vitamins, alternative medicine, antioxidants

Vitamin Stuff Blog

A Health, Nutrition, and Alternative Medicine Blog

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Prevention is Key to Fighting Age-related Macular Degeneration

Written by Sandra Emmi

Age-related macular degeneration is a potentially devastating eye disease affecting nearly 2 million people in the United States, a number that is expected to double as the population ages.

However, there are several lifestyle changes that people can make to avoid the onset of this disease, which destroys vision by damaging the central portion of the retina. The onset of macular degeneration can be slow or rapid, and can occur in otherwise healthy individuals. Left untreated, AMD progresses to the point where people are left legally blind and unable to read, drive, or take part in other daily living activities that often taken for granted.

What can you do to fight age-related macular degeneration? For starters, do not smoke. Smoking decreases oxygen in the body, and the eyes of those with age-related macular degeneration are already suffering from a lack of oxygen.

You should also be sure to get plenty of eye-healthy nutrients in your diet. Diets high in leafy green vegetables and fish, nuts, or other sources of omega-3 fats are good for vision, and research shows that certain supplements may help ward off eye disease as well.

A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women over 40 who took of folic acid and vitamin B-6

and vitamin B-12 supplements over the course of seven years were at less risk of developing AMD. However, Emily Chew, one of the researchers at the National Eye Institute who conducted the study, said that more information was necessary before a firm link between these supplements and the prevention of AMD could be established, as it was uncertain if all of the women in the study had the regular eye examinations necessary to detect vision problems.

Another 2001 study found that a supplement cocktail containing vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper could stop the progression of AMD in those who were already getting a buildup of drusen (yellow deposits under the retina that are indicative of moderate AMD).

Women are more likely to get AMD, as are whites, those who are overweight, and those with a family history of the disease. Of course, everyone over 40 should have their eyes examined by an ophthalmologist, and those over 65 should do this every year. Regular eye exams can help catch the disease early, which greatly improves the odds that medical treatment will be effective.

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What is Watsu?

Written by Tena Moore

You may have heard of shiatsu, but have you heard of watsu? Watsu was created in 1980 by Harold Dull while he was practicing Zen Shiatsu. Harold found that combining shiatsu (Japanese bodywork involving pressure point massage), water, deep breathing and stretching offered a unique healing combination. Some call it ‘water breath dance’. Watsu means ‘water’ and ‘shiatsu’.

Watsu is taught by trained instructors and is thought to be helpful for ailments such as pain, sleeplessness, stiffness, poor circulation, muscle spasms and a lowered immune system. If you are thinking about trying watsu, here is what you should expect:

1) One on one training. This is bodywork, so you can expect a session to be one-on-one, just as if you were getting a massage or Reiki.

2) Water. The water will only be waist deep and it will be a very comfortable 98.6 F – just like your body.

3) Deep Breathing. Breathing exercises are an integral part of watsu. Expect to focus on deep breathing and body awareness.

4) Stretching. The teacher will guide you through a sequence of gentle stretches, poses and movements.

5) Pressure on Your Meridians. There are pressure points located along your body. These are the same points that are stimulated by thin needles in acupuncture, but with watsu the points will be stimulated with pressure from the teachers hands. This helps remove blocked energy and assists the energy flowing through your body.

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Healthcare, Medicine, and Natural Remedies

Written by Tena Moore

Imagine that you are a doctor. You are committed to making sure your patients have the best care possible and you are committed to upholding your Hippocratic Oath, the oath you took to uphold the ethical practice of medicine. Also imagine that you have seen many studies and read a lot of research showing the effectiveness of many natural remedies and therapies that could be helpful for your patients, but under your Hippocratic Oath you are not allowed to suggest these helpful remedies to your patients. Your hands are tied.

This is what is happening to many doctors all across America who cannot suggest complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to their patients, regardless of whether or not it could be helpful for them. It is actually against the law. These restrictions keep physicians from suggesting alternative health care, thought it still seems like they are not keeping their oath, because they are also not allowed to help their patients in every way possible.

With healthcare reform on everyone’s minds, and healthcare costs increasing at an alarming rate, many are hoping for a health care integration that would allow doctors to use conventional medicine and CAM in an integrated way that allows the maximum health care possible. This issue is discussed in Dr. Mary Zennet’s book Health Care For Us All: The Transformation of U.S. Healthcare. Dr. Zennet is just one of the many that would like to see an acceptance of natural remedies in the healthcare industry.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is for informational purposes and is not medical advice. Individuals wishing to use supplements or alternative medicine therapies should consult with their doctor beforehand.

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