Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cold Be Gone

Through the ages, the lowly cold virus has defeated many a stalwart’s attempt to find a cure! Folk remedies for the common cold abound. Here are some of the more “sane” recommendations!

  • Cover yourself with a warm red cloth.
  • Rub chest and joints with paraffin and cover with greased baking paper.
  • An old Japanese folk remedy was to wear a string of onions around your neck.
  • Raw potatoes cut in pieces and placed on the forehead - for colds and flu

Folk remedies notwithstanding, to date, no cure for the common cold exists.

Or does it?

Way back in 1928, Dr. Richard Simmons hypothesized that colds and flu viruses enter our bodies through the ear canal and not through the eyes, nose or mouth as most of us have been taught. Dr. Simmons' findings were dismissed by the medical community.

However, if the doctor was right, then it must be possible to treat an oncoming cold through the ear canal as opposed to the usual nasal or internal medical treatments. As it turns out, this is the case.

What makes the treatment even more fascinating is that it doesn’t involve any high-tech method or expensive prescription medication. It involves the humble hydrogen peroxide! The kind you can pick up at the pharmacy for a few rupees.

“Hydrogen peroxide in the ears” you ask? Yes, the good old H2O2. At the onset of a cold, here’s what you do: Lie on your side (comfortably curled up) and put about 5 drops of H2O2 in one ear. There will be some bubbling along with a ticklish feeling. But do not be alarmed, it will subside in a couple of minutes. The H2O2 will start to kill off the viruses. Continue lying on your side for a few more minutes and then drain the liquid in the ear onto an old rag or tissue paper. Roll over and repeat in the other ear. That’s it! Continue this treatment two or three times per day until your cold subsides. Remarkable results can be achieved in getting rid of colds within 12-14 hours. Keeping your fingers out of your ears is a good habit to develop for obvious reasons!

There’s even better news. This approach also works for the flu. H2O2 therapy is effective 4 out of 5 times; especially if used when the symptoms first appear.

So, is H2O2 a cure for the common cold or just another old wives’ tale? Try it and see. You may surprise yourself!

(Note: Always check with your doctor before trying this or any other therapy).

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lung Power

When it comes to physical health, few things are more important than “lung power”. While getting enough oxygen is crucial for a robust life, be aware that lungs tend to shrink with age.

Sooner or later, you tend to get tired more quickly, you’re less virile, you get colds and the flu more often and it takes longer to recover from illness in general.

By age of 20, you stop growing lung tissue and your lung capacity stabilizes. This lasts for about 10 years. By age 30, your lungs start to decline. The alveoli, tiny air sacs in your lungs that deliver oxygen to your blood, begin to die off. Most people start toning down their activities gradually in order to adapt to their diminishing lung capacity.

Unless you prevent it, you lose 20 percent of your vital lung capacity by about age 35. By 50, you’ve lost 40 percent of your breathing capacity and the decline continues for life.

If you get the flu at age 35 or 40, you can shrug it off. That’s because you have the extra lung capacity you need to sustain yourself, even if the flu or pneumonia reduces your lung volume through the accumulation of fluid. But if you’re 65 or 70 and you get a bout of flu or pneumonia, you won’t have the reserve lung capacity to withstand the illness.
Bigger lungs supply your body with more oxygen while restoring cell health by removing carbon dioxide. When there’s plenty of circulating oxygen, your muscles can afford to build reserve sources of energy for times of stress or exertion. But as your lung capacity decreases, your normal everyday activity takes up more of the oxygen, leaving very little in energy reserves.
Moreover, as your lung capacity diminishes, you’re more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. Lack of oxygen reserves cause 50 percent of all heart attacks.

How to improve your lung capacity and minimize the loss of lung volume:

  • Improve Lung Elasticity
  • Improve Posture
  • Improve the function of your diaphragm

What’s the best way to do this?

  • Get rid of anger and hostility in your life
(Anger and hostility compromise lung function and hasten the natural decline in lung power – British Medical Journal)

  • Yoga or Zen Breathing Exercises (A good teacher can help)
  • High intensity, short-interval workouts (eg. Sprint in short bursts of about 30 seconds and allow your heart rate to come down to normal before another burst. Repeat 7 times).
  • Eat a diet rich in protein (You need protein to build organ tissue).
  • Eat raw vegetables and sprouts along with a good multivitamin (to get adequate amounts of beta-carotene, selenium, vitamins A, C and E), for faster results.

Note: Contrary to popular belief, intensity, not duration in exercise is what increases lung capacity. Accordingly, go for high-intensity, short-interval workouts rather than long-drawn, low or moderate-intensity workouts.