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Healthy, happy women.

Healthy pH For Your Body Part

“Hey, did I catch you off balance?”  “Were you balancing your books?” “Trying to get your life in balance?” Our government runs on a system of checks and balances and a balance of power. We need to balance work and life, good and bad, reward and punishment.  Our universe depends on balance, the positioning of planets and the forces of motion all depend on balance.  Our bodies depend on balance. If balance weren’t such big deal, why are we all doing yoga?

 In order to maintain equilibrium in our bodies, It is no surprise that balance is also important. Our bodies need to have a  healthy pH balance, that is the alkalinity in our body must be in balance with the acidity in our bodies.

Before we continue it should be noted that the kind of balance we talk about when we talk  about our bodies is not the kind of balance which requires an equal amount on each side, it is the balance of correct proportion.  Just as a beautiful face is not always perfectly symmetrical, a healthy body is not either.  The optimal pH balance for our bodies is a little bit on the alkaline side, with a  pH of 7.4 on a scale ranging from 1-14 and it is suggested that we eat a diet which puts the emphasis on alkaline foods as opposed to acidic food. But  it is not the acid content of the food that makes the difference, it is the way our different body parts respond to the acid.

When we talk about maintaining a 7.4 pH balance in our body, we really do not need to worry about our blood.  Our lungs and kidneys take care of keeping that number constant.  Rather, it is the body parts whose pH balance is less stable that  we need to worry about.

The pH levels of our cells tend to vary more than our blood and we need to make sure they stay slightly alkaline, so we need to watch our diet to make sure that they function at their best.  Alkaline diets provide magnesium, which is needed by our enzyme systems and preserve muscle mass while aging.

 The pH level of our urine is also worrisome,as it tends to vary as well.  To keep it stable, we need to avoid animal protein, grains, soda, beer, and sodium, which are hard for our kidneys to break down.  It is important that we get potassium and minerals from fruit to neutralize the acid.

The stomach needs to remain slightly acidic in order to break down food.When you eat, your stomach releases  acid causing your stomach pH to drop to as low as 1 or 2. After the meal is digested, buffers in your stomach, such as mucous and bicarbonate, work to neutralize the acid, bringing your tummy back to a resting rate of 4-5. When levels of acid in our stomach are high, (which happens when we eat protein, especially red meat) our system seeks out alkaline nourishment in our digestive tract.  If it cannot find it, it will draw minerals from our bones. (This is an example of what happens when our bodies are not in balance.) It is why it is so important to eat a diet heavy in nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium to make sure our system can find them when it needs to

The skin needs to be slightly acidic to support the acid mantle.  This is the skin’s barrier It blocks out germs, pollution, and toxins.  When skin is too alkaline, it becomes dry and inflamed. It may stop fighting off enzymes that destroy collagen and cause wrinkles.  The ideal pH level for the skin is 5.5. If it is higher, it signals damage to the acid mantle which exposes your skin to bacteria and UV rays and may be a sign of excessive use of exfoliants and peeling products

If the pH of the skin is lower than 5.5, that probably nears you are overusing products designed to make skin less greasy.  If this is you, pay attention to scrubbing  and hydrating often.

Deep breathing

The Benefits of Deep Breathing

Chances are during times of stress, one or more people around you have told you to take a deep breath in order to help you relax. Maybe you did or maybe you didn’t, but those individuals had a point. Deep breathing can do incredible things for the body. It may take some getting used to, but it’s easy to learn and the efforts can be worth it.

Let’s start with discussing how to actually do deep breathing. Close your eyes, breathe in deeply (and slowly) through your nose, hold it for a second or two, then breathe out through either your mouth or nose – whichever feels more comfortable to you – while counting to five. You can do this while sitting or lying down. Focus on your breathing, maybe repeat a mantra in your mind, or focus on something that makes you especially happy such as a destination you love. Now onto a few of the benefits.

You Can Relax
One of the worst feelings is being tense; you feel like every part of your body is in one giant knot. Deep breathing helps you relax, ease your muscles, and calm your mind.

You Can Ease Unpleasant Moods
Whether you’re scared, upset, or just plain ticked off, deep breathing can help you get past the initial stages of that mood and anything negative that may come with it to get you to a better, calmer place. This can be especially advantageous if you’re having a rough day at work. After deep breathing, you may be able to focus better on the issue at hand and may even come up with a solution if need be.

You Could Lower Your Blood Pressure
Stress can temporarily raise your blood pressure, but deep breathing can help get those numbers back to a normal level. Deep breathing on a daily basis may help you keep your numbers where they’re supposed to be, especially during times of stress.

You Can Clear Your Mind
We go through so much on a daily basis, so it’s understandable how our mind can get cluttered. Deep breathing allows you to clear your mind, refocus on the positive, and move forward in a calm and rational manner. This can be excellent in every aspect of life from home to relationships to work. A mind that isn’t cluttered is one that’s better able to be more aware and in the present moment.

You Help Your Body Overall
You’ve probably heard by now how many diseases and conditions may be made worse by stress. Considering deep breathing helps to ease your stress level and improve your mood, that, in turn, could have a positive effect on your body as a whole.

Deep breathing is all about mindfulness and getting you to a place where you feel better than you did before you started. Try out different methods and don’t overthink the process. Once you start, chances are it will become a habit you will want to keep and make a part of your daily routine.

Woman flossing

To Floss Or Not to Floss

A survey by the American Academy of Periodontology found that almost 15% of adults would rather clean a toilet than floss their teeth. That means we either have some people who are really ardent defenders of the porcelain throne or that a lot of people really hate to floss their teeth. Most probably, it’s the latter.

For years, mothers have been telling children to floss their teeth. It might not have seemed the most pleasant activity for a juvenile, but it sort of made sense that it was good for you. Weren’t we always taught that food residue rots teeth enamel? It would then seem logical that if food particles were lurking unknown beneath our teeth, we should surely want to get rid of them, and this seemed to be the main goal of flossing. Could mother have been wrong?

The Skeptics
According to recent reports by the associated Press, officials had never properly researched the effectiveness of regular flossing. (What? Could this have been some capitalistic plot encouraging us to buy ineffective rolls of string?) Well, it seems as if the American Academy of Periodontology concurs. They point to a 2011 Cochrane “oral health” review of 12 studies which, supported the efficacy of flossing. The academy is now claiming that these studies did not “examine gum health over a significant period of time” to determine whether of not there are long term benefits. Tim Iafolla, a dentist with the National institute of dental Craniofacial Research says, “The condition we’re trying to prevent, which is gum disease, is something that takes years to develop and most of the studies only last a few weeks or months.”

The Supporters
Now, keep in mind that the jury is still out on this one. Just because the studies did not support that flossing is beneficial, doesn’t mean it isn’t. Before you go throwing your floss in the dumpster and yelling, “Free at last, free at last,” listen to this: Says Joan Otomo-Corgel, a periodontist with the American Academy of Periodontology,”…My concern is that the public picks up on this and says, ‘Oh, flossing is not a benefit. That means I don’t have to do it.'” She also says, based on her 32 years of observation, flossing gets rid of bacteria that manifest themselves between teeth causing infections and other oral problems. “Biofilms are live,” she says,”I mean…You have different types of bacteria that form and the longer they stay, the more virulent they become.”

Keep in mind also that while studies on prevention of plaque and gum health are inconclusive, floss is still believed to prevent gingivitis, a condition causing fumes to inflame and bleed, although the naysayers are quick to add that the quality of evidence supporting this was “very low.”

It seems that it would be remiss not to include an admonition from Dr. Wayne Aldredge, president of the American Academy of Periodontlogy, who reminds us that gum disease is, “insidious, slow and bone melting.” He says those who quit flossing are, “rolling the dice,” and; “You don’t know if you’ll develop periodontal disease, and your can find out too late.”

Woman reading a book in a hammock

Planning To Do Nothing

Planning an event takes energy. You need to  invite the necessary people, find a time that is convenient for everyone, be there at a certain time, figure out what to wear, make sure you have all the necessary supplies, and worry about getting home.  Doesn’t sound like much fun.  In fact, it sounds like a lot of work.  Whatever happened to the concept of real downtime?  Not having to think about waking up at a certain time or being anywhere and not having to answer to anyone and not even having to provide stimulating conversation. Although it is important to remain social, it is equally as important to allow for some time to concentrate on the simpler things in life. Let’s talk about some things you can do that qualify as real fun.

Play Music
The sound of music floating on the air from a window must be the essence of decadence.  Whether it is the twangy sound of plucking guitar strings or the sound of an opera singer practicing scales, the playing music implies leisure.  It is a sensual activity that requires us only to listen and think about what we are hearing, allowing our minds to drift.

it is strange how cooking can be one of the most stressful activities or one of the most stressful.  Sure, cooking can be hard when you have people to keep happy and healthy every night, but let’s talk about the “Julie and Julia” or “Tortilla Soup” kind of cooking where you have endless time to experiment and perfect.  Let’s talk about cooking as a kind of healing, and as a way of doing something productive with your time, while escaping from the daily grind.

Woman sleeping

Take A Nap
Nothing brings on the “cat that just caught the mouse” feeling quite like taking a nap.  You have managed to steal time to let  your mind and body successfully escape to that purgatorial space between on and off.  You wake up energized and feeling like you have a leg up on all those less fortunate.  The morning is somehow more manageable and there is less of it to survive.  FYI: Research shows that naps can also reduce the risk of heart attack.

Pamper Yourself
Have a nice bubble bath.  Throw in your favorite oil, light some candles, play some music and pour some (beverage of choice).  Do a facial, or mani pedi,  or hair treatment.  Great for your mind and body.

“Now you’re talking,” you think. Not to be confused with emotional spending, shopping can be a very relaxing and therapeutic activity. If your retail therapy is moderate in nature, and your credit is good, shopping can decrease stress and anxiety and allow you to gain control over situations and ease anxiety. Besides this, shopping also gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in creativity,  improve  decision making and provide an outlet for social interaction.

Remember, you’re own company can sometimes be as good or better than other people’s.   You’re the coolest person  here.  It’s not about doing, its about being!

Happy woman

Moving, Eating, Being, Thinking

Happiness finally seems to be getting a fair shake.  Didn’t it seem like years ago, we thought that anything that made us happy couldn’t possibly be good for us?  Weren’t we brought up on sayings like, “If it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t working”, or “It’s not love if it doesn’t hurt.”  Isn’t it time that we bring an end to this self punishing philosophy?  Isn’t it time we admitted that some things that we like can be good for us?  Aren’t we tired of being miserable?  (Cue shouts of, “Go, girl” and “Amen!’)

It seems like its getting more and more obvious that we don’t always have to suffer and deprive ourselves to reach our goals.  Happiness may not pay the bills, but it seems like it could take us into a ripe old age.  Here’s to being happy and healthy!

Eat fewer calories, but more food.  That sounds like happiness to me!) Load on the greens and the beans.  Take a second helping of (fresh fruit.  Skip the burgers and cream sauce and pile on the whole grains.  You’ll end up with less calories, more antioxidants and longer, happier lives. Dr. Bradley Wilcox of the Pacific Health Institute in Honolulu says, “People in Okimawa eat more food by weight than people who eat a Western style diet.” The result?  Their risk for dementia, heart attacks, strokes and cancer are among the lowest in the world.

Woman exercising

Exercise can help to give you better quality of life and slow down the aging process.  In fact, you don’t even have to work that hard! (Happy now?)  A University of Florida study showed that healthy people aged 65 to 85 who did low intensity exercises had a drop in free radical damage while high intensity exercisers had a slight increase! For protecting the heart and arteries, just walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes a day, along with resistance training and aerobic exercise can do the trick.

Find something interesting to do.  So, admit it.  We all love to relax.  We love to sit back and watch the tube and put our feet up. Well, that may sound appetizing, but if you’re better off doing something slightly more meaningful. People who pursue their interests develop better coping mechanisms and tend to be more optimistic and live longer.

Also, connect with friends and family.  Science journal prove that having friends changes the biochemistry of the brain and strengthen immunity.  Being alone, causes the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol to rise which can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and sleep problems.  BTW:  Marriage can add seven years to a man’s life and three to a woman’s.  Can’t live with ’em?  Pets can reduce stress and lower blood pressure.

Woman solving a crossword

Just like our bodies, our brain needs exercise to stay healthy.  Reading, doing crossword puzzles and writing are all ways of lowering risk of mental decline.  Also, it has been proven that using your brain can actually up your “cognitive reserve.”  That means that you get a kind of bonus of extra neurons and pathways in your brain that make them function longer.  Our brain muscles are just like all the other muscles in our bodies; the more we use them, the healthier and more flexible they’ll be! So be happy, live healthy and be your best, most beautiful self!  Cheers!

Women in a locker room

Avoiding Locker Room Germs

So how’s this for a first world problem?  We are constantly being warned about dangers of obesity.  In fact, it seems we cannot put on the tv or  social media without seeing pictures of people on treadmills, eating green vegetables and  practically bursting with health. The message is obvious, exercise is important and we need to incorporate it into our lifestyles.

However, no matter how healthy we are, virus and bacteria horror stories seem to pop up almost as often.  Whether it be an outbreak in a food chain or a child on a slide at MacDonald’s, it seems evident that we must also place avoiding germs high on our list of priorities.

And therein lies our dilemma:  the gym locker room.  We’ve heard so many horror stories about what happens in this place.  There seems to be a disagreement about locker room etiquette.  From inappropriate bodily emissions to naked toenail cutting, the potential for picking up some kind of bacteria seems almost unavoidable.  So what options are there for the health obsessed germophobe?  Should we choose to be sick and skinny or disease free and fat?  Here are some things we can do to keep ourselves protected in this hotbed of germs.

Keep Your Jellies On
Because the shower and locker room  tend to be  warm and damp, they are great places to find to mold, algae and fungus.  These villains  find their way around the locker room mixing with sweat, skin cells, and urine.  (And don’t think that shower floor has never been urinated on)  Barefooted athletes in the gym locker are a prime target for Athlete’s Foot and other catchable infections.  Cover those feet!

Don’t Stuff Your Sweaty Clothes in Your Gym Bag
Jack Foley, ATC, director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer at Lehigh University says,”If you’re tossing warm, damp gear in your gym bag after a workout, you’re allowing germs to have a free ride home in a perfect petrie dish. ” (Quite an  image, no?) A better idea is to bring a clean plastic bag with you for dirty clothes and wash them when you get home  and, while your doing that, try tossing in your gym bag every other time or two or use disinfectant wipes to clean it inside and out.

Don’t Drink from the Water Fountain
This seems like good advice in the locker room and not.  According to the cleaning business, Coverall, a water fountain can have 2.7 million bacteria per square inch per spigot.  BYOW. (Bring your own water.)

Wash Your Face and Hands
Letting sweat and grime fester on your face is not going to do anything to help your acne problem.  And,before you wash your face, wash your hands.   After touching the handlebars on the stationary bike in spin class, you don’t want to know what kind of germs and viruses are your hands may be carrying.  Your hands are the most common culprits for transferring bacteria between surfaces, so keep ’em clean!

Bring Your Own Towels
Ah!  The pleasure of drying off with a nice clean towel after a good hot shower.  Not so fast!   Some gym employees have a habit of using the same containers for dirty and clean towels which aids in the spread of E. coli and MRSA.  Bring two antimicrobial towels from home, one for wiping sweat, the other for post shower and you will be the coolest (and cleanest) kid at the gym.

Woman learning how to swim

Adult Swim Lessons Mean A Safer Summer

Everyone tries to look cool in the summer.  In fact, a good portion of fashion is dedicated to discovering and promoting the latest styles  in beachwear, swimwear and shorts.   So how’s this for a look?  A killer bikini, a huge sunhat, serious sunglasses, a kick board, life jacket, and arm floats.  Ok, not how you were picturing yourself this summer?  Point taken, but the truth is, knowing how to swim is important for summer safety and swim lessons are not just for children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, about 30% of adults in the United States can’t swim the length of a typical recreation center pool and adults make up more than 70% of drowning deaths in the U.S.

Why is it that so many adults have never learned to swim?  Some may have grown up in urban areas where access to a pool was limited. Some are afraid, and many are embarrassed. But whatever the cause, it can be agreed that teaching adults to swim takes a special touch.  John Fitzpatrick, owner and head coach of swim facility, Chicago Blue Dolphins says adults are “very results focused.” They have no patience for learning activities like floating and kicking, they just want to be swimming.  Lori Pailet, founder and director of Aqua Skills recounts a tale of one adult student who became so frustrated, he began smacking the water with a foam noodle.

However, despite the apparent frustration, Pailet reports that the number of adults in her practice has doubled in recent years and clientele normally increases by 15 to 25% per years.

Why Should You Learn To Swim? Need some motivation?  How about this?

Personal Safety
As much as you may try to avoid it,  you will probably, at some point in your life, find yourself near water. I mean, what happens when George or Leo invite you on their yacht or your fiancé wants to romance you on a cruise ship?  If the water is deeper than you are tall, knowing how to swim will definitely come in handy.

Rescuing Others
According to the CDC, more that 3,400 people in the US die from drowning every year.  If you know how to swim, you will be better prepared to save a life.  Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14.

Swimming counts as both cardio and muscle toning, so you’ll earn brownie points for both. Swimming hits underworked muscles and, since the water provides natural resistance, the exercise is low impact.  (Bonus- no sweating involved!)

Not only does swimming relieve stress, it is also a social activity.  You may just meet your perfect mate while surfing or water skiing and you’ll get  a lot more exercise than swiping right on Tinder.

So put on those nose plugs and strap on that bathing cap,  and be proud!  You may end up saving a life and meeting your significant other at the same time.

Woman sweating after a jog

Say No To Heat Related Emergencies

Is it getting hot in here?  Survey says, “It’s getting hot in here.”  Although summertime is a great time for freedom and the great outdoors, there are a few days when even the most dedicated athlete or worker needs to take a break.  When temperatures in the body reach 104 degrees F or higher, cellular damage from the heat will start to occur after about 30 minutes. Since 1979 the death rate from heat-related causes is 0.5 per one million.  But by taking the proper steps, we can get that number down to zero.

Children In Hot Vehicles
It’s tough to be a parent.  You can’t leave children at home alone and babysitters are expensive, but sometimes you need to leave the house.  Small children require extra schlepping.  Even if there is not a stroller involved, there is the carrying, holding hands, and constant urging to walk faster and not to veer into oncoming pedestrians or vehicular traffic.  Then, once the child  is in the store, there is always the possibility that they will stray or find some product that they just can’t live without, hence the unavoidable meltdown.  It is so  tempting to leave them in the car, walk in the store come out and be done with it.  But beware, long lines and indecision could often cause the time you spend in the store to grow, and the more time in the store, the more dangerous it becomes for the child.  And keep in mind, a car can reach 110 degrees even if temperatures are in the 60’s.

We all need to make the rent at the end of the day and, for many of us, taking days is not an option. Workers that work in a hot environment are prime candidates for heat illnesses and injuries.  Heat  can also cause occupational hazards, like when safety glasses get fogged up or sweaty palms cause a loose grip of tools and machinery.  Highest at risk are firefighters, construction workers, miners, and bakery workers among others. Workers over 65 or who are overweight or have high blood pressure are more at risk than others.

Woman sweating

The American Health Association advises that the average person gets 4 hours of cardio a week.  Many of us see this as a point of no contention.  They will religiously aim to do a minimum of exercise weekly or daily and may claim to not “feel right” if they don’t.  It is true, that exercise can become addictive. Some miss the rise in endorphins, some miss the routine. The same can be said of athletes.  In blind dedication to a sport or dream, many athletes may push themselves to play and train on days when it is better not to. People exercising in a hot environment are among the most prone to heat exhaustion. There were 5 player deaths in America from 1931 and 1958.  There were 103 player deaths in America between 1960-2000.  Heat exhaustion rates are highest for athletes who play high school football.

What Can We Do?
Don’t make the mistake of trying to do too much on the first hot days of the year.  Do a portion of what you need to and take a break; your body will build up a naturals resistance.Keep yourself hydrated, and skip the alcohol. Do not leave children, elderly people or pets alone in a parked car.  Use cool compresses and keep physical activity to a minimum.  Symptoms of heat exhaustion include paleness, nausea, headache, muscle cramps and heavy sweating.  If you see someone exhibiting these signs, move them to a cooler area and get medical assistance.  There is a 100% chance survival rate for heat exhaustion when proper treatment is given.

Woman buying sandals in a shoe store

Flat Sandals And Foot Health

Marilyn Monroe once famously said, “Give the girl the right shoe and she can conquer the world.” I hardly think this is disputable. From time immortal, women have had seemingly unnatural relationships with their shoes. But most of the time, when we speak of these obsessions, high heels come to mind. Unfortunately, heels have their limitations. They make our legs look fabulous, but by the end of the day, the agonized looks on our faces might scare away all comers no matter how fab our gams look. Let’s face it! We need our flats. Six-inch stilettos may be just the thing in the nightclub, but not so much for the supermarket (although I have never seen Beyonce at Ralph’s.) But, that’s okay. There are some really cute and cheap flats right? Ballet flats, flip-flops, jelly shoes and sandals are really fashionable for that sexy comfortable Sunday afternoon look. In fact, even Victoria Beckham, who once said,”I can’t concentrate in heels”, was spotted wearing brogues at the start of the summer. So, it’s a win-win right? Comfort and fashion. Wrong!

According to Dr. Nichola Dunne, director of Douglas Orthotics, “People think that they are doing the right thing by wearing flats, but they don’t realize how much damage they can cause.” Although they may be better for our balance, flats have no arch support, fastening straps or shock absorbing materials. They can cause friction to the heel , Achilles tendon, and toes that can lead to blisters and callouses, and, commonly cause flat feet. In addition, the damage may not stop may not stop at the ankle Back, hip and knee pain are often attributed to wearing flats.

Plantar Fascitis
You may have heard about this on late night infomercials. Plantar fascitis is the swelling of the tissue that runs between the heel and the foot. It can be caused by weight gain or, you guessed it, unsupportive footwear. The HSE estimates that this condition affects one-tenth of the population. Says Dunne,”Each September, every second person who comes into the clinic has plantar fascists after spending the summer in sandals or flip flops.” (Are you regretting all those sandals sitting in your closet waiting to be worn?)

What Can You Do?
Buy your shoes in the afternoon. Your feet may be a little swollen from daily activity and will give you a more accurate expectation of how your shoes will fit on a daily basis. Stretch calf muscles daily to avoid tendonitis and try rolling a ball under your foot to relieve pain. And as for choosing our shoes, is there any middle ground? Should we ship out all our sandals to the Salvation Army, or is that too cruel? Chris McCarthy ,manager of Foot Solutions says, ” Not all flats are bad. A good shoe should have a cushioned base and be shaped to support the arches….The heel counter…behind your heels , needs to be solid and not tilt in or out. Proper shoes will support the heel bone to keep the foot flat and prevent pain.” And NO FLIP FLOPS!! According to the experts, these are an orthopedic disaster. They can cause pain, permanent damage to your toes, screw up your posture, slow you down, expose your feet to infection and could be made of toxic materials. In other words, if you are looking forward to walking comfortably for the rest of your life, avoid these at all costs.

So go forth, choose wisely and have fun conquering the world!

Woman biting nails

Handy Habits

Idle hands are the devil’s playground. Could any expression ring more true? And not just in the figurative sense…anxiety and boredom can often lead to habits like nail biting, thumb sucking, knuckle cracking and more. But how bad are these habits really? And what can we do to stop them?

Thumb sucking is probably the earliest of these habits to develop and often stops as a child gets older but sometimes can last into adulthood. “Thumb sucking is an appropriate and useful behavior for young children,” says Linda Goldstein, MD, a Washington pediatrician. “It allows them to comfort and entertain themselves.” The habit may last beyond infancy and dwindle in preschool years but if it lasts to kindergarten age, parents may begin to get concerned. Children who suck their thumbs may begin to get teased at this age. It can also lead to dental problems like a minor to severe overbite. Prolonged finger sucking can cause chapped skin, calluses and fingernail infections.

Sabine Hack, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine recommends using poster board and stickers to make a progress chart of your child’s thumb sucking, offering rewards for abstaining. Other remedies may include placing a bitter tasting liquid on the child’s finger, especially at night, to remind him not to suck.

Nail biting is another habit that usually starts at childhood. It can continue into adolescence and even adulthood. Nail biting has many unfavorable consequences. It can leave fingers red and sore. The area of skin around your nail can bleed and become infected as bacteria passes from your fingers to your mouth. It can also lead to misaligned and weakened teeth.

Experts recommend coating your nails with bitter tasting nail polish to discourage you from biting. Other treatments include keeping nails trimmed short so there is less nail to bite and getting regular manicures to make you hesitant to bite your nails, making them appear unattractive. Alternate techniques for stress management like yoga and meditation are also suggested.

The final habit we will be looking at is knuckle cracking. This habit is a bit controversial due to the long time debate of whether or not knuckle cracking can lead to arthritis. Many studies have been conducted to this end including one done by the researchers at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. This study showed that the chances of arthritis is pretty much the same in those who crack their knuckles and those who do not. However, in at least one study, chronic joint popping was shown to lead to inflammation and weakened hand grip. This could be countered by the stimulation of the Golgi tendon organs which is the result of the joints being manipulated. This leads to a “loose” and invigorated feeling.

Those who are looking to break the habit of knuckle cracking may want to think about putting band aids on their knuckles or a rubber band around their wrist to remind them to stop. You can also replace the habit with something else, like stretching your hands or snapping your fingers. Rewards systems and alternate relaxation therapies are recommended as well.

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