Does it Really Hurt?

Lots of research is being conducted on pain, and no wonder! According to pain specialists at Johns Hopkins University, nearly 100 million Americans experience chronic pain, more than those who have diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.1 To help find and improve treatments, researchers attempt to understand more about the underlying causes of pain.

Pain is actually a warning signal that something is wrong. The pain starts in receptor nerve cells located beneath the skin and in organs throughout the body. There are many different types of pain, but the most common stem from arthritis, spinal issues and headaches.

  • Arthritis refers to more than 100 different conditions ranging from autoimmune disease to joint inflammation. Although there is no cure, there are treatment plans with short-term and long-term goals, dependent on the severity and type of arthritis.
  • Back pain is so common that the National Institutes of Health contend that eight out of 10 people will have some sort of spinal issue in their lifetimes.
  • Headaches vary, with migraines being one of the most debilitating types. They can be triggered by stress, fatigue and certain foods. Children can have headaches triggered by hormones, stress, medications, dehydration, depression and anxiety. Genetics can play a part in headaches.

Pain is the most common reason for people to seek medical care. It also is one of the reasons people frequently turn to complementary and integrative health approaches.2 Pain costs the United States an estimated $635 billion a year in terms of lost productivity and medical expenditures, with chronic pain being the leading cause of long-term disability in adults.3

Given the huge opioid crisis in the United States, many suffering from chronic pain are now dealing with limited access to prescriptions—alternatives to drugs are needed even more. These alternatives can range from outright tolerance (the grit your teeth school of pain management) to methodical breathing (similar to Lamaze techniques during childbirth) to yoga and meditation.

There also are a wide range of topical ointments, patches, orthopedic support systems and homeopathic formulations. For example, Nikken CM Complex Cream and Kenzen® Joint,  both contain cetyl myristoleate, a naturally occurring compound that is believed to help ease joint discomfort. The soothing nature of the compound was discovered by National Institutes of Health researcher Dr. H.W. Diehl. The Nikken formulation is endorsed by Dr. Diehl’s estate.

Health practitioners who practice pain management contend that expectations are key to whether patients become overly dependent on prescription pain relievers. Expectations of pain relief can range from total painlessness to taking the edge off. Search and Rescue USA states that of 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016, 40% involved a prescription opioid.4 The higher the expectation, the more drugs are involved.

A concrete example of varying expectations can be witnessed with the changing trends in childbirth. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, women had no choice but to tolerate the pain of childbirth. By the 1940s and 1950s, many giving birth were completely “knocked out” or “put under” because childbirth was considered a medical procedure. By the 1960s and 1970s, the pendulum swung in the other direction and the natural childbirth movement began. By the 1980s, epidural anesthesia became common; as a result, many opted to stay awake but without feeling acute labor pains and Cesarean sections increased.5 By the 1990s, there was a swing back to birthing without drugs. With each decade, mothers and their families had a different set of expectations and pain was managed accordingly.

Whatever types of pain we may experience and whichever treatments we seek largely depend on our expectations. Barring life-threatening diseases that require extreme forms of pain management, an Active Wellness lifestyle can help enhance any other way of relieving pain.

KenkoTherm® Support Wraps  help strained or achy muscles and joints function more smoothly. The strong yet stretchable wraps have warming ceramic reflective fibers that help provide a sense of confidence while they support movement. KenkoTherm DUK® Tape  is made with 100% cotton tape and hypoallergenic. You can cut it to the size you want to obtain the support right where you need it. It’s water-resistant and lasts all day to help ease muscle and joint discomfort.

 

1https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/stories/september_pain_awareness_month.html

2 https://nccih.nih.gov/health/pain

3 https://uspainawarenessmonth.com/

4https://searchandrescueusa.org/theopioidcrisis/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=2018_PFDK_Nonbrand_Opioid_Epidemic&utm_term=opioid%20crisis&&gclid=CjwKCAjwnrjrBRAMEiwAXsCc476-NCl8uukeG9RFfQIzrmyfp0p3cNrC_xQz-YSvnVCB52lhm5lfLhoCE0oQAvD_BwE

5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595017/

Ins and Outs of Water Safety

During the summer months, the topic of water safety comes up as the warm weather attracts people of all ages to pools, lakes and the beach. Whether indoors or enjoying water sports outside, being “water competent” is key to having fun without being at risk of drowning. According to the American Red Cross, the skills required to achieve water competency are to be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely.1

Common sense dictates that all children, whether they are water competent or not, be supervised when they are in or near bodies of water. “Better safe than sorry” absolutely applies to water safety. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death among children of all ages and is a worldwide phenomenon. That’s why it is paramount that children are educated early in recognizing drowning risks to protect themselves and others. Public awareness and education focused on young children is the most powerful tool to prevent fatal and non-fatal drowning.2

Water can kill in more ways than by drowning. The World Health Organization says that every year more than 3.4 million people die as a result of water related diseases. Most of the victims are young children, the majority of who die of illnesses caused by organisms that thrive in contaminated water sources.3

In countries such as Canada and the United States, the law protects public drinking water supplies with specific standards, so it is generally safe to drink water straight out of the tap. However, even in North America, there are places that don’t have readily available potable water. Water in different states and provinces have discernible tastes, some palatable and others not. Whether due to convenience or taste, far too many people habitually drink bottled water, adding to the catastrophic carbon footprint of plastic waste. And ironically, the water within the bottles is not necessarily better for the health.

Why not commit to drinking water that is produced with Active Wellness and sustainability in mind? Plastic bottles simply are not sustainable—they use vast quantities of fossil fuels and water itself—they’re manufactured, filled and shipped around the globe, creating a massive carbon footprint!4 Even with recycling efforts, six out of seven plastic bottles consumed in the U.S. become waste in land fills or end up in the ocean.5garbage-unusedplasticimage

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there may be a slight chance that bottled water contains more contaminants than tap water. The EPA strictly regulates tap water, while bottled water is categorized as a packaged food product by the Food and Drug Administration. Testing is not as stringent or strictly enforced as tap water.6

The solution is so simple: drink water from a PiMag Waterfall® or PiMag® Sport Bottle. Not only do they help decrease your carbon footprint, it’s actually healthier for you! Alkalizing with 99%+ reduction in bacteria, particulates, chlorine, chloramine, cyst and lead—the eco-friendly bottle has replaceable filters, each of which provides the equivalent of drinking approximately 250 12 to 16-ounce bottles of water. The Waterfall holds 1.32 gallons or five liters of water and each replaceable filter lasts 90 days or for 900 liters, whichever comes first! Save money, but more importantly, save our planet.

Discover Planet Earth. Live Green and Clean. Share Community Conscience.

 

1 https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/water-safety-month-how-to-be-safe-in-and-around-the-water.html

2 https://www.stopdrowningnow.org/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwhdTqBRDNARIsABsOl98GvIb5te6BAdcy_tRq6_wWGiD1sEYVa8_o74YWvEYzLy6S-NCQyAIaAvXvEALw_wcB

3 https://www.voanews.com/archive/who-waterborne-disease-worlds-leading-killer

4, 5 https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11193/7-reasons-to-never-drink-bottled-water-again.html

6 https://www.livestrong.com/article/154123-bottled-water-side-effects/

 

 

Healthy Food That Also Reduces Your Carbon Footprint

Most of us know there are benefits to going organic and going “green.” Although both are beneficial in the pursuit of Active Wellness and for planet Earth, there are differences. Going organic is health-centered while going green requires sustainable practices that impact economic, social and ecological factors that help protect Earth and its resources. In other words, sustainable food is virtually always organic, but not all organic food is sustainable.

Choosing sustainable food helps reduce an individual’s carbon footprint, which is the “amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide.”1 The Food andAgriculture Organization of the United Nations claims that by switching to organic agriculture farmers can reduce up to 66% of carbon dioxide emissions.2 Large agricultural companies argue that some organically grown produce have a higher overall energy consumption and land use. This discrepancy presents the most obvious difference between simply organic, and actually sustainable, food.

The rule of thumb is that the less processed the food is, the more sustainable it is. Look at it this way: when you eat a raw organically grown vegetable or fruit, you are eliminating the carbon footprint of the power used in cooking by gas or electricity. Also, some vegetables have a carbon footprint nearly as serious as meat, because they are grown in greenhouses that use a lot of heat and light—for example, hothouse tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Therefore, the approach to reducing your carbon footprint with what you eat requires multiple behaviors:

  • Eat locally produced organic food. An estimated 13% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions result from the production and transport of food. Transporting food requires petroleum-based fuels, and many fertilizers are also fossil fuel-based.3
  • Reducing your consumption of non-grass fed red meat and dairy is not only environmentally friendly but also heart friendly. Livestock is responsible for 14.5% of manmade global greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from feed production and processing, and the methane that beef and sheep emit. Every day without meat and dairy reduces your carbon footprint by eight pounds or 2,920 pounds a year.4
  • Research which fruits and vegetables are most carbon-friendly. For example, lentils require very little water to grow. They actually clean and fortify the soil, making it easier to grow other crops. Beans in general (including kidney, black, pinto, etc.) have a low carbon and water footprint. These legumes also have high nutritional values because of their protein and fiber content. Rice, on the other hand, is water intensive.
  • Mussels are harvested on long collector ropes suspended in oceans, and while growing, they eat naturally occurring food in the water. In the process, they filter and clean the water, even extracting carbon to make their shells. They have very little environmental impact.5
  • Buy fish in season from local farmer’s markets or fisheries that practice sustainable fishing. As people become more educated about overfishing, the island of Palau is leading the way in protecting its oceans from poaching and has outlawed bottom trawling. In 2015, Palau established the largest no-take zone in the world, 193,000 square miles of ocean that cannot be fished, mined or drilled.6 Palau now has a range of partners from commercial, non-profit and governmental organizations, including U.S.-based SkyTruth, a nonprofit that monitors and reports poaching to the police.
  • Buy food in bulk when possible. The less packaging, the more sustainable the food. Use your own recyclable and reusable containers.
  • Eat what you buy. Reduce food waste by freezing excess and repurposing leftovers. Teach your children early in their lives to develop eating habits that are not only healthy but also helpful to planet Earth. Waste not, want not.

As you reduce your carbon footprint, Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix can help you with the transition to being more plant-based in your diet. It’s made with organically grown ingredients that provide a nutritious source of vegan protein.

1 https://timeforchange.org/what-is-a-carbon-footprint-definition

2 https://www.terrapass.com/eat-your-way-to-a-smaller-carbon-footprint

3 https://cotap.org/reduce-carbon-footprint/

4 https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/12/27/35-ways-reduce-carbon-footprint/

5 https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/environment-food-cooking-sustainability/

6 https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/how-a-tiny-island-is-showing-the-world-how-to-prot/

 

Boost Your Energy Levels During the Summer Months

When temperatures go up, energy levels go down. Air-conditioning helps, but it can be expensive and gives the body more extreme temperature fluctuations to contend with. Fortunately, there are a few easy things that can be done to conquer the heat and boost your energy levels.

  • If you’re able, simply run cold water over your wrists to cool off. You don’t actually need to take a whole body cold shower. The arterial pulse points in the wrist help cool off the body, because arterial blood flows away from the heart and the cold water will circulate cooler blood throughout the body and ultimately lower your core temperature. 1
  • Do the same thing with cold water on your feet. Arterial pulse points are located in areas where the blood vessels come closest to the surface of the skin. 2
  • Appetites generally dip when the weather is hot, but eating small amounts every few hours is important for keeping energy levels up. Try hydrating fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, celery, green peppers and radishes.
  • Stay away from heavy foods, such as fatty meats and desserts. They take a lot of energy to digest and the effect is sluggishness.
  • Drinking hot beverages may actually help you cool down. The hot liquids enhance circulation and cause you to perspire freely and expel heat. Once the perspiration evaporates, your body cools down. Drinking hot beverages to cool down is effective in dry desert-like heat, not in humid, tropical weather, where perspiration doesn’t easily evaporate. 3
  • Hot spicy foods act the same way as hot beverages. That may be why chili peppers are so popular in hot continents, such as Asia and Africa. The spicy chilis activate nerve receptors in the tongue, which tell the brain to turn on the body’s cooling mechanism: sweating. 4
  • Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, and save the caffeinated beverages for later. Contrary to popular belief, according to a study in 2013, drinking coffee first thing in the morning depletes energy levels.5 Try Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix with its superior blend of matcha green tea that provides 80 mg of natural caffeine for smooth energy support at the suggested times of 10 am and 4 pm. It’s delicious hot or cold.
  • Use ice in a bucket in front of a fan to provide a quick cool down. When the fan blows air over the ice, the surrounding air cools down.
  • Breathe in deeply. When the body doesn’t obtain enough oxygen, energy levels dip drastically. No matter how heavy the air may feel, make a conscious effort throughout the day to breathe in and out as fully as possible. Use your hands to push your belly in as you exhale to release your breath.
  • Clean out your system by keeping your liver functioning at full capacity. “Regular” or not, everyone carries excess waste all year round, which results in lethargy. Cleanses are popular because by lightening the load, you can boost your energy level and temporarily lose weight. Unfortunately, many bodies cannot take the harshness of those 7-14 day cleanses. Using Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox is far more convenient and gentler to your system. With organic natural ingredients, Cleanse & Detox will help your liver function optimally so you feel more energetic.

Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix and Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox are two of the best selling Active Wellness nutritional supplements included in the Nikken July promotion to celebrate Canada Day and U.S. Independence Day. Be sure to take advantage of your choice of gifts. For details, call Customer Service at US 800-669-8859 or CN 800-669-8890.

 

1, 2 https://www.prevention.com/health/a20480309/beat-the-heat-and-boost-energy/

3 https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/a-hot-drink-on-a-hot-day-can-cool-you-down-1338875/

4 https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/07/11/156378713/cool-down-with-a-hot-drink-its-not-as-crazy-as-you-think

5 https://www.whitewaternow.com/tips-boosting-energy-heat-summer/

 

Do You Eat Right and Stay Hydrated During Summer Heat?

As temperatures rise, our bodies have varying needs in order to function optimally. Everyone is aware that high temperatures require more liquid intake, but sometimes it takes the symptoms of dehydration to remember to grab the water bottle! It’s far safer to drink water throughout the day, since thirst is already a sign of dehydration.

Overheating is especially easy for children and family dogs that we transport frequently in cars. It only takes 10 minutes for a car to heat up by 19 degrees; and since children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s, it renders them far more susceptible to heat stroke. 1 By the same token, a dog’s normal temperature is about 101.5, and a degree up or down is fine; however, once a dog’s internal temperature reaches 105, its life is in danger. 2 Never leave a child or a dog (or any other pet) in a car in the summer, even if the windows are cracked open.

In addition to staying hydrated, what we eat can also affect how our bodies cope with the summer heat. Meats and other high protein foods need to utilize more water during digestion, and food poisoning reaches its annual high during the summer. According to the Center for Disease Control, anything that has mayonnaise, dairy, or eggs in it and any meat products can develop some pretty nasty bacteria after only a couple of hours unrefrigerated.3

To prevent food poisoning, the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises us to “Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.” This refers to washing hands and surfaces where we prepare foods, wrapping raw meat and keeping it separated and stored away from other food, cooking meats to a minimum of 145 to 165 degrees internally (poultry requires the highest heat), and keeping everything chilled in the refrigerator as long as possible, then transported in an insulated cooler.4

If drinking enough water proves challenging, there are certain foods that are easy to eat and prepare. Since they’re composed mostly of water, they help us hydrate.

  • Broccoli and cauliflower are composed of more than 90% water, as are radishes.
  • Eggplant is a great source of hydration and fiber and can serve as a versatile meat replacement, minimizing the need for much liquid during digestion.
  • Bell peppers are more than 92% water, with the green variety containing the most.5
  • Melons such as honeydew, cantaloupe, casaba, Crenshaw, hami, golden, Korean, and so many more, are natural hydrators and packed with sweetness and antioxidants.
  • Watermelon is the universally loved summer fruit that contains lycopene, an antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables with red pigmentation. Lycopene offers the added benefit of protecting against sunburn.6

Take advantage of the sunny weather to participate in outdoor activities but remember that hydration is part of Active Wellness. Keep your PiMag® Sport Bottle handy as you go to picnics, barbeques and summer outings.

1 https://www.care.com/c/stories/3357/summer-safety-tips-a-guide-to-protecting-kids-from-heat/

2 http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/heatstroke-summer-days-can-turn-deadly-quickly-for-overheated-dogs

3, 4 https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/top-7-summer-health-hazards#2

5 https://blog.memd.me/hydrating-foods-to-eat-this-summer/

6 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lycopene

 

Active Aging is Part of Active Wellness

The beauty industry has inundated the marketplace with a slew of “anti-aging” products. But “anti” means against and is also more than skin deep. A more positive approach to aging is with grace, discipline and common sense.

In the United States, baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are reshaping the population. The number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to more than 98 million by 2060. That translates to nearly 24 percent of the population, a substantial increase from 15 percent today. 1

One of the key approaches to address the aging revolution is known as “active aging,” crystalized by the World Health Organization in 2002 by three pillars: participation, health, and security. The active aging policy has financial and economic aspects and affects both men and women as older adults are working longer. 2 As more people live to be centenarians, counteracting the onset of age-related degeneration becomes increasingly important.

Here are 10 head-to-toe tips for Active Wellness and active aging:

  1. Keep challenging your brain. Learn a new language, sport or anything out of your comfort zone. Do puzzles and crosswords.
  2. Play and listen to music. Branch out and try a different instrument if you already play one and listen to something new.
  3. Did you know leafy greens also deliver lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help the retina’s ability to break down harmful compounds from stressors such as sunlight, junk food and smoke? 3 Incorporate them into your daily diet together with carrots and other colorful fruits and vegetables.
  4. Use sunscreen on your face and all exposed areas of the body to protect from UV rays.
  5. Cut back on sugar. It contributes to wrinkles and dehydrated skin, as well as causing inflammation and pain. 4
  6. Hug people who welcome it. A University of North Caroline study found that those who got more frequent hugs had lower blood pressure and healthier resting heart rates compared to those who weren’t hugged often. Scientifically speaking, hugs trigger the release of feel-good hormones like oxytocin, while lowering stress hormones like cortisol. 5
  7. Muscles become less pliable after age 40, so performing a stretching routine daily helps the body remain flexible and more able to prevent injuries and even rebuild atrophied cells. 6 A supple spine is key to being limber, so include forward and backward bends.
  8. Sleep well. Not only does it help keep you alert, but it also affects your skin. One study showed that women who reported sleeping well were found to have fewer fine lines and more even pigmentation and skin elasticity compared with those who reported sleeping poorly.7
  9. Stand up straight. Aging often causes posture to suffer in the form of breathing problems, joint pain and walking difficulties. Research from the Mayo Clinic shows that proper body alignment can help prevent excess strain on joints, muscles and spine, and can also boost mood. 8
  10. Soak your feet regularly in warm water and Epsom salts. Sore feet lead to inflammation and pain. Comfortable feet help you stand tall, walk and exercise consistently. 

    Kenko Sleep Products, NikkenWellness nutritional supplements  and True Elements® Marine Organic Skin Care help take care of your Active Wellness needs every day.

     

    1 https://www.prb.org/aging-unitedstates-fact-sheet/

    2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28368781

    3, 4, 5, 7 Taylor, Marygrace, Your Total Body Anti-Aging Plan, Spry Living, March 2017.

    6, 8 https://bestlifeonline.com/anti-aging-tips-for-men/

     

Get Close to Nature and Improve Your Outlook

According to the Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology as surveyed in 44 U.S. cities, Americans only spend 2% of their time outdoors, 6% in transit, and 92% of their time indoors.1 What this translates to is a severe distancing from nature—not just Mother Nature but our own natural selves.

Richard Ryan, author and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester says, “Nature is fuel for the soul. Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature. Research has shown that people with a greater sense of vitality don’t just have more energy for things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illnesses. One of the pathways to health may be to spend more time in natural settings.”2

A series of five studies published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology showed that spending time outdoors is an integral aspect of Active Wellness. The five separate experiments involved 537 college students in actual and imagined contexts:

  1. Participants were led on a 15-minute walk through indoor hallways or along a tree-lined river path.
  2. Undergraduates viewed photos of buildings or landscapes.
  3. Students were required to imagine themselves in both active and sedentary situations, inside and outside, with and without others.
  4. Over a four-day period, participants had to track their moods and energy levels throughout the days with diary entries. Students were asked to record their exercise, social interactions, time spent outside and exposure to natural environments, including plants and windows.
  5. Same as four above, but participants had to record activities over a two-week period.

In all five studies, participants felt consistently more energetic when they spent time in natural settings or imagined themselves in nature. The findings concluded that being outside in nature makes people feel more alive and that only 20 minutes daily was enough to boost vitality levels significantly. 3

Studies also have shown five potential benefits of spending more time outdoors:4

  1. Your vitamin D levels will go up. Going outside in the sunlight a few times a week with arms and legs exposed for 10 to 15 minutes makes all the vitamin D needed.
  2. You will get more exercise. British researchers tracked 1,000 children via accelerometers that sense movement and noted that children were more than doubly active when outside.
  3. You will be happier. Light elevates moods and physical activity is proven to relax and cheer up people. Researchers at the University of Essex have noted that “green exercise” or activities taking place in nature, have added benefits, especially for mental health.
  4. Your concentration will improve. Researchers have reported that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) seem to focus better after being outdoors.
  5. Recovery times may improve. University of Pittsburgh researchers reported that spinal surgery patients experienced less pain and stress and took fewer pain medications during their recoveries when they were exposed to natural light. Even the view out the window (trees instead of a wall) had an effect on recovery times.

Psychologists posit that nature affects us similarly to meditation.5 Thoughts slow down or ideally, our minds take a complete break. The result is inner stillness, renewed energy, a sense of well-being and clearer perceptions.

Nature is everywhere—why not reap the benefits? And if you need some extra reinforcement when venturing into nature, Nikken has an entire line of support wraps and an environmentally-friendly PiMag® Sport Bottle to help you stay hydrated.

 

1 https://mindfulminutes.com/10-steps-to-detox-your-mind/

2, 3 https://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=3639

4 https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/a-prescription-for-better-health-go-alfresco

5 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/out-the-darkness/201204/the-power-nature-ecotherapy-and-awakening