By Natural Advocate | July 31, 2011 - 9:50 pm - Posted in Alternative Therapies

One of the less publicized methods of stress relief among holistic approaches is the flotation tank.  The purpose of a float is to completely relax you and ease pain and quiet the mind.  Research has shown that a float in a flotation tank is useful for reduction of blood pressure, reducing stress hormones and improving depression.

Other areas that it was found to be helpful are improvement of chronic pain and sometimes easing the discomfort and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.  In our fast paced, high tech society, some of the decreasing of stress could be due to the isolation of the flotation tank.

Just being away from cell phones, computers, email, texting and the constant stimulation is beneficial to quiet the mind.  Usually, the flotation tanks measure approximately 4 feet by 8 feet and are filled with about 10″ of water to which is added 800 to 1,000 pounds of epsom salts.

This vast quantity of salt in ratio to the water makes the body automatically float with little or no effort.  The user of the flotation tank showers first and then puts in earplugs to block any outside noise.  The area for the flotation tank is kept entirely dark.

Sometimes, the consumer using the flotation tank feels a little claustrophobic at first when stepping in the door.  Usually, once they are in complete darkness and quiet, this apprehension disappears.

The experience of a float in a flotation tank is often compared to what it must have felt like in the womb.  There’s complete quiet and darkness and the sensation of being cradled, weightless and warmth.

Cost probably varies from one wellness center to another.  The one near here, locally, has a cost of $50.00 for a one hour float.  Flotation tanks are useful for meditation aids due to their isolation, relaxation and deprivation of sensory stimuli.

Other claims made for flotation tanks are skin softening, detoxification and treatment of eczema and psoriasis.  These claims have little scientific evidence to back them up.  Many people find flotation tanks very helpful if they have a high stress job and need to really relax just to break the tension.

One of the reasons that flotation tanks have stayed relatively under the radar in the holistic healing remedies is because of their size and the high cost of constant maintenance.  They can be found at wellness centers and you could search the internet to look for one near your location.

By Natural Advocate | July 30, 2011 - 11:56 am - Posted in Vitamins & Minerals

There had been some previous speculation that vitamin A may help to either treat or prevent asthma from occurring. There sure has been a lot of stuff about asthma in the news lately.

The reason for the vitamin A connection to a potential treatment or preventive medicine against asthma is that this vitamin is crucial to healthy lung development and maintenance of this very important organ.

Our lungs oxygenate our blood with the oxygen we breathe in and process through them. They filter out all the junk and help us to maintain a healthy respiratory system overall.

Probably because the summer time and the coming fall are some of the toughest seasons for us asthma sufferers because of all the excitement, physical activity, and of course, the many many allergy inducing things that hang in the air, on the ground, and all around us in the summer time when everything is in full bloom and plant derived allergens become more saturated in the environments that surround us.

The thought about vitamin A was that if doses were given to pregnant women, or to young preschool aged children, it may help prevent them from getting asthma, or perhaps even help reduce symptoms if they already had the lung condition.

Well, unfortunately the effort has thus far been proven fruitless, and vitamin A has not shown any real, significant benefit for those with asthma.  What the vitamin A supplementation did seem to do however, was to increase likelihood of survival of the fetus.

The reason for this was that it seemed to increase the size of the lungs of the infant born to the women who took the vitamin A supplements. So in one respect, it did help.  However, the vitamin did not prove successful as a remedy for asthma.

It may be that although this vitamin is crucial to lung development and healthy lung tissue, it doesn’t target the exact causation of asthma.  There are many different theories behind why people develop asthma, and just improving the actual lung health may not work, although it may provide other related benefits.


By Natural Advocate | July 29, 2011 - 10:43 am - Posted in Alternative Therapies

I’ve had asthma ever since I was about eight years old. I remember my first asthma attack very clearly, if you can believe that. We were hiking as a family at an outdoor YMCA. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining.

After running up a steep hill that was covered in queen anne’s lace and other things like dandelions, I suddenly felt a feeling I had never felt before. It was like rubber bands were compressing around  my lungs, and I couldn’t quite catch my breath.

That was become what was known as the turning point for me as a youngster.  I had my first asthma attack, and I would have many more after that, all of varying degrees in severity. When I look back now, I realize that many times pure excitement or anxiety  caused them.

I firmly believe that much of asthma is brought about by pshychological excitements or anxieties, because when I look back on my attacks, even as a child, it almost always involved this aspect.

So I wasn’t surprised when I read recently that a placebo treatment did just as well as a real asthma treatment for many patients. It only further supports the theory that some asthma cases are really brought about by what we’re thinking at the time.

Granted, there are aggravators like mold, pollen and other allergens, but there are also emotional aspects of this conditions as well.

The study actually showed that patients who were given a placebo treatment that they believed was a regular asthma treatment, say like an inhaler, with totally inactive ingredients, they reported that they felt relief, as they would when they received the real treatment.

The patients did not always report this, but they reported it enough of the time to suggest that these patients at least experienced some of their symptoms due to psychological reasons.

If you have asthma, know that there are some excellent herbal remedies for asthma that can help you naturally overcome the symptoms and get over the attacks faster.

Albuterol and other medications should probably be kept around as an emergency intervention, however, use of these on a frequent basis can have other health side effects.


By Natural Advocate | July 27, 2011 - 10:24 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

When I read the headline that there was “no link found” between cell phones and various types of brain cancer, a long held assertion by some who say that frequent use of cell phones held up to the ear can cause cancerous cell growth, I had to be dubious about it.

I always wonder how the scientific community can assert anything as grand as that with certainty when it would take years and years of solid data, with a lot of test subjects to come up with a conclusion like that.

The interesting part of the study which was done by the Danish, is that they were looking at a large group of cell phone users and non cell phone  users – quite a nice large number I must say, for a non cancerous tumor that tends to grow in the inner ear part of the brain where the cell phone’s waves would most likely be most concentrated.

Why would they be looking for NON cancerous tumors in the brain from cell phone use though? Shouldn’t they have been more focused on the cancerous tumors that people in these subsets had?

Well, they said that the particular type of tumor they were referring to, an acoustic neuroma, is the indication they were looking for that would tell them if people who used cell phones were affected in the very area where they woud likely develop cancer from the specific absorption of these active waves.

They found no connection at all between people who had been using their cell phones for the past decade and an increased risk of these types of tumors. This s a good first step, but it certainly doesn’t take away the fact that you should still use precautions.

No one expects you to get rid of your cell phone in this day and age. They are almost a necessity. They have taken the place of land lines as well for most people, so they are really an every day convenience that we have grown accustomed to.

What you can do is buy a headset to call people with, and that can reduce the contact between your head and ear and the actual cell phone, which transmits the most radiation.  You can also use speaker phone whenever possible to keep the phone away from the head.

By Natural Advocate | July 26, 2011 - 2:34 pm - Posted in Smoking Cessation

In news that chalks up yet another reason you should immediately quit smoking if you still indulge in the habit, there is a lot of evidence that prostate cancer, one of the most common cancers in men, is a lot more agressive in smokers vs. non smokers.

This really isn’t surprising when you consider that smoking is actually linked to several different types of cancers, and continuing to partake in the habit only worsens cancerous cell growth.  What continues to amaze a lot of people, and doctors is that, a lot of people still continue to smoke after diagnosed with cancer.

It’s like giving the cancer a helping hand at taking over your body because it helps to kill healthy cells and spawn even more unhealthy, rapidly dividing cells.  Cancer is basically bad, mutated cells that turn on you and rapidly divide and multiply, taking over the healthy cells and, if left unchecked or untreated, ultimately lead to death.

Cigarette smoking is a top notch carcinogen. It is one of the worst cancer causing agents out there, and the ironic part is that we choose to either do it or not do it to ourselves.

Prostate cancer is just one of the cancers that is aggravated, or even partially caused by, cigarette smoking.  Men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer who are smokers are much more statistically likely to die or to have a much more agressive form of the cancer than men who are diagnosed that are non smokers.

Smoking can definitely advance the cancer faster, and it can also make it into a much more agressive form of cancer, that divides and multiplies even more rapidly than if it did not have the help of the carinogenic by-products produced by cigarette smoke with stay in the blood stream.

This is yet another reason to quit smoking if you haven’t already and you are a smoker.  There are some excellent herbal smoking cessation products out there that can help you get through the most trying stages of quitting for good.

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