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Archive for March, 2010

Springtime is here and so are the allergies.  Normally, I am not bothered by seasonal allergies, but for whatever reason this year, I have found myself sneezing, red, watery eyes and even a cough.  Rather than taking over-the-counter medicine, I turn to acupuncture and oriental medicine to help get me through the blooming season.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine can be very effective in helping relieve allergic rhinitis symptoms.  It works best if people with known allergies come in prior to the ‘blooming’ season.  This depends on the severity of the allergies, so some may need to come in months prior.   The pre-season treatments allow us to prepare and strengthen the body before it is overloaded with all the allergens in the air.  During the allergy season, acupuncture and herbs are maintained to help manage allergic rhinitis.   The number of treatments during the allergy season depends on each person.  Personally, I take my herbs daily and give myself a minimum of one treatment per week.  If  I know I will be spending a lot of time outdoors, I take a couple of herbs before heading outside and the allergens do not bother me.

The American Journal of Epidemiology recently published a study that showed that acupuncture can significantly relieve allergic rhinitis symptoms.  In this German study, 5,237 men and women were analyzed to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture in addition to routine care in patients with allergic rhinitis compared with treatment with routine care alone.

In this trial, patients with allergic rhinitis were randomly allocated to receive acupuncture for a 3 month period or to a control group that received no acupuncture. All patients were allowed to receive usual medical care. The Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) and general health-related quality of life (36-Item Short-Form Health Survey) were evaluated at baseline and after 3 and 6 months.

Improvements were noted at the 3 month and the 6 month evaluation for the patients receiving acupuncture. The authors of this trial concluded that treating patients with allergic rhinitis in routine care with additional acupuncture leads to clinically relevant and persistent benefits.

Source: European Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2008 Nov;101(5):535-43.

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Everywhere you go, you see cellphones.  It is amazing to think how anyone got anything done before their creation.  With the increase in the usage of cell phones, research is being done to see if the radiation emitted from them can cause cancer and/or other ailments.  While there is no set decision either way, it is always nice to get the facts and make a decision for yourself.  As for me, I use an head-set that I remove when not in use.  I am also looking into buying a new phone that emits less radiation when it is around.

I recently came across the Environmental Working Group, who test various cellphones and rates their radiation emission.   I was not too happy to find that my current phone emits a high dose of radiation by the ear, as well as when it rests near me.   (It might be time to take advantage of the ‘upgrade’ option.)  Below is one of the articles on their website listing “8 Safety Tips” for cell phone usage.  At the end of the article, I have included a link to their website so you can check your phones radiation emission rating.

“EWG’s Guide to Reduce Cell Phone Radiation Exposure”

Cell phones emit radiation to send voice and text messages to the other caller. Health risks aren’t confirmed, but some (not all) studies of frequent cell phone users suggest increased risks for brain and mouth tumors and children’s behavior problems.

To be on the safe side, follow the tips below to reduce exposures.

1. BUY A LOW-RADIATION PHONE

Look up your phone on EWG’s buyer’s guide. (Your phone’s model number may be printed under your battery.) Consider replacing your phone with one that emits the lowest radiation possible and still meets your needs.

2. USE A HEADSET OR SPEAKER

Headsets emit much less radiation than phones. Choose either wired or wireless (experts are split on which version is safer) using our cell phone headset guide. Some wireless headsets emit continuous, low-level radiation, so take yours off your ear when you’re not on a call. Using your phone in speaker mode also reduces radiation to the head.

3. LISTEN MORE, TALK LESS

Your phone emits radiation when you talk or text, but not when you’re receiving messages. Listening more and talking less reduces your exposures.

4. HOLD PHONE AWAY FROM YOUR BODY

Hold the phone away from your torso when you’re talking (with headset or speaker), not against your ear, in a pocket, or on your belt where soft body tissues absorb radiation.

5. CHOOSE TEXTING OVER TALKING

Phones use less power (less radiation) to send text than voice. And unlike when you speak with the phone at your ear, texting keeps radiation away from your head.  (Note from me: Do not text while driving)

6. POOR SIGNAL? STAY OFF THE PHONE

Fewer signal bars on your phone means that it emits more radiation to get the signal to the tower. Make and take calls when your phone has a strong signal.

7. LIMIT CHILDREN’S PHONE USE

Young children’s brains absorb twice the cell phone radiation as an adult’s. EWG joins health agencies in at least 6 countries in recommending limits for children’s phone use, such as for emergency situations only.

8. SKIP THE “RADIATION SHIELD”

Radiation shields such as antenna caps or keypad covers reduce the connection quality and force the phone to transmit at a higher power with higher radiation.

For more information, click here to visit EMG’s website.



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