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Natural vs Synthetic Scents

According to Pour le Monde Natural Perfumes, 60% of what we put on our skin gets directly absorbed into our blood stream. The skin does not have a filter unlike other organs, like our kidneys. This is the basis for Aromatherapy. So, it’s obvious that knowing the origins of the scents and lotions you use is important to your health.

WebMD reports that the use of fragrances in all types of products is skyrocketing and so is the number of consumers are are reporting allergies to these scents. Sensitivity or alergic reactions appear more with synthetic fragrances where “as many as 200 or more chemicals are being mixed to create the fragrances we smell and masking agents in unscented products.” Think about that one for a minute. Making an unscented product requires dozens if not hundreds of chemicals to cover up the real scent.

80% or more of the chemicals used in commercial fragrances are synthetic and 95% of these synthetic compounds are derived from petroleum and natural gas according to Pour le Monde’s research. Why? Cost. Natural scents are more costly to produce than synthetics. The distillation process to get fragrances from botanicals uses steam or water, which is the same process that has been used for thousands of years. Natural scents are often sourced from around the globe. This takes time, effort and money. To be fair, there are some scents, like cucumber-mellon, that are obviously not found in nature. In these cases, synthetics are the only option.

Another side of the debate regarding natural vs synthetic scents is an environmental one. Natural scents are healthier to use and better for the environment that perpetuating a reliance on petroleum. The big caveat here is that botanicals must be grown, harvested and distilled in a environmentally-responsible manner. The great news is that are choices in the marketplace for those who want a healthier and green option in scents. It’s up to you to evaluate the tradeoffs.

Better than Meds?

A recently published research study compared how well various drugs and exercise succeed in reducing deaths among people who have heart disease, chronic heart failure, diabetes or stroke. The researchers chose these particular diseases to study because the effects of exercise on the risk of death have been well documented.

The results of the study were highlighted in the New York Times and included almost 340,000 participants in 305 past experiments. While most of the patients had received drugs for their ailments, 14,716 volunteers in about 57 studies were examined for the impact of exercise as a treatment.

Their findings consistently showed that drugs and exercise produced almost exactly the same results. Patients with heart disease, who exercised, but did not take the commonly prescribed heart meds, had the same risk of dying as those patients who took the meds. Same was true for patients with diabetes. Stroke patients had significantly less risk of dying from that condition if they exercised than if they used medication. Only patients with chronic heart failure had a “beyond random” chance for survival by taking meds instead of just exercising.

The researchers agree that more study is needed on how exercise affects patients with these common diseases, but they suggest that big pharma may not be as interested in this kind of research as it might decrease profits.

Yoga After 50?

Yoga classes are all the rage right now. But, is yoga right for every age? According to a recent NY Times article, yoga can be be great at most any age, but it’s more a question of adapting your technique to your age.

The article quotes Dr. Loren Fishman, a back-pain specialist in NY, who uses yoga in his rehabilitation practice. He says that “designed appropriately and taken in proper dose, it is certainly safe.” Dr. Fishman noted that aging brings impairments of range, motion, strength and balance that can require modifications, even among veteran yogis, like using the support of a chair or the wall for many poses.

With more baby-boomers practicing yoga, there is also a demand for older teachers who can better relate to an aging market. Once such group called Wisdom Warriors has been developed by Desiree Rumbaugh.