Inspiring Ezine » Science & Health Tue, 23 Apr 2013 20:45:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 10 Simple and Amazing Home Remedies for Acne http://inspiringezine.com/10-simple-and-amazing-home-remedies-for-acne/#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2013 20:45:44 +0000 Inspiring Ezine Science & Health Acne Garlic Home Remedies Honey natural skin Neem http://inspiringezine.com/?p=905 Acne has been a common skin condition faced by many of us. Home remedies for acne has been used because they are not only inexpensive but they actually work. People use home remedies for acne because they are natural, chemical free and you get to do it at home. All you have to do is [...]

Acne has been a common skin condition faced by many of us. Home remedies for acne has been used because they are not only inexpensive but they actually work. People use home remedies for acne because they are natural, chemical free and you get to do it at home. All you have to do is step into the kitchen, find the ingredients and use them to clear your acne. But you must remember that if you want to clear your skin from acne using ingredients in your home you need to be persistent in using them regularly to get the 100% results.

home remedies for acne

Acne occurs when our follicles commonly known as our pores, over produce cells that get blocked, the sebum (known as oil) that has to drain out to the surface (skin) gets blocked. So the bacteria start growing there that result in the forming of acne. This acne can take any form; it can be whiteheads, blackheads, papule, pustule, nodule, cyst or milia. These acne are occur anywhere it may be your face, chest, neck, back, upper arms and buttocks.

Home remedies for acne have been used for centuries and the best thing about them is that they do work. It’s really wonderful that simple home ingredients that we use daily are the simple solution to our acne problem. So here are some of the best 10 home remedies for acne that do wonders:

1. Lemon Juice and Rose Water:  Take equal amounts of lemon juice and rose water, mix them together and applying this solution to your skin with the help of cotton. Leave it on your skin for half an hour and then wash your face with lukewarm water. Repeat this procedure daily for 3-4 weeks it won’t only clear your acne but it will even lighten blemishes too.

2. Honey and Cinnamon Powder:  Mix 3 tablespoons of honey with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Apply this mixture to your skin and leave it on overnight. It will stop the inflammation caused by acne and will clear acne too if used continuously for 2 weeks.

3. Garlic:  Crush a clove of garlic and apply it to the affected area. Leave it on your skin for 30 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water. Garlic speeds up the healing process of acne. You can do this twice a day.

4. Vinegar and Salt:  Vinegar and salt have also been used as home remedies for acne too. Mix vinegar and salt together, if you have a sensitive skin you can add a few drops of rose water too. Apply it on the affected area, leave it on there for 10-20 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water.

5. Baking Powder:  Baking powder is another ingredient used to clear acne. Take baking powder and water, mix them together to make a paste and apply to affected area. Leave it on the skin till it dries and rinse with water.

6. Aloe Vera Gel:  Aloe Vera gel is good to clear acne and moisturize the skin too. Applying the gel on your skin twice a day will help clear acne.

7. Toothpaste:  To dry out acne quickly just apply toothpaste to the affected area before going to sleep and leave it overnight.

8. Egg: Applying egg white to the skin also help to get rid of acne. If you don’t like the egg smell you may add a teaspoon of sandalwood powder, make a paste apply it on the skin and leave it overnight. Wash with lukewarm water in the morning.

9. Tomato:  Cut a tomato and rub it on your skin in circles for about 2 minutes. Leaves it on for 20 minutes and rinse with water. Tomato helps to clear blackheads and whiteheads and is a best remedy for oily skin.

10. Neem:  Make a fine paste of Neem (margosa) leaves and turmeric. Apply it to your skin and leave it on for 30 minutes. Rinse skin with water.

These are the best 10 simple and amazing home remedies for acne that works and gives you the 100% results that you want.

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Top 5 New Species Discovered http://inspiringezine.com/top-5-new-species-discovered/#comments Thu, 21 Mar 2013 19:44:53 +0000 Inspiring Ezine Animals Education Science & Health amazing things Fossils Himalayan Science Discoveries Species Tarantula Walking Cactus http://inspiringezine.com/?p=838 Although hundreds of known species are endangered and disappear off the face of the Earth each year, it seems as though nature finds its way to adapt to the various man made conditions and destruction to still sustain others. Even more, scientists, in their tireless quest for the knowledge, announce to the world that new [...]

Although hundreds of known species are endangered and disappear off the face of the Earth each year, it seems as though nature finds its way to adapt to the various man made conditions and destruction to still sustain others. Even more, scientists, in their tireless quest for the knowledge, announce to the world that new species are discovered annually, species that no one has classified, described or even seen before. From the amazing Amazon forests and heights of the Himalayan peaks to the most beautiful meadows and the darkness of the narrowest caves, we bring you the top 5 new species discovered.

1. The Night-Blooming Orchid

new species 1The Bulbophyllum nocturnum is probably the most amazing orchid known today because of its unusual night-blooming cycle. Out of more than 25,000 species of orchids classified until today by botanists, this is the first orchid that flowers only at night. This orchid was discovered by a Dutch scientist while conducting his research in New Britain, somewhere near Papua New Guinea. When brought back to the research labs in the Netherlands everyone was taken aback by an unexpected thing: while the flower buds 2cm long seemed to wither during the day, just a few hours after dusk they opened up in all their splendour and closed back a few hours before dawn. Today, it is still a mystery why the Bulbophyllum nocturnum, which belongs to the largest group in the orchid family, only flowers at night, especially because of the pollinating aspect. Scientists speculate that nocturnal flies carry out this task.

2. Nepalese Autumn Poppy

new species 2Amongst the high mountains of Nepal, at an altitude of about 14000 feet, a group of botanists who were collecting plants “miles from human habitation”, risking their own lives during the heavy monsoon rains, discovered a stunningly beautiful Himalayan flower. Later on they named it Meconopsis autumnalisbecause this Nepalese Poppy blooms only during autumn.The surprising fact about this new species is that although it was collected from the Himalayan slopes on two other occasions – in 1962 by the plant hunter Adam Stainton and in 1994 by staff of the University of Tokyo – at that time it was not recognized as being new.

3. Wandering Leg Sausage

new species 3Crurifarcimen vagans is the genus name of a newly discovered African millipede and as it turns out, it translates in the more common name we know it by today – the Wandering Leg Sausage – which also describes it perfectly. Imagine a sausage-like shape with 56 fat podous rings, each with two pairs of legs. Crurifarcimen vaganswas found in Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains and it is currently known to live in eastern and western Usambara Mountain forests at altitudes of 940 to 1800 meters. It has also been declared the largest millipede, measuring about 1.5 cm in diameter and growing up to 15 cm in length.

Also Read: Top 5 Science Discoveries

4. Sazima’s Tarantula

new species 4Although Pterinopelma sazimai has been discovered decades ago, during the 1970’s, by an intrepid Brazilian zoologist who first collected exemplars of this species, our top 5 includes it because today it is still one of the most beautiful tarantulas ever found and above all, because we can no longer find it in its natural habitat: the high tabletop Brazilian mountains. Commonly known as Sazima’s Tarantula – named in honour of Doctor Ivan Sazima – the Pterinopelma sazimai can be seen today only in national parks due to loss of habitat and over-collecting for the pet trade.

5. Walking Cactus

new species 5Diania cactiformis is the name that has been given to the fossilized animals found in the now famous Chengjjiang deposit in south-west China. This organism is about 520 million years old and it is thought to be the ancestor of arthropods, which is the most diverse group of animals on the planet. Diania received the nickname of the “walking cactus” because of its shape: a worm-like body to which spiny jointed legs are attached.  Scientists also discovered that the Diania genus grew about 6 centimetres long and had ten pairs of robust legs. All the facts suggest that it belongs to an extinct group of animals known as Lobopoda.

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Top 5 Science Discoveries For 2012 http://inspiringezine.com/top-5-science-discoveries-for-2012/#comments Mon, 28 Jan 2013 19:29:01 +0000 Inspiring Ezine Education Science & Health Technology Anthropomorphic Eyeglasses Genome Sequencing Robotic Hand Science Discoveries smartphone http://inspiringezine.com/?p=785 The year 2012 has truly been an amazing science ride for all those who have been reading the headlines. This year has given us a glimpse of what the future has in store for the entire human race by unveiling some of the most unexpected and mind-blowing breakthroughs in every field, starting with biology, nanotechnology, [...]

The year 2012 has truly been an amazing science ride for all those who have been reading the headlines. This year has given us a glimpse of what the future has in store for the entire human race by unveiling some of the most unexpected and mind-blowing breakthroughs in every field, starting with biology, nanotechnology, neuroscience, robotics, engineering, and finishing off with physics and astronomy. So, let us have a look at the top 5 science discoveries that I personally think will have a huge impact on our lives once they have gone mainstream.

1. Mind-controlled robotic hand

Mind-controlled robotic hand On the 18th of December every journal in the world had on its front cover the story of a woman who although paralyzed from the neck down, could for the first time feed herself chocolate with the help of a robotic hand. The groundbreaking technology that has allowed her to experience this has been recently developed and the first try-outs have been more than promising.A team of doctors at the University of Pittsburgh have surgically implanted two micro electrode arrays into the left motor cortex and then connected the prosthesis. After weeks of training and pain staking efforts, Jan Scheuermann could move the limb with the power of her mind. This story has given many people suffering from a similar condition hope for a better, more autonomous life in the future.

2. Augmented reality eyeglasses

Augmented reality eyeglassesThe concept of augmented reality has been with us for a while now, but 2012 has literally taken it into the science fiction realm. This year Google unveils Project Glass which is a research and development program aimed at creating a HMD or an augmented reality head-mounted wear. The prototype has already been launched in June 2012 and the inner workings of it all are beyond what anyone ever imagined. First of all, the information display is in a smartphone-like format, both hands-free and able to interact with the Internet at all times via language commands. Suffice it to say that with a HDM one would stay connected 24/7 with the rest of the virtual world while exploring the real world. If this smart gadget invades our daily lives – just as I personally believe it will happen at some point – the concept of privacy will take on a totally different meaning.

3. Anthropomorphic factory worker

Anthropomorphic factory workerReplacing human labor with perfectly synchronized error free robotic labor has been an endeavor of the tech communities – either private or not – around the world for many years now. The year 2012 will also be remembered as the year when the company Rethink Robotics has come really close to fulfilling the above mentioned endeavor. It has created a robot named Baxter that is equipped with sensors and software which promote human-like behavior such as learning and adapting to a new environment. For example, if it accidentally drops an object, Baxter will replace it with another one before carrying on with its task. And above all, anyone can train it to do any set of complex movements in less than 30 minutes.

4. Genome sequencing under $1,000

Genome sequencing under $1,000We already know that the Human Genome Project has been declared complete in April 2003 with the release of the first rough draft of the human genome. However, the year 2012 is full of genome related articles such as: the development of synthetic DNA compounds, the successful genome sequencing of the Western gorilla and later on, of the bonobo. All things considered, the biggest headline of them all is the fact that genome sequencing becomes more accessible to ordinary people as costs plummet. Today there are a number of companies offering easy and relatively cheap ways to administer genetic tests which can show if you have a predisposition for developing a number of illnesses like: cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, liver diseases, hemostasis disorders and many, many others.

5. fMRI used to communicate with paralyzed people

fMRIAnother groundbreaking discovery made in the medical field, namely in neuroscience, has been achieved with the help of the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Specifically, patients suffering from complete paralysis can now spell words only by using their thoughts. The fMRI which is normally used to track brain activity can also indicate what letter from the alphabet a patient has chosen to use when trying to communicate with the outside world. This research –although still in its infancy – is both exciting and promising for the paralyzed patients all over the world who will most surely soon be able to spell words, make sentences and literally speak their mind.

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Things You Didn’t Know About Coffee http://inspiringezine.com/things-you-didnt-know-about-coffee/#comments Sat, 22 Dec 2012 12:02:50 +0000 Inspiring Ezine Facts Science & Health Advantages Beverages Blood Pressure Caffeine Cancer central nervous system Coffee Dehydration Disadvantages Diuretic Fatigue Flavor forms of depression headaches Heart Problems Home Remedies Medical Studies Myths Pregnancy Symptoms http://inspiringezine.com/?p=743 We drink it every morning at home, on our way to work or at the office. For centuries it has served us well and because we recognize that our lives could not unfold without it, today, coffee is the second most traded commodity on earth, after oil, of course. Whether you need the buzz or [...]

We drink it every morning at home, on our way to work or at the office. For centuries it has served us well and because we recognize that our lives could not unfold without it, today, coffee is the second most traded commodity on earth, after oil, of course. Whether you need the buzz or high it gives in just a few minutes after drinking it, or you enjoy its amazingly delicious flavor, no one can deny having drunk at least one cup of coffee by the time he/she was 20 years old. This exquisite beverage’s long-term effects have been studied in enough detail for us to have a good picture with regard to the advantages and disadvantages of drinking coffee every day. So, let us have a closer look at what we know today about coffee to be true.

1. Coffee and Dehydration

The myth of coffee or caffeine having an impact on our daily intake of water has finally found a resolution. Actually, the answer to this dilemma has two answers: yes and no, each with circumstantial validity. Beginning with the “yes” side of the story, people know that coffee is a natural diuretic. Because of the effects it can have on our body, coffee also helps push liquids out of our systems, and when drinking 4 cups of coffee a day is a routine done without replenishing the water resources, specific dehydration symptoms will manifest: fatigue, poor concentration, and headaches. The “no” part of the answer implies that we remember to always drink a glass of water with every cup of coffee.

2. Coffee and Depression

Caffeine is the most common used central nervous system stimulant worldwide, and for this reason alone researchers have conducted a number of longitudinal studies, mainly on women, to establish if there is any connection between coffee consumption and depression. A BBC article from 2011 suggests that caffeine may help prevent depression according to the findings published in a renowned medical magazine. The study reported that some 2,600 women developed depression in less than 10 years after the study began, and they belonged to the category of subjects who tended to be non- or low-coffee drinkers. For those who drank 2-3 cups of coffee per week the risk of developing depression decreased by 15%; as for those who drank 3-4 cups/week, the risk decreased by 20%.

Also Read: 5 Addictive Things You Do Every Day

3. Coffee and Low Blood Pressure

Many people dismiss a headache or feeling dizzy without giving them a second thought; however, both symptoms may indicate low blood pressure – a condition that should not be treated lightly because in time it can block oxygen and nutrients from reaching the brain. There are a number of reasons why someone might have low blood pressure and the most frequent causes are: dehydration, pregnancy, and heart problems. Besides increasing the salt intake and drinking more water, a very effective home remedy for low blood pressure (headaches) is drinking a cup of black coffee which will increase your heart rate immediately, thus raising your blood pressure.

4. Coffee and Cancer

An impressive number of studies have been conducted in order to establish coffee health benefits, especially in supporting the body’s fight against different types of cancer. The results are astounding, and they show the following: that drinking up to three cups of coffee per day can reduce the risk for women to develop ovarian cancer by 5%, and for those who have never been on the contraceptive pill or HRT the risk was reduced up to 43%; that people who have a daily intake of 4 cups are less likely to suffer from 4 types of cancer: prostate, colorectal, mouth and larynx; that if you drink 6 or more cups of coffee on a daily basis you can reduce the risk of developing some types of skin cancer up to 31%. Of course, there are also noticeable side effects to drinking 3, 4 or more than six cups of coffee a day that everyone should consider before anything, including increased blood pressure, the risk of cardiovascular illnesses, of developing rheumatoid arthritis, and even breast shrinking for women.

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5 Addictive Things You Do Every Day http://inspiringezine.com/5-addictive-things-you-do-every-day/#comments Fri, 07 Dec 2012 13:23:29 +0000 Inspiring Ezine Facts Home & Family People & Places Science & Health addiction Addictive alcholism Biting Nails Caffeine central nervous system Coffee Games headaches Heart Palpitation Insomnia lip balm menthol onychophagia Sleep Stress Symptoms tv show Video Games http://inspiringezine.com/?p=593 What we do on an everyday basis, starting with our morning rituals and ending with our sleeping patterns, makes us who we are more than some might be inclined to believe. For it is our actions that define us who we are, and not the elusive image we have created in our minds about who [...]

What we do on an everyday basis, starting with our morning rituals and ending with our sleeping patterns, makes us who we are more than some might be inclined to believe. For it is our actions that define us who we are, and not the elusive image we have created in our minds about who we are. Unknowingly sometimes, we engage in behaviors that seem harmless, but are nonetheless, highly addictive.

1. Drinking Coffee

When the clock starts ringing there is only one thing on our minds: “I need my coffee before I can do anything!”. We use it on an everyday basis indiscriminately, although some people have turned to black or green tea for a milder similar buzz. Its effects are stunning: it will stimulate your central nervous system and metabolism in a matter of minutes after consumption, lasting up to 5 hours. Tasty and efficient, thousands of people drink it every day and with every cup they become more tolerant to it needing higher doses for the same buzz. In many ways, caffeine is a highly commercialized and accepted drug, just like alcohol. Caffeinism is the official name for caffeine dependency; symptoms include nervousness, restlessness, insomnia, headaches and heart palpitations. For those who have been brave enough to give coffee up, the process is painful and discomforting, the withdrawal effects lasting up to 9 days and they are very similar to those experienced with caffeinism.

2. Watching TV Shows

Just like with alcoholism or caffeinism, watching TV shows can be subtly, yet very addictive in the long-run. If when you wake up the morning, your first thought is: “I need to check which TV shows are aired today!” and then you jump to your computer to check, chances are that you are already addicted to at least one show. There is also TV addiction that manifests as the viewer’s compulsive need to turn on the TV without intending to actually watch anything. But TV shows addiction is quite different in that it offers some sort of “high”, excitement and thrill due to the intensity the viewer experiences while receiving his/her drama/fantasy/romance/adventure/comedy daily dose. When confronted with this addiction some people will say that they are watching TV shows to: get their mind off things, to relax, to escape from this world’s limits. Essentially, TV shows are addictive because they offer people the chance to project themselves in another reality where things are more interesting, in a dream world they wish they could inhabit.

3. Using Lip Balm

No one would have thought that such a daily routine as applying lip balm can be addictive. Actually, as with many other commercialized products, lip balms contain ingredients which if administered in any other form can kill you. Many lip balm users claim that they get a buzz from using it and this is easily explained by the menthol, camphor and phenol that most contain. Phenol, however, is the real culprit in this mix: it is normally used as an embalming agent, known to be highly corrosive to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. Also, if injected with just one gram it can cause instant death. The catch is that these ingredients will actually irritate your lips thus requiring you to apply more and more. So, while you are trying to moisturize and heal, lip balm does not only harm your lips by keeping them dry, but it also creates an addiction that you are seldom aware of.

4. Biting Nails

Stress, frustration, not enough time to sleep or rest, pressure and responsibilities – if you throw all these in the same bowl you get an explosive cocktail Molotov bound to drive you to your wits ends. The challenges and problems we are confronted with every day are the sources of our fears and anxieties, leading to sleepless nights or even insomnia, nervousness, irritability, lack of focus and they keep building up spirally. One of the things that we sometimes unconsciously resort to relieve some of that anxiety is biting our nails. This action, also known as a behavioral tic or onychophagia, is meant to induce a soothing feeling because it temporarily confirms that we are still able to do something even when we are mentally stuck. Not many people know this, but nail biting is classified as an impulse control disorder in DSM-IV-R, and it falls in the same category as other body-focused repetitive behaviors such as: dermatillomania (skin picking), dermatophagia (skin biting), and trichotillomania (the urge to pull out hair).

5. Playing Video Games

There is much public and scientific debate on whether video games addiction should be classified as a real addiction in the DSM and treated as one. On the one hand, studies show that approximately 3.0% of the game players experience the symptoms of pathological gaming, some of them being reported to have died after playing days on end without eating or drinking. On the other hand, recent research points out that gaming is meant to give the players the means to save the world, while they learn the habits of heroes. It is suggested that playing video games trains our problem-solving skills, thus being more beneficial than harmful.

After going through all these daily addictive behaviors, which one of them does it seem to you less likely to take over your personality and develop into a real disorder?

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4 Unique Gadgets You Don’t Know About http://inspiringezine.com/4-unique-gadgets-you-dont-know-about/#comments Tue, 04 Dec 2012 12:31:17 +0000 Inspiring Ezine Inspiration Science & Health Technology air umbrella Apple Awesome Gadgets Bike Bluetooth BoostTurbine cell phone Crash Sensor Gadgets GPS hand-turbine Helmet ICEdot Sticker iPad latest technology microphone Pop Robot The Popinator http://inspiringezine.com/?p=584 The world of technology has advanced exponentially the last few years, and it is expected to do so in the future. Although its mission at first was to make our lives easier, in the post-modern times the number of technologies you own say something about your social and financial status. In other words, tech is [...]

The world of technology has advanced exponentially the last few years, and it is expected to do so in the future. Although its mission at first was to make our lives easier, in the post-modern times the number of technologies you own say something about your social and financial status. In other words, tech is being re-purposed; it is converted into a common good that everyone can buy at fabulously cheap prices and then simply discard once they are bored of it or when a new generation of that same product comes out. It seems as though people are so wrapped up in the consumerist mentality of these times that no gadget is performing or stylish enough that it cannot be replaced within a few 2 or 3 months with another slightly modified version of itself (i.e. Apple’s ipads). In the following paragraphs we will present some of the latest gadgets that you can find on the market and it is up to you, the readers, to decide whether they are more or less useful in everyday life.

1. Air Umbrella

Air Umbrella is a unique electronic gadget, and the concept of it has been patented by two designers: Je Sung Park and Woo Jung Kwon. The unconventional umbrella works in the following way: the stick of the umbrella can change its length and at its base you have the control button; once you press it, the handle blows the air beneath it above your head, thus creating an adjustable air-curtain that protects you from the raindrops; if the rain is heavier then you can adjust the power with which the air is being blown in order to avoid getting wet. The gadget has been promoted as ensuring maximum portability (i.e. you can carry it in your pocket or your bag) and as Eco-friendly due to the fact that it discourages the use of plastic bags.

2. The Popinator

The Popinator is a voice-activated robot designed to release popcorn from its stash and project it right into your mouth at command. This invention has also been labeled as the “ultimate feeding toy” of the century because it is based on high end engineering, and the idea stemmed out of the need to multitask. Actually, the Popinator uses a binaural microphone system, which is very similar to the science behind our hearing system, in order to decode the distance from which the word “Pop!” has been said and the trajectory. Although there are a few infinitesimal errors of decoding the sound because of possible sound wave interferences, the Popinator is still amazingly precise at delivering the “Pop!”.

3. BoostTurbine

Have you ever considered the possibility that at some point mankind will have to adapt energy wise? Well, this next gadget is way ahead of you: the BoostTurbine is specifically designed to provide you with a portable charger that you can use for you telephone or laptop or any other device even if you do not have any power source near you (i.e. if you are in the forest). The BoostTurbine has a hand-turbine power generator and a rechargeable lithium battery, so that with only one minute of turning that handle you have enough energy to re-open your telephone, make a few calls and send texts. One can say that such a gadget can literally save your life!

4. ICEdot Sticker

The ICEdot Sticker, also called the Crash Sensor, is the latest technology developed for cyclists. Practically, this sensor, once it is placed on the bike helmet, connects with the rider’s cell phone via Bluetooth. Let us see how it works: if you fall off your bike or your helmet is knocked off you head, the sensor will automatically start calling all your emergency contacts in the list, also giving them your GPS coordinates. In case of false crash detection – when you accidentally drop the helmet on the ground, for example – there is a countdown before the sensor starts dialing, so that you have enough time to stop it from continuing if you are really not hurt. I think that everyone riding a bike will feel a little bit safer once they get the Crash Sensor.

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Amazing Eastern Practices Based on a Philosophy of Life http://inspiringezine.com/amazing-eastern-practices-based-on-a-philosophy-of-life/#comments Sat, 01 Dec 2012 12:36:46 +0000 Inspiring Ezine Inspiration People & Places Science & Health eastern practices headaches Insomnia Medical Studies Medicine mental exercise Pains Principles psychological disorders qigong Self-Awareness Stress Management Taiost Lao Tzu tao yin t’ai chi ch’uan http://inspiringezine.com/?p=576 There are many Eastern practices that have been adopted by the rest of the world purely because they are based on a philosophy of life that mystify and intrigue. After having been an essential part of the Eastern traditions and culture for thousands of years, practices such as T’ai chi ch’uan, Qigong and Tao yin [...]

There are many Eastern practices that have been adopted by the rest of the world purely because they are based on a philosophy of life that mystify and intrigue. After having been an essential part of the Eastern traditions and culture for thousands of years, practices such as T’ai chi ch’uan, Qigong and Tao yin have been brought to the Western world by enlightened masters of the martial arts, yoga and meditation. It is without a doubt that they have enriched immensely our knowledge of the Eastern philosophy while helping us find the right balance for achieving peace of mind. Today, we are closer to understanding why the Eastern societies have always considered these practices first of all as spiritually enhancing.

1. T’ai chi ch’uan

T’ai chi ch’uan philosophy and practice stem out from a number of Chinese philosophical principles, including the Taoism and Confucianism. Within the Chinese classification system of the martial arts T’ai chi ch’uan is found in the Wudang category or the arts applied with internal power as opposed to the Shaolin category or the arts applied with external/hard power. Today, although there are schools teaching modern styles of T’ai chi ch’uan all over the world, they all can be traced back to at least one of the original schools: Chen, Yang, Wu (Hao), Wu and Sun. Traditional training for T’ai chi ch’uan is based on the philosophy so well expressed by the Taoist Lao Tzu: “The soft and the pliable will defeat the hard and strong.” To this end, the training process focuses on:

i) slow movements with a straight spine, abdominal breathing, encouraging natural motion; ii) applying the principles from iii) together with a partner.

There are medical studies suggesting that T’ai chi can be practiced as a form of alternative exercise and physical therapy that will have long-term health benefits (supports longevity, opens internal circulation of air, body heat, blood). Even more, due to its meditation component, T’ai chi cultivates calmness and clarity, focus and self-awareness, thus being amazingly efficient in stress management.

2. Qigong

Qigong is a practice that has evolved within the Chinese culture for more than 4,000 years old before it spread worldwide. Throughout history, Qigong philosophy and practice have been kept alive by word of mouth, being passed on from master to pupil. Because only a few chosen ones had access to it, Qigong became a part of the elite lineage while the general population had little or no knowledge about it. Qigong literally means “life energy cultivation” and because of its undeniable health and spiritual benefits, traditional Chinese medicine used it for preventing and curing illnesses, Confucianism promoted it as good for the moral character and for longevity, Taoism and Buddhism saw it as a meditation practice, and Chinese martial arts encouraged it because it enhanced fighting abilities. The principles on which Qigong training is based have much in common with T’ai chi ch’uan because both of them ultimately help the body reach a higher state of consciousness or existence, of calmness and of self-awareness.

The Chinese medicine has a term defining the psychological and physiological disorder caused by improper practice of Qigong, called Zuo huo ru mo or “qigong deviation” which manifests through symptoms such as: pains, insomnia, headaches and spontaneous movements.

3. Tao Yin

Tao yin derives from the Taoist philosophy of yoga and consists of a series of exercises meant to create and cultivate a healthy balance between internal and external energies. Tao yin literally translates into “The Secret Island”. While Tao yin is a precursor to Qigong, it is also a part of the T’ai chi ch’uan traditional practice, having wide known therapeutic qualities such as calmative and tonic effects on the body, enhancing the activity of the autonomous nervous system, giving better mind control and uplifting the mood. Tao yin is also known as the Taoist Respiration Therapy because this practice promotes correct breathing principles based on the traditional concepts of Yin and Yang, and follows the rules of the five elements (Wu Hsing). Thus, Tao yin consists of a series of different respiratory exercises which are closely synchronized with various physical movements.

image credits: 1 2 3

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5 Ways to Achieve Peace of Mind http://inspiringezine.com/5-ways-to-achieve-peace-of-mind/#comments Tue, 13 Nov 2012 14:18:06 +0000 Inspiring Ezine Science & Health breath of fresh air catalysts creative side healthier body human dimension immense impact immune systems last hours melatonin muscular fitness peace of mind reconnection sleep deprivation strolling through the park undivided attention http://inspiringezine.com/?p=477 In this maddening fast paced modern life everyone has to deal with more than one human dimension, – as psychology teaches us – each requiring our fullest and undivided attention. So that, it is of no surprise that many of us find it difficult to function properly and efficiently in a society that asks us [...]

In this maddening fast paced modern life everyone has to deal with more than one human dimension, – as psychology teaches us – each requiring our fullest and undivided attention. So that, it is of no surprise that many of us find it difficult to function properly and efficiently in a society that asks us to fulfill so many roles. Recently, scientists have recorded an unprecedented number of people suffering from chronic or acute sleep deprivation, depression (mood) and burnout syndrome. But how can we find the right balance between these powerful and demanding life forces? How can we find peace of mind and equilibrium?

1. Give outdoors a chance

Spending time outdoors offers us several major benefits, beginning with the psychological ones: it releases the tensions built up during the working week, it prevents and reduces stress, it paves the way to spiritual reconnection and growth, and it even taps into our creative side by allowing us to enter the contemplation process. Whether we just go strolling through the park for a breath of fresh air or go hiking in the mountains, outdoor activities act as catalysts for a better and healthier body. They improve our cardiovascular and muscular fitness, boost our immune systems, and exposure to sunlight promotes vitamin D synthesis – essential for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous.

2. Watch out for the blue light!

Recent studies have shown that the way we spend our last hours before going to bed has immense impact on our circadian rhythm and, thus, on our health in general. The light or the lack of it regulates our sleep cycles by influencing the secretion of melatonin in our bodies -the sleep hormone. Specifically, it has been discovered that the blue light, commonly known as the light emitted by our TV or computer screens, limits the production of this sleep hormone. Logically, the presence of the blue light will enable us to stay awake and alert; however its absence will make us feel sleepy and tired.

3. Stop the self-criticism cycle!

Auto-critique can be constructive when there is something that we can learn from our own train of thought or our behavior, but if done excessively, it becomes harmful to our own well-being. The most notable damage is done to our self-esteem and our sense of confidence, so that we will soon start doubting our own judgement and worst, our capabilities of making the right decision when the time comes. However, this cycle feeds on itself; it feeds on recurrent negative thoughts and the only way to stop it is to allow ourselves to make mistakes, to be wrong once in a while, in other words, to be human.

4. Remember to be thankful

This horrifyingly complex life throws many challenges our way, but that is no reason to quit seeing the positive side of things. One way of finding strength and balance when things fall apart is remembering that we have more than others have, that we are blessed with a family and a life that we personally have the power to create and shape. Make a list of the things that put a smile on your face, which you are thankful for and see how the world looks like after that. And remember, it’s all about perspective!

5. Find time for yourself

Whether you are a full-time mom, working a 9 to 5 schedule or 2-3 jobs in parallel, the first rule is that you have to dedicate at least one hour to yourself every day. This alone time is the key to reconnecting with our inner selves and it is a gift. So use it wisely! You can dance until exhaustion or be more creative and write a poem, sing a song or make a collage out of your favorite magazines; you can meditate or if you don’t know how, just close your eyes in a comfortable position and focus on your breathing, while clearing your head of any thoughts.

In this article we have had the opportunity to go over some of the most important principles to achieving peace of mind and inner balance.In many ways, it is a never-ending project that we must diligently work at every day.

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Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Dreams http://inspiringezine.com/amazing-things-you-didnt-know-about-dreams/#comments Tue, 06 Nov 2012 12:16:41 +0000 Inspiring Ezine Science & Health amazing things beginning of time body experiences childhood memories daily basis dream experience dream theory endless efforts explaining dreams happy dream jungian interpretation lucid dreaming mental exercise primary key unconventional approach http://inspiringezine.com/?p=447 Dreams have fascinated humankind from the beginning of time. As a result of endless efforts to explain their purpose and content, presently, extensive research is being conducted while thousands of tomes on dream theory and their interpretation are available in every library around the world. Broadly, every attempt made at explaining dreams and what their [...]

Dreams have fascinated humankind from the beginning of time. As a result of endless efforts to explain their purpose and content, presently, extensive research is being conducted while thousands of tomes on dream theory and their interpretation are available in every library around the world.

Broadly, every attempt made at explaining dreams and what their content signifies has brought about the unconscious as primary key to unlocking their mysteries. Freud believed that dreams are the “royal road to the unconscious” and therefore to forgotten childhood memories and unfulfilled desires.  Today, dream theory and scientific research focuses on a rather unconventional approach called lucid dreaming while the Jungian interpretation is still held in high regard and neuroscience gains more and more ground revealing startling facts about dreams and how we could record them in the future. Let’s have a look!

  • Lucid Dreaming

Lucid DreamingLucid dreaming is a conscious process defined as the dreamer’s ability to be aware that he/she is dreaming. During such an occurrence the dreamer is also able to control the unfolding dream experience by consciously choosing one thing over another (i.e. a nightmare can be transformed into a happy dream). Scientific results have established that lucid dreaming is real and furthermore, that it can be associated with other phenomena: RED (rapid eye movement), false awakening, sleep paralysis, and out-of-body experiences.

Lucid dreaming happens spontaneously to a small number of people. However, research has shown that it can be approached as an ability that has to be exercised on a daily basis. The mental exercise proposed is that of constantly asking ourselves if what we are experiencing is reality or a dream, followed by comparing and analyzing our surroundings in order to find any possible mismatches.

  • Jungian approach to dream interpretation

Jungian approach to dream interpretationCarl Jung rejected parts of Freud’s interpretation of dreams, and refused to postulate their inner connection with unfulfilled childhood sexual desires. However, he believed that dreams are gateways to a better understanding of the individual and collective unconscious by deciphering the symbols or the archetypes (anima, animus, and the shadow), and the images manifested during the experience. His efforts went on to uncover the premonitory messages, the philosophical pronouncements and the ultimate truths that he thought dreams convey, through a subjective and objective analysis method.

Jung theorized that dreams are made up of daily experiences which may not be consciously recognized as important, but which remain stored in the unconscious and surface through dreams only if they have a vital role in our lives. Thus, repetitive dreams occur in order to draw our attention upon something that we have not fully understood or dealt with -an aspect that is of primary importance for our well-being.

  • Video recording of dreams

Video recording of dreamsLatest scientific research suggests that in a few decades we will be able to video record our dreams during the night and watch them the next morning. Specifically, a team of researchers at UC Berkeley, California, have used brain imaging data extracted with the help of an fMRI, to develop a computer model based on the brain activity of several subjects while they were watching YouTube videos. Although the computer model’s ability to predict is at an incipient stage, you can actually decode from the image what the individual is seeing: a person or an object. Due to the difficulties in recording all neural activity in the visual cortex, the images are extremely blurry and one dimensional, but the captures are in color, which is pretty amazing.

  • Why we can’t live without sleep and dreams

Why we can’t live without sleep and dreamsIt is common knowledge that chronic sleep deprivation can lead to experiencing visual or auditory hallucinations, to cognitive impairing, extensive memory loss, low immune system, and even death. But what does sleep provide us with that is so vital for our existence and why can’t we artificially induce it? Neurobiologists have proven that during the night, when our brain’s activity is at its low point, except when we are dreaming, the exhausted resources of neurotransmitters are gradually replenished. These neurotransmitters are then used during the day for regulating brain cell activity, being essential to every action or decision that we make, and also responsible for how we feel (mood). Interestingly enough, our bodies will automatically and naturally compensate a sleepless night by dreaming twice as much the next one. Thus, both sleeping and dreaming are essential for our mental and physical health overall.

Dreams have undoubtedly influenced the way we perceive ourselves and how we see the world around us. They are depicted in paintings and are a source of inspiration for artists all over the world. To what extend do you feel that dreams have enriched your life?

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