Archive for September, 2009


September 30th, 2009 No comments

A person is suspected of mononucleosis when symptoms like fatigue, sore throat, fever, and swollen glands emerge. Some symptoms like liver enlargement, nausea, swollen spleen, diarrhea, headache, body aches, and respiratory symptoms may also arise and be indicative of this condition. Mononucleosis is otherwise known as Epstein Barr or glandular fever.

The patient’s age will be considered for diagnosis. An estimate of 50% among the children will develop mononucleosis before five years of age. Symptoms for mononucleosis can be mild or even none among children and babies.

The duration of illness is also considered for diagnosis. The cold or flu brought about by mononucleosis usually lasts longer, around 2 to 4 weeks, unlike common flu or cold lasting for only a few days. After the initial infection, some infected individuals may have recurrent symptoms. An example is a fatigue that lasts for several weeks or even months.

Laboratory examinations that seek to find a typical lymphocytes (a type of WBC) in the bloodstream, a total WBC count increase, and presence of Epstein Barr Virus antibodies will confirm the diagnosis of mononucleosis.

The mono spot test is an example of a mononucleosis antibody exam. The test is done to confirm the presence of heterophile antibodies in the bloodstream. During the first month of mononucleosis infection, heterophile antibodies appear but decreases after 4 weeks or so. These antibodies do not show up sometimes during the initial week of infection, and around 50% only of primarily Epstein Barr infected children may have the heterophile antibodies.

Due to mono spot test limitations, a need for additional examinations to diagnose mononucleosis may be required. These further antibody tests are important especially for expectant mothers and patients with compromised immune system. Major mono diagnostic antibody test includes: VCA-IgG (determine an individuals for viral susceptibility and recent infection); EA-D, VCA-IgA, VCA-IgM and EBNA (determines a recent viral infection). Further diagnostic exams to determine illness extent are platelet count, liver function test, and swab test for strep throat.

If and when the mono diagnostic tests yield negative results, then different tests should be done to diagnose the real condition of the mono signs and symptoms mimicry like cytomegalovirus, hepatitis, HIV, toxoplasmosis, and adenovirus.

Positive mono diagnosis will require increase pure water consumption, rest, as well as, intake of supplemental nutrients, diet, essential oils, homeopathics, and herbs to boost immune system.

Pranayama Breathing

September 29th, 2009 No comments

Pranayama Breathing, a primer for those without a shimmer and an introduction into the incredible…

The following article focuses the relief from back pain – particularly lower back pain – on an incredibly simple method of breathing, whose name is Pranayama. The Harvard University Medical School, some years ago, undertook to bring a number of Pranayama breathers into their research labs to see what the fuss was all about. The results of their studies astonished everyone: first of all, Harvard doing such a study at all was remarkable and next, the results were even more so: the examining physicians concluded Pranayama was “the platinum credit card of health”.

I am going to pass along a shimmer, the briefest outline of how to change your life with the repetition of a single syllable, it is actually three syllables, since the first two are ones you say while you are exhaling and the last one is a sound you imagine you are saying, but cannot really, because you are inhaling through your nose while you think of yourself as uttering it. Though there can be no actual utterance while one inhales through one or both nostrils, the sound is very much present in the minds and bodies of those who breathe in this way. The three-part syllable is the ‘sacred’ syllable, Aum!

Yoga, by all those who misconceive it as a mystic practice — at worst as humbug, and at best a screwy set of self-hypnotic thoughts leading people to believe things are getting better when in fact they are getting worse – you are getting old and will die! Yogis know and respect this too, but there is more. Go on, surprise me… What I have to say concerning this is that yoga is quite simple, highly physical and very effective.

The problem I have with a poo-poo mode of thinking about yoga breathing is my practical experience with it: saying Aum has made it perfectly plain to me there is no mysticism involved at all. Pranayama is a physical manner of breathing, one that brings all of the outrageous benefits with it that the yogis claim it has. It does!

What I have written here so far is a simple fact: to breathe while saying Aum in the manner detailed below will change your life for the better and what is more, the more you practice this sort of breathing with a passion shaped by your own lively intelligence, the more obvious it will becomes that enlightenment is an inevitable event for the whole of mankind if only people would stop to bend, breathe and listen.

Starting with the subject in the title: Not only do lower back pains disappear as you align the vertebrae from the base of your spine to the nape of your neck but so do all the rest. The nadir of your exhalations are as effective in making you whole as are the peaks of inhalation. The skeleton is newly shaped and made; what had been a spine with pinched nerves becomes the Sushumna – the product of a stream of breath that replaces the natural body (cranky, filled with aches and pains, lumbago, you name it) with a body quite as physical as it was before but now integrated fully as a functioning whole, enlightened, luminous: without the practice of enlightened breathing, the Sushumna, quite simply, can never come to be. In this sense, then precisely, it is mystic.

Okay, I promised myself to keep this simple, so I will! What follows are some brief instructions. They are the beginnings of how to breathe in such a way as to experience what the yogis call “Samadhi”, the super-conscious state. What makes it super-conscious is not only does one notice things most people let slide but one’s very breathing itself becomes a conscious process; rather than one’s autonomic nervous system controlling one’s breathing one, as it were ‘leaps in’ and becomes a part of the operation so that one’s breathing is breathing and a new form of consciousness all at once.

Here goes:

Lie on your back on the floor. If the floor is of wood or stone, put a four-folded blanket down to cushion you. If it is summer, you can lie on your back in the grass and, after having inhaled as fully as you can, start exhaling from your belly and let it fall as far as it will go. When you do this, what is happening is that your diaphragm rises to the top of your solar plexus. When your belly can fall no further and the diaphragm has reached the limit of its ascent, switch over to your chest muscles, contracting them to compress your chest continuing the process of compressing your lungs. Let your belly and your chest compress completely. What results from these coordinated independent actions is your lungs have contracted until virtually all the air they contained is gone. Hold the air out for a moment or two, keeping your chest fully contracted.

Now, to let air back in, keep your belly compressed and let the air enter your chest first. Your chest will rise from the top to let in a fresh draft of air. When your expanding chest muscles stretch your ribcage out as far as it will go, the process of inhalation will cause your diaphragm to sink and, continuing to expand your chest, you will feel like the cobra Mucilinda spreading its hood; you will feel the air inside you forming a firm column. Once you get past the creaks you feel in the beginning, this turns into a very enjoyable experience! Exhaling from your belly again, you proceed in the two distinct steps (belly contracting first, your chest next and last) until all the air is all expelled from your body. Then you repeat the cycle.

In the beginning, you will notice a “hitch” when you exhale, a kind of stop in the flow of breathing out. What this is, is the transition from your abdominal muscles to your chest muscles pressing the remaining air out of your lungs. It is an unaccustomed muscular transition except when you are panting so hard your concentration is on catching your breath with no attention left over for how you should do it. The stop, the hitch in this muscular transition will disappear with practice; at first, it will drive you nuts until you get the hang of it. The way to smooth the transition from contracting your abdominal muscles to contracting your chest muscles working smoothly together to force the air up and out of your lungs, is to say, “Aaah” when you pull your belly muscles up and in, “Oooh” (pronounced like “you” but without the “y”) when you start adding your chest muscles to the push, down and out from your belly to the top of your chest. Then, with the syllable “mmm” in your mind, let your chest relax as air rushes back into your lungs from the top of your chest to the bottom of your belly, expanding as widely and as far as it will go. Do not worry! Practicing in this way will allow you to breathe fully; it is a definite improvement over taking superficial gulps of air into your chest. Why do this? Why not just breathe unconsciously?

The first effect of breathing this way is it eliminates lower back pains from your life forever! Why? Lower back pain is the result of a passive relationship superficial breathing forces you into with respect to your lower back (the lumbar region). When you breathe fully, exhaling from the belly, you put subtle pressure on the spine starting at the bottom of your spinal chord and ending (when you have mastered this sort of breathing) at the brain stem, also known as “the brain’s brain”. Deep breaths, in other words, massages the spine completely with every breath you take. When you have exhaled completely and then stretch your spine upwards, you will discover that the bones that were out of line in the spinal column will automatically slip into place. Not only are lower back pains history, so are pains in the rest of your spine up to and including your neck. Imagine! Full cycles of breathing massage the spine. They activate and serve to regulate the autonomic nervous system. Such respiration stimulates the spine and all its nerves. The positive results of this are easy to imagine.

You can breathe in this manner anytime you like, any time you have sufficient leisure: in the train, driving a car, sitting in a boring meeting. With steady practice, unnecessary pains become outdated with a nervous system that has come to life.

Breathing is well worth celebration. It is what your secret self did when you smoked only now you can do it openly. Celebrate, but please not with a cigarette!

Genital Warts

September 25th, 2009 No comments

If you are sexually active, you need to know about viral sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Two of the most common are genital warts and genital herpes. They are different from other infections and diseases in that they are both caused by viruses and because they are both treatable. Neither virus is actually curable however. People should never confuse treatment with a cure.

There are differences between genital warts and genital herpes and so the way they are handled is completely different as well. Warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and herpes is caused by the virus Herpes Simplex II. Both HPV and herpes go through periods where they lie dormant in the system, and periods where symptoms flare up and become evident again.

The symptoms for both infections are quite different. Herpes starts with feelings of general illness, and this can include fever and other flu-like symptoms. There may be itching or burning in the genital or anal areas, and there may be a feeling of heaviness as well. These symptoms all lead up to the first actual outbreak. This outbreak then results in small, painful bumps that turn into open, weeping sores. After a while, the sores crust over and dry out, although a second round of sores can appear.

Warts, on the other hand, often appear as soft bumps that are red or pink, and can look much like warts that you would find on your hand. They may look like cauliflowers, and can appear anywhere on the vulva, anus or cervix in women, and on the penis and scrotum in men. They may often have a burning or itching feeling or they can be completely symptom free.

There are differences in how the two infections are spread as well. With herpes, it is all due to the spread of bodily fluids, and so a condom can do an excellent job of preventing their spread. That being said, it is a very bad idea to have sex with a partner during an active herpes outbreak. On the other hand, genital warts can be spread through skin to skin contact. They can be anywhere on the groin area, even places where a condom does not cover you, so you should not depend on a condom for protection.

The way these two viruses are treated is also very different. Genital herpes treatment falls into two categories: suppressive therapy, and the taking of oral antivirals. There is also genital herpes treatment that involves applying creams and lotions to the sores themselves. A few of the topical genital herpes treatment creams include Dyamiclear, which, though a topical treatment, does claim to kill the active herpes virus. There are also H-away and H-prevention, which claim to relieve symptoms.

Genital herpes treatment that relies on oral antivirals includes taking medications such as Zovirax, Valtrex and Famvir. All three of these medications have similar side effects including nausea, headaches and gastrointestinal upsets. You can also use herbal genital herpes treatment methods.

There are methods of treating genital warts as well. These are very different from genital herpes treatment. HPV treatment includes the use of topical creams and surgical methods to remove lesions. Creams can include Trichloracetic acid, Immiquod and Podofilox. If you require surgery, options include laser surgery and electrocautery. These burn the wart off. There is also cryosurgery which freezes the wart and causes it to fall off.

The problem with both of these conditions is that they tend to recur and be very difficult to treat. As with any sexually transmitted infection, you want to make sure that you think about prevention so that treatment is never necessary.