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source:  channels news asia Singapore News
30% of elderly in Singapore at risk of malnutrition
Posted: 14 July 2011 2103 hrs

SINGAPORE : The Ensure Life Nutritional Survey 2010 has shown that nearly 30 per cent of Singapore's elderly are at moderate-to-high risk of malnutrition.

And this could cause a gradual loss of muscle mass - or Sarcopenia - which results in more falls and fractures.  Experts said Sarcopenia is currently a significant concern in Europe and the US.  For those aged 60 and over, three in 10 suffer from it. And more than half of women aged above 80 will also likely get it.

And this could be a cause of concern here, with Singapore currently being the third fastest ageing nation in the world. One-fifth of the population in Singapore will be 65 and above by 2030.  Experts said Sarcopenia is due mainly to a lack of exercise and insufficient proteins in the diet.  They added that Sarcopenia could turn into a life-threatening situation.

They also advise the elderly to exercise more and have a nutritious diet, so as to reduce the rate of muscle deterioration.

Professor Jean Pierre Michel, Expert, Aging & Life Course Programme, WHO, warned: "20 per cent of them die within one year. And the surviving 50 per cent of them are not able to walk again and to (go about) their daily activities as previously before the fall."

- CNA /ls

Dementia - home care
Caring for someone with dementia; Home care - dementia

Someone with dementia will need support in the home as the disease worsens. Family members or other caregivers can help by trying to understand how the person with dementia perceives his or her world. Give the person with dementia a chance to talk about any challenges and participate in their own care.

Tips for reducing confusion in people with dementia include:

•Have familiar objects and people around.
•Keep lights on at night.
•Give frequent reminders, notes, lists of routine tasks, or directions for daily activities.
•Stick to a simple activity schedule.

Regular walking with a caregiver or other reliable companion can improve communication skills and prevent wandering.

Calming music may reduce wandering and restlessness, ease anxiety, enhance sleep, and improve behavior.

The person with dementia should have their eyes and ears checked. If problems are found, hearing aids, glasses, or cataract surgery may be needed.

Supervised meals and help with feeding. People with dementia often forget to eat and drink, and can become dehydrated as a result. Talk to the health care provider about the need for extra calories due to increased physical activity from restlessness and wandering.

How to prevent aging the simple way
The anti aging product industry is now big market worth billions. Every year, millions of people spend money on a range of products designed to delay the signs of aging. However, often there is a simpler, often natural way to look and feel and young. There are natural ways to prevent aging without the need to spend money on the latest anti aging formula devised by cosmetic firms.

Undoubtedly, the biggest culprit of aging is exposure to sun. This therefore requires every protective measure to lessen its harmful effects.

Taking preventative action together with sun cream over the long run can help to even reverse sun damage for those who suffer mild skin damage.

Avoiding the sun
There are simple tips to avoid the sun..

■If you are outside a lot, keep in the shade. If you happen to walk a lot, try and keep in the shade as much as you can. There are always buildings, trees that give some shade. It might sound like it is being too cautious, but walking in the sun almost everyday for 30 minutes for a whole summer will no doubt cause some skin damage i.e. skin discoloration. Reversing sun damage is extremely difficult, so it is better to be cautious to avoid sun damage in the first place.
■Before going out, wear sun cream with a protection factor of at least 30 (SPF 30). This will provide the necessary protection against the harmful rays emitted by the sun.
If you work in construction or other jobs that requires a lot of outside activities, it is paramount that you wear sun cream at least half an hour before setting off for work and re-apply sun cream half way through the day because the effects of sun cream can wear off after a few hours.

Exercising to reverse aging
Exercising, whether to lose fat or just to keep in shape is a great way to delay aging. Regular exercise keeps the skin firm and improves elasticity of the skin and appears more radiant with a nice glow. Of course, a healthy and lean physique can take years of one's looks as well. Exercise is also important for circulation.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence linking stress to the onset of aging. Regular exercise helps release of chemicals that helps the body cope with stress more easily than would otherwise be the case without exercise.

Diet is another crucial factor in looking young. An anti aging diet consisting of food rich in nutrients will provide the necessary vitamins to renew skin cells.

■Avoid intake of too much caffeine such as tea, coffee, cola drinks.
■Avoid high intake of fat. Too much fatty food such as those prepared lead to excess sebum production which can clog pores. This will cause breakout in people that especially prone, which will of course do damage to the skin.
There are certain vitamins that help with the natural process of skin renewal and delay aging..

Vitamin A - vitamin A has been shown in research to help reverse skin damage and prevent the development of squamous cell skin cancer. However, if you decide to take vitamin A supplements, make sure you do not overdose or take unnecessarily high amounts. Excessive consumption of vitamin A over a long period of time can pose health risks.

Vitamin C – helps skin limit damage from sun exposure. Vitamin C can be found in generous quantity in fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin D – can be found in some dairy products, breakfast cereals, fish. Vitamin D helps
Vitamin E – helps prevent damage to cells. It's a great form of antioxidant.

One way to ensure that you get a good dose of these vitamins is to take vitamin supplements on top of getting it from food sources. Multivitamins is a cheap and good alternative source.

Daily skin exfoliation
Always perform facial exfoliation with a mild exfoliant. Just gently massage the skin after washing the face with gentle warm water. This will get rid of dead skin cells on the outer layer of the skin. There are excellent facial exfoliants made from natural ingredients such as apricot. After exfoliating the skin, put a bit of sun cream. A sun cream is important for reversing any sun damage, and of course, it provides constant protection against the harmful rays.


source:  http://www.xinhuatherapy.com

What is Tui Na?

"Tui Na" literally translates to "push pull" and is the name given to Chinese Medical Massage. Based on Tranditional Chinese Medicine, Tui Na incorporates techniques that are similar to Western and Asian massage, chiropractic, osteopathic, and western physical therapy.

Tui Na uses a variety of hand techniques and passive and active stretching to restore correct anatomical musculo-skeletal relationships, neuromuscular patterns, and to increase the circulation of Qi and Blood to remove biochemical irritants. Acupoints may be selected to rebalance and harmonize the flow of Qi and Blood through the organ meridians in order to facilitate healing and prevent further injury.

Tuina (Tui Na) has a variety of different systems that emphasize particular aspects of these therapeutic principles. The main schools in China include the rolling method school which emphasizes soft tissue techniques and specializes in joint injuries and muscle sprains, the one finger pushing method school which emphasizes techniques for acupressure and the treatment of internal diseases, and Nei Gung method school which emphasizes the use of Nei Gong Qi energy generation exercises and specific massage methods for revitalizing depleted energy systems, and the bone setting method school which emphasizes manipulation methods to realign the musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships and specializes in joint injuries and nerve pain.

Tuina (Tui Na) is now being popularized in all around world as a powerful therapeutic extension of traditional western massage methods. Tuina's (Tui Na) simplicity and focus on specific problems, rather than a more generalized treatment, make it both an excellent alternative and/or extension of the Swedish-style massage. By utilizing treatments of shorter duration, it can be used in a variety of settings, including home, office, clinic or hospital. It is well suited for both the professional massage therapist or the active, health conscious individual.

What conditions are appropriate for Tui Na?
Any musculoskeletal disorder may benefit from Tui Na. Tui Na is appropriate for both acute and chronic pain.These include:

•Body ache and pain;
•Frozen shoulder and Stiff neck;
•Joint pain, back, hip, thigh, knee, lower leg and ankle disorders;
•Pain associated with postural imbalances;
•Arm/Feet Numbness;
•Insomnia and sleep disturbances;
•Muscle ache,tightness.
•Migraine and Headaches.
•Stress and general fatigue.
•Abdominal candling and ear candling.
•Child shortsightedness massage treatment.

How should I prepare for a Tui Na treatment?
As Tui Na does not usually apply any oils or use mechanical devices, it is not necessary to undress during a session. You will be asked to wear loose slacks such as gym pants/slacks and a light, natural fiber T-shirt or blouse, or you may bring the above clothing and change when you arrive.

In a typical session, the client, wearing loose clothing and no shoes, lies on a table or floor mat. The practitioner examines the specific problems of the client and begins to apply a specific treatment protocol. The major focus of application is upon specific pain sites, acupressure points, energy meridians, and muscles and joints. Advanced Tuina (Tui Na) practitioners may also use Chinese herbs to facilitate quicker healing. Sessions last from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Depending on the specific problems of the client, they may return for additional treatments. The client usually feels relaxed but energized by the treatment.

The practitioner will also request that the client arrive neither too hungry nor too full (ie: if one is hungry, they should eat; if one is full, they should digest). If you are coming immediately after work, it would be appropriate to have a small snack mid-afternoon, or a hour before arriving.

How often and how many Tui Na treatments are necessary?
This varies greatly, depending primarily on the concern and condition of the client. If the concern is acute, one to three treatments, as soon as possible, are often sufficient to resolve the pain and improve flexibility. If the problem is chronic, treatment on a weekly, twice monthly, or monthly schedule may be advised.

the client's primary concern is maintenance of health and prevention of illness, I will usually suggest treatment on a twice monthly basis. Over 50% of our Shiatsu/Tui Na massage clientele come every 1, 2, or 3 weeks for maintenance and preventative treatment.

What are Benefits, Limitations, Contraindications?
Tuina (tui na) is well suited for the treatment of specific musculoskeletal disorders and chronic stress-related disorders of the digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems. Effective treatment protocols have been tested in a practical setting. Tuina (tui na) is not especially useful for those seeking a mild, sedating and relaxing massage since it tends to be more task focused than other types of bodywork. Contraindications include conditions involving fractures, phlebitis, infectious conditions, open wounds, and lesions.

What is Cupping?
Cupping is one of the oldest methods of traditional Chinese medicine. The earliest recorded use of cupping dates to the early fourth century, when the noted herbalist Ge Hong wrote about a form of cupping in A Handbook of Prescriptions. Later books written during the Tang and Qing dynasties described cupping in great detail; one textbook included an entire chapter on "fire jar qi", a type of cupping that could alleviate headaches, dizziness and abdominal pain.

Originally, practitioners would use hollowed-out animal horns for cups, and place them over particular points or meridians. Today, most acupuncturists use cups made of thick glass or plastic, although bamboo, iron and pottery cups are still used in other countries. Glass cups are the preferred method of delivery, because they do not break as easily as pottery or deteriorate like bamboo, and they allow the acupuncturist to see the skin and evaluate the effects of treatment.

How does cupping work?
In a typical cupping session, glass cups are warmed using a cotton ball or other flammable substance, which is soaked in alcohol, let, then placed inside the cup. Burning a substance inside the cup removes all the oxygen, which creates a vacuum.

As the substance burns, the cup is turned upside-down so that the practitioner can place the cup over a specific area. The vacuum created by the lack of oxygen anchors the cup to the skin and pulls it upward on the inside of the glass as the air inside the jar cools. Drawing up the skin is believed to open up the skin’s pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balances and realigns the flow of qi, breaks up obstructions, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body.

Depending on the condition being treated, the cups will be left in place from 5 to 10 minutes. Several cups may be placed on a patient’s body at the same time. Some practitioners will also apply small amounts of medicated oils or herbal oils to the skin just before the cupping procedure, which lets them move the cups up and down particular acupoints or meridians after they have been applied.

In addition to the traditional form of cupping described above, which is known as "dry" cupping, some practitioners also use what is called "wet" or "air" cupping.

In "air" cupping, instead of using a flame to heat the cup, the cup is applied to the skin, and a suction pump is attached to the rounded end of the jar. The pump is then used to create the vacuum. In "wet" cupping, the skin is punctured before treatment. When the cup is applied and the skin is drawn up, a small amount of blood may flow from the puncture site, which are believed to help remove harmful substances and toxins from the body.

What does cupping treat?
In China, cupping is used primarily to treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and congestion; arthritis; gastrointestinal disorders; and certain types of pain. Some practitioners also use cupping to treat depression and reduce swelling. Fleshy sites on the body, such as the back and stomach (and, to a lesser extent, the arms and legs), are the preferred sites for treatment.

Is cupping safe?
While cupping is considered relatively safe (especially air cupping, which does not include the risk of fire and heat), it can cause some swelling and bruising on the skin. As the skin under a cup is drawn up, the blood vessels at the surface of the skin expand. This may result in small, circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied. These bruises are usually painless, however, and disappear within a few days of treatment.

In addition, there are several instances where cupping should not be performed. Patients with inflamed skin; cases of high fever or convulsions; and patients who bleed easily, are not suitable candidates for cupping. Pregnant women should not have cupping on their stomach or lower back. If the cups are being moved, they should not cross bony areas, such as the ridges of the spine or the shoulder blades.

What is Gua Sha?
Gua Sha (pronounced "gwa shaw,") is an East Asian healing technique. Gua means to scrape or rub. Sha is a 'reddish, elevated, millet-like skin rash' (aka petechiae). Sha is the term used to describe Blood stasis in the subcutaneous tissue before and after it is raised as petechiae. Gua Sha is one technique that intentionally raises Sha rash or petechiae.

When is Gua Sha used?
Gua Sha is used whenever a patient has pain whether associated with an acute or chronic disorder. . There may be aching, tenderness and/or a knotty feeling in the muscles. Palpation reveals Sha when normal finger pressure on a patient's skin causes blanching that is slow to fade. In addition to resolving musculo skeletal pain, Gua Sha is used to treat as well as prevent common cold, flu, bronchitis, asthma, as well as any chronic disorder involving pain, congestion of Qi and Blood.

Usually, Gua Sha is effective to:

•Reduce fever (the technique was used to treat cholera).
•Treat fatigue caused by exposure to heat (often used to treat heat-stroke) or cold.
•Cough and dyspnea: bronchitis, asthma, emphysema.
•Treat muscle and tendon injuries.
•Push sluggish circulation, fibromyalgia.
•Treat headache.
•Treat sunstrokes / heat syncope and nausea.
•Treat stiffness, pain, immobility.
•Treat digestive disorders.
•Treat urinary, gynecological disorders.
•To assist with reactions to food poisoning.
Where is Gua Sha applied?
Sha is raised primarily at the Yang surface of the body: the back, neck, shoulders, buttocks, and limbs. On occasion, Gua Sha is applied at the chest and abdomen.

How is Gua Sha applied?
To apply gua sha, first lubricate the area with oil. If you do not have gua sha oil, you can use White Flower or any other oil. If there are any moles, cuts or unhealed areas, cover them with your fingers. Do not apply the gua sha tool to these kinds of areas. Hold the gua sha tool at a thirty degree angle to the skin, the smooth edge will touch the skin. The skin is then rubbed with a round-edged instrument in downward strokes. One area is stroked until the petechiae that surface are completely raised. If there is no Blood stasis the petechiae will not form and the skin will only turn pink.

Gua Sha stroke areas
Rub the skin in downward strokes using moderate pressure. The person should not feel pain although it might feel uncomfortable. Stroke one area at a time, until the petechia of that surface is completely raised and all the sha is up, which is when stroking no longer increases the number of dots or changes the color. Then move to the next area. The sha petechiae should fade in about 2-4 days. If it is very slow to fade, it indicates poor blood circulation and there may be more serious deficiency that will require additional treatments with combination of acupuncture or acupressure in specific areas. Gua sha treatment can be used up to three times weekly, and is most effective when used as a weekly treatment on chronic conditions.

What does the type of Sha indicate?
The color of the Sha is both diagnostic and prognostic. Very light colored Sha can indicate Deficiency of Blood. If the Sha is fresh red, it is of recent penetration. If the Sha is purple or black, the Blood stasis is long-standing. If brown, the Blood may be dry. Dark red Sha can indicate heat.

What are the benefits of Gua Sha?
In most cases the patient feels an immediate shift in their condition particularly in their pain or sense of constraint. Gua Sha moves stuck Qi and Blood, releases the Exterior mimicking sweating, and moves Fluids. In a modern medical construct these fluids contain metabolic waste that congested the surface tissues and muscles. Gua Sha promotes circulation and normalizes metabolic processes. It is a valuable treatment for both external and internal pain, and facilitates the resolution of both acute and chronic disorders.

Is Gua Sha Safe?
Gua Sha is a completely safe technique, but it is serious medicine. Knowing when to use it and what to expect from treatment is as important as good technique. People who live in chronic pain often erect emotional defenses to cope with it or can feel completely hopeless. Having that pain ‘touched’ and relieved can be unsettling, even shocking. It is good to be moderate in activity after treatment, even rest. After treatment: no drugs, booze, sex, fasting, feasting or hard labor, including working out, for the rest of the day. In other words, mellow mode.

What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine involving the insertion of solid filiform acupuncture needles into the skin at specific points on the body to achieve a therapeutic effect. No drug is injected. The needles alone create the beneficial effects of acupuncture.

Acupuncture originated in China at least 2500 years ago and spread to neighbouring Asian countries including Japan, Vietnam, and Korea by about 500 CE, and finally to Europe in the 16th century. Acupuncture has been practised in France for at least 200 years. Early French practitioners included Sarlandiere, probably the first individual to apply electric currents to the needles. He reported having success treating asthma, migraines, rheumatism and various forms of paralysis.

Acupuncture is used to encourage natural healing, improve mood and energy, reduce or relieve pain and improve function of affected areas of the body. It is safe and effective and is often successfully used as an alternative to medications or even surgery. Relief is often obtained with acupuncture when traditional medical therapy has failed.

Acupuncture needles are solid, usually stainless steel (they may also be gold or silver), and measure from 13-70 mm, although longer reusable ones up to about 150 mm in length can be purchased. The needles are very fine, flexible and rounded but sharp at the tip. They are "atraumatic", meaning that they do not have a cutting edge like a hypodermic needle, which slices through tissue. Their design allows acupuncture needles to slide smoothly through tissues and makes them unlikely to cause bleeding or damage to underlying structures.

A dull, heavy, or aching feeling often occurs when the needle is correctly placed. This is referred to as "de Qi" and is considered by some traditional acupuncturists to be necessary for acupuncture to be effective. The experience of AFCI is that relief of pain can often be obtained without provoking the de Qi response. Recent fMRI studies indicate that there is a difference in the response of the brain to needling with and without the de Qi sensation1.

The needles are left in place for 15-30 minutes, and the practitioner may manipulate the needles to strengthen or reduce the flow of Qi. Lifting, twisting, and rotating are some of the needling techniques a practitioner may use.

Other related techniques:

Electro-acupuncture: needles are electrically stimulated by various frequencies and voltages by attachment to a battery-powered machine using wires with small clips on the ends. Low frequency stimulation (2-4 Hz) results in a slow onset of pain relief that outlasts the treatment for hours to days and is often cumulative by repeating treatments. High frequency stimulation (80-200 Hz) results in a pain-blocking effect that is fast in onset but does not usually outlast the stimulation.

Acupressure: a technique involving pressure on acupuncture points using the thumbs or fingers, capable of giving relief of symptoms in responsive individuals.

What is Acupuncture Points?
Acupuncture points ( also called acupoints) are locations on the body that are the focus of acupuncture, acupressure, sonopuncture and laser acupuncture treatment. Several hundred acupuncture points are located, it is considered, along meridians (connected points across the anatomy which affect a specific organ or other part of the body). There are also numerous "extra points" not associated with a particular meridian.

Acupuncture points have a lower resistance to the passage of electricity than the surrounding skin and are part of a network of points that were mapped centuries ago by the Chinese. Most are found along "meridians" or "channels" that are believed to be the pathways by which energy or Qi (pronounced "Chee") flows through the body. Acupoints are located either by identifying anatomical landmarks or by the classical method (for example: "the point where the middle finger touches the thigh when standing at attention").

Traditional Chinese medicine's acupuncture theory predates scientific method. There is no known anatomical or histological basis for the existence of acupuncture points or meridians.Acupuncturists tend to perceive traditional Chinese medicine in functional rather than structural terms, i.e. as being useful in guiding evaluation and care of patients.[ The findings of a 2005 systematic review of the effects of acupuncture on brain activation as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography were summarized as follows: "These studies show that specific and largely predictable areas of brain activation and deactivation occur when considering the traditional Chinese functions attributable to certain specific acupuncture points. For example, points associated with hearing and vision stimulates the visual and auditory cerebral areas respectively."

What does acupuncture treat?
According to the National Institutes of Health there are currently more than 10 million adults in the U.S. that have used acupuncture at some time in the past, or are using it currently

People go to acupuncturists for treatment of AIDS, allergies, arthritis, asthma, Bell's palsy, bladder and kidney problems, breast enlargement, bronchitis, colds, constipation, cosmetics, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, drug addiction (cocaine, heroin), epilepsy, fatigue, fertility problems, fibromyalgia, flu, gynecologic disorders, headaches, high blood pressure, hot flushes, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, nausea, nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting), pain, paralysis, post traumatic stress disorder, PMS, sciatica, sexual dysfunction, sinus problems, smoking, stress, stroke, tendonitis, vision problems, and just about anything else that might ail a human being.

Is Acupuncture safe?
Because acupuncture needles penetrate the skin, many forms of acupuncture are invasive procedures, and therefore not without risk. Injuries are rare among patients treated by trained practitioners. In most jurisdictions, needles are required by law to be sterile, disposable and used only once; in some places, needles may be reused if they are first resterilized, e.g. in an autoclave.

Commenting on the relative safety of acupuncture compared with other treatments, the dverse side effects of acupuncture are extremely low and often lower than conventional treatments.

The incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same condition. For example, musculoskeletal conditions, such as fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, and tennis elbow... are conditions for which acupuncture may be beneficial. These painful conditions are often treated with, among other things, anti-inflammatory medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) or with steroid injections. Both medical interventions have a potential for deleterious side effects but are still widely used and are considered acceptable treatments.

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