to be natures laxatives.

Grain products and vegetables have loads of fiber.  While at first look it appears more as rabbit food than cancer fighting, studies show that insoluble fiber helps to fight colon cancer and researchers believe it also helps to fight breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers as well.

In Finland low rates of breast and colon cancer are linked directly to diets rich in cereals.

Certain parts of Africa where people consume lots of high fiber foods the incidence of intestinal disease is practically nil.

Let’s take a look at how it works.

Insoluble fiber will soak up water as if it were a sponge thereby making stools bulkier.  That excess bulk spreads out cancer causing components over a larger area preventing them from grouping together to do damage.

Fiber is the equivalent of a super highway through the intestines that gets things moving faster so there are fewer opportunities for any interaction between cells lining the colon and any cancerous agents.

Fiber works with the levels of acids in the intestines changing the way that certain bacteria do the job.  The result is increased fermentation.  Yes, it may cause gas but it also makes it harder for carcinogens to get in your body.  It also plays a role in regulating the levels of intestinal bile acids that play a part in the beginning stages of colon cancer.

The “stuff” that causes breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers latch onto fiber like a magnet which means that those carcinogens are carried away with other body waste.

Researchers believe that insoluble fiber also contributes to reducing levels of harmful estrogen that can contribute to the beginning of breast cancer.  Experiments appear to suggest that doubling fiber intake and reducing fat can reduce the tumor rate by 50%.

If you can imagine eating foods that can actually stop or slow the growth of tumors wouldn’t you want to eat it?  Well, you can.

Whether canned or dried, Beans in any form contain large amounts of fiber.  Reduce the amount of gas by soaking them overnight in clean, clear water.  Rinse again thoroughly before cooking.

Oat bran added to cereals or eaten as bread is a great source for additional fiber.

Try eating brown rice instead of white.  Brown rice will supply 3.32 grams of fiber per cup while white rice contains only 0.74 grams per cup.

Whole grain bread products are a must.  You can receive 3 grams or more of fiber per slice.  Refined wheat loses fiber and removes trace minerals.

Read the labels in the grocery store, especially the fine print.  The labels will tell you the fiber content of the food per serving.  If the first three or four ingredients listed are grains it means that the product contains more grains than anything else.

Learn to balance the benefit of fiber versus other ingredients.  If a granola bar has one or more grams of fiber it is only a good deal if the fat and calorie content are low.  A snack bar with 100 calories, 2 grams of fat and a single gram of fiber is probably okay.  But if the bar contains 300 calories and more fat that’s way more than you need.

Introduce fiber in your diet one step at a time, gradually increasing and setting goals you can realistically attain.  Storing easy to prepare foods in your pantry can help.  Stock up on low-fat soups, canned beans and cereals that are all easy to prepare.  Keep your freezer filled with vegetable that can be quickly steamed or zapped in your microwave.

Keep the liquid from canned beans.  There’s a lot of soluble fiber there that may just go down the drain.  Save it to use in soups.

Don’t peel fruits and vegetables.  The skins of apples, pears, peaches and potatoes are rich in soluble fiber.  Eating the white rind of oranges and the membrane in grapefruit also provide extra fiber.

Eat fruits and vegetable whole rather than as juices.  You may get concentrated nutrients from the juices but you lose the fiber in the fruit.  The 14 grams of fiber you get from eating six carrots outweighs the 2 grams in the juice you created with those 6 carrots.

Some people prefer taking a fiber supplement.  There are many on the market, but be aware that most contain psyllium.  While it is a source of fiber and a natural laxative it can interfere with certain medications you take.  Be sure and check with your doctor.

Food – While we have discussed certain foods high in fiber, we haven’t even scratched the surface of foods that can help you battle the aging process.

Plants.  Nope, not the philodendron hanging in your kitchen window, but the treasure you find in the fruit and vegetable aisles of your supermarket.  If there is one single piece of advice you can get from studying the aging process, consuming more fruits and vegetables are among the most important.

When you eat food made from plants, you are receiving the benefits of a small army marching off to combat the aging process.  This army is comprised of agents known as phytochemicals.  These are completely separate from the vitamins provided by the vegetable themselves but may be even more valuable.

Science used to believe that phytochemicals were absolutely useless.  However as more experts delve into the study of plants they have found that they appear to help fight off cancer, heart disease and stroke even though they don’t understand why.   In fact over 200 studies conducted show that a diet high in fruits and veggies substantially cut the risk of cancer.  That alone becomes increasingly important as you get older and the risk of disease increases.

Some of these phytochemicals are simple to detect.  The bright orange color of carrots, sweet potatoes or yams are obvious.  The pungent whiff of phytochemicals is apparent in garlic.  However, most are undetectable.

The chemicals are there to actually protect the plant.  It is believed that they evolved to protect plants from oxygen, wind, insects and weather.  Remember that plants feed on carbon dioxide and oxygen is actually waste.

Without protection from the ultraviolet rays of a hot sun plants would shrivel and die.  In the dirt where bulb plants grow, they are subjected to the hazards of bacteria and insects.

Edward Miller, Ph.D., professor of biomedical sciences in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Baylor College of Dentistry in Houston states that, “We can save more than 150,000 lives a year, right now, with no treatments, no medical costs, no long-term recovery – if people would just eat the foods that protect them.”

Worldwide studies have proven that phytochemicals protect against, but there is no one phytochemical or any other substance that you can take or eat for protection.

Eating plant foods does give you a lower risk for cancers that attack the lungs, bladder, cervix, mouth, larynx, throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, colon and rectum.  Laboratory studies show that phytochemicals prevent cancer forming substances and defective cell that can turn into cancers, from gaining a foothold or spreading.

Phytochemicals also help to keep your heart healthy.  The 60 to 80 age group that has a higher risk of heart disease than younger people do, can substantially reduce the risks by eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Plant foods also combat free radicals.  Many phytochemicals do double duty as anti-oxidants.  They neutralize the free radicals which are unstable molecules that damage or destroy healthy cells.

In addition to the free radicals that your body produces routinely, they also find their way into your environment through other means like cigarette smoke, pollutants, medications, pesticides as well as household cleaners.

They have also been linked to more than 60 medical problems and diseases.  In addition to the obvious disease like heart disease, cancer and stroke, they can also manifest as premature aging, stiff joints, wrinkled skin, arthritis, diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver.

The study of phytochemicals in plants is a relatively new field, but here is a list of those that appear to provide the most protection:

Organosulfur compounds.  These are foods that we recognize mostly by their pungent odor and flavor.  Garlic, onions, leeks, chives and shallots are organosulfur compounds.  You can also find these compounds in vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.

Foods that are rich in organosulfur are sometimes referred to by some members of the medical community as dietary anti-carcinogens.  They help the body block and eliminate cancer causing agents before they do their damage.  They are also instrumental in fighting heart disease and stroke.

The best methods to derive the most benefit from organosulfur compounds is to eat them raw or lightly cooked.  Puree vegetables into a healthy soup and be sure to add garlic and onion.

Isothiocyanates are plant chemicals found in leafy green vegetable like watercress, arugula, cabbage, brussel sprounts, Chinese cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.  These compounds help rid the body of cancer causing substances and actually act to remove the trash.  Isothicyanates make it difficult for cancer causing substances to target the DNA of healthy cells and in laboratory experiments have actually kept tumors from forming.

The most benefit you can receive from isothiocyanates in your food is to eat some of the vegetables raw.  The compounds are released when chopped and chewed.  Eat them as fresh as possible and eat plenty of them.

Indoles go with isothiocyanates like salt and pepper complement one another.  Indoles protect against breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.  Indoles stop the growth of small virus caused tumors.  You can best benefit from indoles by eating the equivalent of a quarter head of cabbage a day or an equal amount of broccoli, Brussels sprouts or cauliflower.

Isoflavones are a group of plant estrogens that are found in soy products.  To help increase your soy consumption, try tofu.  It is far less bland when it absorbs the taste of spices and other foods that are cooked with it.  Try more Asian recipes or drinking soy milk.  When you are baking trade off 25% of your regular flour for soy flour.  You’ll get all the benefit with little or no difference in the recipe.

Lignans.  Little is known about lignans as it is a newer area for research.  What is known, however, is that lignans seem to prevent breast cancer at lest in the laboratory.  As antioxidants they may help prevent damage from LDL cholesterol which, as we know, lays the groundwork for heart disease.

Add lignans to your diet by including flax.  Some baking companies add a trace amount of flax or linseed to add a slightly nutty flavor.  You can find flax in health food stores, but use it very sparingly as adding it to your diet too quickly can cause intestinal distress.

Carotenoids are evidenced in the bright red, orange and yellow pigments displayed in some plants like carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, winter squash, parsley, green peas, pink grapefruit, swiss chard, spinach, beet greens, pumpkin, watermelon, broccoli, mangoes, oranges, papaya and tangerines.  You will also find them in okra, red peppers leafy green vegetable and even in fish liver oil.

Diets rich in carotenoids fight disease and in one study a high carotenoid diet actually helped reduce the risk of lung cancer in nonsmokers.  One particularly powerful carotenoid is lycopene.  Lycopene is found in tomatoes and everything made from them including pizza sauce and ketchup.  You will also find lycopene in watermelon guava and pink grapefruit.

Include them in your diet along with a little bit of fat as they are fat soluble.  Most carotenoids are not damaged by cooking.  The color is the most important key in identifying fruits and vegetables that will provide the most benefit.  You might be surprised to know that red leaf lettuce has more carotenoids than iceberg lettuce just as there is more benefit from pink grapefruit than white.

Flavonoids are a serendipity because they are found in just about every plant from apples to onions and soy and even black and green tea contain flavonoids that help fight cancer.

Get the most benefit from flavonoids try these tips:

Sip wine.  Drinking a little wine each day as well as tea.  Have your cup of coffee first thing in the morning, then switch to tea for the remainder of the day.  Combine fruits and make a fruit salad (fresh only).  Buy a variety and vary different combinations.  Add finely grated orange or lemon peel to fruit drinks, carbonated drinks and on salads, vegetable and even meats.

Tannins are not just colorful substances used in dying, making ink or tanning leather.  Ellagic acid, one form of tannin, is in foods that stain.  Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.  Get more tannins into your system and fight cancers, heart disease and stroke.  Skip juices and go for the whole fruits.  Check the labels of your jams and jellies and select according to which have a higher content of real fruit.  This is more than likely the premium brands.  Top off your food with a few berries to work them into your daily eating habits.  Sprinkle them over cereal, pancakes and desserts.

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Supplements – Is taking supplements beneficial?  Visit your local supermarket, drugstore or health food store and you will find rows upon rows of vitamins and supplements.  Each is minutely measured giving you the RDAs, DVs, IUs, milligrams and so on.  It’s enough information to make your head swim!

Some studies suggest that specific vitamin and mineral supplements can help reduce your risk of heart disease by 30 to 40 percent and even slow the progress of the disease according to Jeffrey Blumberg, M.D. associate director and chief of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at the U.D. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston.  They are relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain over the counter.

Vitamins are also credited with boosting the immune system and it is believed that older people who take vitamin and mineral supplements do have stronger immune systems.

Generally speaking, the immune system begins to decline around age 50 and by age 60 may already be seriously compromised.  The belief is that if your immune system can’t protect you, the door is thrown wide open for cancer and other serious diseases to waltz right in.

So, the answer is yes, supplements can help but don’t expect them to work miracles.  You can’t continue to do the steak and eggs or burger and fries thing and think that popping a pill will be a cure-all because it isn’t!

If you are over 55, vitamin supplements will help prevent disease even though it may take at least six months to a year to register the improvement.   That’s not an excuse to put it off, because the sooner you begin, the better the results.

Let’s take a look at weight for instance.  If you take in too many calories and gain weight you increase the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.  But, cutting the calories to either lose or maintain your weight may result in deficiencies in vitamins and minerals.  You can replace key vitamins and minerals lost by dieting with carefully selected supplements.

Another challenge is compensating as the body’s systems begin to slow down.  As we age, our systems are not working as efficiently as they once were.  For example, you don’t have as much stomach acid that helps to get nutrients from food.    That means that as much as 40% of the nutrients you ingest may go unused resulting in deficiencies of vitamins D, B6, B12, riboflavin, folate and calcium.

Your body’s system for storing the nutrients isn’t as efficient either because the percentage of body fat increases with age.  While your metabolism keeps you alive and healthy, it also produces by products that can be harmful including free radicals and other compounds that cause damage to cells’ DNA and can lead to many of the effects of old age.

As we get older, the body reduces the amount of antioxidants it produces and it will become more difficult to get enough antioxidant protection just from your food.   Although you can get most of the nutrients you need from a multi-vitamin, you may want to take extra supplements of certain vitamins and minerals to promote optimum health.

As a cautionary measure, however, make certain that you are not exceeding the recommended ranges.  You can get too much of a good thing.  It is also advisable to consult with your physician regarding any supplemental regimen as some supplements may have adverse interaction with certain medications you are taking.

While we won’t delve into the vast subject of supplements here, there are a few suggestions we would like to share with you.

Avoid multi-vitamins with time release formulas.  By the time they dissolve they may be too far down the intestinal tract where absorption is poor.

Store your vitamins away from hot or humid places.  It is better to keep them with your spices rather than the bathroom or near direct sunlight or heat.

Take your vitamins with a meal.  Some nutrients are only released with fat so taking them with your low-fat meal is optimum.

Check the expiration date on the bottle.  Buying a large amount just to save a few dollars isn’t a bargain if you won’t be using them before their effectiveness expires.

If you drink even moderately, take extra vitamins and minerals.

If you want to lose weight, take more calcium.  If you don’t consume enough calcium your body will over produce calcitriol.  This hormone promotes fat storage in the body.  But, calcium supplements won’t be as beneficial as dietary calcium.  Have four daily servings of nonfat or low-fat dairy products.


Are you under the assumption that pollution is a modern day problem?  Think again.  In ancient times, the Greeks AND the Romans spewed huge amounts of toxins into the air extracting silver from lead.

The stench of an abandoned canal in Washington, D.C. clogged with animal carcasses and human waste was so bad it permeated the White House.

More than 70,000 chemical compounds were developed during the second half of the twentieth century.  Many are credited with causing cancer in laboratory animals.

So, does this affect the risk of developing cancer, heart disease or stroke beyond age 60?  You better believe it does and while there are varied opinions, there are researchers who believe that as much as 25% of all cancers could be prevented if Americans reduces exposure to smog, pesticides, second hand smoke and other hazards that we breathe, drink, eat and absorb into our bodies.  While there are many factors that cause cancer, heart disease and stroke that we have no control over such as heredity, our environment is something we can do something about.

It’s a killer – If you are a typical male smoker in your sixties or seventies, you began smoking at age 17 and have smoked about 27 cigarettes a day for 51 years.  If you are a woman in the same range, you began smoking at around 24 and have been smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 45 years.  And you have probably tried at least once or twice to quit like 80% of people who smoke.

Is it too late to quit?  Absolutely not.  Putting out that last cigarette as late as 60 to 80 can halt many of the worst effects of smoking.  Yet 46% of older smokers don’t believe that smoking is that harmful or that quitting at this stage in their life is worthwhile.  If you fall into that category consider this:

♣ Within eight hours of quitting, your pulse rate and blood pressure drop and oxygen levels in your body will rise.

♣ Within 24 hours of quitting, your risk of a heart attack decreases.

♣ After one month, your circulation improves, your energy levels surge and your lung function expands by up to 30%.

♣ After one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of someone who continues to smoke.

♣ After five years, your risk of having a stroke begins to decline .

♣ After 10 years, your chances of developing lung cancer are the same as that of someone who has never smoked.

Each time you take a puff you inhale more than 4,700 chemicals that have been shown to have effect throughout your body.  Some of the milder effects are accelerated wrinkling of the skin, yellowing of the teeth and fingers and slower healing of wounds.

Here is a list of a few of those chemicals and what their common uses are:

Acetone paint stripper

Ammonia floor cleaner

Arsenic ant poison

Butane lighter fluid

Cadmium car batteries

Carbon monoxide car exhaust

Formaldehyde morgue preservative

Methanol anti-freeze

Naphthalene mothballs

Nicotine insecticide

Polonium 210 radioactive substance

Then along come the really dangerous effects of smoking including increasing the risk of disabilities like osteoporosis, hip fractures, cataracts, diabetes, tooth loss, and emphysema.

Smoking causes fatal complications.  Every year, more than 400,000 Americans die of smoking related causes.  That adds up to more than 1,000 a day making this the most preventable cause of death in the United States.  50% of those deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease and 30% by lung cancer.

Smoking hurts your heart.  If you quit your risk of a heart attack is reduced by 50% in one year.

Smoking tops the list of cancer risks.  If you quit even at age 65, your risk of developing lung cancer by age 75 is less than half of someone who continues to smoke.

Smoking is an addiction plain and simple.  Don’t blame yourself if you have tried several times to quit and failed.  The prime ingredient in tobacco is Nicotine and is one of the most addictive drugs known to mankind.  Is it hopeless?  No.  Many people have quit and so can you.

This is not a book about smoking cessation, but here are a few tips to help you.

Set a quit date and stick to it.  Experts report that those who set a definite date are more likely to stick with it.  Avoid stressful times like holidays and don’t pick a date that is months away.

Quit cold turkey.  If you do it this way, you will probably have a week to 10 days of withdrawal but then you’ll be almost over the hump.

Throw them away.  On the date you quit, throw away all tobacco products.  Every hidden cigarette should be ferreted out and disposed of.  Get rid of lighters, matches and ashtrays as well.

Banish alcohol.  Alcohol can affect your resolve and make it easier to light up again.  You don’t have to quit alcohol forever, but spend at least of month of abstinence after you quit smoking.

Be prepared to fight the urges.  As you go through withdrawal expect one or more of the following symptoms:  upset stomach, difficulty concentrating, drowsiness, insomnia and irritability.

Once the nicotine is flushed from your body the withdrawal symptoms will gradually subside but they will probably never go away totally.  That’s because one is never enough.  If you smoke one you’ll smoke a dozen or more.

Change your rituals.

Short circuit stress.

Quit early in the week.

Stay in a smoke free world.

Give yourself daily pep talks.

Make a deal and reward yourself

Save those bucks.

Stall for time – delay lighting up.

Stay hydrated.

Cut down on caffeine.

Eat breakfast.

Although going cold turkey is the best bet, if you must do it gradually, the important thing is to QUIT!

Does it come from Grandma? – Genetics seems simple but is so complex that many scientists are still baffled by some aspects of the process.  Genes are composed of millions of encoded nitrogen molecules that carry all of your reproductive blueprints.  Every day 100 trillion cells depend on genes to tell them what they are supposed to be doing.  The genetic code is a set of tutorials that tells the cells how to work properly.  If one of those instructions is wrong, it changes how the cell functions.  These erroneous instructions cause disease if they prevent the cell from doing the job it was designed to do and can cause the cell to die.

A genetic mistake is called a mutation.  Having a mutation does not mean that you are pre-determined to get a disease.  It just tells you that you should be more cautious about monitoring your overall health.

For instance only 5% of breast cancer is hereditary.  But among women who have a history of breast cancer AND carry either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 (BRCA means breast cancer) gene the lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 80%.    Women who have an inherited breast cancer gene may contract the disease 10 to 15 years earlier but it’s also true that almost half won’t get breast cancer until after age 60.

For most people the likelihood of developing inherited forms of cancer are about as likely as being struck by lightning and winning the lottery on the same day.  But if your family does seem prone to a particular disease, it may be worth taking some precautions.

If you have a parent who died of a heart attack or a sibling who died of stroke at a young age that is something to share with your doctor as well as make some lifestyle changes like exercising, eating properly and not smoking.

Genetic testing is now available, but at a very high cost.  Unless there is dramatic evidence that points to potentially serious genetic predispositions in your family tree, you’re much better off taking normal precautions by living healthy.

Your environment and disease – We all carry a degree of toxins in our cells.  Take DDT for example.  The use was banned in 1972 after research indicated the suspicion it contributed to breast cancer.  But, traces of DDT remains in the foods we eat and the water we drink for more than 50 years, we all have trace amounts in bodies.

Trace amounts probably will not cause you harm, however, 30 chemicals have been proven to cause cancer in humans while another 400 have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals and are suspected of causing human tumors.

Pollution increases the risk of heart attack.

Breast cancer rates appear to be higher in industrial areas.

Certain cancers are more common among farmers who use


Radon is linked to lung cancer.

The damage created by these hazards increase as we age.  The body gradually loses the ability to rid itself of toxins that can damage your lungs, kidneys, liver and other major organs.

Here are some tips to lower your intake of air born pollutants:

Stick to side streets as you walk for exercise.

Avoid outdoor activities during rush hour.

Live in a smoke-free environment.

Clean your indoor air with a HEPA filter.

Pay attention to local outdoor pollution alerts.

Try some of these hints to avoid pesticide poisoning:

Eat plenty of vegetables and soy products each day.

Reduce your intake of beef, pork and chicken.

Wash and peel all fruits and vegetables carefully.

Keep your kitchen free of pesticides.

Exercise – We all know it.  Exercise is good for you but, if you are over 60, breeze on by the advertising that touts ‘buns of steel.’  Recent research indicates that moderate exercise will give you as much protection from disease as the extensive exercise regimens touted by those much younger than you.

Experts now tell us to use a two-part exercise program that includes aerobic exercise like walking or bicycling to condition your heart plus strength training exercises such as calisthenics and low-intensity weight lifting to build muscle and cut fat.  To begin you should only exercise two or three times a week but should work toward at least five times a week.

Easing into a routine like this gradually should be your goal.  By age 60 almost everyone has some degree of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, joint irritation or lack of flexibility.   Exercising lightly will not aggravate these conditions, but will actually help them.

Exercise will also keep your heart young, drive down high blood pressure, build up good cholesterol, improve balance, enhance sex life, increase mental acuity, elevate mood, control diabetes, decrease cancer risk, strengthen bones, ease joint pain and much, much more.

Get started properly.  Get a physical so you know that your body’s systems can handle additional physical stress.

Warm up for at least 10 to 15 minutes using slow-walking, stretches or light calisthenics.  As you get older you body need to ease into exercise gradually because your system is down about one third and takes longer to warm up and cool down.

Exercising more than 30 minutes at a time will help you lose weight if you do it three to five times a week and follow a proper diet. But if you don’t need to lose weight, three 10 minute sessions each day will be beneficial for protection against disease.

Schedule a regular workout time.  Dress for comfort.  Have plenty of water along so as not to dehydrate.

Half of your exercise routine should include aerobics and the best aerobic exercise is walking, especially if you are over 60.  Start out by timing yourself and gradually increasing the distance over time.  Keep your pace constant, slow down on hills and track the temperature.  If it’s hot or humid your workout will seem harder.  As you become more comfortable with your routine, try some variation like shortening steps, trying weights or swing your arms as you walk.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow for strengthening exercises:

Keep it slow – perform exercises slowly spending two seconds in the lifting phase of each exercise and four to six seconds in the lowering part.  Moving too fast reduces the benefits and you could actually hurt yourself.

Always inhale before lifting, exhale while lifting and inhale as you lower the weight to get the best benefit.

Select just a few exercises to begin with, a few for the upper body and a few for the lower body.  You can always increase as your routine helps you to gain stamina.

Use music to help establish a rhythm.

Pick the right kind of shoes.  Walking or running shoes absorb the shock of your stride because of a slightly elevated heel that also helps prevent injuries to leg muscles and tendons.  Tennis and other types of athletic shoes absorb impact of sideways movement and quick turns.  Buy new shoes often even though they may last for years.  That is because the shock absorption only lasts for a few months.

Wear loose fitting clothing for comfort, don’t drink coffee or any diuretics before or while exercising and exercise vigorously enough so that you can’t talk and exercise at the same time!


Thankfully, researchers are finally beginning to understand and accept the link between mind and body.  Even though the physiological make up of emotions themselves have not yet been identified, some researchers suspect that a small portion of the brain called the insular cortex may be the key.

The insular cortex regulates the autonomic nervous system which controls the automatic functions of our body such as breathing heartbeat and blood pressure.  It also plays a role in higher brain functions and helps to process anger, fear, joy, happiness and sexual arousal.

Laboratory experiments with animals indicate that when the insular cortex is stimulated for long periods of time, causes a kind of damage to the heart muscle that is similar to sudden cardiac death.  Other experiments with people who have epilepsy who were undergoing brain surgery that exposed the insular cortex found that stimulating the area with mild electrical pulses changed the person’s heart rate and blood pressure.

Is it any wonder, therefore, that years of sorrow, anger and other negative emotions may cause a malfunction of the insular cortex?  The research continues.

Whatever happens in that six inches between your ears, one thing is certain.  Optimism, laughter, love and other positive emotions can counteract many harmful effects at any age, even in your sixties, seventies, eighties and beyond!

A happy outlook appears to trigger the release of endorphins.  Endorphins relax the cardiovascular system and cytokines which alert the immune system to pay attention in detecting abnormalities like cancer cells.

The University of California, Riverside began a research project in 1921 whereby they followed the aging process of over 1,500 people who were preteens when the study began.  The researchers concluded that among those subjects, such positive attributes as dependability, trust, agreeableness and open-mindedness were associated with a two to four year increase in life expectancy.

Let’s explore some tips for developing a better outlook on your world.

Listen carefully to yourself.  If you have put yourself down since childhood, over a lifetime negative subliminal message can take their toll by turning you into a pessimist.   Spend one week writing down the phrases you use in your “self talk.”  Chances are you will find that you repeat a dozen or so phrases over and over again that reinforce that negative image.  If you know about them, you can change them.

If an issue is not resolved it will continue to plague you and you will relive the negative emotions tied to that issue over and over again.  Write yourself a letter spending about 20 minutes a day for four days and write about what you feel.  Forget grammar, punctuation and so on.  No one else will see this but you and you can throw it away when finished.  Once you begin to write, don’t stop until the time is up.  This exercise will help you organize your thoughts and get them out of your system.  By the end of the four days most people feel much better about themselves.

Seek out new challenges and opportunities.  Always have something that is a goal just over the horizon.  When you begin to close the gap and reach that goal, set another and another.  Keep yourself consistently moving ahead.

Try and do one new thing every week or month.  Visit a museum, go to the zoo, go to a book signing or lecture.  The goal here is to eliminate monotony which is a sure killer of optimism.

Look for a new marvel of nature each day.  Discover an abundance of happiness.  Spoil your pet or if you don’t have one, visit the human society and adopt one.  Learn to laugh at yourself.  Allow yourself to experience grief but don’t let it control you.

Find someone who is worse off than you and lend a hand.  Volunteer at a hospital, visit a nursery or a shelter.

In a preliminary study, researchers at the Institute of HeartMath in Boulder Creek, California, a biomedical research center that examines mind-body connections, asked 30 men and women to think for five minutes of either a compassionate moment in their lives or a time when they were upset or angry.  “We found that simply recalling one episode of anger depresses the immune system for up to seven hours – but one episode of feeling compassion or caring enhances the immune system for about the same amount of time,” says Jerry Kaiser, the Institute’s director of health services.

Armed with that information, stop for a moment and think about how often you feel either end of that emotional spectrum.  Makes you think a bit deeper about how we have the power to actually destroy ourselves through our emotions, doesn’t it?

Here are a few quick tips for increasing joy, hope and optimism that will work no matter what your age:

Make a list of at least 50 great things that happen to you every day.

Laugh a lot.  You’ll heal your body and your mind.

Discover a new challenge each month.

Try meditating for just five minutes each day.

Sex After 50 – Ha!  How many of you jumped ahead to this section?  It’s not surprising if you did and hopefully we can lend some positive reinforcement to certain cultural myths.

The importance of physical intimacy actually depends on the couple.  An alarming number of men used to give up on sex after 60 and many women used to feel that their six life ended with menopause.  Thankfully, that is no longer the case.

Sex at middle age can actually become better and more satisfying than ever before.  Maturity gives a couple more experience in lovemaking.  The children are usually grown and left home.  The pressures of building a career and day to day life are usually less stressful than in younger years.

Our society places a disproportionate emphasis on youth, thus reinforcing the myth that older people have no sexual interest.   People have a natural tendency to believe what society dictates and eventually just give up on sex after reaching middle age.

There are physiological changes that affect normal sexual function.  Unfortunately people have taken these changes to mean that sexual function is over for them which needn’t be the case at all.

Many men age 60 or over worry when they no longer have a spontaneous erection with visual stimulation.  This doesn’t mean that sexual function is over, but only means that they now require more direct stimulation.  Sadly, many men will avoid intercourse until they have a spontaneous erection in fear that their wives will think they have a sexual problem.

As men get older they need longer periods of time between ejaculations and over 60 may require a full day or even several between ejaculations.  This does not mean that he cannot enjoy intercourse and lovemaking in between.

Another serious problem exists where partners believe that climaxes are absolutely necessary.  The male believes that he must have one and his female partner believes that if he does not he no longer finds her attractive.

Lack of lubrication is a problem for older women and impotence a problem for men.  These are challenges that can be treated and should be discussed with your physician.

There are many factors that enter the equation when facing sexual problems.  Medications, alcohol and major illness may be causing a lack of sexual desire.  Again, all are potentially treatable and should be taken to your physician.

The most important tool any couple can put to use in their sexual relationship is the brain.  Use it wisely and there is no reason why people over 50, 60, 70 and over should not have a healthy sexual relationship with their partner.

Retirement – The absolute worst problem people face regarding retirement is waiting too long to plan for it.  Waiting until you are 60 will have horrendous repercussions on the quality of life for your remaining years.

It’s almost like the ostrich effect.  If you place your head in the sand you believe the problem will go away.  Well, we’ve got news for you. . .it won’t.  And the longer you wait before facing the problem the tougher it’s going to get.

If you have already planned for your retirement you needn’t read these last few pages.  However, if you are one of millions of Americans who have suddenly awakened to the fact that time is slipping away and your retirement is right around the corner. . .take heed because we are going to cover a few last minute strategies to help you prepare.

We can’t give you a quick fix for years and years of neglect, but we can explore some things you can do now that will help under funded 50 odd year olds prepare for a somewhat comfortable retirement.

First thing is to examine the numbers to find out just how large a shortfall you will experience.  Here are two free online calculators you can use to accomplish this:

American Savings Education Council’s Ballpark Estimate

Smart Money’s Retirement Worksheet

Either keep or begin saving.  If you don’t already know, find out what the maximum amount you are allowed to contribute to your company sponsored retirement plan, then increase your contribution.  This is especially beneficial if your employer matches your contributions.

The maximum 401(k), 403(b) or 457 plan contribution allowed in 2002 was only $11,000 with allowable increases in 2005 of $14,000 and $15,000 in 2006.

If you are age 50 or older you can contribute an additional amount of $4,000 in 2005 and $5,000 in 2006.

If you are self-employed you can contribute as much as $40,000 a year to a qualified retirement plan account and since the contribution is tax-deductible, the government actually subsidizes about one-third or more dependent upon your tax bracket.

Cut down large expenditures.  Clothing, restaurant meals, fancy vacations and other non-essentials can easily save some people as much as $1,000 a month.  If that $1,000 is invested at 8% per year at the end of 10 years it will have reached a nice nest egg of $185,000.

That still won’t be enough for a “comfortable” retirement.

If you have children in college have them begin to shoulder some of the expense.  If they have not yet begun college, have them attend a local school and live at home for two years.  After than they can transfer to a private university and take out student loans to pay for it.  This alone can save you over $100,000 per child over four years.

Downsize your family home.  Chances are, if you have lived in your home for more than five years or so, you have substantial equity.  Selling that home and moving to something smaller will release that equity that could be used to help finance your retirement.  Using the same figure of 8%, if you realize $150,000 in equity invested over ten years you’ll end up with $333,000.

Whatever you do, create a diversified portfolio and don’t chase rainbows!  The time for conservative investment is now.  An allocation for someone who is close to retirement is 70% stocks for future growth and 30% bonds for current stability.  Divide the stock portion between large, mid and small cap funds.

It’s not too late to start!


Some meat is good for you, but try and stick to these:

Eye of the round roast. A lean 3 ounce serving has 143 calories, 59 milligrams of cholesterol and just over 4 grams of fat.  Protective nutrients include vitamins B12 and B6, zinc, niacin, potassium, riboflavin and magnesium.

Top loin steak.  One lean 3 ounce serving with fat trimmed contains 168 calories, 65 milligrams of cholesterol and 7 grams of fat.  Protective nutrients include vitamins B12 and B6, zinc, niacin, potassium, riboflavin and magnesium.

Lamb foreshank.  One lean 3 ounce serving of the meat gives you 159 calories, 88 milligrams of cholesterol and 5 grams of fat.  Protective nutrients include vitamin B12, zinc, niacin, riboflavin, magnesium and potassium.

Pork tenderloin.  One lean 3 ounce serving contains 139 calories, 67 milligrams of cholesterol, and 4 grams of fat.  Protective nutrients include vitamins B12 and B6, riboflavin, zinc and magnesium.

Supplement Smartly

Choose a high quality multivitamin.

Check the expiration date to make sure you will use it all in time.

Add an antioxidant supplement that contains 100 to 400 IU of vitamin E, 250 to 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C, 6 to 20 milligrams of beta-carotene, plus 70 to 100 micrograms of selenium.

Add a calcium supplement or be sure to get enough calcium through your diet.  For women over age 50 and men over 65, take a total of 1,500 milligrams per day (1,000 milligrams a day for med aged 60 to 65).  Be sure and take calcium in divided doses so that it is fully absorbed.

Buy a product that has equal percentages of the daily value for copper and zinc.

Choose a multivitamin that contains little or no iron.

Take your multivitamin and antioxidant supplements with meals or low-fat snacks to get the full benefit of fat and water soluble vitamins.

Buy dairy products that are fortified with vitamin D.

Do not take doses larger than those recommended by experts or without approval from your doctor.

Don’t take calcium and your multivitamin supplement together.

Don’t take calcium without checking with your doctor if you are on tetracycline.

Don’t over consume magnesium products like certain laxatives, antacids and pain relievers if you have kidney problems.

Don’t increase your consumption of supplements without checking with your doctor first, especially if you are on other medications.

Low Calorie Treats To Enjoy

3 Chocolate kisses – 75 calories, 4.5 grams of fat

24 fresh grapes – 81 calories, 0 grams of fat

1 cup fresh strawberries with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar – 86 calories, 0 grams of fat

½ cup of cranberry juice over ice with club soda and an organge slice –  91 calories, 0 grams of fat

5 vanilla wafers – 93 calories, 3 grams of fat

19 pieces of candy corn – 95 calories, 1.9 grams of fat

2 tablespoons low-fat yogurt topped with ½ cup of cherries and 2 teaspoons sliced almonds – 96 calories 3 grams of fat

2 cups air-popped popcorn tossed with 1 teaspoon melted margarine and 1 teaspoon honey – 97 calories, 3.8 grams of fat

½ cup sugar free instant pudding made with skim milk and ½ teaspoon shaved semi-sweet chocolate – 99 calories, 0.6 grams of fat

10 (1 inch) cubes of angel food cake topped with ¼ cup frozen raspberries in light syrup – 100 calories, 0 grams of fat

Health Screenings Are Important!

There are many health insurance programs that cover preventive health care like health screenings.  Here are screenings that are important as you age:

Screenings for breast, cervical, vaginal, colorectal and prostate cancer including mammography.

Testing for loss of bone mass, which causes osteoporosis.

Diabetes monitoring and self-management.

Flu, pneumonia and Hepatitis B vaccinations.

Get your blood pressure checked annually.

Check your HDL and LDL cholesterol levels every year.

Get a Pap smear every year.

Use an inexpensive fecal occult-blood test to check for colon cancer.

Have a sigmoidoscopy done at least every three to five years or a colonoscopy done at least every 10 years.

Get a simple blood test to check for diabetes.

Check your skin often for changes to freckles and moles.

Don’t just automatically get every test available to you.  Discuss with your doctor the positive and negative aspects of certain tests.

Using Indoor Plants To Clean The Air

Lady palm, peace lily, ficus, golden pothos and areca palm are easy to grow, insect resistant and can absorb many of the cancer causing chemicals like benzene, arsenic and formaldehyde found in secondhand smoke and other household pollutants.

A normal houseplant can filter about six cubic feet of air or about the size of a overstuff chair.  Position the plant on a table or floor beside your bed or favorite chair to maximize the amount of clean air in your breathing zone.

Don’t Get Burned!

American over 65 account for half of all new cases of skin cancer.  Damage to the skin doesn’t happen overnight but accumulates over years.

Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.

Look for the UV Index in your local newspaper.

Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses in the sun.

Conduct a self-exam of your skin once a month looking for any new growths or changes in moles, freckles or birthmarks.

Don’t be fooled by clouds.  Sunlight and UV rays penetrate the clouds so wear sunscreen even on cloudy days.

Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to ears, neck and the back of your hands.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for

educational and informational purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a

substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek

the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions

you may have regarding a medical condition.  Never disregard professional medical

advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA approved they must be

accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement

has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose,

treat, cure or prevent any disease.”


If you want to spark a spirited debate at your next social gathering, just try bringing up the subject of health insurance.  You will undoubtedly set off a firestorm of opinions.

Years ago, acquiring your first health coverage was almost a right of passage.  You began your career and you were automatically enrolled in your employers health plan after your first 90 days of employment.

That still takes place today but the health care industry has metamorphosed into a gigantic monster gobbling up resources everywhere it travels.  Rates keep going up at an astounding pace and more employers are cutting back on their plans or doing away with their health benefit packages entirely.

Naturally, no one document will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about health insurance.  When it comes to health insurance there is no “one size fits all.”

However, what will do is provide with enough knowledge to weigh the options and make informed decisions regarding your own circumstances.

The most important tool you can have when looking for good health insurance is knowledge.   Unfortunately there aren’t too many places where you can obtain that knowledge without having to spend months wading through the small print.

So, before discussing the various plans that are available,  we must first grasp an understanding of the complex nature of health insurance.  Therefore, our first chapters are written specifically to help you understand the terminology and different components involved so that you can make those informed decisions and present it in plain English.  Let’s get to it!

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Health insurance is a legal contract between two or more parties that promises certain performance in exchange for considerations.  A health insurance policy is considered a unilateral contract.  This is because only one party (the insurer) is required to fulfill their obligation.  While a policy owner may decide to terminate premium payments, as long as the payments are paid the insurer must meet their responsibility under the contract.

A health insurance policy can provide just one or any combination of certain benefits:

♣ Hospital, medical and surgical expenses resulting from sickness or an accident

♣ Accidental death or dismemberment

♣ Disability resulting from accident or sickness (sometimes this can also be referred to as “loss of income” or “loss of time”

An accident is an injury that occurs accidentally.  A sickness is an illness or disease that is not the result of an accident.  Knowing the difference is important because policies may have different provisions that apply to accidents or sickness.  Also, there are some companies that sell a separate accident policy that does not include sickness.

The terms accident and sickness are widely used and often interchangeable in any discussion of health insurance.  They are often abbreviated as A&H and A&S.  Health insurance is also referred to as medical insurance.

As we discussed above, health insurance is designed to protect again two types of economic loss.  Loss of income and expenses for medical care which places them in either of two broad policy categories:

♣ Disability income policies

♣ Medical expense policies

Disability income policies can also be referred to as loss of income, loss of time or replacement income.  This type of policy will pay benefits to an insured who is disabled and can no longer work to earn a regular income.  Payments can be weekly or monthly depending on the policy.

Medical expense policies are represented by a wide range of coverage from very minimal to comprehensive packages with multiple coverage.  Some include both accidents and illnesses, various hospital expenses and other costs pertaining to medical care such as:

♣ Accident and sickness policies

♣ Hospital policies

♣ Basic medical expense policies

♣ Major medical expense policies

♣ Comprehensive medical expense policies

Any of these policies might cover various combinations of the above and may be paid in a lump sum.

Accident Policies.  Some policies cover only accidents and not illness.   As you might imagine, policies like this are very specific about what is considered an accident.

It is important to understand what is defined as an accident as it pertains to the health insurance industry. . .an accident is an event that is unforeseen and unintended.

Keep in mind that any discussion of this type of policy also applies to any type of policy that includes accidental coverage not just accident specific policies.

Accident benefits are most commonly paid for accidental loss of life (also called accidental death), accidental loss of limb or sigh (dismemberment), loss of time and/or income, hospital expenses, surgical expenses, and medical expenses like visits to the doctor.

Let’s expand a bit on dismemberment.  As we said, this would be loss of limb or sight, however, different states have statutes that define dismemberment and they can vary from state to state.  This is a subject that you need to discuss with your insurance agent to determine what actually constitutes dismemberment in your state.

Accidental Death Benefit can also be referred to as “principal sum.”  This type of coverage should not be confused with life insurance.  There is a world of difference between the two.  Life insurance policies will generally regardless of the cause of death.  An accidental benefit is paid ONLY if the death is accidental as opposed to a death by natural causes or illness.

The person who received the death benefit is called the beneficiary.  The policy owner has the right and responsibility of naming beneficiaries.  Usually there is a primary beneficiary however he/she can assign a second and even a third beneficiary.

The primary beneficiary is the first person in line to receive the benefit in the event of the death of the policy holder.  They can also name a second beneficiary who would receive the benefit in the event the primary beneficiary dies before the insured.  Some policies can include a third beneficiary who would be in line after the first two.

There is much more to be learned about accidental death policies, but we would like to mention one important element before we move on.   An accidental death may not be instant.  A person can die as a result of an accidental injury months after the accident occurrence.  Read your policy carefully because most stipulate that the accidental death benefit will only be paid if death occurs within three months of the accident.


When a person becomes disabled and unable to work, at some point their income will stop.  It might be sooner or later, but unfortunately, life goes on and daily living expenses continue to mount.

Disability income insurance is available to continue at least a portion of ones income while unable to work.  It’s sad, but most people give more attention to life insurance than they do about income replacement should they become disabled.

Disability income insurance is available individually or sometimes as a portion of a group benefit provided by an employer in their group package.

Individual policies are most often sold to self-employed and professional people.  The amount of the benefit relates to earnings and is matched as close to after tax income as possible.  Generally it is up to 60% of monthly net income and there is usually a cap on the amount.

When included as part of a employee group benefit package, disability income policies are usually more liberal than individual plans as far as limitations and exclusions.  It is also much easier to acquire coverage.  As a general rule, group plans are much less costly to all parties.

Disability income protection should be an element of your entire financial planning.  The importance cannot be overestimated because it relates to your overall family finances.  Whatever you situation may be, disability is one of the most important factors when you consider you inability to work and produce income.

Some things to consider when determining disability income needs are:

♣ Establish the bare minimum required if income stops.

♣ Determine your retirement needs if work ceases and the ability to pay into the retirement ends.

♣ Allow for any benefit that might be offset by social security and workers compensation.

Some thought needs to be afforded to the possibility of “total disability.”  That definition is important as it is always defined in a policy and different companies may use different definitions.

Interpretation is important as it pertains to the insured’s own occupation and any occupation the insured may be qualified to perform.

The first method used to determine total disability concerns the occupation that the insured is normally engaged in.  In this case total disability might be defined as “the insured’s inability to perform any or all of the duties or his or her own occupation.”  This is determined by the insured’s occupation at the time that disability begins.

The second method is more restrictive defined as “the insured’s inability to perform the duties of any occupation for which he or she is reasonably qualified by education, training or experience.”

In other words, while you may no longer be able to conduct the duties of your current occupation you may be able to perform activities in a related field.

There are some disability income policies that use another criterion to classify total disability.  This is called presumptive disability and automatically qualifies the insured for total disability classification.  These conditions are:

♣ Loss of use of any two limbs

♣ Total and permanent blindness

♣ Loss of speech and hearing

Presumptive disability may also be decided by using a loss of income test.  If the earnings after disability significantly drop below pre-disability earnings by a given percentage the insured may be considered totally disabled.

Usually short-term policies cover non-occupational disability but most long-term policies cover both occupational and non-occupational sickness and accidents.  Bear in mind, however, that occupational benefits are usually reduced by benefits received form workers compensation and social security.

Other considerations are the probationary period, elimination period and the benefit period.

Some disability policies use a probationary period that begins when a policy goes into effect and no benefits are paid during this period.  It varies but is often 15 or 30 days and sometimes up to 60 days for long-term policies.

In addition to the probationary period some policies also include an elimination period.  It begins when the policy goes into effect and can last for any length of time even up to a full year.  This is usually left to the insured to decide as it is based on how long the insured can go without income after becoming disabled.

The primary advantage to a long probationary period is a low premium and allows the insured to use premium dollars to purchase a benefit that best suits their needs.

The benefit period, which is the length of time, can vary depending on the needs of the insured.  They can be as short-term as 13 weeks up to long-term as long as age 65.

As a general rule the longer the benefit period, the higher the premium.  Same as everything in life, we get what we pay for.

Benefit amounts for both short-term and long-term policies range from 50% to 66 2/3% of earnings with a cap on the maximum amount to be paid.

Other disability categories are confining vs. non-confining, partial, residual, recurrent, delayed, combined accident and sickness and non-disabling.

We won’t cover definitions of each category here, but do be aware of their existence and check your policy for a definition of coverage for these types of disability.

Most companies offer optional short-term benefits for an additional cost.  A typical disability income policy might include all, some or none of the items below so it is important to discuss these with your agent.  These options are:

Supplemental income – sometimes called an additional monthly benefit rider, provides additional income during the first several months of a long-term disability.

Hospital income – pays a stipulated amount per day when hospitalized extending for a certain period and can be up to 12 months.

Elective benefits or indemnities – provides lump-sum payments for certain injuries like fractures, dislocations, sprains or amputations of toes or fingers and is elected by the insured in lieu of weekly or monthly benefits stated in a contract.

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If you recall, we explained that there are two broad categories of health insurance policies: disability and medical expense.  Thus far we have covered disability.  Now we’ll take a look at basic medical expense insurance.

Basic medical expense policies provide for medical expenses that result from accidents and sickness.  This is a loose term that refers to various medical, hospital and surgical benefits.

The broad category of medical expense coverage provides a wide range of benefits for hospital, surgical and medical care.  Other benefits may apply as well, such as private nurses, convalescent care, and more.

Policies may be written as such that they may be limited to only one or two types of coverage like hospital or miscellaneous medical costs or surgical expenses.  These are known as basic plans.

Other, more broadly written, policies may cover all expenses resulting from accident or illness using some specific exceptions.

Medical plans include fee-for-service wherein doctors and other providers receive a payment that does not exceed their billed charge for service provided.

Prepaid plans provide medical or hospital benefits in the form of service rather than dollars.  Many things need to be considered when selecting a medical expense plan such as:

Specified coverage versus comprehensive care.  In other words does the plan feature only specific benefits or is the coverage comprehensive?

Any provider versus a limited number of providers.  Are you required to choose from a specific list of providers?

National versus regional operation.  Is the plan limited to a specific geographical region or operate nationwide?

Insured versus subscribers.  Are participants considered insureds (the person who receives the benefit) or subscribers (the person who is paying the premium)?

We are going to take a look at the limited coverage for hospital, medical and surgical expenses.  Discussing this separately first, will help you to understand how the components are combined in major medical and comprehensive policies.

The broad definition of basic medical expense insurance in most states includes hospital, medical and surgical expenses.  The purpose of this type of insurance is to cover a broad range of medical, hospital and surgical expenses as well as separate categories of medical expenses.

Let’s explore individual versus group coverage.

No matter how a policy is written, narrowly or broadly, medical expense insurance is designed to reimburse for the cost of care whether it results from injury or illness.

Both individual and group policies are available to consumers.  Normally individual policies are more costly along with having limited benefits but generally speaking, both types cover the same medical services.

Hospital expense benefits provide for expenses incurred during hospitalization.  Indemnities usually fall under two broad groups:

♣ Room and board – including nursing care and special dietary requirements

♣ Miscellaneous medical expenses – including x-rays, lab work, medications, medical supplies and operating and special treatment rooms

In some cases, benefits might be included for certain surgeries and related costs like pain killers given during a hospital stay.

Room and board benefits may be paid based on indemnity or reimbursement depending upon the particular policy.  When paid on an indemnity basis, the insurer pays a specified rate per day that has been pre-determined and is laid out in a schedule within the policy.

The schedule will spell out the details of the benefit coverage as it pertains to length of stay.  Once the length of stay has been exhausted, no more benefits are available.  These are sometimes called dollar amount plans and typically the number of days is from 90 up to 365.

More commonly used is a reimbursement basis, also known as an expenses-incurred basis.  With this type of coverage the policy will pay in one of two ways – the actual charges for a semi-private room or a percentage of the actual charges.  There are no specific dollar amounts but a maximum number of days will still be specified.

Surgical Expense Benefits fall under two plans, scheduled and non-scheduled.

In the scheduled plan, surgical expense policies pay the fees incurred from the surgeons services and related costs incurred when the insured has an operation.  Typical related costs include fees for an assistant surgeon, anesthesiologist and can even include the operating room when it is not covered as a miscellaneous item.

Basic surgical coverage can be included in the same policy as basic hospital and medical expense and are normally included in a schedule listing major commonly performed operations and the benefits payable for each.

This gets a bit tricky and you need to be aware of how the insurance company determines the benefit.   Just because a specific surgery is not listed in the schedule does not necessarily mean that there is no benefit for it available.  It might mean that the insurer indemnifies that surgery based on absolute value and the relative value of each procedure.

In other words, let’s say that the insurer determines that a certain surgical procedure has a prevailing value of $1500 and indicates that in the schedule included in your policy.  That is considered the absolute value.  Now, let’s say that there is another procedure not listed in the schedule that is say 50% less complicated as the $1500 procedure.  In this case, the relative value would be $750 and that is the benefit amount that will be paid for the less complicated procedure.

Using a non-scheduled scenario, when surgical benefits are not listed by a specific dollar amount in a schedule, the policy will pay based on what is considered usual, customary and reasonable in a certain geographical area and is also known as UCR.

This non-scheduled type of indemnity is found most often in major medical and comprehensive policies which we will discuss further along.

As you might imagine, under this type of arrangement the UCR is determined by the amount that physicians in the local area usually charge for the same procedure.

Regular medical expense benefit is another category that is sometimes known as physician’s non-surgical expense.  This coverage is for non-surgical services a physician provides and can sometimes be narrowly applied to physician visits while the patient is in the hospital.

If this is the case the benefit will most likely pay for a specified maximum number of visits per day, a specified maximum dollar amount per visit and a specified number of days coverage applies.

In other policies this benefit could be for non-surgical services performed by a physician whether the patient is in or out of the hospital.  Once again there are limits such as $100 per visit up to 50 visits per year depending on the policy.

Other medical expense benefits fall into a category in addition to the hospital, surgical and medical benefits previously discussed.  These optional benefits vary from insurer to insurer and may or may not include as part of their standard policies.  Separate policies can sometimes be written to include these benefits.  Some of them are:

♣ Maternity

♣ Convalescent – Nursing home

♣ Emergency first-aid

♣ Home health care

♣ Mental infirmity

♣ Hospice care

♣ Prescription drugs

♣ Dread disease

♣ Outpatient treatment

♣ Dental

♣ Private duty nursing

♣ Vision

We will not cover all of these options, but will let’s take a look at the most common.

Maternity benefits are sometimes included in policies subject to certain conditions and limitations.  The most usual limitation is a 10 month waiting period designed to prevent the purchase of health insurance just to cover pregnancy and childbirth expenses.  Interesting to note, however, group policies for employee groups of 15 or more are required by law to provide maternity benefits on the same basis as non-maternity benefits.  This means that in a case such as this, the waiting period would not apply unless non-maternity benefits also required a 10 month waiting period.

Aside from the group scenario above, many policies just exclude maternity benefits totally but make them available at extra cost.  Where maternity benefits do apply, the benefit usually includes newborn care while the mother is in the hospital.

Other benefits that are sometimes available under the same maternity coverage might include cesarean deliveries, natural abortions and elective abortions.

Emergency First Aid Coverage applies to an accident that may call for immediate first-aid on the scene.  This applies when a medical professional who just happens on the scene provides first-aid service he/she might bill the insured.  Sometimes treatment like this must be performed without the knowledge or assent of the insured.  Some policies offer coverage for such contingencies and normally must incur within a very short time after an accident.

Mental Infirmity historically has been excluded from most policies.  However, in recent years more and more policies include this type of coverage but with limitations.  The benefits are usually much lower than physical ailments and a stated percentage of the benefit paid for other types of medical care is included.

Common exclusions and limitations.  Both disability income and medical expense policies limit or exclude coverage for certain types of injuries or illness.   There is a difference between limitations and exclusions.  The mental infirmity policy limitations we discussed above is an example, whereas an exclusion is completely omitted from any coverage.

It is important that you deal with a knowledgeable agent because state laws and policies may differ on specific items.  Some items that fall into the common exclusions and limitations might be:

♣ Pre-existing conditions as defined by your policy and dictated by state law.

♣ Hernia however the growing trend is to cover the condition.

♣ Self-inflicted injuries

♣ Suicide

♣ War and/or acts of ware that result in injury or death

♣ Military duty

♣ Non-commercial air travel

♣ Injury while committing a felony

♣ Injury, illness or death incurred while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics

♣ Cosmetic surgery unless for surgery required as a result of an accidental injury or a congenital defect

♣ Dental expense, unless resulting from accidental injury

♣ Vision correction such as eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses

♣ Care provided by governmental facility which is normally covered by the Veterans Administration or by workers compensation

♣ Sexually transmitted diseases

♣ Experimental procedures

♣ Organ transplant

♣ Infertility treatment and services

♣ Alcohol and drug abuse treatment

Up to this point we have discussed “basic” benefits that are designed to cover some hospital, medical and surgical costs that are primarily considered to be minor.  When purchased individually, these benefits can be substantially less than actual costs incurred.

Here is where Major Medical coverage enters the picture.  Major Medical covers a broader range of medical expenses providing more complete coverage.  Generally speaking, these more extensive types of policies fall into two categories:

1. Comprehensive.  This is the more traditional basic coverage and any other type of medical expenses are combined into a single policy.

2. Supplemental.  This coverage usually begins with a traditional basic policy.  That coverage pays first and the major medical coverage is added to include expenses that are not covered by the basic policy.

The primary distinction between supplemental and comprehensive major medical coverage is that supplemental plans distinguish between basic and major medical for reimbursement purposes.  Comprehensive plans combine the two types to cover essentially all types of medical expenses.

Let’s take a more in depth look at comprehensive major medical benefits.  There are two types of comprehensive major medical plans, one with first dollar coverage and the other without.

Just as the first term implies, first dollar coverage begins as soon as covered medical expenses are incurred.  Without first dollar coverage, the insured must pay specified “deductible” amounts first.  When that amount of expenses incurred has been paid by the insured, the policy begins reimbursing.

Major medical coverage has another feature, coinsurance.  This means that the insurer and the insured share in any expensive above the deductible amount.  The insurer will always carry the bulk of expenses and normally pays 80% and the insured pays 20%.  Other proportions may be used so it is important that you read your policy thoroughly.

Some policies dictate that certain types of medical expenses are not subjected to the deductible while other types are.  For example it is non uncommon for no deductible to apply to initial hospital and/or surgical expenses up to a specified amount.  In a case like this, the insured would pay no deductible in expenses but would first pay the deductible before major medical covered any additional expenses.  The insurer and insured would then share in the remaining expenses at 80% and 20% or whatever the percentage is in their applied policy.

It is becoming more common for major medical polices to include a “stop-loss limit.”  This limit would be a dollar amount that, when reached, the insured no longer participates in any further payment.

This is generally referred to as a stated maximum benefit.  The lifetime maximum limits on health insurance might range from $100,000 to $1,000,000.  Some policies can even have unlimited benefits.  Just as the maximum benefit can vary, so can the amount of the stop-loss limit depending upon the insurer.

Supplemental major medical benefits supplement a basic policy that includes hospital, surgical and medical with an additional policy that covers the broader range of medical expenses.

Usually the basic plan will pay covered expenses with no deductible up to the policy limit.  Beyond that limit, the supplemental policy operates the same as a comprehensive policy that provides no other first dollar coverage.

This means that after the basic policy limits are exhausted, a deductible kicks in followed by the major medical coverage.

Just as the comprehensive major medical policy, a supplemental plan will more than likely include stop-loss limit as well as a maximum benefit limit.

What expenses are covered under major medical policies?  No matter whether they are supplemental or comprehensive both will generally cover the following even if they vary slightly from policy to policy:

♣ Hospital inpatient room and board including intensive and cardiac care

♣ Nursing services including private duty outside a hospital

♣ Hospital medical and surgical services and supplies

♣ Physicians’ diagnostic, medical and surgical services

♣ Anesthesia and anesthetist services

♣ Other medical practitioners’ services

♣ Outpatient services

♣ Ambulance service to and from a hospital

♣ xRays and other diagnostic and lab tests

♣ Radiologic and other types of therapy

♣ Prescription drugs

♣ Blood and blood plasma

♣ Oxygen including administering

♣ Dental services that are a result of injury to natural teeth

♣ Convalescent nursing home care

♣ Home health care services

♣ Prosthetic devices when initially purchased

♣ Casts, splints, trusses, braces and crutches

♣ Rental of durable equipment like hospital style beds and wheelchairs

Let’s review some of the other major medical concepts such as deductible features, benefit periods and restoration of benefits.

Deductibles can be handled in several different ways depending on your policy.  One method might be on a per-cause deductible which applies to sickness or injury.  Other policies may have a deductible known as all-cause which is sometimes called cumulative or calendar-year deductible.

If your policy is per-cause you will pay a single deductible for all expenses you incur for the same injury or illness.  Your benefit period for each cause begins when deductible has been meant for that injury or illness.  This can sometime run as long as one or two years.

It is important to understand the per-cause stipulation.  Let’s look at an example.  If you are ill in May and then are injured in an accident in July those are two separate causes and deductible must be met for each of them separately.

However, if your policy is based on an all-cause deductible, the expenses for various injuries or illnesses are accumulated to meet your deductible in one calendar year.  Once that is met, the rest of your charges are paid for that calendar year.

Additionally, using the all-cause method there is usually carryover provision that allows you to carry over expenses from the last three months of one calendar year to the next.

If your policy covers the entire family, then a family deductible will apply rather than individual deductibles.  In other words if a policy’s individual deductible is $200 a family deductible might be $400.  This can be very advantageous because a six member family would only have to meet $400 rather than $1200 individually.

One other type of deductible could also be beneficial to a family and that is the common injury or illness provision.  What this means is that if two or more family members are injured in a common accident or become sick from the same illness, only one deductible amount will be required.

The time during which benefits are paid is called a benefit period.  These times are generally linked to the deductible as well as any inside or internal limits in the major medical policy.

Determining when a benefit must be paid can be one of two different ways.  The benefit period might begin either on the first day of an injury or illness or on the date that the insured meets the deductible and can extend up to two years.  Or, the benefit period may cease at the end of a calendar year and begin with a new deductible.

Benefit limitations placed on certain of the various coverages in a major medical policy are considered inside or internal limits.   In other words, the policy may limit both room and board and number of days that will be paid.  In this case, the period for hospital room and board will be whatever number of days that are specified.  Other internal limits might be restrictions for convalescent are days, mental health, x-rays and similar items.

Your restoration of benefits is the time at which you can expect your benefits to resume after policy limits have been met.  For instance, a lifetime level might be as much as $500,000 and an insured might use up half or more of that in a single year.  This leaves only $250,000 left for the remainder of his life.

Some policies allow the maximum to be restored if the insured can prove that he is once again insurable.  Other policies may have an automatic reset provision restoring a specified amount every January 1st.

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In this chapter we will take a look at all the different “types” of insurers and how they are structured.    The following are the different types of insurers:

♣ Traditional Insurers

♣ Domestic, Foreign and Alien Companies

♣ Blue Cross/Blue Shield

♣ Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO)

♣ Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO)

Traditional Insurers

This type of company is one that has evolved over time into a ‘branded” image in the eyes of the public.  This is the opposite of what we have come to know in today’s world as Health Maintenance (HMO) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO).

A traditional insurer selling health coverage may specialize in just health coverage.    The types of insurance they sell may be referred to as accident and health (A&H) or accident and sickness (A&S) companies.   Most states require a separate license to write life, health and property casualty.

Stock and Mutual.  Not only can an insurance company be categorized by the type of insurance, they can also be considered in terms of its ownership as either a stock or mutual company.

At the time of organization, a stock company sells stock to raise the money necessary to operate a business.  The stockholders are not necessarily insured by the company nor do policyholders necessarily own stock in the company.  It is in business solely for the purpose of selling insurance to policyholders.

On the other hand, with a mutual company the policyholders are also owners of the company and as such, can vote to elect the company management.  Any monies beyond the operating costs of the company may be returned to the policyholders as dividends or reductions in future premiums.

Consumer Cooperatives.   There are two different types of cooperatives.  They are consumer cooperatives and producer cooperatives.  Producer cooperatives include companies like Blue Cross/Blue shield and some Health Maintenance Organizations which we will discuss further on.

Additionally, there are two types of consumer cooperatives.  One is the mutual insurance model discussed previously and the other less common and unincorporated type is a reciprocal company.

A reciprocal company is based on the model of give and take.  Members agree to share insurance responsibilities among all members.  All members insure one another and share in the losses and no member can buy insurance without committing to providing insurance in return.  This type of consumer cooperative is managed by an attorney-in-fact who handles all matters of business for the cooperative.

Participating and Non-participating Policies.  These terms indicate that the policyholder of a traditional type of insurance, either does or does not participate in, or receive, a share of any surplus that results from an insurers business operations.  These terms are also known as par and non-par.

The surplus from which participating policyholders might receive a return are excess reserves for claims, interest on investments and savings on expenses.  This represents amounts not ear marked for any particular purpose and are therefore available to participating policy owners.

Domestic, Foreign and Alien Companies

Here in the United States, companies are usually organized and chartered under the laws of one particular state and it is common for them to do business in many states.  A company that operates its home office in the state where it is organized is known in that state as a domestic company.  In any other states where they do business the company is considered a foreign company.  If the home office of a company is located outside the United States, it is considered an alien company.  No matter whether it is domestic, foreign or alien a company must be registered in every state in which they operate.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield

These service organizations represent producers cooperatives.   Hospitals and physicians who sponsor Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans are providing the insurance, therefore they are considered to be the producers of the cooperative.

Originally Blue Cross and Blue shield were separate voluntary and tax-exempt associations.  Blue Cross provided payments to hospitals and Blue Shield covered physicians, medical and surgical fees.  People originally covered under these plans were traditionally known as subscribers since Blue Cross and Blue shield differ from traditional insurance companies.

In most states, the two have merged, but each group still covers the expenses for which they were initially created.  Over the years the tax advantages they originally enjoyed have deteriorated and many states have removed their exempt status.  Additionally the federal Tax Reform Act of 1986 now makes them taxable as insurance companies.

Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO)

The number of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) is growing by leaps and bounds and is in direct correlation with increasing health care costs.

The purpose of HMOs is to manage health care by using a prepaid model that emphasizes early treatment and prevention.  This prepayment is referred to as a service-incurred basis and is paid by the consumer.

This emphasis on prevention such as routine physicals, diagnostic screening is paid for in advance.  The model is a direct contrast to health insurance plans that historically did not pay for preventive programs but only paid after the fact for injury and illness.

In theory, the HMOs focus on prevention is ultimately supposed to reduce health care costs.  At the same time, HMOs provide medical treatment, hospital and surgical when needed.

There is another way that HMOs differ from the traditional health insurance providers.  HMOs have two step system that is not shared by insurance companies.  Under the traditional method, consumers receive the health care itself from the medical profession and the financial coverage from the insurance company.

In sharp contrast, the HMO provides both the health care services AND the health care coverage.

These are combined because the HMO is made up of medical practitioners who provide specific services to HMO members at prices that are pre-set and the HMO member agrees to pay the HMO a specified amount in advance to cover necessary services.  Therefore, the HMO is furnishing health services as well as making the financial arrangements.

As we have stated, the emphasis on prevention and the effort to containing cost is the major factor for developing HMOs.  However, federal law also encourages the development of HMOS.  They may receive government grants as well as requiring certain employers who offer health benefits, to offer HMO enrollment as an option by meeting certain criteria.

The basic structure of HMOs includes contractual agreements with a variety of facilities and health care providers to provide services to HMO subscribers.  Within this structure are four different types, Group, Staff, Network and Individual Practice Association.

Group model – Early on this was the predominant scenario.  With this arrangement the HMO contracts with an independent medical group that specializes in a variety of medical services and the HMO in turn provides these services to members.  Additionally, the HMO is paying another entity as a whole rather than individuals.

Staff model – This arrangement is pretty self-explanatory wherein the physicians are paid employees working on the staff of an HMO in a clinical setting at the HMO physical facilities.  The HMO often owns the hospital as well.  In this model the HMO is taking all the financial risk as opposed to the group model.

Network model – This arrangement works like the Group model with the difference being that the HMO will contract with more than one group to provide the services.  The primary purpose for this model is to provide convenience and increase accessibility for the members.

Individual Practice Association Model – This structure is designed to give maximum flexibility to the HMO members wherein they contract individually for all services.  There are no separate HMO facilities and all services operate out of their own facilities.

There are several types of groups that may sponsor HMOs, some of which are:

♣ Medical schools or associations

♣ Labor unions

♣ Physicians

♣ Hospitals

♣ Insurance companies

♣ Labor groups

♣ Consumer groups

♣ Service organizations (Blue Cross/Blue Shield)

♣ Government entities

Most HMOs restrict membership to a narrowly defined group.  For instance, a labor union might limit enrollment to active members of their union.

HMOs are required to provide the following basic health care services:

♣ Physicians’ services

♣ Hospital inpatient services

♣ Outpatient medical services

♣ Emergency services

♣ Preventive services

♣ Diagnostic laboratory services

♣ Diagnostic and therapeutic radiology services

Many HMOs may also provide the following, but are not required to do so:

♣ Prescription drugs

♣ Vision care

♣ Dental care

♣ Home health care

♣ Nursing services

♣ Long-term care

♣ Mental health care

♣ Substance abuse services

Those who would like supplemental services may purchase them from the HMO only as an addition to the basic health care services that the HMO provides.

Co-payments.  HMO members may be charged only nominal amounts for basic services in additional to the original monthly payments.  In some cases there may be no additional payments for services.  All details are spelled out in a descriptive document which is known as either the certificate of coverage or evidence of coverage.

Gatekeeper.  HMOs most often have this type of system wherein a primary care physician must be selected who in turn will authorize all care for a member including referrals to specialists.

Twenty four hour access.  Normally members have 24 hour access to the HMO.

Open Enrollment.  This term can apply in one of two different ways.  An employee sponsored group has a set time period each year when employees may choose to enroll or remain enrolled or change plans.  The second meaning is a period each year when an HMO must advertise to the general public on an individual basis.

Nondiscrimination.  When HMO services are offered to a group, the HMO may not refuse to cover an individual member of the group due to pre-existing health conditions.  This practice is much different from traditional insurers where adverse conditions may preclude enrollment.

Complaints.  HMOs must be set up to handle coverage complaints and care complaints.  HMO members must receive a document that spells out how complaints can be registered.

Prohibitive practices.  In addition to non-discrimination against group members based on their health status during enrollment, HMOs are not allowed to cancel or dis-enroll members because of their current health status or the amount of usage of health services.  HMOs are also not allowed to use words that may imply that the HMO provides insurance in the traditional manner.

Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO)

Preferred Provider Organizations are another attempt to reduce medical costs.  This is an arrangement whereby a selected group of independent hospitals and medical practitioners in a certain area agree to provide certain services at a prearranged rate.

The organizers and providers agree upon medical service charges that are generally less than the provider would charge patients not associated with the PPO.

These differ from HMOs in that the providers are paid on a fee for service basis rather than receiving a flat monthly amount and the organizer or contracting agency might be:

♣ Traditional insurance companies

♣ Blue Cross/Blue Shield

♣ Local groups of hospitals

♣ Local groups of physicians

♣ An existing HMO

♣ Large employers

♣ Trade unions

Those people who will receive services select a preferred provider from a list that the PPO distributes.  Usually the choices are more extensive with a PPO than a HMO.

Sometimes PPOs and HMOs are lumped together and called a managed care system.  One characteristic still exists concerning regulation, however.  HMOs increasingly have to meet state requirements as well as standard established by federal government.  PPOs are less stringently regulated since any group that can agree on the arrangements can call itself a PPO.

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Most people have a general idea of the nature of ‘group’ coverage.  The most common type of group coverage is provided via employment.  Many employers provide group health coverage as a benefit to their employees, either by paying the entire premium or sharing in the premium.

In a group situation, a single policy covers a specific group of people as opposed to a single person as individual policies do.  Because of this special nature, insurance companies have to make certain that the number of people covered by a group policy stays at or above a certain level.

Some states also have their own regulations that control the minimum number of people required under a group plan.  The number can differ from state to state so check local regulations.

In order to be considered a group, the entity must have the same employer or other commonality.  As we discussed above, there are many different types of groups that may be considered, but for our purposes we will consider an employer/employee group.

A single master policy is issued to an individual or entity representing the group of people.  As we stated, for our purposes we will call this the employer.  It is the employers responsibility to apply for coverage for the group, own and hold the master policy and collect and make premium payments to the insurer when due.

Eligibility and eligibility period.  In an individual policy situation where each person is evaluated separately in terms of risk, the normal practice in a group situation is to include all eligible employees regardless of physical condition or age.

On condition must be met, however, for all people regardless of their physical condition before they may be included in a group plan.  That condition is that they must apply for coverage during a specified eligibility period.  Failing to enroll in that time period will result in a requirement to take a physical examination and they will be selected on an individual basis just as if the policy were an individual policy.  An initial 90 day employment period is typical for group coverage, after which the employee has a 31 day eligibility period.  If the employee fails to apply during that eligibility period, then the employee will be required to take a physical examination and must qualify as if on an individual basis.

This is how an insurer can afford to cover a group of people without individual selection.  Otherwise some people might choose not to enroll until they discover they have an illness or they become disabled, and requiring a physical exam after the eligibility period helps to preclude this event.

This same concept also applies to determining who receives specific benefits.  For example, an employer may choose to offer certain groups of people within the total employee group, a different set of benefits.

For instance, this can award certain benefits for those employed less than 5 years and a different set of benefits for those employed over 5 years.  This arrangement can be differentiated in many other ways as well using salary level, position within the company and so on.  The only stipulation is that such divisions may not have an adverse effect on the insurer.

Further, any such special benefit provision must apply to everyone within that specified group who meet the selected criteria.  All who are designated must automatically become eligible as soon as they qualify.

How premiums are paid depends on which of two different types of plans a group selects.  The two types are contributory and non-contributory.  In the case of non-contributory, the employer pays the full cost of the premium, while the contributory type requires a shared cost between the employer and employee.

When applying for a contributory group plan, the employer needs to solicit enough employees to demonstrate to the insurer that a sufficient percentage want the coverage and are willing to pay a share of the premium.   For a non-contributory plan, 100% of the eligible employees must be included.

There are several considerations that the insurer has when determining the group premiums.  Average age of the group is an important consideration.  The higher the average age of the group, the more instance of potential claims resulting in a higher premium.

Another consideration is the maximum indemnity period for loss of time benefits.  The longer an insurer pays disability benefits, the higher the rate will be.

If a group policy covers occupational illness and/or injury, the degree of occupational hazard becomes an important factor.  Again, the higher the occupational hazard, the higher the rate.

Group policy types.  Group health plans may include any of several types of insurance discussed earlier.  With no intention of becoming repetitive, let’s review some of those individual coverages.  A group health plan doesn’t have to include all coverages although most will include at least two or more.  In addition, disability income coverage may be offered in a group arrangement but it is usually separate from hospital, medical and surgical coverage.

Therefore, the first possible group coverage pays benefits for lost earnings resulting from accident or sickness and is commonly called disability insurance.

Accidental loss of life and accidental loss of one or more limbs or eyesight is another common type.

Hospital expense is another type of potential group coverage.  These policies can pay for hospital expenses whether inpatient or outpatient.  Fees of an attending physician during hospital treatment may be covered.  Some types of group policies may only cover surgical expenses.

Further, there are a number of provisions that apply only or primarily to group policies.  These provisions:

♣ Describe who is eligible for the group plan

♣ Describe when individuals become eligible for the plan

♣ Specify minimum number of participants and minimum participation by eligible people necessary to sustain the plan

♣ Specify amount of insurance that individual group members are entitled

♣ Describe the responsibilities of the master policy owner

We discussed earlier that not all members of a group are necessarily eligible under a group plan.  Also, the employer may set certain eligibility requirements.

Often working couples both qualify for group health insurance through their employment whereby the spouse is covered by each plan.  To prevent possible abuse, special provisions are required by law in most states.  This is referred to as a Coordination of Benefits Provision and allows insureds as much coverage as possible while doing away with over insurance.  Receiving dual benefits constitutes fraud and is punishable by law.

Businesses that offer group coverage are subject to certain provisions of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).  Terminated employees of companies that regularly employ more than 20 people may be eligible for extended group health insurance coverage after they leave their jobs.

COBRA requires that some group health plans offer a continuation of coverage at group rates or slightly higher to departing employees for up to 18 months.  For dependents of deceased employees and in some other special cases, continuation of coverage can last for up to 36 months.

In most cases, if an employer discontinues group insurance, employees must be given the opportunity to convert to individual insurance without a medical exam.

Self-insurance is a situation where an employer provides health benefits to its employees by depositing money in a special self insured fund which pays for reimbursement of medical expenses from the fund.  This is not a viable option for most employers which must be large enough to have a base from which to predict expected expenses.

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We mentioned early on that when it comes to health care, there is no “one size fits all.”

Ideally, working for an employer who offers non-contributory health insurance is what most of us would aspire to.  However, that is not a realistic scenario.

Finding affordable, adequate health care coverage is a huge problem in our country right now.  If you are in a situation where you require certain medications and have no access to reduced rates on prescriptions you can almost bet the farm that you will be paying top dollar for the medications you need.

When considering a change in employment, scrutinizing the potential employers health care plan is a given.  Sadly, many people look at everything about a new job except the health care plan, just lumping it together with a “benefit package.”  This could be a huge mistake.  Contracting a debilitating illness or becoming an unwilling participant in an accident is not something that anyone can foresee.

This is particularly true with young singles.  Life situations change and a health care plan that was adequate for a single person may not apply should he/she marry and even have children while employed.  If their policy has no provisions for the addition of dependents in the future you can find your health care woefully inadequate.  Take the time to project what your future situation might be and plan accordingly.

One of the most overlooked segments of our society are the self-employed.  Depending on age and dependent requirements, the cost for individual coverage can be astronomical.

If you are self-employed or a very small business owner, consider joining a local association like a chamber of commerce, better business bureau or some other type of business organization.

Many of these organizations offer access to health care that might otherwise be prohibitive on an individual basis.   They often charge a membership fee to the organization.  Sometimes even when you factor in several hundred dollars a year for membership dues, that small cost far outweighs the potential savings in premiums.  Health care packages are often one of the most lucrative options these organizations have to assist in recruitment of new members.

If you do not fall into either of the categories above, you might investigate other potential group options.  Fraternal organizations, unions and clubs may offer access to group rates.  The important thing is to pursue every possible avenue with an eye toward obtaining access to group health insurance.

Unless you are in a category considered as “low income” that would afford you access to social health care you can plan on paying hefty premiums.  If you have a pre-existing condition, your chances of obtaining affordable rates are statistically very low.  But, there are some things you can do.  Some tips to bear in mind are:

♣ Shop very carefully.  You now understand what some of the options are and how widely diversified policies can be.

♣ Make certain you are looking at insurance that is appropriate and adequate for your needs.

♣ Read the fine print so you understand what is included and what is excluded.

♣ Never buy a policy that covers a single disease.

♣ Are there deductibles and if so, how much?

♣ Does the coverage include major medical?

♣ What is the maximum out of pocket expense you can expect to incur?

♣ When does coverage begin?

♣ Does the coverage include prescriptions?

♣ Are lab fees and x-rays included?

♣ Can you choose your own physician or select from a list of providers?

♣ What is most important to you?

♣ Does the coverage include dental, vision, maternity, well-baby care, etc.

If you are in that “no mans land” where you do not yet qualify for Medicare, Medicaid or any of the other social programs yet are too old for individual coverage you might take a look at AARP.  It can provide a stop gap for that period of time while you are waiting to qualify for assistance.

If you are a young single parent, investigate any subsidized programs that might be available in your state.  Many states have programs that will provide care for your children if not for yourself.  These social programs are generally based on a sliding scale based on your income level and in many cases visits and prescriptions for your children might be free of charge.

With the skyrocketing costs of health care, no one should ever feel embarrassed or sacrifice the health of themselves or their loved ones by applying for any type of assistance that might be available to meet their needs.  Until something happens to curb this upward spiral we must all take special steps to see that the most vulnerable members of our society receive the health care they need. . .namely, our children and our elderly.


Coinsurance: The amount you are required to pay for medical care in a fee-for-service plan after you have met your deductible. The coinsurance rate is usually expressed as a percentage. For example, if the insurance company pays 80 percent of the claim, you pay 20 percent.

Coordination of Benefits: A system to eliminate duplication of benefits when you are covered under more than one group plan. Benefits under the two plans usually are limited to no more than 100 percent of the claim.

Co-payment: Another way of sharing medical costs. You pay a flat fee every time you receive a medical service (for example, $5 for every visit to the doctor). The insurance company pays the rest.

Covered Expenses: Most insurance plans, whether they are fee-for-service, HMOs, or PPOs, do not pay for all services. Some may not pay for prescription drugs. Others may not pay for mental health care. Covered services are those medical procedures the insurer agrees to pay for. They are listed in the policy.

Deductible: The amount of money you must pay each year to cover your medical care expenses before your insurance policy starts paying.

Exclusions: Specific conditions or circumstances for which the policy will not provide benefits.

HMO (Health Maintenance Organization): Prepaid health plans. You pay a monthly premium and the HMO covers your doctors’ visits, hospital stays, emergency care, surgery, checkups, lab tests, x-rays, and therapy. You must use the doctors and hospitals designated by the HMO.

Managed Care: Ways to manage costs, use, and quality of the health care system. All HMOs and PPOs, and many fee-for-service plans, have managed care.

Maximum Out-of-Pocket: The most money you will be required pay a year for deductibles and coinsurance. It is a stated dollar amount set by the insurance company, in addition to regular premiums.

Non-cancellable Policy: A policy that guarantees you can receive insurance, as long as you pay the premium. It is also called a guaranteed renewable policy.

PPO (Preferred Provider Organization): A combination of traditional fee-for-service and an HMO. When you use the doctors and hospitals that are part of the PPO, you can have a larger part of your medical bills covered. You can use other doctors, but at a higher cost.

Pre-existing Condition: A health problem that existed before the date your insurance became effective.

Premium: The amount you or your employer pays in exchange for insurance coverage.

Primary Care Physician: Usually your first contact for health care. This is often a family physician or internist, but some women use their gynecologist. A primary care doctor monitors your health and diagnoses and treats minor health problems, and refers you to specialists if another level of care is needed.

Provider: Any person (doctor, nurse, dentist) or institution (hospital or clinic) that provides medical care.

Third-Party Payer: Any payer for health care services other than you. This can be an insurance company, an HMO, a PPO, or the Federal Government.

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47 Simple Herbal Remedies!

47 Simple Herbal Remedies








DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for

educational and informational purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a

substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek

the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions

you may have regarding a medical condition.  Never disregard professional medical

advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA approved they must be

accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement

has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose,

treat, cure or prevent any disease.”


In recent years the issue of Alternative Healing has skyrocketed to the forefront of the medical field.  A 2004 government survey concluded that more than one third of adults use alternative medicine and healing.

One facet of this burgeoning interest is Herbal Medicine.  While it may seem “trendy” to some, Herbal Medicine has been around for thousands of years.   In fact, many of the familiar pharmaceutical medications we use today were originally created from “natural” ingredients.  Drugs like opium (from poppies), aspirin (from willow bark), digitalis (from foxglove) and quinine (from the cinchona tree.)

Interestingly, the synthetic version of  “aspirin” is credited with the beginning of

the pharmaceutical industry.  A chemist working for the Friedrich Bayer Company in Germany created the synthetic.  The company registered the term “aspirin” as a trademark but Bayer lost the patent rights when the Allies seized and resold its foreign assets after World War I.

The right to use the term “aspirin” in the United States was purchased by Sterling Drug in 1918.  But even before the patent expired in 1917, Bayer had been unable to prevent their formula from being copied.  Hence, the term “aspirin” has been a generic term in the U.S. ever since.

It would be impossible to cover this topic adequately in one volume.  What we will endeavor to do with this post is provide you with an overview of herbal remedies and subsequently give you an in-depth look at 47 simple herbal remedies to common, everyday ailments.

Please remember that there is no substitute for advice from a medical practitioner.  The contents provided here should not replace a health and fitness program and is provided for educational purposes only.  You should consult your own medical practitioner before embarking on any program that affects your health and well being.


Herbal Medicine is the use of botanicals (plants) either singularly or in combination to prevent and treat certain ailments and illnesses.

People native to different geographical locations have long used plants and plant extracts to cure specific maladies.  Sometimes referred to as “folk” medicine, it is generally recognized that there are three schools of research one can follow with regard to the history of these treatments.

There is the study of medicines based on Greek, Roman and medieval sources which is largely used by Western schools of thought,  Ayurvedic which comes from India and the Eastern tradition of Chinese Herbal Medicine.  Rather than separation, these different schools of thought provide more commonality than division.

It stands to reason that most ancient peoples used plants that were native to their geographical location which provides sound reasoning as to why different schools of thought exist.

All three of these modalities at one time included both philosophical and spiritual aspects along with the scientific knowledge that existed within a specific time frame.  While we are not here to render opinion, one fact does remain.  The same study that determined one third of Americans used alternative therapies, the same number surveyed showed a dramatic increase in positive results to more than 60% when “prayer” was included in the mix.

Ayurvedic loosely translates to “knowledge of life.”  Dating back to more than 6,000 years ago, Ayurvedic Medicine practiced not just Herbal Medicine, but some of the earliest surgical procedures as well as inoculation.  Over the years Ayurvedic Medicine became increasingly more symptomatic as opposed to treating the root cause of disease which originally was steeped in strengthening the immune system.

With all our so-called advancements in the medical field, it’s interesting that physicians are still treating “effect” rather than “cause.”  The old adage that, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” could not be more true.  This is especially true when it comes to natural remedies.

Most natural remedies are botanical.   Singularly or in combination, the numbers of herbs available is astounding.  We will barely scratch the surface in this guide and we encourage further research and study.

While this is a presentation on “herbs,” we have included other natural, organic contents.  Many of the combinations include both herbs and other sources such as tree bark, alfalfa and rhubarb.

Because there are so many botanicals and combinations, we are using the most common and should not be construed as the ONLY use for a specific herb.

Additionally, please note that we use the “common names” throughout, as opposed to the more confusing, latin words.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

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Agar Agar

An algae from seaweed, it is a gelatinous natural thickener and is a natural laxative.


A valuable remedy for the digestive system it stimulates the digestive and liver secretions.  It is also the herb of choice for appendicitis.  Also treats incontinence, sore throats and laryngitis.  As a salve it will aid in healing wounds and bruises.

Alder Tree

Use leaves for swelling.  Especially helpful in easing pain of swollen breast or burning and aching feet.  Should be avoided if pregnant.


A highly nutritive herb, good for the pituitary gland, it alkalizes the body rapidly and detoxifies the liver.  Essential in rebuilding decayed teeth and helps with arthritic and rheumatic pain.


Such as Aloe Vera, are good for burns.  While this is a well known treatments, what you may not know is that aloes are also helpful in treating cancer and stomach ailments.


Use both the root and seed.  Roots and leaves are used medicinally, the stems and seeds are used in confectionery.  This herb is a useful expectorant for coughs, bronchitis and pleurisy, especially when they are accompanied by fever, colds or influenza.


Use the dried fruit.  The strong oil in Aniseed provides the basis for its internal use to ease griping, intestinal colic and flatulence. It also has an expectorant and anti-spasmodic action and may be used in bronchitis, in tracheitis where there is persistent irritable coughing, and in whooping cough.   The oil itself can be the base for an ointment to help control lice and the oil can be used directly in the control of lice.

Apple Tree

Use the bark to create a tonic that will treat gravel in the bladder and also aid in reducing fever.


Not to be taken internally, this is an excellent treatment for bruises and sprains.  Will also help relieve rheumatic pain as well as pain and inflammation of phlebitis.


Use as a demulcent and nutritive food for urinary and bowel affections in infants and invalids in convalescence.


Widely used in Chinese Medicine, it boosts the immune system.  Use for anything from the common cold to cancer.


Also known as Lemon Balm, Sweet Balm or Melissa.  Using the green leaves and flowers, balm is a natural deterrent to perspiration, will also bring boils to a head, is useful for stings and toothache as well as flatulence and digestion.

Balm of Gilead

Also known as  Poplar buds and Balsam Poplar.  Bark and leaves are used to alleviate discomfort of cough colds, lung trouble and kidneys.  Secondary, the buds can be used as a tea for gargling making it an excellent remedy for sore throats, coughs and laryngitis.


Also known as Bitter Herb, Snake Head, Turtle Head or Turtle Broom.  Good for the liver, stomach and used in the treatment of eczema.  Also used in treatment of gall stones, inflammation of the gall-bladder and in jaundice. It stimulates the appetite, eases colic, dyspepsia and biliousness and is helpful in debility.


Use to correct liver function and promote the flow of bile.  Also effective for the inflammation of the gall bladder due to gall stones.


Yes this is the same basil that you use in cooking.  Create a tea from the dried herb to treat nausea.


Create a tonic from the leaves for strength.  Also aids in digestion and cramps.


Also known as Candleberry, Waxberry and Wax Myrtle.  Use bark, leaves and flowers. For treatment of sore throat, piles, bleeding of the stomach, lungs, bowels and very effective as a douche.

Bee Pollen

Good for allergies.  Excellent as an energy food.  Aids in radiation sickness, the kind people get when they undergo radiation therapy for cancer.

Beet Root (Red)

A liver and spleen cleanser.  It reactivates a sluggish liver.  Should be taken in small amounts.


Useful for soothing the stomach and flatulence.


Useful as a blood purifier, also effective for epilepsy, jaundice and colic.


Leaves are an effective treatment for cystitis and other urinary infections.  Also good for gout, arthritic pain and rheumatism.

Bitter Root

Use the root for fever, liver problems, bowels, gallstones diabetes and ailments involving mucous membranes.

Bitter Sweet

Use root and twig for purifying blood, treating ailments of the liver, pancreas, spleen, glandular organs, piles, jaundice, burns skin and fever.


Use the bark of the root and rhizome.  A safe, gentle remedy that can be used for diarrhea, dysentery and externally for skin eruptions and burns.

Black Catechu

Effective treatment for diarrhea, dysentery and as a local application for sore mouths and gums.

Black Cohosh

Also known as Black Snakeroot, Bugbane, Rattleroot, Rattleweed, Squawroot.  The dried root is the part used.   This is a powerful relaxant as well as being extremely effective with easing painful menstrual cramps.  Ovarian cramps will be relieved as well as bringing on a delayed menstrual cycle.  It is also effective in the treatment of arthritis, osteo-arthritis, rheumatic pain and neurological pan.  In small doses, appetite and digestion are greatly improved and is very beneficial for the nervous system in general.

Black Haw

Used the dried root.  A powerful relaxant for the uterus, is used to assist in threatened miscarriage as well as false labor pains.  Also good for reducing blood pressure

Black Root

Relieves liver congestion, jaundice and for an inflamed gall-bladder..

Black Walnut Hulls

Expels parasites and tape worms.  Rich in manganese which is important for nerves, brain and cartilage.  Also used for many kind so skin diseases.

Blessed Thistle

Excellent for hormone balance.  Helps in all types of female disorders.   Good for migraine headaches by improving on taking oxygen to the brain.

Blood Root

Also known as Red Root, Red Indian Paint and Tetterwort.  The part of the plant that is used is the dried rhizome (root).  It is effective for the treatment of bronchitis easing the bronchial muscles.  Also proven effective for the treatment of asthma, croup and laryngitis.

Blue Cohosh

Also known as Papoose Root or Squawroot.   Use the root and rhizome.  Interesting that the secondary names pertain to women and children.  This is an excellent tonic for the uterus and may be used wherever there may be a weakness.  Because it has a anti-spasmodic action, it will ease false labor pains.  When labor does ensue, using Blue Cohosh shortly before birth will help in an easy delivery.

Blue Flag

The part of this plant to use is the root.  It is active for cancer, rheumatism, blood impurities, skin, liver and a good laxative.


Useful for treatment of rheumatism, osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.   Also has a stimulating effect on the walls of the colon and digestive juices.


Boneset is one of the best remedies for the relief of symptoms that come with the flue.  It will quickly relieve the aches and pains as well as help to reduce fever.


Effective treatment for kidneys, ringworm, mouth sores and the blood.  It is highly recommended after any treatment with cortisone or steroids as it will revive and renew the adrenal glands over time.


Use the leaves to treat urinary ailments as well as kidney, bladder, perspiration and prostate illness.


Bugleweed is specific for over-active thyroid glands where there is tightness of breath, palpitations and shaking.  Good for the central nervous system.

Buckthorn Bark

Acts as a mild, yet reliable and effective laxative.  It also works again gout and dropsy.


Also known as Lappa and Beggars Buttons.  The part of the plant that is used is the rhizome.  This is a bitter herb, but very effective for the treatment of skin diseases such as dry and scaly skin and when used over a long period of time can be helpful in the treatment of psoriasis.


Also known as Butternut, White Walnut, Lemon Walnut, Oilnut.  It influences, with great energy, the liver, small intestines, colon and rectum, causing and increased manufacture and elimination of bile, as well as increased activity of the glands of the intestinal tract.


Use the root to treat fever, stomach ailments, sores, burns, ulcers.  Also known to destroy a taste for tobacco!


You probably know this as Marigold.  Use the whole flower tops or just the petals.  One of the best herbs for treating local skin problems and may be used wherever there is an inflammation on the skin.

California Poppy

Use dried aerial parts.  A non-addictive alternative to the Opium Poppy.  Used as a sedative for children where there is over-excitability and sleeplessness.


The part of this to use is the seeds.  A calming herb that will help to ease flatulence.  This use is particularly helpful in children.  It also stimulates the appetite and because it is also an astringent it will help laryngitis, bronchitis and bronchial asthma.

Cascara Sagrada

Also known as  Sacred Bark, Chittem Bark,  and Cascara.  The part to use is the bark after aging.   Best use is for chronic constipation.


Also known as Catmint and Catnep.  This is a traditional cold and flu treatment.  Can also use it to drive your cat crazy!


Also known as Capsicum, Chili or Chili Pepper, Hot Pepper and Tabasco Pepper.  This is an effective treatment for pleurisy, kidney problems, skin and colds.

Celery Seeds

Use dried ripe fruits to use as an anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, diuretic or anti-spasmodic.  Great for treating rheumatism, arthritis and gout.


The total list of benefit and treatments for Camomile is huge.  Just a few come to mind, insomnia, anxiety, menopausal depression, loss of appetite, dyspepsia, diarrhoea, colic, aches and pains of ‘flu, migraine, neuralgia, teething, vertigo, motion sickness, conjunctivitis, inflamed skin. This may seem too good to be true, but it reflects the wide range of actions in the body.


Very useful in cases of acne, arthritis, chronic backache, skin conditions of warts and blotches.  Also one of the best cancer herbs.


Use the bark to treat phlegm in the throat, tuberculosis, coughs, bronchitis, heart and blood pressure.


Use inner bark and leaves to treat colds and liver ailments.


Makes a great antiseptic and use to treat colds.


Also known as Coughwort, Horsehoof and Foals Foot.  Use the dried flowers and leaves.  There are useful levels of zinc in the leaves of this herb, which has been known to have anti-inflammatory results.  Use for coughs, bronchitis, whooping cough and asthma.


Also known as Knitbone.   Comfrey has high levels of allantoin which is a healing chemical that stimulates cell growth.  This makes it wonderful for internal and external use.  Works well for gastric ailments including duodenal ulcers and colitis.  Is also beneficial for bronchitis.


Excellent for stomach trouble, prostrate and any urinary ailments.

Corn Silk

Use the stigmas from the female flowers to use as a diuretic, anti-inflammatory or tonic.  Corn Silk will help in any irritation of the urinary system.


Excellent strengthening energy to nerves and limbs, Damiana has a reputation as a great sexual rejuvenator, particularly in lethargy of the sexual organs.  Whether that old wives tale is true or not, it does have a definite positive effect on the central nervous system and the hormonal system as well as a being useful as an anti-depressant.


User either the root or leaf.  Useful as a powerful diuretic, it is a good source for potassium.  Help in fighting anemia, also used for fever, liver, skin and urinary ailments.

Devils Claw

Very effective in arthritis as well as liver and kidney problems.


It is the seeds that are used for treatments.  An excellent remedy for flatulence and colic, it also helps to sooth the nerves.


Also known as Purple Coneflower, this is probably one of the most widely recognized herbal treatments available today.  While most people know it’s usefulness for fighting colds flue and infections, it is an excellent blood cleanser.  It also clears up carbuncles, boils and blood poisoning.


Treatment for coughs, asthma, bronchitis, tuberculosis, mucous, kidney and bladder stones.


Also known as Blue Gum.  The leaves and bark are used.  Excellent treatment for fever, bronchitis and asthma.


This is the main herb for protecting and maintaining the health of the eye.  Acts as an internal medicine for the constitutional tendency to eye weakness.  Will also remove cysts that have been caused by chronic conjunctivitis.


Use the seeds.  Excellent for obesity because it helps take away the appetite.  Aids indigestion when uric acid is the problem.  Is also good for gas acid stomach, gout and colic in infants.


Use the seed.  Excellent treatment for swellings, fever, blood poison prevention and as a tea for sore throat.


Use the leaves to treat migraine headaches, arthritis, dizziness and tinnitus.


For treatment of sore throat and mucous membranes.


Excellent for mental depression.  Has been used to help memory.


Garlic is one of the few herbs that have universal recognition and uses.  It stimulates the activity of the digestive organs.  It is used to emulsify the cholesterol and loosen it from the arterial walls.  Proven useful in asthma and whooping cough, it is also valuable in intestinal infections and effective in reducing high blood pressure.

Gentian Root

An excellent tonic and blood purifier.  Treats the liver, worms, fever and colds.  It is also very effective for snake bites due to it’s equality with quinine.


Useful in all painful spasms of the bowels and stomach.  Taken hot, it is excellent for suppressed menstruation.  A catalyst from the pelvic area down.


The root is used.  Excellent for low blood pressure.  Increases the capillary circulation of the brain and also helps with nervous exhaustion.  Useful for chest troubles, colds stomach and lungs.

Golden Seal

Use the root.  A powerful agent used in treating ulcers, diphtheria, tonsillitis and spinal meningitis.  It is one of the best substitutes for quinine.  It acts as an insulin.

Gotu Kola

Contains remarkable rejuvenating properties.  Is known as “The Secret of Perpetual Youth.”  It strengthens the heart, memory and brain.


Known as the heart herb.  It is used to dilate the coronary blood vessels in a mild way and restore the heart muscle wall.


Use the leaves and root.  Effective treatment for the liver and skin infections.


Has a remarkable relaxing effect on the central nervous system.  It is also effective for anemia and restoring the appetite.


A stimulant, use to treat colds coughs and sore throat.


Contains a great deal of silica, which helps keep the elasticity in the skin.  Also an effective diuretic and helps with kidney stones.


Use dried roots, rhizomes.  The greatest use for Hydrangea is for treating enlarged prostate glands.  It is also effective for urinary infections like cystitis, including stones.


A body cleanser it is also effective for nervousness and recovering from colds.

Juniper Berries

Excellent for kidney and bladder problems relating to pancreas and adrenal glands.  Works well for dropsy and leucorrhea.


As we mentioned earlier, we will include descriptions that are not necessarily herbs.  This is one of them.  Kelp is excellent for the thyroid gland and goiters.  Has a remedial and normalizing action on the sensory nerves.  Good for nails and hair and cleanses radiation from the body.


Effective treatment for internal bleeding and swollen glands.


Use the flowers.  This is a beautiful herb and is widely used.  Many do not realize that it is an effective treatment for headaches related to stress.  Also good for depression.


Natural cortisone.  Used for hypoglycemia, adrenal glands and stress.  Also for coughs and chest complaints, gastric ulcers and throat conditions.


The most powerful relaxant.  Reduces palpitations of the heart.  Strengthens muscle action.  Fine treatment for fevers, pneumonia, meningitis, pleurisy, hepatitis and peritonitis.


Excellent to bathe sore and inflamed eyes.  Also good for lung trouble, hoarseness, catarrh, diarrhea and dysentery and all kidney diseases.  Also good for a vaginal douche.


Can be used to increase the secretion of bile from the liver and gall-bladder.  Use as a liver tonic and useful for gallstones, stomach and urine.


Use the flowers.  Good for the skin, and the heart.


Effective for the treatment of nervous disorders.  Also good for the digestion.


Effective treatment for the stomach and for gout.


Very effective use for respiratory conditions like hard coughing, bronchitis and hay fever.

Myrrh Gum

Valuable for bronchial and lung diseases.  Excellent for pyorrhea.  Removes halitosis or bad breath when taken internally.  Excellent remedy for ulcers, piles and hemorrhoids.


The Nettle is another one of those “universal” plants.  They are found all over the world and they strengthen the entire body.  Rheumatism, arthritis, eczema, nosebleeds, arteries, lessen blood pressure are just a few applications.  Nettles contain calcium, chlorine, iron, potassium, silicon, sodium and sulphur.

Oregon Grape

Use the root and rhizome.  Similar to both Golden Seal and Barberry.  Main use is in the treatment of chronic, scaly skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.  Also effective for the liver, gall bladder and as a laxative for chronic constipation.


Pansies contain Vitamins A, B and C, niacin, chlorine, iron, magnesium, potassium, silicon, and trace minerals.  Effective for treatment of the bladder and kidneys.


Aids digestion.  Effective in relieving allergies by its ability to denaturize proteins.


Known to be rich in Vitamin B and potassium, and tumerous cells cannot multiply in potassium.  An excellent diuretic and one of the most excellent herbs for gallbladder as it expels gallstones.

Passion Flower

Used as a sedative.  Gives a calming effect helping headaches, neuralgia, hysteria and high blood pressure caused by mental attitude.


This is a valuable remedy for women during menopause.  It should not be used by pregnant women because it will bring on suppressed menstruation.  Also good for fevers, colds and phlegm in chest and lungs.


Combats flatulence, it is used to relieve colic, nausea and the desire to vomit.  Also good for travel sickness.


Will stop bleeding from wounds, treats eczema and burns.  Also good for coughs and mild bronchitis.

Pleurisy Root

Effective against respiratory infections where it assists expectoration.  Use to treat pleurisy, pneumonia and influenza (flu).


Excellent colon cleanser, cleans out compacted pockets on the colon.  Creates bulk and relieves auto-intoxication.


As a tea, it is excellent for morning sickness in pregnancy.  An aid to preventing miscarriage, it strengthens the uterine walls prior to giving birth.

Red Clover

A good blood purifier.  It is an antidote to cancer, containing lime, silica and other earthy salts.  Relaxing to nerves and entire system.

Rhubarb Root

Very good to increase the muscular action of the bowels.  Also will relieve headaches.

Rose Hips

Contains a great deal of vitamin C, ranging from 10 to 100 times greater than any other known food.  Therefore, it is used as an infection fighter.  Also helps with physical stresses and pollution.   Also contains Vitamins, A, B1, B2, E, K, P, niacin, calcium, iron, phosphorous.


Rosemary is a circulatory and nerve stimulant.  Has a calming effect on the digestion as well as headache or depression.


Effective treatment for nervousness, hysteria, worms, convulsions, joints and gout.

St. Johns Wort

Taken internally, has a sedative and pain reducing effect.  Use in treatment of neuralgia, anxiety, tension and similar problems.  Good for menopausal irritations.


A natural hydrochloric acid (utilizes sugar of fruits and oils), thus helping arthritics get rid of the uric acid which holds the calcium deposited in the joints.  Also reduces lactic acid build up.   Good for measles, skin, scarlet fever and perspiration.


Sage tea makes an excellent gargle for ulcerated throat or mouth.  Stops bleeding of wounds and clean old ulcers and sores.  Will expel worms.  Good for spermatorrhea (involuntary sexual emissions.)  Also for liver and kidney troubles.

Sarsaparilla Root

Eliminates poisons from the blood and purifies the system from infections.  Is dependably useful in rheumatism, gout, skin eruptions, ringworm, scrofula, internal inflammation, colds and catarrh.

Sassafras Bark

Often called a spring medicine to purify the blood and cleanse the entire system.  Valuable in colic and all skin diseases and eruptions.

Saw Palmetto

Useful for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, colds and is also a sedative.  Also great for reproductive organs.


Most effective as a strong laxative.


Is more effective than quinine and is not as harmful as quinine is.  Good in neuralgia, aches and pains. It is also one of the best nerve tonics.  Reduces high blood pressure, heart conditions and disorders of the central nervous systems such as St. Vitus dance, shaking palsy, hydrophobia and epilepsy.

Slippery Elm Bark

Use the inner portion of the bark.  Vary valuable for mucus inflammation of the lungs, bowels, stomach, kidneys and bladder.  Will sustain ulcerated and cancerous stomach when nothing else will.

Squaw Vine

Excellent to take during pregnancy.  Used for uterine problems, urinary troubles and other female complaints.


Can be useful for treatment of nervous disorders, worms  and jaundice.  MUST BE AVOIDED DURING PREGNANCY.


Has a high content of oil.  Good for internal use for coughs, throat and asthma as well as external use for infected wounds.

Uva Ursi

Very useful in diabetes and all kinds of kidney troubles.  Excellent remedy for piles, hemorrhoids, spleen, liver, pancreas and gonorrhea.   Also good where there are mucus discharges from the bladder with pus and blood.


A nerve tonic.  Used for epileptic fits and St. Vitus dance, nervous derangement or irritations.  Excellent for children with measles and scarlet fever.  Promotes sleep.


Also known as Wild Hyssop.  Will strengthen the nervous system while easing depression and melancholia.  Good for fever and best for colds.


A primary liver herb, it acts to remove congestion from the liver allowing free flow of bile thereby helping the digestive process.  Also used in the treatment of jaundice and bladder problems.  Will also relive constipation.

White Oak Bark

Good for varicose veins.  Used in douches and enemas for internal tumors and swellings.  One of the best remedies for piles and hemorrhoids, hemorrhages or any trouble of the rectum.  It normalized the liver, kidneys and spleen.

Wild Carrot

Also known as Queen Annes Lace, Wild Carrot is a diuretic, that acts as a urinary antiseptic which is why it is a treatment for cystitis, kidney stones, prostatitis.  Also effective for gout and rheumatism.

Witch Hazel

Use bark and leaves.  A good tonic, it aids in treating menstruation, lungs, uterus, piles, circulation, tumors eyes and is effective as a douche.

Wood Betony

Excellent healing herb for bronchitis, coughs and colds.  Also good for kidney and bladder.  This herb helps to correct a bed-wetting problem.


A good tonic for treating liver, fever, and digestion.


A tonic for run-down conditions and indigestion.  If taken freely at the beginning of a cold, it will break it up in 24 hours.  Has soothing and healing action on mucus membranes.

Yellow Dock

Mineral rich plant, especially rich in iron.  Excellent as a blood purifier and tones up the entire system.


Hope for arthritics.  The extract from the plant has been used with surprising success on arthritis and rheumatism sufferers.

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Nothing in the makeup of a plant tells us in what way it would be used the best.  There are over a half million known herbs that could be used as possible remedies.  In China, The Chinese Herbalist practitioners have over 2,000 that are readily available in their pharmacies.

Herbal remedies around the globe very in strength from very mild, gentle remedies that we even use as food to potential poisons if taken at the wrong dose.

Folk use of herbal remedies is familiar to all of us in some form or another.  Rightly so, because this is how these remedies are learned.  They are passed down from generation to generation.  Unfortunately, that is what fuels the fire of the scientific community and their disdain.  It really is their loss, because generations of experience and knowledge should not be so readily dismissed.  In fact, many of our current pharmacological concoctions have their roots in herbal medicine.

Remedies and recipes for herbal teas are handed down from generation to generation and are still remembered and used to this day.  Thankfully, the current changes in the world toward the traditional remedies is changing and changing for the better.

As we stated earlier there are countless numbers of herbal combinations that are useful for specific ailments.  Additionally, certain herbs are recommended to target individual body parts and we will list them here:

Arteries – Kelp, Hawthorne Berries, Wheat Germ Oil, Garlic.  Bioflavonoid herbs such as Ginkgo, Buckwheat and Lime Blossom are especially useful in strenghtening blood vessels.

Bladder – Juniper Berries, Bochu, Wild Carrot Seed, Gravel Root

Blood Pressure – European Mistletoe, Apple Bark

Bones – Comfrey, Horsetail Grass

Brain –  Lily of the Valley, Ginseng, Gotu Kola

Circulation System – Cayenne (most powerful), Ginger, Bayberry Bark, Prickly Ash

Digestive System – Hops, Papaya, Mustard Seed, Centaury, Gentian, Agrimony, Oregon Grape Root, Wormwood

Ears – Eyebright, Golden Seal

Endocrine Glands – Ginseng, Sarsparilla, Yarrow, Licorice, False Unicorn Root, True Unicorn Root, Pumpkin Seeds, Kelp

Fertility – Sarsparilla, False Unicorn Root, Damiana, Licorice

Gall Bladder – Olive Oil, Bayberry Bark, Comfrey

Hair – Rosemary, Sage, Henna

Heart – Wheat Germ, Hawthorne Berry, Tansy

Kidneys – Dandelion Root, Uva Ursi, White Poplar Bark, Sandalwood, Parsley

Large Intestine – Cascara Sagrada Bar, Squaw Vine for transverse colon

Liver – Oregon Grape Root, Dandelion, Mandrake, Maple Bark

Lungs – Comfrey, Mullein, Lobelia, Oat Straw, Pleurisy Root, Lungwort, Garlic

Mouth – Tincture of Cayenne, Bayberry Bark, Oak Bark

Nervous System – Skullcap, Valerian, Hops, Lobelia, Ladies Slipper Root, Passion Flowers, Linden Flowers

Nose – Bayberry Bark, Golden Seal (Snuff: 1 part Bayberry Bark 2 parts Golden Seal)

Pancreas – Cedar Berries, Yarrow, Periwinkle, Dandelion

Prostate – Pumpkin Seeds, Echinacea, Saw Palmetto Berries, Uva Ursi, Gravel Root

Respiratory – Cayenne, Lobelia, Hyssop, Oat Straw, Garlic, Mullein, Elecampane and Coltsfoot.

Skin – Chickweed, Walnut Shell tincture

Small Intestine – Rhubarb Root, Slippery Elm

Spleen – Maple Leaves and Bark, Hyssop Tea with Steamed Figs, Bayberry Bark, Angelica

Stomach – Raspberry Leaf, Dandelion Root, Angelica, Centaury, Agrimony, Calamus, Wormwood, Oregon Grape Root

Throat – Mullein, Sage, Golden Seal, Slippery Elm, Eucalyptus, Bay, Poppy Seeds, Yerba Santa, Blood Root, Hyssop, Elecampane

Urinary – Dandelion root, Parsley Root, Wild Carrot Seed, Juniper Berries, Uva Ursi and Corn Silk are useful.

Uterus and Vagina – Squaw Vine, Dong Kwai, Golden Seal Root, Oak Bark, White Pond Lily, Trillium, Beth Root, Uva Ursi, Angelica, Myrrh, Yarrow, Comfrey, Alfalfa, Saw Palmetto Berries

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Equal parts:  Butternut, Burdock, Echinacea and Cleavers to 5ml of tincture applied three times a day.

Altitude Sickness

In a pot of boiling water, steep Cloves, Allspice, Bay Leaf, Celery Seed, Cinnamon and Marjoram in quantities to taste.  Mix in the following mints:  Basil, Savory and Thyme.  Should be taken in advance of anticipated travel or hike.

Alzheimer’s Disease

This disease affects four million Americans.  It strikes about 10 percent of people over 65 and about half of those who live beyond 85.  Acetylcholine is a brain chemical known as a neurotransmitter.  Acetylcholine is a key ingredient to cognition and reasoning.  People with Alzheimer’s often have a deficiency of Acetylcholine.    The problem with experimental and FDA approved drugs is their toxicity which carry a potential for liver disease.  Since the premise is to slow the degeneration of Acetylcholine and preserve what is already in the brain, there are herbs that can help.  It just makes sense to look at herbal alternatives, specifically those herbs that contain compounds that prevent the breakdown of Acetylcholine.  Horsebalm, Rosemary, Brazil Nut, Dandelion, Fava Beans, Fenugreek, Ginkgo, Sage, Stinging Nettle, Willow and Gotu Kola are all beneficial for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.  Those herbs that can be added as dietary supplements are encouraged.  Horsebalm helps to prevent the breakdown of Acetylcholine.  Add a few droppers of Horsebalm to a favorite herbal shampoo.  Research has also shown that adding foods high in lecithin is promising.  Plant foods such as Dandelion Flowers, Poppy Seeds, Soybeans and mung beans should also be added to the diet.


The term Arthritis literally translates to “joint inflammation.”  If you suffer from Arthritis, chances are you have taken drugs to combat the effects or tried other “home remedies.”  If you haven’t yet tried “Urtication,” it might be helpful.  The term “Urtication” comes from the botanical name, Urtica dioica and dates back some 2,000 years to biblical times.  Urtica dioica is “Stinging Nettle.  The treatment is to grasp the nettles in a gloved hand and swat the sore joints with the nettles.  This may seem bizarre, but the practice has proven to be so effective for some sufferers of arthritis that they now maintain a nettle plant on their window sill.


Ephedra sinica (Ma Huang) is an excellent bronchodilator.  The natural form of Ephedra is better tolerated than the synthetic “edphedrine” causing fewer negative heart symptoms.

Gumweed                     24 parts tincture

Pill Bearing Spurge  24 parts tincture

Lobelia           12 parts tincture

Wild Cherry 12 parts tincture

Licorice Root           12 parts tincture

Motherwort             12 parts tincture

Ma Huang 10 parts tincture

Aniseed                               1 parts e.o.

5ml. of mixture taken 3 times a day.  If Pill Bearing Spurge proves difficult to obtain then double the amount of Gumweed to make up for it.

Athlete’s Foot

Fungicidal essential oils are the most effective topical treatment. Examples are Myrrh, Ti-Tree and Garlic.  The treatment will be smelly but will also show dramatic results.

Bad Breath

Chewing on parsley will eliminate bad breath.  Chewing on Cardamom is very effective as Cardamom actually kills bad breath bacteria.


Try two teaspoons of horehound per one cup of boiling water.  Add lemon and licorice to taste.


Crush and chop chilled parsley and apply to bruised area.  Parsley will pull the color from the bruising very quickly.  Possible to have the discoloration gone within 24 hours.


There are three levels of burns.  First degree only hurts the outer layer of skin, like a sunburn.  Second degree burns will develop blisters indicating the burn has penetrated deeper into the skin and is more painful.  The worst type of burn is a third-degree burn and is a medical emergency.  For minor first and second degree burns, use a leaf from an aloe plant for instant relief.


Let’s make it perfectly clear that as of this writing there is no known cure for Cancer.  In fact, the term itself is ambiguous and can be any type of malignant illness.  What we will give you here is a Cancer and Blood Purifier:

4 parts Licorice Root

4 parts Red Clover

2 parts Burdock Root

2 parts Stillingia

2 parts Berberis Root

2 parts Poke Root

1 part Cascara Amarga

1 part Prickley Bark

1 part Buckthorne Bark

Fill gelatin capsules.  Take 1 on the first day, 2 on the second until you reach 36 per day for 2 years.  Avoid vinegar, pork and tomatoes.

Canker Sores

Mouth wash:  Equal parts Marshmallow and Chamomile infused to be gargled often.  Also consider Balm and St. John’s Wort.

Colds and Flu

At the first sign of sniffles, immediately ingest Echinacea.  There are over 200 viruses that can cause the common cold.  They are shared by coughing, sneezing and by hand.  Therefore, the first treatment is prevention!  Wash hands often and well, using a good anti-bacterial soap.   Eating garlic can help in the prevention of colds and flu.   Here are a few other remedies:

Pour a cup of boiling water over a couple of tablespoons of fresh, shredded Ginger Root.   Makes a good hot tea that is effective against the most common cold viruses.


One to three tablespoons of whole or crushed Flaxseed two or three times a day will help with chronic constipation.  Be sure you get at least eight glasses of water a day to keep the bulk moving through the digestive system.


Slice a large onion into rings.  Place in deep bowl.  Cover the slices with organic honey.   Allow to stand overnight.  In the morning strain the liquid creating a simple cough elixir.


Create an herbal scalp rinse.

Add one teaspoon of Potassium Chloride (find in salt section at the supermarket) into 6 cups of water.  Heat until the Potassium Chloride dissolves.  Chop four ounces of fresh Celandine (if fresh is not available use a half cup of the dried herb instead).Add Celandine to the solution.  Allow to stand for two hours.  Then boil slowly for 20 minutes.  Strain out the plant material, and simmer reducing to one and one half cups.  Add eight ounces of glycerin and continue simmering reducing the liquid slowly to two cups.  Strain the result and bottle it.  Store in cool place.  Use once or twice a day as a hair rinse.


Persistent depression is a serious disorder and you should see your doctor for treatment.  In the meantime you might like to try a Licorice tea.  Simply add some to any of your favorite herbal teas.  Using up to approximately 3 cups of tea a day or more or ingesting larger amounts can produce headache, lethargy, sodium and water retention, loss of potassium and high blood pressure.   At least eight Licorice compounds are monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors which are compounds capable of potent antidepressant action.


Use two to three teaspoons of Agrimony (high tannin content) leaves to make a tea.

Apple pulp is rich in pectin.  Try eating applesauce.

Use cooked carrots to treat diarrhea in infants.  Will soothe the digestive tract while providing nutrients that are lost during the attack.

In all cases, drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.


Taken internally, Garlic can help cure a middle ear infection.  A few drops of Garlic oil in the ear can’t hurt either.  You can also try using a teaspoon of dried Echinacea in tea.


Two to three teaspoons of Elder flowers a day in tea will help reduce feverish chills.

Try Ginger tea or eat candied ginger or sip ginger ale.  Add peppermint to fever-fighting teas.


Ever wonder why the instructions on packages of beans recommend soaking the beans overnight?  It actually has nothing to do with the recipe, but everything to do with an anti-gas remedy.  You can also deflate flatulence with a tea made up of Camomile, Caraway, Dill, Fennel, Lemon Balm and Peppermint.  Sweeten with Licorice.

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Gallstones and Kidney Stones

The best way to treat these diseases is with prevention and that begins with drinking six to eight glasses of water each day.  This keeps the urine too diluted to create the stones in the first place.  Drink several cups of Stinging Nettle Tea each day to prevent and treat kidney stones.  To one cup of boiling water, steep one teaspoon of finely chopped dried herb.


It is purported that Celery Seed keeps uric acid below critical levels.  Try taking two to four tablets of celery seed extract daily.


No single treatment works for all headaches.  Feverfew is probably the best known treatment.  Some people try ingesting the leaves directly, causing mouth sores.  The good news is that you can also brew a tea with two to eight fresh leaves steeping in boiling water.  Do not boil the leaves however, as it breaks down the effectiveness.  Pregnant women SHOULD NOT take Feverfew nor should women who are breast feeding.


Camomile is the best source for heartburn and stomach problems.  Licorice might be a second choice, but take care.  Too much Licorice will produce headache, lethargy, and a potential serious loss of potassium as well as the possibility of high blood pressure.


Use the following salve after each bowel movement.

One teaspoon Calendula

One teaspoon Camomile

One teaspoon Yarrow

One teaspoon Plantain

One teaspoon St. John’s Wort

Mix each herb in powdered form with enough emollient oil (almond) to form a paste then apply.

High Blood Pressure

Try vegetable soup.  Yes, vegetable soup.  Add any of the following:  Celery, Garlic, Hawthorn, Kudzu, Onion, Tomato, Broccoli, Carrot, Purslane (any anything else that contains magnesium), Saffron, Valerian, Fennel, Oregano, Black Pepper, Basil and Tarragon.  Consume on a regular basis.  Eliminate pork, beef, and alcohol from your diet.  Eat more plant foods and herbs and use a good vitamin regimen.


Create a tincture of:

A dash of  Angelica, Anise, Camomile, Coriander, Fennel, Ginger, Rosemary and Turmeric along with two dashes of any mint herbs.  Steep these herbs overnight in the refrigerator in a mixture of alcohol and water (one shot of vodka per cup of spring water).  Drink as a tea or mix with juice.

Insect Bites/Stings

Try using Citronnela Oil.  Do not use without first diluting.  Add several drops to vegetable oil and rub directly on your skin.


Lemon Balm is a sedative as well as a stomach soother.   Try a tea made with two to four teaspoons of dried herb per cup of boiling water.

Liver Problems

Use Milk Thistle for all types of liver troubles.  Available in capsule form at health food stores.


Black Cohosh is recommended for many “female complaints.”  It contains estrogenic substances that relieve menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes.  Native American women knew to use it for childbirth and other gynecological problems.  Try 2 parts Chasteberry, 1 part St. John’s Wort and 1 part Life Root. To 5ml of tincture taken three times a day.

Motion Sickness and Nausea

Raspberry leaf tea, used for morning sickness is also a good treatment for motion sickness.  Ginger is another treatment for motion sickness.  Munch it or buy Ginger capsules at the health food store.


Few people know that high protein diets leech calcium from bone.  Reduce protein intake and try this broth:

Place leftover fish bones in a large pot.  Add a few quarts of water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer 30 minutes.  Add a couple handfuls of finely chopped Cabbage, Dandelion Greens, Stinging Nettle greens, Parsley, Pigweed and Purslane.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and any other seasonings you prefer.  Remove fish bones before serving as a vegetable/herb soup or as a stock for hearty bean soup.


Use clove oil for toothache, applied directly to the painful tooth.

Red Pepper contains capsaicin that stimulates the release of endorphins.  Use in recipes.

Willow bark contains salicin, the original aspirin.  Start with a low dose tea.  If you are allergic to aspirin, avoid this treatment.


There is no substitute for your doctors recommendations, but you might enhance treatment with a tea comprised of Dandelion.  Cook the greens and roots. And drink the juice that remains after the green are cooked.  If fresh Dandelion is not available, use the dried herb.

Prostate Enlargement

Make a spread of Saw Palmetto, Licorice and Pumpkin Seeds.  Place a half cup of fresh Pumpkin Seeds in a food processor.  Add one Saw Palmetto Capsule contents (without the capsule), and add a few drops of Licorice extract.  Blend until smooth.  You may add a little Brazil Nut oil to make it spread easier.  Eat a couple of tablespoonfuls every day.  Make small batches at a time to insure freshness.


Folk healers have recommended rubbing mashed Avocado on psoriasis patches.  If nothing else, it is cool and soothing.


Try using a mixed mint tea.  Use lots of Lemon Balm plus ay other mints you would like:  Hyssop, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Self Heal, Spearmint or Thyme.  Add a little Licorice as well.  Drink it, of course, but also try applying it directly to the rash.


Create your favorite vegetable soup.  Add heaping amounts of Garlic, Onions, Horseradish, Hot Pepper and Ginger.  Enjoy the dish while feeling your sinuses open.

Skin Problems

In addition to Aloe, the best known herb for skin treatment, try Evening Primrose Oil.  Apply directly to the irritation.  Should be available in your health food store.

Sore Throat

Slipper Elm capsules will do the trick for a raging sore throat.  Just remember that it is probably a portent of a cold, flue or strep to come.  Another treatment is a few teaspoons of crushed Euclyptus leaves per cup of boiling water for a soothing tea.


Use wet teabags to apply to sunburned areas.  Aloe applied to the affected areas is always a good recommendation.  Calendula speeds the healing of burns.  You can probably find commercial creams that contain Calendula at your health food store.


One of the active components in Ginger is Zingibain.  One gram of Zingibain can tenderize as much as 20 pounds of meat.  The most pleasant method of ingesting Ginger is to eat Ginger candy.  Pineapple is also known to contribute to the reduction of swelling.  Tastes good too!  Dandelion is a potent diuretic and can remove some of the excess fluid that causes swelling.  Youc an also purchase capsules.


Hands down, Ginkgo is the best treatment for Tinnitus.  The best way to take it as an extract which you will probably only find in a health food store.  When shopping look for 50:1 on the label.  40mgs per day is recommended to treat Tinnitutis.


Echinacea and Goldenseal are a good bet to treat Tonsillitis.  Combine the two as a tea and gargle as well as ingest.


As mentioned earlier, Clove Oil is a good treatment for toothache.  Another is a compress of Ginger and Red Pepper.  Mix the powdered spices in enough water to form a paste.  Use a small cotton ball to dip in the paste then apply the cotton directly to the tooth without letting it touch the gum.  If it is too hot, rinse your mouth and try a different remedy.


You may find this recipe too tasty to be called a treatment!

Bananas, Pineapple, Blueberries, Ground Cinnamon, Ground Cloves, Ground Ginger, Honey.  Cut up the bananas and pineapple and place in a serving bowl.  Add blueberries and season generously with the Cinnamon, Cloves and Ginger and sweeten with the Honey.  Or, use above ingredients to create a anti-ulcer drink.


Carefully peel a clove of Garlic so that no nicks are made in the meat.  Wrap in clean gauze with a clean, unbleached string creating a small tampon like packet.  Insert into the vagina each night for up to six nights.  If this treatment does not cure the infection see your physician.

Yeast Infections

Mix two to three drops of Tea Tree Oil in a tablespoon of yogurt.  Soak a tampon in the mixture.  Insert the tampon at night for up to six nights.  Care must be taken when using any plant extracts.  They are extremely concentrated and even in small doses can cause harm.

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Herbs are good medicine.  There is no doubt about that fact.  However, there are over 300,000 higher plant species.   A good herbalist may know of one or two thousand of them.  This means that even an experienced herbalist can make mistakes.  Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems.

Pregnant women should avoid barberry root bark, cascara sagrada, feverfew, juniper berries, mugwort, pennyroyal, pokeroot, rue, senna, southernwood, tansy, thuja and wormwood.  All of those herbs can increased a risk for miscarriage.  Safe herbs during pregnancy would be Manna, Butternut Bark or Root, Flax Seed, Slippery Elm and Lemon Verbena.

No matter what herb(s) you are taking, be mindful of anything unexpected.  Stop taking whatever it is and consult an expert you can trust.

Make certain you have the correct diagnosis.  Diagnosis is not easy and sometimes doctors make mistakes.  Generally, however, a doctor is much better equipped to diagnose.  Discuss any planned herbal discipline you plan to undertake with your physician.

Watch for any allergic reactions.  Even though you may have never had any allergies in the past, if you are embarking on an herbal journey, watch carefully for any adverse reactions.  If you experience difficulty in breathing within 30 minutes of trying a new herb, food or drug, call 911 immediately!  You may be having an anaphylactic reaction which is the most severe form of allergic reaction.  This condition can quickly become fatal unless treated promptly.  This reaction is rare, but you need to be careful and be aware.

Watch for any interactions.   Medicines often interact negatively with one another.  So do herbs.  Always be careful when taking more than one drug or herb or a combination of both.  If you suspect an interaction consult your physician or pharmacist.

One interaction that you should be aware of is Antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors.  They interact badly with wine, cheese and many other foods.  St. John’s Wort is also an MAO inhibitor so the same food restrictions apply.  If you plan on using St. John’s Wort, discuss it with your physician or pharmacist.

Lastly, make certain that both your physician AND your herbalist are fully aware of all medications and/or herbal treatments you are using.



Cayenne will stimulate circulation.  Nettles and Irish Moss increase blood circulation.  A potato suppository (raw potato) inserted overnight brings healing to hemorrhoids.  Slippery Elm or Flax Seed will do the same.


Barley or rice water stop diarrhea.  Boil one cup of rice or barley in 8 cups of water for on hour.  Celery juice, coconut milk or lime juice can be added to cool colon.  Blackberry root, Bush Monkey Flower or White Oak are antiseptic herbs.


3 parts Confrey, 1 part Lobelia and 1 part Cayenne.


Externally for skin disorders such as ringworm, scabies, and lice.  Make a strong tea 3 times a day for 2 weeks to ingest.

Syrup of Garlic for catarrh, asthma, tuberculosis, regulating blood pressure, heart weakness and internal ulceration.

To cover odor or tast of Garlic, use Oil of Anise, Caraway, Fennel Cinnamon or Peppermint.

Golden Seal:

Removes B Vitamins from the body.


1 ounce Bayberry Bark, 2 ounces Ginger, 1 ounce White Pine, 1 dram Clover, 1 dram of Cayenne.  Mix all together under stress.  Put one teaspoon in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes.

Antispasmodic Tincture:

1 ounce Lobelia Seed, 1 ounce Skullcap, 1 ounce Skunk Cabbage Root, 1 ounce Black Cohosh, ½ ounce Cayenne.

Ad above to one pint of boiling water for ½ hour.  Add 1 pint of Apple Cider Vinegar and bottle for use.   Dose:  8 to 15 drops in cup of hot water every hour.  For shock, cramps, epilepsy, hysteria, lock jaw, poisonous bites and stings.

Homemade Toothpaste:

1 pinch powdered Sage

1 ounce powdered Myrrh

1 pound powdered Arrow Root

20 drops Oil of Clover

12 drops Oil of Bergamot

½ ounce powdered chalk

3 ounces powdered Oris Root

4 teaspoons tincture of Vanilla

15 drops Oil of Rose Geranium

Add honey to get desired consistency

Nerve Tonic:

1 part Black Cohos Root

1 part Cayenne

1 part Hops

1 part Ladys Slipper Root

Powder and mix. Place in gelatin capsules.  Take two capsules three times a day.

First Aid Kit:

Charcoal for external drawing of poisons

Oil of Garlic

Antispasmodic tincture

Peppermint Oil for nausea

Sweating Herbs – ½ Elder Flower and ½ Peppermint


2 ounces powdered Myrrh

1 ounce powdered Golden Seal

½ ounce Cayenne

1 quart Apple Cider Vinegar

Mix together, shake each day for seven days then strain and bottle.


Eat a minimum of four ounces of fresh Bing Cherries each day.  If fresh cherries are not in season drink bottled or buy concentrate and have on tablespoon three times a day.


Rub a wedge of lemon in each armpit.

Migraine Headache:

At the first sign, dip a toothpick in Cayenne Pepper and sniff in each nostril.


HerbMed® – an interactive, electronic herbal database – provides hyperlinked access to the scientific data underlying the use of herbs for health. It is an impartial, evidence-based information resource provided by the nonprofit Alternative Medicine Foundation, Inc.

MedlinePlus – A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

American Botanical Council – Online resource for herbal news and information.

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Exercise for Diabetics!

The two most common forms of diabetes are referred to as Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes, also known as adolescent diabetes, differs from Type 2 in that the body stops producing insulin altogether. Type 2 diabetes is generally diagnosed in older adults and occurs as the body stops producing enough insulin or the individual becomes resistent to their own insulin.

With either form of diabetes, we lose our ability to adequately untilize sugar. Blood sugar levels increase due to the body’s difficulty in transporting sugar into the cells and out of the blood stream. There are various ways to lower blood sugar levels including exercise, diet, and medications.

Exercise is a very important part of diabetic management for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. For the Type 1 diabetic, regular exercise helps to maintain insulin sensitivity, helps prevent accumulation of excess weight, and increases the use of glucose by muscles, thereby lower blood sugar levels. While there is currently no way to prevent Type 1 diabetes, it may be possible to prevent Type 2 diabetes.

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Things to consider when attempting to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes are regular exercise, supplementation with vitamins and herbs that help prevent insulin resistance, and proper weight control.

Exercise not only helps directly in diabetic management by lowering blood sugar levels and maintaining insulin sensitivity, but also helps minimize many of the complications that can arise in a diabetic individual. Studies have shown that walking for 30 minutes per day can substantially diminish the possibility of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetics tend to develop circulatory problems and exercise can certainly help lower blood pressure and improve circulation throughout the body. Since individuals with diabetes tend to have poor blood flow to their lower extremities and feet, better circulation is of great benefit.

There are some risks associated with exercise, but the potential benefits greatly outweigh the risks. Since exercise does lower blood sugar levels, people with diabetes should measure their blood sugar both before and after exercising. Since your body uses more sugar while exercising and makes you more sensitive to insulin, there is a risk of blood sugar becoming too low and causing hypoglycemia.

When exercising it is important to let others know that you are diabetic. They should be informed what to do in case of hypoglycemia. You should always carry candy or fruit juice to treat low blood sugar levels should they occur. During and after exercise sessions, you should pay close attention to how you feel since rapid heart beat, increased sweating, feeling shaky, or hunger can signal that your blood sugar levels are becoming too low.

Exercise is a critical part of diabetic management and treatment. Exercise helps blood sugar control when the muscles use more glucose and the body become more sensitive to insulin. Exercise also helps to prevent and minimize common diabetic complications including heart problems, high blood pressure and circulatory deficiencies. All diabetics should include a regular exercise program as part of their overall management plan.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.  Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.  Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”


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DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for

educational and informational purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a

substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek

the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions

you may have regarding a medical condition.  Never disregard professional medical

advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA approved they must be

accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement

has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose,

treat, cure or prevent any disease.”


Cholesterol has been around for thousands of years.  It’s a natural function of the human body.  The modern story of cholesterol and how it affects us today, actually began during a government study in 1951.

The Pentagon sent pathologists to Korea to examine the bodies of servicemen who lost their lives during the war.  Autopsies were conducted on 2,000 soldiers.

The results were astounding to the medical community of that time.  Normally, no one under 35 dies of coronary heart disease.  Remember, this was 1951!

More than 75 percent of the soldier had yellow deposits of atherosclerotic plaque on their artery walls.  The average age of these soldiers was 21 contradicting the assumption that such artery clogging deposits were only prevalent in older men.

The results of the Army pathologists rocked the medical community.  Prior to these autopsies, doctors had no idea how early the process of heart disease began.

Not long after this discovery, a name was given to the major contributor to the buildup of plaque and to heart disease risk – cholesterol.  More recent studies have shown that for every 1 percent drop in cholesterol levels, there is a 2 percent decrease in the risk of a heart attack.

Since those original studies, the risk of heart disease stemming from cholesterol has exploded.  In 2002 it was estimated that 107 million American adults now have a blood cholesterol level high enough to require medical advice.   Unfortunately, the numbers keep rising.

Despite this epidemic problem, there is good news.  You can do something about the problem and that’s what this guide is all about.  In plain English, we will take a laymen’s look at cholesterol, the causes, effects and what you can do to reverse the negative impact it has on your personal health.

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As mentioned above, cholesterol in and of itself, is a natural function of the human body.  Every living being requires a certain amount of fat to exist.  Like everything in nature, it only becomes a problem when there is an imbalance.

The processing of fat begins when it gets absorbed in the intestines.  From there it heads to the liver.  The fat requires a delivery system to the rest of the body to be used immediately but also to be stored in fat cells for future use.

In order for the fat to enter the delivery system, while it is in the liver it is split into two different types of fat, cholesterol and triglycerides.

Once this transformation takes place, the two types of fat (cholesterol and triglycerides) are packed into vehicles for carrying the fat to the fat cells throughout the body using the bloodstream.  These vehicles are called lipoproteins.

There are three types of lipoproteins:

1. Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL)

2. Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL)

3. High Density Lipoproteins (HDL)

Under normal circumstances, the bloodstream does a very efficient job of carrying the LDL and HDL Lipoproteins throughout the body.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance that presents itself naturally in cell walls and membranes everywhere in your body.  Your body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones.  It also uses it to produce vitamin D and the bile acids that help to digest fat.

Where problems arise is when there is an over abundance of cholesterol in your bloodstream.  The cholesterol deposited by the LDL leads to a narrowing of the blood vessels.

If this occurs, the excess can be deposited in the arteries of the heart which could result in stroke or heart disease.  This is called atherosclerosis.  This is why LDL is known as “bad cholesterol.”

HDL usually collects the bad cholesterol and takes it back to the liver.  That’s why HDL is known as “good cholesterol.”

Cholesterol is not the only cause of heart disease, but it is a contributing factor.  Here’s how it works.

Cholesterol can only attach to the inner lining of the artery if it has been damaged.

Once the lining of the artery is damaged, white blood cells rush to the site followed by cholesterol, calcium and cellular debris.  The muscle cells around the artery are altered and also accumulate cholesterol.

The fatty streaks in the arteries continue to develop and bulge into the arteries.  This cholesterol “bulge” is then covered by a scar that produces a hard coat or shell over the cholesterol and cell mixture.  It is this collection of cholesterol that is then covered by a scar that is called “plaque.”

The buildup of plaque narrows the space in the arteries through which blood can flow, decreasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients.  This cuts down the supply of blood and oxygen to the tissues that are fed by that blood vessel.

The elasticity of the blood vessel is reduced and the arteries’ ability to control blood pressure is compromised.  If there is not enough oxygen carrying blood passing through the narrowed arteries, the heart may give you a pain that is called angina.

The pain usually happens when you exercise because at that time your heart requires more oxygen.  Usually it is felt in the chest or the left arm and shoulder, although it can happen without any symptoms at all.

Plaque can vary in size as well as shape.  All through the coronary arteries you can find many small plaques that cover less than half of an artery opening.  Some of these plaques are completely invisible in the tests that doctors use to identify heart disease.

The medical community used to think that the primary concern was the larger plaques.  They thought these posed a greater threat because of their size and that they were more likely to cause a complete blockage of the coronary arteries.

While it is true that the larger plaques are more likely to cause angina, it is the smaller plaques that are packed with cholesterol and covered by scars that are more dangerous.  They are considered unstable and prone to ruptures or bursting releasing their load of cholesterol into the bloodstream.  This causes immediate clotting within the artery.  If the blood clot blocks the artery totally, it will stop the blood flow and a heart attack occurs.

The muscle on the farter side of the occurring clot fails to get the oxygen it needs and begins to die.  This kind of damage can be permanent.

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Unfortunately, most people aren’t even aware they have atherosclerosis until they have a heart attack or stroke.  It is possible to have up to 80 percent closure of the arteries without ever feeling a single symptom!

Most people begin to develop cholesterol driven atherosclerosis as children and it’s unusual if you find an adult in the United States who does not have some degree of atherosclerosis.

Diagnosing cholesterol levels require a simple blood test to determine the levels of LDL and HDL.  Cholesterol tests can be tricky, however.  Simple screening that is done without “fasting,” measures only the total cholesterol and the HDL, the “good” cholesterol.   It will give you a ballpark figure, but far from accurate.

The complete test is called a “lipid profile,” and even that can vary from test to test.  This test will measure total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides.

For truly accurate numbers, you should not eat, or drink anything other than water for 12 hours before testing.  Vigorous exercise should be avoided for 24 hours before testing and you need to make certain that whoever tests you is made aware of any medications you may be taking as they will also affect the results.

Okay, now that you have accurate numbers, what do they mean?  Before we discuss the numbers and their meanings, we need to clarify some terminology.

Dietary cholesterol means the cholesterol that you eat.  The American Heart Association recommends no more than 300 milligram per day.  Most food labels in the United States list cholesterol.  The three terms, blood cholesterol, serum cholesterol and total cholesterol mean the same thing – the total cholesterol in your body.  This is what is measured when you have a cholesterol test.

Your test results will come in with three numbers:

1. HDL Cholesterol

2. LDL Cholesterol

3. Total Cholesterol

For total cholesterol the National Cholesterol Education Program classifies levels below 200 milligrams/dl (milligrams per deciliter) as “desirable.”  A level between 200 and 239 is “borderline high.”  Anything over 240 is “high.”

Triglyceride levels over 400 milligrams/dl are considered “high” and levels over 1,000 milligrams/dl are considered “very high.”

For LDL, the desirable level is less than 130 milligrams/dl.  The “borderline high” level is 130 to 159.  the “high risk” level is 160 and above.

Higher is better for HDL.  For HDL, the numbers are lower because there is less HDL in the blood.  Anything lower than 35 milligrams/dl is considered “high risk.”  If your HDL is very high, say over 60, your risk of heart disease is reduced.

The LDL, however, is the “bad” cholesterol and the most important factor in predicting heart attack.  For LDL, lower is better preferably less than 160.  It’s best to keep the level around 130.


If you recall, we mentioned that cholesterol can only attach to the inner lining of the artery if it has been damaged.  How does that damage occur?

Evidence points to “free radical” damage as being one of the culprits of arterial wall damage.  Free radicals are found all around us.  They are highly reactive substances like polluted air, radiation, tobacco smoke, herbicides, and naturally within our own bodies as an offshoot of regular metabolic processes.

Free radicals attack and damage cells altering normal cell activity.  You see it around you every day causing metal to rust and fruit to spoil.  This is why we take anti-oxidants like vitamins C, E, beta-carotene and selenium, to combat the attack of free radicals.

Heredity plays a role in high cholesterol.  Your genes can influence your LDL by affecting how fast it is made and removed from your blood.  There is one particular form of inherited high cholesterol that will often lead to early heart disease.  It is called familial “hypercholesterolemia” and can play a role in 1 of 500 people.

Weight is a factor in determining your LDL.  If you have a high LDL level and are overweight, losing those pounds may help you to lower it.  Additionally, losing weight also helps to lower triglycerides and raise your HDL.

Age and sex should be considered as well.  Women, before menopause, usually have total cholesterol levels that are lower than men.  This changes as men and women age.  Levels will rise until reaching age 60 to 65.  For women, menopause can cause an increase in LDL and a decrease in HDL.  After the age of 50 women often have higher total cholesterol levels than men of the same age.

Alcohol plays an odd role in cholesterol levels.  It increases HDL but at the same time it does not lower LDL.   The medical community does not know for certain whether alcohol reduces the risk of heart disease.   We know that too much alcohol can damage the liver and heart muscle, lead to high blood pressure and raise triglycerides.  There are just too many other risks to even consider the use of alcoholic beverages used as a way to prevent heart disease just because it increased the HDL.

Stress and personality may contribute to heart disease.  Associating a certain type of personality and heart disease has been suggested for many years.  This goes back to the “Type A” and “Type B” personality study conducted in 1959.

Type A behavior generally manifests in a chronic sense of time, urgency, aggressiveness and striving for achievement.  Type A people will drive themselves to meet specific deadlines which are most often self-imposed.

They have feelings of being constantly under pressure and often multi-task to the point of doing two or three things at one time.  To say that Type A people are “driven” is an understatement.  They consider themselves indispensable.   All of these traits add up to a state of constant stress

Over the long term, stress has shown to raise blood cholesterol levels.  The way it does this is by affecting habits.  An example is over indulging in fatty foods as a way of consoling themselves when people are under stress.  The saturated fat and cholesterol in these foods contribute to high levels of blood cholesterol.   We will explore dietary factors in a later chapter.

Type B behavior is characterized by just the opposite set of traits.  Type B people are less preoccupied with achievement, less rushed and generally more easygoing people.

They don’t allow themselves to be rushed nor have any particular pressure regarding deadlines.  They are less prone to angry outbursts and seem to be better equipped to making distinctions between work and play.

Studies completed over a period of eighteen months to two years with a group of both Type A and Type B people, indicated that Type A participants had a 31 percent increased risk of developing heart disease.

This was further substantiated by the discovery of more deposits of plaque in the coronary arteries of Type A people.  Type A behavior also appears to show an association with other risk factors like smoking, higher fat levels, increased secretion of adrenaline.  All of which increases the oxygen requirement of the heart muscles and releasing fatty acids from the body fat.

It is important to note that there are not two different types of people.  Each person is an individual and sorting them into specific categories do not properly identify them.

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We will review the different types of medications available for the treatment of high cholesterol as well as natural remedies.  Your doctor may decide that you need help in controlling your cholesterol if you are not able to reduce it using natural treatments.

Even if your doctor prescribes any of these medications, you must still follow through with healthy lifestyle treatments that we will discuss further on.

There are several different types of medications used to lower cholesterol.  They are called statins, bile acid sequestrants, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, nicotinic acid agents and fibrates and we will review them one by one.


What are they and how do they work?  Statins repress the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase.  This enzyme controls the rate that cholesterol produces itself in the body.  These drugs can lower cholesterol from 20 to 60%.  They slow the production while they increase the liver’s ability to withdraw LDL.  Statins lower the LDL levels better than any other type of drug.

They can also produce a modest increase of HDL while decreasing total cholesterol and triglycerides.  Positive results are usually seen after just 4 to 6 weeks of beginning the medication.

Overall statins are proven for lowering heart attack risks, strokes and other coronary diseases related to high cholesterol levels.  You should not take statins if:

You are allergic to statins themselves or their ingredients

You are pregnant or breastfeeding

You have liver disease

You consume excessive amounts of alcohol

Have a history of myopathy

Have renal failure

Brand names of statins that you might recognize are Lipitor, Lescol, Mevacor, Altocor, Pravahol, Zocor and Crestor.

There are some drug and/or food interactions that you should be aware of.  More than one quart of grapefruit juice per day can decrease the ability of the liver to process some statins.  More importantly there may be other medications that can interact and cause serious side effects.  It’s important to let your doctor know about any other medication you are taking, whether prescription or non-prescription including vitamins, herbal supplements, medication for the immune system, other cholesterols drugs, medication for infections, birth control pills, medication for heart failure, HIV or AIDs, or Coumadin.

Side effects from statins are rare.  If you experience muscle soreness, pain, weakness, vomiting, stomach pain, discolored urine, stop taking the medication and contact your doctor immediately.

Bile Acid Sequestrants

Bile acid sequestrants bind with bile acids that contain cholesterol in the intestines and are then eliminated in the stool.  They are proven to reduce LDL by 10 to 20%.  Small doses produce decent reductions in LDL.  They are sometimes prescribed along with a statin to enhance reduction.  When combined, their effects are counted together and lower LDL by more than 40%.  They do not lower triglycerides.

People who are allergic to bile acid sequestrants should not take this medication nor should anyone who has a medical history of bile obstruction.

There may be interactions with other drugs so make certain your doctor has a complete list of all prescribed and non-prescribed medications you are taking.

Bile acid sequestrants do not become absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.  It has been used for 30+ years and is considered safe for long term use.

Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors

A newer drug class, Zetia is a cholesterol absorption inhibitor that was approved in 2002 by the FDA.  By itself it reduces LDL by 18 to 20%/  It does this by decreasing absorption of cholesterol and other drugs within this class also mildly lower triglycerides.

Very useful for prescribing to people who cannot take statins or as another drug that can be taken if those who take statins have side effects if the statin dose is increased.  Adding a cholesterol inhibitor to a statin increased the lowering effect by a 2 to 3 fold factor.

There may be interactions with other drugs so make certain your doctor has a complete list of all prescribed and non-prescribed medications you are taking.

Nicotinic Acid Agents

Niacin, Niacor and Slo-Niacin are common names for nicotinic acid agents.

Nicotinic acid, which is also called niacin, is a water soluble vitamin B.  It improves levels of all lipoproteins when the doses are given far above the vitamin requirement.

Nicotinic acid reduces total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides at the same time raising HDL.  It reduces LDL by 10 to 20%, triglycerides by 20 to 50% and raises HDL by 15 to 35%.  Nicotinamide is a niacin by product after the body breaks it down.  Nicotinamide has no effect in lowering cholesterol and should not be used in place of nicotinic acid.

Individuals who are allergic to nicotinic acid, and those who have liver disease, active peptic ulcer, or arterial bleeding, should not use nicotinic acid agents.

There are two types of nicotinic acid.  One for immediate release and one for extended release.  Immediate release is inexpensive and widely available without a prescription.  However, because of potential side effects it must not be used for lowering cholesterol without being monitored by a doctor.

Niacin that is extended release is often tolerated better than crystalline niacin.  But has a greater chance of causing damage to the liver.

If you are taking medication for high blood pressure, the results may be increased while taking niacin.  You should have a system available to monitor your blood pressure when beginning a new niacin regimen.

Again, there may be side effects when mixed with other medications or foods.  Discuss with your doctor and make certain you make him aware of all medications prescribed or otherwise.

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Primary effectiveness is lowering triglycerides.  There is a lesser effect in increasing HDL levels.

Some serious side effects may occur so be sure and discuss these with your doctor.  If you are allergic to fibrates or have liver disease or kidney disease, you should not take these agents.


No medications can do a better job than treating your high cholesterol naturally.  And, if you are one of those lucky people who do not have cholesterol concerns, you may want to take steps to keep it that way!

What can you do to improve your cholesterol levels?  Here’s the list and we will cover each item thoroughly.

Reduce fat in your diet

One of the best plans is covered previously in our chart on saturated fat.  But there is more you can do.  Buy the leanest cuts of meat you can find.  Regularly substitute poultry (without the skin) and fish for red meat.  Both are lower in saturated fat.  Switch to low fat cottage cheese and yogurt, reduced fat hard cheeses and skim or 1 percent milk.

Eat no more than four egg yolks a week

Many people don’t have to worry about eating cholesterol.  Normal bodies adjust to increased intake by cutting back on regular product.  However, since one third of Americans are cholesterol responders their blood cholesterol does go up when they eat cholesterol.  You probably don’t know if you fall into this category so play it safe.  Eat no more than four egg yolks a week.  An average egg yolk contains 213 milligrams of cholesterol!

Eliminate fried foods

Buying low fat is just the beginning.  You need to institute low fat cooking methods to keep the cholesterol from sneaking back in to your diet.

Remove fatty skin from chicken and turkey.

Don’t fry foods.  Roast, bake, broil, grill or poach them instead.

Use fat free marinades or basting with liquids like wine, tomato or lemon juice.

Use olive or canola oils for sautéing or baking.  Both are very low in saturated fat.

Use diet, tub or squeeze margarines instead of regular.  Watch for the term “hydrogenated,” which means some of the fat is saturated.

Eat vegetables and complex carbohydrates

Lowest fat foods of all are vegetables, fruits, grains (rice, barley and pasta), beans and legumes.  Try substituting some of these for meat and high fat dairy products.

Don’t douse your pasta with butter or your potato with sour cream.

Use tomato base sauces instead of cream base.

Use lemon juice, low sodium soy sauce or herbs to season vegetables.

Make chili with extra beans and seasonings while leaving out the meat.

Lose weight

If you are overweight, the chances are almost 100% that you have a problem with high cholesterol.  You can lower your LDL and elevate your HDL just by dropping some pounds.  Eat fewer fatty foods and more fruits, vegetables, grains and beans and it’s a pretty good bet that you will slowly but surely lose weight.

Include your family

Eating habits carry through to adulthood.  Get your children on a healthy eating pattern early.  Don’t begin until they are at least 2 years of age, however.  Babies need extra fat calories to develop properly.

Snack all you want

Yep, that’s what we wrote.  Snack several times a day on low fat foods.  Yogurt, fruit, vegetables, bagels and whole grain breads and cereals are excellent for snacking.  In fact, there is evidence that points to lower cholesterol levels in people who eat several small meals a day.  Eating often can keep hormones like insulin from rising and signaling your body to make more cholesterol.  Make certain that your total intake of calories doesn’t go up when you eat more often.

Nuts to you!

Do you like nuts?  If you do, sprinkle a few on your cereal, bake them into muffins or pancakes or add them to casseroles or stir-fries.  Walnuts and almonds are especially good.  Eating about three ounces of walnuts a day is shown to decrease blood cholesterol levels by 10% more than an already low fat, low cholesterol diet.  Walnuts are high in fat, but it is mostly polyunsaturated fat, which is the kind that lowers cholesterol.  Another study shows that about three ounces of almonds which are rich in monounsaturated fat, lowers LDL by 9%!

Eat chocolate

Aha!  All you chocoholics rejoice!  Studies indicate that the fat in chocolate is stearic acid and has no effect on cholesterol levels.  The chocolate does not increase LDL and could raise HDL a wee bit.  But chocolate is still high in fat and calories so don’t go overboard.

Drink fruit juices

You may have read about the low rate of heart disease in France.  It led researchers to believe that the French habit of drinking red wine with meals contributes to this.  Apparently some of the non-alcoholic ingredients in red wine raises HDL and suppresses the body from producing LDL.

Purple grape juice works the same way.  It will work like red wine to lower the fat level in your blood.  The LDL lowering effect of red wine and grape juice comes from a compound that grapes produce normally to resist mold.  The darker the grape juice, the better.

Grapefruit juice does the same thing and it may also help your body get rid of that nasty plaque that we discussed earlier.

Eat garlic

Cholesterol lowering effects of garlic have been demonstrated repeatedly in people with normal and high cholesterol.  Eat all the garlic you can.  It also seems to raise the HDL levels as well.  If you are worried about the odor, take the tablets instead.  They have proven to be nearly as effective as the cooked or raw cloves.

Take niacin – carefully

We discussed niacin earlier.  Remember as one of the B vitamins, it is proven effective for lowering LDL and raising HDL.  It is also one of the cheapest drugs available for lowering cholesterol.  But, without medical supervision it may not be totally safe.  A dose high enough to lower cholesterol can cause extremely high blood sugar or liver damage.

Take vitamin E

Studies indicate that vitamin E may have a positive impact on lowering cholesterol when taken in fairly large quantities – up to 800 IU per day.  This is more than you can get from your diet alone.  Larger amounts do not seem to cause any harm.  Further studies showed that even amounts of just 25 IU per day helps in preventing LDL from sticking to blood vessel walls.  That amount is only slightly higher than the recommended daily amount (RDA) of 12  to 15 IU.  It’s interesting to note that even that small amount has an impact on preventing that hardening of the arteries.

Take Calcium

One study indicates that when 56 people took a calcium carbonate supplement, their total cholesterol went down 4 percent and their HDL increased 4 percent.  That was taking a dosage of 400 milligrams of calcium three times a day with no harmful effects reported.  That does refer to calcium carbonate.

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Take a multivitamin – it can’t hurt

While you are building your calcium and vitamin E intake, remember the old standby, vitamin C.  It is the number one immune system booster and also drives up HDL.   A study of people who took more than 60 milligrams of vitamin C per day (60 milligrams is the RDA) had highest LDL levels.

Fill up on fiber

Remember several years back when oat bran was the latest craze for lowering cholesterol?  Later studies arrived at inconsistent results, but the medical community do agree that soluble fiber, the kind found in oat bran, does help lower LDL and raise HDL.  As little as three grams per day of fiber from oat bran or oatmeal can be effective.  There are 7.2 grams of soluble fiber per 100 grams of dry oat bran and five grams of soluble fiber per 100 grams of dry oatmeal.  There are other sources of fiber as well such as barley, beans, peas and many other vegetables.  Corn fiber is also good for reducing LDL, lowering it by as much as 5 percent in a recent study.  Researchers used 20 grams of corn fiber a day.  That would be a bit difficult for the average user when you take into account that one serving of corn has three grams of corn fiber.  But, every little bit does make a difference.  Pectin, which is found in fruits like apples and prunes, reduces cholesterol even better than oat bran, as does psyllium which is the fiber you find in many breakfast cereals and bulk laxatives.

Quit smoking

Smoking promotes the development of atherosclerosis.  Tobacco smoke is actually more damaging to the heart than the lungs.  Smokers have a higher chance of having a heart attack (three times greater than nonsmokers) and a greater risk of dying of the attack (twenty one times greater than nonsmokers.)  Tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, which is uniquely damaging to the heart.  Not only does it reduce the amount of oxygen the heart receives, it also actually damages the cells of the heart, rendering them less able to produce energy and thereby weakening the heart.  In addition to the dangers of carbon monoxide, there’s the danger of the nicotine.  Nicotine interferes with the electrical impulses that cause the heart to beat.  When the blood flow is compromised, the heart can beat in a fast, uncontrolled, irregular beats that actually cause a heart attack.  If you smoke, reducing the risks of atherosclerosis is yet another reason to stop.  Even if you have smoked for years, stopping now can still immediately help combat the development of atherosclerosis.

Reduce sugar intake

Many people don’t realize that sugar affects cholesterol and definitely affects triglycerides.  Sugar stimulates insulin production, which in turn increases triglycerides.  Men in particular, seem to be sensitive to this effect from sugar.  The mineral chromium which helps to stabilize blood sugar, can also raise the level of HDL.  100 mcg of chromium three times daily can help to improve your cholesterol levels.

Eliminate alcohol

The jury is still out and the different schools of thought are still at odds regarding the benefit or lack of benefit to consuming alcohol.  This suggestion has nothing to do with our previous discuss on red wine.  A moderate amount may be helpful.   The problem is that to one person a moderate amount might be a glass of wine with their meal, while to another it might be a half bottle of Scotch!  Anything above the arbitrary “moderate” amount elevates serum cholesterol triglycerides and your uric acid levels as well as potentially increasing blood pressure all of which promote heart disease.  So, the best bet would be to eliminate it totally.

Exercise regularly

There is positive evidence that exercise can lower LDL cholesterol and boost HDL cholesterol.  Both aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling and cross country skiing and strength training like lifting weights or using weight machines all promote the improvement of cholesterol levels.  An analysis of 11 studies on weight training showed that this exercise lowered LDL by 13 percent and raised HDL by 5 percent.  If you lift weights, use light to moderate weights and do many repetitions.

Eliminate caffeine

We Americans definitely have a love affair with our coffee!  People who drink large amounts of caffeine (more than 6 cups a day) are far more prone to elevated cholesterol.  That connection does not hold for tea drinkers.  Limit your coffee intake to no more than one cup a day and eliminate caffeinated sodas entirely.

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Unfortunately, the medical community is quick to prescribe another expensive medication to lower cholesterol but they are far less likely to suggest herbal or homeopathic measures.

Along with getting plenty of fiber there are foods that will help in promoting the lowering of cholesterol as well as herbs that can further reduce cholesterol.

Foods containing pectin are advantageous to lowering cholesterol levels.  Carrots, apples and the white layer inside of citrus rinds are particularly beneficial.

Avocado, which is very high in fat, has unexpectedly become a cholesterol reducer.  A study of women who were given a choice of a high monounsaturated fats (olive oil) along with avocado diet or a complex carbohydrate consisting of starches and sugars reported interesting results.  In six weeks, the former group on the olive oil and avocado diet showed an 8.2 percent reduction in cholesterol.

Beans.  Gotta love ‘em.  They are high in fiber and low in cholesterol.  What more could you ask for!  A cup and a half of beans, or the amount in a bowl of soup, can lower total cholesterol levels by as much as 19 percent!

Garlic.  We discussed garlic earlier but it is well worth repeating here.  Use it liberally in your diet.  Not only will it help to lower your cholesterol it is also credited with lowering blood pressure.  Be sure you include generous amounts of garlic as well as onions in your daily diet.

Cayenne pepper (Capsicum minimum) and other plants that contain the phenolic compound capsaicin have a well demonstrated effect in lowering blood cholesterol levels, as does the widely used spice Fenugreek.

Caraway is another aromatic spice with demonstrable cholesterol lowering properties.

A whole range of Asian herbal remedies new to western medicine are proving to be valuable in this field.

Remember when the “low-fat” mantra began?  We all jumped in with both feet and some of us still live on low fat foods, like having a baked potato but no butter or sour cream.  Maybe you eat pasta, veggies and fat free desserts.  So how come you still gain weight?

Good question.  Researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics studied the eating habits of 8.260 adult Americans between 1988 and 1991.  They found that Americans have significantly reduced their fat intake but still packed on extra pounds in recent years.

In fact, a national health and nutrition survey of over 8,000 American adults concludes that one third of the population is overweight.

The answer is very simple and right in front of us.  So many of us jumped on the low fat diet and assumed that if it’s low fat it can’t make us fat.  Right?  Wrong.  We were so involved with the low fat concept that we forgot to count calories!

If you are eating more calories that your body needs, whether from fat or carbohydrates, the body will store them as fat.  Period.  According to an National Institutes of Health study, by 1990 the average American was consuming hundreds more calories a day than he was consuming 10 years before.

There are researchers who believe that eating small amounts of fat can keep you from overindulging on total calories.  Ohio State University nutrition scientist John Allred points out that dietary fat causes our bodies to produce a hormone that tells our intestines to slow down the emptying process.  We feel full and are less likely to overeat.

Add a little bit of peanut butter to your piece of fruit and it can help to keep you from a binge later.

Here is another trap to avoid.  Reducing fat might not be as smart as it sounds.  Tufts University scientists recently put 11 middle-aged men and women volunteers on a variety of average reduced and low fat diets.

The results were astounding.  Very low fat diets which provided only 15 percent of fat from calories did have a positive effect on blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  By the way, that diet is so strict there is no way it could be duplicated in real life.  But a reduced fat diet, which is more realistic, only affected those levels if accompanied by weight loss.

Not only that, they concluded that cutting fat without losing weight actually increased triglyceride levels and decreased HDL!

So while excess fat is not healthy, it isn’t a dirty word either.  Without some fat in our diets, our bodies could not make nerve cells and hormones or absorb fat soluble vitamins.

If obesity is one of your high cholesterol causes, try losing a pound a week with a 500 calorie solution.  No, we aren’t going to ask you to only eat 500 calories a week!

What you can do is easily lose a pound a week just by cutting 500 calories a day out of your diet.  You can easily burn 250 of them just be spending about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, like bicycling, dancing or just walking.  To get rid of the other 250 try cutting out mayonnaise, doughnuts and alcohol.

If there were no other reason to take control of cholesterol, here’s one that certainly has merit.

A recent study found that men with high cholesterol are twice as likely to be impotent as men whose cholesterol levels are normal or low.

Researchers recorded cholesterol levels of 3,250 healthy men between the ages of 25 and 83.  Men with total cholesterol higher than 240 milligrams/dl were twice as likely to have trouble achieving or maintaining an erection than men who cholesterol levels were below 180 milligrams/dl.

Men who had low levels of HDL were also twice as likely to suffer from impotence.  The same high-fat diet that narrows arteries and blocks blood flow to your heart also narrows the arteries that carry blood to your penis.  Blood has to be able to get to your penis in order for you to have an erection.  Take control now and you’ll find yourself improving in this area of your life as well.

The typical American diet consists of fatty meats, processed cold cuts, dairy products and fried foods.  As if that weren’t enough, throw in commercially baked breads, roles, cakes, chips and cookies.  This is a surefire path to high cholesterol.

Oddly, ingesting cholesterol will not raise the blood cholesterol nearly as much as eating a type of fat called “saturated fat.”   Like cholesterol, saturated fat is primarily found in animal products like cheese, butter, cream, whole milk, ice cream, lard and marbled meats.

Don’t believe that if you just change to vegetable oil you can eliminate the problem.  Some vegetable oils are also high in saturated fat.  Palm oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter are also very high in saturated fat.  Unfortunately, these are also most often used in commercially baked goods, coffee creams and nondairy whipped toppings, so make sure you read labels.

Here is a chart showing the comparisons of different oils.






Canola Oil


0 mg



Safflower Oil


0 mg



Sunflower Oil


0 mg



Corn Oil


0 mg



Olive Oil


0 mg



Hydrogenated Sunflower Oil


0 mg



Sesame Oil


0 mg



Soybean Oil


0 mg



Margarine, bottled


0 mg



Margarine, tub


0 mg



Peanut Oil


0 mg



Margarine, stick


0 mg



Cocoa Butter


0 mg





31 mg



Palm Kernel Oil


0 mg



Coconut Oil


0 mg



Although all of the oils listed above (except butter) contain no measurement of dietary cholesterol, to lower your own cholesterol level, you must use oils low in saturated fat.  Canola oil (7% saturated fat) is one of the best available cooking oils.  Olive oil (14% saturated fat) is also good to use.

One more rule that makes this chart just a bit misleading.  Any fat that is hard at room temperature, such as stick margarine, is not good for your cholesterol.  Margarine has been hydrogenated (hardened) and that process adds trans fatty acids.

Trans fatty acids may be as bad for you as saturated fat, so stick margarine is equal to butter as far as your cholesterol is concerned.  Diet and soft margarines are a better bet.  Also look for brands of margarine or shortening that top the ingredient list with oils rich in monounsaturated fat, like canola oil.

Try substituting butter and margarine with a fruit puree.  Prune puree is one particularly popular alternative but try using applesauce and apricots as substitutes.

What has the chefs who specialize in nutrition so excited about using prune puree is the significant difference in fat grams as well as calories.  One cup of prune puree has 407 calories and one gram of fat.  One cup of butter has 1,600 calories and 182 grams of fat.  One cup of oil has 1,944 calories and 218 grams of fat.  You can see now why bakers are excited about prunes!

Prunes also contain large amounts of pectin which helps hold in the air bubbles that make baked good rise.  They also have large amounts of sorbitol, a sugar alcohol, which helps keep baked goods moist and gives them the flaky, tender taste of shortening or butter.

The only drawback to using fruits like applesauce and apricots as fat substitutes is that baked goods tend to become soggy and moldy within a day or two so plan quantities accordingly.  Also, when baking with substitutes for fat, use cake flour instead of regular all purpose flour.  It will keep the baked good tender.  Don’t over bake your fat reduced recipes as they do tend to dry out quicker than traditional recipes that call for butter or oil.

Here’s another healthy living tip for you.  If you really have trouble giving up your favorite high fat cheese, try this.  Turn it into a low fat version.  Just zap it in the microwave for a minute or two.  Pull it out and drain off the oil.  It will significantly reduce the fat content of the cheese.  This will work well for cheese sandwiches, toppings and other recipes that call for your favorite cheese.

Scientists have discovered that water mixed with fructose suppresses the appetite better than glucose with water or even diet drinks.  Fructose is the kind of sugar found in fruits.  Drink a glass of fructose rich orange juice a half hour to an hour before a meal.  You will eat fewer calories during the next meal and still feel comfortably full.

Don’t think that just because we are discussing “fat free” regimens that you must cut beef completely out of your diet.  Too much of this “good thing” won’t do you any favors.  However, you can have your steak and eat it too, provided it’s a cut that is relatively low in fat and cholesterol and you do not add fat in the cooking and serving process.

When shopping for beef, select grade eye of the round is considered by some to be just that.  A 3 ½ ounce serving has approximately four grams of fat, less than half of the amount in a 1 ounce serving of cheddar cheese.  It also contains 69 milligrams of cholesterol, among 5the lowest for meats, and it is a good soruce of zinc, iron and other nutrients.

Tip round, bottom round and top sirloin are also relatively lean and high in these nutrients.

Turkey breast and chicken breast are prizes as soon as you remove the skin.  Turkey has less than 1 gram of fat and 83 milligrams of cholesterol.  Chicken has 3.6 grams of fat and 85 milligrams of cholesterol.

Pork tenderloin is the top choice for the “other white meat,” while leg shank is the leanest choice among lamb cuts.

Cinnamon has blood-thinning properties that can help lower cholesterol levels, says Vasant Lad, B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc, director of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque,New Mexico.   He suggests this tea:  Mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon of trikatu (a lend of ginger and two kinds of peppers) directly into a cup of hot water, then stir and steep for five minutes.

Add a teaspoon of honey once the tea has cooled.  Dr. Lad says to drink this beverage twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening.  Trikatu is available from Ayurvedic practioners and in some health food stores.

One way to heal many health problems is with a detoxification diet that cleanses the body and re-establishes the nutritional balance needed for optimum health, says Elson Haas, M.D., director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California, and author of Staying Healthy With Nutrition.  His diet should be practiced for only three weeks.  It is not nutritionally balanced enough for longer periods.  Do not undergo it if you are pregnant or suffer from deficiency problems marked by fatigue, coldness or heart weakness.  Here is the detox diet.


Immediately upon arising, drink two glasses of water, one of them containing the juice of half of a lemon.  Also have one to two servings of fresh fruit – apples, pears, bananas, grapes or citrus fruits such as oranges or grapefruit.

About 15 to 30 minutes later, have one to two cups of cooked oatmeal, brown rice millet, amaranth or untoasted buckwheat.  For flavoring, you can add two tablespoons of fruit juice or use the Better Butter described below.

Better Butter Recipe

Stir ½ cup of canola oil (look for one labeled “cold-pressed”) into a dish with ½ pound of butter, melted or at least softened, and refrigerate.  Use about one teaspoon per meal for flavoring and don’t exceed three teaspoons per day.


Have a big bowl (up to four cups) of steamed vegetables – potatoes, yams, green beans, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, carrots, beets, asparagus, cabbage or others.  Use a variety, including stems, roots and greens.  Better Butter can also be used.  Then refrigerate the water from the vegetables for later use.

Within two hours, slowly drink one to two cups of the water from the steamed vegetables, mixing each mouthful with saliva. You can add a little sea salt or kelp for flavoring.


Same as lunch, with a variety of vegetables.

Evening (After Dinner)

No food at all, but you can have non-caffeinated herbal teas such as peppermint, chamomile or blends.  No caffeinated beverages.

Throughout the day, feeling s of hunger should be satisfied by drinking plenty of water and eating pieces of carrot or celery.  If you are feeling very fatigued or if hunger persists, then you may add up to four ounces of protein, such as fish, organic chicken, lentils or garbanzo, mung or black beans.  Optimally this should be eaten mid-afternoon, around 3:00 or 4:00.

Again, this is a detoxification diet only and is to cleanse the body and re-establish nutritional balance needed for optimum health.  Do not practice the diet for more than three weeks and do not undergo it if you are pregnant or suffer from deficiency problems.

In a restaurant, opt for steamed, grilled or broiled dishes instead of those that are friend or sautéed.

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Vary your veggies. Eat more dark green veggies, such as broccoli, kale, and other dark leafy greens; orange veggies, such as carrots, sweetpotatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash; and beans and peas, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, split peas, and lentils.

Read the Nutrition Facts label on foods. Look for foods low in saturated fats and trans fats. Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little salt (sodium) and/or added sugars (caloric sweeteners).

If you eat 100 more food calories a day than you burn, you’ll gain about 1 pound in a month. That’s about 10 pounds in a year. The bottom line is that to lose weight, it’s important to reduce calories and increase physical activity.

Know the facts about what you are purchasing to eat.  Read labels carefully.

Most packaged foods have a Nutrition Facts label. For a healthier you, use this tool to make smart food choices quickly and easily. Try these tips:

•Keep these low: saturated fats,transfats, cholesterol, and sodium.

• Get enough of these: potassium, fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron.

• Use the % Daily Value (DV) column when possible: 5% DV or less is low, 20% DV or more is high.

Look at the serving size and how many servings you are actually consuming. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients, including the % DVs.

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Make your calories count. Look at the calories on the label and compare them with what nutrients you are also getting to decide whether the food is worth eating. When one serving of a single food item has over 400 calories per serving, it is high in calories.

Don’t sugarcoat it. Since sugars contribute calories with few, if any, nutrients, look for foods and beverages low in added sugars. Read the ingredient list and make sure that added sugars are not one of the first few ingredients. Some names for added sugars (caloric sweeteners) include sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, maple syrup, and fructose.

Know your fats. Look for foods low in saturated fats,transfats, and cholesterol to help reduce the risk of heart disease (5% DV or less is low, 20% DV or more is high). Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Keep total fat intake between 20% to 35% of calories.

Reduce sodium (salt), increase potassium.

Research shows that eating less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (about 1 tsp of salt) per day may reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Most of the sodium people eat comes from processed foods, not from the saltshaker. Also look for foods high in potassium, which counteracts some of sodium’s effects on blood pressure.

Remember there is no substitute for your physician.  Make certain that you clear any new treatments with him before embarking on any radical health changes you are anticipating.


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Conquering Cellulite!

Conquering Cellulite

Table of Contents

Introduction To Cellulite

What Is Cellulite?

Cures & Treatments

Drugs or Cosmetics?

Topical Treatment

Body Wrapping

Electric Muscle Stimulation




DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for

educational and informational purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a

substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek

the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions

you may have regarding a medical condition.  Never disregard professional medical

advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA approved they must be

accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement

has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose,

treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

Introduction To Cellulite

In our never ending search for the illusive “Fountain of Youth,” nothing strikes a chord like the term “cellulite.”  Interestingly, the term “cellulite” was first introduced to us by a fashion magazine.  That fact is sufficient to generate speculation among opposing sides to this controversial subject.

What we endeavor to present here is an overview of the facts surrounding “cellulite” with an eye toward education.  We make no recommendations nor endorsements as to the efficacy of any products that may be mentioned, nor do we recommend or endorse any particular treatments that we might discuss.

We hope to present the pros and cons of the arguments and allow you to make your own determination and course of action.

It is interesting to note that nearly two decades ago, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)  stated that “there is no medical condition known or described as cellulite in this country.”

Because there is no official medical term for the conditions, does that mean that there can be a “cure?”  Apparently so, as evidenced by the thousands of products and procedures available to combat the condition.

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What Is Cellulite?

Cellulite is a term that is used to describe fat deposits under the skin that outwardly give the skin a dimpled, or orange-peel like appearance. Cellulite is most often seen in women because the fat is arranged in large chambers separated by columns of collagen fibers.

Fibrous strands of tissue connect your skin to deeper tissue layers, creating compartments of ordinary fat cells. When the fat cells increase in size, the compartments bulge and produce the dimpling appearance on your skin.

In overweight people excess fat is stuffed in these compartments causing them to bulge out. On the surface of the skin the bulging provides the dimply appearance of cellulite, especially in areas such as the hips, buttocks or thighs.

Oddly enough, cellulite is predetermined by genetics so even thin women can develop the appearance.  Factors such as hormones, pregnancy, and aging may all attribute to the weakening of the collagen fibers to give the cellulite appearance.

Even people diagonosed as the “morbidly obese” are not necessarily genetically pre-disposed to cellulite and may display no symptoms at all.

It is important to note that even though it is unsightly, cellulite is normal for many women and some men as well.  The dimpling appears to be less obvious when the subject has thicker skin which further enforces the genetic predisposition.  As the body ages, the skin becomes thinner and there is nothing that can be done for that natural aging process.

Cures –& Treatment Options

If our research indicates that cellulite is not recognized as a disease, is there no such thing as a “cure?”  We aren’t here to make that determination.  That is something the reader should pursue for him or herself.    Whether there is or is not a “cure,” there are various methods of treatment and we will endeavor to review them for you with an eye toward “Conquering Cellulite.”

All you need to do is begin a search for information about cellulite and you will find yourself bombarded with commercial messages.  There are hundreds of sources all claiming to reduce or eliminate the ravages of cellulite, and “for only $xxxxx you too can rid yourself of this condition.”

The most widely advertised methods we have found are topical creams and/or ointments, body wrapping, electronic muscle stimulation and liposuction.  Let’s review them beginning with topicals.

Topical Treatments

Numerous products are available to consumers that are promoted in the area of “skin care products” and/or “thigh creams.”  Some of the claims are:

♣ Increased collagen production

♣ Strengthening collagen and elastin fibers

♣ Cellulite reduction through cellular stimulation to release stored fat

♣ Weight reduction through appetite suppression, increased metabolism, and fat burning

♣ Reduced water retention.

When is a topical considered a drug or a cosmetic?  That’s a difficult question.

According to the government drugs, unlike cosmetics, alter the structure or function of the body.  Here’s where it gets really confusing.   If the manufacturers claim that thigh creams or other topical treatments eliminate cellulite, is that considered as “altering the structure or function of the body?”

We don’t have the answer to that question nor are we in a position to present a plausible argument either way.

What we do know, is that many people have hidden allergies.  These allergies only surface when the individual comes in contact with a “new” trigger.  Some of the thigh creams and other topical  products contain an ingredient that can be potentially harmful for certain individuals.  We will discuss that in just a moment.

Before you use any new topical treatment, you should “test” the product on a small area of skin and give yourself sufficient time to observe any reactions.

You should also carefully read product labels and follow directions.  If it contains an allergen that you already know affects you, obviously you won’t want to use that particular product.

Persons who suffer from asthma need to pay particular attention.  “Aminophylline,” an approved prescription drug used in the treatment of asthma, is an ingredient used in many thigh cream products that marketers claim will dissolve the fat and smooth the skin.

Since some individuals suffer from allergic reactions to ethylenediamine, a component of aminophylline, there is some concern and these people may wish to avoid these products so that they don’t develop a sensitization (become allergic) to aminophylline.

For these and other reasons the government argues that the majority of “topical agents and thigh creams” should be regulated as drugs.  They further dispute the efficacy of these creams.  As we said earlier, that isn’t our determination to make.

Some dermatologists and clinicians have a differing point of view.  One such practice conducted an abstract study wherein they used a “double-blinded randomized trial.”  This means that neither the clinicians conducting the test nor the subjects, knew which of a particular topical agent they were testing.

Twenty women with a moderate degree of cellulite on the buttocks and/or thighs were entered into a four-week, double-blinded, randomized trial where an anti-cellulite cream was applied to the affected sites on a nightly basis.

Some of them were randomly selected to use a neoprene garment on either leg.  High quality digital photography was used to photograph them from different angles before and after four weeks of treatment.

17 of the subjects actually completed the study.  Of those 17, 76% saw overall improvement in their cellulite.   54% reported even greater improvement on the thigh that used the special garment.

The dermatological evaluators found an improvement in 65% of treated legs with the garment and 59% of treated legs without the garment.

Further, the evaluators found the thighs using the garment showed greater improvement than those that did not in 65% of subjects. The topical agent used in this study was found to be effective in reducing the appearance of cellulite and the neoprene garment enhanced the effect of this topical agent in cellulite reduction.

The dermatological evaluators claim that the success of this study validates the garment used to enhance the topical agent used.

Your writer makes no claims as to the validity of the above test or the arguments set forth by the government.  Both present valid points of view.

Also take note that we have no idea of the “brand names” of the products involved.  Again, you might want to check the contents of any product you may be considering.

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Body Wrapping

Many spas and salons offer a process called “body wrapping.”  This procedure claims to remove inches from the waist, thighs, hips or other parts of the body.  The process includes the use of special wraps or clothing and can sometimes be used with special lotions or creams that are applied to the skin.

Customers are usually told that they can lose “inches” as opposed to pounds and that fat will melt away bringing about a loss of inches in about an hour.  One of the claims is that wrapping will work because cellulite is “water logged fatty tissue.”

What overweight person wouldn’t love to find a product that will render them slim and trim while they sleep?

Unfortunately, many people think that body wrapping is a relatively “new” procedure and jump on the bandwagon quickly.  The truth is that the body wrapping craze has been around for some time.

Over two decades ago, government “watchdogs” reported:

“Who can blame the fretfully flabby for being lured by the promise of losing inches without doing anything more strenuous than popping a pill or wrapping up the offending flesh? Who can resist ads for body wraps that promise ‘to burn away fat even while you sleep,’ to ‘lose 4-6 inches the first day?”

What do these wraps consist of?

Some are plastic or rubber garments worn around the waist, some cover the waist, hips and thighs, and others cover nearly the entire body.

Some are to be worn while carrying out routine activities, others while exercising, and some while sleeping. One is inflated with air from a vacuum cleaner. Another uses an electric hair dryer to blow in warm air. Some are used after a cream, gel or lotion is applied or after the wrap is soaked in a solution.

The garments and wraps, with or without lotions and creams, say that they reduce body dimensions by removing fluids. Most medical experts agree that such treatment will cause a loss of inches and perhaps pounds due to profuse perspiration. But the reductions are temporary. The fluid is soon replaced by drinking or eating.

Remember, rapid and excessive fluid loss is potentially dangerous because it can bring on severe dehydration and can upset the balance of important electrolytes in the body.  Reputable spas are aware of any potential hazards such as this, so do your homework and select a spa with a good reputation.

Some people have tried using “plastic wrap” as body wrap material.  In fact, that was a very popular practice several decades ago.

Body wrapping has evolved since those days, becoming much more sophisticated.  Prices for a body wrap range anywhere from $40 an hour up to as much as several thousand dollars at some of the upscale spas.

Some advertising claims that body wrapping will eliminate, or at the least reduce, cellulite but we’ll leave that up to you to determine.  What we can tell you is that visiting a spa or salon for body wrapping may be a wonderfully rejuvenating experience, leaving you rested, relaxed and refreshed.

And who wouldn’t like to have a few hours being pampered and fussed over in a relaxing environment regardless if it helps the cellulite problem.

Some spas advertise herbal and other natural wraps.  In fact, the methods and products applied are widely varied.  Let’s explore some of the components that make up a good “wrap” experience.

Herbal wraps.  Some of the higher end spas go so far as to grow their own “herbs” for use in their body wraps, but that isn’t necessary for a good body wrap experience.  Herbs can be fresh, or dried and usually organically grown is best.

Each herb has a specific effect.  Some increase circulation, another may soothe the skin and so on.

The herbs are steeped in very hot water (almost boiling) then special muslin sheets are soaked in the solution.  It is these herb-infused sheets along with other insulating layers that wrap around the body.

How the treatments work is interesting.  The goal is to create a condition not unlike your body when you have a fever.   We all know that when we have a fever, our body eliminates toxins by sweating.

It’s the same principle with body wraps.  The results vary.  Some people report a very intense detoxification while for others it might be mild.

Methods of application and content vary as well.   Seaweed, mud and salt are popular body wraps.  Most often, the subject is wrapped from neck to toe with the arms set close to the sides of the body.  This can be uncomfortable for someone who suffers from claustrophobia.

The easiest correction for this is to keep the arms free from the wrap.  Most people who are claustrophobic find the works and that all they need to be able to feel free to remove themselves if they choose.

Whatever type of body wrap you select make certain that you feel comfortable with the spa and that a technician is always close at hand.

Care should be taken when selecting a salon or spa.   Some things to consider:

♣ How long have they been offering body wraps?

♣ Do they have a licensed clinician whose sole purpose is massage and/or body wraps?

♣ Where do their herbs and other contents come from?

♣ Do they offer any special pricing for new clients?

♣ Will they allow a tour of their facilities prior to purchase?

♣ Have they had any unresolved complaints reported by the Better Business Bureau?

♣ Do they have any package pricing for multiple visits?

Watch your local publications for coupon offers.  This can be a good way to try out a service at a bargain.   Ask your friends if they have had a body wrapping experience and whether they enjoyed it and what kind of results did they experience.  You may even want to check for “two for one” specials and try it out with a friend!

Whether the experience reduces your cellulite or not, if you follow the guidelines you are in for a pleasant experience.  Who knows, you might just like it enough to include it in your long term personal care budget!

Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS)

We will discuss two different types of EMS equipment.  The first is a procedure that sends electrical current to muscle and fatty tissue.  The second is the use of a “massage like” piece of equipment.

Physicians have used electrical muscle stimulation using approved devices for some time.  They are a legitimate process approved for specific conditions.  Some of those conditions are

♣ Increase blood circulation

♣ Prevent blood clots

♣ Relax muscle spasms

♣ And rehabilitate muscle function after a stroke

Providers of EMS equipment for consumer use will tell you that the process will:

♣ Reduce breast size

♣ Remove wrinkles

♣ Do face lifts

♣ Reduce bellies

♣ Remove cellulite

There is no clinical evidence that proves such claims, but we will endeavor to briefly explain how this process works according to the providers.

The premise is that using EMS, the brain sends a nerve impulse to the “motor point” of the muscle you desire to change.  This signal is a message to the muscle to expand and contract.

Electrodes are placed on specific motor points of the  muscle group(s) to be exercised.  When the electrical stimulation is applied through the electrodes using a mild current the muscle will expand and contract.  The theory is that this makes it possible to duplicate regular exercise without the effort using conventional means.

During your conventional exercise, your brain is sending messages down the spinal cord through the nerves with the muscles you are using, causing them to relax and contract.  Your brain is controlling the muscle using what is called voluntary muscle action.

EMS uses the outside electrical source to stimulate the nerves and send signals to your muscle to expand and contract.  It send an electrical current through adhesive electrodes creating the expansion and contraction.    This would be considered involuntary muscle action.

It is believed by some that EMS stimulates large nerve axons, or long outgrowths of a nerve cell body.  Some of these cannot be stimulated voluntarily so the logic is that EMS might allow for increased development of tissue by enlarging it without multiplying cells.

The second piece of equipment is a “massage like” device.  We will not mention the name as it is trademarked and it is not our intent to provide advertising for any specific method of equipment.

They claim to have the first FDA approved device for temporarily reducing the appearance of cellulite.  The process is what they term a “subdermal” approach for temporarily  reducing the appearance of cellulite.

It consists of a hand held motorized device with two adjustable rollers and suction which creates a symmetrical skin-fold.  They state that, “the skin gently folds and unfolds under the continuous action of the rollers allowing for smooth and regulated deep tissue mobilization.

As the viscosity of the subcutaneous fat layer decreases, blood flow and lymphatic drainage increase, facilitating the elimination of excess fluid and metabolites, while improving overall cellular function.”

This is supposed to help you to reduce cellulite and probably brew your morning coffee!

All joking aside, if not used properly these devices can produce harmful effects.  Because they border on “snake oil salesman” techniques in their advertising and claims, our suggestion is to go ahead and research them but buyer beware.

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Finally we arrive at the granddaddy of all procedures – liposuction.

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure intended to remove fat deposits and shape the body. Fat is removed from under the skin with the use of a vacuum-suction canula (a hollow pen-like instrument) or using an ultrasonic probe that emulfsies (breaks up into small pieces) the fat and then removes it with suction.

Persons with localized fat may decide to have liposuction to remove fat from just one specific area. Liposuction is a procedure for shaping the body and is not recommended for weight loss.

Liposuction may be performed on the abdomen, hips, thighs, calves, arms, buttocks, back, neck, or face. A liposuction procedure may include more than one site, for instance, the abdomen, back, and thighs all on the same day.

Who performs liposuction and where is it performed?

Most liposuction procedures are performed by plastic surgeons or dermatologists.  However, all that is required to perform liposuction is a medical degree, so any licensed physician may perform liposuction.

This can be a bit discomforting because it means that even a “podiatrist” can legally perform liposuction procedures without any specialty training.

It’s a good idea to find out all you can about a particular physician before considering him or her to perform your procedure.  Check with your local licensing board, ask your physician how many procedures like yours has he/she done and can you see before and after photographs.

Don’t be afraid to ask your physician probing questions.  Remember, you are paying for a service and you deserve to know the answers to any questions.  Ask him for in depth explanations of what your procedure consists of and what your prognosis is for healing.

Don’t have unrealistic expectations.  The recent “make over” craze on television gives the impression that anyone and everyone is a candidate for a make over.  Don’t enter into a decision based on what you see on television.

The patients you see on television are the very best candidates in terms of health and other factors.  They are selected based on the fact that their “before” and “after” will show drastic results.  That just isn’t true for the average person.

If you expect to come out of liposuction looking like Britney Spears, you will be very disappointed.  That is not to say that you can’t expect results.  More than likely you will and the end result will give you a younger look.  Just don’t expect unrealistic results.

Some professional medical organizations recommend special training for physicians, it isn’t required by law.  So the more information you can determine, the safer you can feel about your procedure.

Liposuction is a surgical procedure, so remember even the best screened patients under the care of the best trained and experienced physicians may experience complications as a result of liposuction.

Liposuction may be performed in a

♣ Doctors office

♣ Surgical center

♣ Hospital

Because liposuction is a surgical procedure, it is important that it be performed in a clean environment. Emergencies may arise during any surgery and access to emergency medical equipment and/or a nearby hospital emergency room is important. These are things that you should ask your physician before the liposuction procedure.

Be wary of advertisements that say or imply that you will have a perfect appearance after liposuction. Yes, back to those realistic expectations.  Remember that advertisements are meant to sell you a product or service, not to inform you of all the potential problems with that service.

Don’t base your decision simply on cost and remember that you don’t have to settle for the first doctor or procedure you investigate. The decision you make about liposuction surgery is an important one but not one that you must make right away.

You should learn as much as you can about liposuction. It is important for you to read the patient information that your doctor provides.

Do not feel that because you speak to a physician about this procedure that you must go through with it. Take your time to decide whether liposuction is right for you and whether you are willing to take the risks of undergoing liposuction for its benefits.

Visit several physicians if it will help you make the right decision.  Initial consultations are generally free and it can be helpful and enlightening to have several different opinions.  It can also help you to make an intelligent decision based on all the facts.  Selecting a physician that you feel comfortable with should be a main concern.

When is Liposuction not for me?

It may not be for you if you are not accustomed to taking risks.  Complications can arise and are unavoidable in a percentage of all patients.

Cost is a huge factor to take under consideration.  Since liposuction is primarily considered “cosmetic,” most medical insurance companies will not pay for the procedure placing the burden directly on you.

If you are considering liposuction as a means to lose weight, then liposuction is not for you.  This is a procedure designed to shape the body and is not recommended for losing weight.

If you are on certain medications that affect healing this may not be a procedure you should risk.  Some of the considerations are:

♣ Current infection

♣ History of bleeding

♣ Heart disease

♣ Edema

♣ Blood clotting medications

♣ Anti-inflammatory agents

♣ Anti-coagulants

♣ Any medications that may interact with the drugs used during liposuction.

Your skin elasticity may not be adequate.  Your doctor will evaluate the skin at the site where you are considering liposuction to determine if skin is elastic enough to shrink after liposuction.

If it is not, it will be baggy after liposuction.  This may cause you to have to consider plastic surgery to eliminate the excess skin.

Our analysis of liposuction would not be complete without pointing out some of the risks involved.

As a general rule, most patients are pleased with the outcome of their liposuction surgery. However, like any other medical procedure, there are risks involved. That’s why it is important for you to understand the limitations and possible complications of liposuction surgery.

Before you have liposuction, you should be aware of these risks and should weigh the risks and benefits based on your own personal value system. Try to avoid being influenced by friends that have had the procedure or doctors encouraging you to do so. Decide for yourself whether you are willing to take the risks involved in liposuction.

Take your time deciding if you are willing to accept the risks inherent in liposuction. Because it is usually a cosmetic procedure, and not medically necessary, there is no reason to rush.

Gather as much information as you can so that you make an informed decision about whether liposuction is right for you. Don’t believe that complications “only happen to other people.” It is important for you to understand what the risks are and decide if you are willing to accept the possibility that it might happen to you.

What are some possible complications?

Infections may happen after any surgery and may occur after liposuction.  Some physicians prescribe an antibiotic to all patients undergoing liposuction but other physicians do not. It is important to keep the wound(s) clean but even if you do, infections may sometimes occur from the surgery.

Sometimes, infections may be serious or life threatening such as in cases of necrotizing fasciitis (bacteria eat away at the tissue) or with toxic shock syndrome, a serious, sometimes fatal infection caused by a bacteria, that is associated with surgery (you may have heard of toxic shock syndrome occurring in women using tampons, also).

Embolism may occur when fat is loosened and enters the blood through blood vessels ruptured (broken) during liposuction. Pieces of fat get trapped in the blood vessels, gather in the lungs, or travel to the brain.

The signs of pulmonary emboli (fat clots in the lungs) may be shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. If you have the signs or symptoms of fat emboli after liposuction, it is important for you to seek emergency medical care at once. Fat emboli may cause permanent disability or, in some cases, be fatal.

Puncture wounds to the organs.  During liposuction, the physician is unable to see where the canula or probe is.

It is possible to puncture or damage internal organs during liposuction. This may happen, for instance, if the intestines are punctured during abdominal liposuction. When organs are damaged, surgery may be required to repair them. Visceral perforations may also be fatal.

After liposuction, there may be a pooling of serum, the straw colored liquid from your blood, in areas where tissue has been removed.

You may experience “paresthesias” which is an altered sensation at the site of the liposuction. This may either be in the form of an increased sensitivity (pain) in the area, or the loss of any feeling (numbness) in the area. If these changes in sensation persist for a long period of time (weeks or months) you should inform your physician. In some cases, these changes in sensation may be permanent.

Swelling may occur after liposuction. In some cases, swelling may persist for weeks or months after liposuction.

The skin above the liposuction site may become necrotic or “die.” When this happens, skin may change color and be sloughed (fall) off.  Large areas of skin necrosis may become infected with bacteria or microorganisms.

During ultrasound assisted liposuction, the ultrasound probe may become very hot and can cause burns.

Fat tissue, which contains a lot of liquid, is removed during liposuction. Also, physicians may inject large amounts of fluids during liposuction. This may result in a fluid imbalance.

While you are in the physician’s office, surgical center or hospital, the staff will be watching you for signs of fluid imbalance. However, this may happen after you go home and can result in serious conditions such as heart problems, excess fluid collecting in the lungs, or kidney problems as your kidneys try to maintain fluid balance.

Toxicity from anesthesia is a risk factor.  Lidocaine, a drug that numbs the skin, is frequently used as a local anesthetic during liposuction. You may have had a similar drug, novocaine, to numb your mouth at the dentist.

Large volumes of liquid with lidocaine may be injected during liposuction. This may result in very high doses of lidocaine. The signs of this are lightheadedness, restlessness, drowsiness, tinnitis (a ringing in the ears), slurred speech, metallic taste in the mouth, numbness of the lips and tongue, shivering, muscle twitching and convulsions.

Lidocaine toxicity may cause the heart to stop. Of course, this can be fatal. In general, any type of anesthesia may cause complications and is always considered a risk during any surgery.

There are numerous reports of deaths related to the liposuction procedure. Although it is difficult to be sure how often death from liposuction happens, there are several studies that estimate how often patients undergoing liposuction die during the procedure or as a result of it. None of the studies is perfect so the results are just estimates.

Some of the studies indicate that the risk of death due to liposuction is as low as 3 deaths for every 100,000 liposuction operations performed. However, other studies indicate that the risk of death is between 20 and 100 deaths per 100,000 liposuction procedures.

One study suggests that the death rate is higher in liposuction surgeries in which other surgical procedures are also performed at the same time. In order to understand the size of the risk, one paper compares the deaths from liposuction to that for deaths from car accidents (16 per 100,000).

It is important to remember that liposuction is a surgical procedure and that there may be serious complications, including death.

Before you undergo liposuction, you should have a complete physical exam so that your doctor can determine if you are an acceptable candidate for liposuction.

It is important for you to discuss any medical conditions that you have and to tell your doctor about any medications that you are taking including any herbal or other non-prescription ones. If your doctor decides that you can have liposuction, discuss the procedure thoroughly with him or her before deciding if you want to go through with the procedure.

Just because a physician says that you may have liposuction does not mean that you must decide to have liposuction. You may still change your mind even after discussing the procedure with a physician.

Your physician should be able to answer any questions that you have about liposuction including questions about what to expect during and after liposuction and the complications or problems that sometimes occur with liposuction. Some physicians will provide written information about liposuction. You may also take information from this website to your appointment to discuss with your physician.

You may want to have someone drive you to your appointment for liposuction. You may be tired or uncomfortable after liposuction and unable to drive yourself home. Discuss this with your physician before the day of your procedure.

Your physician may prescribe an antibiotic drug for you to take before and after the surgery. This is to prevent infections.

On the day of the liposuction surgery, the physician will mark your body with a pen to indicate where the fat is to be removed. Then you will receive anesthesia, that is medicine that prevents you from feeling pain. Some physicians use only local anesthesia, that is, anesthesia that they inject with a syringe or pump into the area where they will do the liposuction.

The anesthesia medicine is injected along with a lot of fluid, usually buffered salt water and epinephrine, a drug to reduce bleeding. Large volumes of liquid may be injected, until the skin is very firm. If your physician uses only this kind of local anesthesia, also sometimes called tumescent anesthesia, then you will be awake during the procedure. Other physicians use local anesthesia and a sedative that can be taken by mouth or injected from a syringe. Still others prefer to use general anesthesia, that is to use anesthesia that will put you to sleep during the procedure. This is usually done in a hospital.

Once the anesthesia is working, the physician will make an incision (cut) in the area where the liposuction will be performed. A canula, a hollow tube that is about the size and shape of a skinny pen, will be inserted into the incision. The physician moves this canula back and forth to suction out the fat. The fat, and liquid that has been injected, are collected in a flask.

The physician will monitor the amount of fluid and fat that are removed. Because you will be losing liquid and fat from your body, it may be necessary to replace some of that fluid. This is done with an intravenous (i.v.) line for the replacement of fluid.

Depending upon the amount of fat removed and the location of the surgery (doctor’s office, surgical center, hospital), you may leave the doctor’s office soon after the surgery or you may spend the night in the surgical center or hospital. Ask your doctor how long it will be before you should be able to return to your normal level of activity or if you will need to miss work after liposuction.

The cuts where the doctor inserted the canula may be leaky or drain fluids for several days. In some cases, the doctor may insert a drainage tube to drain fluid away from the wound.

You will wear special tight garments to keep your skin compressed after the liposuction procedure. Your doctor will tell you how long to wear these, usually for weeks. Some doctors provide these garments but others will tell you where to purchase them before your surgery.

Your doctor will also probably give you some after-surgery instructions. This will include information about wearing compression garments, taking an antibiotic if that has been prescribed, and the level of activity that is safe for you after your liposuction procedure. You should also have information about signs of problems that you should be aware of, for instance the signs of infections or other problems that you need to know about.

When the anesthesia wears off, you may have some pain. If the pain is extreme or of a long duration, you should contact your physician. You will also have some swelling after the surgery. In some cases, this swelling will remain for weeks or even months. If you have pain and swelling, this may be the sign of infection and you should contact your physician.

You will have scars, usually small, where the physician cuts your skin and inserts the canula to remove fat tissue.

While medical complications are important, the reason that people have liposuction surgery is for cosmetic reasons. The cosmetic effect after liposuction may be very good and many patients report being satisfied.

However, it is possible that the cosmetic effect will not be what you expected. In other words, your appearance after liposuction may not be what you expected or wanted.

Some physicians counsel their patients that reasonable expectations are important. It may be difficult to have reasonable expectations after reading advertisements and looking at pictures of women and men who have had liposuction.

We discussed this earlier, but remember that advertising is made to make you want to purchase a product or service. Advertisements do not usually tell you about problems or shortcomings of the product or service.

Some cosmetic shortcomings after liposuction include:

♣ There may be scars at the site where the doctor made the cut to insert the liposuction canula. These scars are usually small and fade with time but in some people, scars may be larger or more prominent.

♣ The liposuction site may have a wavy or bumpy appearance after liposuction.

♣ Liposuction results may not be permanent. If you gain weight after liposuction surgery, the fat may return to sites where you had liposuction or to other sites.

♣ Results may be less dramatic than what you were expecting and this can be disappointing.

What Are Some Of The Alternatives

Are there alternatives to liposuction for cellulite reduction?  With the occasional rare exception, liposuction is usually considered cosmetic surgery.  Therefore it is not considered medically necessary.

Because of this, the decision is up to you whether or not to undergo this procedure.  You may decide that it is not right for you.  And you can make that determination right up to the point of actually having the procedure.

Some of the alternatives to liposuction are:

♣ Change diet to lose some excess body fat.

♣ Exercise.

♣ Accept your body and appearance as it is.

♣ Use clothing or makeup to downplay or emphasize body or facial features.

♣ Try some of the other methods that we discussed such as topicals or body wrapping.

Whatever method you select to deal with cellulite, make certain that you have done your due diligence and select the most appropriate method with the least amount of risk to obtain the results you desire.

There really is no substitute for good, old-fashioned, healthy nutrition and exercise.  The tried and true methods do work:

1. Watch your diet.

2. Incorporate fresh and natural foods into your diet.

3. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

4. Limit the consumption of caffeine and alcohol

5. Avoid high fat foods.

6. Get plenty of fiber.

7. Quit or cut down on smoking.

8. Avoid medications not necessary to health and well being.

9. Get plenty of exercise.

Following a regimen of good health, nutrition and exercise will rid your body of excess toxins and promote a general state of health that is optimum for pursuing any program for dealing with cellulite.

We have spent a great deal of time discussing the various options for Conquering Cellulite.  The bottom line is that you may not be able to do that!

You have learned that genetics dictate whether you have a predisposition for the condition.  If you do, there is no amount of money or procedures that can prevent it from happening to you.

Some of the treatments we presented may help in reducing the problem but they certainly won’t eliminate it totally if you carry the gene.

By all means do your own research to determine if any of the treatments or methods we’ve mentioned here might help you.  Again, all we recommend is that you have realistic expectations.

We have used terminology that might be somewhat new and unfamiliar.  For that reason we are including a Glossary of Terms and we hope you find that helpful in addition to our recommended resources.

Lastly, think twice or three times before investing huge amounts of cash for so-called treatments or cures.  You are now armed with the most important tool you need on your journey to Conquering Cellulite. That tool is knowledge!  Use it wisely!

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Aminophylline – an approved prescription drug for the treatment of asthma.

Anesthetic – drugs that cause the loss of feeling or sensation.

Canula (or cannula) – a hollow pen-like instrument or tube used to draw off fluid.

Cellulite – Fat deposits under the skin that outwardly give the skin a dimpled, or orange-peel like appearance.

Cosmetic(s)-a toiletry designed to beautify the body; decorative rather than functional.

Edema – swelling caused by large amount of fluid in cells or tissues.

Emboli – something that blocks a blood vessel. See embolism.

Embolism – the blocking of a blood vessel or organ by pieces of matter such as fat.

EMS – Electrical Muscle Stimulator

Emulsify – to break up into small pieces.

Epinephrine – a drug injected before liposuction to reduce bleeding during the procedure.

Ethylenediamine – an ingredient in the approved prescription drug Aminophylline.

Genetics – The study of heredity and how traits are passed on through generations; the branch of biology that studies heredity and variation in organisms.

Infection – invasion by and multiplication of bacteria or microorganisms that can produce tissue injury.

Morbidly Obese – Persons who are 50-100% or 100 pounds above their ideal body weight.

Lidocaine – an anesthetic that may be injected in large amounts of liquid during liposuction.

Lipoplasty – another name for liposuction.

Liposuction – a usually cosmetic surgical procedure in which fat is removed from a specific area of the body, by means of suction.

Necrotizing Faciitis – a bacterial infection in which bacteria infect and kill the skin and underlying tissues.

Paresthesia – a change in feelings or sensation. May be an increase in feeling (pain) or a decrease in feeling (numbness).

Pulmonary embolism – pieces of fat may find their way into the blood stream and get stuck in the lungs during liposuction. This causes shortness of breath or trouble breathing.

Probe – see canula.

Sedative – a drug which helps a person to relax and may make them feel sleepy.

Seroma – a collection of fluid from the blood that has pooled at the liposuction site.

Skin necrosis – skin or underlying tissue dies and falls off.

Subcutaneous – beneath the skin as in subcutaneous injection.

Subdermal – another term for beneath the skin.

Suction assisted liposuction – see liposuction.

Thrombophlebitis – inflammation of a vein caused by a blood clot.

Topical – logical application; as, a topical remedy.

Toxic Shock Syndrome – an infection caused by bacteria that release toxins into the body. This type of infection can occur after surgery if bacteria are accidentally introduced during the surgery.

Ultrasound assisted liposuction – a type of liposuction in which fat is first loosened by using an ultrasonic probe and then removed by means of suction.

Visceral perforations – organs may be punctured accidentally with the liposuction probe or canula during liposuction.


American Academy of Dermatology

1350 I St. NW, Suite 870

Washington, DC 20005-4355

(202) 842-3555

(202) 842-4355 Fax

American Society for Dermatologic Surgery

5550 Meadowbrook Dr.  Suite 120

Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

Phone: 847-956-0900

Fax 847-956-0999

American Association of Plastic Surgeons

900 Cummings Center Suite 221-U

Beverly, MA 01915

Phone: 978-927-8330

Fax: 978-524-8890

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