If You’re Choking And No One Is There To Help, This Simple Trick Could Save Your Life.

It’s a scary scenario: You’re by yourself when and all of a sudden, food becomes lodged in your throat and you begin to choke. The Heimlich maneuver won’t save you – there is no one there to perform it. The terrible situation could prove deadly – but this could save your life.

Colorado paramedic Jeff Rehman shows a simple technique anyone can use to rescue themselves from choking, and save their own life.

I hope to never have to put this to an actual test, but this trick is really valuable to remember. It’s not even that complicated.

Share this important life-saving technique with others by clicking below. Everyone should know this.

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How To Make Thieves Oil And Why You Should Be Using It Every Day

The recipe varies and dates back to the Middle Ages where Thieves Oil kept a group of merchants safe from the Black Plague. The mixtures of antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties were able to stave off the Plague and keep these merchants safe.

The Thieves Story

In the early 1990s Gary Young studied essential oils and recreated a blend he had been researching. According to Gary there are 17 different version of the “Story of Thieves” and each contains a different amounts of different oils. This intrigued Gary to research essential oils and make the perfect Thieves Oil blend for everyday use.

He researched the properties of the different oils in the multiple ingredients lists he found. His research lead to a proprietary oil blend called Young Living Thieves Essential Oil. His research also lead him to the historical story of the “Thieves” this blend is named after.

Actually spice traders and merchants, the “Thieves” lived in the 15th century and traded the likes of cinnamon and cloves from India across Europe. When the bubonic plague struck, international shipping and trade stopped. The spice traders needed a way to support themselves.

A Dark Time

Dead bodies everywhere, the Thieves decided to loot the plague-ridden bodies to sell the found clothes, boots, jewelry, pots, pans – anything they could get their hands on to trade for food and money. They knew about spices and their medicinal properties and believed they wouldn’t get sick from the dead bodies if they applied their knowledge of spices, vinegars, and oils.

Because their repossession process was lucrative the King found out. He wanted to know their secret – why were they not getting sick? Four of the Thieves were caught and brought before the King. He gave them a choice: Share the secret or be burned at the stake.

A Kingly Proposition

They shared the oil blend secret and the rest is history. The King spread word around town and spread the “medicine” as well. A few recipes have stuck around, so you can make your own Thieves Oil blend, or buy a premixed blend wherever you buy your essential oils.

Thieves Oil Blend #1

40 drops of Clove Essential Oil

35 drops of Lemon Essential Oil

20 drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil

15 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil

10 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil

Thieves Oil Blend #2

200 drops of Clove Oil

175 drops of Lemon Oil

100 drops of Cinnamon Bark

75 drops of Eucalyptus Oil

50 drops of Rosemary Oil

Thieves Oil Blend #3

1 tbs. Clove Essential Oil

1 tbs. Lemon Essential Oil

2 ½ tsp. Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil

2 tsp. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

2 tsp. Rosemary Essential Oil

Thieves Oil Blend #4

2 tsp Clove Oil

1 1/2 tsp Lemon Oil

1 tsp Cinnamon Bark Oil

3/4 tsp Eucalyptus Oil

1/2 tsp Rosemary Oil

*Note: One 15 ml bottle of essential oil contains approximately 255 drops. One 5 ml bottle contains approximately 85 drops.

Store these blends in a dark bottle, in a cool place out of the sun. You should use Thieves Oil every day as it can be used for so many different reasons – not to mention it has a nice cinnamon scent. You can diffuse the oil, use it topically, clean household items with it, or ingest it to aid digestion and support your immune system.

Diffusing Thieves Oil

This purifies the air in your home, eliminates odors, acts aromatically to support your lungs and sinuses. Diffuse 15-20 drops of Thieves Oil for 15 minutes three or four time a day in an essential oil diffuser. As you breathe the oil you will strengthen your lungs, sinuses, and entire respiratory system.

Thieves Oil All-Purpose Spray

Make an easy all-purpose spray out of Thieves Oil and water in a spray bottle to clean and disinfect just about everything. Take odor out of pet beds*, clean microbial bacteria off surfaces, and keep baby’s room spic and span with Thieves Oil.

*Note: Cat’s cannot process essential oils – if you’re using this blend to clean a litter box that’s fine, but do not spray on a cat’s bed or use as an aromatic without a diffuser if you’re a cat person.

Add 1 drop of Thieves Oil for every ½ ounce of water used. This is a strong solution that can be lessened to 1 drop per 1 oz if you find it overpowering. You’ll need to shake the bottle vigorously

Topical Thieves Oil

1 drop of Thieves Oil to 4 drops carrier oil. (Grapeseed, Jojoba, Coconut, Avocado – any healthy oil will act as a carrier)

This lets you use Thieves Oil topically. Some folks can use Thieves Oil without a carrier, but some peoples’ skin will get irritated. You can massage this blend on your feet, lower back, neck, and behind your ears. Rubbing this oil blend on your feet daily promotes a healthy immune system.

Household Uses

Because of its antibacterial properties, Thieves Oil is a great all-around cleaner. Add to laundry loads, dishwasher loads, and floor and countertops to remove any stubborn, sticky buildup or even just to give a great, deep clean.

You can freshen up your kids’ stuffed animals or your dog’s bed, clean your cell phone and other devices, even keep plants bug-free and happy. Adding Thieves Oil to a cotton ball placed in the home, car, or office air vents eliminates nasty odors. Thieves Oil even helps to dispel bed bugs!

Massage Therapy

Dilute 15 drops of Thieves Oil with 15 drops of carrier oil and massage over lungs, chest, and back to improve your respiratory system. Massaged into the back, thighs, and neck helps relieve minor aches and pains that come with your daily routine. You can also use Thieves Oil to relieve insect bites.

Ingesting Thieves Oil

Add 1 drop of Thieves oil to a bottle of water and drink all day long. This will help clean your digestive tract and support a healthy immune system. Add Thieves Oil to a cup of warm water and drink as a tea. Wait 15 minutes before eating, and benefit from the system-cleansing oil.

Add 2-3 drops to 2 Tbsp of water and gargle to relieve a sore or dry throat. You can even add 1 drop of Thieve Oil to 1 oz of water and, using a spray bottle, spray onto the back of your throat.

Thieves Oil Miscellaneous

Dilute 1 drop of Thieves Oil into 4 drops of carrier oil and apply to the affected area. You can apply the oil directly, or using a gauze or bandage.

To relieve a headache, put a drop of Thieves Oil on your thumb and place against the roof of your mouth. Be sure not to lick your lips as this may burn.

A few drops of Thieves Oil in a bowl of steaming water and lean over the bowl covering your head with a towel. Inhale the vapors for sinus and lung support.

Using Thieves Oil topically promotes healthy skin, and can help fight acne and other skin issues. Thieves Oil can also be used in the bathroom as toothpaste or mouthwash. Use 1 drop per ounce for mouthwash, and 2 drops to 4 Tbsp of baking soda and shake well.

What can’t Thieves Oil do?



Most of you probably know what Thieves Oil is, but if not have I got a story for you! The name and recipe for Thieves Oil have an interesting backstory and explains why this blend of oils is so good for you.

Music as Medicine? The Sexy Idea with a Non-Sexy Timeline.

Festival-goers at this year’s SXSW saw their share of product demos, including one for The Sync Project. The venture, backed by Boston-based startup creator PureTech,overlays biometric data and predictive technology to better understand music’s impact on the body and the brain. Through wearables, the technology acts as a sort of FitBit / Spotify hybrid, tracking everything from arousal to heartbeat to focus.

By decoding how songs influence our brains and bodies, The Sync Project’s goal is to harness music to improve health. Music can be a science, as formulaic pop hits demonstrate. And with songs already pumping us up at the gym or soothing us after a bad day, it’s not a stretch to envision a world where artists like Taylor Swift or One Direction craft tunes to treat Alzheimer’s, anxiety or even autism. “We want to scientifically design therapies for different conditions,” says Alex Kopikis, one of the company’s co-founders.

But while the next Snapchat can arrive overnight, biotech companies must cycle through rounds of clinical trials and navigate rigorous regulatory landmines. So, despite its March unveiling, The Sync Project’s solutions are still likely years away. Unpredictable timeframes highlight the challenges facing biotech companies competing for buzz alongside traditional tech startups, and the creative ways they are maintaining momentum.

Listening as medicine

The Sync Project believes song data could shape users’ physiology and mood, by anticipating how listeners’ bodies and brains respond to musical elements. “Every note has information in it,” says Tristan Jehan, an advisor to The Sync Project. His audio fingerprinting service was acquired by Spotify last year and builds recommendation algorithms to decipher the similarities between genres, artists and songs.

Image Credit: The Sync Project

But for companies looking to harness that data, a lot remains unproven. “The problem with music and medicine is that everyone wishes that music is beneficial and that it is an easy fix,” says Nadine Gaab, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Boston Children’s Hospital /Harvard Medical School. “If you really go hardcore down to the evidence, there isn’t much.”

Related: Researchers Are Using Yelp to Predict When a Restaurant Will Shut Down

While a large body of research ties music to physiological benefits like boosting cognition in dementia patients or improving verbal abilities in autistic children, some experts believe most of these studies would not withstand rigorous evaluation. Many studies linking music and health “are not completely well-designed,” says Ketki Karanam, a Harvard-educated biologist and a co-founder at The Sync Project.

Not all music therapists are trained for experimental work and studies often suffer from small sample sizes, mismanaged control groups and a reliance on subjective feedback. “It’s pretty sad how few of these studies are well executed, controlled randomized trials,” says Gaab.

“People have a tendency to oversimplify things,” adds Robert Zatorre, a neurologist at McGill University and a scientific advisor to the company. It’s natural for us to be drawn to “a sexy story,” he explains, even if the reality is less immediate.

Competing for dollars and buzz

Biotech offers its own challenges to innovators. While software solutions can launch in days or months, proper scientific testing can push biotech launches far into the distance. Alkili, another PureTech venture, was announced in 2012 but might not come to market until 2016 or later. Says Eddie Martucci, Akili’s co-founder, its progress rate still beats most scientific advances. “Usually when you hear about an innovation in the medical world, you hope that your kids can tap into that. So if the timeline is a couple years? That’s amazing.”

Unpredictable timing can dampen funding, however. Venture capital backing for biotech and pharma dropped 50 percent between 2010 and 2015, according to PitchBook, a Seattle-based data provider on private markets. This drop came, PitchBook says, because biotech projects can “take longer to successfully build, hurting returns.”

Related: Google to Break Ground on Life-Prolonging Research Facility

Investors familiar with health and biotech see long timelines as a protective barrier against competition, says Sam Sia, a faculty member in biomedical engineering at Columbia University and the founder of Harlem Biospace, a biotech incubator in New York City. Still, traditional tech investors new to the space “may be discouraged that the process takes longer than they’d hoped.”

Biotech also competes for attention with companies that don’t need scientific backing. Recently more than 70 prominent psychologists, cognitive scientists and neuroscientists wrote an open letter to companies making certain brain training software that the researchers felt exploited seniors’ anxieties about cognitive declines and made “exaggerated and misleading claims.”

“There are a lot of companies marketing products, making claims that we wouldn’t be comfortable with,” says Daphne Zohar, PureTech’s founder, CEO and managing partner. “Before putting a product on the market, Pure Tech’s strategy is to first put it through rigorous testing, the same process if this was a medical device or a drug.”

This summer PureTech raised $171 million in its initial public offering on the London stock exchange. That money, along with the $100 million the company raised in funding earlier this year, will be reinvested into its portfolio of individual companies, allowing them to launch at their own pace, says Zohar.

While many of Pure Tech’s investors focus on healthcare, and are familiar with the often long road to clinical validation, a large percentage are traditional tech investors. Which makes sense, as Pure Tech straddles both sectors. “This is a new industry, so it’s not going to be exactly like tech and it’s not going to be exactly like traditional biotech,” says Zohar. “The timelines to market will be shorter than traditional biotech, but the things we are doing take longer than just putting a product out on the market.”

Walking the line

Leading a buzzy, disruptive biotech company without running afoul of the FDA means walking a tricky tightrope. When personal genomics service 23andMe launched in 2008, it blazed trails and helped merge the tech and biotech world, says Sia.

Related: Meet Color Genomics, the Startup That Wants to Make Genetic Testing Less Expensive

But the FDA shut down much of its testing operation in 2013. And so the company was forced to split its strategy to focus mostly on ancestry reports, a consumer product that made no medical claims, while it worked with regulators. The approach, while slow-going, got results. It received approval for a Bloom syndrome test this past February.

Companies like The Sync Project will need to strike a similar balance. Until its full launch, the company is strengthening its role as a thought leader in music and tech, leveraging the expertise of its advisors from MIT and Spotify. In July, the company hosted a workshop in Montreal at McGill University, inviting researchers in music, neuroscience, psychology and medicine to discuss the state of technology in current research on music’s impact on the mind and body. A new partnership with Berklee College of Music in Boston will include collaborative research efforts, joint-course development, and an internship program for music therapy students between the school and The Sync Project.

In the meantime, the company is building a special research platform to facilitate rigorous, well-designed clinical trials, run by independent researchers, to determine whether or not music has a palliative effect on a host of conditions and diseases. Most of the data the company collects will be accessible to researchers, says Ahtisaari, although the company is still developing a system in which this information can be shared.

These trials, which use The Sync Project’s app, are slated to begin this month. In addition, the company wants to conduct large-scale, open studies, in which anyone who wants to participate can download the app, track how songs impact their biometric data and answer a few survey questions, says Marko Ahtisaari , The Sync Project’s recently appointed CEO and former head of design at Nokia. This hybrid approach — collecting large amounts data in conjunction with smaller data sets from clinical trials — will not only facilitate a more diverse and rigorous test sample, but also likely accelerate the app’s time to market, says Ahtisaari.

“Our key motivation is to enable researchers to design and carry out better studies that will identify music’s potential,” says Karanam.

While such measures aren’t perfect, they’re a start. “These things do take quite a bit of time,” says Zatorre. “You have to do things carefully.”

Related: Are You an Empathetic or Analytical Thinker? Your Music Playlist May Hold the Answer.

Showerhead Utilizing Aerospace Technology Uses 70% Less Water

The average person in the U.S. uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day, with the largest uses of household water occurring in the toilet and the shower. Even though showers are one of the highest wasters of water, however, they are probably one of the personal experiences people would be willing to make the least compromises with. Nebia is a company that promises to not only improve your showering experience, but also help you use 70 percent less water.

After raising more than $2.5 million on Kickstarter, 17 days before the end of the campaign, the team is ready to start manufacturing, with the first showerheads expected to ship in May, 2016.


The six-person team behind Nebia, which includes several thermal fluid experts, has spent the last five years doing research, solving equations, and building prototypes in order to arrive at a new type of nozzle that, according to them, brings the first innovation in the industry in over 50 years. Meanwhile, the company has attracted investments from Tim Cook of Apple and Eric Schmidt of Alphabet.

The result is impressive. On average, Americans take about eight minutes to shower, which results in using 20 gallons of water. With Nebia, for the same amount of time, one will use up only six gallons, or 70 percent less water. With an initial price of $299, for the average U.S. home, Nebia pays for itself in less than two years.

CEO and co-founder Philip Winter told TechCrunch that “If everyone in California were to switch over to this showerhead, we think we could reduce the state water’s use by 1.5 percent.” In the future, the company also wants to make the technology cheaper and available to developing countries where water is scarce.

“The last half century of nozzle technology has completely changed what we can do with droplet size and distribution, however this technology has only been applied to very specialized fields, like rocket engines and medical devices. We used these same tools and technology to develop Nebia. What we do is atomize streams of water into millions of tiny droplets. By doing this we can achieve 10 times the surface area of water compared to a regular shower and use a fraction of the volume,” says co-founder and CTO Gabriel Parisi-Amon.

According to the creators, Nebia is easy to install – users simply unscrew their existing shower and screw on Nebia with a wrench, plumbers tape, and an included adhesive, without the need to break tiles or call the plumber. The showerhead can slide up and down, pivot at an angle, and includes a portable wand.


5 Simple But Powerful Daily Practices That Will Radically Improve Your Health, Wealth and Happiness

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure.” — Jim Rohn Mainstream media tends to glorify success stories, making us …

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Are Hospital Farms the Next Big Thing in Healthcare Reform?


This summer, St. Luke’s Hospital started sending all new moms home from the hospital with a basket of fresh produce, recipes and literature about the importance of a healthy diet.

All of the produce in the basket was grown on an organic farm on the hospital’s Anderson campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The hospital-part of a six-campus network-has been running a farm on the 500-acre grounds since 2014.

“Our mission is to provide great healthcare and part of that is educating patients about the benefits of a plant-based, organic diet,” explains Ed Nawrocki, president of the Anderson campus. “One of the best ways to do that is to lead by example and show them how delicious produce grown on our farm tastes.

But it’s not just new moms who benefit from the hospital’s bounty. In its first season, the farm at St. Luke’s grew 12 varieties of vegetables on five acres, producing 44,000 pounds of produce that was served to patients, incorporated into the cafeteria menu, and sold at weekly farmers markets on several hospital campuses. This year, the farm expanded to 10 acres and 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables.

Mark “Coach” Smallwood, executive director at the Rodale Institute, the nonprofit organization that worked with St. Luke’s to help get its farm off the ground, believes there is a growing interest in serving organic, locally grown produce at hospitals.

Some, like the University of Wisconsin Hospital, buy produce from local farms, others allow the community to use land on their campuses for community gardens. Now, a few hospitals are taking the next step, starting farms on hospital campuses. Among them are Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island and Watertown Regional Medical Center in Wisconsin. Both are now using produce grown onsite to replace fruits and vegetables that are packaged and shipped thousands of miles before reaching patients.

“Hippocrates talked about food as medicine and we believe that to be true,” Smallwood says. “There is a paradigm shift happening and hospitals are realizing the value of producing fresh, local, organic food to serve to their patients.”

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital in Ypsilanti, Michigan, planted the first crops on a 10-acre onsite farm in 2010 after patient satisfaction surveys revealed a demand. Over the past five years, the farm has grown to 25 acres, three hoop houses and four beehives. The farm grows fresh spinach, garlic, basil, collard greens and strawberries.

“The farm helps us support a culture of wellness in the hospital,” says director of nutrition and wellness Lisa McDowell. “We can’t grow enough to meet the needs of all of our patients and staff, but we can make an educational statement about the importance of eating a healthy diet.”

While farm-to-hospital efforts have been well received by patients and created PR opportunities, operating a hospital-run farm is not without its challenges.

For starters, administrators are experts in healthcare, not agriculture.

To help launch its farm, St. Luke’s partnered with the Rodale Institute for assistance in creating and implementing a plan, hiring a farmer, and managing operations. At St. Joseph Mercy, the hospital invested $32,000 in two hoop houses, hired a full-time farmer to manage farming operations for the 537-bed hospital and relies on interns and volunteers to handle most of the labor.

It took a $125,000 capital investment to start the farm at St. Luke’s and, after two growing seasons, the farm is operating at a loss (with a goal of breaking even in 2016). The reason: Growing organic produce on the farm is more expensive than purchasing it through a foodservice supplier or sourcing it from local farms. But Nawrocki still champions the idea, explaining that encouraging patients to eat healthier diets now could improve their health in the future.

In addition to the capital investment to start farms, hospitals that want to serve fresh produce must invest in recipe development and training foodservice workers to transition from heating and reheating prepared foods to making dishes from scratch.

“When we order produce from a food service provider, it comes peeled and chopped and portioned; all our staff has to do is open the package and add it to the recipe,” McDowell explains. “Cooking with fresh foods from our farm is much more labor intense.”

In the future, the hospital hopes to partner with a local culinary program, using interns to offset the additional labor costs and make its hospital farm cost neutral by 2020.

Smallwood admits that foodservice staff is often resistant to the changes, which create additional work; hospitals that contract with external foodservice providers face the additional obstacle of needing to get buy-in.

“A paradigm shift has to occur,” he says. “Outsourcing is easier; over time, we believe that hospital-based farms can be as easy as outsourcing.”

It’s not just the behind-the-scenes issues that can stymie efforts to grow and serve fresh produce. Convincing patients to trade comfort foods like mac and cheese for whipped turnips and sautéed spinach can also be challenging.

“Some people just don’t care,” Nawrocki admits.

But, with the help of robust marketing campaigns and creative efforts, some hospitals are determined to help patients rethink their diets. St. Luke’s reduced prices at the salad bar by 25 percent to promote the farm’s produce; cafeteria sales are up 15 percent and, earlier this month, farmers markets at all six campuses sold out of produce.

“It takes creativity and flexibility to make [a hospital-based farm] work,” Nawrocki says. “But we believe it’s the right thing to do and that drives our efforts.”

Is Your Nail Polish Toxic? ” EcoWatch

It has long been known that exposure to toxic chemicals in many beauty products can lead to an array of negative health conditions. So when The New York Times released the second part of an investigative report on nail salon workers, it confirmed something that many of us know (and perhaps willfully ignore): the beauty industry has an ugly truth.

You’ve probably smelled the pungent fumes that hit your nose as soon as you enter a nail salon-now imagine working in it. As nail salon employees across the country pamper, slough and polish their customers hands and feet, they inhale clouds of acrylic dust, nail polish fumes and removers and other harsh chemical ingredients day in and day out.

The outcome is not pretty. The Times described tragic instances of workers’ “children who are born slow or ‘special,'” or how they suffered miscarriages, cancers, chronic coughs and painful skin afflictions. The paper described:

The prevalence of respiratory and skin ailments among nail salon workers is widely acknowledged. More uncertain, however, is their risk for direr medical issues. Some of the chemicals in nail products are known to cause cancer; others have been linked to abnormal fetal development, miscarriages and other harm to reproductive health.

A number of studies have also found that cosmetologists-a group that includes manicurists, as well as hairdressers and makeup artists-have elevated rates of death from Hodgkin’s disease, of low birth-weight babies and of multiple myeloma, a form of cancer.

In one particularly memorable vignette, Ki Ok Chung, a manicurist for nearly 20 years, said that her fingerprints have nearly disappeared due to her work with files, solvents and emollients.

Not only are they at risk to many serious medical concerns, many of these workers (who are mostly women and many undocumented) are also subject to exploitive treatment and receive shockingly low pay, the newspaper revealed in the first part of the series.

“There are so many stories but no one that dares to tell them; no one dares to tell them because they have no one to tell,” Nancy Otavalo, a 39-year-old manicurist who suffered a miscarriage last year, told the Times. “There are thousands of women who are working in this, but no one asking: ‘What’s happening to you? How do you feel?’ We just work and work.”

The report also pointed out what’s commonly known as the ” toxic trio ” in many nail polish varieties: toluene, dibutyl phthalate (or DBP) and formaldehyde, that have been linked to a slew of health conditions.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, overexposure to toluene “may cause irritation to eyes and nose, weakness, exhaustion, confusion, inappropriate feelings of happiness, dizziness, headache, dilated pupils, runny eyes, anxiety, muscle fatigue, inability to sleep, feeling of numbness/tingling, skin rash, and in more serious cases of overexposure or intentional abuse, liver and kidney damage. DBP, which has banned in the European Union (EU) since 2003, “can cause irritation to eyes, stomach and upper respiratory system, and prolonged exposure to high concentrations may be hazardous to human reproduction and development,” the EPA said. Formaldehyde, can cause skin irritation and rashes, and will be banned in the EU by 2016.

Cosmetics industry officials, however, have denied that the chemicals lead to any health problems. DBP, toluene and formaldehyde “have been found to be safe under current conditions of use in the United States,” Lisa Powers, a spokeswoman for the Personal Care Products Council, the main trade association and lobbying group for the cosmetics industry, told the publication. “The safe and historical use of these ingredients is not questioned by the Federal Drug Administration.”

But one doctor, who has treated many nail salon workers, described the awful symptoms he’s commonly seen.

“They come in usually with breathing problems, some symptoms similar to an allergy, and also asthma symptoms-they cannot breathe,” said Dr. Charles Hwu, who works in Flushing, Queens in the report. “Judging from the symptoms with these women, it seems that they are either smokers, secondhand smokers or asthma patients, but they are none of the above. They work for nail salons.”

While limited exposure to these chemicals is fine for the occasional mani-pedi, it’s the health of the person wielding the brushes and solvents we should also be thoughtfully considering. With summer around the corner and flip-flop season approaching, perhaps you should think carefully about your next visit to the nail salon.

10 Things People With An Abundance Mindset Do Differently

From my observations over the years as a life coach who specializes on women’s health and success, there are 10 things that people who live abundantly do differently from those who live in scarcity, feeling like they never have enough.

Here is what I have observed about individuals who attract and foster abundance in their life successfully:

1. They see abundance in their surroundings.

This doesn’t mean they simply see an abundance of trees and delicious lattés; they also notice an abundance of loving people and unique opportunities. They don’t chalk their success up to random luck, but they know that if they keep their eyes and hearts open, it’s just a matter of time until success will come.

2. They don’t take things personally.

Abundant people don’t interpret other people’s actions and random circumstances as a personal offense to them. Their energy doesn’t get drained and their motivation doesn’t get discouraged when something unexpected happens. This makes it easy for them to turn into a different direction, course-correct and see even better solutions quickly.

3. They believe that what they desire is possible for them.

Instead of living in the world of wishful thinking and “wouldn’t-it-be-nice-if,” abundant people see something they desire and think “this could happen to me.” Their desires don’t remain tucked away in the distant category of longing for something unachievable. Instead, their desires become embedded into rich imagination, in which they see themselves having exactly what they want. In other words, abundant people are masters of the art of manifestation.

4. They don’t feel guilty about what they have.

So many of my clients quietly admit that they want to be beautiful, successful or wealthy, but in the same breath they say that they feel guilty about wanting these things, because they seem superficial. Even feeling proud about something they’ve already accomplished can trigger feelings of guilt. Attracting abundance is impossible if what you desire is accompanied by feelings of guilt. There’s a value conflict that needs to be resolved.

5. They don’t judge other people.

The soil for an abundant life cannot be filled with jealousy, envy and negativity. If you can’t be happy for someone else’s abundance, you won’t ever attract it yourself. Releasing this negativity is fundamental in setting yourself free and creating the abundance you want.

6. They are not afraid of failing.

Instead of seeing a mistake as failure, they see their missteps as necessary milestones toward achieving their greater goal. This allows them to move forward quickly, think creatively and find the motivation to forge forward.

7. They take great care of themselves.

Something all of us can initiate and take charge of right now is how we take care of ourselves. This includes how we speak to ourselves, how we nourish our bodies, how we prioritize our schedules, and how we set boundaries with people and situations that drain our energy. Taking great care of yourself is key in order to create a fruitful, flourishing foundation.

8. They see playfulness as an essential way of living life.

Abundance can’t be forced into your life. Sure, you have to put in the work, but if you apply too much pressure you will inevitably lose flexibility and creativity and won’t feel or see the abundance once it actually comes. Leaving space for playfulness is key in order to dance with abundance.

9. They follow their intuition.

Reason lives in your brain, intuition lives in your body. In order to create wholeness, the dualities inside you – your brain and your intuition, your masculine and your feminine sides – have to be involved in the creation of your life. Feelings of wholeness are essential in order to create abundantly and with your whole self on board. Navigating life from a brain perspective only will always keep you overthinking and over-analyzing, thus continuing the cycle of fear that what you have today may be gone tomorrow. Staying deeply connected with your intuition will create trust and groundedness.

10. They hang out with people who also have the abundance mindset.

I can’t stress this enough. Your environment influences you more than you think. If you surround yourself with people who are constantly complaining about not having enough, how hard life is, and that they’re just doomed or unlucky, it will be really difficult for you to step out of that cycle and believe in your own capacities to create abundance. Surround yourself with people who are positive and who believe life wants to be rich, wonderful and joyful.

Which of these points resonate the most with you? Which one point do you want to start working on to help YOU create more abundance in YOUR life?

Want to be happy? Make friends with plants

I walk over to my office window. My house plants greet me. I say hello to each of them. I look over their leaves. I visually check the moisture level of the soil and add water where necessary. I love them. I pay very close attention to one of them, a small maple tree I found in my front overgrown flower garden in Black Mountain as I was cleaning it out last spring. It would have never flourished in that spot so I pulled it up and planted it in a small pot. I’ve been carrying it around for almost a year now. It’s just getting ready to shoot out some new leaves for spring, and this is very exciting to me, as I almost killed it in an overheated window at my office in Rhode Island during my short stay there.This is my routine nearly every day when I get up for work. Those plants really do make me happy. They are living things, each with it’s own character. These plants give me something beautiful to turn in my chair and look at whenever I’m pondering the solution to an IT problem or a I need to take a mental break. I sometimes look to them for inspiration when I’m working on a story. They make me smile.

The natural anti-depressant

I recently found an article floating around the web indicating that plants, and tending to them, actually do a lot more than the credit they’re given. Working with plants outdoors, and the soil in particular, is especially beneficial for mental health, stress reduction, and happiness. A specific type of bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, found in soil increases the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin production is key to happiness. The effects of coming in contact with this bacteria while gardening were found to produce the same results as anti-depressants such as prozac. Serotonin also strengthens brain function and is found to increase learning capacity. House plants are also linked to decreasing stress and anxiety, especially in the workplace and at school.

Plants are the champions of Small Acts, without even having to try

It doesn’t stop there. House plants actually have a positive impact on your health and improve overall wellbeing. It’s pretty common knowledge that plants absorb C02 and turn it into oxygen, but they also clean the air of other indoor pollutants. NASA conducted very thorough research about the topic and concluded that “both plant leaves and roots are utilized in removing trace levels of toxic vapors from inside tightly sealed buildings. Low levels of chemicals such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde can be removed from indoor environments by plant leaves alone.” Some of our polluted outdoor air comes inside with us, not to mention all the Volatile Organic Compounds, found in many household products, polluting our indoor air. A few houseplants are a great remedy to this health hazard.

Stay focused

Plants improve concentration and memory. They provide a calming effect while working that helps improve accuracy and focus, which allows for higher quality results. A study found that being around plants or nature while performing a task can “increase memory retention up to twenty percent.” I strongly believe that the natural beauty and better air quality that my plants provide helps me tremendously as a “telecommuting” employee.


We often see plants and flowers in hospital rooms, but they really do provide added benefits aside from a nice aesthetic touch. Plants inside or visible outside the hospital room were proven to decrease the time it takes for patients to heal. Horticulture therapy, where patients are tasked with taking care of plants, has proven to be effective in the rehabilitation of patients following brain injuries and other conditions.

Improve your relationships

I find this one to be one of the most profound reasons to adopt some houseplants or get outside and do some gardening. People that spend extended time around plants were found to have stronger relationships with others and are more likely to be willing to help others. Interacting with and caring for plants increases our aptitude for compassion and empathy. I believe our world needs more empathy, or, the ability to understand how others feel. Maybe then, there would be a little less judgement, and a little more acceptance. It is especially important to teach these skills to children, as their behavior and actions define the future. Caring for plants helps kids understand the fragility of life and external environments, but event as adults, we could all stand to cultivate a little more compassion and appreciation for our planet.

Return on investment

The great thing is that plants are relatively inexpensive, especially compared to the benefits. Investing in a few for your window sill is a Small Act worth your time and money.

Fountain Of Youth: 5 Tibetan Exercises You Should Be Doing Every Day

Aside from yoga, a workout I love for enhancing flexibility is the Five Tibetan Rites, also known as the “Fountain of Youth,” because this practice effectively strengthens and stretches all the main muscles in your body. It also helps with balance. I know at least five elderly women (over 80) who keep themselves limber and strong by performing these rites daily. I recommend you learn this simple practice, which you can do in just ten minutes.

I recommend doing the rites in the morning rather than the evening, because they do stoke your energy. Begin by practicing five to seven repetitions of each rite, and build up to 21 reps.

Rite 1

Stand with your arms outstretched and horizontal to the floor, palms facing down. Make sure your arms are in line with your shoulders. Your feet should be about hip distance apart. Draw the crown of your head up toward the ceiling. Focus on a spot in front of you so that you can count your rotations. Spin around clockwise until you become a little dizzy. Gradually increase the number of spins from two to 21. When I first started, I could only do about seven rotations; I’m now up to 14.

Breathing: Inhale and exhale deeply as you spin.

Tip: If you feel super dizzy, interlace your fingers at your heart and stare at your thumbs. Also have a chair very nearby to grab onto to steady yourself if you feel as if you are going to fall.

Rite 2

Lie flat on the floor. Fully extend your arms along your sides and place the palms of your hands against the floor. If you have lower back issues, place your fingers underneath your sacrum. As you inhale, raise your head off the floor, tucking your chin into your chest. Simultaneously lift your legs, knees straight, into a vertical position. If possible, extend your legs over your body toward your head. Then slowly exhale, lowering your legs and head to the floor, keeping your knees straight and your big toes together.

Breathing: Breathe in deeply as you lift your head and legs, and exhale as you lower them.

Rite 3

Kneel on the floor with your toes curled under. Place your hands on the backs of your thigh muscles. Tuck your chin in toward your chest. Slide your hands down the backs of your thighs as you draw your shoulders back and your head up toward the sky. Keep in mind that you are arching your upper back more than your lower back. Move your head back as if you were drawing a line with your nose on the ceiling. Slowly return to an upright position and repeat.

Breathing: Inhale as you arch your spine and exhale as you return to an erect position.

Rite 4

Sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and your feet about 12 inches apart. Place your palms on the floor alongside your sitz bones. As you gently drop your head back, raise your torso so that your knees bend while your arms remain straight. You are basically in a table-top position. Slowly return to your original sitting position. Rest for a few seconds before repeating this rite.

Breathing: Breathe in as you rise up into the pose, hold your breath as you tense your muscles, and breathe out fully as you come down.

Rite 5

Lie down on your belly with your palms face down and in line with your bra strap. Press up into an upward-facing dog by curling your toes under, lifting your heart, and drawing your shoulders back. Your arms should be straight. Look straight ahead of you, or if you are a little more flexible, gently draw your head back, taking your eyes toward the sky. Then draw your hips up and back, extending your spine, into downward-facing dog pose. Repeat by moving back and forth between downward- and upward-facing dog.

Breathing: Breathe in as your rise up into upward-facing dog; breath out as you push back into downward-facing dog.

Body Rolling

The final activity that I recommend for improving flexibility is body rolling using a body roller. If you are very sensitive, you might want to go with a foam roller, but if you prefer something harder, you can go with a piece of PVC pipe or order one of the many great body rollers online.

Why I love rolling out: it stretches the muscles and tendons and helps release the fascia (structure of connective tissue surrounding muscles, joints, and tendons). Rolling before a hard workout increases blood flow to your soft tissue, and rolling after a workout helps release your muscles. While body rolling isn’t a workout in and of itself, it is invaluable for keeping your muscles soft and pliable.

Excerpted from Gorgeous for Good: A Simple 30-Day Program for Lasting Beauty – Inside and Out by Sophie Uliano. It is published by Hay House (April 7th, 2015) and is available for pre-order now with all major bookstores.

Scientists Have Discovered That Bees Can Detect Cancer And This Designer Is Taking It A Step Further

Scientists have discovered that honey bees, Apis mellifera, have an extraordinary talent. Using their superior sense of smell, even more sensitive than that of a dog, bees can be trained to detect specific chemical odors. Those odors include biomarkers associated with lung, skin, and pancreatic cancer, as well as tuberculosis.

A Portuguese designer, Susan Soares, took that knowledge and developed a device that can utilize trained bees to detect serious diseases.

Bees are simply placed in the glass chamber and the patient simply exhales into it. The bees fly into a smaller, secondary chamber if they detect any cancer.

Bees don’t always live terribly long lives, but this method is still effective because bees can be trained in just 10 minutes by using Pavolv’s reflex, which connects certain odors with a food reward.

When bees are exposed to that odor, they are fed sugar and water as a reward. Once taught, the bees remember for the entirety of their six-week-long lives.

Early diagnosis is key for treating these deadly diseases, and fortunately, bees can help. Just one more reason to do everything we can to save the bees.

1,000-year-old onion and garlic eye remedy kills MRSA

A 1,000-year-old treatment for eye infections could hold the key to killing antibiotic-resistant superbugs, experts have said.

Scientists recreated a 9th Century Anglo-Saxon remedy using onion, garlic and part of a cow’s stomach.

They were “astonished” to find it almost completely wiped out staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA.

Their findings will be presented at a national microbiology conference.

The remedy was found in Bald’s Leechbook – an old English manuscript containing instructions on various treatments held in the British Library.

Anglo-Saxon expert Dr Christina Lee, from the University of Nottingham, translated the recipe for an “eye salve”, which includes garlic, onion or leeks, wine and cow bile.

Experts from the university’s microbiology team recreated the remedy and then tested it on large cultures of MRSA.

Tom Feilden, science editor Today Programme


The leechbook is one of the earliest examples of what might loosely be called a medical textbook

It seems Anglo-Saxon physicians may actually have practiced something pretty close to the modern scientific method, with its emphasis on observation and experimentation.

Bald’s Leechbook could hold some important lessons for our modern day battle with anti-microbial resistance.

In each case, they tested the individual ingredients against the bacteria, as well as the remedy and a control solution.

They found the remedy killed up to 90% of MRSA bacteria and believe it is the effect of the recipe rather than one single ingredient.

Dr Freya Harrison said the team thought the eye salve might show a “small amount of antibiotic activity”.

“But we were absolutely blown away by just how effective the combination of ingredients was,” she said.

Dr Lee said there are many similar medieval books with treatments for what appear to be bacterial infections.

She said this could suggest people were carrying out detailed scientific studies centuries before bacteria were discovered.

The team’s findings will be presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for General Microbiology, in Birmingham.

Bald’s eye salve

Equal amounts of garlic and another allium (onion or leek), finely chopped and crushed in a mortar for two minutes.

Add 25ml (0.87 fl oz) of English wine – taken from a historic vineyard near Glastonbury.

Dissolve bovine salts in distilled water, add and then keep chilled for nine days at 4C.

8 Scientifically Proven Reasons To Spend Way More Time Outside

Novelist Jane Austen said, “To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.” And who could argue with her? I know I can’t. Appreciating the magnificence of trees, inhaling salty ocean air, or marveling at the sumptuous colors of a field of flowers always fills me with a sense of wonder and renews my spirit.

There’s good reason so many artists and poets have found inspiration in the beauty of creation. Research has shown that spending time in nature can benefit you both mentally and physically, in a variety of surprising ways.

If you feel like taking a walk outside in the middle of the day is necessary for your well-being, you’re probably right. Read on for eight compelling reasons to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors!

1. Spending time in nature increases your sense of vitality.

A series of studies examined the effects of nature on participants’ self-reported levels of vitality. The results showed that spending time in nature (and even looking at pictures of it or visualizing nature scenes) increased participants’ energy. It’s no surprise: when you’re outside, you awaken your senses. Surrounded by the colors, smells and sounds of all the living beings in nature, you literally feel life all around you. And as a result, you feel more alive.

2. Exposure to nature makes you more resilient to stress.

In one study, participants were shown a traumatic video (of workplace accidents, in case you’re curious) followed by a video that showed either outdoor scenes of nature or urban environments. Researchers found that the individuals who viewed the nature scenes showed faster physical recovery from the effects of stress than the subjects who viewed urban scenes. Going outdoors may just be the most natural remedy there is for all different kinds of healing.

3. Exercising in nature boosts your mood.

We all know that exercise produces endorphins and boosts your mood. So add nature to the equation and we’ve got a whole new level of natural mood-boosting. A review of several studies showed that exercising outdoors improved participants’ moods and self-esteem after just five minutes. Interestingly, having water in the outdoor environment was found to be particularly beneficial.

4. Spending time in nature helps you focus.

Research has shown that when people spend time in nature, it can help their ability to concentrate. For example, one study found that children with ADHD showed significantly better concentration after taking a 20-minute walk in nature, compared to a walk in an urban setting.

Another study showed that taking a walk in the park (or even just looking at green space) helped to ease brain fatigue and increase participants’ abilities to concentrate. Spending time outside makes us feel connected to a bigger picture of life. We feel tuned into the rhythms of nature, and as a result, less distracted by the little stressors of the every day. Who knew the smell of grass could be an elixir for concentration?!

5. Living near green space can improve your mental health.

One study that followed participants over five years found that moving to an area that has more green space increased participants’ sense of well-being. And this effect lasted for three years! Let’s all wake up and smell the roses!

6. Spending time in nature can boost your immune system.

Researchers have found that spending time in nature increases your sense of awe (e.g. that feeling of wonder you get as a result of being overwhelmed by the beauty of a sunset or the vastness of the ocean). Who doesn’t want to feel awe? There’s no reason your life shouldn’t feel awesome. Not only does awe make you more aware of the present moment and increase your life satisfaction, awe is also linked to lower levels ofcytokines, which are markers of inflammation. In other words, science says that you’ll be healthier and more inclined to own your awesome if you get out into nature more often.

7. Living near green space may even increase your life span.

A five-year study of Japanese senior citizens indicated that living near areas with walkable green spaces was associated with a lower probability of dying during the study. This relationship was found even after controlling for variables like income, age, sex, marital status, and other relevant factors. The time is now to get outside!

8. Can’t get outside? Having indoor plants can positively affect your health.

If time (or the weather) doesn’t permit you to go outdoors, bringing nature inside can also benefit you. For example, a study of hospital patients recovering from surgery found that individuals who were randomly assigned to rooms that had plants showed lower blood pressure and heart rate, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and took fewer doses of pain medication compared to patients who did not have plants.

The moral of the story? Naturalist John Muir said it best, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”

Throw Out Your Toothpaste – Coconut Oil Works Better Than Any Commercial Toothpaste

Toothpaste is one of those things that everyone buys, but did you know that standard toothpaste produced commercially is loaded with nasty chemicals? They contain things like Sodium Laurel Sulfate, which exacerbates canker sores, and triclosan, which is similar to BPA in that it causes hormonal disruption.

Hell, just look at the stuff. Why on Earth would you need to put sparkly blue fluorescent paste in your mouth? Fortunately there is an alternative.

Coconut oil is a powerful plant extract that is capable of killing bacteria responsible for oral decay. Irish scientists found that coconut oil is able to kill steptococcus mutans, which is the bacteria that causes dental erosion. It’s also able to kill Candida albicans.

So how should coconut oil be used as a toothpaste? You can use straight coconut oil or try this recipe.

You will need:

  • 6 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 6 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 25 drops of essential oil (if you prefer a flavor)
  • 1 tsp of stevia (only if you want it to be sweeter)


  1. Mix ingredients in a bowl and whip until it’s a light, creamy texture.
  2. Pour into a mason jar. Leave the lid on between uses.

There you go! Have you tried this recipe before? Let us know what you think.

10 Best Herbs for Boosting Female Sex Drive

By Dr. Edward F. Group

Maybe you haven’t felt the urge in a while. Perhaps it just hasn’t felt as good as it used to. It could be stress, or it could be something more. When it comes to boosting your sex drive, the topic may seem a bit taboo to discuss. Regardless, a healthy sex life is important for reducing stress, building a healthy relationship with your partner, and improving overall wellbeing. Diet and exercise offer the best solutions for stimulating sexual desire; yet, a number of herbal tools may also provide support. When you need a little boost, turn to these 10 herbs for boosting female sex drive help.

1. Ashwaganda Root

The Kama Sutra identifies ashwagandha as a potent igniter of passion and desire. While that benefit may get your immediate attention, its popularity with women has more to do with the way it stimulates libido and increases satisfaction. The herb can increase blood flow to the clitoris and other female sexual organs, creating an intense sexual experience.

2. Maca root

This has been the go-to herb for women living in the Andes for centuries. Maca’s high iodine content supports a woman’s hormone balance and its high zinc levels, an essential mineral for sex hormones, does more than fan the flames of desire. Women who took maca root in one study reported improved sexual experiences and satisfaction. [1]

3. Muira Puama

Women who use muira puama report a surge in libido, desire, sexual enjoyment and intensified orgasms. [2] Its positive effect on both pre- and post-menopausal sexual experience supports its overall benefits for female sexual and reproductive health. It probably comes as no surprise this herb is often called “potency wood.”

4. Dark Chocolate

This one doesn’t make the list by accident. Although not technically an herb, dark chocolate containing 70% cocoa may help increase dopamine levels in the brain. A rise in the brain’s “pleasure chemical” dopamine lifts the mood, relaxes, and improves the body’s response to stimulation.

5. Avena sativa

Generations of women stand by oats (Avena sativa) for its aphrodisiac and libido-stimulating qualities. Tradition holds it increases vaginal stimulation and advances the physical and emotional desires for sex. Scientists trying to understand how it works believe it frees bound testosterone, providing the body with the hormones needed for sexual stimulation.

6. Catuaba

The Tupi tribe of Brazil praises catuaba for its potent aphrodisiac qualities. Its active compound yohimbine energizes and stimulates libido and desire. Research has determined it increases dopamine levels in the brain, resulting in greater sensitivity to erogenous stimulation. Regular use is known to create erotic dreams and heighten sexual satisfaction and orgasm intensity. [3]

7. Damiana

Turnera diffusa, better known as damiana, grows natively in the American Southwest, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. Many consider its leaf a highly-prized libido enhancer. Flavonoids, phenolics, glycosides, terpenoids, and even caffeine all contribute to reduced feelings of stress and increased blood flow, particularly to the pelvic area where increased sensitivity leads to heightened stimulation. [4]

8. Suma root

Sometimes called Brazilian Ginseng, this herb is extremely popular with the native population in South America for the way it aids female hormonal balance and excites libido. Science has confirmed suma root increases levels of estradiol-17beta, the primary estrogen hormone during a woman’s reproductive years. [5] Women who use this herb report more intense sexual experiences and greater satisfaction.

9. Tribulus terrestris

Studies of women who use this herb report greater desire, increased arousal, lubrication, more intense orgasms, and satisfaction. [6] Tribulus stimulates androgen receptors in the brain making the body much more responsive to testosterone and other sex hormones. It also helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

10. Tongkat Ali

Called the greatest natural aphrodisiac by Dr. Oz, Tongkat ali extract has been used by women to arouse desire and increase erogenous sensitivity. It’s traditionally given to women suffering from low libido, as it also supports positive responses to stress and stimulates memory and overall brain function. By normalizing hormone levels with a gentle increase of testosterone, women also experience increased metabolism and an easier time losing and maintaining weight. [7]

What Are You Waiting For?

Don’t let stress drive away desire, and certainly don’t believe the desire for sex should fade with age. Maintaining balanced hormone levels promotes overall health, not to mention a healthy libido. So if the flames of passion seem more like cinders these days, it may be time to consider additional tools for kindling your inner fire.

Have you tried one or more of these herbs for your sex drive? Share your experiences below! Let’s keep it G-rated, ladies!

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Article references:

  1. Dording CM1, Fisher L, Papakostas G, Farabaugh A, Sonawalla S, Fava M, Mischoulon D. A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3):182-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2008.00052.x.
  2. Waynberg J1, Brewer S. Effects of Herbal vX on libido and sexual activity in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Adv Ther. 2000 Sep-Oct;17(5):255-62.
  3. Oliveira CH1, Moraes ME, Moraes MO, Bezerra FA, Abib E, De Nucci G. Clinical toxicology study of an herbal medicinal extract of Paullinia cupana, Trichilia catigua, Ptychopetalum olacoides and Zingiber officinale (Catuama) in healthy volunteers. Phytother Res. 2005 Jan;19(1):54-7.
  4. Szewczyk K1, Zidorn C2. Ethnobotany, phytochemistry, and bioactivity of the genus Turnera (Passifloraceae) with a focus on damiana-Turnera diffusa. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Mar 28;152(3):424-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.01.019.
  5. Oshima M1, Gu Y. Pfaffia paniculata-induced changes in plasma estradiol-17beta, progesterone and testosterone levels in mice. J Reprod Dev. 2003 Apr;49(2):175-80.
  6. Akhtari E, Raisi F, Keshavarz M, Hosseini H, Sohrabvand F, Bioos S, Kamalinejad M, Ghobadi A. Tribulus terrestris for treatment of sexual dysfunction in women: randomized double-blind placebo – controlled study. Daru. 2014 Apr 28;22(1):40.
  7. Henkel RR1, Wang R, Bassett SH, Chen T, Liu N, Zhu Y, Tambi MI. Tongkat Ali as a potential herbal supplement for physically active male and female seniors-a pilot study. Phytother Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):544-50. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5017.


Lessons On Personal Sustainability, From Nature

Nature is an intelligent system that has learned to evolve and heal itself over the course of 3.8 billion years. Oftentimes, the solutions we seek for modern human problems can be solved with wisdom from the Earth. If we begin to look at natural systems as guide and mentor, as Janine Benyus suggests in Biomimicry: …

Read more


How to Heal Your Digestive Problems Naturally

It is no coincidence that both Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, arguably the two oldest systems of medicine on the planet, consider digestion to be one of the key factors influencing our health. These forerunners of modern medicine discovered through thousands of years of clinical practice and observation that a very direct link exists between a person’s digestive health and their physical and mental wellbeing. In fact, some of the more radical Ayurvedic doctors go so far as to not even acknowledge the presence of individual diseases, believing that all imbalances in the body stem from deficient digestion and faulty diet in one form or another. Patients are treated with a combination of specific herbs and dietary therapies aimed at strengthening and healing the digestive tract, quite frequently with remarkable success. While this may be a ‘fringe’ point of view to some, the fact is that it highlights the foundational role that digestion plays in our overall health and wellbeing.

“Let food be they medicine. – Hippocrates

Modern nutritional research has in large part validated this ancient knowledge, confirming that diet does indeed play a major role in health. So much so, in fact, that we have been led to believe by many well-meaning nutritionists and doctors that eating whole, organic, unprocessed food is the single most important thing we can do to improve our overall health. And, they are right: whole, unprocessed foods are truly essential for lifelong health. However, in reality, this is only half of the ‘health equation.’

As you may have guessed, digestion is the other piece of the puzzle, equally important and yet rarely acknowledged. The quality and strength of your digestion governs the ability of your body to properly absorb the nutrients from the food you are eating. Without a healthy, well-functioning digestive tract, even the best dietary habits will do you little good as your body struggles to process the essential nutrients locked away in your food. The fact is that if you cannot fully assimilate what you eat, you will invariably experience disease and unnecessary suffering regardless of any other measures taken towards maintaining and improving your health.

Hidden in Plain Sight

In the West, most people are not absorbing all the potential nutrition from the foods they eat, due to varying levels of deficient digestion. When you see the nutrition facts panel that lists what various vitamins and minerals are in the food you are eating, it is tempting to think that you simply absorb it all when you consume that food-I know I did for many years. But it was not until I began studying Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine that I learned not all of the nutrients we eat are absorbed unless our digestion is operating at its peak. In cases of deficient digestion, as little as half (in severe situations, even less) of what we consume in terms of actual nutrients-vitamins, minerals, protein (amino acids)-is actually assimilated into our bloodstream and used by our bodies. This is due to the less-than-ideal state of the digestive tract in most individuals nowadays, which arises from the detrimental eating and lifestyle habits that have become commonplace in Western culture.

Gluten Intolerance… or Just Poor Digestion?

As a society, we are collectively becoming more aware of the relationship between what we eat and our health, which is a major step in the right direction. However, we have a tendency to incorrectly vilify certain foods, when the real culprit is not the foods themselves, but deficient digestion.

For example, the number of people claiming to have gluten intolerance has reached epidemic proportions; but only a handful actually have a medically diagnosable allergy to gluten known as Celiac disease. For those diagnosed with Celiac disease, it is truly life threatening to consume wheat and other gluten-containing products. The rest of the ‘gluten-intolerant’ population simply experiences mild-to-severe discomfort when consuming gluten-containing grains, the reason for which is believed to be the gluten itself.

Gluten is a protein found in high concentrations in modern, hybridized varieties of wheat and other similar grains (such as rye, barley and spelt) that can irritate the digestive tract of sensitive individuals. However, it has been my experience that, in most cases, the true culprit is not the gluten itself, but undiagnosed deficient digestion.

“We have a tendency to incorrectly vilify certain foods, when the real culprit is not the foods themselves, but deficient digestion

I should know. For years, I experienced many of the telltale signs and symptoms of gluten intolerance: headaches, bloating, dizziness, pain in the digestive tract and generally feeling terrible after eating wheat or other gluten grains. And yet, that all changed once I began to heal my digestive tract using many of the guidelines that will be revealed later in this article, based primarily on Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine. After a few months of concerted effort, I was able to eat wheat and other gluten grains with no ill effects whatsoever.

Let me be clear that I am not denying the existence of Celiac disease or saying that gluten is harmless. Wheat and other gluten-containing grains are definitely some of the most irritating foods for the digestive tract and anyone working to heal their digestion is advised to avoid them for some time. However, they typically only become a problem for most people when they are concurrently experiencing deficient digestion. Eaten in moderation, organic, minimally hybridized wheat is a particularly healthy food. Few know this, but wheat is perhaps the most nutrient dense of all grains and, furthermore, has been a mainstay of the human diet for thousands of years.

How Digestion Works

One of the primary reasons people develop weak digestion is simply that they lack a basic understanding of how the digestive process operates. Armed with this knowledge, it becomes quite easy to identify if a given food or lifestyle choice will support or hinder digestion.

Digestion actually begins in the mouth. The act of chewing food mixes it with our saliva; rich in digestive enzymes, saliva begins to break down the food even before it reaches our stomach. Therefore, the first step in improving your digestion is to chew your foods thoroughly-a good starting point is at least 20 times per bite. More is ideal, but to be practical, this is probably unreasonable for most people. At first you might have to count to get an idea of the general amount of time 20 ‘chews’ takes, but it will quickly become second nature and eventually a habit.

photo: francesca schellhaas photocase.com

Once food is swallowed, it enters the stomach, which then secretes hydrochloric acid and various enzymes to further digest and break down the food. This is another critical juncture at which digestive problems frequently arise because many of us have the habit of drinking and eating simultaneously. While a few sips of liquid with meals is harmless, larger amounts begin to dilute the concentration and effectiveness of the hydrochloric acid-enzyme mix and can severely interfere with the digestive process, causing food to enter the intestines without being properly broken down. This can lead to gas, shooting pains and sub-clinical nutrient deficiencies, among other things, as the body struggles to release the vitamins and minerals locked away in the undigested pieces of food.

“The first step in improving your digestion is to chew your foods thoroughly

Many Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors recommend abstaining from any beverages for up to 2 hours after a meal, but a more reasonable time frame is at least 30 minutes, and an hour if you can swing it. Again, a few sips is not usually an issue, but drinking more than that could be highly counterproductive, especially if you are trying to rebuild your digestive strength.

As food leaves the stomach and enters the intestines, the pancreas releases enzymes that, along with the beneficial bacteria and microorganisms in the bowels, begin to break it down even further. These beneficial bacteria (also known as probiotics or intestinal flora) are in a delicate balance but are rather resilient if we eat well and abide by the digestive best practices outlined by Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and summarized in this article. However, there are some very common things that we do that absolutely decimate this natural symbiosis and are responsible in large part for the epidemic level of digestive problems we face in the West.

By far, the most serious problem is the use of antibiotics. Even as little as one pill can majorly disrupt the digestive tract and kill off an alarming amount of the essential good bacteria that are so intricately linked to our digestive ability and health. The problem with pharmaceutical antibiotics is that they are nondiscriminatory, meaning that they simply kill all intestinal bacteria, good or bad. This may alleviate symptoms in the short term but leaves the door wide open for opportunistic pathogens to take advantage of the serious lack of endogenous, immune-enhancing good bacteria left in the wake of antibiotic use.

Instead of pharmaceutical antibiotics, it is far safer and equally effective to use natural antibiotic medicines that destroy harmful, disease-causing bacteria but leave your essential, beneficial bacteria unharmed and perhaps even strengthened. As a first line of defense, colloidal silver and oil of wild oregano are excellent, time-honored choices.

The Brain in Your Belly

Most people are not aware that a major portion of our nervous system is located in our intestines, also know as the ‘enteric nervous system’ by doctors or, more commonly, as our ‘second brain.’ In fact, more than 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut, as well as about 50% of the body’s dopamine. Furthermore, your intestines produce and co-regulate 30 other neurotransmitters identical to those found in your brain and are used by your central nervous system to regulate mood, stress levels, sleep patterns, mental functioning and any number of other essential body processes. As you can imagine, an imbalanced, damaged or poorly functioning digestive system-whether that is due to antibiotic use, diet and lifestyle or simply overconsumption of irritating foods-interferes with the functioning of this second brain and has been implicated in depression and other mood disorders, immune system disruption and many other common diseases. Although this enteric nervous system was unknown to Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors thousands of years earlier, they clearly recognized that deficient digestion affected the whole person-mentally, physically and spiritually.

‘Healthy’ Diets Can Make Digestion Worse

As a society, we are beginning to collectively realize the intricate relationship between our diet and our health. While this is generally a beneficial shift in awareness, it can-and often does-lead people to embrace ‘healthy’ diets and lifestyles, which can further compromise digestion.

Juicing and Cold Foods

Any food eaten or served cold tends to disrupt digestion to some degree. Our bodies are very warm (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and our stomach needs to heat everything we eat up to this temperature for optimal digestion. Eating cold foods puts enormous stress on our digestive system and causes us to only partially digest what we eat. Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to cold foods as damp, which alludes to the effect they have on our digestion. Think of a swamp, clogged and stagnant. Excessive juice or cold foods produce the same effects in our digestive tract.

“More than 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut, as well as about 50% of the body’s dopamine

Drinking fresh-squeezed juice, or any cold beverage regularly for that matter, also introduces excess liquids into our digestive tract as well, which, as discussed earlier, dilutes our digestive juices. Compounded by the fact that they are cold and typically high in naturally occurring sugar, juices can very quickly imbalance even otherwise robust digestion.

Again, balance is key here. A fresh-squeezed juice a few times a week is usually not a problem if your digestion is strong and healthy. But a juice every day for more than the short term (for example, as part of a cleanse lasting a week or two) is a recipe for digestive problems.

Juicing and cleansing diets make us feel good initially as our body is purified and organ function improves, and so we assume that they are healthy and beneficial in the long term; but the reality is that they can and do burnout our digestion quite quickly because they typically rely on juicing, fruits, salads and other cold, damp foods.

Raw Foods

photo: samuelschalch photocase.com

In addition to generally consisting of abundant amounts of salad, fruits, juice and other cold foods, raw food diets rely heavily on nuts and seeds which are the most difficult to digest of all foods. Depending on how nuts and seeds are prepared, they contain varying levels of phytic acid and trypsin, both considered ‘anti-nutrients’ because they bind up essential minerals in forms unusable by our bodies and inhibit digestion simultaneously. They can be broken down to a degree by sprouting, which is commonly done on raw food diets, but this does not remove them completely; and, even in small amounts, they put quite a bit of stress on our digestion.

For these reasons it is not recommended to engage in strict raw foods diets long term. As a short-term cleansing protocol, or as part of a more balanced overall diet incorporating cooked foods, raw foods can be an incredible asset towards promoting health, but be sure to listen to your body. If you are suffering from digestive issues, it is recommended not to follow raw food diets as they almost always make things worse.

Alkaline Water

Our digestive secretions are extremely acidic; and when we regularly drink alkaline water or beverages, it neutralizes our stomach acidity, which eventually breaks down our digestion. Alkaline water can be beneficial in moderation if it is naturally alkaline-meaning that it is alkaline due to naturally occurring or added minerals such as those which occur in spring water. All minerals are alkaline, and mixing them with water causes the water to become alkaline. However, many brands artificially alkalize water by passing it over metal plates with slight electric charges, which manipulate the ion balance as a shortcut to alkalinity. The body, as you might imagine, does not react well to these types of ‘processed’ waters.


Even in healthy diets, there can be a considerable amount of sugar. While it may not be refined, if you are particularly health conscious, eating excess fruit, fruit juices, honey and any other natural sweetener (with the exception of stevia or xylitol, which don’t actually contain any sugar), can negatively affect digestion by weakening your pancreas.

When you eat sweet foods, the sugar contained therein finds its way into your bloodstream (and quite quickly at that). Your body maintains a very delicate balance of sugar levels in the blood; and a sudden influx from eating highly sweetened foods-especially if the sugar therein is refined-causes your blood sugar levels to spike. In order to get things back under control, your pancreas begins to secrete insulin, which then safely transports the excess sugar out of your bloodstream. This is a normal, healthy process; but like anything in excess, it leads to problems.

If you regularly eat sugary or sweet foods, the extra stress it places on your pancreas will cause it to become overworked and ‘burnt out’, just like you would be after working all day, everyday with no break. As mentioned, your pancreas is critical for healthy digestion, releasing a number of vital digestive enzymes to break down foods as they enter the intestines. Overstressing it by consistently eating sugary or sweet foods (whether or not you are aware of it) greatly diminishes its ability to produce enzymes and your digestion suffers. Over the course of weeks, months and years, this can severely affect the ability of the pancreas to function normally and your digestion is weakened as a result.

To summarize so far, the primary ways digestion is disrupted are as follows:

A piece of fruit or two per day, if your digestion is in good working order, is fine and nothing to be concerned about. However, if you suspect your digestion may be weakened, it is best to avoid all sugar or limit your intake to a piece of fruit on occasion until your body gets back into balance.

How Digestion Gets Disturbed: Overview and Summary

  • Not Chewing Properly
  • Excess Liquids with Meals
  • Antibiotics
  • Excess Juicing and Raw, Cold Foods
  • Excess Sugar in the Diet
  • Excessive Consumption of Artificial Alkaline Water

By becoming mindful of your eating habits, you can quickly bring your digestive health back into balance. The simple knowledge I have outlined so far of how digestion operates and becomes disturbed in a general sense is enough to empower you with the foundational skills you will need to maintain resilient digestive strength for your entire life and correct imbalances as they occur.