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What do dogs dream about?

DoggyMom.com

This is a funny compilation of videos – when your dog is asleep, what do you think they are dreaming about?

But on a more serious note, researchers have looked at brain activity when dogs are asleep.  All the evidence points to the fact that dogs do dream.  Read my post on Dog Dreaming.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Pampered Pooches at the Opus Vancouver

DoggyMom.com

The Opus Vancouver, a boutique hotel named one of the “Top 5 Trendiest Hotels in the World” by Trip Advisor, offers a Pampered Pooch add-on for guests traveling with their dogs.

The package includes:

  • A locally-designed designer dog bandana
  • A photo shoot with a pet photographer (with one 5×7 print and 6 high resolution images on disc or provided online via dropbox)
  • And a 1-hour in-room massage for your dog (I particularly liked this part)

"I'm ready for my close up" Photo by Tanya King, pet photographer to the Opus Vancouver “I’m ready for my close up” Photo by Tanya King, pet photographer to the Opus Vancouver

Pet-friendly travel is a niche market that is growing; dog owners are looking for ways that they can treat their pets as well as themselves when on vacation.

What’s your favorite place to stay when traveling with your dog?

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Dog of the Year

DoggyMom.com

Forget the Golden Globes…

Don’t even think about the Screen Actors Guild awards…

And even pass by the Oscars…

The awards show of early 2015 was the World Dog Awards, broadcast earlier this month on the CW Network in the USA.

Dog of the Year was Hank, the Ballpark Pup. Hank, a suspected Bichon Frise cross, made headlines last year when he wandered into the spring training camp of the Milwaukee Brewers professional baseball team.   A veterinary check revealed that he may have been hit by a car.  Outfitted in Brewers’ official gear, he became the team’s mascot.  A children’s book, beach towel, and other merchandise have also been produced, with 20% of the proceeds going to the Wisconsin Humane Society.

The title “Dog of the Year” was given to honor the dog that made the most impact on popular culture during 2014.   Hank received his Golden Hydrant statue…

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Matcha Green Tea Cream Pots with Toasted Walnut Crumbs

This delicious dessert is the perfect healthy follow-up to any meal. It is an amazing combination of health boosting ingredients, such as the green matcha powder and the walnuts. Green matcha powder is rammed full of antioxidants and is cancer fighting whilst also being great for burning fat and boosting the metabolism. When you choose to eat raw, organic nuts, you really can’t go wrong in terms of doing good things for your overall health. Having said that, walnuts are one of the best choices you can make for all the amazing health properties they have. It is worth bearing in mind that the majority of the antioxidants in walnuts are found just under the waxy skin, so be sure not to remove it when you use them in the recipe. It does have a slightly bitter flavor but it’s not unpleasant and is well worth including in your dish.

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Stress and immunity – What You Should Know and Do

Stress and immunity – What You Should Know and Do

How exactly does stress from the mind end up affecting the immune system?

“Some kinds of stress — very short-term, that last only a matter of minutes — actually redistribute cells in the bloodstream in a way that could be helpful,” says Suzanne Segerstrom, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky who has conducted studies on stress and the immune system. “But once stress starts to last a matter of days, there are changes in the immune system that aren’t so helpful. And the longer that stress lasts, the more potentially harmful those changes are.”

The fight-or-flight response (short-term stress) goes something like this: When a villager in Africa sees a lion charging at him, for example, the brain sends a signal to the adrenal gland to create hormones called cortisol and adrenaline, which have many different effects on the body, from increasing heart rate and breathing to dilating blood vessels so that blood can flow quickly to the muscles in the legs. Besides helping him run away, this type of acute stress also boosts the immune response for three to five days (presumably to help him heal after the lion takes a swipe at him).

When humans experience stress, our bodies react the same way that animals’ bodies do. Once the lion is gone, a zebra or gazelle’s stress level will return to normal, but humans have more trouble getting back to our routines after a stressful event, whether it’s a car accident or a divorce. We’ll think about it, dream about it, and worry about it for a long time, and that sets us up for long-term problems, says Robert M. Sapolsky, a Stanford University stress expert and author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.

Over time, continually activating the stress response may interfere with the immune system. How this affects your disease risk, Sapolsky suggests, depends partly on your risk factors and your lifestyle, including your degree of social support.

Was Grandma right?

immunity-boost-MINIAs we have seen, many studies show that stress can impact different facets of the immune system. Some suggest that stress slows recovery from illness or makes us more likely to catch colds. But can stress actually make us sick, or shorten our lifespans? Our immune systems are so complicated, and a person’s immune response affected by so many factors, it’s understandably a difficult area of study. In addition, it’s hard to find stressed-out volunteers willing to expose themselves to viruses to see if they’ll get sick or not.

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© POSITIVE reiki 2014 – 2015

In the meantime, there is enough evidence to convince us that we should find healthy ways to keep our stress levels down, which is advice we got from our grandmothers: Eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep. Start boosting your immunity with this easy guide.  In addition, we now have ample evidence that methods of avoiding or decreasing stress promote cardiovascular health and wellness. Breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, socialization, Qi-gong and Tai-Chi are just a few of the methods that have been proven to enhance quantity of life by managing stress. Try alternative therapies such as Reiki to help you restore calmness into your life.  Create a positive energy space with this unique Healing Lavender Spray and be in harmony with the art of zen living.

“Stress is inevitable,” Spiegel says. “The trick is to learn to manage it, to find some aspect of our stress and do something about it. Don’t think in terms of ‘all or nothing’ but in terms of ‘more or less.’ ”

References

Full Article from Consumer Health Today

Immunity Boosting Guide

Mind Body Green

Interview with David Spiegel, MD, Stanford University

Interview with Suzanne Segerstrom, PhD, University of Kentucky

Suzanne C. Segerstrom et al. “Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry.” Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 130, No. 4, 2004.

Ronald Glaser et al. “Stress-induced immune dysfunction: implications for health,” Nature Reviews: Immunology, Vol. 5, March 2005.

Robert M. Sapolsky. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, Third Edition. Owl Books, New York, NY. 2004.

Sephton SE, et al. “Diurnal Cortisol Rhythm as a Predictor of Breast Cancer Survival,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), Vol 92; No. 12. June 21, 2000.

Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser et al. “Chronic stress and age-related increases in the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Vol. 100; No. 15. July 22, 2003.

Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser et al. “Hostile Marital Interactions, Proinflammatory Cytokine Production, and Wound Healing.” Archives of General Psychology, Vol. 62, Dec. 2005.

Ronald Glaser et al. “Chronic stress modulates the immune response to a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine,” Psychosomatic Medicine, 62:804-807 (2000).

Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser et al. “Chronic stress alters the immune response to influenza virus vaccine in older adults,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Vol. 93. April 1996.

Julie M. Turner-Cobb et al. “Social Support and Salivary Cortisol in Women With Metastatic Breast Cancer,” Psychosomatic Medicine, 62:337-345 (2000).

Bruce S. McEwen. “Protective and Damaging Effects of Stress Mediators.” The New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 338:171-179.

S. Cohen, D.A. Tyrrell, and A.P. Smith. “Psychological stress and susceptibility to the common cold.” The New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 325:606-612

Tim Lee, PhD and Angela McGibbon, MD. Immunology Bookcase: Immunology for Medical Students. Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The Mayo Clinic. Stress: Constant stress puts your health at risk. September 11, 2010.

Graham JE, et al. Hostility and pain are related to inflammation in older adults. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2006 Jul;20(4):389-400.

Alzheimers Association. Fact sheet: Anti-inflammatory therapy.

© 2014 – 2015 POSITIVE reiki.  All Rights Reserved


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30 Questions to Set Your Intentions for 2015

These questions are great for use in any year. I suggest saving this to use for the many years to come as it helps us reflect on things that promotes gratitude.

Gratitude is a wonderful life long lesson.

YOUR 2014 IN REVIEW

1. Describe your 2014 in three words

2. What was your most common mental state this year (e.g., happy, excited, tired, bored or stressed)?

3. What was the biggest event in your life this year?

4. What were your three happiest moments?

5. What new skills did you learn?

6. What personal qualities or habits did you develop, cultivate, or strengthen?

7. What new things did you discover about yourself?

8. What little things did you most enjoy doing on a daily basis?

9. What out-of-the-ordinary things did you do this year?

10. What cool things did you create?

11. What big things did you do that you had to get out of your comfort zone?

12. What achievements are you most proud of?

13. What was the most memorable moment this year?

14. What are you most thankful for ?

15. Who are you most thankful for?

16. How did you spend time with your family and how did the relationship evolve?

17. What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?

18. What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014?

19. If you could turn back time, what would you have done differently?

20. What advice would you give to other people about what you have learned this year?

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YOUR 2015

21. What new things do you want to try in 2015?

22. What or where do you want to see, discover, and explore in 2015?

23. What do you want to achieve career-wise?

24. What new skills do you want to learn, improve, and master?

25. What personal qualities or habits do you want to develop, cultivate, or strengthen?

26. Who do you want to spend more time with?

27. What do you want to “feel” most of the time in 2015 (happy, content, excited, relaxed, busy, productive, creative)?

28. What do you want your day-to-day life to be like in 2015?

29. What do you want to completely get rid of in your life and in 2015 you will make it happen?

30. What is your number one goal in 2015 and how are you planning to achieve it?

Sources:
Original Article by Mo
Image by ramblingmuse


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Spices, Herbs – Mantra of Diet

The Mantra of Diet today is constantly shifting.  However, the pursuit of spices has helped shaped our world as we know today. Hundreds of years ago, merchants from Europe traveled by land and sea to transport exotic and expensive plants such as cinnamon, rosemary, nutmeg and turmeric from Asia. But when the Ottoman Empire restricted Europe’s spice routes to Asia in the 1400s, explorers such as Christopher Columbus looked for alternate routes to India and instead stumbled on our glorious land. It’s not a far stretch to thank cinnamon for our providence.

Spices hold a special place in human existence that we are just starting to understand. Sure, they are prized to provide bold and unique flavors, aromas and colors to otherwise bland foods. But many don’t know the hidden story: before the invention of refrigeration, spices’ underlying bioactivity, in the form of potent and diverse antioxidant and antimicrobial food-preserving properties, helped to prevent sickness and contagion caused by food spoilage. Thus, spices carried a magical aura for those who demanded them, and at the same time, they provided a livelihood for many generations of farmers, harvesters and suppliers.

Today, our interest in spices has shifted to the scientific study of their health benefits, to see if they can help us live healthier lives. On a molecular level, the chemical properties that make spices great flavorings, colorings and food preservatives are closely linked to the properties which help to promote human health. Polyphenols, carotenoids and terpenoids are all highly bioactive and health-supporting classes of compounds common to many spices, and are the focus of thousands of medical research studies.

Consuming enough of these active compounds to make a difference in our health can be tough through food alone. The mantra of many is that a diet with a diversity of spices can help us live longer, but no one is suggesting that fried chicken made with 14 of them is a health food (yet!). And while variety may be the “spice of life,” research suggests a variety of spices added to food can lead to a tendency to overeat.1 Likewise, consumer health media recommendations to sprinkle some cinnamon on toast or add a pinch of turmeric powder to curry may be naïve to some key underlying practical and scientific caveats such as compliance, dose response and opposing effects.

For instance, a clinically significant effective dose of cinnamon powder often recommended for managing blood sugar is a teaspoon or more—quite a “cinnamon challenge” for the palate and the stomach. Impurities that can be found in cinnamon powder, such as added sulfites and naturally occurring coumarin can tip the opposing-effects equation in the wrong direction, especially when doses are in baking measurements. On the other hand, science has validated the efficacy of concentrated, purified extracts, both from Chinese cinnamon (cassia) as well as “true” cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum syn. zeylanicum). Both the “whole food” and the scientific approaches have merits, but the second seems to garner increasingly more credibility among top medical experts.

Topical applications of spices have been used in traditional medicine like Ayurveda for hundreds of years, with turmeric being well proven and used by allopathic physicians for its wound-healing capabilities. The bioactivities of spices that preserve food also promote health in ways that are well known mechanistically, but in a clinical-sense are just now emerging. For example, in a 2014 study, an ointment containing cinnamon was effective at reducing pain after childbirth.7 In another study, a topical application of black pepper essential oil improved vein visibility for IV insertion better than the standard of care.8 This study did not measure whether sneezing increased, although the essential oil used in the study would probably have improved dinner too.

The potential of spices in human health and wellness is vast, and with sound science, more is learned every day about how and why spices can be beneficial.


 

Sources:

Original Article by Blake Ebersole

1.       Jones JB et al. “A randomized trial on the effects of flavorings on the health benefits of daily peanut consumption.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Mar;99(3):490-6. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.113.069401.

2.       Nieman DC et al. “Influence of red pepper spice and turmeric on inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers in overweight females: a metabolomics approach.” Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2012 Dec;67(4):415-21. DOI: 10.1007/s11130-012-0325-x.

3.       Cox KH, Pipingas A, Scholey AB. “Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population.” J Psychopharmacol. 2014 Oct 2. PII: 0269881114552744.

4.       Pengelly A et al. “Short-term study on the effects of rosemary on cognitive function in an elderly population.” J Med Food. 2012 Jan;15(1):10-7. DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2011.0005..

5.       McCaffrey R, Thomas DJ, Kinzelman AO. “The effects of lavender and rosemary essential oils on test-taking anxiety among graduate nursing students.” Holist Nurs Pract. 2009 Mar-Apr;23(2):88-93. DOI: 10.1097/HNP.0b013e3181a110aa.

6.       Lindheimer JB, Loy BD, O’Connor PJ. “Short-term effects of black pepper (Piper nigrum) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis and Rosmarinus eriocalyx) on sustained attention and on energy and fatigue mood states in young adults with low energy.” J Med Food. 2013 Aug;16(8):765-71. DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0216.

7.       Mohammadi A et al. “Effects of cinnamon on perineal pain and healing of episiotomy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.” J Integr Med. 2014 Jul;12(4):359-66. DOI: 10.1016/S2095-4964(14)60025-X.

8.       Kristiniak S et al. “Black pepper essential oil to enhance intravenous catheter insertion in patients with poor vein visibility: a controlled study