- How to Treat Your Pain Without Drugs
- The Apple Watch Is the Most Accurate Wrist Wearable
- What to Eat Before, During and After You Run
- You Asked: Should I Try the Whole30 Diet?
- Why It’s Seriously Dangerous to Take Your Anger Out at the Gym
- 7 Natural Cures for IBS
- The Key to Family Happiness Is Really Simple
- This App May Help Treat Incontinence
Posted: 12 Oct 2016 08:15 AM PDT
Millions of Americans deal with pain disorders, and many will turn to complementary health approaches to help manage them. A new study published Tuesday by federal researchers reports that in 2012, the most recent data available, close to 42% of adults with a musculoskeletal pain disorder used at least one alternative health approach, and 50% of people with neck pain did.
That’s much higher than the 24% of people without a pain disorder who report using complementary medicine like acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation and yoga. The report was released by the National Center for Health Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The traditional treatment for musculoskeletal pain tends to be drugs and surgery, both of which carry risks. The use of opioids also carry their own risks of misuse, and overprescribing of these drugs in the U.S. has been linked to an unprecedented epidemic of opioid addiction.
The researchers looked at use of natural products (like special diets and supplements), practitioner-based practices (like chiropractic or massage therapy), mind and body approaches (like hypnosis and meditation), and whole medical systems (like Ayurveda and acupuncture). The use of natural products was most common, followed by mind and body therapies.
Critics of alternative therapies often contend that complementary health approaches don’t have a lot of evidence to back them up. Most of the methods haven’t undergone clinical trials in the United States. That said, some natural pain remedies are better studied than others. The National Institutes of Health recently analyzed 105 randomized controlled trials of complementary medicine for pain relief in the U.S. in order to help doctors determine what approaches to recommend to the people they see.
Here are some natural, science-backed ways to treat pain:
Acupuncture: Around 3 million Americans have tried the traditional Chinese medicine procedure, and the NIH research found promising results for its safety and effectiveness for back pain. “If acupuncture were a drug, we’d say the drug works,” Andrew Vickers, a biostatistician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center who conducted a large study on acupuncture told TIME in June.
Yoga: Yoga has also been shown in research to work for back pain, and it’s one of the most commonly used integrative health approaches by American adults. Many people practice it for exercise or as a form of spirituality. As TIME has previously reported, studies have also linked yoga to a lower risk for heart disease and fewer symptoms from depression, diabetes, and arthritis.
Massage Therapy: NIH researchers concluded that massage therapy appears to work pretty well for neck pain. Some early research suggests it may improve quality of life for people with depression, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.
Relaxation techniques: People who suffer severe headaches and migraines may seek some relief from relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, guided imagery and meditation. Studies suggest it can work for some people, though it’s still unclear how exactly. At the same time, scientists remain unsure what causes migraines in the first place.
Exercise: There are plenty of reasons to work out regularly, but in January, researchers published a study in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine that reported exercise in combination with education (information about lower back pain, posture or exercise ) was likely to lower the risk of lower back pain.
Medical marijuana: It’s still being debated, but growing evidence suggests medical marijuana can have dramatic effects on pain management, even lowering the number of pain killer prescriptions in states where its legal. In the U.K., regulators recently acknowledged that marijuana does have a place in medicine.
Posted: 12 Oct 2016 08:00 AM PDT
Some fitness trackers are a lot more accurate than others, finds a new study published in JAMA Cardiology.
Researchers at Cleveland Clinic wanted to test how well four popular wearable devices measured heart rate, which is involved in a formula that calculate how many calories a person is burning while they exercise. They hooked 50 healthy adults up to an electrocardiogram (EKG), the gold-standard test for measuring heart activity, and compared the results to heart rates obtained by Fitbit Charge HR, Apple Watch, Mio Alpha and Basis Peak. They also assessed a chest strap. The researchers measured everyone at rest, then walking and jogging on a treadmill.
The chest strap monitor was the most accurate, nearly matching the EKG with 99% accuracy—both technologies capture electrical activity coming from the heart. Of the wrist wearables, Apple Watch was about 90% accurate, but “the other ones dropped off into the low 80s for their accuracy,” says Dr. Gordon Blackburn, one of the study’s authors and director of cardiac rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic.
Accuracy also went down as intensity increased. “What we really noticed was all of the devices did not a bad job at rest for being accurate for their heart rate, but as the activity intensity went up, we saw more and more variability,” Blackburn says. “At the higher levels of activity, some of the wrist technology was not accurate at all.”
Measuring heart rate from the wrist is convenient, but it comes with some disadvantages. “All of the wrist technologies are looking at blood flow,” Blackburn says. “You need to have good contact between the photosensing cells; as a person is exercising more vigorously, there’s more bounce, so you may lose some of that contact.”
Posted: 12 Oct 2016 07:00 AM PDT
Even if you only jog the occasional few miles, you’ve likely heard about marathoners carb-loading before a race or long run. But pasta isn’t the only food that can help you run well, and it’s not just endurance athletes who benefit from proper fueling. What you eat before, during, and after your runs is crucial to helping you feel good, pick up your pace, and recover quickly.
“Nutrition throughout the entire day, weeks, and months has an impact on all your workouts,” explains Kyle Pfaffenback, PhD, assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at Eastern Oregon University and a nutrition consultant for the Brooks Beast Track Club. “Thinking about it as an aspect of training will help optimize all your runs and allow your muscles to recover and adapt, too.” This is how to eat and drink like a serious runner.
Health.com: Hydration and Exercise: How to Get It Right
What to eat before your run
If you’re running an easy-paced 3 to 4 miles (or less): Skip a pre-run meal. “If it’s just a few miles, you don’t need to eat before,” says Vishal Patel, chief sports nutritionist at Nuun, who has worked with elite athletes such as Kara Goucher. There will be enough glycogen (the body’s most readily accessible form of energy) in your muscles to power you through. Drink 8 ounces of water or a low-calorie sports drink before you head out, though, especially if you’re running first thing in the a.m. (because you wake up dehydrated).
Before a run more than 4 miles long or any speed work: Eat 50 to 60 grams of complex carbs, like oatmeal and a banana. “This tops off glycogen stores,” says Pfaffenbach. Eat 1 1/2 to 2 hours prior to give your body time to digest and soak up the nutrients.
For a tough tempo workout or sprint intervals: Have a carb-rich meal the night before. Stick to a supper that has pasta, rice, or quinoa (balanced with protein and veggies) before any key-workout day to up glycogen stores, which is important for high-intensity performances at all distances, says Pfaffenbach.
What to eat and drink during your run
If you’re running for less than an hour: Water is sufficient, unless it’s especially hot or humid.
For runs an hour long or more: Once your runs get around the 60-minute mark, sip a low-calorie electrolyte-based drink (think G2 or Nuun); the added electrolytes can increase muscle function. Electrolytes (namely, sodium and potassium) help muscles retain fluids, receive oxygen and function properly, says Patel. “Getting them in fluids, rather than in a solid snack, helps deliver the electrolytes to your muscles faster,” he says.
When you’re going for 90 minutes or longer: Eat about 20 grams of carbs every 25 to 30 minutes. Muscles store enough glycogen to fuel about an hour-long run. After that, you’ll need 30 to 60 grams of carbs an hour—from sports drinks, gels, or chews—to maintain your intensity. “Eat early and often for a regular flow of nutrients,” says Pfaffenbach. Your brain realizes you’re low on fuel before your muscles do and will start to slow you down as a precaution. During runs 90 minutes or more, sports drinks with carbs and electrolytes can help you maintain pace and delay fatigue. Choose ones with a concentration of 3 to 4 grams per 100 milliliters); higher amounts may cause GI issues. (Gatorade, for instance, is about 6% carbs; try watering it down to sidestep an upset stomach.)
Towards the end of your race: Swish a sports drink around in your mouth, then spit it out: Just rinsing with the sugary drink can trick your brain into recruiting more muscles (especially when they’re depleted) and enhance your performance, according to recent research inMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. No tummy pain, all gain.
What to eat after your run
Once you’ve logged the miles, have a bite within an hour to reap the most rewards. “When you’re running, you’re breaking down and stressing your muscles; the time when you get stronger is during the recovery period,” explains Patel. Reach for a meal with a 3-to-1 ratio of carbs to protein. Why? Carbs are more important, as they replenish the glycogen stores (i.e., the go-to energy source) in your muscles. Already know the power of chugging chocolate milk post-workout? Other options with the right ratio: a banana or apple with peanut butter, a berry and a banana smoothie with a scoop of protein powder or an oat bar with an almond, hazelnut, or peanut butter center like Clif Nut Butter Filler Energy Bar ($17 for 12-pack;amazon.com).
Posted: 12 Oct 2016 05:00 AM PDT
The Whole30 Program is a popular new diet that advocates cutting all added sugars, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy and several common food additives from your diet for 30 days. Instead, you’ll fill your plate with meat, seafood, eggs, “tons of vegetables,” fruit and healthy fats from oils, nuts and seeds. (If that sounds a lot like some other popular diet programs, you’re not crazy. There’s a good deal of overlap between Whole30, Paleo and FODMAP-excluding diets.)
Follow through with the Whole30, and its creators say the diet will “put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.” Those changes could lead to weight loss, higher energy levels, better sleep, improved focus and mental clarity and even “a sunnier disposition,” they say.
Nutrition experts don’t disagree. There’s no question many, many Americans would feel better if they stripped out added sugars and refined carbs from their diets. Some experts believe sugar is toxic, and it’s been shown to promote inflammation and has been linked to depression. Some of the other foods on the Whole30 list of no-nos have also been linked to inflammation and its associated health harms.
“[Whole 30] is, essentially, an elimination diet,” says Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. By cutting out certain foods or food groups (as Whole30 does) and adding them back in one at a time (something Whole30 is less clear about), you can identify triggers of food sensitivities or allergies and calm their symptoms, from bloating and body aches to fatigue, he says. “It’s a time-honored, clinical approach, and certainly can work.”
So what’s not to like? A lot, say some nutrition experts.
For one thing, the 30-day diet period doesn’t make any sense, says Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. “In a clinical setting, we put patients on these sorts of restrictive diets for three months, because the immune system needs three months to shut off,” he explains. “Thirty days isn’t enough time to turn off systemic inflammation.”
Another problem: Whole30 doesn’t have much regard for an individual’s symptoms or health history. It targets everything, and all at once.
While it’s true that all the foods on the Whole30 naughty list can cause inflammation or other health harms, that’s only the case for small subsets of the population, Fasano says. “For everyone else, cutting some of these foods will have no benefit.”
Removing some of these foods could even have unhealthy consequences. People suffering from fatigue, foggy thinking or some of the other ailments Whole30 claims to remedy may have underlying diseases or existing nutritional shortfalls that an unstructured elimination diet could worsen. Fasano mentions internal bleeding, joint or bone pain, vision issues and constipation as a few risks associated with nutrient shortfalls that could result from attempting the Whole30 plan without a doctor’s supervision. “Also, teenagers who try something like this during a crucial time for growth—that could be very dangerous,” he says.
Other experts agree. “This kind of plan is really for the walking well,” says Dr. Gerard Mullin, director of Johns Hopkins’s Celiac Disease Clinic. While healthy adults probably won’t have issues after 30 days of restrictive eating, someone with a preexisting condition could “crash” on this kind of plan, “meaning they become very weak or very sick,” he says.
This creates a paradox: If you’re healthy, there may be little reason to adopt the Whole30 diet in the first place. If you’re not healthy, the program could help—or it could make you feel worse.
“Cutting sweets and junk food out of the diet isn’t a bad thing, but grains and legumes can be beneficial for gut flora,” Mullin says. “Remove them, and you could shift your microbiome in an unfavorable sense.”
All that aside, the biggest reservation experts have about Whole30 is that the program is murky when it comes to how you should eat once those first 30 days are up. If you feel good, it’s unclear how or when you should start eating some of the foods you cut out. And if you continue to avoid those foods beyond the 30 days, there’s little guidance on how to structure your diet to avoid harmful nutritional shortfalls.
“There is no emphasis here on acquiring a full set of skills for healthy living,” Katz says. “So it’s not even possible to know if the diet that results from this will be healthful.” In this way, he says much of the Whole30 plan is “standard ‘go on a diet’ salesmanship.”
“People are always looking for the Holy Grail diet that will fix all their problems,” Mullin adds. “But if you’re not a sugar junkie and you’re eating healthy, there’s no reason to be on this kind of specialized diet.”
Posted: 11 Oct 2016 11:35 AM PDT
A hard workout may seem like a good way to blow off steam after a fight with your partner or a disappointing day at work. But it might be smart to avoid going all-out in the heat of the moment: A new study suggests that combining heavy physical exertion with a negative emotional state could put you at increased risk for a heart attack.
The research found that either factor was linked to heart attacks on its own, but that the association was strongest in people who experienced them both shortly before their symptoms started. That was true across all groups in the study—including people who had preexisting risk factors and those who didn’t.
“Previous studies have explored these heart attack triggers; however, they had fewer participants or were completed in one country,” says lead author Andrew Smyth, MD, PhD, a researcher at McMaster University in Canada and at the HRB Clinical Research Facility in Ireland. “This is the first study to represent so many regions of the world, including the majority of the world’s major ethnic groups.”
The study, which was published Monday in the journal Circulation, analyzed data from more than 12,000 heart-attack survivors, average age of 58, across 52 countries. After their heart attacks, the participants were given a questionnaire that asked if they’d engaged in heavy physical exertion, and if they had been angry or emotionally upset, in the hour before their symptoms began. They were also asked about the same hour on the day before their heart attacks, as well.
When the researchers compared people’s day-of and day-before responses, they found that heavy physical exertion was associated with a more than two-fold risk of suffering a heart attack. The same was true for being angry or emotionally upset.
But the even bigger danger seemed to come from a combination of the two potential triggers. Being angry or upsetwhile engaging in heavy exertion more than tripled the risk of having a heart attack, compared with someone experiencing neither.
This was true regardless of participants’ smoking status, body mass index, blood pressure levels, and other health problems, and regardless of whether they were taking heart-related medicines such as aspirin, statins, or beta blockers.
“We did not find any significant differences between those with and without these risk factors,” Smyth told RealSimple.com. “Therefore, our findings apply to a wide population.” The authors found no significant difference between age groups—under 45, 45 to 65, or over 65—or gender, either.
The researchers also performed what’s known as a sensitivity analysis, comparing the main study participants with a control group who hadn’t had heart attacks. (The control group was asked whether they’d experienced heavy exertion and/or anger or upset moods in the last 24 hours.) “Interestingly, by taking this approach we found very similar results,” says Smyth, “demonstrating that our results are robust.”
Smyth says that extreme emotional and physical triggers seem to have similar effects on the body.
“Both can raise blood pressure and heart rate, changing the flow of blood through blood vessels and reducing blood supply to the heart,” he says. “This is particularly important in blood vessels already narrowed by plaque, which could block the flow of blood leading to a heart attack.”
Overall, of course, exercise is good for the heart—and high-intensity exercise has benefits that can’t be matched with light physical activity alone. Smyth says his study is not meant to discourage hard workouts, but he does provide a few words of caution.
“We would recommend that a person who is angry or upset who wants to exercise to blow off steam not go beyond their normal routine to extremes of activity,” he says. That advice applies to everyone, he adds, including healthy people with no history of heart problems.
In fact, the study authors recommend avoiding extremes of either triggering event—physical exertion or being angry or upset. “Practically speaking, people cannot eliminate exposure to these, as they may be unpredictable and part of day-to-day variation in life,” Smyth wrote in a email. “But we would encourage people to minimize exposure.”
Barry J. Jacobs, PsyD, director of behavioral sciences at the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program in Springfield, Pennsylvania, says the new study—which he was not involved in—provides evidence of the important link between mind and body.
“Excess anger, under the wrong conditions, can cause a life-threatening heart attack,” he said in a press release from the American Heart Association. “All of us should practice mental wellness and avoid losing our temper to extremes.”
Jacobs agrees that people—especially those who are already at higher-than-average risk for heart attacks—should try their best to avoid very emotional situations. “One way many cope with the emotional ups and downs of a health condition is through peer support, talking with others who are facing similar challenges can be very helpful in better managing your own emotions,” he suggests.
The study authors acknowledge that their study was only able to show an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship. They also say that, because the potential triggers were self-defined, opinions of what constituted heavy exertion, anger, or being upset surely varied from person to person.
But Smyth says that’s OK, because these things are very subjective; for example, someone who’s usually very sedentary may consider a certain activity to be strenuous, while a fitter and more active person sees it as much more leisurely.
What may matter most, he says, is what’s extreme or out-of-the-ordinary for you—and that you avoid combining those extremes whenever possible.
Posted: 11 Oct 2016 11:33 AM PDT
Treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be tough. It’s characterized by abdominal pain and either constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of both, but its symptoms are different for every person who suffers from it. So, then, is what works to provide relief.
Medications are available to ease the symptoms of IBS, but some patients feel better trying natural remedies instead of (or in addition to) conventional drugs. The problem is, says Yuri Saito-Loftus, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, there’s not nearly as much scientific research on these “treatments” to show how well they really work.
“There’s usually not a big pharmaceutical company with billions of dollars to sponsor a randomized clinical trial for these alternative remedies,” says Dr. Saito-Loftus. “A lot of what we rely on to make recommendations to our patients are the rare cases when either the government or a large supplement company has enough interest to fund a study.”
A new review does provide some hope for people who get no benefit, or have bad side effects, from traditional IBS medicines: Writing in the British Journal of Pharmacology, researchers noted that several alternative therapies do seem to be effective at relieving symptoms.
We asked Dr. Saito-Loftus (whose research is referenced in the review) for her thoughts on these and other natural remedies. Here’s her advice—including some words of caution—about what’s worked for her patients.
These live bacteria—found in supplements or in fermented foods like yogurt and kefir—fared well in the newly published review: The authors noted several randomized clinical trials that suggested probiotic consumption can relieve abdominal pain and other IBS symptoms better than placebo.
But the news isn’t all great. “I’ve met patients who swear that they make all the difference in the world, and others that don’t feel they make much of an impact at all in their symptoms,” says Dr. Saito-Loftus. “One problem is that there are so many brands and formulations, chances are what you pick up in the store is not the same product that performed well in clinical trials.”
Dr. Saito-Loftus is also cautious about recommending probiotics to IBS patients because they do alter the amount and ratio of natural gut bacteria—which, in some cases, could do more harm than good. Her advice? Talk to your doctor about the potential risks and benefits, and decide together whether to give probiotics a try.
Health.com: 9 Probiotic Foods That Aren’t Yogurt
Only a few studies have been done on prebiotics—nondigestable carbohydrates that feed the good bacteria in your gut—with conflicting results, the new review notes. (The same goes for synbiotics, which are combination products that contain both pre- and probiotics.)
There’s not enough evidence to say how well they really relieve IBS symptoms, says Dr. Saito-Loftus. But there’s little harm—besides the price tag of the supplement—if patients want to try them, she adds. Prebiotics are also in healthy foods like garlic, onions, bananas, and raw asparagus, as well, and eating them can be a win-win.
“With prebiotics, patients aren’t consuming live bacteria, so I like that it’s more of an indirect way of trying to manipulate your microflora,” she says. “They’re certainly reasonable to try, but there’s not a lot of background to form conclusions either way.”
Getting more fiber, either through food or supplements, does seem to improve some cases of IBS, says Dr. Saito-Loftus. The new review cites several studies on different types of fiber—including psyllium, wheat bran, and calcium polycarbophil—that had promising results in earlier studies.
“I definitely am a big advocate of at least trying fiber as a remedy, particularly for my patients with constipation-predominant IBS,” says Dr. Saito-Loftus. She’s a bit more cautious for those who have a lot of bloating, gassiness, or diarrhea, since fiber can make these symptoms worse.
Foods high in fiber—such as beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains—are typically low-calorie and full of vitamins and other nutrients, so Dr. Saito-Loftus recommends incorporating them into your diet if you can. But if getting all your fiber from food is too difficult, taking a regular supplement can help make up for what’s missing.
“I do caution my patients that fiber doesn’t work for everybody,” she says. “But if you find that after transitioning to a high-fiber diet that you aren’t feeling better, at least you can say you tried.”
Of all the herbal remedies studied in the new review, peppermint oil seemed to have the most promising results, with clinical trials dating back to 1972.
“It’s something I recommend to patients particularly with a lot of IBS-related pain,” says Dr. Saito-Loftus. “Peppermint oil is thought to be a natural anti-spasmodic, and it seems to be beneficial—maybe not for constipation or diarrhea, but specifically for those who do have a lot of pain.”
Dr. Saito-Loftus also recommends Iberogast (also known as STW-5), a trademarked liquid formula made of nine different plant extracts—including peppermint—to patients with IBS-related pain. It seems to work particularly well for people who have pain around mealtime, she adds.
In the new review, the authors note that Iberogast also seems to have anti-spasmodic qualities, although it’s unknown which ingredient (or ingredients) are most responsible.
These supplements weren’t included in the review, but Dr. Saito-Loftus says that they may be helpful, particularly for people with diarrhea-predominant IBS. “It may simply be that there’s no data on them, but I can tell you that a lot of my patients come to me already taking them,” she says.
Dr. Saito-Loftus says the risk of trying these is low, and the potential benefits—anecdotally, at least—are high. “I’ve had patients who swear by them, and others who have not,” she says. “It comes down to reading the bottle and considering the price and making the decision whether it’s worth it to give them a try.”
Health.com: 18 Reasons Why Your Stomach Hurts
While stress relief may not come in a bottle (and was not discussed in the new review), Dr. Saito-Loftus says it’s one of the most important natural remedies to consider when dealing with IBS.
“I think sometimes stress worsens symptoms and sometimes symptoms worsen stress, but the combination of the two is very important,” she says. “You can’t always modify your stressors, but you can modify your response to that stress—and I think working on that is so important.”
She encourages patients to explore different options for stress reduction and find what works best for them. “For some people it’s yoga, exercise, or meditation,” she says. “And sometimes it’s simply a matter of mindfulness and reflection, and making a conscious effort to try not to worsen the stress that’s already there.”
Posted: 11 Oct 2016 11:31 AM PDT
Sometimes, it can seem like the only way to spend enjoyable time together as a family is to do something new and different—like taking a far-away vacation. But a new study offers some good news for families who aren’t going anywhere for a while: Leisure time spent at home may actually be a more effective way to foster true, long-lasting happiness.
Yes, trying new experiences and visiting new places can be great for bonding with your kids. But when researchers at Baylor University surveyed more than 1,500 people about the types of family leisure they’d taken part in in the past year, they found that those who stayed home and participated in familiar activities more often were actually happier than those who’d ventured out and been more adventurous.
“That may be because when the brain is focused on processing new information—such as taking part in an unfamiliar activity with unfamiliar people in a new location—less ‘brain power’ is available to focus on the family relationships,” lead author Karen K. Melton, Ph.D., assistant professor of child and family studies, said in a press release.
Real Simple: Old-Fashioned Niceties That Deserve a Comeback
Previous research has shown that people are more likely to feel truly engaged—a concept known as “flow”—when they’re participating in structured activities bounded by rules, rather than unstructured free time. Engagement is one of the three elements of happiness, the authors wrote in their study, along with positive emotion and meaning.
All types of leisure activity have the potential to provide these elements and provide satisfaction within families, the authors wrote. But because time spent at home doing everyday activities can mimic this type of predictable, structured environment, they hypothesized that families would be more likely to achieve flow, or true engagement, during these seemingly mundane moments.
The study, which included survey responses from both parents and their 11- to 15-year-old kids, didn’t examine exactly what families were doing in their homes—only whether their activities were familiar or unfamiliar.
Real Simple: 11 Fun Things to Do On a Rainy Day
Melton noted that some experts recommend eating together as one of the best ways to bond as a family, and discourage passive activities like watching television. But families should question one-size-fits-all advice for happiness, she added.
“For some families, quality togetherness is having dinner together or playing games; for others, it may be hobbies, videos or TV, music,” Melton said. “At the end of the day, what matters is that we are social beings who crave a sense of belonging and connectivity.”
However, the authors did acknowledge a “discrepancy between best practices and reality.” In other words, not everyone will relate to the notion that staying home will bring them happiness and better relationships.
Real Simple: The Only Parenting Advice You Really Need
That’s because families often confuse “home time” with “family time,” Melton told RealSimple.com, and they don’t always know how (or even try) to set rules about what constitutes quality time together. Her suggestion? During designated family times, reduce distractions that could take away from feelings of connectedness.
“Families often add unfamiliarity or stimulation to their family time by multi-tasking, like playing board games but also checking social media posts,” she says. “Therefore, two common rules are no phones and no television as these are common distractions during family time. While kids—and possibly parents—may not like the idea of rules, providing boundaries around family time and during family time actually enhances the time together for everyone.”
If you do have a getaway on the books, of course, there’s no need to cancel. “Other research has suggested that family vacations increase family closeness, so I highly suggest that families who have the time and resources consider taking a vacation,” Melton says.
In fact, a common trend in family vacations—renting an entire home, through sites like HomeAway or VRBO—may provide the best of both worlds. “Families can intermix familiar home-like activities, such as cooking together or playing games together, with novel and exciting activities,” she says.
Posted: 11 Oct 2016 11:00 AM PDT
Do you pee a little when you laugh or sneeze? It turns out there’s a good app for that.
Stress incontinence develops when your urinary sphincter (which controls the release of urine) and your pelvic floor muscles (which support your bladder) become weak. In women, the most common cause is nerve and tissue damage from childbirth, which may lead to annoying leakage right away or years down the road.
If you’re struggling with the frustrating problem, you might want to check out Tät: A recent study found that the free Android app helped many women reduce the severity of their symptoms in three months’ time.
Essentially, Tät is a training program for your pelvic floor. It guides you through progressively challenging exercises to build up strength; when you master one, you move on to the next. And for each exercise, graphics illustrate how long, and how intensely, you should contract your muscles. The app also offers lifestyle advice, and lets you set reminders so you stick to your regular “workouts.”
To find out whether Tät actually makes a difference, researchers from Umeå University in northern Sweden split 123 women with stress incontinence into two groups. One group used the app for three months. The other group, a control, received no treatment.
Health.com: 12 Natural Remedies for Incontinence
According to the authors, who published their findings in the journal Neurology and Urodynamics, Tät yielded “clinically relevant improvements.” At the end of the study period, participants in the app group had fewer leaks per week, used fewer pads and reported better quality of life.
“Two thirds of the women using the app were satisfied with the treatment outcomes,” lead author Ina Asklund, PhD, told Health in an email.
One of the aspects of Tät they appreciated most? Its accessibility. “Women experienced that the app was suitable for this kind of [pelvic floor] training since they carried their smartphones with them at all times, and the reminders helped and motivated them to perform their training regularly,” Asklund explained.
For women who’d prefer to manage their incontinence themselves, this is an option worth trying, she says: “There are many health apps, but very few are evaluated in research studies.”
|You are subscribed to email updates from Health – TIME. |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States|