Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Alternative Medicine

I believe that, at times, alternative medicine can work wonders as an adjunct to traditional treatments. For example, I have used acupuncture very successfully to eliminate severe pain caused by neuralgia. Traditional medicine could only offer painkillers which were not the permanent solution that acupuncture proved to be. Many people who suffer from arthritis look to acupuncture to relieve their pain for several weeks at a time instead of taking traditional painkillers on an ongoing basis.

I am the first to admit that not all alternative therapies are worth considering. Case in point, we hear more and more about the benefits of drinking “liquid gold” i.e. one’s urine. Its proponents, or urophagists (the technical term for urine drinkers), say that traces of substances that cause illness are secreted through urine and that when these are reintroduced into the body antibodies are produced to fight the problem.  Proponents add that urine drinking eliminates the need for medication or surgery, yet people in China and India have been drinking liquid gold for centuries and have not eliminated the need for medical attention.

         Although it is said that urine is safe to consume unless someone has an infection I think I’ll stick to tea. It has a lower grossness factor.

When it comes to alternative therapies, I think we should all make certain we fully understand how they work. I don’t think I would object to beer baths now the rage in spas in some parts of Europe. The idea is that beer rejuvenates the skin while soothing muscles and joints to reduce the use of traditional painkillers. However, I would think twice before getting maggot debridement therapy although it has surfaced because of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It is reported that maggots can actually dissolve infected tissue where antibiotics have proven useless. Who knows? This might one day replace antibiotic treatments.

And leech therapy used for blood detoxification is being hailed by some celebrities as having rejuvenating properties. Perhaps that’s true, but once after swimming in a lake I was covered with leeches when I got out. I can testify to the fact that having to pull them out one after the other negated any possible positive effect, in my mind at least!




Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Problems of Aging

After we reach the top of the hill at 50, our bodies are more prone to experiencing minor problems. Luckily, we easily learn to live with them. That’s especially true of digestive problems. There comes a time when we all must adjust what we ingest.

Take coffee, for example. While most of us enjoyed it for years at any time of the day without problems, we suddenly come to the realization that an after-dinner cup begins to play havoc with our sleep patterns. The solution is to adapt by replacing coffee with a cup of herbal tea, or by switching to decaf in the evening. When other drinks or foods cause problems for our digestion, usually the adjustment is easy to enough. People who become lactose intolerant simply switch to lactose-free milk, and so on.

Other problems cannot be solved so easily. Case in point, my own problem. I recently found out after travelling a bumpy road for a while that I have become intolerant of chocolate which causes me digestive challenges. However, after discussions with my GP, I learned that an allergy to chocolate is very rare indeed, and that I must be intolerant of other ingredients mixed in with the chocolate, like milk, nuts, and so on.  To say that, like most people, I always loved chocolate would be putting it mildly, so I am now on a quest for pure chocolate so I can enjoy its taste without problems. So far so good, and it’s much better than having to give it up entirely. With Christmas fast coming into view, I am relieved that my life doesn’t have to be entirely chocolate free.

And I can still smell it, so why should I complain. Far more troublesome would be a food intolerance/allergic reaction that would make me swell up or have respiratory issues as some people face.

As we adjust to the challenges of aging, the secret to being happy is in my view quite simple: we must be grateful that despite its challenges we are privileged to be able to age. Many people were not given that opportunity.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dazzling the Grandchildren

Unlike a couple of generations ago when people did not move as often and as far as people do today, grandparents usually lived within easy distance from their children and grandchildren. Today many of us must accept that more often than not we have long-distance relationships with our family members. We may miss not seeing them regularly however, as we all know, we make up for it when we do spend time with our loved ones.

There are many ways of keeping in touch and being part of our grandchildren’s lives no matter how young they are and how far they live. With today’s communications tools, there are many choices available, and since children seem to learn computer skills in a flash, it’s a question of finding what we like best. E-mailing is, of course, an easy way to write to our grandchildren on a daily basis. And it can become an interesting learning tool because their replies will help them formulate their thoughts into words.

But, being from an older generation, I find there is something to be said for the old-fashioned snail mail. Immersed in a world of non tangible communications, youngsters love having a letter or a card they can touch and show around to the rest of the family. To say nothing of it being a source of pride when talking with their friends.

And the telephone is the fastest and shortest mean of bringing everyone close no matter the distance that separates them. A call at a regular day and time will be something the grandkids—and grandparents—are sure to look forward to.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Home Life

As I was taking in a home design trade show at a suburban hotel recently, I was approached by a smiling woman. “Do you feng shui? she asked, clearly anticipating a positive reply. Huh? was my initial reaction. I answered that I knew little about it, so she was very happy to expand on the benefits of this ancient Chinese philosophy.

While learning all about feng shui cannot be done in a day, the woman impressed upon me its benefits to insure health and good fortune. I listened for a while before moving on, somewhat baffled. As one Chinese woman once told me, just like Chinese medicine, feng shui is deep and complex with many layers to study and understand. 

Followers of the ancient art believe that properly positioning furniture and light in one’s home insures there are no blockages that could hinder energy. I understood it to mean that clutter in all its forms has to be minimal. Something many people fail to see. Case in point, a friend who was looking for a condo asked me to accompany him on one visit. Before we went in, the agent said, “Lots of furniture,” and he was not kidding. It seemed that pieces of furniture of every kind, from bookcases and cabinets, to chairs and tables occupied every inch of the available space. I felt overwhelmed and remembered that it went against the principles of feng shui, however I never did find out if the sellers felt that the energy in their home was blocked.

But they did have an aquarium which according to feng shui can attract more happiness. Although I enjoy watching fish swim in the large aquarium my dentist displays in his waiting room, I remain skeptical that they could influence how I feel because I would worry about feeding the fish properly and cleaning the aquarium.

Like most things in life, feng shui should be approached with a spirit of positivity.