Meditation and Health

meditateIn the 1960s meditation was seen as a hippy practice, something that flower children did that was closely related to the use of psychedelic drugs and resulted in “tuning in” and “dropping out.”  Not the best PR to appeal to the mainstream American.

Over the past few decades, meditation has become a bit more socially acceptable.  This is a result of a combination of factors.  The growth of eastern spiritual practices has contributed to this trend as has the rapid advance of technology and pace of life that drives people to seek moments of calm and peacefulness.  Yet another factor is the growing body of research that proves a multitude of health benefits can be gained by regular practice of meditation.

Mind- Body Connection

At the core of the health benefits of meditation is evidence that good mental health leads to improved physical health while problems such as stress, anxiety and depression can have negative health effects, such as stress leading to high blood pressure and heart disease.  Any practice that can reduce stress, improve self-esteem, and boost overall mental health is going to be good for physical health. And meditation fits that bill.

Dozens of studies over the years have concluded that meditation provides stress-reducing effects, “enhances overall psychological health,” improves self esteem, self control, and empathy. It has been found to improve relaxation, reduce pain, and even improve cognition, memory, attention and concentration.  In addition to increased empathy, those who meditate regular are less judgmental, more observant, more forgiving, and display greater perceptual sensitivity.

Physical Benefits

In addition to improving mental health and processes, some studies have demonstrated more direct connections between meditation and physical health. Some of these benefits include the following:

  • headache relief
  • lower blood pressure
  • decreased pain
  • improved respiration and heart rate

It has also helped in the treatment of arthritis, asthma and chronic inflammation.

While more rigorous study is planned, it is obvious that there is a correlation between health and meditation, which is why the practice continues to increase, from 15 million people meditating in 2002 to over 20 million in 2007 — and no doubt the number has increased further since that last known study.

Many celebrities, artists and sports stars such as Richard Gere use meditation as an important part of their professional life.

Jerry Flowers is a sports and health blogger.  He has written guest posts on everything from biofeedback to auto racing and follows famous racers like the one found here.

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Doctors and Software: How are Doctors Using Computers?

The medical profession is becoming ever more technological, and it is not just with cutting-edge treatments. Electronic medical records, prescription software, automated billing systems, and electronic appointment scheduling software programs are widely in use. This means that in addition to diagnosing patients, doctors now have to know how to operate a variety of software.

Doctors and clinic staff use computer systems to perform a variety of tasks. Electronic records software and prescription software are favorite doctors’ tools while administration enjoys the way that scheduling and billing software has streamlined patient relationships.

Prescription Management Software

The basic premise is that prescription management software streamlines the prescription process. The software eliminates the pharmacist needing to decipher the doctors’ notoriously illegible writing because the prescription is received electronically. In addition, the prescription form can be printed off, signed by the physician, and given to the patient.

This software creates an electronic record of prescriptions, eliminating the problem of lost duplicate slips. Prescription records are easily integrated into electronic medical records so that it is easy for doctors to see the patient’s prescription history. This helps to eliminate a broad range of problems that can happen when the patient visits a different doctor.

dr at computerElectronic Medical Records Software

Electronic medical record software is advanced and costly to integrate, so adaptation is a bit slow. However, more and more doctors are using electronic records to manage patient health history.

Electronic medical records include everything found in traditional patient chart including notes from past appointments, diagnoses, prescriptions, medical history, and follow-up notes. Electronic records also help administrators by incorporating billing records, insurance information, and appointment history.

Doctors that use the systems enjoy the convenience of having required information in one place. In addition, electronic medical records are easy to transfer from clinic to clinic. This means that vital information to the patient’s health does not get lost in the physical transfer.

Advanced Medical Software Solutions

Doctors also use software for highly technical applications such as interpreting radiology. Many of the tests performed in hospitals utilize highly advanced software to interpret and send results for diagnosis. In addition, doctors look up information on electronic medical reference systems similar to but much more advanced, then Web M.D.

Medical software is streamlining doctors’ work across the medical industry. It is saving time, money, and even lives. By eliminating some human error and ensuring vital information is fully available communication between doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and administrators is improved. When doctors can communicate clearly, patients win.

Howard Merryman is a medical writer who focuses on advances in technology and software.  His work can be found on software sites (click here for an example) as well as a variety of health, medical, and lifestyle blogs.

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Think Racing is a Lazy Sport? Think Again!

Have you ever seen an overweight F1 or NASCAR driver?  No?  Well, that makes sense.  A lot of people believe that racing is not a physically demanding sport, but that is most certainly not the case.  Racing is an extremely taxing activity that requires excellent fitness—maybe not on par with what NASA needs, but certainly better than the average American.

Drivers need to be able to cope with extreme temperatures, extra G forces, dehydration, and increased heart rates for hours at a time.  It’s certainly not easy, and they have to condition themselves to handle it.  That’s all in addition to isolating certain muscles that are used in driving.

loftinThe thing that prepares drivers the most for the 120 degree heat, dehydration, and prolonged elevated heart rate is cardio.  Running, bicycling, and climbing stairs are all ways that drivers stay in shape.  NASCAR’s Justin Lofton, for example, regularly mountain bikes.  The cardio also helps drivers focus their minds.  According to Vitantonio Liuzzi, a Formula 1 driver, explains, “Fitness is a very important thing in Formula 1…to be sharp for a one and a half or two hour race without making mistakes–[is] more than a physical thing, I believe it’s a mental thing.”  Cardio helps drivers get used to exerting themselves for extended periods of time, which is perfect conditioning for getting behind the wheel.

Drivers also have to focus on their upper bodies.  Wrestling around a 4,000 pound car with no power steering can be difficult, especially at high speeds and for hours on end.  Shoulders, neck, biceps, triceps, and wrists all need to be in tip top shape to keep adequate control of the car.

The real key is variety for a driver that wants to stay fit.  Cardio, weight lifting, and good circulation are all essential for a racing driver.  They take plenty of risks behind the wheel at 200 mph, so it’s especially important for a driver to look after his or her health.  Want to start racing?  Well, getting fit is an excellent place to start!

Damon Tiggs is a sports journalist and fitness bug who writes about American Racers like Scott Tucker of http://level5motorsports.com, Danica Patrick, and Jeff Gordon.

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The Hidden Savings of Weight Loss

Every January, millions of people share the same resolution; to get fit. Gym enrollments spike, brand new exercise equipment is delivered and sales of healthy food balloon.  Everybody from elite athletes to ordinary folks resolve to improve health with a wholesome diet and regular exercise.

exercise clubOne of the surprising side effects of achieving a higher level of health and fitness is the money saved over the long term.  By losing even 10 or 15 pounds, the chance of developing type II diabetes is reduced.  By returning to a healthy height-weight proportion, many health problems can be sidestepped.

The benefit of avoiding health problems is that healthcare costs over the span of a person’s life will be reduced substantially.

Conditions linked to obesity avoided by achieving healthy weight are:

  • Type II Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Hip, Joint, and Back Problems
  • Heart Disease
  • High Cholesterol
  • Impotence
  • Digestive Issues
  • Muscular/Skeletal Degeneration

There are too many conditions to list!

While there may be upfront costs associated with getting healthy, the costs are more than paid back in the long term.  Some people are turned off by the cost of a gym membership, but the skyrocketing costs of healthcare will be mitigated by improved health. For those that carry their own health insurance policies, premiums will be less.

Organizations that provide health insurance to members or employees already see the cost reduction associated with healthy employees. Many offer alternative wellness programs and reward individuals who exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and quit smoking.

Costs are Paid Back

Over the long term, all costs associated with getting healthy will be paid back.  So go ahead and invest in exercise equipment or a gym membership.  Make sure that whatever you choose to do for exercise is an enjoyable activity.  Walking, swimming, group exercise classes or even activities like shooting a few hoops with friends are fun ways to get healthy.

The most fun part of getting healthy is when the weight starts dropping off.  A new wardrobe is inevitable.  How fun will it be to buy new, smaller clothes?  Let that be your motivation as you take this journey to better health.

Marilee Moss likes to write about the intersection of health and money.  A retired financial planner, she is also an avid cyclist and runner.  She has written on financial topics like  Money Mutual Montel Williams, investing for retirement, and the rising costs of health care.

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Money & Your Health

Health and money are two of the most common concerns on most people’s minds but they fail to associate the correlation between the two. While you might not think that health and money are directly related, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Your health affects not only your ability to make money – after all, you cannot work when you are sick or disabled – but it also affects important factors such as your insurance premiums.

health care costsHow Health and Money are related

Keeping yourself in good shape by eating healthy, exercising regularly and avoiding bad habits such as drinking, smoking and drug use can help you save money in the long run. Here are the top ways you can save money all by remaining in good health.

  • Fewer Visits to the Doctor – When you are healthy, you do not have to go to the doctor as often, which can not only save you money on your co-pays but it also negates the need for prescriptions, expensive medical supplies and/or treatments.
  • Lower Insurance Premium – if you have unhealthy habits – namely smoking – you will find that your insurance premium is higher than someone who does not smoke. This is because you are more likely to become ill or experience a decrease in your health if you are a smoker. Quitting smoking not only puts more money in your pocket in terms of not purchasing cigarettes – which have become quite costly – but it will also result in a decreased insurance premium making it a win-win solution.
  • Better Life Insurance Terms – Life insurance premiums are based on your average life expectancy. If you are obese or you smoke, you will find that your terms will be much shorter, and thus your premiums will be higher. Make the effort to be more conscious of what you eat, commit yourself to exercise in order to lose the weight and you will see your life insurance premium decrease. Most beneficial of all, you will not be struggling to get around, breathe or live life to its fullest.

Even if you are a smoker, or you are overweight now, you can still make the effort to turn your life around. Making the commitment to be healthier can also help line your pockets and save you money in the long run.

Andy Marshall is a professional writer whose work appears on numerous blogs and websites.  His writing focuses on subjects related to health, insurance, and the cost of medicine for health blogs as well as financial and accounting sites like veriticonsulting.com.

 

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Money Mutual Short Term Loans for Medical Emergencies

Health care costs continue to rise in spite of the down economy and fewer people are able to afford the quality care they need.  As insurance premiums also climb, more people are doing without insurance.  However, when an injury occurs or illness strikes, it can strip them of any savings they may have.

In the last ten years, health insurance costs have doubled while wages have only increased by 34%.  This deficit only makes health insurance less affordable.  What’s worse is that health care costs are expected to rise another 7.5% in 2013.

Almost 50 million Americans were uninsured in 2010.  While that number has increased, it has only improved by a small number.  Included in that number are almost 10% of children who are without insurance.

So what do you do if you get injured or ill?  Many people use their savings, leaving them exposed for other issues in the future.  For all of those people who don’t have a savings plan, they either do without medical care or they postpone a bill to pay for medical costs.

Another option that many people do not think of is to apply for a short-term loan, like those offered by moneymutual.com.  This type of loan can provide the cash needed to pay a medical bill or for medication to help them get well.  It can also help those who have high deductibles or co-pays so that they can afford to go to the doctor.  Then there is the issue for people who do not get paid time off.  If they are sick, they are either forced to go in to work anyway or take time off without pay.  A short-term loan can help pay the bills until they are back on their feet.

A short-term loan often has lower fees than paying a late charge on a bill that is put off to have cash for medical expenses.  You can pay the loan back over a period of time to make it affordable and fit in your budget.

Another way short-term loans can help is when you have a child that needs medical care from an injury.  You do not want to worry about paying medical bills when you are caring for an injured child.  With a short-term loan, you can concentrate on helping your child get well instead of worrying about finances.

These loans are often convenient to apply for to allow you to get money in a hurry to cover expenses before they cause other problems.  You don’t have to wait for days to get approved and then wait even longer to get your money.  In many cases, you can have the proceeds of your loan within just a few days.  If you had an unplanned medical expense, time can be an important consideration.

If you are faced with unplanned medical costs, you might want to consider a short-term loan to help you get through the difficult time until you get back on your feet.  Don’t let the rising costs of health care keep you from getting the care you need.

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Relapse is not part of recovery

Alcohol has been long considered as the number one substance being abused by people who have trouble coping up with the multitude of problems in this world. Without a ready and solid support system, a person turns to drinking uncontrollably and makes alcohol their emotional clutch. By ingesting substantial amounts of alcohol at almost any time of the day, they get drunk and lost in a world in which there are no problems, no concerns, no stress, and no responsibilities. Alcohol paints an unreal picture of perfection and when it happens, that’s when the real problem starts.

But there is help available for people who are willing to change their life and stay sober free forever and one of them is to enroll in Alcoholics Anonymous  or  widely known as AA. Their 12 steps serves as a clear, spiritual direction on the road to recovery. These series of affirmations were first started in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. The initial step is admitting that one is “powerless” over the alcoholic drink and knowing and realizing that their lives has gone awry and they can no longer manage it without help or aid from other people specifically this group of unknowns who has undergone and is undergoing recovery themselves.

The founders of AA have stressed the need for first name basis when dealing with people with alcohol addiction. The other 11 steps included knowing that a superior and far greater Power will help them back to being their good old selves again, making a firm decision that the Supreme Being will help them, being humble enough to ask for forgiveness for all the wrongs one has done and to remove them from their lives and all other steps involves being aware of one’s frailty and weakness of combating alcoholism and the need for spiritual strength.

Alcoholics Anonymous has been largely successful in dealing with people who have alcohol problems but lately, there are reports that relapse which is common in an addictive state has gone alarmingly high. As much as 90% of those recovering alcoholics has “slipped” so to speak and has gone back to drinking again. Relapse is part of the illness or addiction and should not be considered as an expected outcome of the recovery steps. Before, the 12 steps has been the focal point of the AA but nowadays, the meetings has been receiving much of the attention, hence ,the high percentage of relapse reported.

Relapse will always be part of the addiction or the disease. Recovering alcoholics will find themselves not alone in this situation and they are part of the aforementioned 90% who suffers from relapse at least once before attaining their goal of sobriety. Experts say that picking up a drink after being sober for so long is not the definitive sign that you have backtracked. Relapse starts when one feels a change or difference in your attitude towards the recovery. If you feel that being sober and staying sober is no longer an important decision, then you might be on your way to slipping through the cracks.

Another sign that will signal you are on the brink of relapse is when there is a gradual increase or steady presence of stress in your life brought by trivial reasons or major ones. Other signs are social withdrawal or feelings of isolation, loss of structure in daily activities, inability to make sound decisions, the sense of being out of control and so many more feelings of inadequacy. These will lead you to reach out for your “Emotional Crutch” again everything you have worked for your recovery goes down the drain.

Yes, relapse maybe expected but it can be prevented. By staying as close to the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and being true to the guiding principles, there will always be a way out of the much dreaded relapse. With God as the center of your recovery, spiritual awakening is at hand which is the main key to the road of success-that is, a life lived to the fullest without alcohol!

Amy Barrett is director of Marketing for www.drugrehabcomparison.com and www.drugrehablog.com  follow Amy on google +Facebook or Twitter

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Fighting the Obesity Epidemic

Obesity is one of the most prevalent health conditions in America today. It affects individuals of all ages, genders and walks of life. It is also a condition that causes a variety of health problems; such as diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure , just to name a few. Despite all of this many insurance companies don’t cover obesity and use it as grounds for rejecting coverage.

Many in the healthcare field believe that the system is seriously flawed, and it’s not hard to see their point. While many conditions that are caused by obesity are covered, the root of the problem is not. Even for those who are looking to prevent obesity or seek early treatment are hitting the wall. Only in recent years have insurers began to cover gastric by-pass. The full article can be found here .

There is no doubt that the system needs reform, the problem, however, is coming to an agreement on what that looks like. Regardless, there has never been a better time to begin taking a more active role in improving your health .

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Great Success can come from even better Writing Skills

In today’s world our dependence on technology has grown rapidly. We cannot think of a life without some form of technology or the other helping us get through the day. With so much of new technology around us, at times it becomes a little difficult to understand the fine details of a new product like a cell phone or a gadget. This is where the expertise of a technical writer comes into play. A technical writer is someone who makes you understand the nuisances of technically complex products or services.

How to choose

If you have a knack for writing and are good with words then technical writing can be an exciting and fruitful career option. There are many technical writing courses available on the internet. To choose the best kind of online technical writing course you will have to first find out if the training provider is a reputed one. Sadly the internet also has people who just want to make a quick buck and will provide incorrect information. Therefore it is important to do a little research about the trainer and the training program before you enroll. Check blogs to find out past experiences of earlier trainees and you will have an idea.

Course duration and type

Since the internet is flooded with technical writing courses that promise you the stars. It is wise to take some time before you plunge into one of these courses. If you are starting out as a technical writer then it is advised to take a beginners course which will introduce you to the technical writing world and the many tools that will help you hone your skills as a good writer. If you already are an established technical writer then you might want to get a certification course which will bring you up to speed with the most recent writing techniques and help you get bigger and better assignments.

With the immense growth in technology and science the need for technical writers will only increase in the future and if you have a good writing course to back you up then you can write your own growth story. You can now enroll for an online technical writing course which will equip you with the right skill sets to become a successful writer.

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Books and Films about Cars

For all of the great themes in the literatures of North America, the open road and new territories might be the most quintessential. If Mark Twain’s Huckelberry Finn is the most elemental novel of the Northern part of the continent, then this book could be arguably the very root of the road novel, and subsequently the road film. But there seems to be a paucity of literature about the automobile, whereas it is often a central component in the cinema.

While there are plenty of stories about the road that transfer well to books, most notably in Kerouac, books about cars are much more difficult to find than movies with cars in the center. Perhaps that’s because of the cinematic quality of the automobile. The windshield can serve as the perfect double for the film screen, and the driver and passenger are the viewers who are looking out on the film that plays before their eyes.

Nabokov is one of the exceptions that prove the rule. On the same route, Hunter S. Thompson wrote most eloquently about the Great Shark, the auto that somehow reminds readers of that great big car their best friend in high school drove. Stephen King also wrote about a car, one that became an entirely central character, in his novel Christine. In both of these cases, the representation of the cars when they transfer to the screen seem to lose something essential. The ironic or sinister quality of the vehicles are present, but they lose their raw power that their written versions are capable of evoking.

The cars are pretty close to the author’s descriptions, from the shape and the paint down to the general tires and subtle details about the dashboard. But the heart of their peculiar qualities, ones that make them exceptional characters on the page, don’t seem to transfer to film. The films that have cars in the center seem to be ones who are either original creations, or taken very tangentially from the novels. In film, the language is still one where the audience is looking at a vehicle as an object of value, rather than a character that can transform the story on its own accord. It could be a lack of descriptive qualities that separates the way they play out on the page versus how they read on the screen, or it could be something related to an inner landscape that only a book can afford to open.

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