Tips and Guide

Walking Canes History And Benefits For Seniors

Walking Canes and walking sticks are an ideal alternative to crutches or hospital canes for people with a medical injury or problems with balance. They are also suitable for use if fatigue or pain is an issue Even absent a medical need, they can of course be utilized as a fashion accessory to provide an extra sense of style.  Most canes and walking sticks are made from either aluminum or wood, although many other kinds are available, such as carbon, lucite, bamboo, and acrylic. Many are compact and extremely lightweight, ideal for traveling and easy storage.

Several manufacturers even supply folding canes. In addition, there are innumerable custom additions for canes and walking sticks, from flashlights and clocks to ice and snow grippers. There are even chair and seat canes and umbrella canes available. For those with a medical need for a cane or walking stick, it should be used on the opposite side of the weakness or injury, even if this is not the dominant hand. All of the person’s weight should begin on the uninjured leg, and then one may step forward with the injured leg and the cane at the same time, with a normal step.

Thus, both the cane and the uninjured leg support the entire weight, and the injured leg can complete its step. The cane or walking stick essentially becomes a third limb. For the correct height of a cane or walking stick, the elbow should be just slightly bent while the user is maintaining an upright posture.

Different Types of Walking Canes Available in UK

There are a wide variety of canes and walking sticks from which to choose, not to mention the different types of handles or knobs available to personalize the style. Wood canes can be made from rosewood, beechwood, ash, pine, zebrano, afromosia, and wenge, as well as many other exotic woods. The types of handles and knobs are only limited by one’s imagination. You can find more information on top quality walking canes in UK here.

Hand carved wood canes have actually become quite a collector’s item, and there are many specialty manufacturers. A large collector’s market has developed for all manner of canes and walking sticks. Since they have been used for centuries, the antique cane and walking stick market is quite large, as well.

Walking Canes For ElderlyCanes and walking sticks are not just for men, either. There are unisex canes and canes designed specifically for women, based on not just size, but with feminine designs, too. Women have used canes throughout history, both for support and as a fashion statement. Women’s canes tend to have a smaller handle and shaft size to accommodate a woman’s smaller hand.

Cane handles vary extremely widely, and are often custom-designed. Common handles include the traditional hook, or tourist, handle, ball, palm, derby, and fritz. There are also many ornamental handles available.

Canes and walking sticks are of course a great help for people with a medical need, but they can also be enjoyed by anyone just looking for added comfort on long walks or hikes, and they can be a very unique touch of style and class for someone simply stepping out on the town. Continue reading “Walking Canes History And Benefits For Seniors”

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Tips and Guide

TENS Unit – A Natural Way To Get Relief From Pain?

It is quite common for people with back pain to suffer reoccurring bouts during their life. Sometimes it will go away for a long time and then return when people least expect it. One of the scariest things about being a back pain sufferer is always being careful of your back to try and prevent the pain from occurring. Back pain can affect the sufferer’s life in many ways. Some people cannot drive for long distances without suffering severe pain; others will take many days off work, putting their livelihood at risk.

There are many variations of back pain that can present, including upper,middle or lower back pain. Back and Neck Pain are often also related. Long term conditions of back pain can lead to scoliosis, kyphosis,sciatica or lordosis. Other conditions that can occur if the back pain is left untreated can be herniated or bulging discs and degenerative disc disease.

Common western medical back pain treatments include surgery, bed rest, pain relief medications, and stretching and strengthening exercises. Some of these treatments only ever work in the short term and some of them can even make the condition worse. There are many natural therapy that reduces chronic pain considerably. For example TENS unit are great for back pain relief. The problem lies in the western model looking for a part of the body to “blame”. This model says that if our invertebrate discs are degenerating they are “broken” and need to be”fixed”. The problem is with this health model it does not treat the cause of the problem. This is why people’s back pain continues to return again and again throughout their life. There is a way to treat the problem at the root cause which gives permanent relief to back pain sufferers.

What are TENS Unit

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a therapy that uses low-voltage electrical current for pain relief. The electrical impulses can reduce the pain signals going to the spinal cord and brain, which may help relieve pain and relax muscles. The unit is usually connected to the skin using two or more electrodes. Now, if only we knew how it worked. You do TENS with a small, battery-powered machine about the size of a pocket radio.

They may also stimulate the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. A typical battery-operated TENS unit is able to modulate pulse width, frequency and intensity. No one actually does, and there are several possibilities, like vagus nerve stimulation to control inflammation for rheumatoid arthritis — extremely interesting, but far from an established effect. Usually, you connect two electrodes (wires that conduct electrical current) from the machine to your skin. TENS isn’t a cure for pain and often only provides short-term relief while the TENS machine is being used.

Generally TENS is applied at high frequency (>50 Hz) with an intensity below motor contraction (sensory intensity) or low frequency (<10 Hz) with an intensity that produces motor contraction. E.M.S. stands for (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) which are predominately used to prevent, or reduce, muscle atrophy. Patients with a Pacemaker should not be routinely treated with TENS though under carefully controlled conditions it can be safely applied. That’s because they’re often able to ease muscle tension and to reduce stiffness in joints and muscles that can cause restrictions in motion. The use of a TENS machine might allow reduction of the amount of painkilling medicines you take.

Atrophy is the weakening and loss of muscle tone, which is usually experienced after surgeries or injuries. It is suggested that routine application of TENS for a patient with a pacemaker or any other implanted electronic device should be considered a contraindication. EMS units are particularly helpful for increasing blood circulation in the back and neck because these areas tend to suffer from more tension than the rest of the body. Although you might need to try a few settings on your TENS machine before finding the best one for you, there are no real side-effects from using a TENS machine. EMS has been proven to be an effective means of preventing muscle atrophy.

Body Massage For Back Pain

You can choose to have a relaxing body massage with or with out essential oils. Fantastic to de-stress or detox. Massage is a therapeutic treatment designed to ease tension and relieve stress. Massage helps to de-tox, stimulates circulation and improves the appearance of cellulite and skin texture and relieve muscle tension.


The theory is that Reflexology works on identified “reflex” points in the feet to encourage the body’s natural re-balancing ability.  Reflex points refer to specific areas in the body, e.g. the neck reflex is located at the base of the big toe.Pressure is applied to reflex points using the thumbs and fingers.  Working the feet in this way can allow the easing of tension, can help to improve circulation and elimination, and rebalance and address blockages to the flow of subtle energy within the system.

The experience of reflexology is unique to each person.  A majority will find the treatment immediately relaxing, whilst many will also feel uplifted and re-energised.  Whilst reflexology is intended to be much more than just a relaxing foot massage, the treatment uses pleasant massage techniques to warm, soothe and loosen up the feet.  This gives way to a natural re-balancing of the body, promoting relaxation and a sense of well-being.

Swimming for arthritis pain

Since swimming is a low-impact form of aerobic exercise, it relieves pressure on the muscles, and allows for the maintenance of fitness without placing too much stress on the joints. When you swim, you also exercise your arms, legs, torso and even the neck (i.e. regular breathing in freestyle) – so you could say that it’s a very well-balanced form of exercise. Swimming – when used as a form of therapy – is in many cases referred to as hydro therapy, and is often carried out under the supervision of a physiotherapist.

But even if you don’t have the resources or the time to commit yourself to these sessions, it is entirely possible for you to swim on your own, and still reap positive results when it comes to improving your health and treating the symptoms of arthritis. Nevertheless, before you start your own swimming routine, it is a good idea to keep the following factors in mind:

  • The type of arthritis you have (is it in the muscles or joints? Where is your arthritis located?)
  • This may dictate which types of swimming exercises are suitable for you.
  • The extent of joint damage (is your movement very limited?)
  • If your joints are very stiff already, then you may have to look for a pool that you can easily climb out of.
  • The range and severity of your symptoms (do you feel stiffness, aches or pain, inflammation, or a combination of these?)

Some types of swimming exercises will be more beneficial for stiffness than others. However, all exercises in warm water will contribute in some way to soothe swollen or sore joints. Swimming in warm water may help to relieve joint pain and relax muscles, as the high temperature soothes the stiff feeling that most arthritis patients suffer from. The warm water can help facilitate the circulation of blood, which reduces feelings of aching that often accompany most forms of the disorder. Water exercises are particularly good for treating joint stiffness caused by arthritis, because they allow for a greater degree of movement. Thus, you can help to relive tension in your joints by using the buoyancy of the water to move around freely.

Exercising in water does not pose the same dangers of injury as high-impact sports, such as running or tennis. Swimming is very gentle on the body, making it a very safe yet effective sport for arthritis sufferers. This is because the water absorbs most of the impact, while still providing resistance, so you can build up muscle and increase your fitness, without worrying about causing further damage to your joints.

Choosing the right swimming exercises for arthritis
With that being said, you need to know that not all swimming exercises are made equal! You should adapt the type of workout to your specific type of arthritis. For example, people affected by myositis, or the inflammation of the muscles, may find that more intensive swimming strokes such as freestyle gives their muscles a stronger work out. As a result, this helps to treat their symptoms more directly.

However, always remember to warm-up first. Similarly, people with arthritis in their hips and knees are not recommended to undertake breast stroke, because it is particularly taxing on these specific joints. For this type of arthritis, ‘jogging’ in the water is more appropriate, because it requires less exertion, while gently and effectively warming up your muscles at the same time.

How to start a swimming routine to help your arthritis
Don’t be put off by swimming if you have never tried it before – remember that with every sport, even the best athletes have to start at the very beginning. You can start by immersing yourself in the water for a few minutes to get comfortable with your surroundings. Trying ‘jogging’ in water at a waist-deep level, then gradually work your way deeper as you feel more comfortable in the pool. When first starting a routine, remember not to overdo it.

You can begin with just one or two weekly sessions, and work your way up to three to five. Remember to gradually increase the duration too – beginning with a 20 minute workout, you can slowly build up to 40 or even 50 minutes at a time. Choosing the right type of pool is important – it is recommended that a temperature of 86 to 94 Fahrenheit is ideal for those with arthritis symptoms. Keep accessibility in mind – pools with ladders may make it more difficult to climb in and out.

If you are hesitant to swim by yourself, ask your local sports center if there are beginner classes that will provide group support and the right supervision. Overview: The key things to remember about swimming and arthritis Keep in mind that the key to building up fitness safely is by gradually increasing the intensity and frequency of your work outs. Know your limits, listen to your body and take regular breaks if you get tired. In addition, remember to add variety to your swimming sessions, by using kickboards and a range of swimming styles – not just to prevent boredom, but also so that all your joints are being exercised (not just one or two).

Daily exercise has repeatedly been recognized as an excellent form of treatment of arthritis, whether it is walking or swimming. However, your doctor is the best person to consult with regards to designing an exercise routine. Be sure to ask about the best type of swimming exercise for you, and whether the supervision of a physiotherapist is necessary. As with all arthritis treatments, keep your expectations reasonable. Daily exercise on its own will not necessarily lead to a total cure, but when used with prescribed medication, it could really help relieve your symptoms and assist in the development of a healthy and active lifestyle.

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Enviroment , Tips and Guide

Some Basic Tips for Low-Carbon Shopping

When we buy home energy, car fuel or plane tickets, it’s fairly easy to work out the carbon footprint incurred. For other items, it’s not so simple. It’s immensely complicated to work out the pre­cise carbon cost of even a simple product such as a bag of sugar; inevitably it’s trickier still to work out the emissions involved in producing an item with a long and complex supply chain – a new kitchen, say, or a television. In some cases, you might find a carbon footprint label, but in other cases you’ll need to either use intelligent guesswork or do some online research to get a rough sense of the “embedded carbon” or “embedded energy” in each item.

Carbon labels

Though they currently appear on only a small number of products, labels speci­fying the carbon footprint of a product are likely to become increasingly com­mon in coming years. The standard carbon labelling scheme in the UK was developed by the Carbon Trust, a quango set up by the government to help businesses cut emissions. The label shows the total carbon footprint of a product in grams or kilograms of carbon equivalent (ie all the greenhouse gases emitted during the production of the item, expressed as CO2 for the sake of simplicity).
In some cases extra information is provided on the label to help consumers get a sense of how the product compares to the alternatives. For example, the carbon labels that appear on the various types of Tesco orange juice state that freshly squeezed juice creates more emissions than juice made from concentrate. This isn’t surprising, given that making fresh juice involves transporting the whole fruit to the processing plant, rather than just the juice, but the carbon label usefully quantifies the dif­ference – 360 grams per serving, compared to 240 grams – and in doing so helps the consumer make an informed choice.
Some experts have expressed niggles about the methodology behind the Carbon Trust’s labeling scheme but in most cases these are caveats rather than anything fundamental. One example is that the rules, which have been formalized by the British Standards Institute under the name PAS 2000, don’t apply a multiplier to CO2 emissions from planes on the grounds that the science isn’t yet sufficiently clear. This means that air­freighted goods look greener than they probably should. Overall, though, the rules are fairly robust and the labels are a useful way to raise carbon literacy among consumers.

Looking up carbon footprints

For the vast majority of items that don’t feature a carbon label, it can be difficult to get even an approximate sense of their carbon footprints. Individual reports, articles and blog posts have focused on the emissions caused by the manufacture of various specific items, so sometimes it’s possible to track down useful information via Google. Surprisingly, however, no single site pulls together footprint estimates for a wide range of objects. This can make it challenging not only to weigh up the carbon impact of different purchases but also to assess the environmental benefits of upgrading from old appliances to modern energy-efficient ones (a calculation that’s impossible to make without knowing the embedded carbon in the new machines).
A reliable carbon footprint website will doubtless eventually emerge, but in the meantime the most useful starting place for researching the cli­mate impact of objects is WattzOn. The site’s Embedded Energy Database (EED) provides ballpark figures for the energy consumed in the manufac­ture of everything from dishwashers to footwear. Since energy use is the main source of greenhouse-gas emissions for most manufactured goods, these “embedded energy” figures give a useful indication of the relative carbon footprints for the various items listed.
Another useful source for information about the carbon footprint of everyday objects will be Mike Berner’s-Lee forthcoming book, How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything. Due to be published in 2010, the book details the climate impact of more than a hundred items.
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