Wednesday, October 31, 2012

7 Steps to Protect Yourself from the Winter Sun

What outdoor activities did you do this past summer? Maybe you went on a vacation to the beach. Maybe you spent some time playing your favorite sports such as baseball, golf, or tennis. Maybe you went swimming or had a barbeque in the backyard with family and friends. Regardless of the outdoor activities you did over the summer, most likely you were aware that it was important to protect yourself from sun while outdoors.
Now winter is approaching. I am turning my attention to putting away my summer items to make room for the winter ones; long sleeve shirts for short sleeve ones, corduroy pants for shorts, and boots for sandals. Most of the sports equipment I have been using is going to get put away as well. But what about those items I have been using to protect myself from the sun? Things like my sunscreens, sunglasses, and sun protective hats and clothing.
You may be putting these items away and not using them during the winter. The National Council of Skin Cancer Prevention reported in their January 2003 newsletter that research shows only 3 percent of Americans routinely wear sunscreen during the fall months, and only 2 percent during the winter months. However, you can still get a sunburn and snow blindness during these months. The colder temperatures do not block the UV rays and reflections off the snow and higher altitudes can make matters even worse. You may be causing yourself significant, long-term damage by not properly protecting yourself.
How do you protect yourself from the winter sun (or any other season)? Follow these simple sun safety action steps recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency:
1. Limit Time in the Midday Sun - The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Whenever possible, limit exposure to the sun during these hours.
2. Wear a Hat - A hat with a wide brim offers good sun protection to your eyes, ears, face, and the back of your neck - areas particularly prone to overexposure to the sun.
3. Cover Up - Wearing tightly woven, loose-fitting, and full-length clothing is a good way to protect your skin from the sun's UV rays.
4. Wear Sunglasses that Block 99-100% of UV Radiation -Sunglasses that provide 99-100% UVA and UVB protection will greatly reduce sun exposure that can lead to cataracts and other eye damage. Check the label when buying sunglasses.
5. Always Use Sunscreen - Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 or higher liberally on exposed skin. Reapply every 2 hours, or after working, swimming, playing, or exercising outdoors. Even waterproof sunscreen can come off when you towel off, sweat, or spend extended periods of time in the water.
6. Avoid Sunlamps and Tanning Parlors - The light source from sunbeds and sunlamps damages the skin and unprotected eyes. It's a good idea to avoid artificial sources of UV light.
7. Watch for the UV Index - The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. Developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) and EPA, the UV Index is issued daily in selected cities across the United States.
I am going to keep my sun protective items out to use this winter. I am trusting that you will do the same so that you can enjoy the outdoors while in the cold, on the ice, or in the snow. Have a terrific and safe winter!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Improve Your Health While Saving Money on Pure Water

Is Bottled Water the Answer?
Nothing is more important to our health than drinking lots of pure water. All of the complex biochemical functions in our bodies depend on this key substance. Along with regulating the many micro-processes in our cells, it's essential in absorbing and transporting all nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. It's equally critical in eliminating wastes and toxins from the body. At a time when we are exposed to increasing levels of environmental toxins from our food, air, and water, the conventional wisdom to "drink 6 to 8 glasses of clean water per day for optimum health" is more important than ever before.
Unfortunately, as most people now know, most sources of drinking water are also contaminated with a wide variety of toxins. As a result, increasing numbers of people are now using water filters and are spending large sums of money annually on bottled water.
It is not so widely known, however, that an FDA survey has stated that 31% of the 52 brands of bottled water tested were tainted with bacteria. Similarly, a study conducted by the National Resources Defense Council on 103 brands of bottled water found that about one-third of them contained levels of contamination--including synthetic organic chemicals, bacteria, and arsenic. Moreover, there is growing evidence that xenoestrogens can leach out of the plastic bottles into the water when they are stored for long periods in either hot or very cold environments.
So many Americans, in spite of spending over $1,000 a year on bottled water, may still be exposing themselves to a significant level of toxins. These two facts taken together provide a major incentive for considering a new alternative to bottled water. It's called "WELLNESS WATER."
A Brief History of Wellness Water
Around 30 years ago, Haru Naito left Japan to attend the State University of New York. After winning the NCAA swimming championship there, he returned to Japan to coach Japan's National Swimming Team. Through his devotion to improving the performance of his swimmers, he became involved in the emerging field of sports medicine. This led him to start investigating the unusual levels of health, vitality, and longevity of certain ethnic groups, including the Hunza of Pakistan.
As a result of his extensive research with this group, he concluded that their extraordinary health and longevity was largely due to their water supply. Through careful analysis of this water, he discovered that it had certain unique features as a result of being filtered through minerals of volcanic origin.
During the following years, he continued to investigate the effects of filtering water through similar volcanic minerals in Japan until he developed water with properties very similar to those he had discovered with the Hunza. The final result of his ongoing research was the development of the "Wellness Filter."
Following the circulation of many anecdotal reports throughout Japan about the health benefits of drinking water that had been conditioned by this special filter, the Japanese Ministry of Health conducted rigorous scientific testing of this filter. This resulted in an unprecedented governmental endorsement of the filter. It has now been installed in over 100 government hospitals in Japan, and one of its mineral components has been licensed in Japan as a medicinal mineral.
It was introduced into the U.S. for the first time in 2000. Research here has added further documentation of the many health benefits of this enhanced "wellness water," not only for humans, but also for chickens and cows. (A link to an extensive online summary of this research can be found by clicking on the URL provided at the end of this article.)
How to Have Your Own Portable Supply of Wellness Water
Very recently, the "Wellness Filter" has become available in a 16 oz. Wellness Sport Enhanced Water Bottle. Through the use of this unique bottle, ordinary tap water is instantly transformed into purified ENHANCED water. Not only is this water at least as pure as the best bottled water, it also alters the water so that it: 1) increases the ease of absorption, helping your body absorb nutrients and rid itself of toxins; 2) adds trace minerals for cellular health; and 3) adds reduced ions for an anti-oxidant and anti-aging effect.
In additon to being superior in all of these ways to bottled water, Wellness Water is also much less expensive. Depending on the particular brand of bottled water used as a price comparison, the savings can range from $160 to over $1,000 per year.
Finally, using this Wellness Sport Enhanced Water Bottle as an alternative to bottled water eliminates the expense and burden on the environment of disposing of approximately 1,000 plastic bottles per person each year.
The Wellness Sport Enhanced Water Bottle is now being distributed in the U.S. exclusively by only one American company. To get further information, including how to purchase it, please click on the URL below.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dr Bob's Newsletter

High Blood Pressure And You
Did you know that nearly two thirds, yes 66% of Americans under sixty have or are on the verge of high blood pressure and at least 1/3 do not know it. Having this "silent killer" not only increases there risk of heart disease or stroke but puts them in a higher risk category for hospitalization and death according to a recent study.
There are new guidelines for high blood pressure that have been agreed upon over the last several years and you need to know about them. First the new guidelines are that normal blood pressure is when the systolic ( top number) is 119 or lower and the bottom number is 79 or less. In the recent past we felt that abnormal blood pressure was anything that was 140 or above over 90 or above. Now, people who have this are definitely hypertensive or have high blood pressure.
When the reading is 120 - 139 for the systolic and / or 80 - 89 for the diastolic we are to be considered "pre- hypertension. Each of needs to know what our blood pressure reading is, so don't be shy, ask your doctor.
Also, it makes good sense that if your blood pressure is not normal get a blood pressure cuff in the drug store and have your spouse, partner or children take it periodically and jot down the numbers for your doctor. There is such a diagnosis of "white coat" syndrome" where blood pressure rises when you go to the doctors office.
Dr Bob's Take: It is so important to know what your blood pressure is and if it is pre-hypertensive or in the category of high blood pressure (hypertensive) get it treated and you can make a dramatic difference in your life.
Anti-Oxidant Update
Last month we talked about Vitamin E and the potential for increasing the risk for heart disease. Initially when the first studies came out about 10-15 years ago it was felt that Vitamin E was going to be a panacea for "preventing" heart disease.
Well, there are more studies that are being released which is showing that the herbal remedies that are being touted as anti-oxidants are not proving very effective in preventing diseases like cancer. These are substances like beta carotene, vitamin C, and selenium. The researchers in France have been looking at this and have concluded that there may be a small benefit for men (none for women) but that the benefits can easily be derived by eating a balanced diet. This study was recently reported in the November issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
Dr Bob's Take: as an American I like you are looking for the "holy grail" which in the US is "take a pill and cure it" is not the answer here. We need to really eat right and exercise and this will lead to a healthy "us".
Pacifiers and Baby's Teeth
A study in the Archives of Disease in Children this month, shows that there is a difference in the formation of "baby teeth" when a baby breast feeds or uses their thumb to suck or is given a pacifier during the first 3 months of their life. The study took place in Italy with 1000 children aged 3-5 years old. It found that 1/3 of all children who used pacifiers or sucked their thumb had malocclussion, where the teeth did not line up properly. 89% of had an open bite, where the front teeth do not meet. Whereas only 11% of those with an open bite were breast fed.
This study took place when the children were 3-5 years old and based on information about how they were fed and the use of pacifiers or thumbs. It also is based on the 1st set of teeth - the baby teeth. It is felt by the researchers that the pattern for the teeth is set by how the 1st set is treated.
Dr Bob's Take: although this may have quite a bit of significance for our children's future and their biting and chewing abilities I don't see many of us changing what we are doing or what we have done. But, you know the orthodontists will continue to flourish.
Prescription Tablet Splitting
Some of you may have remembered the articles in the papers about 3 years ago when it was suggested by some health plans that members cut their tablets in half with some medications. Well in Florida a pharmacist has noted that with cholesterol lowering medication a savings of about $850 could be saved per year by splitting the tablet. He goes on to say that this is one way to fight some of the escalation in prices for medications. It was found that with patients of the Veterans Affairs Dept there was a savings of $46 million when eligible patients split their Zocor.
Dr Bob's Take: before you go and do this you first need to check with your doctor. Bring in a sample of the medication so he/she can judge whether or not it would be wise to split the tablet.
Grape Juice and Cholesterol
Yes, the studies are in, grape juice does have a positive effect on raising the HDL part of cholesterol. Dr Jane Freedman, associate professor of Pharmacology at Boston University studied a group of 17 men and 3 women with a grant from Welch's. The participants were 63 years old on average and were 2 weeks on the juice, off for 2 weeks than given a placebo (non-juice) for another 2 weeks.
The outcome showed that the grape juice drinkers elevated their HDL on average from 45 to 50mg, about a 10% rise. This group also lowered a chemical in their system that shows the presence of inflammation in the blood vessels. It is felt that yes grape juice can work like red wine in humans. And for those who don't drink red wine there is an alternative.
With that good news I will close for this year and talk with you again next year.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stabilizing the Core to Eliminate Low-Back

This is the first article of a series of articles to follow. In this article I will be addressing one of the main core stabilizing muscles of the lumbar spine and its role in back pain, as well as specific exercises that should be performed to prevent and recover faster from your back pain. You should make these exercises part of your everyday routine, just like brushing your teeth.
Words of wisdom before performing these exercises:
· Consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program or if you're experiencing radiating pain.
· Don't stop your exercise program just because your back feels better. Continue exercising to keep your back pain from returning.
· Where most rehabilitation programs fail is in the selection and repetitions they prescribe to their patients. People with weak back muscles should not only strengthen these muscles but should concentrate on building muscle endurance since these muscles are at work all day long.
· Consider working with a Muscle Activation Technique Therapist to identify and correct muscular imbalances and to make sure all muscles are functioning properly.
Core Stabilizer:
Transverse Abdominal (TVA) is a very important stabilizer of the low-back. It is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and the only one that runs horizontal. It activates prior to the muscles of the hips and thorax. When contracted it flattens the abdominal wall and compresses the viscera. The TVA is required for all integrated movements. If the TVA is weak it will allow bulging of the anterior abdominal wall increasing lordosis in the low-back and will also create a lateral bulge in (forward bending) or extension (back bending).
Researchers used EMG activity to identify the timing of the TVA and the multifidus contraction, compared to other abdominal muscles, during movement of the upper limbs in response to visual stimuli. They found that, in subjects without lower back pain, the first active muscle was the transverse abdominis contracting prior to the upper limb. The model they developed "identified a consistent dysfunction of transverse abdominis in people with low-back pain.
Isometric Exercises Explained:
Before we get into the specific exercises for the TVA I would like to explain why isometric exercises are so important.
In order to activate the TVA muscle fibers or any other muscle for that matter, a weak muscle must first be "jump started" using MAT Therapy or by using isometric exercises before you can strengthen it through exercise. If a weak muscle is not first jump started, then the body is forced to compensate and use other muscles to perform the desired movement.
Isometric exercises solve several problems that Rehab programs and weight lifting activities do not solve:
Problem #1: A weak muscle will not contract with most strengthening exercises because dominant muscles will compensate for weak muscles.
Problem #2: When the body senses instability in the joint, it will tighten up to protect the joint. Stretching a tight muscle will only create a temporary release and could result in a more vulnerable joint.
Problem #3: Muscle imbalances may occur through repetitive use of the same muscle, or through injury, causing the body to go into "protective" mode.
When performing isometric exercise contractions, the contraction should be held for 6 seconds and repeated 6 times. This allows time for peek tension to develop and metabolic changes to occur in the muscle. The muscle should be placed in its shorthend position. In this position the muscle is at its weakest. The intensity of each isometric contraction should increase. By the 6th contraction, greater range of motion and neural input should occur. For more information on isometric exercises visit []
Exercises for the TVA
· This exercise is critical in re-estabilishing good communication between the brain and the key stabilizer muscles (TVA). Progressing to advanced abdominal exercises when your body is not prepared will only magnify muscular imbalances that can cause injury and pain.
· Lie on your back and cross your left leg over right leg. Your left heel should be next to the right knee. Rotate right approx 30 degrees your left hip will come off the ground several inches. Push knee into the ball or wall 6 times for 6 seconds. Start lightly and increase pressure each time. If you feel cramping in the inner thigh you are pressing too hard. This exercise will activate the TVA and should be followed up by regular abdominal exercises.
Richard Lauro is a Certified Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) therapist and one of the industries top fitness experts. The Owner of Fitness Solutions Inc.; Resistance Training Specialist; (AAHFRP) Medical Exercise And Post Rehab Specialist; American Council on Exercise; Idea Member - International Fitness Professionals Organization; Health and Fitness Writer for the Community Voice Newspaper. 13 years experience in the Health and Fitness field. To learn more about MAT Techniques and how to prevent and recover faster from your sports injury visit [] or call 540-840-3208 to get your FREE REPORT "The Secret To Eliminating Muscle and Joint Pain".