Zhan zhuang translates as “standing like a tree” and is an ancient Chinese practice for cultivating internal energy. Originally used for developing the minds and spirits of martial artists, it was also found to be profoundly beneficial for general health and well-being, and a wonderful relaxation aid. Nowadays, zhan zhuang is used both by practitioners of the Chinese martial arts and by people wishing to dissolve away the stresses of 21st century living.
One of the most well-known teachers of zhan zhuang is Master Lam Kam Chuen. He teaches a wide range of qigong practices, enabling the absolute beginner to benefit from simple standing meditation exercises. The following five techniques form the foundation of zhan zhuang and can be used daily to relax body and mind.
First Posture – Wu Ji
All zhan zhuang exercises begin with this important posture, designed to relax and prepare the body and mind. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and arms hanging down by your sides. Relax the shoulders and neck, holding the head as if suspended from above. Keep the knees relaxed and unlocked, and tuck in the bottom; do not let the belly or bottom stick out during practice. Breathe deeply and gently, inhaling and exhaling through the nose. The mouth should be closed but not tightly clenched. Continue to hold this position and let your mind wander around your body looking for tension. Each time tension is found, consciously relax that part and continue. Practise this until you can do so easily for five minutes.
Second Posture – Holding the Ball
This and the following positions should be practised with the same calmness of mind, with the head feeling lightly held from above, and with all the limbs feeling heavy but relaxed. The second posture is called “holding the ball” and involves lifting the arms up the front of the body so that the hands are at chest height with the wrists separated by a shoulder width, palms facing toward the chest, fingers relaxed, and elbows sunk below the hands. Hold this posture for five minutes while going through the same mental checklist, looking for and relaxing any tension.
Third Posture – Holding Your Belly
For this exercise imagine that you have an enormous belly. Raise your arms from the beginning Wu Ji posture, so that they are held level with the abdomen, palms open and relaxed, fingers gently spread apart. Sink the weight slightly (about two inches) by bending the knees. Relax your arms, forming a long sweeping arc from each shoulder, down the arms to the hands. The fingers of each hand should be pointing towards the opposite knee. It should feel like you are lightly holding that enormous belly. As your practice continues over time and your endurance grows, you should aim to hold the positions for longer periods of time.
Fourth Posture – Standing in a Stream
Sink your weight from the Wu Ji position by four inches, and imagine you are standing in a stream that is flowing towards you. Reach your hands out to either side, palms down at waist height. Imagine little balls held under your palms and the flow of the stream trying to wash them away; mentally prevent this by gently pressing down on them. Do not let the shoulders raise or tense during this exercise. Let your mind find and release any tension, and hold the posture for five minutes to start with and then gradually increase the practice time.
Fifth Posture – Holding the Ball in Front of Your Face
This is by far the most challenging exercise. From the Wu Ji position, sink your weight as low as you can, but do not let your knees move forward past your toes. Lift your arms so that the hands are shoulder width apart and held at face height, palms facing forwards. You should imagine a ball in front of your face and you are gently guiding it forwards. Do not allow any tension in your arms. Keep your back straight and do not lean forward. You may only be able to hold this position for short periods of time to start off with, but persistence will pay dividends. Try to hold for up to five minutes.
Once you have built up your endurance and can perform all the five postures without creating any tension in your body, you can move onto the full cycle: hold each position for five minutes, starting from the First Posture, then Second, then Fifth, then Fourth, then Third, and finally finish with another five minutes in the First Posture.
Zhan Zhuang is a wonderful low impact form of cardiovascular exercise, and if you stick with it, you will find that – in the words of Lam Kam Chuen – you can stand still and be fit!
Most anti aging products lay claim to skin rejuvenation properties however, what does this really mean? What Is Skin Rejuvenation and How It Can Be Achieved? Having an understanding of this process might assist you to select the correct procedure your yourself.
Definition of Skin Rejuvenation
The skin rejuvenation process is defined as a process that takes place to attempt the reversal of visible signs of ageing. Skin rejuvenation processes have the ability to diminish wrinkles and lines as well as firm loose and sagging areas of the skin leaving the skin with a younger appearance. There are some surgical and medical procedures that can enable this.
The Face Lift
This method of skin rejuvenation can be carried out both surgically and non-surgically and is an efficient way of eliminating wrinkled or sagging skin as well as firm and tone.
Surgical face lifts are invasive and entails an incision in the hairline, traveling right around the upper part of your head. The surgeon will then peel the skin back to repair and rebuild underlying damaged tissue, he then replaces the skin, pulling it back while trimming any excess, it is then reattached to its original position.
The non-surgical face lift repairs facial tissue with the use of extreme heat through radio frequencies, laser surgery or electrical currents. The laser procedure creates a resurfacing of the skin by burning off old cells. Heat and electrical treatment works collagen groups, strengthening and building them and thereby promoting skin firmness. They can also increase the ability of the skin to produce new elastin and collagen.
The Chemical Peel
This process also assists in skin rejuvenation. By application of a chemical peel on the problem area, once the chemical peel is removed it takes away all old dead skin cells revealing skin that is more youthful looking. The chemical peel is applied and left to dry and once set, peeled off. This procedure also stimulates skin to generate new cells.
Injections for Skin Rejuvenation
There are many instances in which people have undergone skin rejuvenation by means of injection and this has proved successful. It entails having Restylane and Collagen injected below the skin of problem areas to plump the skin, giving a fuller, more smooth appearance. Botox is also use, this blocks neural impulses that cause the skin to contract, the resulting “relaxation” lets the skin health naturally.
Why to Proceed with Caution
All of the procedures mentioned above have proved successful skin rejuvenation methods. However, there are some drawbacks; they are sometimes not effective on people with darker complexions and others might have distressing side effects. Always check with your doctor to secure a method that is perfect for you.
Automatic blood pressure (bp) monitors are an integral part of any vital signs monitor used in hospitals, critical care units, emergency rooms, and even homes. The reason is quite simple – While an EKG can give the representation of the electric signals in the heart muscle, the oximeter can give the oxygen content of the blood in the body, only the bp monitor is actually capable of measuring the actual effectiveness of the heart pumping blood into the system.
The importance of blood pressure measurement
In other words, both the EKG and the oximeter could be showing normal values, yet, without the proper blood pressure sensor reading, the patient’s body cells would still not be receiving an amount of oxygen sufficient for normal functioning. Which means, the life of a patient would be endangered without us knowing.
Manual blood pressure meter
Before we look into the workings of an automatic meter, let’s investigate how a manual blood pressure monitor, or NIBP monitor, or high blood pressure bp monitor works. The meter consists of the bp cuff that is filled with air gradually and presses on the main artery in the upper arm. The basic physics of the pressure meter reflects the interplay between the air pressure in the cuff and the air pressure in the artery. There are two principal pressures, the systolic, and the diastolic in the artery. The systolic is the maximal pressure in the artery, and the diastolic is the minimal pressure.
The simple principle of operation is this: When the cuff air pressure is higher than the systolic pressure, the cuff continually squeezes the artery until the blood flow into the lower arm is stopped, and there is no pulsation audible in the stethoscope. When the cuff air pressure is less than the diastolic pressure, the artery pressure always maintains the artery at its full size. In between these two pressures, the expansion and contraction of the artery follows the varying bp in the artery, and the pulsation is audible in the stethoscope attached to the arm.
So, in manual bp monitors, as the manual blood pressure cuff the air pressure is gradually increased up to the diastolic pressure, we begin to hear pulsation, and by further increasing the cuff air pressure we come to the higher, systolic pressure point, where the pulsation disappears again.
How does an automatic blood pressure (bp) monitor work?
The action of an automatic digital bp monitor is quite analogous to the operation of the manual pressure meter with a couple of differences:
- First, for speed, automatic digital bp monitor will measure the diastolic pressure and the systolic pressure already on the first pass, while increasing the air pressure in the cuff.
- Second, the air will be provided to the digital bp cuff by an electric pump instead of the manual pump.
- Third, the pulsation will not be observed by hearing but rather by the built in microphones or other sensor types.
Randi Zuckerberg is a businesswoman who marches to the beat of her own drum.
As a serial entrepreneur, NYTimes best selling author of Dot Complicated, speaker, television host and producer, and founder & CEO of Zuckerberg Media, one skill-set Randi had to learn was time management.
Below, Zuckerberg outlines five tips professionals should follow to overcome the entrepreneurial dilemma of work-life balance.
For the full interview and more discussion, check out the above episode of #BizChats.
1. Chooseyour three major focuses of the day: work, family, friends, fitness, sleep, etc.
“You get three of those, you can pick a different three tomorrow. The goal is for it to balance out over the long run, not to try to do all those five things everyday.”
2. Stave off the urge to do tasks outside of those three choices (save it for another day when you can enjoy it)
“Once you pick your three, stick with it. Don’t say, ‘alright I’m going to try and sneak in in this fourth or fifth [activity].’ Do those three things really, really well. If you didn’t choose fitness that day, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t try to squeeze in a 5-mile run. Save it for another day when you can enjoy it and you can do a great job.”
3. Hold yourself accountable by tweeting your choices or sharing them to friends
“If you don’t think you’re the kind of person that can hold yourself accountable to picking three things and sticking with it, bring other people in on the action. Get social! You can text your friends and share with them your three things you picked that day. You can tweet it, you can post it on Facebook, have other people help you be accountable for picking three.
“I also like to say, instead of creating a really daunting ‘to-do’ list of things that you have to do that day that are weighing over your head, make a ‘ta-da list’ of the things you accomplished that day that you can feel proud of at the end of the day.”
4. Keep a journal or calendar of your choices so you can see how your month balanced out
“Just like if you’re trying to watch your nutrition, the biggest advice is to keep a journal of what you’re eating so you can see what you chose. Keep a journal of which three [activities] you picked. Again, work, sleep, family, friends, fitness, you get to pick three. You want to make sure you’re balancing out over the long run, but it’s okay if you pick the same three over and over again for a short time. We’re entrepreneurs, we’re busy, sometimes you’ve got to focus and drill down, but write it down to make sure you’re not letting anything in your life go by the wayside.”
5. Profit financially, physically and emotionally
“If you give yourself that permission to really focus, first of all, what you’re going to find is that you’re going to be so much more productive, you’re going to be happier, and I know in my own personal life and my professional life, I don’t think I’ve ever accomplished anything I was truly proud of when I felt like I was just balancing everything really well. It was when I really deep dove into one area and was really focused and I felt like I accomplished anything I was really proud of. So that’s why I think the new reality of being an entrepreneur (especially for those of us who are parents too) is that you have to maybe be a little more lopsided instead of balanced and it’s okay as long as it shifts back and fourth.”
Even though only a small percentage of Type 2 diabetics actually develop kidney failure, chronic damage to the kidneys eventually necessitating dialysis is one of the most dreaded complications of diabetes. For diabetics who are in the beginning stages of kidney failure and who do not need dialysis yet, the probiotic bacterium Bacillus coagulans may offer a helpful treatment.
Bacillus coagulans is a symbiotic, probiotic, helpful species of bacteria. It’s not like the better-known Lactobacillus acidophilus in that it easily survives passage through the acid environment of the stomach. In fact, “digesting” this kind of probiotic activates it. The acid in the stomach dissolves it’s spores, and then the spores germinate in the colon.
Once the “bug” gets into the colon, it interacts with neutrophils. These are the white blood cells that “zap” disease-causing microorganisms and zap healthy tissue at the same time. By sheer numbers, the bacteria train the immune system not to inflame and destroy healthy tissues. This keeps the neutrophils from damaging the tissues in the nose and throat when people encounter colds and flu viruses.
But that’s not all B. coagulans does. It also feeds on urea and proteins that otherwise would literally clog the filtration tubes, the glomeruli, of the kidneys. It breaks down proteins to take the amino acids it needs, freeing the other amino acids to be used by its human host. In this form, excess protein in the diet… which becomes very, very difficult to avoid in diabetic kidney disease… doesn’t create a problem for the kidneys. They don’t have to strain out the larger protein molecules, and the body can use most of the amino acids. (The rest become urea and sugar, and B. coagulans can also break down urea).
There is never going to be a time when a Type 2 diabetic with advanced kidney failure can pop a probiotic pill and skip dialysis. However, Type 2 diabetics with early stage kidney failure may be able to buy themselves time to do the things that are fundamental to reversing kidney disease, which are keeping blood sugar levels in good control and controlling high blood pressure.
Type 2 diabetics with who do not have indwelling catheters (who don’t do dialysis at home), may be able to benefit from taking capsules of this friendly bacterium, too. It’s important to let the doctor know you are taking any kind of probiotic in case your treatment changes.
And even if you have a permanent catheter, Bacillus coagulans is probably safe to take. The only way you could run into a problem is that you use a “drink” form of the product, the drink gets contaminated with other kinds of microorganisms, the spill gets on your catheter, and the bacteria get inside you. The B. coagulans itself is not likely to cause any diabetics any problems, but work with your doctors, nurses, and technicians to make sure. If this complementary treatment will work for you, it will like cost less than US $1 per day.