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13 06, 2024

Treatment Options for Insomnia – HealthyWomen

By |2024-06-13T22:57:09+03:00June 13, 2024|Fitness News, News|0 Comments

Is it ironic to write a story about insomnia treatments after you’ve been tossing and turning all night? I think so. But I know my restless night was just that — a restless night.

Insomnia, however, is more than just a restless night. It’s a serious sleep disorder. “It’s not just about being unable to sleep — you have to see a specialist to properly diagnose insomnia,” said Monica Mallampalli, Ph.D., CEO of Alliance of Sleep Apnea Partners and member of HealthyWomen’s Women’s Health Council.

Without proper diagnosis and treatment, insomnia can lead to health problems like heart disease, diabetes and depression.

So how do you know if you have insomnia? The sleep disorder is defined as being unable to sleep, stay asleep or feel rested for three or more nights a week even though you’ve had the opportunity to sleep. Insomnia happens even when you’re in the right place at the right time (for example, in bed at a reasonable hour). And the lack of sleep has a negative impact on everyday life.

Short-term insomnia lasts days or weeks and is usually caused by stress or a change in your life, like a job change. Chronic insomnia, also called long-term insomnia, lasts three or more nights a week for more than three months. Some researchers think insomnia may be caused by your brain staying active when you’re sleeping.

If any of this sounds familiar or you’ve been googling “Why can’t I sleep?” at all hours of the night, you’re not alone. As many as 4 out of 10 adults in the United States have symptoms of insomnia — and most of them are women.

Insomnia causes and symptoms

Women are more likely to
experience insomnia compared to men. Research is ongoing as to why. But studies show that hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause (hello, hot flashes and night sweats) can cause insomnia.

report found that about 6 out of 10 women in the U.S. affected by hot flashes reported sleep issues and insomnia. “Clearly there’s a hormonal component,” Mallampalli said.

In addition to biological factors, common causes for insomnia include:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in work or travel schedule
  • Bad sleeping habits

Insomnia is a complex disorder that has many different causes. Even your job and relationship status can affect your risk for insomnia. One recent
study found that people who are unemployed; widowed, divorced or separated; and of lower socioeconomic status have higher rates of insomnia.

People in certain occupations that require irregular sleep hours, like first responders, which includes police officers and firefighters, are more likely to have sleep problems compared to the general public. And active-duty service members and veterans are also at
high risk for insomnia, also in part because of unstable sleep schedules and in part because of the physical and emotional demands of their roles.

Physical and mental effects of insomnia

Many people with insomnia have medical and/or mental health conditions in addition to insomnia.

“Just be aware that insomnia has comorbid conditions. For example, insomnia is pretty closely tied to sleep apnea, so be aware that other things may be happening that are leading you to not fall asleep,” Mallampalli said.

About half of people with insomnia have a medical condition. And chronic insomnia puts you at higher risk for health problems, including:

  • Hypertension
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Chronic pain
  • Obesity

When it comes to mental health, about half of people with insomnia have a mental health condition like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. In fact, about 8 out of 10 people with major depressive disorder have insomnia.

Recent research also found that sleep disorders are a common symptom in patients with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The lack of sleep and the stress that often comes with not being able to sleep can have a big impact on your waking hours.

The negative effects include:

  • Delayed reaction time
  • Lack of focus
  • Memory issues
  • Difficulty sticking to routine and/or treatment for substance abuse

Read: The Day After a Bad Night’s Sleep >>

Over time, the effects of insomnia not only hurt your health but can have a negative effect on your personal and professional relationships.

Insomnia treatments

Insomnia can be hard to treat, especially when considering other health conditions that might be at play. Some medications can make it hard to fall asleep. And prescription sleeping pills may interact with other medications you’re taking.

Mallampalli said the first thing to do is talk to your HCP about your symptoms. Your HCP may refer you to a sleep specialist.

Treatment options vary from person to person, and your HCP may recommend one or a combination of treatments, which may include lifestyle changes, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or medication.

CBT is usually the first step in treating insomnia. It teaches strategies to change behavior and thinking associated with sleep disorders and can help you identify thoughts and habits that are causing sleep problems.

Research shows that CBT can work. One analysis found big improvements in sleep quality and total sleep time in people with insomnia.

CBT is also an option for people who can’t or don’t want to take medication. Overall, CBT has few side effects, but changing your habits takes time and you won’t see results overnight.

Healthy sleep habits, also called sleep hygiene, can be practiced on their own or as part of CBT. They include cutting down on caffeine during the day and setting a sleep schedule in addition to learning meditation and other mental techniques.

Watch: How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep >>

Medications for insomnia

Medications for insomnia fall into a few categories. These include:

  • Benzodiazepines: Medications to slow down the activity in your brain to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Benzodiazepines were once the go-to prescription medication for insomnia, but research has shown that benzodiazepines can lead to dependence and carry a risk for abuse and dependence and are not recommended for long-term use.
  • Non-benzodiazepines: Also known as Z-drugs, this class of prescription-only medications (think Ambien and Sonesta) work by slowing activity in the brain similar to benzodiazepines. Studies show that Z-drugs have less potential for dependency and abuse compared to benzodiazepines, but side effects can include nausea, headaches and dizziness. Z-drugs are for short-term use, and not everyone should take them.
  • Melatonin receptor agonists: Melatonin is a natural hormone that is available over the counter. Research shows that taking melatonin can help some people fall asleep faster, but it’s not clear if melatonin can help with sleep quality or the amount of time you sleep. Melatonin can have side effects like drowsiness the next day and headache and is also not for long-term use.

Read: More on Melatonin >>

  • Dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORAs):DORAs are the newest class of medications to treat insomnia. The drugs block chemicals (orexins) in the brain that tell you to stay awake. Studies show that DORAs can reduce insomnia symptoms and improve overall quality of sleep in people with insomnia. DORAs don’t have the risk of dependence or abuse associated with benzodiazepines or other sleep-inducing drugs. Side effects include daytime sleepiness.

Insomnia is complicated. But with the right treatment plan, good sleep is possible. “If [insomnia] is truly impacting your life and you’re unable to sleep — see a sleep specialist,” Mallampalli said. “They can help tease out what the problem may be.”

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13 06, 2024

Fighting Breast Cancer My Way

By |2024-06-13T20:55:22+03:00June 13, 2024|Fitness News, News|0 Comments

As told to Erica Rimlinger

For 42 years, I’ve been living with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a disorder that causes non-stop intense pain. In that time, I’ve had doctors call me crazy, delusional and a liar. One doctor was so abusive, he told me I should “just shoot myself in the head.” It’s no wonder some people call CRPS the “suicide disease.” Often, the intense, unpredictable pain that left me bedridden for a decade felt like the least of my problems: the major battle was getting the medical profession to believe and treat me.

After enduring years of mistreatment from doctors, I learned to manage my condition using holistic self-care. I didn’t want to enter a doctor’s office ever again unless the need for western medical care was undeniable. That day arrived when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

When I felt the breast lump in 2018, I waited a year to get it checked. I didn’t trust doctors, who had left me hopeless, abandoned and depressed. But when it didn’t go away and grew larger, I gave in. My first reaction to the diagnosis was shock that I had cancer. My second reaction was dread that I had to re-enter the western healthcare system. Twenty years before, I had been diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in my other breast, and my medical team told me I only had months to live unless I underwent aggressive treatment. I correctly suspected my doctors would not consider my CRPS and that my body could not handle their regimen. I did my own research and learned that most DCIS doesn’t become invasive, and overtreatment was common. I refused their treatment options.

Now that I was diagnosed with stage 2B
triple negative breast cancer, I took six months to decide what treatment would be best. The standard plan of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation gave me an impossible needle to thread. The healthcare system didn’t take my CRPS seriously, but I knew surgery and radiation would cause nerve damage, spiking my pain to an intolerable level. And I feared it would never simmer down.

Cynthia receiving an immunotherapy infusion. 2022.

I decided to go with chemotherapy only because I didn’t want to lose the use of the upper right side of my body. As expected, I was verbally abused for thinking outside the box. One doctor told me, “My other patients WANT to live.” I wanted to live just as much as they did. But I wanted quality of life. I’d lived without it and couldn’t go back there. I’d been battling for my quality of life for decades.

As it turned out, my tumor was a “super-responder” to chemotherapy, disappearing completely by imaging standards. I continued to get monitored and use my self-care techniques, which included exercise, good sleep habits and careful nutrition.

Eighteen months later, my oncologist found a cancerous lump in my right lymph node that quickly grew to the size of a golf ball. After hearing his treatment plan for my recurrence, I hung up the phone and started screaming in fear and frustration.

He’d recommended eight rounds of chemo, followed bya new immunotherapy treatment that had recently become available. After that, he recommended I undergo surgery, radiation and more immunotherapy. After careful consideration and much research, I consented only to low-dose oral chemo and immunotherapy.

The chemo shrank the tumor a little bit, but then stopped working. I was horrified to learn my insurance company wouldn’t cover the immunotherapy because I hadn’t agreed to surgery. I felt I was being punished for making my own treatment choices.

I quickly learned about and was going to try a procedure called cryoablation, a technique that freezes the tumor instead of removing it surgically, which I prayed would avoid triggering my CRPS. Then a blessed event happened — the company that made the immunotherapy treatment had a compassionate care program that allowed me to get the immunotherapy.

After one immunotherapy treatment, my tumor disappeared. My doctors were stunned. There was no need for cryoablation as there was nothing left to cryoablate. I was called a “miracle.”

Looking back from a distance of two years, I wonder if “miracle” is the right term for what happened to me. Am I a miracle, or did I simply make a series of thoughtful decisions that were right for me?

This is not to say immunotherapy was easy. I was hospitalized for colitis and later developed reactive arthritis. It also spiked my CRPS, but to a tolerable level. Bottom line, immunotherapy cured me without destroying my quality of life.

I’m grateful that years of self-advocacy made me strong enough to stand my ground with the doctors who talked to me as though I was a child. I’m also grateful I eventually found a team of four doctors that listened to me, believed in CRPS, and embraced the reality that surgery and radiation would destroy my life.

Fighting Breast Cancer My Way2020

Best of all, this team worked together, consulting about my care with one another, my life partner, John, and me. Being part of a shared decision-making team that valued individualized care was such a powerful experience, I regained some trust in the medical system. I’m a strong believer that a doctor who isn’t threatened by other opinions is the sign of a true healer.

Sadly, when we are diagnosed with cancer, we tend to panic and blindly put our care into our doctors’ hands. However well-intentioned they may be, we’re the ones who must live (or die) with the consequences of their treatment choices. For the best wellness outcome, I believe we must take responsibility for our own care, and that includes self-care practices to make our bodies healthy enough to make the best of the treatments we choose. I’m certain I’m still here today because I followed my gut.

These days, I eat a healthy, cancer-fighting diet full of fish, berries, nuts and leafy greens. I’m an avid lap swimmer, and I make plenty of time for cuddles with my kitties. I meditate and pray every day, while working on releasing past traumas that have driven my illnesses. I’ve become better at forgiving the people who have harmed and abandoned me.

Also, I engage in meaningful, creative work. I continue to run the nonprofit I founded 22 years ago to help other women in pain. And I’m rekindling past passions. I spent my childhood training for a career as a performer, but as a part-time wheelchair user with CRPS, Hollywood’s doors have been closed to me. After fighting for my life twice, that’s no longer stopping me. I recently got a top-end agent and am already getting great auditions and call-backs for acting and singing roles. Yes, I’m doing it my way.

I look forward to hitting my third cancer-free year, which my team tells me is the goal line for a cure. Until then, I’ll continue to trust myself with my health and happiness.

This educational resource was created with support from Merck

Have a Real Women, Real Stories of your own you want to share? Let us know.

Our Real Women, Real Stories are the authentic experiences of real-life women. The views, opinions and experiences shared in these stories are not endorsed by HealthyWomen and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HealthyWomen.

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13 06, 2024

Nordic Combined Athlete Annika Malacinski on her Fitness Regime, Diet and Inspiring Journey

By |2024-06-13T14:51:25+03:00June 13, 2024|Fitness News, News|0 Comments

Annika Malacinski is an American Nordic combined athlete. She was born in Steamboat Springs, Colorado USA. But for twelve year she lived in Finland. She started Nordic Combined when she was 16 years old. Earlier she use to do gymnastics. She took part in her first international Nordic Combined event at the FIS Youth Cup in Oberstdorf.

Achievements of Annika Malacinski

US Championships:
Gold 2019 Park City Mass start
Silver 2021 Park City Gundersen
Gold 2022 Lake Placid Gundersen

Finnish Championships:
Gold 2019 Kuopio Gundersen
Gold 2021 Helsinki Gundersen

Women Fitness President Ms. Namita Nayyar in a candid interview with Annika Malacinski, an American Nordic combined athlete here she talks about her fitness regime, diet, and her success story.

Namita Nayyar:

Where were you born and had your early education? You used to do gymnastics and at the age of 16 years started Nordic Combined. This later propelled your career to the height where you have been the leading sport women as a Nordic Combined skier and ski jumper in USA and Finland. Tell us more about your professional journey of exceptional hard work, tenacity, and endurance?

Annika Malacinski:

I was born in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and my early education was split between two continents. Every year, I spent the first semester of school from August to December in Rovaniemi, Finland, before flying back to the U.S. to complete the second semester and enjoy the summer. This transatlantic routine continued for 11 years of my life. Growing up, I was immersed in a wide array of sports and absolutely loved every moment of it.

My mom, a high-level swimmer who competed for Finland, instilled in my brother and me a passion for sports and athletics. She insisted that we engage in endurance sports, so we chose cross-country skiing in the winter and swimming in the summer. At the age of 12, I decided to commit heavily to gymnastics. I trained about 24 hours a week under the guidance of my Hungarian Olympic coach. My life was consumed by the sport—I had little time for friends or free time, but my love for gymnastics made it all worthwhile.

However, as I grew older, the physical demands became too much for my body, and I had to retire from gymnastics. Transitioning from the intense regimen of a high-level gymnast to almost no physical activity left me feeling lost and depressed. I wasn’t ready to give up athletics entirely. During this period, I watched my little brother compete in a Fourth of July Nordic Combined competition in Steamboat.

The excitement and challenge of the sport intrigued me, and within four days, I found myself going off the 40-meter ski jumping hill at home. The adrenaline rush I felt after that jump was exhilarating, and I craved more. Nearly six years later, I am competing at the highest level in Nordic Combined, representing team USA. My journey has been marked by exceptional hard work, tenacity, and endurance.

I have had the privilege of being a trailblazer in my sport, fighting for equality and inspiring others. The road has not always been smooth—I dislocated my shoulder while jumping in 2019—but I have also experienced the thrill of standing on the podium at many Continental Cups (COCs) and achieving a career-best 8th place in the World Cup in Austria last year. This journey has been everything to me. The highs and lows, the challenges and triumphs, have all shaped me into the athlete I am today. I wouldn’t change a single moment of it.

Namita Nayyar:

You competed for the Steamboat Springs Colorado Winter Sports Club, made your international debut on August 24, 2018 this was your first international Nordic Combined event at the FIS Youth Cup in Oberstdorf. Tell us more about this first participation and memories of your beginning of the journey as an American Nordic combined athlete.

Annika Malacinski:

Competing for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, I made my international debut on August 24, 2018, at the FIS Youth Cup in Oberstdorf. This was my first international Nordic Combined event, and it marked the beginning of an unforgettable journey. I still vividly remember that European trip. It was my first training camp abroad, and I was with a group of athletes who, like me, didn’t yet belong to a junior national or national team. These were the athletes left to carve their own path, and I couldn’t have been luckier to experience it with this particular group of people.

The camaraderie and shared excitement created some core memories that I still cherish to this day. From a young age, I’ve always been highly competitive, and it was hard for me to realize that I had started Nordic Combined almost exactly a year before this competition. While my jumping skills were still developing, I had always had a decent level of endurance, which gave me a bit of confidence. Nevertheless, the nerves really kicked in as I faced my first international competition. Despite this, the experience was overwhelmingly positive.

Meeting athletes from around the world and creating special memories with my team were some of the highlights. The thrill of international competition, the nervous energy, and the joy of connecting with fellow competitors all contributed to a truly memorable experience. These moments solidified my passion for the sport and set the stage for my ongoing journey as an American Nordic Combined athlete. The friendships and experiences from that first trip have stayed with me, and they continue to inspire me as I strive for excellence in this demanding and exhilarating sport.

Namita Nayyar:

You won the Gold for US in Gundersen event during the “Jumpapalooza,” the USA Nordic Sport National Championships for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined held in Lake Placid, New York, on Friday, 30th September and Saturday, 1st October 2022 in Nordic combined.Tell us more about this spectacular achievement of yours?

Annika Malacinski:

Winning the gold in the Gundersen event during the “Jumpapalooza,” the USA Nordic Sport National Championships for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined, held in Lake Placid, New York, on September 30th and October 1st, 2022, was a truly spectacular achievement for me.I vividly remember being sick during the competition, but my determination to showcase my skills and win was stronger than ever. Despite feeling unwell, I knew how important it was to participate in nationals and put the months of hard work into this event. I was determined to push through and give it my all, no matter the circumstances.

The competition began with a solid jump, which positioned me well in the standings. I managed to secure a head start of about two minutes ahead of the next skier. This early lead was crucial, and I knew I had to maintain it despite my illness. Competing while knowing it could worsen my condition was challenging, but the significance of nationals and my desire to perform at my best outweighed my concerns. The event itself was spectacular, with an incredible atmosphere and strong support from the crowd.

As I raced through the cross-country portion, I focused on every stride, pushing through the fatigue and sickness. The months of rigorous training and dedication were paying off, and I felt an overwhelming sense of determination and drive. Crossing the finish line and realizing I had won gold was an indescribable feeling. Despite the physical challenges, the triumph of securing a national championship was exhilarating. I was incredibly excited about the win and proud of my ability to overcome adversity and perform at my best when it mattered most.

This achievement not only marked a significant milestone in my career but also reinforced the importance of perseverance and resilience. It reminded me that even in the face of challenges, dedication and hard work can lead to spectacular outcomes.

Namita Nayyar:

You put the sporting track on fire when you won the Gundersen event in Nordic Combined during the US National Championships held in Utah, in resort Park City. Elaborate more about this landmark achievement in your sporting career.

Annika Malacinski:

Winning the Gundersen event in Nordic Combined during the US National Championships held in Park City, Utah, was electrifying, and the feeling of crossing the finish line first is something I will never forget. As much as I enjoy the thrill of victory, this achievement holds a deeper significance for me. It represents an opportunity to pave the way for the younger generation of athletes, especially young girls in Nordic Combined and other sports. I am passionate about being a role model and showing that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.

In Park City, the atmosphere was charged with excitement and anticipation. I felt the weight of my own expectations, as well as the hopes of those looking up to me. The competition was fierce, and every moment required focus and determination. My training and preparation culminated in a performance that I am immensely proud of. Beyond the personal triumph, this victory is about inspiring the next generation.

I want to show young athletes, particularly girls, that they can achieve their dreams, no matter how big. By winning and demonstrating what is possible, I hope to encourage them to pursue their passions with the same fervor and commitment. This event reinforced my belief that role models are crucial in sports. Seeing someone else succeed can ignite the spark of possibility in a young athlete’s mind.

My journey, filled with hard work, setbacks, and triumphs, serves as a testament to the power of perseverance. I want to be that example for others, to show that with grit and determination, they too can set the sporting track on fire. Winning in Park City was not just a personal milestone; it was a moment to celebrate and share with the community. It was a reminder that we are all part of something bigger and that each victory can inspire countless others to chase their dreams and reach new heights.

Full Interview is Continued on Next Page

This interview is exclusive and taken by Namita Nayyar President of and should not be reproduced, copied, or hosted in part or full anywhere without express permission.

All Written Content Copyright © 2024 Women Fitness

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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12 06, 2024

What Is POTS? – HealthyWomen

By |2024-06-12T20:42:06+03:00June 12, 2024|Fitness News, News|0 Comments

If you’ve ever stood up too fast and felt dizzy for a moment, you know how disorienting that can be.

This happens because your blood pressure drops and your blood moves to the lower part of your body when you stand up. Sometimes, it can take a second for your system to increase your heart rate and get the blood flowing to your brain — which is why you feel lightheaded.

An occasional spell of dizziness when standing up is usually not cause for concern. But for people with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), standing up can cause a wide range of problems including fainting, and it can have a serious negative effect on your quality of life.

As many as 3 million people in the U.S. have POTS, and most of them are women and people assigned female at birth. If you think you may have POTS, or know someone who does, here’s what you need to know about this health condition.

What is POTS?

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition that causes your heart rate to go up more than 30 beats per minute, and your blood pressure to go down when you stand up.

Basically, the disorder affects the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating things like your heart beat and blood pressure. It may not sound that serious, but people with POTS can experience debilitating symptoms including rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) and extreme fatigue among other chronic problems.

What are POTS symptoms?

In addition to an increased/rapid heart rate, people with POTS can have a range of symptoms. These can include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Brain fog, including focus and memory problems
  • Nausea
  • Headache attacks
  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Exercise intolerance (unable to do physical activity)
  • A pale face
  • Purple-tinged hands and feet when they are lower than the heart

The symptoms of POTS can get worse if you’re in the heat (even taking a hot bath) or standing a lot. Some women experience an increase in symptoms before their period starts and these can get worse if you’re not hydrated or if you need more salt in your diet.

What are the types of POTS?

There are three main subtypes of POTS. These are:

  • Neuropathic: The small nerve fibers in your abdomen and legs have trouble carrying blood up from your lower body. This causes swelling in the legs, discoloration and less blood flow to organs around the stomach area can cause gastrointestinal problems.
  • Hyperadrenergic: Standing up makes your blood pressure and norepinephrine (the fight-or-flight hormone) levels go up. This makes you feel dizzy and short of breath in addition to other symptoms.
  • Hypovolemic: You have less blood in your system and fewer red blood cells. This can cause weak muscles and problems during exercise.

How is POTS diagnosed?

With all the different symptoms, it can be hard to get a diagnosis for POTS. For women and people assigned female at birth, the condition can be misdiagnosed for years and lead to a significant delay in care. Research shows women with POTS wait at least five years for a diagnosis compared to three years for men.

Two common tests used to diagnose POTS are a 10-minute standing test and a head-up tilt table test. The standing test is pretty much exactly like it sounds: Your healthcare provider (HCP) will measure your blood pressure, heart rate and other levels as you stand up from a relaxed position and continue to stand for 10 minutes.

The head-up tile table sounds more like something out of a magic act: You’re strapped on a table lying flat and the table is raised to an upright position. Your HCP will check your heart rate, blood pressure and other levels to see if you may have POTS.

Other tests and blood work may be ordered to look at the nerves that control the heart and control sweating.

POTS treatments

Since the exact cause of POTS is unknown, treatments can vary depending on symptoms. Treatment options to help manage POTS can include:

  • Adding salt to your diet
  • Staying hydrated and drinking about 64-80 ounces (about 2-2.5 liters) of fluid a day
  • Wearing compression garments to push blood deeper into the veins
  • Taking medication including beta receptor blocking agents
  • Eating a high-fiber diet
  • Incorporating exercise (or starting physical therapy if you have exercise intolerance) including isometric exercises to help push blood back toward your heart

What are POTS medical devices?

You can monitor POTS at home to help you identify triggers and lifestyle changes that may help with symptoms. You may want to consider getting a:

  • Blood pressure monitor
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Finger pulse oximeter
  • Smartwatch or smart ring to track your heart rate

Tips for POTS self-care

In addition to diet and exercise, there are some things you can do to help your overall well-being and minimize symptoms of POTS.

  • Get enough sleep
  • Try yoga or meditation to work on breathing techniques
  • Join a POTS support group or consider counseling to talk about your condition

POTS can be difficult to diagnose and every case is different. If you’re experiencing dizziness, rapid heart rate or any other symptoms of POTS, talk to your HCP as soon as possible. Many people with POTS can manage symptoms with the right treatment plan.

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11 06, 2024

Racial Disparities in Lung Cancer Screening

By |2024-06-11T18:21:53+03:00June 11, 2024|Fitness News, News|0 Comments

Ayanay Ferguson knew something just wasn’t right with her body when she returned from vacation with her husband in April 2021.

“I had swollen ankles and shortness of breath,” recalled Ferguson, 50, an Atlanta-area clinical psychologist.

She initially thought her symptoms were from post-vacation fatigue and her weight. As her symptoms lingered, she booked a telehealth appointment with a doctor, who advised her to get her heart checked. An EKG in an emergency room at a nearby hospital came back normal, but a medical resident was concerned enough about some of her lab work results to look into it further.

“He said he had just read an article about how that particular blood test did not elevate in African Americans, when there was, in fact, an issue, and that’s what kept him looking for stuff,” remembered Ferguson. “That’s why he ordered a CT chest scan.”

The CT scan showed what was later found to be a cancerous mass in her right lung. The diagnosis: stage 3Anon-small cell adenocarcinoma. “I had cancer cells in some of my lymph nodes,” she says.

Read: Understanding the Different Types of Lung Cancer >>

The lung cancer diagnosis was a shock for Ferguson, who’d never been a cigarette smoker and did not have a family history of the disease, but she agreed to the aggressive treatment plan her thoracic surgeon ordered. The plan was for her to have surgery to remove the mass and four rounds of chemotherapy. Three years later, Fergurson proudly reports being cancer-free.

A growing body of research reveals that, as a Black person, she is especially lucky to have beaten the disease that kills more than 125,000 Americans a year — more than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. Lung cancer is more difficult to treat in its advanced stages, so early detection through screening greatly increases a person’s chance of survival. Yet racial disparities exist.

Studies have found that Black lung cancer patients were 15% less likely than white patients to be diagnosed early and they had the lowest five-year survival rate of any racial group. Black Americans tended to develop lung cancer at higher rates and at younger ages than their white counterparts, despite smoking fewer cigarettes on average. According to the American Lung Association, the disease claimed the lives of more than 14,000 Black Americans in 2021, the most recent year for available data.

Addressing persistent disparities in lung cancer early diagnosis and survival rates is central to the work being carried out by Melinda Aldrich, M.D., an associate professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The groundbreaking 2019 study she co-authored with five colleagues found that screening eligibility guidelines exclude Black smokers more than other people of other races. The healthcare industry has been slow to respond to the growing push to change that, including medical insurance companies that determine what is considered preventive care and covered at low or no cost.

Aldrich’s research found that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the government group that sets screening guidelines, required that a person had to be between 55 and 80 years old and have smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for 30 years to qualify for a life-saving early detection screening known as a low-dose CT scan. In addition to these criteria, a person needs to be either a current or former smoker, and former smokers need to have quit within the prior 15 years. Aldrich’s analysis of more than 84,000 adult smokers revealed that under that criteria, Black patients at relatively high risk of lung cancer were being disproportionately excluded from the eligible screening pool. More than 2 out of 3 Black smokers who were diagnosed with lung cancer did not meet the age and smoking history criteria at the time of their diagnosis.

“Based on those guidelines, we saw that of people who were diagnosed with lung cancer, 68% of African American individuals … would not have been eligible for lung cancer screening. And this is in contrast to 44% of white Americans who would not be eligible,” she said. “So, [there are] strong racial disparities in terms of eligibility and who’s able to get in the door to be screened.”

The work of Aldrich and her co-authors was cited in a 2021 decision by the USPSTF to make two changes that have nearly doubled the number of people eligible for lung cancer screening — lowering the age from 55 to 50 and reducing the number of smoking history pack years from 30 to 20.

“They didn’t do exactly what we proposed: something that might be considered controversial, which is making a race-specific change in the guidelines,” she said. “They made the guideline changes for everyone. So, actually, the disparities remain. They just made more people eligible.”

Aldrich said raising awareness about the screening test that has been widely available for well over a decade now is critical to helping improve outcomes and survival rates for lung cancer patients, especially Black patients. Still, she said, the medical industry needs to answer the call to go a step further to allow more people to qualify for early screening based on additional risk factors, such as race and ethnicity and family history. “If you have a history of smoking, talk to your doctor about whether you’re eligible for lung screening,” advised Aldrich. “We also need to remove the stigma associated with smoking; we should unite the community rather than associating blame.”

Ferguson said that although race-specific screening guideline changes most likely would not have helped in her case as a nonsmoker, she supports the shift to expand screening eligibility. “I don’t care if you are 30 or 70. If you smoked every day for 10 years or more, you should be able to say to your doctor, ‘I want a lung cancer screening’ and get it,” she said. “It’s money spent on the front end and money saved on the back end. And more importantly, it’s going to save more lives.”

This educational resource was created with support from Merck.

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11 06, 2024

From Carpets to Hardwood Floors: How to Pick a Vacuum that Meets Your Cleaning Needs

By |2024-06-11T10:17:38+03:00June 11, 2024|Fitness News, News|0 Comments

Key Takeaways

  • Identify your specific cleaning needs before choosing a vacuum cleaner.
  • Comprehend the various kinds of vacuum cleaners and their appropriate uses.
  • Consider features, reviews, budget, energy efficiency, and maintenance.

Table of Contents

  • Determine Your Cleaning Needs
  • Types of Vacuum Cleaners
  • Consider Vacuum Features
  • Check the Reviews and Ratings
  • Budget and Value for Money
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Maintenance and After-Sales Service
  • Try Before You Buy

Determine Your Cleaning Needs

Before diving into the vast world of vacuum cleaners, take a moment to assess your specific cleaning requirements. For example, homes with a mix of carpets and hardwood floors might need a versatile vacuum. If you have pets, an effective vacuum handling pet hair becomes essential. The right features and vacuum styles offered by Dyson can provide options tailored to various needs with coupons and promo codes, ensuring you select the suitable model for your home without breaking the bank. Identifying your primary cleaning tasks, whether removing crumbs, pet hair, or deep cleaning carpets, will streamline your search and ensure you choose a machine that fits your lifestyle.

Types of Vacuum Cleaners

Various vacuum cleaners are available, each designed to tackle different cleaning challenges. Understanding the strengths and limitations of each type will help you make an informed decision.

  • Upright Vacuums are best for carpets and large areas due to their powerful suction and wide cleaning paths. They often come with various attachments and are generally easier to store than other models. However, they can be heavy and challenging to maneuver in tight spaces.
  • Canister Vacuums: Highly versatile, suitable for various surfaces, including floors and drapes, and typically more maneuverable than upright models. They usually have separate power heads, making them more lightweight to handle. Multiple attachments can be excellent for detailed cleaning.
  • Handheld Vacuums are excellent for quick cleanups, small messes, and tight spaces, perfect for cars or upholstery. They are portable and user-friendly, making them a convenient addition for households requiring frequent touch-ups in hard-to-reach places.
  • Stick Vacuums are lightweight and convenient, ideal for small apartments or quick cleanups. They often come with rechargeable batteries, enhancing their portability. Though not as powerful as larger models, they are handy for light cleaning tasks.
  • Robotic Vacuums: These vacuums provide hands-free cleaning with intelligent features, making them suitable for maintaining floor cleanliness with minimal effort. Equipped with sensors and programmable schedules, they can navigate and clean your home autonomously, offering great convenience.

Consider Vacuum Features

Today’s vacuum cleaners have many features to enhance cleaning efficiency and convenience. Prioritize key features that align with your cleaning needs:

  • HEPA Filters: Crucial for reducing allergens and improving indoor air quality. HEPA filters are essential for homes with allergy sufferers as they trap the smallest particles.
  • Bagless Designs: These designs save on the cost of replacement bags and make it easier to empty dirt containers. This feature can be more environmentally friendly and user-friendly, as you can see when the container needs emptying.
  • Adjustable Height Settings: These settings accommodate different flooring types for optimal performance. This feature ensures the vacuum maintains strong suction on carpets and hard floors.
  • Attachments and Accessories: Extra tools for specific cleaning tasks, such as pet hair removal, crevice cleaning, and upholstery care. Various attachments can make cleaning the house more efficient, allowing you to tackle different surfaces easily.
  • Long Power Cords or Battery Life: To ensure extended reach and uninterrupted cleaning sessions, opt for models with longer cords or robust battery life to avoid frequent recharging, plugging, and unplugging.

Check the Reviews and Ratings

Before settling on a vacuum cleaner, turn to reviews and ratings from other users for guidance. Truthful feedback can offer essential perspectives on the functionality and trustworthiness of various models. Trusted sources provide detailed reviews, effectively helping you weigh the pros and cons. Customer reviews on retailer websites can also shed light on real-world performance, durability, and potential issues.

Budget and Value for Money

Your budget is a critical factor in the decision-making process. While opting for the least expensive model may be tempting, investing in a quality vacuum that meets your needs can be more economical in the long run. Look for models that offer a good balance of price, durability, and performance to ensure you get the best value for your money. A higher upfront cost can translate to better longevity and fewer repair costs. Consider the total cost of ownership, including maintenance and potential part replacements, when evaluating the price.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is a crucial factor, particularly for environmentally aware consumers. Choosing an energy-efficient model can help reduce your household’s energy consumption and lower utility bills. Look for vacuum cleaners with the Energy Star label to ensure they meet energy efficiency guidelines and adhere to environmentally friendly practices. Efficient models benefit the environment and can lead to long-term savings on electrical expenses, making them a wise investment for sustainable living.

Maintenance and After-Sales Service

Regular upkeep is crucial for ensuring the durability of your vacuum cleaner. Check if the model has easily accessible parts for cleaning and replacement. Additionally, consider the manufacturer’s after-sales service, including warranty coverage and customer support. A reliable warranty can offer peace of mind and protect your investment in case of malfunctions. Be sure to understand what the warranty covers and read reviews about the manufacturer’s customer service before purchasing.

Try Before You Buy

Try the vacuum cleaner in-store to get a feel for its weight, maneuverability, and ease of use. Some retailers offer in-store trials or return policies allowing you to test the vacuum cleaner at home. Taking advantage of these options can ensure you find a model that meets your needs before committing. Test the vacuum’s controls, assess its noise level, and see how well it transitions between different floor types. These practical insights can be crucial in making the best choice.

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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11 06, 2024

Frequently Asked Questions About RSV

By |2024-06-11T00:12:42+03:00June 11, 2024|Fitness News, News|0 Comments

Summer’s here and you’re probably not thinking about respiratory syncytial virus (RSV. But the time to think about it is before RSV season is officially upon us. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), RSV season typically starts in the fall and peaks in the winter, just in time for holiday gatherings and cold weather getaways. But there’s no reason to let RSV ruin your plans if you take simple precautions to help prevent the spread of RSV, like good hand hygiene and vaccination.

Here’s what you need to know about this common virus, how long RSV is contagious, what the complications can be, and how to prevent RSV in those at the highest risk — older adults and infants.

Who is at high risk for severe RSV?

In most adults, the virus causes cold symptoms that are usually mild. However, RSV can be dangerous for certain at-risk groups, including:

  • Babies
  • People over age 60
  • Adults with chronic lung and kidney disease
  • Adults with weakened immune systems
  • Adults who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities

RSV can be especially dangerous in pregnant women because they can pass the virus to their baby and have a risk of RSV-related complications, such as pneumonia, sepsis and respiratory failure.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends getting a maternal RSV vaccine if you are between 32 and 36 weeks pregnant during the high-risk months of September through January. The high-risk months for RSV can be different depending on where you live. Check with your OB-GYN for your specific criteria.

What are the symptoms of RSV in adults?

RSV is often mistaken for a cold because the symptoms of RSV are similar. RSV symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Appetite changes
  • Fatigue
  • Wheezing

What symptoms of RSV need immediate medical attention?

Symptoms of RSV generally peak on days three through five of being sick. If anyone with RSV has the following symptoms, emergency medical care should be sought immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fast breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Grunting
  • Faster rate of breathing
  • Blue color to skin, fingernails or lips
  • No interest in nursing or bottle-feeding (in babies or toddlers)

How is RSV spread?

Like many respiratory viruses, RSV is spread through droplets from your nose or mouth. Someone can become infected by being in close contact with a person infected by RSV or even through touching objects that have droplets with the virus on them.

RSV can also live on hard surfaces — like doorknobs or tables — for hours, but it can’t survive as long on soft tissues, like your hands.

In order to help prevent the spread of the virus, you can take simple precautions, such as:

  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and when you are sick
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze
  • Clean surfaces that are touched frequently, like doorknobs
  • Get vaccinated if you are eligible

How long does it take to get sick if you’re exposed to RSV?

It typically takes two to eight days to come down with RSV symptoms after exposure. And once someone is sick with RSV, the virus takes three to eight days to run its course.

How long is RSV contagious?

People who are actively sick with RSV are most contagious during the three-to-eight-day time frame that they have symptoms, as well as one to two days before showing symptoms. However, some infants and people with weakened immune systems can continue to spread RSV for as long as four weeks, even long after they’ve stopped having symptoms.

How is RSV treated?

Most cases of RSV can be treated by staying home and resting to let the virus run its course in about one to two weeks. Like other viruses, if no complications develop, someone can treat RSV by resting and drinking lots of fluids.

Symptoms such as fever and discomfort can be treated with age-appropriate medications, like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Cool-mist humidifiers and nasal saline spray can also be used for symptoms like congestion and runny noses.

If you have trouble breathing or become severely dehydrated, hospitalization may be required. Most times, hospitalization is only needed for a few days and can require treatment like an IV for fluids and oxygen support. In rare and serious cases, mechanical ventilation may be needed to take over someone’s breathing.

What are the serious health problems that can result from RSV?

RSV is dangerous for certain groups of older adults, especially adults with chronic health conditions or anyone living in an assisted care facility. RSV can also lead to other medical conditions like worsening COPD and asthma, bronchiolitis, pneumonia and congestive heart failure.

How can you protect yourself and your family from getting RSV?

The first and primary way you can help avoid spreading or becoming infected with RSV is to practice basic health strategies such as:

  • Washing your hands
  • Staying home when you or your children are sick
  • Avoiding crowded gatherings during RSV season
  • Staying up to date on recommended immunizations for your family

There are also RSV-specific immunization and protection treatments available for certain groups of people. For instance, some infants and toddlers are eligible for RSV antibody products that can help protect them from severe RSV. Pregnant women may be eligible for the maternal RSV vaccine, and adults 60 and older may be eligible for vaccination as well.

Who should get the vaccine to prevent RSV?

During pregnancy

The CDC recommends that pregnant people who are between 32 and 36 weeks pregnant during RSV season (which varies depending on where you live) either get vaccinated themselves to protect their baby when it’s born, or have the baby receive a monoclonal antibody shot soon after birth.

Getting vaccinated during pregnancy can help provide up to two weeks of protection for the baby after birth.

As adults

People over the age of 60 and those with underlying and chronic health conditions are eligible for one of two RSV vaccinations for adults, RSVPreF3 (Arexvy) or RSVpreF (Abrysvo). Past RSV infections or vaccines do not provide future immunity for adults or children, so if you’re eligible, vaccination is recommended every RSV season.

It’s important for anyone living with a high-risk condition or living with someone with a high-risk condition or who is pregnant to discuss their risk for RSV with their healthcare provider.

This resource was created with support from Pfizer,a HealthyWomen Corporate Advisory Council member.

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10 06, 2024

FAQs on Gestational Diabetes – HealthyWomen

By |2024-06-10T20:10:32+03:00June 10, 2024|Fitness News, News|0 Comments

As many as 1 in 10 pregnancies will be affected by gestational diabetes. Factors like the age of the mother and rising obesity rates play a role in this increasingly common pregnancy complication.

HealthyWomen spoke to Maureen E. Farrell, M.D., FACOG, an OB-GYN and Navy veteran, about what a gestational diabetes diagnosis means for you and your pregnancy.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is glucose intolerance that is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy. It often resolves shortly after delivery.

What causes gestational diabetes?

Diabetes is caused when a person’s body can’t produce enough of the hormone insulin to manage blood sugar levels, and they get too high. Some women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB) develop diabetes during pregnancy because of hormonal changes. The placenta — the organ in the uterus that nourishes the growing fetus — creates hormones that are needed for a healthy pregnancy. Those same hormones can make it harder to produce enough insulin.

Usually, the body will still manage to control glucose and keep blood sugar at healthy levels throughout pregnancy. But for some people, insulin production can’t keep up.

That’s when gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) develops.

What are the risk factors for developing gestational diabetes?

Many factors contribute to the development of gestational diabetes, including:

  • Having pre-diabetes prior to your pregnancy — pre-diabetes is when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes
  • Previous pregnancies with gestational diabetes
  • Having close relatives who have any form of diabetes
  • Pregnancies of multiples
  • Age — people above the age of 25 are at greater risk
  • Previous delivery of a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Race — Hispanic, Black, Native American and Asian-American/Pacific Islanders are diagnosed at higher rates than non-Hispanic white people
  • Pre-pregnancy weight — those living with overweight and obesity are more likely to develop GDM
  • Trauma and PTSD

Can people who have normal blood sugar levels before pregnancy develop gestational diabetes?

Yes. Women who have normal blood sugar levels before pregnancy can develop gestational diabetes.

How is gestational diabetes diagnosed?

Gestational diabetes is diagnosed using a fasting glucose tolerance test. This is most commonly given during the second trimester, between 25 and 28 weeks gestation. People with a previous history of GDM or other risk factors may be screened earlier.

What are the risks of gestational diabetes to the mother?

Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes tend to be larger than average, which increases the likelihood of delivery complications, including the need for a C-section, excessive bleeding after delivery and damage to the birth canal.

Gestational diabetes also increases the risk of pre-eclampsia. Mild forms of pre-eclampsia can be managed with careful blood pressure monitoring and regular checks on the baby. Serious cases can cause liver and kidney damage to the mother.

What are the risks of gestational diabetes to the baby?

Babies born to mothers with poorly controlled gestational diabetes are often large, which is called macrosomia. This can make delivery dangerous for the baby because they can get stuck in the birth canal. The extra sugar they receive also causes the baby to produce too much insulin in the womb. This can lead to dangerously low blood sugar after delivery. And it increases the child’s risk for developing Type 2 diabetes later in life, as well as obesity and metabolic disorder in childhood.

Pre-eclampsia in the mother, which often goes along with gestational diabetes, can only be treated by delivering the baby, so the risk of preterm birth increases with gestational diabetes, as well.

Severe untreated gestational diabetes can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth.

How do you manage gestational diabetes?

Many pregnant people can keep their blood sugar in check with healthy eating habits and regular exercise. If those methods don’t work, you may need to take insulin. Checking your blood sugar throughout the day, including before and after eating, will let you know if your lifestyle and diet changes are working. Your OB-GYN and possibly a nutritionist will work with you to keep your blood sugar at levels that are safe for you and your baby.

How does gestational diabetes affect long-term health outcomes?

For most women, once the pregnancy hormones are out of the picture, your body will go back to regulating its own blood sugar normally — but not always. Anyone who has had gestational diabetes should be screened six weeks after delivering the baby to ensure their blood sugar levels have returned to normal. Mothers who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes are also at increased risk for other cardiovascular complications after pregnancy, including high blood pressure and heart disease.

One out of every 2 women who develop gestational diabetes will go on to develop Type 2 diabetes. But healthy eating and regular exercise can help lower your chances.

This educational resource was created with support from AstraZeneca.

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8 06, 2024

Marma Therapy for Stress Healing

By |2024-06-08T11:40:31+03:00June 8, 2024|Fitness News, News|0 Comments

Marma therapy is an integral part of Ayurveda that revolves around the vital energy points known as “marma points” scattered across our body. These points are treated with utmost importance, they are considered a life force energy otherwise known as prana.

The therapy includes gentle touch, massage, or application of herbal oils to stimulate these vital points. It aims to restore energy flow and address imbalances. Their balanced activation is known to boost the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of an individual.

What is Marma Therapy?

A traditional method of healing, the term marma therapy is derived from ‘Mrin Maranae’, a word of Sanskrit origin. The practice includes massaging of specific spots on the body known as marma points. They are also known as the key energy hubs where the different energy combines. The techniques also promote better health by releasing blocked energy through the channels.

The techniques are quite similar to acupressure or acupuncture which are specific areas aimed at healing distinct regions of the body. The therapy is commonly used to help with the pain and tension and boost the body’s natural healing process.

Marma points are the specific anatomical locations in your body, that are often referred to as life energy points. The marma points have three doshas:

These doshas are linked to the physical and emotional well-being of an individual.

According to Ayurveda, there are 107 Marma points in Ayurveda.

  • 22 on the lower extremities
  • 22 on the arms
  • 12 on the chest and stomach
  • 14 on the back
  • 37 on the head & neck

The technique works by touching and evoking the points in the body. Reports claim that the therapy also helps with boosting an individual’s emotions.

Benefits of Marma Therapy

Marma point therapy helps with stimulating the flow of vital energy (prana) throughout the body and boosts the overall well-being of an individual.

  • Massaging specific marma points is very helpful to stress and tension, and gives relaxation and mental clarity.
  • It also helps with blood circulation can be enhanced, potentially aiding in better oxygen and nutrient delivery to cells.
  • The therapy also helps to soothe pain from various types of pain/ such as headaches/ muscle pain, and joint issues.
  • Marma point is also known to influence the emotional balance of people as well, helping to balance mood swings and emotional stress.
  • Some individuals experience improved sleep after undergoing marma point therapy.
  • Activation of marma points will support the body’s natural detoxification processes, helping in the removal of toxins.
  • Targeting marma points associated with joints can contribute to increased flexibility and improved joint mobility.
  • A session of marma therapy is quite helpful for the improved functionality of the body organs.
  • The therapy helps to gain a glowing look and healthy skin as well.
  • The neurochemicals including melatonin and serotonin are removed from the body via the therapy.
  • Marma point therapy addresses physical, mental, and emotional parts to promote the overall well-being of an individual.

4 Marma for Anxiety, Stress, and Depression

Marma Therapy for Stress Healing

image source:

Marma (Ayurvedic pressure points) has amazing power to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression and bring back emotional balance. Here are 3 proven Marma for instant relief.

Calming down mind and emotions:
Apply one teaspoon of ghee on the temple region and scalp, and do a gentle circular massage for 10 minutes daily at night. This helps calm down the mind and emotions.

Emotional balance Marma
Press this point with your fingertips 6 times. Repeat this process 6 times daily. It helps calm the body and relieves fear, nervousness, phobia, irritation, and negative thinking.

Naval Marma
Apply one Teaspoon ghee to the naval and massage gently in a circular motion for 1 minute. Calm down Vata dosha and balance the mind, body, and emotions.

To relieve anxiety, fear, and panic attack

Press marma point 7 located on the right arm. Count 6 fingers up from the lines on the wrist, pressing with the index finger. This assists a person in feeling comfortable, happy, and emotionally stable.

If you are suffering from very chronic Anxiety situations, stress, and depression, you may have to follow a specific balancing diet, some home remedies, and Herbal supplements. Detox therapies for long-lasting relief from the root cause will help.

Procedure To Perform Marma Therapy

Performing Marma Therapy requires precision, knowledge of the specific points, and gentle manipulation techniques. Here’s an overview of how Marma Therapy can be performed:

Step 1: Create a calm space conducive to relaxation and healing.

Step 2: Learn to locate the specific Marma points on the body. These points correspond to specific anatomical landmarks and are often located at joint spaces, nerve intersections, or other vital areas.

Step 3: Use gentle touch, massage, or light pressure on the Marma points. Techniques involve circular motions, light tapping, or holding the point with gentle pressure.

Step 4: Approach Marma Therapy with intention and focus. Cultivate a healing intention and mindfulness during the therapy session.

Marma Therapy, rooted in Ayurveda, offers a holistic approach to wellness through precise manipulation of vital energy points. With proper training and care, it holds the potential to enhance overall health and vitality.


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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6 06, 2024

Facts About the Pelvic Floor

By |2024-06-06T23:22:08+03:00June 6, 2024|Fitness News, News|0 Comments

If you’re not exactly sure what your pelvic floor is, you’re not alone. “It was never talked about during my generation at all,” said Robyn Faye, M.D., an OB-GYN and member of HealthyWomen’s Women’s Health Advisory Council. “That’s why women my age are coming in and having problems and all they know about is Kegel exercises — they don’t know about anything else.”

This is a problem for a few reasons. Think of your pelvic floor as a superhero cape inside your pelvis. It stretches from your front pubic bone to your tailbone, and out to both sides of your pelvis. It protects organs like your bladder. And every time you hold your pee long enough to get to the bathroom — that’s your pelvic floor flexing for you.

But if you don’t know much about your pelvic floor — where do you even start? “You need to be introduced to it just like it’s a normal part of your body,” Faye said. “Everyone needs to know about the pelvis and everyone needs to take an interest in taking care of it.”

Here’s what you need to know and how to keep your pelvic floor strong and healthy as you age.

What are pelvic floor muscles?

Your pelvic floor is a hammock-like collection of muscles that support your pelvic organs, including your urethra, bladder, small intestine and bowels. These muscles also support your vagina and uterus.

You’ve probably heard of your core muscles, and your pelvic floor makes up the base of this muscle group that attaches to your spine and pelvis and gives your body stability.

What does your pelvic floor do?

In addition to supporting and protecting your pelvic organs, the pelvic floor is responsible for key bodily functions, including control over when you pee, poop and fart.

The muscles also tighten and relax during sex, when you have an orgasm, and during childbirth.

Pelvic floor muscles can become weak over time because of age, health conditions or injury, which can lead to problems such as bladder leakage and prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is when pelvic organs drop and can bulge in the vagina because of a weak pelvic floor.

Read: Prolapse Changed My Life for the Better >>

To make things even more complicated, your pelvic floor muscles can be weak because they are too loose or too tight. A hypertonic pelvic floor is when your muscles are in a constant state of contraction and they can’t relax. This can cause frequent peeing, pain during sex, pain using a tampon and POP, among other problems. If prolapse happens, you may need pelvic floor therapy, an insertable device called a pessary and/or surgery, and/or depending on your symptoms.

For people going through menopause, a lack of estrogen can cause the vagina to be dry, which can lead to painful sex and affect the pelvic floor. Faye said topical estrogen creams can help, and there are also new innovations people can try. Research has found that red light therapy can stimulate blood flow in the vagina and help create a stronger pelvic floor.

Read: Menopause Can Be a Real Pain in the Vagina >>

How can you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles?

Many different factors can affect your pelvic floor. These can include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Having a vaginal birth
  • Aging
  • Straining when you poop
  • Living with overweight or obesity
  • Trauma and/or stress

You may need pelvic floor training if you notice changes in what’s going on down there. Symptoms can include:

  • Leaking urine when you laugh, cough or sneeze
  • Having a strong urge to pee
  • Leaking poop

The good news is that you can strengthen your pelvic floor with Kegel exercises, a simple squeeze and release muscle training technique.

First, to feel your pelvic floor muscles, stop yourself from peeing while midstream (only do this once or twice to help identify the muscles — it’s not good for your bladder to do it on the regular). You can feel your pelvic floor muscles tighten during this time. Once you’ve identified the muscles, try this pelvic floor exercise:

  • Start with an empty bladder
  • Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and count to 10
  • Relax for 10
  • Do 10 sets, 3 to 5 times a day

People often perform these exercises incorrectly, so you may want to consider seeing a pelvic floor therapist for training to make sure you do the exercises the right way. If you do them incorrectly, they can actually do more harm than good.

There are also ways to strengthen beyond Kegel exercises. You can also focus on just strengthening your core with exercises and breathing techniques.

Faye recommended talking to your OB-GYN about methods that can help, including vaginal wands to help relax pelvic floor muscles or vaginal suppositories, and to work with a pelvic physical therapist to find what works best for your pelvic floor. She also noted that working with a therapist before and after pregnancy can help people maintain a healthy pelvic floor and possibly avoid complications that can happen during childbirth.

What is pelvic floor therapy?

Pelvic floor therapy involves seeing a pelvic physical therapist to help strengthen, rehab and/or relax muscles depending on the condition. Therapy can include using weighted belts and breathing exercises.

Faye said many women don’t even know that pelvic floor therapy is an option, but it’s becoming more popular. If you think you may have pelvic floor dysfunction, talk to your OB-GYN to help find a therapist. But keep in mind, your insurance may not cover it. “Insurance companies will cover physical therapy if you break a bone, but I’ve found pelvic floor therapy is rarely covered,” Faye said. “So many women can benefit from pelvic floor therapy.”

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