acupressure

  1. Do cellphones cause brain tumors?

    I remember 12 years ago a friend of mine was scheduled for thyroid cancer surgery. An acupuncturist had told him he just needed acupressure, so he called to get my opinion.

    I told him of course he needed the surgery.

    He was relatively young, had no strong family history of the disease and no exposure to any major source of radiation... except for one. As we spoke, I found out he was using his cellphone for buying and selling for 8 hours or more every day!

    Keep in mind the thyroid gland is in the throat region, right next to where he was holding that cellphone -- blasting it with electromagnetic radiation all day long.

    I presumed all that cellphone use played a role in his cancer, and the studies since then have only made me even more certain.

    Now, Britain's Health Protection Agency claims its own review of the research finds no link between cellphones and cancer -- but I just don't buy it. They don't seem to buy their own conclusion, either, since they also cautioned against excessive cellphone use by children.

    If cellphones are so safe, why would they need to caution anyone against using them?

    Answer: They're not safe. One major study found that people who use cellphones the most over a decade have a 40 percent increase in the risk of a potentially deadly brain tumor called a glioma.

    Another study found that cellphones change brain activity in the region closest to the phone. It's not clear what this means yet -- but it's proof they do something to the brain.

    There are enough question marks now that the World Health Organization added cellphones to its list of possible carcinogens.

    Despite all that, I know most people will give up their cellphones when they give up their cars, hairdryers, and credit cards. In other words, it's just not going to happen.

    If that's the case for you, then take a few simple steps to protect yourself (and make sure the rest of the family follows suit).

    First, never hold the phone right against the ear. I know some people use Bluetooth devices to separate the phone from the ear, but those give off their own signals.

    Instead, use the speakerphone or at least a pair of wired headphones with a microphone in them. Some new phones come with these.

    Don't keep them right against your body when you're not using them, since there's evidence they might actually weaken bone, which could increase your risk osteoporosis.

    And since studies have shown they can affect sperm quality, men should never keep them close to their privates.

    Finally, when you get to your office or home, turn the phone off completely and switch to the landline.

  2. Poke your sinus pain away

    In my experience, there's almost no such thing as "chronic" sinusitis -- only doctors who don't know how to treat sinus conditions, so their patients never get any lasting relief.

    Next thing you know, the patient is battling the condition for months or even years at a time -- and the sinusitis is labeled "chronic," as experienced by some 30 million Americans in 2010 alone.

    Now, a new study shows that mainstream docs can bring at least a little more relief to their patients if they're willing to send them out for some acupuncture and acupressure.

    Researchers say the 11 long-term sinus patients in the study who got both traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatments -- along with some nutritional counseling based on the principles of TCM-- had less nose-blowing, sniffling, and sneezing.

    They also had less of that awful facial pain and pressure that goes hand-in-hand with sinus problems, and enjoyed better concentration, fewer cases of restlessness, and less frustration.

    Put it all together, and you can see why they also reported overall improvements in quality of life, according to the study in the Archives of Otolaryngology.

    But on the other hand, no one was cured, either -- so while I think acupuncture and acupressure are great, and I have an acupuncturist at my clinic, neither one would make my shortlist for treating sinusitis.

    Not when there are ways to actually cure the condition instead.

    One reason mainstream docs never get this one right is because they're too focused on treating the symptoms rather than the cause. They'll prescribe nasal corticosteroid sprays and antihistamines and send the patient on his way.

    But while those drugs might bring some quick short-term relief from the symptoms, they do nothing to correct the actual cause (they also come with side effects, especially with long-term use).

    In many cases, chronic sinusitis is caused by environmental allergens and irritants -- including toxins in the home, tobacco smoke, and mold spores. Other common causes include food allergies and even a fungal infection in the sinus cavity (that last one's a lot more common than you'd think).

    There's no antihistamine or steroid on the planet that can correct any of that, which is why patients who take them never get cured. As a matter of fact, they can increase the fungi in the sinus cavity.

    They get "chronic" sinusitis instead.

    Your own answer will depend on the cause -- and that means you need a doctor who's willing to take the time needed to find it. Odds are, that won't be a mainstream doctor. Seek the care of a holistic doctor instead, especially one experienced in testing for allergies and treating fungal infections.

  3. Simple solution for post-menopausal sleep disorders

    If you tell your doctor you're having trouble sleeping, the first thing he'll do is reach for his prescription pad -- especially if you're a woman going through menopause.

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