HashOut: 2007.10
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Healing Power of Tears

May be you should cry: It's good for body and soul.
As a child I couldn't understand why my tear ducts were dry when my grandfather died. But that night when my dad tried to lighten the mood with some tickling at my bedtime tuck-in, my giggles turned into crying, much to my horror -- and relief.

So it came as no surprise to learn that researchers believe crying and laughing stem from the same part of the brain. Just as laughing has a host of health benefits (lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system), scientists are discovering that so, too, does crying.

"Whatever it takes for an individual to vent and release stress is essential to our emotional health," says Jodi DeLuca, a neuropsychologist. And crying seems to work well: One survey found that 85% of women and 73% of men felt better after crying.

Even more important than acting as stress relievers, tears attract help from other people. Researchers agree that when we cry, people around us become milder and less aggressive, and they're more likely to provide support and comfort.

Tears enable self-disclosure too; sometimes we don't even know we're upset until we cry. "We learn about our emotions through crying, and then we can deal with them," says neuroscientist William H. Frey II, author of Crying: The Mystery of Tears.

Just as crying can be healthy, not crying -- holding back tears of anger or grief -- can be bad for our bodies. Studies have linked emotional repression to high blood pressure, heart problems and cancer. "We are genetically programmed to cry, and denying that impulse damages our physical well being," says DeLuca.

Despite the benefits of bawling, if crying interferes with everyday life, see your doctor or a therapist. It could be and early sign of depression.

Doctors aren't prescribing sob sessions just yet; how much we cry depends on genetics, gender (women cry four time more than men) and upbringing. But when you feel like weeping, don't fight it. It's a natural and healthy -- emotional response.

Also read
Healing Power of Laughter
Healing Power of Forgiveness
Healing Power of Music
Healing Power of Sleep
» Continue reading


Where to find help creating an ideal home in the UK?

Anglian Home Improvements has been helping customers make their ideal home in the UK since 1969 and have pioneered the concept of customised home solutions. Anglian promises to help you renovate your home without spending a fortune. From the design to the installation, they will provide you with friendly and professional service through the entire process.

They offer a variety of products and services for homes, including beautiful customizable driveways in many different designs suitable for modern homes. Adding a well designed driveway to your home not only gives a face lift to your home but also increases your home's value.

Anglian products come with a whopping 10-Year guarantee on parts and labour on all of their windows, doors and conservatories and a 15-year guarantee on sealed-gas units.

You can apply for a free quote online on their website. Also check out their website to find special offers on energy efficient windows and doors, kitchens, garage doors, conservatories, rooftrim and much more. » Continue reading

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The write way to go with the flow

Expert scribe Patricia Lovett, a Parker Pen Handwriting Competition judge, reveals the best way to go with the flow:
  • Sitting at a comfortable height and the correct angle -- feet on floor, light coming from the left if you're right handed (vice versa if left), not hunched up -- helps the physical act of writing.
  • A good quality pen helps, especially a fountain pen, as it's good at slowing you down (though left-handers beware of smudging). "Our minds go faster than our hands and speed is very bad for writing," says Lovett.
  • Have the paper at an angle -- the top right-hand corner higher than the left for right-handers, vice versa for left-handers. This gives your elbow more room to manoeuvre.
  • As an exercise, good letter combinations to write include: "lilt" (with the "l" the tallest), "nu" (joined up), "oce" (ditto) and "bp". Practicing these strokes will help pen movements.
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Tooth Be Told

You might not be replacing your toothbrush often enough (I know, it's hard to find the color you like). The American Dental Association recommends you trade in your toothbrush every three to four months, or earlier if it's frayed or loses shape. Recent studies from Oral-B Laboratories found that after just one use, a new brush removed 13 percent more plaque than a brush worn down to simulate three months of use. Compared to the old brushes, not only did the new ones remove 24% more plaque between the teeth, but they also reduced gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) by almost half. » Continue reading


Watch your words

Do you argue with loved ones over simple misunderstandings? Little wonder. We overestimate how well we get our point across, says Boaz Keysar, a psychology professor. In his recent study, speakers tried to convey meaning using ambiguous statements. Speakers who thought listeners understood were wrong nearly half the time. Here's expert advice to reduce confusion:
  1. Don't rely on cues. Listeners often nod, make eye contact or say "uh-huh" to be polite or move the conversation along. But it's easy to misinterpret these as signs of understanding.
  2. Train the editor in your head. If you say, "Mary discusses her problems with her husband," it's not clear if she's talking to her husband or about him. Try instead "Mary talks to her husband about her problems." Or, "Mary talks to others about her marital problems."
  3. Ask listeners to restate your message. Preface the request with "I want to be sure I said that right." Questions like "How does that sound?" or "Does that make sense?" may also work.
  4. Listen well. When on the receiving end, ask questions to be sure you're on the same page. After all, speakers aren't responsible for the whole exchange.
» Continue reading


Don't Cough Cash

Next time you need to treat a tickle in your throat, reach for the kettle, not your wallet. British researchers reviewed 15 studies of over-the-counter cough medicines, involving over 2000 people, and found no solid proof the pricey potions were any more effective than a placebo. Try granny's recipe first: lemon and honey in a mug of hot water. » Continue reading


Microwave Myths Zapped!

Myth 1: Microwave ovens are dangerous.
Microwaves are comparatively safe, but take care when using any heating device. If your oven is very old you may wish to have the seals checked by a qualified microwave engineer. Be cautious when removing food covers to avoid scalds from escaping steam.

Myth 2: Microwaved food gets hotter when you take it out.
Microwaves aren't bouncing around in the food after the oven has been switched off. In fact food will begin to cool immediately.

Let it stand for a few minutes so the outer and inner temperatures even up. The food may continue cooking as this happens.

Myth 3: Microwaves cook from the inside out.
Microwaves penetrate at most only about 2.5 to 5cms into food. But this creates enough heat for the rest of the food to be cooked by conduction, as in a conventional oven."

Myth 4: Microwaves heat only water.
Water molecules do absorb microwave energy. But once the water has vaporized, fats and proteins absorb the energy and heat beyond water's boiling point, 100 degrees C.

Also read: Max the Micro!
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Out of Puff or Addicted?

You only smoke a few cigarettes a day, so you're not really hooked, right? Wrong.

"Smoking restrictions mean people are lighting fewer cigarettes but inhaling harder," says Dr. Karl Fagerstrom, author of a study paper on the subject.

His research results suggest that a better indicator of addiction is the time until your first fag in the morning; less than 30 minutes means you're "heavily dependent."

Also read: Looking forward to quit smoking?
» Continue reading


Planning Parenthood

The next generation of women need to strategize for a family. While writing Creating a Life, Sylvia Ann Hewlett found that a third of well-paid career women were childless at 40, and most hadn't planned it that way.

The "creeping non-choice" arises because most young career women believe they can wait until 40 to have kids. But statistics say a woman's fertility typically peaks by 30 and drops 50% by 35. By her early 40s, she has a 3% to 5% chance of having a baby, even using fertility techniques.

"If you want children, plan where you want to be at 45 and work backwards," says Hewlett. "Make time to find a partner. Seek out a company with policies that will help you have both work and family in your life."
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Feed Your Face...

Literally. What you eat can affect the quality of your complexion. Dermatologist Jeanette Jacknin, author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin, shows you how to scour the market for foods that can fight some common problems:

Sun Damage
Eat: Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables.

A diet packed with produce (along with a good sunblock) can help prevent the sun's ill effects on the skin. The antioxidants vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin C act like natural sunscreens in the body.

Eat: Dark green leafy vegetables, like spinach.

Spinach, cartoon sailor man Popeye's favourite food is packed with vitamin K -- essential for normal blood clotting -- and vitamin C, key for any wound healing.

Eat: Olive oil, almonds, brown rice.

These foods are loaded with vitamin E, which is thought to help protect the skin's cell membranes. A recent Australian study of 453 seniors found that people who ate foods like vegetables, beans, whole grains and olive oil had the least wrinkles.

Thin Skin
Eat: Whole grain cereals, seafood, garlic.

The selenium in these foods preserves tissue elasticity, slows down aging and protects against the sun. In one study, supplementation with selenium, copper and vitamins resulted in a lower number of sunburned cells after exposure.
» Continue reading


Mix well for best results

How to break the ice when you're party-hopping solo

Going to a party where the only soul you know is the host could turn anyone into a social phobic. Here's how to make the most of a room full of strangers:

Do your homework. Before the event, ask your host about the occupations and interests of the other guests. Your new acquaintances will be delighted that you're primed for a talk.

Case the joint. When you arrive, pick out someone who's standing alone or looks friendly, and introduce yourself. "Hi, I'm Fred, and I haven't met a soul here. How do you know Kevin?"

Fade in. Sidle up to a group (but never two people talking intently), and listen for a couple of minutes, smiling at anyone who notices you. Then join the conversation when there's a lull or at an appropriate moment.

Offer a compliment. This works like a charm, as long as the compliment is honest, specific and starts with a form of the work you. Instead of commenting, "I like that tie," say, "Your tie is beautiful."

Give yourself a break. "You don't have to measure every word you say," says Jonathan Berent, author of Beyond Shyness. "People come to parties wanting to talk and interact with one another, not to critique your performance."
» Continue reading


Melon Camp

Watermelon carved into a Baby Carriage design.Anyway you slice it (or even if you carve it into a baby carriage centrepiece for your next barbecue), watermelon hits the spot on a hot day -- and you aren't just tickling your taste buds. Watermelon's packed with nutrients, like lycopene (lowers the risk of prostate and cervical cancer), vitamin A (promotes eye health), and vitamin C (boosts immunity and fights infection). Visit watermelon.org for health tips, recipes -- and instruction for carving your melon into over a dozen delightful designs. » Continue reading


The Numbers Game

Surprising numbers of us suffer panic and memory loss when faced with even simple mental arithmetic, according to the Journal of Experimental Psychology. It's all due to the reliance on calculators and the abstract way maths is taught in schools. When asked, "What is 45 plus 29?" the "maths phobic" will try to add 5 and 9, forget to carry the 1 and so on. The secret of those who take it in the stride is understanding how numbers relate in the real world. They'll think, "OK, what's 45 and 30, then take away 1." » Continue reading


Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, reminding women of the importance of self-examination. In India, one in 38 urban women and one in 98 rural women face the risk of developing the disease, according to the National Cancer Registry Programme. Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel enables you to notice differences more quickly. Most changes are benign, but early detection can make your treatment more effective. Consult your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:
  • A lump or thickening in your breast that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue.
  • Any changes in the shape of the breast or any puckering or dimpling of the skin.
  • A discharge from the nipple or a rash around it.
  • A pulling in of the nipple.
  • Constant pain in one part of your breast or in your armpit.
  • Change in the size of a breast.
  • Swelling under your armpit or around your collarbone.

For more advice, or for locating screening facilities near you, speak to your gynecologist or GP.
» Continue reading


Reading & Riding

Make that six-hour drive a better ride with a best seller -- even if you're a queasy, not an easy, rider. So says G. Richard Holt, an ear surgeon who's helped pilots dealt with motion sickness. Sit in the front seat. Hold the book at eye level, Holt says, Look up every five minutes to get a fix on the horizon. Wear wraparound sunglasses to block out objects flashing by your side window that can throw your balance out of whack. Drink water, and pump your legs often to keep blood from pooling. » Continue reading


To Err Is Human....

...to forgive is a valuable gift to yourself, according to Stanford University psychologist Carl Thoresen. His team has built a six session group treatment to help people forgive. A study of 259 adults who took part saw stress, anger and sympotoms such as headaches and stomach upsets go way down, compared with a control group. Positive effects remained six months later.

Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting or condoning offences, or even reconciling with the offender, Thoresen says. It means giving up the right to be angry. The programme emphasizes:
  • Shifting rigid personal "rules" for how people should behave to "preferences," and accepting no adult can control another.
  • Seeing the hurtful incident from a neutral viewpoint.
  • Moving from blame to understanding, and then moving on.

Also read
Healing Power of Forgiveness
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Reining In a Spending Spouse

You're a saver but your efforts are undermined by a spending spouse. Friendly ways to discuss your mate's freewheeling habits:

Choose your moments. Avoid weeknights, when everyone's rushed and tired. Try weekend mornings.

Don't point fingers. Putting a spouse on the defensive leads to friction. "Saying 'We need to look at our savings' is a far better opener than 'You're bleeding us dry,'" says Financial Planner Victoria Collins.

Focus on goals. Rather than argue over spending, says Collins, review targets such as your kids' education and retirement.

Discuss big expenses. Agree to discuss in advance any planned expense that's over a certain limit you set. Setting a limit will force both of you to think before spending on items you really want.

Keep it going. Each month, spend a little time reviewing the progress you've made so far. Your spending spouse needs to see that the cutbacks were worth it.
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Put down those needles and rub me

If low-back pain has you down, this news should help: A recent study found that massage handily beat acupuncture in easing people's suffering. Drawing on group health insurance members, US researchers from the Group Health Cooperative and the Harvard Medical School assigned 262 people with low-back pain to traditional Chinese medical acupuncture or to massage. (A third group was given educational materials.)
Ten weeks later, 74 percent of patients getting massage scored their treatment as very helpful, compared with just 46 percent of acupuncture patients. A year later, those who received massage had fewer symptoms than the acupuncture group, plus they had greater mobility and needed fewer pain relievers.

So if you have lower back pain, find a good massage therapist.
» Continue reading


Healing Power of Sleep

Losing sleep can hobble reflexes and fog the mind. Study volunteers deprived of just a couple of hours for a few nights in a row have slowed reaction times and faltering concentration. The consequences can be deadly. Lack of sleep causes innumerable road accidents each year.

A sound sleep seems to be key to a healthy heart. "As soon as people drift off, levels of hormones that stimulate the sympathetic nervous system during the waking hours, called catecholamines, begin to ebb," says research psychiatrist Michael Irwin. The result: Blood pressure falls. Heart rate slows. Blood vessels relax, making it easier for blood to flow. "Our hearts, in other words, get a much deserved rest," says Irwin.

Not so when study subjects are deprived of sleep. Catecholamine levels can actually climb, making the heart work harder than normal -- risky.

Sleeplessness can knock the stuffing out of the body's immune defenses as well. Immune cells may be responsible for commanding sleep, in fact. And when we don't obey their orders, our germ-fighting cells begin to stumble.

One or two nights of bad sleep probably don't pose much danger. "However, chronic sleep deprivation might," says neuroscientist Carol Everson. She found that when rats are sleep deprived over a three-week period, bacteria that normally reside in the gut begin to spread to organs and the bloodstream, making the animals ill. Death can result. "That's worrying because their basic biological needs are lot like ours," says Everson.

How much sleep do you need to steer clear of trouble?
The experts' advice is to aim for seven to nine hours a night. If you find yourself tossing and turning, cut out coffee, tea, cola and alcohol too. If you still have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor.

Also read
Healing Power of Laughter
Healing Power of Forgiveness
Healing Power of Music
» Continue reading


Home and energy savings

How much do you pay for wasted energy each year? Start saving now with each of these home appliances:

Fridge: Reduce door openings. Running it on 'low' or 'mid' cool, especially in colder weather, saves power. If it's an old fridge, have the door checked for costly air-leaks.

AC: "An AC is best installed under an outside shade or parapet," says Mili Majumdar of Delhi's Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI). It works much like its cousin, the fridge, so have all open gaps around windows, lofts and around the AC itself sealed off. Control sunlight with curtains or blinds. Keep the AC's exhaust shut. Setting its thermostat 'high' can be wasteful.

Washing machine: Reduce your weekly wash cycles by loading the machine to capacity. Front-loaders use less power and water than top-loaders. "A heater can consume five times more power," points out Dr V.B.Bhatia, professor of physics at Delhi University. Use the heater only for very soiled clothes and don't set it above 50ÂșC. A good detergent often eliminates the need for a hot-wash.

Lights: Tubes give much more light than bulbs of the same wattage. Hate their stark-white light? The new yellowish tubes mimic bulbs.

Fans: Switch to electronic regulators. They waste much less energy.

Iron: Dampen bone-dry clothes or use a steam-iron -- to finish faster," says Prof Bhatia.

Oven: Three cakes baked together doesn't use up much more power than baking just one.

Pressure cooker: After it starts to whistle, turn the flame down to "low," says TERI's Majumdar. This original PC is a home's best energy saver -- cook with it as far as possible.
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Moving Advice on Arthritis

Moving Advice for OsteoarthritisPeople with arthritis are all to familier with pain's immobilizing effects. Yet an 18-month study suggest movement may be the medicine they require.

People with osteoarthritis of the knee who walked or lifted weights three times weekly were half as likely to suffer disabling pain compared to a group who were inactive. Many of the sedentary patients required assistance in dressing or bathing by the end of the study. The American university scientists who authored the study believe exercise helped by giving people strength, flexibility and confidence.

Finding the right programme is simple, say experts. Choose a sport that's easy on the joints, such as walking, swimming or cycling. Start slowly, and be ready to change your workout if your experience discomfort.
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India Calling

Wonder why companies are moving their support centers to India? Which other nation's people have the patience to deal with customer queries like these:

Tech support: What kind of computer do you have?
Customer: A gray one.

Customer: Hi, I can't get my diskette out.
Tech support: Have you tried pushing the button?
Customer: Yes, sure, it's really stuck.
Tech support: That doesn't sound good; I'll make a note.
Customer: No, wait a minute. I hadn't inserted it yet; it's still on my desk. Sorry.

Tech support: Click on the 'My Computer' icon on the left side of the screen.
Customer: Your left or my left?

Tech support: Good day. How may I help you?
Customer: Hello. I can't print.
Tech support: Would you click on 'Start' for me and...
Customer: Listen pal; don't start getting technical on me! I'm not Bill Gates!

Customer: Hi, I can't print. Every time I try, it says 'Can't find printer'. I've even lifted the printer and placed it in front of the monitor, but the computer still says it can't find it.

Customer: I have problems printing in red.
Tech support: Do you have a color printer?
Customer: Oh.... thank you.

Tech support: What's on your monitor now, ma'am?
Customer: A teddy bear my boyfriend bought for me in the supermarket.

Tech support: Your password is the small letter 'a' as in apple, a capital letter 'V' as in Victor, and the number '7'.
Customer: Is the 7 in capital letters?

Customer: I can't get on the Internet.
Tech support: Are you sure you used the right password?
Customer: Yes, I'm sure. I saw my colleague do it.
Tech support: Can you tell me what the password was?
Customer: Five stars.

Customer: I have a huge problem. A friend put a screen saver on my computer, but every time I move the mouse, it disappears.

Tech support: How can I help you?
Customer: I'm writing my first e-mail.
Tech support: Ok, and what seems to be the problem?
Customer: Well, I have the letter 'a' in the address, but how do I get the circle around it?

A woman customer called the Canon help desk about a problem with her printer.
Tech support:
Are you running it under Windows?
Customer: No, my desk is next to the door, but that is a good point. The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window, and his printer is working fine.
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Four ways to reduce drug costs without risking your health

Four ways to reduce drug costs without risking your healthLook into "me too" brands. Brand names often rule drug prices. For instance, the antibiotic ofloxacin marketed under the brand name Tarivid, is priced at Rs.53.14 per 400mg tablet; as Oflin it costs Rs.14. But as Floxur, it costs just Rs.9.60 per tablet! Ask chemists for less expensive alternatives. "But buying the cheapest," warns Dr Satbir Singh of New Delhi's Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital, "may not always be safe, since quality can vary." So, consult your doctor too.

Avoid unnecessary multis. "If your doctor prescribes vitamin B-complex, don't buy multivitamin capsules as many patients do," advises Dr Yatish Agarwal of New Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital. Plain B-complex pills are cheap, while multivitamins cost much more. Components other than the B vitamins loaded in multivitamin capsules are required only in special cases and may be useless for you.

Asthmatic? Get the economy pack. Asthma patients who use inhalers should know that Cipla now markets Asthalin inhalers in a pack that gives 200 puffs for Rs.77. There's also a 400-puff economy pack for Rs.96, which could save you about Rs.425 a year assuming you average eight puffs a day.

Find out about freebies. Pharmaceuticals regularly give away large amounts of drugs as "physician's samples," to doctors -- all meant to be distributed free among patients. So before going to the medical store, ask your doctor if part of the prescription can be had for free.
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Blood Pressure Monitoring with a Wrist Monitor

Omron's Ultra Compact Wrist Monitor to check HypertensionYour blood pressure read at a clinic provides a somewhat blurry snapshot of this temperamental measure. Worse, many people get white-coat hypertension -- their pressure jumps in a doctor's office! For a clearer picture, you need to take a series of readings -- a must for people with hypertension and those at risk of developing it.

Omron's Ultra Compact Wrist Monitor fits around your wrist and inflates with the push of a button. It makes tracking your blood pressure as easy as telling time. (People with severe circulation problems should check with a doctor first.) The monitor also stores readings so your doctor can look for patterns. It can be used anywhere without a white coat in sight.

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How to Tone Up Your Image

How to Tone Up Your ImageExercise -- and you are better person. That's what university students thought when they rated characteristics of people they believed worked out. In a recent study, the students read profiles of fictional subjects described as "average looking." Some were supposedly exercisers and some non-exercisers -- but in other ways identical. Exercisers got higher rating for strength, health and attractiveness as well as for confidence, self-control, independence and hard work.

Kathleen Martin, author of the study, thinks the messages in the media and from doctors about physical fitness have got through. "If you're tyring to decide whether to start exercising," says Martin, "this might be an incentive. You don't have to be the world's greatest athlete. Just by virtue of exercising, you'll benefit from a social perspective."

She encourages people to talk about their workouts. "Tell people, definitely. It does make a difference in how they see you."
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Healing power of Music

Healing power of MusicBy the time Debbie Clark took Adam, her autistic three year-old son, to a music therapist, he could barely speak. At the music-therapy clinic at California State University in Northridge, USA, therapists encouraged the autistic child to express himself by playing instruments and beating out rhythms on drums. They put conversations to song in order to get Adam talking.

"In tree months, the change was phenomenal," says Clark. "Before, Adam would never look a stranger in the eye, let alone speak. Now, after his music therapy session, he waves to the therapists and says, "Bye, Jim. Bye, Ron. See you next week." Believe me, that's music to my ears."

Music, researchers around the world are discovering, can help healing in a variety of ways. Burn victims encouraged to sing while having their dressing changed experience less pain. Cancer patients who listen to music and practice improvising on instruments, for example, see their levels of stress hormones drop and their immune systems get stronger. Part of music's power comes from ability to relieve anxiety, which can suppress immune defenses as well as intensify the experience of pain. Music, especially singing, takes a person's mind off the suffering and soothes tension. "By helping patients relax, music eases pain and may even speed recovery," says Richard Fratianne, a noted professor of surgery. The experiences of autistic children like Adam Clark suggest that music's effects reach deeper, even influencing brain development. The therapeutic use of music seems to activate different parts of the brain, including networks associated with motor control, memory, emotion and speech, explains neuroscientist and musician Michael Thaut. In his own work, Thaut is using the close link between music and movement to help people slowed by strokes, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease.

Says Northridge music therapist Ron Borczon: "Traditional healers have used songs and drumming for centuries. We're simply rediscovering what they always knew -- that music, through its profound effect on mind and body, can be a potent way to help people get well."

Also read
Healing Power of Laughter
Healing Power of Forgiveness

Coming shortly...
Healing Power of Sleep
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Do your kids have dinner with you?

If so, they probably eat better than those who don't dine with their parents. In a recent Harvard study of 16,000 children ages nine to 14, 24% of those who dined daily with their family got the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables, compared with 13% of those who rarely or never shared meals at home. They also ate less fried food, drank less aerated drinks, and consumed more calcium, fibre, iron and vitamins C and E. Says Dr Matthew W. Gillman, lead investigator of the study at Harvard, "There are two possible explanations. When kids eat with their parents, there may be more nutritious food on the table. Or maybe there's a discussion of healthful eating." » Continue reading

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The Bedside Gift Guide

Bedside Get Well Gifting IdeasVisiting a friend or relative in the hospital? Here is a list of gifts a patient will love you for.
  • Face, lip and body moisturizers, and bottled water. many hospitals are too hot and dry.
  • Scented candles. You probably won't be allowed to light them, but they'll still help overcome that distinctive medicinal odor.
  • A newspaper or magazine.
  • Flowers are lovely, but they die quickly in a warm hospital room. A small plant or orchids will last.
  • A book. Always take into consideration the taste of the recipient, but steer clear of heavy philosophy.
  • A good small reading lamp. This tames the pallor of the overhead fluorescent lighting, and if reading is the patient's primary diversion, he or she deserves a great bedside light source.
  • A portable tape or CD player and a tape or CD of your friend's favorite music.
  • A notebook or journal to jot down telephone numbers, thoughts and messages.
  • Tweezers. My sister made me promise that if she was ever in an accident and went into a coma, I'd come in and tweeze her eyebrows.
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Dating not for the young alone

Do you think that dating is just for the young? Think again. The old have the right to be happy, too! In fact in this age when the kids leave their folks alone to fend for themselves once they're on their feet, single parents need company to spend time.

DatingForSeniors.com is a senior dating and senior match making website where senior men and women can chat, meet and find suitable partners to spend the rest of their life with.

Signing up is totally free and it is very simple and easy to use. Like on many other dating sites you can browse through profiles, search for senior singles from your area and start interacting with members, exchange emails and probably meet them in person.

You might ask - Why another dating site just for seniors? Why can't seniors make use of other regular dating sites? To find the answer you might better ask a senior in your vicinity.
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Reading, Writing & Runny Noses

Preventing cold, sniffles & runny noses during monsoon and winterMost schoolchildren tend to get three to six viral illnesses a year -- usually when the seasons change, as with the onset of the monsoon, or of winter. If you and your kids can follow these rules, you'll all have a healthier school year.
  1. Soap up. Germs live a hand-to-mouth, -nose, or -eye existence. Keep your kids' hands clean, and they'll stay well. In an American study of 6000 school kids, regular hand washing-cut absenteeism 20 percent. It might seem too simple, but plain soap and water really work!
  2. Hands off! Back up the frequent-washing plan by reminding your kids to keep their hands off their faces as much as possible.
  3. Get some fresh air. Encourage your kids to play outside -- even if it's a bit cold. Kids don't "catch cold" from cool weather. Studies suggest even the traditional winter colds may result from people spending more time indoors.
  4. Get plenty of sleep. Researchers have found that sleep deprivation increases our susceptibility to colds.
  5. Just say no. If your child's best friend's mum says her son has the sniffles, cancel your child's play time with him.
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True Tales of Job Hunting

Office casual may be in, but etiquette still counts in interviews. Some tips:

Turn off your phone. While he waited, one candidate called his mum to tell her about how the dentist fixed his gums, says Anne Maxfield, president of a Manhattan personnel search firm. When a manager finally greeted him, he said, "I'll be with you in a few minutes."

Proofread letters. A candidate at Food & Wine magazine wrote post-interview thank-yous, but carelessness did her in. "She got the name right on one letter," says editor-in-chief Dana Cowin. "The other said: 'Dear Blah Blah.'"

Do you homework. To break the ice at one large company, candidate Fred Neurohr asked, "Is Ed McMahon around a lot?" He got no response but persisted. "I bet he's exciting at the Christmas party." Finally, his interviewer broke the news: "He works for our competitor."

Check your zipper. Linda Gilleran, a consultant for Hewlett-Packard, once left an interview thinking she had made a good impression. Outside, she says, "I looked down to find my fly open wit just the fluttering silk of my underwear between me and the world." She didn't get the job.
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