Fat Loss Weight Loss 

The Weight Loss Motivation Bible: How To Program Your Mind For Sustainable Fat Loss

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FDA Approves Implant to Battle Opioid Addiction

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By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A new long-acting implant that can help treat people addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers was approved Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Opioid abuse and addiction have taken a devastating toll on American families. We must do everything we can to make new, innovative treatment options available that can help patients regain control over their lives,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf said in a statement. “Today’s approval provides the first-ever implantable option to support patients’ efforts to maintain treatment as part of their overall recovery program.”

Probuphine is placed in the upper arm of recovering addicts and releases a steady six-month dose of buprenorphine, an anti-addiction drug designed to combat the cravings that come with opioids like heroin or powerful prescription painkillers like Percocet or OxyContin. Buprenorphine is already available as a pill or a film that can be placed in the mouth.

The steady flow from the implant will reduce fluctuations that can occur when taking a medication once or twice daily, and it removes the need for a patient to remember to take it, said Dr. Annie Umbricht, an expert in substance abuse treatment at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

“A person suffering from addiction would not have to go through the up-and-downs of a daily medication, and therefore will feel much more normal,” Umbricht explained.

Clinical trials published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010 showed the implant led to higher abstinence rates among addicts, with 40 percent remaining drug-free compared with 28 percent receiving a placebo.

People given the implant also were more likely to remain in treatment, about 66 percent compared with 31 percent of the placebo group.

“It really reduces or eliminates cravings, and they don’t start searching around for opiates,” said Dr. Scott Segal, president and chief medical officer of the Segal Institute for Clinical Research in Miami, one of the centers that participated in the clinical trials.

The implant provides patients with no-fail treatment during its six-month period of effectiveness, Segal said.

“Things happen in life,” he said. “You miss your doctor’s appointment, the pharmacy doesn’t have the medication and there’s problems. The implant takes relapse off the table.”

It takes about 15 minutes to place the implant, Segal said, and side effects are similar to oral buprenorphine. They include headache, depression, constipation, nausea, vomiting and back pain, according to the FDA.

“I was concerned that patients would [not] like this option, and I was dead wrong,” he said. “The patients enrolled quickly. They liked it. They tolerated it well. And they were upset when we took them off the implant at the end of the study.”

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, and the new implant could also help counter that, Umbricht said.

There were 28,647 overdose deaths related to heroin and prescription pain killers in 2014, an average of 78 per day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s because people undergo treatment and lose their tolerance for opioids, but then leave treatment with a high risk of relapse, Umbricht said.

“We know the rate of relapse after drug treatment is more than 90 percent,” Umbricht said. “These people have lost their tolerance, but they don’t realize it. They are at high risk for overdose.”

The implant can help stabilize addicts during treatment, and then provide them with support against relapse once they’ve been released, she said.

Buprenorphine provides effects that are similar to, but weaker than, opioids like heroin or methadone, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

But those effects level off at moderate doses, lowering the risk of misuse and addiction, SAMHSA says.

Buprenorphine also interferes with the effects of full-strength opiates, Segal said.

“It tends to saturate the receptors that respond to opiates,” he said. “Even if you were to take opiates with it, you won’t get high. It provides pain relief, but doesn’t give them the buzz or high that heroin would.”

The implant eliminates one other concern associated with oral buprenorphine—the likelihood that someone with a prescription will share their pills with friends.

Researchers estimate that as much as 50 percent of oral buprenorphine prescriptions are “diverted,” Umbricht said.

The intent is most likely to help other people quit their drug habit, Umbricht said, but without drug counseling those addicts are not likely to succeed.

“That person is not going to get the psychosocial support they need,” Umbricht said, adding that drug sharing also maintains illegal behaviors that recovering addicts need to shake.

Addiction specialist Dr. Kevin Cotterell agreed.

“The prospect of a long-acting opiate agonist-antagonist surgically implanted for use in the treatment of addiction to opiates is very encouraging,” said Cotterell, a psychiatrist with South Oaks Hospital in Amityville, N.Y. “It will help in overcoming problems with compliance, which is a great barrier to recovery. It will enhance safety and reduce diversion if used widely.”

More information

For more on buprenophine, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


Also check out healthywithjodi.com

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At Least 10 Pregnant Women in Dallas Have Zika Virus, Officials Say

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By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) — At least 10 pregnant women in the Dallas area have been infected with Zika, Texas officials confirmed Wednesday.

All of the women contracted the mosquito-borne virus while traveling abroad, Dallas Health and Human Services officials told CBS News.

In related news, the U.S. House on Thursday approved a $1.1 billion funding package to combat the Zika threat, the Associated Press reported.

The bill still needs to be approved by the U.S. Senate, and it remains to be seen if President Barack Obama will sign it. Obama originally asked Congress for $1.9 billion, and Democrats and the White House have voiced opposition to certain provisions of the package.

Even though there have been no local transmissions of Zika reported yet in the United States, the number of cases of infection among pregnant women keeps climbing.

As of June 9, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there are 234 cases of pregnant women on the U.S. mainland who have been infected with Zika, which typically involves relatively mild symptoms in most adults. However, it can cause devastating birth defects in babies that include microcephaly, where an infant is born with an abnormally small head and brain.

In Latin America, thousands of babies have already been born with microcephaly. And researchers reported Wednesday that fears over Zika-related birth defects may be driving up abortion rates in Latin American countries affected by the virus.

In Brazil and Ecuador—where governments have issued health warnings on the danger to the fetus from maternal Zika infection—requests for abortion in 2016 have doubled from 2010 rates, the researchers reported.

The other 17 Latin American countries covered by the new study had their rates rise by more than a third during that time, according to the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers noted that because data on family planning in Latin America is often hard to come by, their numbers may underestimate the surge in abortions since Zika’s emergence.

“The World Health Organization predicts as many as 4 million Zika cases across the Americas over the next year, and the virus will inevitably spread to other countries,” noted study senior author Dr. Catherine Aiken, of the University of Cambridge in England.

But no nation has been more affected than Brazil. As a result of the Zika epidemic, almost 5,000 babies have been born with microcephaly there.

However, the CDC warned last Friday that infection rates are rising in Puerto Rico. Testing of blood donations in the U.S. territory—”our most accurate real-time leading indicator of Zika activity”—suggest that more and more people on the island have been infected, according to CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.

“The real importance of this information is that in coming months it’s possible that thousands of pregnant women in Puerto Rico could become infected with Zika,” Frieden stressed. “This could lead to dozens or hundreds of infants being born with microcephaly in the coming year,” he added.

“Controlling this mosquito is very difficult,” Frieden said. “It takes an entire community working together to protect a pregnant woman.”

Because the virus remains largely undetected, it will be months before affected babies begin to be born, Frieden said. Some will have microcephaly or other brain-related birth defects. But many will appear healthy and normal, and there’s no way to know how they might have been affected, he explained.

Zika is typically transmitted via the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. But, transmission of the virus through sex is more common than previously thought, World Health Organization officials have said.

Women of child-bearing age who live in an active Zika region should protect themselves from mosquitoes by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, using mosquito repellent when outside, and staying indoors as much as possible, according to the CDC.

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on the Zika virus.

This Q&A will tell you what you need to know about Zika.

To see the CDC list of sites where Zika virus is active and may pose a threat to pregnant women, click here.


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5 Healthy Travel Hacks to Help You Stay on Track

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Traveling isn’t always as glamorous as it sounds. Long drives, cab rides, flights, hours in terminals, and the occasional jaunt through a train station can result in major stress — on the body and mind. For me, travel is a fact of my everyday life. The benefit of that, beyond frequent flyer miles and knowing how to pack very quickly, is knowing the simple tricks to staying healthy while on the go.

So how do you make sure your traveling doesn’t interfere with your healthy habits? Here are my five best tips that you can start today to get back on track!

1. Bring Healthy Snacks With You
The stress of traveling can make you hungry, so it’s a good idea to keep something on hand that will satisfy you. Let’s be honest here, there aren’t many healthy options on an airplane, so packing healthy snacks is your best bet. According to Toronto-based culinary nutritionist Keisha Luke, “Try to bring along some mixed nuts, low-sugar or naturally sweetened with raw honey, maple syrup, agave, or even dried fruit granola, protein balls (natural peanut butter, oatmeal, honey, and nuts), fruits, and opt for water when offered a beverage.”

2. Wear Your Exercise Shoes
Heck, wear your sweats, too! Why? Because exercise clothes and shoes are never out of style, plus dressing for fitness means that you’ll be more likely to walk to your destinations. You’re also more likely to go check out the city, the gym, or the mall a few blocks away without calling a cab.

The more you walk during your time away from home, the better you will feel. Take the long way, take the stairs, whatever you’ve gotta do to keep moving, do it.

3. Order à la Carte
Most meals are already put together for you on many menus, and most of the time you’ll have no idea what the calorie content is. Luke told us to keep it simple: “Order things you know are healthy. For dinners, pick a lean cut of meat and choose sides that are as simple as possible such as steamed veggies, brown rice, quinoa, or a side salad.”

For lunches, choose turkey wraps, salads, or other lighter fare and opt for more simple dressings. Say no to fries as a side, and choose sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, or even a small salad instead. Remember: there’s no law that says you have to finish everything they put in front of you. We won’t tell your mom, honest!

Breakfast can be tricky with all the sweet treats offered such as pancakes, french toast, and more, so choose wisely and go for good old eggs and oatmeal if you have to. Even a cup of yogurt can be a great option here.

For drinks, stick to water or unsweetened tea. If you drink alcohol, keep it to a minimum and choose wisely. No cola in your mixed drinks; go for unsweetened grapefruit juice or seltzer and lime as a mixer.

4. Bring Your Personal Trainer and Nutritionist With You
Literally! With today’s technology making it possible, you can still travel and complete your sessions with a personal trainer or fitness apps. Either plan ahead with your trainer for some Skype sessions to stay on track, or as certified personal trainer Heather Neff told us, “Use LiftSession.com; all you need is a laptop or tablet and some WiFi (which is usually available and free at hotels) to get in a great workout.”

Mobile personal trainer apps and sites allow you to connect with a live online personal trainer and never miss a workout while you are traveling. You can do it from the comfort of your own hotel room (or mom’s guest bedroom).

You can do the same thing with your nutrition. Either seek out food delivery services that will get your meals to you no matter where you are, or seek out a culinary nutritionist in the city you plan on visiting to give your diet a new kick.

5. Do Your Best and Don’t Dwell on a Mistake
You’re traveling, after all. This is supposed to be an exciting time where you get to try new things and let loose a little. My best advice would be to never eat two bad meals in a row, keep moving as much as you can, and enjoy your time away. In addition to that, try to de-stress and have a little fun. You deserve it.

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FDA Approves Implant to Battle Opioid Addiction

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The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A new long-acting implant that can help treat people addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers was approved Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Opioid abuse and addiction have taken a devastating toll on American families. We must do everything we can to make new, innovative treatment options available that can help patients regain control over their lives,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf said in a statement. “Today’s approval provides the first-ever implantable option to support patients’ efforts to maintain treatment as part of their overall recovery program.”

Probuphine is placed in the upper arm of recovering addicts and releases a steady six-month dose of buprenorphine, an anti-addiction drug designed to combat the cravings that come with opioids like heroin or powerful prescription painkillers like Percocet or OxyContin. Buprenorphine is already available as a pill or a film that can be placed in the mouth.

The steady flow from the implant will reduce fluctuations that can occur when taking a medication once or twice daily, and it removes the need for a patient to remember to take it, said Dr. Annie Umbricht, an expert in substance abuse treatment at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

“A person suffering from addiction would not have to go through the up-and-downs of a daily medication, and therefore will feel much more normal,” Umbricht explained.

Clinical trials published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010 showed the implant led to higher abstinence rates among addicts, with 40 percent remaining drug-free compared with 28 percent receiving a placebo.

People given the implant also were more likely to remain in treatment, about 66 percent compared with 31 percent of the placebo group.

“It really reduces or eliminates cravings, and they don’t start searching around for opiates,” said Dr. Scott Segal, president and chief medical officer of the Segal Institute for Clinical Research in Miami, one of the centers that participated in the clinical trials.

The implant provides patients with no-fail treatment during its six-month period of effectiveness, Segal said.

“Things happen in life,” he said. “You miss your doctor’s appointment, the pharmacy doesn’t have the medication and there’s problems. The implant takes relapse off the table.”

It takes about 15 minutes to place the implant, Segal said, and side effects are similar to oral buprenorphine. They include headache, depression, constipation, nausea, vomiting and back pain, according to the FDA.

“I was concerned that patients would [not] like this option, and I was dead wrong,” he said. “The patients enrolled quickly. They liked it. They tolerated it well. And they were upset when we took them off the implant at the end of the study.”

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, and the new implant could also help counter that, Umbricht said.

There were 28,647 overdose deaths related to heroin and prescription pain killers in 2014, an average of 78 per day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s because people undergo treatment and lose their tolerance for opioids, but then leave treatment with a high risk of relapse, Umbricht said.

“We know the rate of relapse after drug treatment is more than 90 percent,” Umbricht said. “These people have lost their tolerance, but they don’t realize it. They are at high risk for overdose.”

The implant can help stabilize addicts during treatment, and then provide them with support against relapse once they’ve been released, she said.

Buprenorphine provides effects that are similar to, but weaker than, opioids like heroin or methadone, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

But those effects level off at moderate doses, lowering the risk of misuse and addiction, SAMHSA says.

Buprenorphine also interferes with the effects of full-strength opiates, Segal said.

“It tends to saturate the receptors that respond to opiates,” he said. “Even if you were to take opiates with it, you won’t get high. It provides pain relief, but doesn’t give them the buzz or high that heroin would.”

The implant eliminates one other concern associated with oral buprenorphine—the likelihood that someone with a prescription will share their pills with friends.

Researchers estimate that as much as 50 percent of oral buprenorphine prescriptions are “diverted,” Umbricht said.

The intent is most likely to help other people quit their drug habit, Umbricht said, but without drug counseling those addicts are not likely to succeed.

“That person is not going to get the psychosocial support they need,” Umbricht said, adding that drug sharing also maintains illegal behaviors that recovering addicts need to shake.

Addiction specialist Dr. Kevin Cotterell agreed.

“The prospect of a long-acting opiate agonist-antagonist surgically implanted for use in the treatment of addiction to opiates is very encouraging,” said Cotterell, a psychiatrist with South Oaks Hospital in Amityville, N.Y. “It will help in overcoming problems with compliance, which is a great barrier to recovery. It will enhance safety and reduce diversion if used widely.”

More information

For more on buprenophine, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


Also check out healthywithjodi.com

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Hepatitis C Now Kills More Americans Than Any Other Infectious Disease

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Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

WEDNESDAY, May 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The number of hepatitis C-linked deaths in the United States reached a record high in 2014, and the virus now kills more Americans than any other infectious disease, health officials report.

There were 19,659 hepatitis C-related deaths in 2014, according to preliminary data from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those tragically high numbers aren’t necessary, one CDC expert said.

“Why are so many Americans dying of this preventable, curable disease? Once hepatitis C testing and treatment are as routine as they are for high cholesterol and colon cancer, we will see people living the long, healthy lives they deserve,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin said in an agency news release.

He directs the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

If not diagnosed and treated, people with hepatitis C are at increased risk for liver cancer and other life-threatening diseases. They may also unknowingly infect others.

The new CDC study found that the number of hepatitis C-related deaths in 2013 exceeded the combined number of deaths from 60 other infectious diseases, including HIV and tuberculosis.

The numbers might even be higher, the agency said. That’s because the new statistics are based on data from death certificates, which often underreport hepatitis C.

Most cases of hepatitis C are among baby boomers—those born between 1945 and 1965. According to the CDC, many were infected during medical procedures such as injections and blood transfusions when these procedures were not as safe as they are now. Many hepatitis C-infected “boomers” may even have lived with the disease for many years without knowing it, the CDC said.

The preliminary data also suggests a new wave of hepatitis C infections among injection drug users. These “acute” cases of hepatitis C infection more than doubled since 2010, increasing to 2,194 reported cases in 2014, the CDC found.

The new cases were mainly among young whites with a history of injection drug use who are living in rural and suburban areas of the Midwest and Eastern United States.

“Because hepatitis C often has few noticeable symptoms, the number of new cases is likely much higher than what is reported. Due to limited screening and underreporting, we estimate the number of new infections is closer to 30,000 per year,” said Dr. John Ward, director of CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis.

“We must act now to diagnose and treat hidden infections before they become deadly and to prevent new infections,” he added.

About 3.5 million Americans have hepatitis C and about half are unaware of their infection. One-time hepatitis C testing is recommended for everyone born from 1945 to 1965 and regular testing is suggested for others at high risk, according to the CDC and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Luckily, curative drugs have advanced the treatment of hepatitis C infection over recent years. For people diagnosed with the virus, these new and highly effective treatments can cure the vast majority of infections in two to three months, the CDC said.

The new report was published online May 4 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on hepatitis C.


Also check out healthywithjodi.com

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FDA Issues New Guidelines to Reduce Sodium in Processed Foods

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WEDNESDAY, June 1, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants the food industry to cut back on the salt.

In draft voluntary guidelines issued Wednesday, the agency set both two-year and 10-year goals for lower sodium content in hundreds of processed and prepared foods. The aim is to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke among Americans, according to the FDA.

“Many Americans want to reduce sodium in their diets, but that’s hard to do when much of it is in everyday products we buy in stores and restaurants,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in an FDA statement.

“Today’s announcement is about putting power back in the hands of consumers, so that they can better control how much salt is in the food they eat and improve their health,” she added.

Americans’ average salt intake is about 3,400 milligrams (mg) a day, which is nearly 50 percent more than what experts recommend. High salt intake increases the risk of high blood pressure (“hypertension”), heart disease and stroke.

The voluntary targets are meant to reduce Americans’ daily salt intake to 3,000 mg in two years and 2,300 mg in the next decade, according to the FDA. The guidelines cover a wide swath of foods, from bread to cold cuts, cereals, and snacks.

Some studies have estimated that lowering salt intake by about 40 percent over the next decade could save 500,000 lives and nearly $100 billion in health care costs in the United States.

“The totality of the scientific evidence supports sodium reduction from current intake levels,” said Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

“Experts at the Institute of Medicine have concluded that reducing sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day can significantly help Americans reduce their blood pressure, and ultimately prevent hundreds of thousands of premature illnesses and deaths,” Mayne said.

“Because the majority of sodium in our diets comes from processed and prepared foods, consumers are challenged in lowering their sodium intake themselves,” Mayne added.

The draft guidelines, which are open for public comment ranging from 90 days to 150 days, were welcomed by American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown.

“The American Heart Association strongly supports the draft voluntary sodium targets released today by the FDA, and we call upon the agency to finalize them as soon as possible,” Brown said in a statement.

“These new targets will spark a vital, healthy change in our food supply, a change consumers say they want. These voluntary targets can have a significant impact on the nation’s health,” she added.

“Lowering sodium levels in the food supply could eliminate about 1.5 million cases of uncontrolled hypertension and save billions of dollars in health care costs over the next decade,” Brown suggested.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration outlines how to reduce salt in your diet.


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What Is Reiki, and Should You Try It?

www.popsugar.com/fitness/What-Reiki-42843114

Thank You for visiting www.judgeweightloss.com. This is the spot for all of your fitness, workout, healthy lifestyle, supplement, and just general get healthy information. Enjoy

Have you heard of reiki? This “hot wellness trend” is actually an Japanese alternative medicine practice dating back to the early 1920s. With the rise of popularity of practices like acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, and natural healing like earthing and forest bathing, we wanted to know more about what reiki is and what makes it so special. So, we asked Christopher Tellez, reiki master at SF Reiki Center. Seems like a fitting expert, no?

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What Is Reiki?

“Reiki, pronounced ‘Ray-Key,’ means universal life energy. This life energy is all around us,” said Christopher. “With a special attunement process from the reiki master to student, the student can channel this life energy though the palms of their hands.”

As noted, “ki” is Japanese for energy — sound familiar? If you’re at all versed in traditional Chinese medicine or acupuncture, you’ll notice how similar “ki” is to “qi,” the Chinese word for energy. Just as acupuncture focuses on the qi, both of these alternative medicine practices are designed to aid in the flow of energy. The difference with reiki? No needles.

“Reiki is a gentle, noninvasive, hands-on technique of energy transfer from reiki practitioner to client,” said Christopher. In a reiki treatment, you’ll spend 60 to 90 minutes (depending on the provider) on a massage table or in a chair, fully clothed, and the practitioner (reiki master) will touch different points on your head, face, body, etc., either a light touch or with hands hovering above your body.

How Does It Work?

The concept is that good energy is transferred from the practitioner to the client. Here’s how he explained it: “The energy transfer vitalizes the body’s cells, tissues, organs, and emotional centers. By the end of a reiki treatment (front torso of body, head, and back of body), all body systems are operating in a stronger, more normal fashion. After reiki sessions, clients feel calm and deeply relaxed.”

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But if good energy is transferred from the practitioner to the client . . . what about “bad” energy transferring back to the reiki master? “Practitioners don’t take on their clients’ problems,” he said (that’s fortunate). “Energy flows only from the practitioner to the client. It never flows back into the practitioner to trouble them with the energy patterns of the client.”

“Practitioners feel better after a treatment than before they started,” he said. “Giving a reiki treatment increases the practitioner’s own vitality. Since practitioners are hands-on ‘transmitters,’ some of the energy flow is assimilated by them as they deliver the reiki treatment.”

You should keep in mind that reiki is not a massage — don’t go in expecting some deep tissue work.

Should You Try Reiki?

“Clients seek reiki services for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing for many reasons,” said Christopher. Here are some of the types of cases he treats at SF Reiki Center:

Balance of mental health (fear, anxiety, depression)
Rest and relaxation (stress reduction)
Letting go of grief and loss (changes around jobs, relationships, and loss of loved ones)
Preparing for surgery (pre and post)
Self-care practices for cancer and HIV (side effects of chemotherapy and HIV medications)
Creating big life changes (changing thought, belief patterns, conditions that are no longer working)

According to the International Association of Reiki Professionals, “Reiki is not a cure for a disease or illness.” That said, “It may assist the body in creating an environment to facilitate healing.” You can use reiki as “a complement to traditional medicine,” as it “is practiced in many hospitals and medical care settings.”

While reiki has yet to have the scientific backup like acupuncture (very little research has been done), it has been shown to have zero harmful effects or side effects. If you’ve experienced a life change (or are about to), if you’re trying to manage anxiety, or if you’re trying to give yourself a healthy start to 2017, why not give reiki a shot?

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Men Exposed to Zika Virus Should Use Condoms for Next 6 Months, Says CDC

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By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 25, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Men who know they’ve probably been infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus should not have sex without a condom for six months, according to new federal health guidelines released Friday.

Numerous cases of sexually transmitted Zika infection—which is thought to cause severe birth defects in some cases—have been confirmed in the United States, said officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Mounting evidence supports a link between Zika and microcephaly, and possibly other problems such as miscarriage,” Dr. Denise Jamieson, co-lead of the Pregnancy and Birth Defects Team of the CDC’s Zika Virus Response Team, said during an afternoon news conference.

“The rate of these conditions is not known yet,” she said. “We know there is a risk, but it is important to remember that even in places with active Zika transmission women are delivering apparently healthy infants.”

The goal of the latest CDC guidelines is to give doctors the best advice possible to share with their patients about pregnancy planning and sex, Jamieson added. However, they are are based on the best evidence to date, and not on a definitive understanding of Zika, she noted.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that’s been tied to thousands of cases—mainly in Brazil—of a severe birth defect called microcephaly. In microcephaly, a newborn’s head is smaller than normal, with the potential for long-term neurological damage.

While the bulk of Zika cases leading to microcephaly may occur via maternal infection during pregnancy, cases of sexual transmission from a man to his female partner have come to light, the CDC said.

A team led by CDC investigator Alexandra Oster notes that, as of March 18, there are now “six confirmed cases of sexual transmission in the United States associated with this outbreak.”

Just how long might the Zika virus linger in semen? According to the report, semen collected from one man still showed signs of the virus 62 days after he began to exhibit fever linked to Zika infection.

Zika infection is usually a transient, mild illness in adults, and many cases may occur without symptoms, experts say. However, because of the risk to babies, the CDC is advising that men with known or suspected infection with Zika refrain from sex—or only have sex with a condom—for six months after a diagnosis.

The agency also advises that, for couples involving a man who has traveled to or resides in an area endemic for Zika:

• the couple refrain from sex, or use condoms during sex, throughout the duration of a pregnancy.

• they refrain from sex, or use condoms during sex, for eight weeks if the man has returned from travel to a Zika-endemic area but has not shown signs of infection.

• for couples living in a Zika-endemic area, they refrain from sex or engage in sex only with a condom for as long as active Zika transmission persists in that area.

The latest guidelines also recommend that women who know they’ve been infected, have no symptoms but have recently been to a Zika-endemic area, or think they might have been exposed via sex, should wait at least eight weeks before trying to get pregnant.

The CDC has also advised that all pregnant women consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If a pregnant woman must travel to or live in one of these areas, she should talk to her health-care provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.

On Friday, CDC officials also said that 273 U.S. residents in 35 states have now tested positive for infection with the Zika virus.

“All are travel-related or sexually transmitted cases,” Jamieson said. “In addition, there have been 261 cases reported from Puerto Rico, 14 cases from American Samoa and 11 cases from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Of these, 99 percent are presumed to be locally transmitted by mosquitoes in the territories.”

In the majority of Zika infections, symptoms included rash (97 percent of cases), fever and joint pain.

“Zika virus disease should be considered in patients with acute onset of fever, rash, arthralgia [joint pain], or conjunctivitis [pink eye] who traveled to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission or who had unprotected sex with someone who traveled to one of those areas and developed compatible symptoms within two weeks of returning,” the CDC said.

And earlier this month, scientists reported more evidence supporting a link between the Zika virus and microcephaly.

Researchers now believe that one in every 100 pregnant women infected with the virus during the first trimester will give birth to a baby with the birth defect.

The Zika virus is suspected of causing an epidemic that started last spring in Brazil, where there have been more than 5,600 suspected or confirmed cases of microcephaly.

Zika has also been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, an immune system disorder that can occasionally lead to a fatal form of paralysis.

Speaking earlier this month, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said that “we are learning more about Zika every day. The link with microcephaly and other possibly serious birth defects is growing stronger every day. The link to Guillain-Barre syndrome is likely to be proven in the near future, and the documentation that sexual transmission is possible is now proven.”

First discovered in Uganda in 1947, the Zika virus wasn’t thought to pose major health risks until last year, when it became clear that it posed potentially devastating threats to pregnant women.

Meanwhile, the virus continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean.

It is not expected to pose a significant threat to the U.S. mainland, federal health officials have said in the past.

In Puerto Rico, however, the situation is “of great concern,” Frieden said.

“Puerto Rico is on the frontline of the battle against Zika,” said Frieden, who had just returned from the island. “And it’s an uphill battle.”

By next year, Frieden said, there could be hundreds of thousands of cases of Zika in the territory, and “thousands of infected pregnant women.”

In a separate report released Friday, the CDC stressed that effective contraception needs to be made much more readily available to Puerto Ricans. In a statement, the agency noted that, “approximately two-thirds of pregnancies in Puerto Rico are unintended, indicating a potentially unmet need for access to birth control.”

The agency said that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will boost its efforts at family planning education in Puerto Rico, so that women can help prevent unintended pregnancies — especially those jeopardized by Zika infection.

The Zika virus has now spread to over 38 countries and territories, most in Latin America and the Caribbean. The World Health Organization estimates there could be up to 4 million cases of Zika in the Americas in the next year.

More information

For more on Zika virus, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To see the CDC list of sites where Zika virus is active and may pose a threat to pregnant women, click here.


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