Relish Health!

May 2, 2010

Chill Out. Ways to Relieve Stress.

Take a deep breath before you read this post.

The most effective way to manage stress is by learning healthy coping strategies. Practice a few of the below to find what works for you. Then challenge yourself by turning them into real habits.

Relax Your Mind:

  • Write – Try writing for 10-15 minutes daily about stressful situations and how you feel about them. You can also start a stress journal to help you find out how much stress you feel. This will help you find out whats causing your stress and better ways to deal with it.
  • Express Your Feelings- Talking, laughing, crying, and expressing anger is a healthy way to relieve stress. People available to talk to include friends, family, counselor, or a member of the clergy.
  • Do Something Fun! Be creative, make some arts and crafts. Practice a hobby. Spend time with/care for pets. Volunteer. If you feel you’re too busy to do something you enjoy, make time for it. Relaxing and reducing stress levels may help you get more done in other parts of your life.
  • Stay Focused on the Present- Meditate to focus your attention on things occurring in the here and now. Breathing techniques are incorporated into this. Check out this article. Use guided imagery by imaging yourself in any setting that calms you down and helps you feel relaxed. Sometimes using audiotapes, books, or a teacher to guide can help.

Relax Your Body:

  • Exercise – Consistent exercise is one of the best ways to deal with stress. Stretching can also decrease muscle tension. If you’re having trouble getting started, try starting with walking.
  • Breathing Exercises – Deep breathing, such as roll exercises, help your mind relax. When you breathe deeply, your brain gets a message to calm down. Then the brain transmits this message all over your body. Your increased heart rate, fast breathing, high blood pressure, and other effects you feel from stress all decrease as you breathe in and out deeply. Learn more about it here.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation – This technique relaxes separate groups of muscle one by one to reduce muscle tension. Throbbing or aching back/neck pain that comes with stress benefits from this strategy.
  • Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong – They combine exercise and meditation into various techniques. Books and videos are helpful to learn them. Yoga improves how you view the world, which aids in calming the spirit and decreasing stress. Studies have shown it helps decrease blood pressure, help people with asthma breathe easier, and improve fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Tai chi and qi gong improve posture, balance, coordination, endurance, and flexibility to keep good health and quality of health. In addition, tai chi has shown to increase immunity and resistance to the shingles virus in older adults.

You can breathe a sigh of relief. Clearly there’s so many ways to relieve stress. Which works best for you?



April 30, 2010

Stress Effects- The Different Kinds & What it Does To Your Body

The best post to write during finals week? One on stress of course!

There are 2 different types of stress: Acute vs. Chronic

1.) Acute stress (short-term stress) is an instant response to a demanding/dangerous situation. The body’s stress level is dependent upon the intensity of stress, duration, and coping mechanisms. The body usually recovers quickly from this type. Factors such as frequency and keeping the body from recovering hold the body back from healing. These factors can cause arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) or heart attacks.

2.) Chronic stress (long-term stress) is caused by stressful situations lasting a long period of time, such as a difficult job or chronic diseases. Chronic stress and chronic diseases can create a cycle, in which each worsens the other.

How stress affects you is dependent on your personality, what your family has taught you about responding to stress, social support, coping strategies, how you handle stress, and how you think about stress.

Overall, stress affects your body by these features:

  • Emotional unrest
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck and/or tight shoulders
  • Back pain
  • Fast breathing
  • Sweating and/or sweaty palms
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Internal problems stress can cause this occur over time:

Immune System– worsens symptoms of chronic illnesses, such as AIDS.

Reproductive System– low fertility, erection problems, problems during pregnancy, and painful menstruation periods.

Heart– high blood pressure, arrhythmia, blood clots, atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries), coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and heart failure.

Muscles– constant tension can cause neck, shoulder, and lower back pain. It worsens rheumatoid arthritis conditions.

Stomach– worsens stomach problems such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis.

Lungs– worsens asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms.

Skin– exacerbates skin problems such as acne and psoriasis.

Just typing all this out was stressful. Yikes.


April 28, 2010

Physiology Research: Don’t Stretch (Statically) Before Working Out!

Stretch before working out! This really defies conventional thinking. is reporting that static stretching (stretching in one spot, such as traditional leg and arm stretches) is actually counterproductive by causing muscles to tighten instead of relax. Your body may think there’s a risk of overstretching, so it compensates by contracting and increasing tensity. This increased tenseness restricts how fast and freely you move, while upping the chances of injury. Various studies few years ago have proven that static stretching before playing sports causes the player to move slower and be weaker. Yikes! So what should we do? Stretch actively. Do some active stretching by warming up with a light jog or sport-specific exercise, such as kicking for football. This will increase the heart rate and blood flow to the muscles, which raises body temperature so you can access your full range of motion within control.

Research shows that active stretching that incorporates movement is more effective than static stretching. Static stretching should only be done other times of the day, such as after a workout or at the end of the day, not to prepare for training. Its recommended several times a week. Conversely, active stretches work more muscle groups, so that stretched muscle learns to extend while another muscle group is simultaneously working.

Bottom line: Maximize the benefits of stretching based on when and how you do it. Static stretching can be done at night or other times of the day, but active stretching needs to be done before a workout. Active stretches that mimic the movement of an intended activity, such as lunges for runners, before intense training keeps your body running ( pun intended) efficiently. Check it out at

April 27, 2010

Video on How to Eat Healthier (Even When You Think You Are)

Sometimes it’s easier to eat healthier with an avoiding-the-unhealthy-food approach. Here’s a very informative Youtube video that clearly shows you how. It goes into foods that may trick you into being better than they really are. Very interesting indeed.

April 26, 2010

Ugh!! I Can’t Stand It Anymore!

Get rid of those allergies! Here are some treatment options:


Antihistamines block the effects of histamine. They block histamine from attaching to receptors in blood vessels that cause the vessels to expand. Antihistamines block histamine from binding to other receptors that cause redness, swelling, itching, etc. Over the counter (OTC) meds include Benadryl,Claritin, Zyrtec, Chlor-Trimeton, Dimetane, Tavist, and Ocu-Hist (eye drops). Some prescription meds are Clarinex, Xyzal, Allegram Livostin (eye drops).


Decongestants reduce swollen nasal tissues and blood vessels after responding to allergen contact. The swollen blood vessels and nasal tissues secrete excess fluid and mucous. Decongestants relieve these symtoms of swelling, mucous secretion, congestion, and redness. OTC meds are Zyrtec-D, Sudafed, Neo-Synephrine (nasal spray), Afrin (nasal spray), and Visine (eye drops). Prescription meds include Claritin-D and Allegra-D.

Combination Allergy Drugs:

These drugs contain both antihistamines and decongestants with the aim to relieve multiple symptoms. Some combinations include allergy medicine, asthma medicine, and antihistamine eye drops with a mast cell stabilizer drug. OTC meds include Zyrtec-D, Benadryl Allergy and Sinus, and Tylenol Allergy and Sinus. Prescription meds for nasal allergies are Allegra-D, Claritin-D, and Semprex-D. Prescription meds for allergic conjuctivitis (pinkeye) are Naphcon, Vasocon, Zaditor, Patanol, and Optivar.

Steriods (Corticosteroids):

Steriods reduce inflammation and swelling from allergic reactions. They prevent and treat nasal stuffiness, sneezing, and itchy & runny noses from seasonal/year round allergies. They are available in many forms, ranging from the usual pills to inhalers to creams to eye drops. Steriods are extremely effective but must be consistently taken, even if symptoms are fairly mild one day. Some nasal steriods include Flonase, Nasonex, and Rhinocort. Some inhaled steriods are Azmacort, Flovent, and Pulmicort. These are only available via prescription. Eye drop steriods include Alrex and Dexamethasone. Oral steriods include Deltasone (prednisone).


Bronchodilators are used for asthma triggered by allergies and are only available through prescription. They relax the tightened muscle bands from around the airways. This causes them to open and let more air flow into and out of the lungs. The opened bronchial airways help clear out mucous from the lungs by allowing it to move more freely. Some bronchodilators are Ventolin, Proventil, and Pro-Air.

Mast Cell Stabilizers:

Mast cell stabilizers stop histamine from being released from mast cells. They are used to treat inflammation in bronchial tubes and other allergy symptoms. Mast cell stabilizers are also used to prevent asthma symptoms when symptoms from exercise induced asthma are present. They can also be used before being unavoidably exposed to an allergen. Some mast cell stabilizers are Intal, Tilade, Crolom, Alomide, Opticrom, and Alocril.

Leukotriene Modifiers:

Leukotriene modifiers treat nasal allergy symptoms and asthma. They block the effects of leukotrienes, which are chemicals synthesized and released as a response to allergens. They can only be obtained through a prescription. Leukotriene modifiers include Accolate, Singulair, and Zyflo.


Immunotherapy is used for people who suffer from allergies for more than three months throughout the year. Its a series of allergy shots that expose the sufferer to gradually increasing levels of the allergen so your immune system can build tolerance. They are acquired through an Immunologist and/or Allergist.

Phew! That’s the 411. Which type works best for you?


April 22, 2010

The Only Flaw of Summer – Allergies.

Filed under: Allergies! — ambience720 @ 4:20 pm
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Lately, pollen has been driving allergies up the wall! Here are tips on controlling them.

But first, why exactly are you feeling congested/sneezy/itchy? When the body encounters an allergen, the immune system releases large amounts of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, defense molecules that bind to allergens. IgE antibodies then attach to mast cells. This attachment causes them to be primed and activated. Any time in which the person encounters this allergen, it binds to the IgE antibodies attached to already primed mast cells. This signals the mast cells to unleash massive amounts of histamine and other chemicals that induce inflammation and allergy symptoms.

Tips on Managing Allergies:

  • Keep windows closed on high pollen days, which are dry and windy.
  • Use an air conditioner to filter out pollen.
  • Avoid exposure (as much as you can) to air pollution, aerosol sprays, irritating fumes.
  • Opt for wood floors instead of carpet, or steam clean the carpet floors.
  • Cut up cheesecloth of vent filters the size of vents and cover them to prevent pollen spores from escaping inside.
  • Shower immediately after coming from outside.
  • Use masks whenever working outside, such as mowing the lawn.

Now go enjoy summer!!

2 References:


Filed under: Health — ambience720 @ 2:29 pm
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Welcome to my blog!

So we all know maintaining health is important, but it’s usually so difficult to do under all of life’s stresses! We like to commonly think that we can easily put our health on hold when its most convenient for us. But the truth of the matter is our health is our first wealth; you can’t compromise it. People of all ages and races can improve their health through various approaches. This blog offers updated medical/health research that may impact your life, as well as realistic tips that will infuse your life with a healthier lifestyle. This health blog gives the opportunity to help each person achieve better health via a combination of healthy habits.

Our health is in our hands.

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