All posts related to "lifestyle"

AS it Goes – Amber as Therapy?

Amber bead necklace in heart shapeMy friend, her daughter and her 6-month old son recently came for an afternoon visit and while the baby entertained us with his antics, his shirt opened to reveal that he was wearing a necklace made of small amber beads.

The baby’s mother, a university-educated and grounded young woman, told me that many young babies wear these necklaces because it is believed that amber has strong anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Babies wear amber as a remedy for teething; Baltic amber, in particular, is thought to soothe and calm a fussy baby without resorting to drugs. Continue reading

AS it Goes – A Magical Fish

Armand the betta fish

Armand, the betta fish. Photo courtesy of Fran Halter.

My hubbie and I recently celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary, and our children searched for the perfect gift to give the couple that already has two of everything. They finally settled on a “little” something related to the traditional stone—coral—that marks 35 years of married life.

Coral is said to grant wisdom, promote a healthy emotional foundation, and protect passage through tempests. However, instead of giving us a piece of ornamental coral (where to display that?) or a decorative photo of colourful coral (no wall space available either), they decided to expand on the coral theme and integrate it into their gift.

Apparently a family vacay to see a coral reef was their first idea, but practicality and financial reality intervened. Instead, we were introduced to “Armand”, a bright blue betta fish whose new home features coloured coral-type rocks on the bottom of his fish bowl. These fish tend to be aggressive, so they are often sold individually as they can easily live up to their common name: Siamese Fighting Fish. Two male bettas in the same tank will fight each other to death to exert their dominance (I’m sure the kids did not know about this aspect when they decided on their gift ).

However, Armand seems friendly enough and he interacts with us: he follows your finger along the outside of his tank and every day at the feeding hour, he nearly jumps out of the water with excitement when his food arrives. Lately, he’s been making bubble nests, floating bundles of bubbles, which apparently indicates that he is healthy and comfortable in his environment on the island in our kitchen.

We were a little hesitant about owning a fish because our previous attempts to care for goldfish were most unsuccessful. But there’s no doubt that owning a pet has a positive psychological effect. Armand’s lazy swim around his bowl does impart a certain calmness with his hypnotic movements. It’s a fact that your body goes through a physical change when your mood is altered; the level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is actually lowered. And the production of serotonin, a chemical associated with well-being, is increased.

Fran HalterCoupled with the purported “magical” properties imparted by the coral stones on the bottom of his bowl, Armand has made a positive contribution to our state of health. Anyone who suffers from a chronic condition or disease, such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS), welcomes any small positive measure that brings even a modicum of comfort or relief. Seems like Armand has done just that. ~ Fran

 

Do you have a pet that has a magical effect on your health? Send us pictures!

AS it Goes – Massage is Not Therapy

Woman enjoying massage

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many people with arthritis use massage therapy to help alleviate their aches and pains. Massage soothes sore joints and muscles and over the long term, it may improve your range of motion, reduce stiffness and lessen the anxiety associated with living with chronic pain.

When you have ankylosing spondylitis (AS), it’s important to know—in advance—what kind of massage would suit you the best. If you are in remission, for instance, the massage can be a little more aggressive with more pressure applied to muscles. In general, it is advised that AS’ers should ask for a soft tissue massage with light kneading, vibration, and some stretching and long soothing strokes. Continue reading

AS it Goes – Sleep, Gentle Sleep

Clock that says "Time for bed!"

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at Freedigitalphotos.net

”To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub”
Shakespeare’s Hamlet (Act 111, Scene 1)

This line is part of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy “To be, or not to be” and illustrates how Hamlet’s sleep was fraught with tortured dreams over the murder of his father and other heinous deeds. It appears that the universal preoccupation with getting a peaceful sleep was as much a common concern over 400 years ago as it is for people today. Continue reading

AS it Goes – Laser Therapy for Two, Please

Agatha

Agatha sleeping in her favourite bed.

Fran’s dog, Agatha, also has arthritis. Just as she would for herself, Fran is always on the lookout for treatments for her pet companion. Recently, she found one that, so far, seems to be working: laser therapy.

I’ve written about my nearly 11-year old dog, Agatha, and her arthritic hips and spinal issues on several occasions. As owners, we do everything possible to support Agatha’s aching joints, including frequent long walks and monthly Cartrophen Vet injections (a disease modifying osteoarthritis drug – DMOAD) to keep her relatively pain-free. Plus, at every meal she is fed a “super cookie” loaded with glucosamine HCL, chondroitin, shark cartilage and yucca. All these supplements are reputed to have a beneficial effect on lubricating joints. Continue reading