Tuesday, January 29, 2008

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Is Your Spa Safe?

If your New Year's resolutions include improving your health, you may have already booked a spa appointment.

That's because a growing number of spas in the past several years have shifted from a focus on pampering to overall wellness, according to spa marketing and media company SpaFinder. Of course, you can still book a massage or facial. But you're now more likely to see options such as healthy sleep workshops, too.

If you want to make sure your goal doesn't backfire, however, experts recommend checking out your spa or medical spa as thoroughly as you would any doctor. That means asking lots of questions. The risks of failing to do so range from a minor nail infection to--in the extreme--death, as in the 2005 case of a woman who was administered a fatal dose of lidocaine for a hair-removal treatment by a physician connected to a Raleigh, N.C., spa.

"Anytime you feel your questions are not being answered correctly, freely and completely, walk," says Hannelore Leavy, executive director of The International Medical Spa Association, a professional organization focused on promoting quality consumer care. "This is your health."

Experts say the first step you should take to ensure the safety of your spa is a straightforward one--visit it. If you see anything that appears unclean or makes you uncomfortable, trust your gut, says Lynne McNees, president of the International SPA Association, a trade association with more than 3,000 members in 75 countries.

While requirements widely vary, it's also worth asking whether the facility and staff hold licenses, as well as inquiring about the level of the staff's training. Cosmetologists and therapists who work hard to keep their papers up to date tend to proudly display their qualifications, says Alicia Slifko, general manager of the Weston, Fla.-based Red Door Lifestyle Spa.

Doctor Download
Don't even think about skipping this step if you're seeking a medical treatment, such as a shot of Botox or laser skin resurfacing, from a spa, says Dr. John Anastasatos, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Beverly Hills, Calif. Make sure whoever is administering your procedure is an experienced, licensed physician or a well-trained nurse or physician's assistant operating under a doctor's supervision. Be aware that a medical spa also may have a medical director who has no training working with lasers or injectables, Anastasatos says. Directors aren't always required to be on site, either.

"I've seen girls come to my office who went to get laser treatments and have acquired burns," Anastasatos says. "This can cause serious problems."

To be safe, insist on a consultation with a doctor and ask who will be performing the treatment, how many times the person has done it, how far away the doctor will be during it, in case of an emergency, and what to expect overall.

Another way to make sure you're visiting a reputable spa is to check whether it's a member of a professional organization with a code of ethics. It's also a good idea to peruse online ratings and reviews on sites such as Spafinder.com to read about other spa-goers' good and bad experiences.

"I don't suggest anybody put a ton of weight on one review or one source," says Susie Ellis, president of Spafinder.com. "But if the consumer looks at the aggregate, then it's a really good resource."

Good spas also will ask you lots of questions. Staff, whether verbally or via an intake form, should inquire about your allergies, medications and conditions, and it's your responsibility to be upfront. People with high blood pressure, for instance, need to know they should avoid warm wraps, which could cause a spike in their numbers. And if you've had shoulder surgery, you should tell your massage therapist, who can cater his or her treatment or possibly add in a heat pack, McNees says.

"The more you share," she adds, "the more [they] can help."

Source @ Forbes

Saturday, January 26, 2008

NEWS - Variety Program for Disabled Kids in Brampton

Metroland - Brampton Division (Fri 25 Jan 2008, Byline: ROGER BELGRAVE) reports that the world renowned Toronto children's charity, Variety, is piloting its Adapted Physical Education Program in Brampton. The 11-week program will give local children and youth facing physical or developmental barriers a chance to take part in various sport and recreation activities without having to travel to the central Variety Village location in Toronto. Activities will include bocce ball or wheel chair basketball, volleyball and other sports.. Since the program is open to children and youth of all abilities, able body participants in the program would play in wheelchairs during wheelchair basketball. The program provides both the physical fitness opportunity plus a chance for able-bodied children and youth to understand the issues facing those with disabilities. Sometimes it provides the rare opportunity for able body and disabled siblings to play organized sports together.

Source @ LIN

Friday, January 25, 2008

Politically Correct Sex (For Women)

By : Joan Z. Shore

A confession: I do not watch the Oprah Winfrey show. I can't receive it at home in France, and when I'm wintering in Florida it never occurs to me to turn it on.

Obviously, I'm missing something. And I missed something important last week: Oprah's discussion with Dr. Christiane Northrup about female

Sorry -- I meant to say female self-cultivation. Because, while it's perfectly all right for men to "masturbate," women doing approximately the same thing are now "cultivating" themselves, according to the good doctor.

This sounds like more than political correctness: It's smarmy Victorian prudery combined with post-Freudian egomania.

When men get horny, they can jerk off. Why can't women? Can you imagine any man you know saying that he "cultivated" himself?

Dr. Northrup further complicates the subject by advising women to take 30 minutes three times a week to "self-cultivate." Okay -- when do you do it? During your lunch break, before the kids come home from school, while dinner is simmering on the stove, after hubby has fallen asleep on the couch? Most likely, you're already doing 30 minutes on the treadmill, or 20 minutes of Pilates, or 10 minutes of deep breathing....and now you need an hour and a half a week to discover and develop your erogenous zones?

There seems to be some confusion here, and it comes from the fact that Dr. Northrup is lumping together three distinct issues: Knowing what turns you on, doing what turns you on, and getting it off.

For most women (and many men, too) candlelight, good music, a good meal, a little wine, are almost sure-fire aphrodisiacs. An erotic film or book, provocative conversation, suggestive clothing and heady scents can get the hormones moving, too. Those are the stimuli, the ingredients. You know very well what works for you. (And sometimes a new ingredient will delightfully surprise you!)

Doing what turns you on -- or having someone do it to you -- is the second issue. It's what we used to call foreplay, but Dr. Northrup has turned it into self-examination because we're doing it to ourselves. Are we really so ignorant and ashamed of our erogenous zones? When there is nobody around to nuzzle our neck, lick our ear, or stroke our back, don't we know how to massage our own breasts and tummy and groin?

Getting it off is where we want to end up, sooner or later, and Dr. Northrup makes it very much later. She doesn't acknowledge that sometimes women, like men, are simply hyped-up or stressed-out and need a quick fix to release the tension. To hell with candlelight and to hell with foreplay. Bring on the dildo and the vibrator.

"Self-cultivation" is another example of how we love to complicate the simple facts of life. Just as good nutrition has been subverted and obfuscated by innumerable diet plans and theories, so too has sex. These pseudo-sciences are not making our lives happier or easier -- they are just confounding the issues and wasting our time, and making money for the self-appointed "experts."

Werner Erhard, the founder of est, said it best: When you're hot you're hot, when you're not you're not. It's as simple as that.

Source @ huffingtonpost.com

How To Avoid Gym Germs

When you grab a set of weights, hold the treadmill's handrails or hit the mat to stretch, do you ever stop and think about all of the other gym goers who have done exactly the same thing?

If not, dermatologists say, you should.

While logging a half-hour of circuit training will obviously do your body good, touching equipment that might have been recently handled by another sweaty, sick or infected person could do the opposite. And athlete's foot is just the beginning.

Experts warn that if you're using a shared yoga mat, for example, you could be at risk for ringworm, which causes red, scaly rings on the skin's surface. Coming into contact with sweat left behind on a machine could lead to a staph infection, usually manifesting in the form of pimples or boils. If not treated properly, it can invade the bloodstream.

"I don't want people to avoid going to the gym, because it's a healthful activity," says Dr. Joshua Fox, founder of the New York-based practice Advanced Dermatology and a spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology. "But you have to prepare and use common sense."

Rosemary Lavery, a spokeswoman for the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) , says the organization isn't aware of any documented cases in which someone has contracted the sometimes deadly staph infection methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus from a gym. MRSA is transmitted most frequently by skin-to-skin contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But, to be safe, the nonprofit group aimed at promoting the health club industry recently re-released a list of tips and tactics to help its 5,600 U.S. member clubs prevent staph and MRSA infections. They include providing disinfecting wipes or spray for cleaning equipment, using a bleach solution when laundering club towels and encouraging gym goers to do their part, too.

Rules To Live By
If you belong to a gym--and there are 42.7 million of you, according to 2006 IHRSA statistics--adding a few steps to your routine can reduce your risk of catching something.

Start by covering up any open wounds or scrapes with antibiotic ointment and a bandage, says Dr. Kent Aftergut, a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and a clinical instructor of dermatology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. MRSA is thought to spread more easily among athletes who have frequent skin-to-skin contact, entering the body through uncovered abrasions.

You also might want to start bringing your own towels or mat if you're unsure of your gym's cleaning regimen. Some gear companies now offer products specifically designed to fight germs. Harbinger Fitness, for instance, just introduced an antimicrobial mat featuring a unique material that prevents bacterial growth and odor and doesn't wear off, in addition to the already popular FlexFit, a training glove made with antimicrobial mesh.

Once you finish your workout, get out of your hot and sweaty clothes as quickly as possible. They're the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, Aftergut says. If you don't have time for a shower, at least wash your hands or wipe them down with hand gel that you keep in your bag or car.

It's also worth it to keep an eye on your skin. If it's constantly irritated or looks like it might be infected, get it checked out.

"Staph [infections] used to be kind of a rare problem," Aftergut says. "Now we're seeing it in young, healthy people. The average person goes to the gym without any concern for that."

Source @ Forbes

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Athabasca U Launches Heritage Resources Management Program

Athabasca University has launched an exciting new academic program in Heritage Resources Management. The new program is designed to provide a sound foundation in museum and heritage studies, giving prospective and current heritage professionals an opportunity to build and develop their skills.

The Heritage Resources Management Program will offer both undergraduate and graduate routes to professional certification. Students can pursue either the University Certificate in Heritage Resources Management or the Graduate Diploma in Heritage Resources Management.

"The ability to preserve and conserve Canadian heritage is crucial," said program director Don Wetherell, a noted Alberta historian, author and academic. "One of the strengths of the program is that it deals with the whole of the heritage field, not just museums and interpretive centres, but also heritage preservation, and archival practice."

Courses will be of interest to people working at heritage institutions such as galleries, museums, historic sites, archives, interpretive centres and parks. It will also be of special interest to the more than 40,000 Canadians who spend time each year volunteering in heritage facilities.

"The courses are of a high level so that the certificate courses can be used toward a Bachelor of Arts at AU and the diploma courses can be used toward a Master of Arts in Integrated Studies degree," says Wetherell. "Additionally, the program would be valuable for people currently employed, for career advancement and strengthening experience."

The Heritage Resources Management Program will also provide academic training for the Government of Alberta's Historic Resources Intern Program. Interns at provincial heritage sites and museums will earn formal academic credentials in heritage resources management while they are employed in the heritage field.

"This is an exciting program that will benefit all those passionate about Alberta's and Canada's heritage and will allow Alberta's expertise to be shared around the world," said Frits Pannekoek, president of Athabasca University. "We have already had enquiries from as far away as Mozambique and Nunavut."

Athabasca University is one of the world's foremost and fastest growing distance and e-learning centres. The university serves over 37,000 graduate and undergraduate students and offers more than 700 courses in 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees, diploma and certificate programs.

For more information about the Heritage Resources Management Program at Athabasca University, visit the program website at http://heritage.resources.athabascau.ca/
Don Wetherell, Director
Heritage Resources Management Program
Athabasca University

Source @ LIN

NEWS - Port Alberni Runs School of Rock

Alberni Valley Times (Wed 23 Jan 2008 , Byline: Heather Reid) reports that the city's Parks and Recreation Department is partnering with local musician Mike Mallon and Sound Advice Music Shop to host the School of Rock for a third time. Kids aged 13 to 18 can register in groups or individually for the program which takes them through the process of forming a band, practicing songs and ultimately performing them in a public concert. Mr. Mallon, who has experience in the industry meets with each group once a week.

Source @ LIN

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Aboriginal Girls on the Move - Applications

Submission Deadline: Monday, February 18, 2008 4:00pm (Pacific Standard Time)

The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), in partnership with the Aboriginal Sport Circle, is seeking opportunities to collaborate with six communities to develop and implement On the Move physical activity programs for Aboriginal girls and young women. Communities across Canada are invited to submit an application.

Funding is available to support the development and implementation of an On the Move physical activity program for inactive Aboriginal girls and young women (aged 9-18). This program will be delivered twice during the funding period, prior to March 31, 2009 (e.g. Fall 2008 and Winter 2009). Each program must be a minimum of 8 weeks, and provide a variety of physical activity and educational sessions (e.g. healthy eating, tobacco prevention and cessation, self-esteem, media awareness, healthy living-themed arts projects) with the goal of promoting the importance of healthy, active living.

Communities will also benefit from:
  • An On the Move workshop to increase community capacity to deliver physical activity programs for Aboriginal girls and young women;
  • Participation in a national project meeting for professional development, evaluation and celebration prior to the end of the national project;
  • Project communication and evaluation strategies; and
  • Ongoing support and communication with CAAWS.
For more information and to download the Request for Applications visit

Organizations considering submitting an application are encouraged to contact Sydney Millar, Project Manager,
to discuss proposed activities and address any questions. Tel: 604.738.2468 or snmillar@caaws.ca
Funding for the Aboriginal Girls On the Move project has been made possible through a financial contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Source @ caaws.ca

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fashion Tips From L.A.'s Most Informed Dressers

Most Informed DressersLos Angeles may be known more for its celebrity than its couture, but at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), curators Sharon S. Takeda and Kaye D. Spilker have been quietly building a collection that highlights today's most creative couturiers, from Christian Lacroix to Alexander McQueen.

In their just-released book Breaking the Mode, Takeda and Spilker present photographs, sketches, drawings and computer renderings that showcase the contributions of these talents. Issey Miyake's pleats, Martin Margiela's split-toe boots and Jean Paul Gaultier's reversible jacket all make an appearance.

When it comes to their own wardrobes, both Takeda and Spilker consider quality of material and construction before examining the name on the tag.

"I favor interesting styles that suit my body type rather than what name is on the label," says Takeda. However, the senior curator and department head of costumes and textiles will admit to preferring designers Miyake and Junya Watanabe over others. Spilker--a curator in Takeda's department--likes Margiela, citing his work as "brilliant," along with Yohji Yamamoto, Gaultier and Miyake.

What's the one piece of clothing you can't live without? Weigh in. Add your thoughts in the Reader Comments section below.

But practicality is important in a professional atmosphere. That's why both women generally wear pantsuits to work.

"In a suit, I'm ready to meet anyone, yet I'm comfortable for a long workday," says Spilker. Takeda seconds that notion: "I never know when a donor may stop by or if I will be called into a meeting with the director."

And while their occupations require pouring over thousands of historic fashion and textile designs in order to create a distinct collection for LACMA, they spent significantly less time curating their own wardrobes.

"Personal style is important, but not inordinately so," says Spilker. "I used to care about it more when I was younger, but now I'm too busy! I dress according to the event or how I feel in the morning."

Source @ Forbes

Monday, January 14, 2008

NEWS - ACE 2008 Fitness Trend Predictions

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has completed its annual survey of its extensive worldwide network of personal trainers, group fitness experts, advanced health and fitness specialists and lifestyle and weight management consultants to identify the leading trends in the fitness industry. 2008 promises to be filled with water aerobics, boxing clubs and spicy Latin dancing. Some trends continue from 2007 including, functional fitness, balance training and increased access to personal training for all segments of society. ACE’s listing of the top ten fitness trends for 2008 are listed at the address below.

Source @ acefitness.org

Friday, January 4, 2008

Flirting Tips

FlirtingSome tips which attendees offered on flirting (aka "casual conversation with a romantic spark") were:
  • Ask specific, open-ended questions of the person you're flirting with; these demonstrate that you're interested specifically in THEM as a person, and also provide an opportunity for the discussion to take a romantic turn.
  • Look for humor in what the person you're flirting with is saying.
  • Try to look your best, and use good posture and eye contact.
  • Don't follow people around or act needy.
  • Don't be insincere.

The topic of rejection came up. The key thing to understand about rejection seemed to be that "everybody gets rejected once in a while." A related idea was that if you never risk rejection it's likely your social life will end up being very dull. It was also mentioned that the range of tastes in body type and personality type is enormous; something that you think is a liability is for some people almost certainly a turn-on.

The question came up of how to tell if someone is interested in you. The following were mentioned as clues, especially when observed together:

  • If he or she is acting more flirtatious toward you than toward other people at the same event.
  • If his or her friends are paying attention to you when he or she isn't around (often a clue that this person talked to his or her friends about you).
  • If he or she is smiling while listening to you, and seems to be listening especially "actively."

There's a lot of crossover between good listening skills and good flirting skills.

One attendee shared some interesting ideas on the importance of "validating what the other person wants to be." This means looking for specific ways in which how someone thinks of themself as unique and valuable is consistent with their actual behavior and history.

Asking questions that are "almost too personal" was also brought up. The idea is that humans progress to greater levels of intimacy by sharing vulnerabilities, and that if someone is interested in you they are unlikely to turn down the chance to make the conversation more personal (unless you REALLY push the envelope, obviously...)

The importance of giving sincere complements was mentioned more than once.

Social networks usually expand by cultivating friendships which are serious enough for your new friends to introduce you to their friends. For this reason, activities that allow prolonged contact with other people are valuable.

Source @ Sexuality.org

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Oral Sex

Opinions differ on the use of safer-sex barriers for oral sex. It's clear that herpes can be transmitted from genitals to mouth or mouth to genitals during unprotected oral sex. It is also very possible to pick up a bacterial infection of the mouth or throat by going down on someone who currently has a bacterial STD (typically Gonorrhea, Syphillis, or Chlamydia), but these can usually be cured with antibiotics once they're identified.

At the time of this guide's writing, the available evidence strongly suggested that the risk of transmitting HIV was much, MUCH lower for unprotected oral sex than for unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, and conventional wisdom amongst sex educators was that the risk is much lower for the person being sucked or licked than for the person doing the sucking or licking. For the person doing the sucking or licking, it seemed physically plausible that: the risk of transmission could be lower if your gums (and lips/mouth/throat) are healthy, if you don't let men come in your mouth, and if you don't perform cunnilingus on a woman while she is menstruating.

Some sex educators recommend NOT flossing or brushing your teeth for an hour before giving unprotected oral sex (use an anti-bacterial mouthwash if you're concerned about bad breath or just want to freshen up), and others recommend quickly looking over the genitals you're about to go down on for obvious signs of contagious STDs (including genital warts, which can potentially be transmitted from genitals to mouth). If your policy for performing unprotected fellatio is to not let your partner come in your mouth and he does so anyway, it's probably better to immediately spit than to either wait or swallow, and it may help (especially for bacterial STDs) to then go use an anti-bacterial or peroxide mouthwash. Pre-cum can contain HIV, and although not letting men come in your mouth SIGNIFICANTLY reduces your already low risk to even lower levels, if you are concerned about becoming infected via pre-cum while performing fellatio you have two risk-reduction options: not taking the head of his penis in your mouth or using barriers for oral sex.

If after getting all the current facts you decide that your personal safety standards include barriers for oral sex, then you'll need to use latex condoms (without Nonoxynol-9) for fellatio, and either regular saran wrap or one of those "Glyde" dams for cunnilingus (for cunnilingus, put a little water-based lube on your partner's side of the barrier to increase the sensation transmitted to her). The same barrier techniques used for cunnilingus can also be used for analingus (rimming), where they should be considered essential if the person doing the licking isn't immunized against hepatitis A or if the person being licked may have a bacterial infection.

Source @ Sexuality.org

Reduce your breast cancer risk

A healthy lifestyle offers protection now. What changes can you make to reduce your breast cancer risk or ease your treatment? According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful:

  • Get a checkup
  • See your healthcare professional once a year for a breast exam and mammogram to detect disease before it becomes advanced
  • Cut back on cocktails, but not on nutrition
  • Limit your alcohol consumption and take a multivitamin containing folic acid to reduce alcohol-related breast cancer risk
  • Eat risk-reducing foods
  • Add plenty of fiber, tomato products, soy products, and fish to your diet
  • Prioritize exercise
  • Maintain a regular exercise program throughout your life
  • Seek support
  • If you have breast cancer, join a weekly patients’ group for social support
  • Mix in melatonin
  • If you have breast cancer, take 20 mg of this hormone at night under medical supervision to possibly help shrink tumors and slow progression

These recommendations are not comprehensive and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist.

Source @ Sam's Club

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ban on junk food ads introduced

A ban on adverts for junk food during television programmes aimed at children under 16 has come into force.

Regulator Ofcom has outlawed adverts for foods high in fat, salt and sugar in an effort to tackle rising childhood obesity levels.

But broadcasters say the quality of children's programmes will be hit by the loss of an estimated £39m in advertising revenue.

Health campaigners had called for a complete ban before the 9pm watershed.

The move is the latest stage in a phased crackdown on advertising during programmes aimed at or appealing to children.

In April 2007, junk food ads were banned during programmes made to appeal to seven to nine-year-olds.

And by December this year, dedicated children's channels will have to phase them out altogether.

Children's Secretary Ed Balls has said that UK children see some 10,000 television adverts a year and recognise 400 brands by the age of 10.

Family shows

Terrestrial broadcasters have predicted their advertising revenue will fall by 1% after the ban.

Child-orientated satellite channels expect a 9% drop, while commercial channels aimed entirely at children fear a 15% fall.

Ofcom's rules impose curbs on adverts during shows where child viewers make up a high percentage of the total audience.

But in November, consumer group Which? claimed the restrictions were insufficient because they did not cover family programmes which appealed to both children and adults.

Among these were high-profile shows such as The X Factor, Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, New You've Been Framed and Coronation Street.

Richard Watts from the Children's Food Campaign told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that 18 out of the top 20 shows watched by children were not covered by the new ban.

"The rules are fantastically complicated and opaque for parents," Mr Watts said in endorsing a complete ban before the 9pm watershed.

He accused Ofcom of balancing the protection of children's health alongside the "financial health" of broadcasters.

In addition to scheduling restrictions, Ofcom plans to ban the use of celebrities and characters, such as cartoon heroes, to advertise unhealthy food.

Free gifts and health or nutrition claims will also be banned.

A Food Standards Agency ratings system is used to assess which foods are deemed to be junk products.

Source @ BBC