Health and Massage – News

Massage affects the body as a whole. To understand how massage therapy works, some of the physiological effects of massage need to be briefly examined.

Massage is known to increase the circulation of blood and flow of lymph. The direct mechanical effect of rhythmically applied manual pressure and movement used in massage can dramatically increase the rate of blood flow. Also, the stimulation of nerve receptors causes the blood vessels (by reflex action) to dilate, which also facilitates blood flow.

A milky white fluid called lymph carries impurities and waste away from the tissues and passages through gland-like structures spaced through the lymphatic system that act as filtering valves. The lymph does not circulate as blood does, so its movement depends heavily on the squeezing effect of muscle contractions. Consequentially, inactive people fail to stimulate lymph flow. On the other hand, the stimulation caused by violent activity can be outstripped by the increased waste produced by that activity. Massage can dramatically aid the movement of lymph in either case.

For the whole body to be healthy, the sum of its parts – the cells – must be healthy. The individual cells of the body are dependent on an abundant supply of blood and lymph because these fluids supply nutrients and oxygen and carry away wastes and toxins. So, it is easy to understand why good circulation is so important for the entire body, due to its effect on the circulation alone.

Massage is also known to:

– Cause changes in the blood. The oxygen capacity of the blood can increase 10-15% after massage

– Affect muscles throughout the body. Massage can help loosen contracted, shortened muscles and can stimulate weak, flaccid muscles. This muscle "balancing" can help posture and promote more efficient movement. Massage does not directly increase muscle strength, but it can speed recovery from fatigue that occurs after exercise. In this way, it can be possible to do more exercise and training, which in the long run strengnts muscles and improvements conditioning. Massage also provides a gentle stretching action to both the muscles and connective tissues that surround and support the muscles and many other parts of the body, which helps keep these tissues elastic.

– Increase the body's secretions and excretions. There is a proven increase in the production of gastric juices, saliva, and urine after massage. There is also increased excretion of nitrogen, inorganic phosphorous, and sodium chloride (salt). This suggests that the metabolic rate (the utilization of absorbed material by the body's cells) increases.

– Affect the nervous system. Massage balances the nervous system by soothing or stimulating it, depending on which effect is needed by the individual at the time of massage.

– Enhance skin condition. Massage directly improves the function of the sebaceous (oil) and sweat glands which keep the skin lubricated, clean and cooled. Tough, inflexible skin can become softer and more supple.

– Affect internal organs. By indirectly stimulating nerves that supply internal organs, blood vessels of these organs dilate and allow greater blood supply to them.

Knowing about the physiological effects of massage makes it possible to better understand the health and fitness benefits of massage. What takes place under the massage therapists hands has considerable importance for those interested in health and fitness in tuning up their bodies. In every sport or form of exercise, massage can help. By helping to reduce physiological fatigue and aid recovery from the exertion of working out or playing, massage enables better training, with longer, more effective workouts, then facilitating better performance and preventing injury.

The people of ancient Mediterranean civilizations knew this. After bathing exercise, they included a full body massage. The ancients understood that education involves equal development of the mind and body. The modern publications interest in physical fitness, holistic health, wellness and human potential representations a bid to revive a time honored philosophy.

For most people embarking on a fitness program, often the spirit is willing but the flesh is not. When regular exercise is begun almost every part of the body changes. Of interest to massage therapists is the way blood vessels become more intricate in order the meet the body's demand for more oxygen, to supply more nutrients, to permit more elimination. This takes time. While the muscles are getting into shape, they have trouble getting enough oxygen and nutrient and wastes back up and stagnate.

Unfortunately, many exercise programs regard aches and pains as the inevitable price to be paid. This is simply not true. Massage can be used as the Greeks and Romans used it – to increase endurance, control fatigue and feel better as part of a regular health program.

Massage acts to disperse the accumulated by-products of muscle action that irritate muscles and nerve endings. Lactic and carbonic acids build up in muscle tissue shortly after exercise begins. These acids are waste products that contribute to the causation of the pain and occasional cramping that exercisers, athletes, dancers, etc. suffer during and / or after workouts or performing. These acids are formed when the glycogen stored in the liver and muscles in burned to produce the energy spent during exercise. The acids must have historically been reconverted to glycogen and stored again, or drained out via the lymph and circulatory systems. Pain and fatigue persist until this process of reconverting or excreting is completed. Massage can help eliminate the irritation caused by these wastes, so increasing muscle recovery rates. When massage has been substituted for rest, an increase from 20-75%, even 100% muscle recovery has been recorded. For example, this is why boxers are massaged rather than rested between rounds.

Joints are critical to exercise because joints are moved by the muscles to produce movement. All joints are complicated, and their parts have a way of settling and stiffening when not used. A sluggish, numb feeling in the joints discourages exercise. A massage therapist counteracts this by using massage strokes and passive movement to release the muscle tension and free the connective tissue found around the joints that can bind the joints.

Massage also aids recovery from soft tissues injuries such as sprains and strains. This is possible because the growth and repair of tissue are accelerated by efficient circulation in the injured areas and appropriate stimulation of the healing tissues. Many soft tissue injuries are not serious enough to necessitate a visit to the doctor or hospital, or are only treated with some first-aid, but still cause some discomfort and disability. Massage therapy can often help speed and improve recovery and reduce discomfort from such mishaps. In this way, massage helps bridge the gap between common neglect of injury and major medical intervention.

Increased health awareness has also increased nutrition awareness. The most carefully planned diet is partially wasted if blood vessels are not developed an open so that nutrition can reach the cells. Massage can aid internal nutrition rates by improving circulation.

The relationship of stress and illness is of interest to anyone maintaining their health. We all have stress in our daily lives related to work, family, environment, society. Mental tensions, frustrations and insecurities are among the most damaging. Stress causes the release of hormones that create vasoconstriction – vessel shrinking – and reduced circulation Affected by stress, the heart works harder, breathing becomes rapid and shallow, and digestion slows. Almost every body process is degraded. Psychosomatic studies show how stress factors can cause migraines, hypertension, depression, some peptic ulcers, etc. Researchers have estimated that 80% of disease is stress-related. Soothing and relaxing massage therapy can help counteract stressing effects.

Massage has a definite psychological effect. Since massage animals the tactile sense, the body's primary sense, it brings people into the here and now and away from tension generated by constant preoccupation with problems. Also, loosening of muscle tension or armouring – the physical opposite to how we defend and protect ourselves from psychological pain – can lead to freeing of repressed emotions.

Users of massage therapy as a healing tool quickly realize that they have found a form of drugless therapy. Headaches, insomnia, digestive disorders including constipation and spastic colon, arthritis, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, sinusitis and minor aches and pains are some of the problems that can respond to massage therapy. Massage can have an excellent effect on nervous people who have been dependent on their pharmacy for rest and relaxation.

Simply stated, the foundation stone of the therapeutic effect of massage is what Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine and an advocate of massage, defined as vis medicatrix naturae, or the body's natural recuperative powers, the life force. Massage therapy essentially promotes health by boosting the body's own processes.
While this article has focused on how massage can help tune the body and on the concrete scientific effects of massage, it should also be noted that massage can be seen as a healing art as well as a science. The theories of therapeutic massage are scientific in character, but the actual application of these theories is an art, for it involves the healing sense, sensitivity of touch, insight and intuition. It is a unique way of communicating without words, sharing energy, enjoying pleasurable relaxation, and experiencing peace of mind. Massage is often attributed to have ethereal spiritual effects akin to those of meditation.

The past ten years or so have been seen a proliferation of different terms, titles, and systems of massage such as: Therapeutic, Holistic, Swedish, Sports, Neuromuscular, Bodywork, Oriental, Shiatsu, Acupressure, Esalen, Reichian, Polarity, Reflexology, etc. For the sake of clarity, the term amssage or massage therapy as used in this article refers to the scientific manipulation of the soft tissues. The thing to keep in mind is that every healing art that exercises massage therapy should include some form of kneading, pressing, or stroking with the use of pressure and movement, no matter how slight the touch or how often it is used.

The best way to find a massage therapist is to get a referral from a friend who gets massage therapy or a health professional who is knowledgeable about forms of complementary and alternative health care such as massage therapy. Or you can contact Queensland Association of Massage Therapists and the Australian Massage Therapists Association for names of qualified massage therapists in your area.

Since there are many styles of massage, you may want to shop around to find someone who practices the style of massage most suited to your needs. You should be able to find a massage therapist who is right for you., Though you may or may not need to try a few massage therapists to do so.

Whenever interviewing a massage therapist you should always feel comfortable asking if they have graduated from a school that is accredited or approved by a reliable accreditation agency, belong to a reliable professional association such as the QAMT or AMTA, and also their amount of experience and styles of massage.

In terms of what to expect during a massage therapy session, they generally are an hour in length. Clients are usually asked to remove as much clothing as they are comfortable with and rest on a padded massage table. To respect personal privacy and provide adequate warmth, the client is covered or draped with a sheet or towel so that only the part of the body worked on is exposed at any given time.

Whether or not you would expect to talk during a session depends on your needs at the time. Some clients need to talk. Some need silence. Massage therapists will usually try to accommodate what the client needs. However, sometimes talking detracts from entering a state of relaxation or experiencing the physical, nonverbal dimensions of the massage. In any case, feel comfortable giving feedback about your needs and what you like or do not like during the session. Good communication enhances the massage session.

There are a few other key points to note regarding your massage therapy session. The massage therapist will likely use a high quality oil or lotion, but if you have an allergic reaction you should let the massage therapist know. Some massage therapists offer to play music during a session, others may feel it distracting. It is best not to have ateen just before a session. Your massage therapist can answer many other questions you may have. If for any other reason you must miss a massage appointment, your massage therapist will certainly appreciate being not informed as soon as possible.

To enjoy the benefits of massage which has been discussed, it is best to receive a therapeutic massage from a practitioner who has blended a thorough knowledge of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and massage technique with a sensitive, powerful touch and healing sense. Yours in health!

(c) Professional Therapist

The Importance of Health Care Coverage in America Today – News

One of the most serious issues facing American today is importance of health insurance for the American citizens. Yet there are currently 47 million Americans who are under-insured or who do not have any health insurance coverage at all. The American public is aging, the baby boomers are reaching their senior years and according to actuarial insurance statistics most individuals begin to contract major illnesses or disabilities from the age of 50 onward. These individuals can not afford to be without health insurance . As a matter of fact, Americans of any age, social status, or walk of life can not afford to jeopardize their health care because they are without insurance.

Medical heath care coverage is to protect Americans from the event that a medical illnesses or situation should occur and there is no money to pay for the cost of treatment. Older baby boomers understand fully well how much the cost of medical coverage is in America. A major operation, and treatment can cost thousands of dollars and sometimes reaching over 100,000 dollars. Without the individual is fairly wealthy there is no way to be able to pay these rising health care costs.

Quite some working Americans do have medical health care coverage through their employers. Group insurance coverage is the most economical way of making sure your health care needs are met.

Unfortunately not all employers offer any group insurance coverage and this leaves many American families uninsured. With the rising costs of health care in America, no family can really afford to go without insurance coverage . There are just too many things that can happen. A young couple planning a family will need medical health care coverage for prenatal care, hospital stays for once the babies are born, and then doctor visits for immunizations and regular routine checkups for their children afterward. Even if a couple is young and childless there is no guarantee in life that they will always remain healthy. Doctor visits for the most innocent things such as getting a flu shot, or going to the doctor for allergy shots will become very pricey without proper medical healthcare coverage .

Self-employed individuals must maintain a self-employed health insurance plan to protect their business. Health insurance is just as important as any other business expense. If the self-employed person can no longer work due to a temporary disability, time away from work due to an operation, or even a car accident, then that self-employed person will lose the income from their business. Besides loss of income they may actually loose their own business if they are incapacitated of working for a long period of time.

American expatriates may find themselves in a country where they can not readily get the health care that they need. The facilities may be inferior to American standards, or the services may not be available at all. Expatriot medical health insurance can provide needed money to pay for the costs of health care in the foreign country or provide coverage if the ex patriot must return to America for treatment.

All Americans need proper coverage. When it is not provided through an employer private medical healthcare coverage as well as state run health insurance plans are available . Do not go without proper health care find an affordable health insurance plan that meets your individual needs and the needs of your family.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wellness Programs – News

At the level of society-at-large, public health standards have in many ways been drastically decreasing over recent years. While the number of health-related problems is growing, the average level of physical activity on the part of individuals is decreasing. This has further contributed to the decline in overall health across the population.

In order to curb this troubling trend, organizations have begun to design (or implement externally-designed) wellness programs. The basic aim of these programs is to improve the emotional and physical health of the target group of employees.

The underlying idea behind any wellness program is to augment the health of the individual. This endeavor is often initiated by insurance companies, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations for their employees or other stakeholders. The programs address health-related issues, including the emotional, physical, mental dimensions of a person’s life. They seek to bring about a lifestyle change among program participants by increasing their physical activity levels and changing their dietary habits.

Many companies offer participation incentives such as gifts, vacation days and even reductions in insurance premiums. The success of the overall program will depend on nature of the target group.

The advantages and benefits related to the implementation of a well-run wellness programs are profound and important. A better lifestyle – accompanied by increased physical activity – will lead to a reduction in common health problems like cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and stroke. A happy and fulfilling life is not possible without adequate health.

For the corporations, as well as small and midsize businesses, wellness programs help to increase the level of job satisfaction. Having healthier employees help the company rein in healthcare expenditures and increase worker output. An increase in the vitality and health of the employee has a direct correlation with his efficiency in the work place. Stress management can also be effectively dealt with through wellness programs.

While wellness programs have their advantages, they have their challenges, as well. For one, the basic success of any program is dependent on the enthusiasm of the participants. Most individuals tend to not participate in such programs with the requisite motivation or energy. It is often difficult for the individuals to take the time out for such initiatives. In wellness programs for employees, the foremost issue is the ability of the company to create an atmosphere of active participation, while committing the required resources to sustain the program. The startup investment is often substantial and will take time before being actually realized in the form of bottom-line savings. Many employees have privacy concerns, as well, given that many of these programs entail a complete health assessment. Often times, the employees who would benefit the most also lack the motivation to join.

The guiding principle for any corporate wellness program is quite straightforward: it is an attempt to make people’s lives better and more productive. The lack of physical activity, coupled with a poor diet, will usually lead to higher healthcare costs. The advantages associated with any such program are obvious and can never be understated. The basic obstacle for the success of any given program is the chronic lack of motivation. Only when the individual is committed to rectify his lifestyle can any such program be truly effective.

So, You Want to Run a Marathon – Health and Fitness Book Review – News

Running a marathon is no easy task, and being able to say that you did it is something pretty cool. The reality is that just about any human that trains can run a marathon. No, it's not easy, and it takes a lot out of you, but you can do it, I know because I did, many times. Of course, I had a little bit of help, I had some good coaches, and I had some very good reference material.

If you are considering running a marathon, then I know the very good book that you should probably read. I do own this book personally and I've had it for a good 35 years. The name of the book is;

"Target 26; A Practical Step-By-Step Preparatory Guide to Running a Marathon," by Skip Brown and John Graham, Collier Books, New York, NY, 1979, (251 pp), ISBN: 978-00202-8820-6 .

The authors discuss all the important items such as training and diet. They also discuss the stress on the body, the potential for injury, and the reality that you must take your training step-by-step without pushing yourself too hard causing an injury or sickness. There is also a good chapter on running shoes, attire, and equipment. Especially if you have to train in cold-weather or in the rain, and yes, you have to run every day so there are challenges of training.

The authors also talk about the race and your performance. They suggest various strategies for different types of runners and why you must work on maintaining your conviction to improve your personal best. They suggest ways of recordkeeping and race improvement towards the end of the book, and I'm thankful to say that this book helped me run several marathons under three hours. These consider all this.

Advantages of Electronic Health Record System – News

In our society today, computers are ubiquitous. They have been used to simplify our lives and make our work easier and more accurate. In order to be a part of this fast spreading technology the medical industry is on its way to do away with the pen and paper system and embrace computers to keep and track patient medical records, hence electronic health record.

When an individual goes to his or her doctor with a complaint the doctor will obtain information from the patient in an attempt to build a complete story of the origin and probable causes of the complaint. Information obtained from the patient will include the patients past and present medical history, laboratory results, previous medical conditions and medications prescribed, radiological images etc., all make up the patients medical records. This information when put in a digital format is known as the individual's electronic health record.

The present administration has made it a priority to move ahead with centralizing and putting patients' medical record in digital format. A huge chunk of the economic recovery stimulus package has been earmarked for this project. It is held that when all is said and done, electronic medical records, a better way to keep records than pen and paper will be the order of the day.

Just like any new approach to doing things, EHR (Electronic Health Records) has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of Electronic medical record keeping includes: –

Better documentation
Doctors are legendary for illegible hand writings leading to inaccurate data entry by a second or third third party. With EHR this problem will most often become a thing of the past.

Lower Cost
It is held that the use of EHR will reduce healthcare cost in the long run and promote evidence based care. As information is readily available, and easily and quickly referred to before proceeding with the best treatment option, resources will be saved as the patient's sick period is reduced.

Better storage
Huge amounts of information can be stored in digital format taking up a minuscule amount of space thereby eliminating file storage problems that previously exists with the pen and paper system.

Easy retrieval of information
With information in a digital format it is fast and easy to retrieve information saving time and manpower. With patients medical records just a mouse click away, Individuals previously involved in locating and retrieving files will be redeployed to other positions.

Reduced malpractice insurance premiums
With the legitimate and accurate documentation an electronic health record system provides, insurance companies tend to reduce malpractice premium for institutions using EHR system. Also in cases of litigation the information trail is easy to follow and will make a difference in the outcome of a case if things were ambiguous.

Increased level of medical care
With the patients complete medical record a few clicks away, a physician has immediate access to the patient's medical information allowing for a faster and better response to providing medical care.

Accurate record keeping
EHR makes it easy to keep accurate records of who has access to patient's information, when it was accessed and by what. And when alterations are made to a patients record you can find out who altered it and when.

Running a Home Care Agency – News

Home care agencies specialize in providing personalized care to patients in the vicinity of their homes. Patients can have the best of both worlds and gain health care while being in proximity to their friends and family. The comfort of being in a familiar place makes their recovery much faster and also ensures that close relatives are not burdened too much for providing health care. If this area of ​​health care has always fascinated you, you can decide to open up your own home care agency to provide such assistance to people who require aid. This can be quite a lucrative proposition and can kick start your career in a big way. Following are some of the steps to keep in mind before you can start your own home care agency:

  1. If you have a medical background and possess some experience in this field, opening up a home care agency becomes much easier. However, even if you are completely new to this field but have an urge to help people in need, you can still open up a successful home care agency that although does not provide medical care but offers other services like sanitation, personal care, help in cooking, bathing a patient, etc.
  2. You can look through your files and browse through your qualifications to scout for anything that may be suitable to this field. Any voluntary nursing experience or any other such knowledge can be very helpful in this regard.
  3. The next thing that you need to decide is the kind of services that you are going to be providing. You should then get brochures and pamphlets published listing all the tasks that you will be willing to do. You should also mention whether you are going to be providing specialized medical services or general healthcare services.
  4. You then need to figure out your budget requirements and determine how much capital you are willing to invest into your home care business. If you have a large amount of funds at your disposal, you can open up a home care agency on a large scale with a work of around a hundred people. On the contrary, if your budget is slightly lower, you can even have a limited staff and provide selective home care.
  5. The recruitment of quality staff is very important and can make or mar your business. You can advertise to invite job applicants and then fish out those that seem capable and suitable. You should conduct a thorough check on the people you employ and ask to see detailed references from previous employers. Employees who have previous experience in the nursing field are likely to do the job in a more effective and efficient manner.
  6. You can not afford to ignore the legal aspect of your home care agency. To look after such details, you can hire a professional to help you get the documentation ready that may be required to obtain a license or permission from the state to run your agency.

Healthy Living – Three Important Health Tests – News

Constant assessment of your health is a must if you want to live a long and disease free life. Sadly, many people are not taking the time to have the assessments carried before they run into serious health problems: full-blown health issues that could have been avoided.

Fortunately, by educating yourself on the health tests you should be taking, you can have a better idea of ​​which tests to get done to optimize your well-being. Let us go over three such tests so you can ask your doctor about them at your next check-up …

1. EKG or ECG. Chances are, you have heard of an EKG or ECG. This test is often associated with those people who are experiencing serious medical emergencies or are having a heart health scare. An EKG will reveal if there are any problems with your heart's electrical system. But, an EKG can also be used for preventative purposes as well.

In this test, the heart's activity is represented as a line tracing on graph paper. The spikes and dips in the tracings are divided into sections and show how your heart is working. Your results will be compared to a normal heart graph and any abnormal rhythms showing poor blood flow will be revealed and then be able to be treated.

Get tested now so you know if you are at risk and can then start taking steps to help negate the risk.

2. Colorectal Cancer Screening. Cancer is a devastating disease and sadly, one that affects many. Colorectal cancer is one of the leading forms of cancer affecting many people and often comes without any obvious signs or symptoms. Although alternating diarrhea and constipation and abdominal pain are some of the signs, along with blood in the feces, they are brushed off as being a part of living.

It is often fatal in 90% of cases, so not one you want to come down with. Early screening is going to be key as if polyps are found early, they can be removed before developing into full-blown cancer.

3. Lipid Profile. Finally, make sure you schedule a routine blood test at least every 12 months to get your lipids checked. From these results, you can determine your risk for the metabolic syndrome, which is a condition characterized by …

  • obesity,
  • elevated blood pressure readings,
  • high cholesterol levels, as well as
  • insulin resistance.

If you are diagnosed with the metabolic syndrome, you will be at a higher risk for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes if you are not suffering from these already.

So keep these three tests in mind and ask your doctor about being checked out. It is always better to be on the safe side.

How to Get Free Wheelchairs through the NHS – News

It is possible to obtain a wheelchair either funded or part funded by the NHS through what is known as the NHS Wheelchair Service.

NHS Wheelchair Services are run by local health authorities and are responsible for allocating funds to the wheelchair service and primary care trusts that in turn are responsible for providing the service to the public. This can include contracting the running of the service to a private outside company.

The way the services are organized between different local authorities varies. This includes the eligibility criteria which are used to decide what type of wheelchair to provide and also who is entitled to a funded wheelchair. Timescales between referral, assessment and supply of equipment also varies veryly.

The basic process is as follows:

Referral to your local NHS Wheelchair service

An assessment of your needs takes place

Timescales and funding options are discussed

Wheelchair and training if needed are provided

A maintenance plan is arranged

(It must be noted that not everyone is deemed to be entitled to a funded or part funded wheelchair.

You will be referred to the service by your doctor, consultant, occupational therapist or you they may run a self-referral system. Contact your local NHS to find out details on how to be seen by the Wheelchair Service and for an assessment to take place. It is not uncommon for a wait of between 3-6 months for an assessment date, this varies between local authorities.

Assessments are usually carried out at a NHS Wheelchair Service center. If transport to and from the center is a problem then ask your local social services for help with this. During the assessment which will be transported out by a qualified professional your needs will be discussed including all the situations where the wheelchair will be used.

The funding options will be discussed with you and a decision on whether the NHS will fund the cost of a wheelchair or part of the cost will take place. The time between assessment and supply of the wheelchair varies depending on the type of wheelchair and local resources. A made to measure wheelchair can take some months to make, this can take several months.

When the wheelchair is ready there is a handover either at your local NHS Wheelchair Service center or your home. During the handover you will be shown how to safely use the wheelchair and information on who is responsible for maintaining and repairing the Wheelchair.

It must be said that often the time between being reported and actually receiving your wheelchair (if you are entitled) can be many months, the wheels of buroceracy grind slowly. A lot of people simply can not wait that long only to be told they are not entitled to any funding and decide to privately purchase a wheelchair so as not to effect there quality of life.

How Are You Affected by Health Care Reform? – Part 1 – News

Health Care reform … "What does it do for me?" "Is it going to be free?" "Will there be waiting lines at doctor offices?" "What about rationing?" These are all legitimate questions and will be addressed over the next few weeks.

Efforts to change the delivery system of health care in the US goes back over 100 years. However, the most well known attempt at reform was as recent as 1994 during the Clinton administration. The overriding goal of reform debate has been to get all Americans insured and treat the system of treating patients who had no insurance.

Providers then would shift the cost (Ie cost shifting) to those who could afford to pay out of pocket or who had insurance. Consequently, the well to do and insured Americans saw their costs of health care rise disproportionately over time along with the premiums for health insurance.

Since the failure of the 1994 attempt at reform, the health care system introduced "Managed Care" plans. These plans offered discounts in premiums to steer insureds into certain blocks of providers. These plans had a number of different looks, but the most common in the West Texas area was PPO plans.

Managed Care plans helped alleviate the cost shifting stress for a while, but failed to bring more uninsured folks into the system. Occasionally, as the number of uninsureds rose, premiumss were forced higher and higher until today where it is not unusual for a family premium to be more than a house payment.

Most estimates say 47 million Americans are without health insurance today. The original goal of reform debate when it was seriously renewed in 2008, was to force that 47 million people into the cost sharing arena.

By March 23, 2010, the result of reform provided only modest incentives for those 47 million to participate in cost sharing system. Rather, the result ended up as insurance reform.

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). On March 30, 2010, the President signed into the law the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA), adding certain amendments to PPACA. Combined the two laws combine health care reform.

The end result of reform will not reduce costs. The primary focus intended to get those 47 million Americans in the system as participating financial contributors by forcing them to purchase health insurance or open the health insurance markets up to insure those with pre-existing health conditions.

The incentives to get more people into the system include:

-tax credits for businesses who offer and help pay for insurance
-penalties to individuals and families who do not buy insurance
-elimination of pre-existing health condition exclusions by health insurance carriers
-premium subsidy payments to individuals and families who could not afford insurance
-expansion of Medicaid

These mandates along with a host of other mandates will be phased in over the next seven years, with the major required by January 1, 2014. It is on this date that subsidies, penalties, and adult pre-existing condition limits begin. Other prominent provisions begin on that date as well:

-State run "Health Insurance Exchanges" must be operating
-Policies may no longer include restrictions on annual benefits
-Wellness programs begin
-Group plans will not be able to extend waiting periods for insurance eligibility beyond 90 days
-Employers must begin to "certify" coverage.

Other mandates require insurance companies to install important provisions by September 23, 2010:

-Dependent children, whether married or unmarried, student or non-student may remain as dependents until age 26
-Group health plans may not set lifetime maximum benefit amounts on "Essential Health Benefits". The Dept of Health and Human Services will be determining what "Essential Health Benefits" are by September 23
-Children under age 19 who have a pre-existing condition must be "guaranteed issue"
-Insurance companies may not rescind health insurance policies except in limited cases of fraud or misrepresentation by an applicant
-A $ 250 payment will be made to Medicare Part D (prescription drug plan) beneficiaries as the first installation towards closing the "donut hole" by 2020.

Health plans in effect on March 23, 2010, or collectively held plans will be exempt from certain requirements and will retain the "grandfathered" status until, as yet undefined, policy changes are made. The grandfathered plans must still abide by dependent children to age 26 and benefit limitation rules. However they will be exempt from other more significant requirements that will be addressed in later columns.

Grandfathered health plan promotions will likely be less adversely affected than post-grandfathered plans which will have to conform to many mandates. Most experts believe health insurance on January 1, 2014, could be well over 75% higher than a similar policy today.

Very small group plans may give way to individual plans of insurance because the structure of health care reform blurs the line of distinctions between the two.

In the meanime prior to September 23, 2010, insurance companies will distribute updates to small group plan sponsors the following items:

-Children can remain on parents' coverage until age 26
-elimination of lifetime benefit caps
-35% tax credit for offering and paying all or a portion of group health plan

The next article will focus on group insurance reforms with more detail about the effects on small
businesses.

Why Use Beeswax Candles? Beeswax Candles vs Paraffin – News

When you compare beeswax candles vs paraffin , pure beeswax candles are:

  • More economic
  • Better for your health
  • Better for the environment
  • Unsurpassed for sheer beauty.

Economy: Beeswax is the most economic candle wax! When kept out of drafts, beeswax candles are smokeless, dripless and burn up to five times longer than paraffin candles. So while they cost more at first, they save you money in the long run.

Health : Paraffin candles create indoor air pollution! Paraffin is made from petroleum sludge. It is highly refinanced and treated with carcinogenic chemicals. The black smoke a paraffin candle emits is basically diesel exhaust!

There are a number of major toxic chemicals in paraffin, including the carcininens benzene and toluene. Most of the wicks in paraffin candles contain metal cores and lead. When they burn, those metals go up in smoke. You do not want to breathe all that, do you?

Pure Beeswax burns cleanly, is considered hypoallergenic, and is recommended for people with asthma and chemical sensitivity.

Beeswax is the only wax that emits negative ions when it burns. Negative ions help to clean the air of dust, smoke and pollens. Negative ions can help to reduce fatigue. Keep a beeswax candle burning on your desk while you work, and notice how much calmer you feel during the busy day.

Environment: Being a petroleum fuel, paraffin candles are reliant upon foreign oil. American beeswax, on the other hand, is made from a natural renewable resource right here in the USA!

Beauty: Like fine chocolate, good beeswax developes a soft, velvety "bloom" on its surface. Beeswax candles have a brighter flame than do paraffin candles. This golden flame often has a halo around it.

How to be a smart candle shopper:

1. Make sure the candles are described as "Pure" or "100% Beeswax" and the wicks are 100% cotton. Labeling laws allow candles that have as little as 10% beeswax to be sold as "beeswax candles". Most of these so-called beeswax candles are blended with cheap paraffin in order to cut costs.

2. Make sure the beeswax is American. Many foreign countries allow dangerous chemicals to be used on the beehives as well as in the processing. Some countries ban the import of such beeswax, but the USA does not.

3. Always buy unscented beeswax candles. "Why?" you say.

Because beeswax candles have their own gorgeous honey fragrance!

Because synthetic fragrance chemicals are petroleum chemicals- and are especially toxic when burning! "Aromatherapy" candles made using synthetic fragrances are merely trading on the public's ignorance and trust. The American Lung Association says "Refrain from burning photographed or slow-burning candles that have additives."

Essential oils, while of safer origins than synthetics, were never intended to be set on fire. Essential oils turn into unknown chemical compounds when burned, and just because they're natural does not mean they're safe. The proper way to use essential oils for Aromatherapy is to inhale their aromas fresh or in steam vapor, not in a burning candle.

A wonderful way to use essential oils for aromatherapy is to use a diffuser called an "oil warmer", "tart warmer" or "spotted oil warmer" with a beeswax tea light. You not only get the full benefit of aromatherapy, you also receive the negative ions and golden flame that only a beeswax candle can give.

A pure beeswax candle creates an aura of peace and serenity that can not be matched by any other kind of candle. Some things just can not be improved upon!