Life... Health... Reviews...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Testing… 1… 2… 3…

UNDER CONCTRUCTION!

I’ve been wanting to change the look of my blog and I’m a really big chicken about it ‘cause I’m scared I’m going to mess something up. So, you may see a lot going on around here. If you say anything amiss, please tell me. If you have any suggestions, tell me that too. I need as much help as I can get!

First thing is, with this template the tabs I had at the top are now missing in action and I have no idea how to get them back. Do you think I need them and how do I add them back myself?

Also, where can I get the cute little widget thingy to go at the top of the column for following on Twitter, Facebook and e-mail subscription?

Thanks blog friends… and please be patient. :-)

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Relieving back pain {book review}

Most of us spend an uncountable number of hours bent over computers, cell phones, desks, books and the like, which often causes neck and back strain. I know I’ve often suffered from neck and back pain due to those things and chronic pain so I seldom experience relief. In “8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back,” author Esther Gokhale reveals her method for relieving all of that pain. Gokhale developed an anthropological-based method for pain based on her observations of individuals with lower back pain. This method teaches how to sit, bend and lay in the manner of those with low incidences of back pain: our ancestors and individuals in other cultures.

Honestly, I was a bit skeptical when I received the book, but – given my own suffering from back pain as well as neck strain – I was willing to give it a try. The first thing that caught my attention, and intrigued me, about the book was the references, pictures and examples of actual people with the correct posture and stance as opposed to those with the incorrect posture and stance. Gokhale quickly explains and illustrates how we are made and how that can help, not hinder our control and healing of our posture. She writes, “If we respect our natural design, our bodies heal spontaneously, and we can function well for close to a century. Indeed, there are many populations where most people live painlessly into old age (fig.F-1).”

good bending The photographs she’s referring to show an older woman bending to gather water chestnuts and an older man bending to mold clay bricks. (Pictured here is a demonstration of the correct way to bend.) Neither individual, who are both from a different culture, experiences any negative physical impact and they have been doing that type of hard labor most of their lives. She counters this by showing how we have, in our culture, taken on a slouchy posture.

Esther headshot Gokhale’s method is not a quick and easy fix. It is an adjustment and exercises meant to correct and bring awareness over time. Here is a quick overview of eight lessons comprising her method:

  1. Stretchsitting – it’s learning to put your back into gentle traction when seated. It teaches how to sit comfortably and undoes some of the damage caused by years of hunching or swaying (arching the back).
  2. Stretchlying on back – In lesson two you learn the technique of stretchlying to elongate the spine when lying on your back, which puts the spine in gentle traction.
  3. Stacksitting – This lesson teaches the art and science of sitting, and incorporates a key concept
  4. Stretchlying on side – This lesson teaches a healthy, restful and therapeutic sleep position as opposed to sleeping on one’s side, which curls the spine into a “C” shape compressing the anterior part of the discs.
  5. Using inner corset – This involves using your muscles to protect and lengthen the spine. This powerful technique can give you additional length by contracting specific muscles in the abdomen and back to make an inner corset.
  6. Tallstanding – Learning to tallstand will enable you to stand for longer period without discomfort or fidgeting. This is achieved by aligning hips over heels with the knees and the groin area remaining soft.
  7. Hip-hinging – The simplistic explanation of this is “hinging at the hips to bend.” Gokhale says, “People who bend well usually enjoy good back health.” Successful bending involves a healthy baseline back contour, which will have been achieved by following the other lessons.
  8. Glidewalking – Glidewalking strengthens butt muscles, which in turn support pelvic anteversion, and they play a key role in balance.

good way to hold a purse A good posture, which is contrary to popular belief, is relaxed, Gokhale teaches. In her book she shows readers, through lots of illustrations, pictures and examples, how to achieve proper positioning to eliminate back pain. I am just delving into the third lesson and I’m already a 100 percent convert of her method. (Pictured here is an example of the good way to hold your purse.)

The bit I’ve learned thus far, which I have to continually remind myself to be aware of, has already made a difference in my neck and back pain. That is, when I make use of it, of course. I’m already aware of when I’m positioned incorrectly because I can feel the strain on my back. Over time, and with dedication, I’m looking forward to being pain-free. Gokhale admits that this isn’t a quick-fix method, but a change of lifestyle habit that once learned and incorporated will become a natural part of everyday life/posture.

As I was reading the book there were some areas and examples that seemed to me were against assuming yoga and pilates positions. A quick question to Esther and she cleared that up for me, “Yoga is traditionally practiced without swaying the back. Backbends, even extreme backbends, happen mainly at L5-S1, as can be seen in this [reference to the illustration in the book] cobra pose by BKS Iyengar. It's important to bend backwards only so far as your L5-S1 flexibility allows with a small amount of back bend distributed evenly throughout the rest of the spine. Compensating for stiffness at L5-S1 by arching the upper lumbar spine is counterproductive and not in the spirit of yoga.” 

She went on to explain, “Pilates is a more recent construct, and does encourage an unnatural pelvic tuck (even the instructors who teach ‘neutral spine’ teach a tucked, though less tucked pelvis). Pilates also tends to result in a lot of neck strain. One of our certified Gokhale Method Foundations instructors, who is also a pilates instructor, is in the process of modifying some of the pilates moves to make them compatible with the Gokhale Method. One of the problems with pilates is that their method is not trademarked so it is done in with a variety of interpretations. The good part is that we are free to interpret the approach in a posture-friendly way.”

Esther recommends people take up exercise they enjoy because that makes it sustainable and emphasizes that the exercise form should be posture-friendly. She also favors exercise approaches that satisfy a lot of needs at once because most of us are busy and adds that dance is her favorite form of exercise because it satisfies cardio, stretch, strengthening, social, creative and musical needs all at once.

We take a lot of time reading, studying, typing, texting, tweeting and a good amount of time exercising and doing other activities that put our spines in precarious positions, so let’s all take some time to study the “8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back.” It could be the difference between life and death… uh, I mean, pain and pain free.

Disclosure: This post is in no way comprehensive of the method and should not be used as a replacement to the book “8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back.” It is simply an informative review and should you wish further information on the method and the eight steps, purchase of the book is suggested. This post does not serve as a medical recommendation. If applicable, before engaging in this method please consult your physician. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review, but that in no way influenced my opinions – those are my own. No other compensation was received. However, any links and linked images are connected to my Amazon affiliate account to which I receive a commission on purchases. Further information can be found in my complete disclosure policy.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Just a little more bling

I’ve admitted in the past that I’m addicted to chocolate, coffee, beauty products especially skincare creams and jewelry. So, you should never be surprised when I talk about any of those things, right? Well, today I’m going to tell you about a site I think quite a few of you are familiar with and that’s ChunkyBling.com. I visited them quite a few times and drooled over the offerings.

chunkybling This site carries watches including the popular beaded watches, bracelets, necklaces (the charm necklaces are my favorite) and rings. They also have handmade jewelry including the cutest Swarovski Crystal rings. ChunkyBling.com is an easy to navigate site with clear pictures and descriptions. It’s also a great place to find a gift for a loved one.

Have you visited ChunkyBling before? If not, click on over and tell me what you would buy if you had the chance.

Disclosure: I’m writing this post as a part of ChunkyBling.com’s Blogging for Bling program. Upon approval of this post I’ll receive a coupon to get a free Swarovski Crystal ring, but that in no way influenced my opinions – those are my own. No other compensation was received. More information can be found in my complete disclosure policy.

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Searching for quality bedroom furniture

In the attempt to get my home to a comfortable, well-decorated and organized state, I’ve been “screen shopping” (window shopping online) for furniture pieces for my children. All four of my children need new beds. The three younger ones are still in toddler beds and two of them, ages 5 and 6, have limbs hanging over the sides during the night. Luckily they’re petite children so they haven’t gotten too long as of yet, but there’s only about an inch of space left.

It’d be nice to get the three girls white bedroom furniture. (That link goes to an established company in the UK that sells absolutely beautiful furniture.) I think that white wood is a universal look for all girls in every age range. Unfortunately, my 19-year-old daughter shares a room with her two younger sisters when she’s at home. I’d like a daybed for her and two twin beds or a full-size bed with a trundle. Whatever I choose it has to be affordable, stylish and well made.

I’m going to keep looking and do a lot of research so I can ensure I get the best deal. Do you know of any U.S.-based retailers that sell quality and inexpensive bedroom furniture?

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Do you floss or BrytonPick? {product review}

When it comes to my teeth and dental hygiene I don’t do the best that I could, but I normally brush two to three times per day, floss and use mouthwash. In addition to my medical issues, I know it’s really important to keep up with my dental health. That’s why when I was presented with the opportunity to test BrytonPick – thanks to TheMomBlogs.com – I  didn’t hesitate to put in my request.

brytonpick The BrytonPick, which is reusable for up to 30 days, comes in a slender little pack (about as thin as a credit card) that can easily slide into a wallet or purse. It is suggested that the first time the BrytonPick is used it should be done in front of a mirror and after a meal by gently sliding it between the teeth while avoiding contact with the lips. So, that’s exactly what I did.

The first couple of slides went fairly well. I was a little nervous because the pick part is metal – steel actually – so I had a fear that it would scrap against my teeth like the tip of a fork or something and give me the hebie jebies. I’m happy to say that didn’t happen. I also thought it would be too thick – that wasn’t a problem either. At least not with the majority of my teeth. There were a few further in the back that are really tight and since it’s a slightly flexible material I couldn’t get it into a couple of spots because it would bend a little when I tried.

For me, the downside was steering clear of my lips. I barely nicked the corner of my lip and I cut it so that’s a negative for me because I need to be able to reach all of my teeth – front and back – to do a thorough job. And I don’t want to have to worry about cutting up my lips. It’s possible that once I get used to it or use it more that that wouldn’t occur. (I’ll use it again as soon as I remember where I slipped that little thing!) When using the BrytonPick you also have to be careful of the gum area. My gums are very sensitive and normally bleed anyway (yes, I know I need to get to the dentist) so it wasn’t too shocking that touching them with the Pick caused bleeding.

Since I was sent two of them – they come in different colors – I gave one to my BF to try. He said he didn’t like it much because he couldn’t get in between his teeth in the back. I asked him whether he tried from the other side of the tooth, but he doesn’t think he did. It’s possible that had he tried to clean his tooth from the inside it would have slipped right through.

Overall opinion: Like it; don’t love it – yet! I will try it again and use it for 30 days to draw a firm conclusion.

BrytonPick Facts:

The BrytonPick, a “new and unique interdental cleaner,” is made in the USA from recyclable materials and it’s reusable because of the germ-resistant stainless steel cleaning strips. It’s designed for daily and on-the-go use, and is stylish, convenient and discreet. It’s currently available at Meijer Stores, A&P, Pathmark, Winn Dixie, C&S, Kinney Drugs, Save Mart, Pearson Dental Supply and online at CVS.com and Drugstore.com.

Check out the BrytonPick site for more information, to order or watch a video of how it’s used.

Disclosure: I received samples of BrytonPick to facilitate my review, but that in no way influenced my opinions – those are my own. No other compensation was received. (Thanks to BrytonPick and TheMomBlogs.com.) More information can be found in my complete disclosure policy.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Televisions in bedroom

For the majority of my life I’ve never want a television in my room. Wait, let me amend that. As a teenager, I had a television in my room (it was a black and white set and I remember programming the Commodore 64 that I hooked to it one Christmas) and when I was a single adult I had a television in my room sometimes. But, for the most part, I’ve kept television watching to the living room and have allowed my children to have them in their room – without cable access – to watch movies on.

After doing some reading in women’s magazines and marriage websites that talked about keys to fostering a healthy relationship I decided it would be best not to have a television in the master bedroom because it should be a sanctuary for sleep or a playground for lovemaking.

I still believe the same thing… sort of. Since RP and I have been together we’ve used my laptop to watch movies on before bedtime and I’ve been thinking it would be nice to have 50 inch tv mounted on the wall for our viewing pleasure. Well, maybe it doesn't have to be that large, but it’d be nice to snuggle and enjoy a movie we both want to watch while relaxing in bed.

Can you imagine having a 50 inch plasma tv on your bedroom wall? Do you have one in your bedroom? If so, how often do you watch it and what type is it?

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