Analysis of Primary Health Care

Introduction:

One of the most essential health problems is cardiovascular diseases, in most developed nations, including Italy, with severe consequences associated with hypercholesterolemia, one of the main risk factors for these illnesses. According to the Nationwide Institute of Research, heart diseases triggered 32.2% of the total deaths in Italy in 2007. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2002, hypercholesterolemia was anticipated as the cause of 18% of international cerebrovascular condition and 56% of ischemic heart problems and 7.9% of world mortality.

Methods:

This was an illustrative observational research, based on details from all digital records of prescriptions in organizations that offer primary health care in the NHS in the northern of Italy, through the detailed program to support medical practice, between Jan 2006 and Dec 2007.By 2007, South Italy had 3,745, 236 population, comprising 35% of Colonial Inhabitants. Nationwide Health Service (NHS) provides worldwide coverage with 108 Main Health care Systems, comprising 31% of Navigator Systems.

Geographical analysis:

We conducted a specific research by nation and NUTS III local departments, to allow adequate information of patterns and asymmetries among local areas regarding fat decreasing agents’ solutions.

Discussion:

The outcomes of this research indicate that lipid-lowering agents are a group with excellent pharmacological importance in the international prescription of medication in the northern region of Italy, comprising 4.5% of total prescription medicines. This is according to data on sales of lipid lowering agents in Italy showing that these are the third group of best-selling medication.

This research had some restrictions that were important to note. First, it should be underlined that although extensive data processing and cleaning and appropriate data research techniques were applied, outcomes provided may be partly related to differential prescription details excellent among local areas and heterogeneity in doctor’s adherence to the digital prescription system. However they are planning to upgrade this analysis and perform a relative pattern research with more recent details in the near future.

Conclusion:

In summary, this research shows the application of scientific computerized databases to assist in the study of medicines in primary care configurations. The selection of complete prescription details on the examined region had the advantage of including an associate sample of the entire population enabling complete details about medication currently prescribed. Lipid-lowering agents are a team with excellent importance, mainly due to the lots of statins prescribed. This study allowed the analysis of prescription patterns taking into consideration the geographical distribution and characteristics of the populations.

Prescription prices increased from coastal regions to inner regions, and we have proven a wide variation among different areas in the amount recommended, but a clear constant design of statins options among examined areas. The existence of such a high heterogeneity at the regional level calls our attention to the need for National consistent guidelines and suggestions trying to make better ensure excellent and scientific objectives.

The Increasing Surge of Health Care

While sitting back in her blue jeans and wearing a heavy workout sweater at the Legacy Emanuel Hospital’s Emergency room, Angela Jones has her feet prompted up and crossed atop of a small table. When asked about health care issues and how they affect her, Angela explains that there is a portion of people who suffer from not having health care insurance. She makes it clear that some of those who suffer most are young people. Jones, who is a college student, declared her passion for the young because it falls under her own age group.

Says Jones, “The Oregon Health Plan should be open to more people who are under 21 years old. Private insurance shouldn’t be so expensive for young people.”

According to national surveys, the primary reason people are uninsured is the high cost of health insurance coverage. Notwithstanding, nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of the uninsured reported changing their way of life significantly in order to pay medical bills. Economists have discovered that increasing health care costs correlate to drops in health insurance coverage.

Jones believes that some of the greatest challenges that people face across this nation is obtaining affordable health care. “I would open an Oregon Health Plan to a variety of people who don’t have insurance. It is hard to get health insurance.”

Terri Heer, a registered nurse at a local hospital, claims that in order to improve America’s health care system a key ingredient is to “make sure that everyone (has) access.”

This would include cutting out on expenses that are not palpable to so called “health care needs”. Heer says, “First, we spend a lot of money servicing people for illnesses that can be prevented. Some of the money spent can go to other things.”

Over the long haul, should the nations health care system undergo significant changes, the typical patient may not necessarily see the improvements firsthand. “I would love to say there will be a lot of changes. I am not a pessimist, but I don’t think there will be any change,” says Heer. Heer does allude to the fact that if more money were spent for people in the health care arena, she says that there is a possibility that the necessary changes would be more evident.

Whether health care is affordable or not is an issue that affects everyone. According to a recent study last year, health care spending in the United States reached $2.3 trillion, and is projected to reach $3 trillion by 2011. By 2016, it is projected to reach $4.2 trillion. Although it is estimated that nearly 47 million Americans are uninsured, the U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation.

The rising tide of health care stems from several factors that has an affect on us all. First, there is an intensity of services in the U.S. health care system that has undergone a dramatic change when you consider that people are living longer coupled with greater chronic illnesses.

Secondly, prescription drugs and technology have gone through significant changes. The fact that major drugs and technological advancement has been a contributing factor for the increase in health care spending. Some analysts suggest that the improvement of state-of-art technologies and drugs increase health care spending. This increase not only attributes to the high-tech inventions, but also because consumer demand for these products has gone through the roof, so to speak.

Thirdly, there is an aging of the population. Since the baby boomers have reached their middle years, there is a tremendous need to take care of them. This trend will continue as baby boomers will qualify for more Medicare in 2011.

Lastly, there is the factor of administrative costs. Some would argue that the private sector plays a critical role in the rise of health care costs and the economic increase they produce in overhead costs. At the same time, 7 percent of health care expenses are a result of administrative costs. This would include aspects of billing and marketing.

Terra Lincoln is a woman who was found waiting in the Emergency room at the Providence Portland Medical Center. When asked about the rising costs of health care, she said, “If you don’t have medical coverage, it’ll cost you too much money. If I leave the hospital right now and I need to buy two (types) of medicines, I couldn’t afford it.” Lincoln says that she is a member of the OHP, but she believes that there are still issues that need to be addressed.

Terra recognizes that to reduce medical costs, she would have to start by getting regular checkups. “Sometimes people of color wait till they’re in pain before they get a checkup,” she said.

A national survey shows that the primary reason why people cannot afford health care is because of soaring costs of health care coverage. In a recent Wall-Street Journal-NBC survey it is reported that 50% of the American public claims that their highest and most significant economic concern is health care. Consequently, the rising cost of health care is the number one concern for Democratic voters.

Regarding the rising tide of health care, Kristin Venderbush, a native Wisconsin, and another patient in emergency at Providence says, “I worry a lot about what happens to the working poor. They don’t have OHP. If you can’t advocate for yourself, you will not get the health care you need…on every level.”

Harvard University researchers conducted a recent study that discovered that the out-of-pocket medical debt for an average consumer who filed bankruptcy was $12,000. This study noted that 68 percent of those who had filed for bankruptcy carried health insurance. Apparently, these bankruptcy’s were results from medical expenses. It was also noted in this study that every 30 seconds someone files for bankruptcy after they have had some type of serious health problem.

In spite of all the social and economic bureaucracy in the health care arena, some changes were made in Washington on January 28, 2008. In his State of the Union address, President Bush made inquired Congress to eliminate the unfair bias of the tax code against people who do not get their health care from their employer. Millions would then have more options that were not previously available and health care would be more accessible for people who could not afford it.

Consequently, the President believes that the Federal government can make health care more affordable and available for those who need it most. Some sources suggest that the President not only wants health care to be available for people, but also for patients and their private physicians so that they will be free to make choices as well. One of the main purposes for the health care agenda is to insure that consumers will not only have the freedom to make choices, but to also enable those to make decisions that will best meet their health care needs.

Kerry Weems, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, oversees the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as SCHIP. This is a critical program because it pays for the health care of more than six and a half million children who come from homes that cannot afford adequate health insurance. These homes exceed the pay scale for Medicaid programs, therefore are not able to participate.

During SCHIP’s ten year span, states have used the program to assist families with low-income and uninsured children for their sense of well-being in the health care arena. The Bush Administration believes that states should do more of an effort to provide for the neediest children and enable them to get insurance immediately. The SCHIP was originally intended to cover children who had family incomes ranging from $20,650. This amount would typically include a family of four. According to sources, all states throughout the U.S. have SCHIP programs in place and just over six million children are served.

Personal Medical Journal – Take Charge of Your Health Care

Research suggests that patients who take a more active role in visits with their physician may have a greater sense of control and much better health outcomes. Participation in your own health care can be dramatically increased through the use on a personal medical journal. Here are several additional benefits of using this powerful management tool.

o Better Health Status – It has been observed that more effective gathering by patients, and more conversation by patients with their physician during office visits was related to better health status.

o Prevent Duplication of Tests – Keeping track of all tests and treatment history will save your time and money by avoiding duplication of tests and procedures. Repeating tests and procedures are not only costly but they can also expose you to potential medical errors.

o Increased Partnership with Physician – A personal medical journal will be your personal tool to effectively enter into a full partnership with your physician and many other health care professionals. A good partnership with your doctor begins with open communication. Keeping a complete and accurate record of your history will strengthen communication with your physician as you can provide them with useful information.

o Become Empowered – Information is the key to patient empowerment. As you gather information about your condition you will become more informed about treatment options. This will allow you to manage your condition more effectively and increase your sense of well being. You will then become empowered rather than victim to your condition.

o Improve Chance of Correct Diagnosis – According to the American Society of Internal Medicine, 70% of a correct diagnosis depends on what the patient tells the doctor. The use of a personal medical journal will help you share vital information with your physician about your symptoms. Having more data available will help your physician make better decisions. With this information-rich data at hand you may be able to provide your treatment team with the one crucial item of information that helps secure a correct diagnosis.

Take charge of your own health care with the use a personal medical journal. This will allow you to “collect and share” valuable health information with all of your providers. Use this powerful tool to help you get the best of what our health care system has to offer.

Health Care Fraud – The Perfect Storm

Today, health care fraud is all over the news. There undoubtedly is fraud in health care. The same is true for every business or endeavor touched by human hands, e.g. banking, credit, insurance, politics, etc. There is no question that health care providers who abuse their position and our trust to steal are a problem. So are those from other professions who do the same.

Why does health care fraud appear to get the ‘lions-share’ of attention? Could it be that it is the perfect vehicle to drive agendas for divergent groups where taxpayers, health care consumers and health care providers are dupes in a health care fraud shell-game operated with ‘sleight-of-hand’ precision?

Take a closer look and one finds this is no game-of-chance. Taxpayers, consumers and providers always lose because the problem with health care fraud is not just the fraud, but it is that our government and insurers use the fraud problem to further agendas while at the same time fail to be accountable and take responsibility for a fraud problem they facilitate and allow to flourish.

1. Astronomical Cost Estimates

What better way to report on fraud then to tout fraud cost estimates, e.g.

– “Fraud perpetrated against both public and private health plans costs between $72 and $220 billion annually, increasing the cost of medical care and health insurance and undermining public trust in our health care system… It is no longer a secret that fraud represents one of the fastest growing and most costly forms of crime in America today… We pay these costs as taxpayers and through higher health insurance premiums… We must be proactive in combating health care fraud and abuse… We must also ensure that law enforcement has the tools that it needs to deter, detect, and punish health care fraud.” [Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE), 10/28/09 press release]

– The General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates that fraud in healthcare ranges from $60 billion to $600 billion per year – or anywhere between 3% and 10% of the $2 trillion health care budget. [Health Care Finance News reports, 10/2/09] The GAO is the investigative arm of Congress.

– The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA) reports over $54 billion is stolen every year in scams designed to stick us and our insurance companies with fraudulent and illegal medical charges. [NHCAA, web-site] NHCAA was created and is funded by health insurance companies.

Unfortunately, the reliability of the purported estimates is dubious at best. Insurers, state and federal agencies, and others may gather fraud data related to their own missions, where the kind, quality and volume of data compiled varies widely. David Hyman, professor of Law, University of Maryland, tells us that the widely-disseminated estimates of the incidence of health care fraud and abuse (assumed to be 10% of total spending) lacks any empirical foundation at all, the little we do know about health care fraud and abuse is dwarfed by what we don’t know and what we know that is not so. [The Cato Journal, 3/22/02]

2. Health Care Standards

The laws & rules governing health care – vary from state to state and from payor to payor – are extensive and very confusing for providers and others to understand as they are written in legalese and not plain speak.

Providers use specific codes to report conditions treated (ICD-9) and services rendered (CPT-4 and HCPCS). These codes are used when seeking compensation from payors for services rendered to patients. Although created to universally apply to facilitate accurate reporting to reflect providers’ services, many insurers instruct providers to report codes based on what the insurer’s computer editing programs recognize – not on what the provider rendered. Further, practice building consultants instruct providers on what codes to report to get paid – in some cases codes that do not accurately reflect the provider’s service.

Consumers know what services they receive from their doctor or other provider but may not have a clue as to what those billing codes or service descriptors mean on explanation of benefits received from insurers. This lack of understanding may result in consumers moving on without gaining clarification of what the codes mean, or may result in some believing they were improperly billed. The multitude of insurance plans available today, with varying levels of coverage, ad a wild card to the equation when services are denied for non-coverage – especially if it is Medicare that denotes non-covered services as not medically necessary.

3. Proactively addressing the health care fraud problem

The government and insurers do very little to proactively address the problem with tangible activities that will result in detecting inappropriate claims before they are paid. Indeed, payors of health care claims proclaim to operate a payment system based on trust that providers bill accurately for services rendered, as they can not review every claim before payment is made because the reimbursement system would shut down.

They claim to use sophisticated computer programs to look for errors and patterns in claims, have increased pre- and post-payment audits of selected providers to detect fraud, and have created consortiums and task forces consisting of law enforcers and insurance investigators to study the problem and share fraud information. However, this activity, for the most part, is dealing with activity after the claim is paid and has little bearing on the proactive detection of fraud.

4. Exorcise health care fraud with the creation of new laws

The government’s reports on the fraud problem are published in earnest in conjunction with efforts to reform our health care system, and our experience shows us that it ultimately results in the government introducing and enacting new laws – presuming new laws will result in more fraud detected, investigated and prosecuted – without establishing how new laws will accomplish this more effectively than existing laws that were not used to their full potential.

With such efforts in 1996, we got the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It was enacted by Congress to address insurance portability and accountability for patient privacy and health care fraud and abuse. HIPAA purportedly was to equip federal law enforcers and prosecutors with the tools to attack fraud, and resulted in the creation of a number of new health care fraud statutes, including: Health Care Fraud, Theft or Embezzlement in Health Care, Obstructing Criminal Investigation of Health Care, and False Statements Relating to Health Care Fraud Matters.

In 2009, the Health Care Fraud Enforcement Act appeared on the scene. This act has recently been introduced by Congress with promises that it will build on fraud prevention efforts and strengthen the governments’ capacity to investigate and prosecute waste, fraud and abuse in both government and private health insurance by sentencing increases; redefining health care fraud offense; improving whistleblower claims; creating common-sense mental state requirement for health care fraud offenses; and increasing funding in federal antifraud spending.

Undoubtedly, law enforcers and prosecutors MUST have the tools to effectively do their jobs. However, these actions alone, without inclusion of some tangible and significant before-the-claim-is-paid actions, will have little impact on reducing the occurrence of the problem.

What’s one person’s fraud (insurer alleging medically unnecessary services) is another person’s savior (provider administering tests to defend against potential lawsuits from legal sharks). Is tort reform a possibility from those pushing for health care reform? Unfortunately, it is not! Support for legislation placing new and onerous requirements on providers in the name of fighting fraud, however, does not appear to be a problem.

If Congress really wants to use its legislative powers to make a difference on the fraud problem they must think outside-the-box of what has already been done in some form or fashion. Focus on some front-end activity that deals with addressing the fraud before it happens. The following are illustrative of steps that could be taken in an effort to stem-the-tide on fraud and abuse:

– DEMAND all payors and providers, suppliers and others only use approved coding systems, where the codes are clearly defined for ALL to know and understand what the specific code means. Prohibit anyone from deviating from the defined meaning when reporting services rendered (providers, suppliers) and adjudicating claims for payment (payors and others). Make violations a strict liability issue.

– REQUIRE that all submitted claims to public and private insurers be signed or annotated in some fashion by the patient (or appropriate representative) affirming they received the reported and billed services. If such affirmation is not present claim isn’t paid. If the claim is later determined to be problematic investigators have the ability to talk with both the provider and the patient…

– REQUIRE that all claims-handlers (especially if they have authority to pay claims), consultants retained by insurers to assist on adjudicating claims, and fraud investigators be certified by a national accrediting company under the purview of the government to exhibit that they have the requisite understanding for recognizing health care fraud, and the knowledge to detect and investigate the fraud in health care claims. If such accreditation is not obtained, then neither the employee nor the consultant would be permitted to touch a health care claim or investigate suspected health care fraud.

– PROHIBIT public and private payors from asserting fraud on claims previously paid where it is established that the payor knew or should have known the claim was improper and should not have been paid. And, in those cases where fraud is established in paid claims any monies collected from providers and suppliers for overpayments be deposited into a national account to fund various fraud and abuse education programs for consumers, insurers, law enforcers, prosecutors, legislators and others; fund front-line investigators for state health care regulatory boards to investigate fraud in their respective jurisdictions; as well as funding other health care related activity.

– PROHIBIT insurers from raising premiums of policyholders based on estimates of the occurrence of fraud. Require insurers to establish a factual basis for purported losses attributed to fraud coupled with showing tangible proof of their efforts to detect and investigate fraud, as well as not paying fraudulent claims.

5. Insurers are victims of health care fraud

Insurers, as a regular course of business, offer reports on fraud to present themselves as victims of fraud by deviant providers and suppliers.

It is disingenuous for insurers to proclaim victim-status when they have the ability to review claims before they are paid, but choose not to because it would impact the flow of the reimbursement system that is under-staffed. Further, for years, insurers have operated within a culture where fraudulent claims were just a part of the cost of doing business. Then, because they were victims of the putative fraud, they pass these losses on to policyholders in the form of higher premiums (despite the duty and ability to review claims before they are paid). Do your premiums continue to rise?

Insurers make a ton of money, and under the cloak of fraud-fighting, are now keeping more of it by alleging fraud in claims to avoid paying legitimate claims, as well as going after monies paid on claims for services performed many years prior from providers too petrified to fight-back. Additionally, many insurers, believing a lack of responsiveness by law enforcers, file civil suits against providers and entities alleging fraud.

6. Increased investigations and prosecutions of health care fraud

Purportedly, the government (and insurers) have assigned more people to investigate fraud, are conducting more investigations, and are prosecuting more fraud offenders.

With the increase in the numbers of investigators, it is not uncommon for law enforcers assigned to work fraud cases to lack the knowledge and understanding for working these types of cases. It is also not uncommon that law enforcers from multiple agencies expend their investigative efforts and numerous man-hours by working on the same fraud case.

Law enforcers, especially at the federal level, may not actively investigate fraud cases unless they have the tacit approval of a prosecutor. Some law enforcers who do not want to work a case, no matter how good it may be, seek out a prosecutor for a declination on cases presented in the most negative light.

Health Care Regulatory Boards are often not seen as a viable member of the investigative team. Boards regularly investigate complaints of inappropriate conduct by licensees under their purview. The major consistency of these boards are licensed providers, typically in active practice, that have the pulse of what is going on in their state.

Insurers, at the insistence of state insurance regulators, created special investigative units to address suspicious claims to facilitate the payment of legitimate claims. Many insurers have recruited ex-law enforcers who have little or no experience on health care matters and/or nurses with no investigative experience to comprise these units.

Reliance is critical for establishing fraud, and often a major hindrance for law enforcers and prosecutors on moving fraud cases forward. Reliance refers to payors relying on information received from providers to be an accurate representation of what was provided in their determination to pay claims. Fraud issues arise when providers misrepresent material facts in submitted claims, e.g. services not rendered, misrepresenting the service provider, etc.

Increased fraud prosecutions and financial recoveries? In the various (federal) prosecutorial jurisdictions in the United States, there are differing loss- thresholds that must be exceeded before the (illegal) activity will be considered for prosecution, e.g. $200,000.00, $1 million. What does this tell fraudsters – steal up to a certain amount, stop and change jurisdictions?

In the end, the health care fraud shell-game is perfect for fringe care-givers and deviant providers and suppliers who jockey for unfettered-access to health care dollars from a payment system incapable or unwilling to employ necessary mechanisms to appropriately address fraud – on the front-end before the claims are paid! These deviant providers and suppliers know that every claim is not looked at before it is paid, and operate knowing that it is then impossible to detect, investigate and prosecute everyone who is committing fraud!

Lucky for us, there are countless experienced and dedicated professionals working in the trenches to combat fraud that persevere in the face of adversity, making a difference one claim/case at a time! These professionals include, but are not limited to: Providers of all disciplines; Regulatory Boards (Insurance and Health Care); Insurance Company Claims Handlers and Special Investigators; Local, State and Federal Law Enforcers; State and Federal Prosecutors; and others.

Health Career Resources – Tips to Learning About Health Care Careers

It is good to look at health career resources, whether you are finishing high school or considering a career change. There is a large variety of jobs in the health care field. There are careers that involve direct care to patients, there is research, there are dietary related health careers and for those who would prefer not to deal directly with people there are jobs and careers in record keeping and billing. And these are just a few suggestions. There are many, many jobs and careers in the health care field.

Where to look for health career resources. A good place to start looking for the types of health care careers that are available is the newspaper classified ads. You are not looking for a job as such, but for ideas of position that might interest you. This might also give you some idea of the earning possibilities of those position that might interest you.

Another place to look is the local library. Look for journals for medically related professionals. There are nursing journals. There are physician journals. There are journals for x-ray department career specialists. And the list goes on and on. Again look at the help wanted section and see what is advertised for types of jobs and the income possibilities of those jobs.

Make a list of the health careers that are interesting to you. This is a starting point list and your thinking may change as you continue to look around. But now you want to see what people in different health careers are doing.

You want to see what people in these careers really do. There are several ways to go about this. You would be well to use more than one approach. Do you know someone in a health related job. For example, do you know a nurse or a nurse assistant? If so go talk to them and ask questions. It is wise to prepare ahead and write down specific questions to ask.

Another way to learn about health care jobs is contact a local hospital and see if you could take a tour. Explain that you are considering a medically related career and you would like to see what people do. Probably the nursing education department would be the best place to start your inquiry. However, you should explain that you would like to see several areas of health care services, not just nursing.

Some hospitals accept volunteers. However, because of patient confidentiality this is not as available in some areas as it once was. Many hospitals do not allow teenagers to help out in patient areas. However, volunteering at a hospital is an excellent way to get started in health care. It allows for an opportunity to get to know people in various areas of health care and ask and possibly get to see some of what they do.

Once you have some idea of the type of health care career you are interested in exploring, then it is time to find out what you need to do to pursue that career. First, check if there is a local place where you can get the training that you need. Often a community college will have a program for you. Start by requesting a catalog. This will explain the program, and what the admission requirements are. Most likely you will need to complete high school or at least a G.Ed.

Nursing programs are also available at community colleges and some colleges. There used to be a lot of hospital based nurse training programs. There are a lot less of those now a days, but there still are some. Some people feel hospital based nurse training programs are better, because they usually require more practical experience than do community or 4 year college programs.

Another consideration for health career training is the cost. As you explore the training programs you also need to consider the cost and how you will pay for the education.

So, in conclusion, there are many health career opportunities available to a person looking for a career in health care. To learn about some of them explore some of the health career resources suggested above.

Scientific Reasons Behind Why You Should Visit Hindu Temples

The common notion is that a visit to the temple is just to pray for God’s blessings. But the truth is that, temples are the best places to relax and to calm your body and mind, too. That is a scientifically proven fact. Here is why:

The Location and Structure of the Temple

Temples are filled with positive energy because they are built in a particular way. For instance, the main idol is placed at the centre of the temple, known as Moolasthanam, where earth’s magnetic waves are found to be quite strong. And the structure of the temple is built around it. That is reason for the positive energy.

Removing Your Footwear before Entering Temple

Temples are epicentres of positive energy. The floor at the centre of the temple is a good conductor of these positive vibrations. And if you want to allow positive energy to pass through your feet to the body, you should not use footwear. Another reason is that shoes and chappals will have all the impurities as you use it everywhere. Hence they tend to spoil the pure environment of the temple.

Activating the five senses

All five senses in your body should be activated if you want to absorb the positive energy in the temple.

Ringing the Temple Bell

The hearing sense is activated by ringing the temple bell before entering the inner temple. If you have noticed, after ringing the bell the sound lasts for 7 seconds in echo mode. This timeframe is sufficient to turn on all the seven healing centres in our body. Our brain will also be free from all kinds of negative thoughts. The idol also absorbs the bell sound and it is vibrated within the Moolasthanam for some time.

Lighting Camphor In Front Of Idol

The sight sense is activated by lighting camphor. The inner core where the idol is placed is usually dark. When you pray you close your eyes and after that you open your eyes and see the camphor, which is lit to do the Aarthi. Your sight sense is activated when you see the light after the dark.

Placing Hands over the Camphor Flames

After offering the prayer the camphor is brought to you, and you usually put your hands over the camphor to make your hands warm and then you touch your eyes with your warm hands. This is to activate the touch sense.

Offering Flowers to God

Flowers are beautiful to look at. They are soft and have a lovely fragrance. Only certain flowers that have fragrance like jasmine, rose, and marigold are used in offerings. It is to keep your smell sense active that flowers, incense sticks and camphor are used in temples.

Drinking Theertham

A silver or copper vessel is used to pour Theertham, which usually has thulsi leaves. It is kept aside for eight hours in the copper vessel. This is to positively charge the water. To balance all the three doshas in your body (vata, pitta and kapha) water should be stored in a copper vessel, which is a scientifically proven fact according to Ayurveda. You activate the taste sense by drinking this Thulasi water.

Doing Pradakshina around the Moolasthanam

The Moolasthanam absorbs all the energy and your five senses are also activated when you ring the bell, light the camphor and offer flowers and fruits. You tend to absorb all these positive vibrations when you do the pradakshina.

Applying Tilak/Kumkum

A major nerve point in human body lies between the two eyebrows on the forehead. The Tilak is believed to prevent the loss of “energy”. You press your forehead while applying kumkum. This also facilitates the blood supply to the face muscles.

Offering Coconut and Banana to God

Unlike an apple, coconut and banana are considered as sacred fruits. Apple is treated as tainted because an apple tree grows from the seed of another eaten fruit. To grow a coconut tree and plantain you need to plant an entire coconut and a sapling, respectively.

Science, Allergies and Natural Health Care

It is a good idea to reconcile scientific research with natural health approaches. It is sometimes a difficult task. All of the medical journals sell ads to drug companies and it should be obvious that economics help to determine what appears in the journals. But occasional natural health gems appear; they are usually small studies that can still be branded as “inconclusive”. The overall attitude of the journals seems to be, “My, isn’t this amusing. We will have to look into it someday.” But as long as drugs like Ritalin make $3 billion per year and are advertised in the journal, you will not see the journal take a stand and suggest that kids with ADD need B vitamins, omega-3 oils, exercise and to stop eating junk food. They will, however, print the occasional amusing little study. One such study, appearing in the journal, Annals of Allergy, May 1994 evaluated 26 children with ADHD. The children were put on an allergy elimination diet. Along with eliminating artificial colors and preservatives, some foods were eliminated. These included common allergens like wheat, dairy products, egg, corn, yeast, soy, citrus, chocolate and peanuts. Of the 26 subjects, 19 responded well to the diet. It is a small study, but it should offer hope to people with ADD.

Studies supporting the use of natural health care for allergies exist. Scientists in Finland have found that the type of fats consumed in the diet may be connected to the tendency toward allergy, according to research published in the journal Allergy (2001;56:425-428). The British Medical Journal (January 19, 2002; 324:144) has research that shows the herb, butterbur may be useful for allergic symptoms. There is even a journal article about homeopathy and allergies. In a small study, published in the August 19, 2000 issue of the British Medical Journal, 24 patients were given a homeopathic remedy daily and 27 patients received a placebo. Although it was a small group, the study was double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized.

The information found in medical journals is interesting, but it does not give the practitioner information that is good enough to effectively treat airborne allergies. The doctor who is a real scientist, and who wants to make his or her patients better will make note of the journal research, but also look at what patients respond to and take into account seemingly unrelated research. For instance, we know that eating sugar and producing insulin exacerbates inflammation. The symptoms of hay fever are largely due to inflammatory chemicals produced by the body, so it stands to reason that refined sugar is something that should be avoided by patients with hay fever. The same thing goes for trans fats. Yet this advice is seldom given in traditional medical offices; they are waiting for the perfect study to prove this (perhaps prompting Nasonex to pull its ads).

A real scientist will take the journal articles into account, but also take clinical and anecdotal information into account. He or she will look at known chemistry and physiology. Although the journals scorn anecdotal information, some of the most clinically useful stuff comes to us anecdotally. And why not use anecdotal information if you are dealing with a very low risk therapy like nutrition that potentially can produce good results-especially if a doctor who you respect is using it and getting results (anecdotally)?

Hormones produced by the adrenal glands fight inflammation. Indeed, adrenal support is a mainstay for natural health practitioners to treat allergies. You don’t see a lot of articles in medical journals about nutrient support for adrenals. There is some information about herbs and vitamin C in the journals. Bioflavonoids, like quercitin are often very useful for hay fever patients. Many herbs are also useful. But it is hard to put together an effective therapy using just the journal articles.

So when treating a patient with hay fever products for adrenal support, and herbal products designed to reduce histamine, are very effective especially when given with a diet that is free of refined sugar, hydrogenated oil and chemical additives. Other useful products are bioflavonoids and fish oil. A few thousand IU of vitamin A per day for a couple of weeks works wonders if the patient’s eyes itch. You can really fly without a net and use chiropractic adjustments or acupuncture. We are still waiting for the definitive double-blind placebo-controlled study to prove that this works, but in the mean time patients who are getting better don’t seem to mind about the status of the research.

Dr. Paul Varnas, DC, DACBN is a practicing Chiropractor and Natural Health provider in the Chicago, Illinois area. Dr. Varnas is also a published author, entreprenuer and public speaker promoting the benefits of natural healthcare and whole body welness throughout the country. His Whole Health America organization provides a variety of information and value added services to natural care practitioners everywhere.

10 Signs It’s Time for You to Travel

1. The thought of getting up and going to work makes you feel sick… literally!

We’ve all been there. The “calling in sick” phone calls to your manager that you despise, just so that you can take the day off to binge watch your favourite television series on Netflix. But the truth is, when your purposely dodging your work shift, or counting down the minutes until you finish work, there’s a serious problem that you need to finally confront. Switching up your routine or even going somewhere for a long-weekend can revitalize you and uplift your spirits.

2. You spend way too much time living in the past and forget about the present.

Your life is governed by the “What If’s, Should have’s and Could have’s”. Doubt and fear seem to creep its way into your mind and you spend the rest of your days worrying about past choices and experiences. It’s time to wake up! You can’t change what you did or how that relationship ended. Focus on the present, and kick doubt and fear in the ass!

3. Your patterns are predictable… You’re stuck in Groundhog Day!

7am, your alarm rings, out of the house by 8. Stop by your local drive-through coffee shop for your morning caffeine fix. Commence your 9-5 cubicle cookie-cutting job and throughout the day engage in “dexter” small-talk and banter. You drive home, sit on your favourite couch and crush the next season of Game of Thrones. You do it all over again the next day, and the next and so on. If someone wanted to stalk you, frankly speaking it would be too easy. Break free from the rut and explore what this world has to offer. You’d be surprised what you’ll find.

4. Nothing exists beyond your city!

Why travel when you can get the best Szechuan in China Town or have the most delicious Cannoli’s in Little Italy? True, some of the best ethnic foods can be found right under your nose, however to think that “there is no world beyond New York City” or any mega city is absurd. Travelling to a country and experiencing an entirely new environment and culture can really kickstart your senses. So here’s to it… indulge!

5. Small town girl, You’ve been living in your small town world.

I get it… going from knowing your neighbours and the cashier at your local grocery store to getting lost in Thailand’s full moon festival and knowing absolutely no one can be pretty daunting. The truth is, you have to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable to experience life in a different way. Getting used to feeling like a “visible minority” or experiencing language barriers can make you understand and empathize with the other side of the dialectic. It’ll open up your eyes to a world beyond your small town.

6. The English Epidemic

It’s always interesting to see tourists getting frustrated when they travel to a foreign land and expect natives of that particular place to speak English. Cultural insensitivity is probably one of the worst qualities to display on your vacation. If your mind craves a challenge, choose a country that speaks a language that is unknown to you and learn some of their salutations and conversational expressions. You’ll make quite the impression and even gain a lifelong friendship with a local.

7. Stop reading about it, Go live it!

You pick up the National Geographic and read all about the amazing Safari adventures in Kenya, the vibrant eccentric colours of Marrakech and the exhilarating smell of lamb kebab that creeps through the narrow alleyways of Tehran. You take a moment, envision yourself in these pictures and then snap back to reality, allowing doubt and fear to snatch your dreams away. Stop reading about these wonderful places and feed your desires. Book that ticket and spend your nights dreaming about the adventures you’re about to embark on.

8. FoMo

The fear of missing out-hereafter referred to as FoMo, is no joke. FoMo is the desire to stay connected and partake in events that others are doing. It has also been referred to as having a fear of regret. This fear has a way of creeping its way into social gathering discussion topics of “who has the latest gadget” or “who has travelled to Monaco?” If you’re feeling particularly left out in the conversation, maybe it’s time to pack your suitcase and head over to a destination that will take over next weeks dinner gatherings discussion.

9. Single and ready to Mingle?

Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones said it best: “I’ve been in a relationship with myself for 49 years and that’s the one I need to work on.” There is no better way to learn more about yourself than to travel alone. Taking yourself on a lovely date, catching a matinée alone or doing some solo travel might feel a bit awkward at first, but getting to know the awesome person that you are should be cherished and celebrated. So here’s to celebrating you!

10. Big Decisions, Big Commitments

Whether you are entering University, starting your new career or settling down with the love of your life, it’s always a good idea to travel prior to these commitments. It will allow you to feel balanced, re-energized and ready to take on what’s to come.

Five Tips For Stress Free Travel

Let’s face the fact; the whole traveling event is quite stressful. We plan a holiday to get away from the pressures of home and work, but navigating through the airport to catch your flight becomes the most stressful part of the whole trip. You don’t want to become all stressed before you even leave the airport, so here are some helpful tips that will help you travel smoothly without any stress and enjoy your vacation.

Arrive Early

Long gone are those days when you can show an hour before your flight, but now the circumstances have changed a lot. Many times I have seen people waiting outside in the parking for a shuttle complaining that they might miss their flight if the van doesn’t come soon. That’s why my honest recommendation that arrives at least three hours before your flight at the airport.

Pack Light

The best way to reduce stress is by packing light. If you can pack light with only one carry-on bag, it will save you time at the check in counter. You can walk straight to the computer, check in your bag and be on your way to the security line in not time. Trust me, lugging a heavy back anywhere can be stressful. You will realise half of the things you don’t need on your vacation, and you won’t be happy with all that clutter you carried for no reason.

Check In Online

Check in 24 hours before your flight will save you a lot of time and will help you in avoiding all the hassle at the airport. Make use of your smartphone, check in online and either get a print out of your ticket, or you can save it on your phone. That way when you reach the airport, you don’t have to waste your time at the check in counter.

Be Prepared

Be ready to face strict security measures at the airport. I keep all the things that I need out onto the bin, so they are readily available. When I reach the conveyor belt, everything is out in a flash. All liquids should be packed in a bottle of 100ml or less and then kept in a small Ziploc bag. Don’t wear any metal jewellery or keep any loose change with you as it will beep when you pass the security check and create trouble.

Create A Care Package

When packing your luggage pack a small handbag or backpack in which you can carry the things that you will need during the flight. Ever since I started carrying a small bag with me, my trips have become more enjoyable. I usually pack things that I’ll be needing urgently like the following:

• Ear buds to prevent noise

• Lip balm and skin moisturiser

• Hand sanitizer

• Credit Card to make any in-flight purchases

• Travel toothpaste and toothbrush

• iPhone

• Sunglasses

• Some basic meds if I feel nauseate on the flight.

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