Healthy Concepts

The days are getting longer; it is gardening season and time to work on your yard and plant your garden. Gardening can be a relaxing and enjoyable form of exercise, but if done improperly it can result in injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2010, more than 41,000 Americans injured themselves while gardening and more than 127,000 were injured while operating a lawn mower.

Many common injuries including tendonitis, sprains and strains can be prevented with proper technique like bending at the knees when lifting instead of from the back or securing and stabilizing a ladder before climbing. While these conditions are not often serious, they can be very painful. If ignored they can lead to further injury and chronic pain if not properly treated. While gardening and yard work are excellent forms of exercise, after a long winter of inactivity people tend to do too much too soon. It is very important to have a warm up and cool down routine while gardening. Take frequent breaks, do not garden for longer than 20-30 minutes at a time, drink plenty of water and protect yourself from the sun.

Alternate sides when using equipment as often as possible to balance muscle usage and change your stance and motion frequently. When lifting, take your time and always lift from a crouching position with your legs bent and your back straight and carry heavier items low down and pressed against your body so that there is less leverage and stress on your back. Avoid bending and reaching while weeding or planting. Instead kneel down, using a cushion or knee pads for comfort. It is very important to stretch your lower back, hamstrings, quadriceps and forearms.

If you do experience any back or neck pain, stop what you are doing and use ice on the area injured. If the pain persists, see a chiropractor and they can help you recover faster and get you back in your garden. 

Karla Wolfinger looked back recently, wondering where 25 years have gone. The Larry Wolfinger Charity Golf Outing she started planning immediately after her husband’s funeral in 1992 has grown beyond anything she imagined.

The 25th annual event Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29 at Countryside Golf Course in Kaukauna promises to be a little different from very early versions. Established to raise money for those struggling with medical expenses, the event eventually couldn’t handle the volume of applications and birthed a nonprofit to carry on the work.

Community Benefit Tree, Inc. (CBT), was started in 2004 by Wolfinger and her daughter, Heidi Frederickson, currently the executive director. CBT has helped more than 500 families.

The Larry Wolfinger Charity Golf Outing continues to be a big part of the nonprofit’s fundraising. Special touches have been added to celebrate the outing’s 25th anniversary.

“We’re bringing back some of the old games from 25 years ago,” Karla said. “We’re lucky to have so many volunteers. Some of them have been with us every year. They have a good time making sure the golfers enjoy themselves.

“Even more fulfilling is knowing where the money went and how many people we’ve helped through the years. That makes all the preparation time worthwhile. We started working on this year’s event early in April.”

There’s a lot more to this fundraiser than golf. Even non-golfers can enjoy the bake sale, food, raffles, entertainment, silent and live auctions, and a special balloon release. All activities are open to the public, and anyone can purchase an oversized golf ball sign for $50 to memorialize a loved one. For more information, call Community Benefit Tree at 920-422-1919.

Volunteers are enthusiastic about CBT and the golf outing. Jacob Strauss said, “I like this event because it is fun and because Community Benefit Tree does a lot to help the community and help families who really need financial support.”

Sharon Lettau, another longtime helper, said, “I volunteer for the golf outing because I love the good work that they do. I find it’s always fun and rewarding.”

Some of those who volunteer are giving back. “Community Benefit Tree is an amazing organization,” Bruce Strauss said. “They helped with my sister’s benefit and we raised over $30,000 thanks to them. The way they give back to the community, how they help people in need and the families of those in need is just amazing. That’s why I help Community Benefit Tree and will continue helping them.”

As always, the golf outing will include a costume contest on both days. Golfers need to sign up quickly, because slots are limited. They can play 9 holes, Friday or Saturday, for $200 per team; or play 18 holes, 9 on Friday and 9 on Saturday, for just $350 per team.

The fee includes golf, a T-shirt, golf cart, meal, treats, fun activities on the course and chances at winning door prizes. For exact T-shirt sizes, golfers must order before July 11. Full payment is required to reserve a tee time and be entered into the drawing.

Silent auction items, including gift baskets, will be on display in person Saturday and also online during the week leading up to the event. Bidding starts July 29, and winners need not be present to win. Raffle tickets will be sold during the event on both days.

Individuals or businesses interested in sponsoring a hole or providing a gift basket for the silent auction should call the CBT office or visit the company website at www.communitybenefittree.org.

Anyone struggling through a medical crisis is welcome to apply for financial and other assistance through a Celebration of Support, a one-day event celebrating the life of an individual, or a fund set up to take tax-deductible donations. Information is available on the website or by calling the Community Benefit Tree office. 

 

“It’s not what we don’t know that bothers me. It’s what we think we know that ain’t so.”

That is so appropriate for this article. Perhaps one of the most oft repeated myths, which so many people believe is that nutritional supplements are not regulated. How many times have you heard that stated with complete certainty? How many times have you read it in popular press? We have heard and read it so many times that many people assume it must be true.

Let me dispel that myth right from the start: dietary supplements are fully regulated by both the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Anyone who says that supplements and supplement manufacturers are not regulated is either very misinformed or is for some reason denying or hiding the truth. In either case, it is hard for me to have confidence in any source that gets this fundamental fact so wrong.

Nutritional supplements are fully regulated by law because of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which was passed in 1994. I know this law very well because I was deeply involved in mobilizing efforts in Wisconsin to pass it. This law and subsequent regulation put the control directly under the FDA and the FTC. This law was passed over 20 years ago, and yet how often do we still hear that supplements are unregulated?

This is an important issue. If supplements are unregulated, then how do you know which companies to trust? To suggest that they are not regulated creates uncertainty in the minds of consumers that is based on false information. Consumers need to know that there is a law in place to assure safety and honesty in the marketplace. There are significant regulations that companies must follow in order to not be in violation of the standards.

Some of the standards to which companies are held include the following:

  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) as defined by the FDA. These are extensive and cover manufacturing and record keeping, as well as adverse event reporting.
  • Ingredients must be tested before use in manufacturing.
  • Finished goods must be tested after manufacturing.
  • Finished products must include all ingredients on the label.
  • Finished goods must be accurately labeled for potency and sources of the nutrients.
  • Claims for medical benefit are not allowed except as approved by the FDA and the FTC.
  • Claims must be truthful and not misleading.

There are thousands of companies in the nutritional products business. Most of these companies are reputable companies that have been in business for many years. These companies have a vested interest in producing high quality products that are both safe and effective. These companies have invested heavily in the process of complying with new regulation. You as the consumer have every right to expect that your supplements are manufactured by good companies using GMP.

Having said all of that, there is a dark side to the nutritional supplement industry. There are companies trying to cash in on the growing popularity of supplements that are not committed to following the law. There are products that are subpar quality. There are products that are adulterated. There are products with inferior ingredients. These companies are committing fraud upon its customers. There are not supplement manufacturers, they are scammers. These are companies that fly under the radar. They make excessive claims and sell inferior products. It is these companies you must avoid.

How do you tell them apart?

Do your homework. Learn which companies you can trust. Does the company have a street address that you can visit? Do they have a phone number you can call? If they are just an internet company, then beware.

While there are problem companies in the marketplace, those problems are small compared to the vast majority of companies that comply with the regulation and play fair with consumers and regulators. So forget the idea that supplements are not regulated and instead focus on finding companies and sources you can trust. Any company that has been around for decades is likely to be a company you can trust. We have two such companies in our area: Enzymatic Therapy and Nature’s Way are perfect examples of companies that meet and even exceed the regulations.

Even amongst good companies there are many levels of quality. There are cheap and legal ingredients and there are the highest quality ingredients. Some companies will adopt the lowest legal standard and others will choose the highest quality and most effective forms of nutrients and herbs. So part of your search should focus on identifying the companies whose products are most likely to give you the highest quality.

So the next time you read or hear that supplement manufacturers are not regulated, you can take assurance that you know the truth. You can then use your energy to identify good companies and seek out the best products for your nutritional program. 

If you’re environmentally conscious and considering renovation, you’ve probably found yourself in the difficult position of weighing aesthetic considerations against environmental ones. You want to try to live sustainably, but of course you also want your space to look good. If you’re seeking to replace floors or cabinets but want to be green, I have some good news for you: natural hardwoods are considered a sustainable material.

There’s a caveat to this, which I’ll get to in a minute. First, let’s dispel a common myth. Many people believe that using lumber from hardwood trees is bad for the environment. They associate trees with environmentalism, and so cutting down trees must be bad.

In fact, it’s a little more complicated than that. Yes, it’s true that some species of hardwood trees can take up to half a century or more to mature. And yes, trees do naturally absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, when undertaken responsibly, cutting down trees, even old trees, does not necessarily have a negative impact on the environment. On the contrary, it is often beneficial to the overall health of the forest.

Wood, unlike metals and petroleum products, is a renewable resource. New trees can be planted as old ones are harvested and, with a little care, this process can continue indefinitely. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forestry Service agrees. Their website clearly outlines best practices for the responsible harvesting of timber, practices which promote the health of public and private forests. And the Environmental Protection Agency and USDA have both included responsibly-sourced hardwoods on their lists of “bio-preferred” materials recommended for federal building projects. These agencies consider wood carbon neutral because it continues to contain absorbed carbon dioxide even after the tree is cut down. Plus it’s biodegradable.

But now time for the caveat. Timber must be harvested responsibly. Clearcutting an entire old growth forest to grow crops or selectively harvesting endangered species of mahogany are obviously not responsible harvesting practices. In order to protect local ecosystems, logging must be undertaken with an eye to the overall health of the forest. Foresters have thus devised a number of systems for harvesting timber, each of which has appropriate applications under certain conditions. Properly applied, these systems can help maintain or improve the health of a given forest while at the same time satisfying commercial demand for wood. Here is a brief overview of those systems.

  • Clearcutting – The practice of removing all trees in a given area. Clearcutting is the most controversial system as it levels huge swaths of forest and is often associated with forest destruction rather than regeneration. However, clearcutting can be a useful method to restore the health of certain kinds of forest. This is often true of forests containing species that don’t do well in shade. This system can also be essential when whole stands of trees are ravaged by disease.
  • Seed-tree method – The practice of removing all but a few healthy, seedbearing trees intended to repopulate the forest. This system is similar to clearcutting, but helps preserve the genetic lines of a given forest’s trees.
  • Shelterwood – The practice of selectively harvesting certain trees while maintaining a shelter of overgrowth. This system helps protect the appearance of a forest while providing opportunities for new growth in the shelter of older trees. This system works well for species that tend to thrive in shade.
  • Group selection – The practice of removing clumps of mature trees at regular intervals. This system helps to improve access to sunlight and essential nutrients for existing trees while doing little to upset wildlife that have adapted to forest conditions.
  • Single tree selection – The practice of removing individually selected trees while leaving the majority of trees standing. Ostensibly, this is the least intrusive system. When only trees of a certain desirable species are selected, however, this system can upset an ecosystem’s balance. This system is very beneficial to forests when weak or unhealthy trees are selected.

No matter what system is used, the key to responsible timber harvesting is maintaining the integrity of the forest. Qualified foresters are an essential part of the process. Additionally, there are a number of agencies that serve to monitor timber harvesting and lay out best practice guidelines. Organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative provide useful resources for private and public landowners.

Efforts in the U.S. to balance environmental and economic concerns seem to be paying off. According to the most recent National Report on Forest Resources, the overall volume of trees in this country has increased since 1950, while the rate of growth is higher than the rate of harvest. And that’s what sustainability is all about.

So, when planning your green renovation, don’t take hardwoods off the table. Wood is a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral option, which when harvested responsibly, can promote the health of our forests. Using hardwood materials is a choice you can feel good about. And aesthetically, of course, you can’t do any better.

For more information, consult the websites of the Forest Stewardship Council, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the National Wood Flooring Association. 


References: https://archive.epa.gov/greenbuilding/web/pdf/sustainable-design-permitting-toolkit-06_27_13_formatted.pdf.

https://ic.fsc.org/en/what-is-fsc/what-we-do.

https://sftool.gov/material/1964/wood-flooring.

https://www.epa.gov/sustainability/learn-about-sustainability#what.

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/douglas/sites/default/files/documents/forestry/ThinFact04.pdf.

http://www.idahoforests.org/img/pdf/clearcut_SAF_position.pdf.

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/timber_harvest_methods.

https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/fmg/nfmg/docs/mn/harvesting.pdf.

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/earth-friendly-flooring.

https://www.thoughtco.com/us-forest-facts-on-forestland-1343034.

https://www.wbdg.org/resources/green-building-standards-and-certification-systems.

http://www.wbdg.org/FFC/EPA/FEDGREEN/fgs_096500.pdf.

Enjoyable, symptom-free menstrual cycles are something most women wish for, but few experience. Many factors of daily life can contribute to an imbalance in monthly cycles, including: stress, changes in daily and nightly light exposure, sleep patterns, diet, exercise, travel, illness, etc. These disruptions affect the sensitive endocrine system, which is responsible for healthy hormone levels, and can result in menstrual discomfort or disorders. Even so, a few small changes and with the support of a few herb allies, most women can prevent these discomforts.

A healthy menstrual cycle varies from woman to woman, with the average cycle lasting 26-34 days. Day 1 of the menstrual cycle starts with the menses — ovulation occurs around day 14. The cycle ends with the beginning of the next menses. Bleeding lasts about 3-6 days for most women. It is normal for young girls starting to menstruate to have irregular cycles for the first several years until reaching a regular length and duration. Likewise, menstruation for women in their 30s and 40s will also start to become irregular as they approach menopause. It is also normal to have an irregular cycle periodically during a woman’s lifetime, especially when she is exposed to high stress levels or while traveling. Raspberry leaf, partridge berry, motherwort and cramp bark are herbs well known for their uterine tonic benefits, and can be used as tea or tincture to promote a healthy cycle.

Maintaining a healthy body weight with a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 is ideal, as well as stabilizing blood sugar and ensuring adequate intake of healthy fats. A whole foods diet focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, vegetarian sources of protein, cold water fish, nuts, good quality olive oil, and essential fatty acids is beneficial. Consuming less refined flour products, junk food of all types, sugar, caffeinated products, red meat, and dairy products is correlated with a reduction in premenstrual symptoms, as well as menstrual disorders.

Moderate amounts of exercise can be very beneficial for the body, and specifically for menstrual irregularities. Stretching and movement can prevent pelvic discomfort or tension associated with dysmenorrhea, or painful menstruation. Yoga, dance, tai chi, as well as many other forms of exercise will bring circulation to the pelvic area and improve overall health. In contrast, strenuous or excessive exercise is associated with amenorrhea, or absence of the menses. Rapid weight loss and excessive exercise should be discouraged. Replenishing the body’s normal caloric needs through a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight, will reduce the risk.

Stress and negative attitudes or beliefs about menstruation need to be addressed individually as they will affect menses. Stress reduction techniques, such as mindfulness, meditation, light exercise, adequate rest and relaxation, along with adaptogen and nervine herbs can improve stress resistance. Some of these herbs, which can be incorporated as teas into your diet, include: ashwaganda, rhodiola, eleuthero, reishi, holy basil, lemon balm, milky oats, skullcap, chamomile, etc. Additionally, a positive attitude and belief system about the female body, and maintaining a positive body image, can also reduce menstrual disorders. Finding creative outlets and a professional to talk with are essential when dealing with a negative self-image. Setting time aside during the first few days of the cycle to enjoy a bath, a cup of tea, journaling, reading, hiking or any enjoyable activities helps replenish the spirit. A healthy attitude and knowledge about self-care will make an enormous difference in menstrual discomfort alone.

Finally, an abundance of chemicals in our environments called endocrine disruptors, act like estrogen in the body and contribute to hormonal imbalance. To reduce your exposure, eat organic whenever possible, avoid plastics, phthalates, fire retardants, BPA, etc. Furthermore, be mindful of the menstrual products on the market. Avoid perfumes and high absorbency products that can contribute to menstrual discomfort. Small, simple changes in diet, exercise, attitude, and environment can make an enormous impact on menstrual health, which will benefit overall health and vitality as a result. 


References: Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. Aviva Romm.

http://www.ewg.org/research/dirty-dozen-list-endocrine-disruptors.

Running a fitness center for women, I hear the same difficulties with life over and over. It seems like in our current society women are expected to have an amazing career, be a supportive wife who puts her husband’s needs before her own, have a huge circle of close friends that she sees frequently, be the perfect mom who throws amazing Pinterest-worthy parties, takes care of herself by drinking enough water every day, eating organic healthy meals she has prepared, sleeps 8 hours and works out for at least an hour daily. The expectations are unrealistic and the pressure is overwhelming. From what I see, women are trying to meet these ridiculous societal expectations at the expense of taking care of themselves. Over and over again I see women walk into my doors and they look exhausted. But they won the battle by walking in and are now taking the time they deserve to take care of themselves through fitness.

So how can your fitness center help you take care of yourself and not be just another thing you’re “supposed” to find time for? There are three important tips that will help you remember to put yourself on your to-do list. There are only 24 hours in every day and you deserve to be a priority in that 24 hours — yes, even if you have a family. They need you to be healthy, happy and engaged, which will be easier if you recharge yourself! Fitness is a great way to bring value to your life because it has numerous health and emotional benefits. But how do you fit it in?

Find an activity you truly enjoy! This is critical. If you have the mindset that your fitness activity is a drudgery that you have to endure, you won’t do it. You’ll make the excuse of “I don’t have time” when we all know you make time for anything you truly want to do. There are so many boutique fitness options available now, keep searching until you find one that you actually are excited to do.

One of the reasons the pole and aerial arts are multiplying across the country is because participating in it is like being a kid on the playground again. In our busy lives we need outlets that let us feel joy and accomplishment and the aerial arts are foundational in this. For me, I started pole as part of my PhD research into injury prevention and stayed after my first class because it was fun! After 6 months I was a size smaller though I hadn’t tried to lose weight, I was just playing! And the day, six or so months after starting, that I lifted my body over my head solidified that I could accomplish anything. Pole empowers me, and I truly enjoy it so I make time for it. It helps my body and my mind!

Schedule it! Write it down. In your planner. Put it into your phone calendar. Set a reminder if you have to. Your workout is as important as getting your kid to their soccer game on time. Both of these things have to happen and both need a space on your calendar and in your day. If you don’t write it down, you will likely get overwhelmed with all the little things that consume a day and fall into the “I don’t have time” trap. You do have time for you, see right there under today’s date it says: “Pole class - 6 p.m.” You have to go!

Create a support system! For most people, working out alone is not going to be successful long term. Most people need support and a tribe to help them stay focused. One of the top three answers women give as to why they return to Aerial Dance is because of the friendships they’ve made and the instructors’ encouragement. You need to find people who will help hold you accountable. If you miss a class, the people you attend with need to notice! They need to send you emails and text messages asking if you’re OK so you know you need to prioritize yourself the next time. Having a tribe that believes in you is critical for the days you don’t believe in yourself.

We are all busy women. We are all trying to figure out how to be “us” under truly ridiculous societal expectations. These three small things can make a big difference in your fitness journey. But always remember this: you deserve a spot on your own to-do list. You are valuable.


When you visit me for one of the following services of reflexology, aroma touch, reiki, detox wraps, aromatherapy or help with weight management you will find that I can incorporate therapeutic essential oils within all of them. That being said, I also incorporate these oils into my family’s everyday life. Although there are too many ways to list in this article, I will share a few I use daily in our home. Especially during the warmer months of the year.

Pests

Many oils have the ability to repel pests. For instance, mice, spiders and ants do not like the scent of peppermint and will avoid going near it. Just a drop or two on a cotton ball placed in areas where these pests have been seen coming into the house can help this problem. Even mixing a drop of peppermint with a spray bottle full of water can then be sprayed around doors and windows to ward off those pesky pests. And at the same time can be safe to spray around humans and your lovable pets. Make sure your oil is pure and does not contain any added chemicals or synthetic ingredients and is free of bacteria. These will not be as effective and could cause harm.

If you live in Wisconsin then you know the mosquitoes and ticks here can carry you away! Oils can be used to fight them off naturally and they are very effective. We use a mixture of Ylang Ylang Flower, Nootka Wood, Cedarwood Wood, Catnip, Lemon Eucalyptus, Litsea Fruit, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Melaleuca and Arborvitae in a witch hazel base to make a nontoxic but effective spray to keep these pests off my children as well as dogs. It’s easy, nontoxic and very powerful.

Please be aware that blending oils requires some knowledge. Some oils do not blend well with others and each oil may require different percentages of the blend. Contact me to find the proper oils and learn how to get the most benefit from your oils.

Cleaning

Cleaning with oils? Yes! Many oils have antibacterial and antiviral properties and can be used to fight germs. This includes mold and mildew that can grow in your shower, clothes washer, dishwasher and even your toilet. Use a mixture of vinegar and water in your spray bottle. Add a drop of essential oil to the bottle and shake before using. Spray on the area and let the solution sit for a few minutes, then wipe off. The best part is that you are disinfecting without having to ventilate the room or worry if any may spill or splash onto your skin. Oils not only clean but they also make the house smell wonderful.

Removing stains and odors

About two years ago our dog was sprayed by a skunk — twice in one summer! The smell was really bad. I decided to use a blend of essential oils in her shampoo that included: Lemon Peel, Lime Peel, Siberian Fir, Austrian Fir, Pine, Citronella, Melaleuca and Cilantro to see if it would help. We were amazed. With just two drops of the blend in a small amount of shampoo the smell was gone. Even when the dog got her hair wet again there was no skunk smell. These oils can also be used to diffuse in the air to eliminate odors in the home or mix with grain alcohol or water to spray furniture and carpets. Deodorize washers and clothing.

Summer brings smelly sports clothing, grass stains and dripping ketchup from your grilled hot dog. Did you know that lemon essential oil can help to remove stains from clothes? Cold-pressed from the rind of the fruit, this handy oil can do so many things. From helping to remove gum and stickers from surfaces, sticky pine sap from hands to removing grease and permanent marker from clothing and furniture.

Sunburn

Whether it is a burn from the sun or just getting too close to the campfire, a mixture of lavender essential oil and coconut oil is a great way to soothe skin. A spray with lavender and peppermint can be cooling to the skin as well as help to repel pests on a hot summer day. 


References: http://doterrascienceblog.com/emotional-aromatherapy-psychology-meets-chemistry/.

http://doterrablog.com/diy-all-purpose-spray/.

http://doterrablog.com/spring-cleaning-natural-cleaning-solutions-for-the-bathroom/.


Many of us rely on sunscreen to protect our skin from burns, cancer and premature aging, but a good number of people may not be getting the expected benefits. Why? Because sunscreen won’t work as it should if you don’t use it properly!

When to use sunscreen

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends, “Anyone over the age of six months should use a sunscreen daily.” While this may seem excessive to some, the sun’s rays can cause damage in as little as 15 minutes of exposure.

Be sure to note that “daily” doesn’t just apply to sunny days or to the summer months. We also need the protection of sunblock on overcast days and during the winter.

How to choose sunscreen

There are so many options in the sunscreen aisle that it can be overwhelming. To simplify the selection process, let’s focus on three important things on the labels.

SPF

Sun protection factor (SPF) is basically a measure of how effectively a product protects against the damage (burning) of the sun’s UVB rays. In theory, if you generally burn after 20 minutes of unprotected exposure, an SPF 10 product should protect you for 10 times longer. So you should be able to enjoy the sun for just over 3 hours without burning. SPFs range from 1 to 100.

Then things get a little tricky. The higher the SPF doesn’t necessarily mean incremental benefits. For example:

  • SPF 15 blocks 94 percent of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 blocks 97 percent of UVB rays
  • SPF 45 blocks 98 percent of UVB rays
  • SPF 100 blocks 99 percent of UVB rays
  • Note: There is no 100 percent protection.

As the Environmental Working Group explains, “Sunbathers often assume that they get twice as much protection from SPF 100 sunblock as from SPF 50. In reality, the extra protection is negligible.”

It is not uncommon for a consumer to purchase a very high SPF product and then apply it sparingly, thinking it is so powerful. This is not the case. You must use the same amount: 1 ounce.

While some organizations suggest using a product with an SPF of 15 or more, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Broad spectrum

A sunscreen that’s labeled “broad spectrum” provides additional protection from UVA rays, which tend to cause skin damage like spots and wrinkling (as opposed to UVB rays, which cause burning).

According to Mayo Clinic, “Too much exposure to UVA or UVB rays can cause skin cancer. The best sunscreen offers protection from all UV light.”

Water resistant

Since water can wash away your sunscreen and, thereby, your layer of protection, a water-resistant product can be a safeguard while you swim or participate in other water-related activities. In addition to those words, the label will also indicate a timeframe from 40 to 80 minutes. After that period, sunscreen must be reapplied.

How to use sunscreen properly:

Once you have a quality sunscreen, be sure to use it correctly so it can do its job!

First, check the expiration date on your product. In general, sunblock loses its effectiveness after 3 years.

Before sun exposure

  • Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin 30 minutes before sun exposure (unless package says more). This allows time for the ingredients to soak in and bind.
  • Apply protection to your lips 45+ minutes before sun exposure.

It is critical to use enough and administer it liberally and evenly! The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends 1 ounce, which is roughly a shot glass full.

Be sure to rub thoroughly until you can’t see the white color of the lotion, and get all areas of exposed skin. Don’t forget the ears, tops of feet, neck, part (in hair), back and top of head if balding. Do not let it come in contact with your eyes!

For spray application, hold the bottle upright and spray back and forth over your skin in an even, generous coating out of the wind. Don’t inhale the fumes or get in your eyes. For facial application, spray the product into your hands and rub on your face.

Note: Sunscreen use is not recommended for infants younger than 6 months of age! In fact, experts believe infants of this age should not even be exposed to the sun’s rays.

During sun exposure

Once you’ve been outdoors for 15 to 30 minutes, reapply the sunblock in the same manner. You then need to reapply every 2 hours (see label) from there, or sooner if you are just getting out of the water. You should also reapply sunscreen to your lips every 60 minutes — more if eating, drinking or swimming.

This re-application guideline may need to be shortened depending on the intensity of the sun, your skin type, the elevation or the presence of reflective surfaces like water and snow.

Remember to take other precautions in addition to sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays. Mayo Clinic advises, “Whenever possible, also wear a hat, long-sleeved shirt, long pants and UV-opaque sunglasses.” Other tips include: finding shade and minimizing exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. 


References: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/sunscreens-explained.

http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen.

https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/best-sunscreen/art-20045110.

I am what is known in my circle as a mandala maniac (pun intended). Mandala means “sacred circle” in Sanskrit, and I fell in love with the particular process I learned back in 2010.

My friend Ellen had been talking about going to mandala class and meditating on her mandala, and I asked what it was all about. She showed me some of the mandalas she had drawn, which were beautiful but rather than try to explain the whole process to me, she gifted me a place in a class held by Laural Virtues Wauters, a certified mandala facilitator in the style pioneered by Dr. Judith Cornell.

I didn’t know exactly what to expect from the class, but what I experienced that day in February changed my life. We sat in circle, spoke openly without fear of judgment about what was on our minds and hearts, learned about the healing method of mandala creation taught by Judith Cornell, set an intention for what we hoped to get out of the class, worked with oracle cards, went on a meditative journey, and drew our mandalas based on where the journey had taken us. There was no talking during drawing time, and quiet meditative music played in the background. One of the participants began crying shortly through, and didn’t stop until the class was over. The revelations can be quite emotional.

This mandala process isn’t about the final product; that is to say, it’s not about the art. It’s not about creating a perfectly symmetrical, beautiful design. It’s also not about ego, or getting hung up with judging your own or others’ creations. It’s about letting what your conscious mind is ready to receive come to the surface and manifest itself on the paper. It’s about the message you receive after you’ve meditated on what your mandala is telling you. It’s about a positive way forward.

Whenever I feel a need to quiet my mind and allow answers to come, I take out my mandala supplies, meditate and draw what comes to mind. It was one such session that caused me to take a profound turn in my life and leave behind much of what no longer served me. I moved into a life of compassionate service, including becoming certified as a second-generation mandala facilitator of this method. This involved 108 hours of facilitating classes.

Is the mandala for everyone? No. But it’s a healing method and a medium that has worked for me and many others. It’s three hours that you devote to self-care and self-discovery. It’s a community. And though it is sacred work, I try to throw a bit of fun into every class, which centers around a different theme every month.

For a schedule of mandala classes I am offering for the rest of 2017, please visit my website at www.lightwithinmandalas.com

Higher health care and insurance costs require us to take charge of our health. The good news is that new programs are emerging to control cost and improve health.

A few years ago a client called about coverage for monthly cholesterol screenings. His doctor wanted to put him on a statin drug for high cholesterol, but he wanted to try diet and exercise first to avoid the cost of medicine and potential side effects.

His health insurance plan would only cover cholesterol tests if his doctor recommended it as being “medically necessary,” and since his doctor already recommended a medicine, it would not be covered.

He told me his last cholesterol test covered by insurance was billed at $212, but reduced to $80 after applying the insurance discount.

Someone who wants access to a cholesterol test at a set price any time without a doctor or insurance company approval can travel to Manitowoc. Holy Family Memorial (HFM) has three clinics there that offer direct lab tests. It’s like going to McDonalds. You check off what tests you want from a menu of 73 items, pay up front, sign a release form and have your blood drawn. That’s it. The test results are mailed directly to you within a week.

The HFM direct lab test for cholesterol costs $20. It is listed as a lipid panel that includes total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides.

To learn more about the HFM program, www.hfmhealth.org and click on “Services,” then “Lab Services” and finally, “Direct Lab Testing.”

The direct lab program is an example of how people are changing health care to be more patient-centered — it offers access, set pricing and convenience.

Faced with higher deductible plans, providers are realizing that more payments come directly from the consumer and not insurance. As a result, health care providers are rethinking their services to meet consumer wants and needs. The big shift is a focus on health. More consumers are asking for help to avoid the need for expensive medical care because they do not want to pay their higher deductible.

Finding new ways to engage health consumers to achieve better health is one of the big challenges for providers. Whether it is a diet and exercise approach before medicine or access to tests to measure health progress from a lifestyle approach, more people want help to improve health and lower cost.

Remember to always use a licensed health insurance advisor to learn more about your health insurance options for health care. 

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