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Blog | Hands for Life

How to Stay Hydrated the Right Way

Have you ever heard the theory that you need to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day to avoid dehydration? How about the theory that only water can hydrate you, and that other fluids don’t count towards that 8 glasses? Well, those water myths have gone belly up in recent years. The CDC has done away with that 8 glasses of water myth and now recommends drinking water when thirsty to avoid dehydration. Additionally, they have determined that any fluid or food that is high in water content adds to hydration. This means that you no longer need to drink large quantities of water, but can instead focus on listening to your body’s signals and drinking when it tells you to drink.   If one of the traditional, long standing arguments for water consumption has been debunked, does that mean other former facts may be considered myths as well? The answer is yes, but also no. Let’s go through some of the more common myths on drinking water to determine fact from myth.   Common Water Concepts: Eight glasses of water a day False! Doctors now recommend drinking when thirsty and count any food or beverage with a high liquid content towards hydration. If you are involved in strenuous activity, especially in hot weather, it doesn’t hurt to drink more often. A sister-myth, that by the time you are thirsty you are already dehydrated, has also been proven false. When thirsty, it’s time to get a drink, but you aren’t already into the stages of dehydration. Water  flushes toxins from the body True! The kidneys use water...

What do fireworks and medicine have in common?

Fireworks and medicine have more in common than you may think. As we celebrate American independence, take a moment to think about the variety of ways humanity has learned to use the chemicals and substances around us. We’re pretty innovative, and also fairly certain we haven’t even come close to discovering everything this world has to offer us. Check out the chemicals and substances that give fireworks their color, and how they compare in the medical world: Red Fireworks: A red firework gets its color from either Lithium or Strontium. Lithium gives the medium red tones, while Strontium produces a stronger, more intense red. Lithium, in the medical world is primarily used as a psychiatric medication and is used to treat major depressive disorders like Bipolar Disorder. Strontium, on the other hand, is used in advanced cases of prostate cancer and bone cancer. Blue Fireworks: Blue fireworks get their color from Copper. Powdered copper is placed inside the firework shell and, when it ignites, we see beautiful blue colors. In medicine, doctors are studying the use of copper to target and destroy cancer cells. Green Fireworks: A green firework comes from Barium, which is also used to coath the throat, esophagus, stomach, and intestines so that they more clearly show in CT scans and other X-rays. Yellow Fireworks: Yellow fireworks come from sodium, also known as… Salt. Sodium bicarbonate, in particular, is used to treat hearburn, indigestion, and upset stomach. It’s fantastic for toning down stomach juices! White Fireworks: White fireworks get their color from Aluminum and Magnesium. Aluminum hydroxide reduces phosphate levels in certain kidney conditions. Magnesium is...

The Health Benefits of Volunteering

The Health Benefits of Volunteering Volunteering can be a great way to help the community, share your talents, and provide service to those around you. Did you know it can also benefit your personal health? More and more studies are showing that volunteering reduces depression, provides a sense of purpose, and increases physical activity. Any one of these factors leads to reduced stress and improved physical health. Reducing Depression: Volunteer work reduces depression by increasing physical activity and introducing the volunteer to others with similar beliefs and interests. By volunteering for your favorite local charity or providing community service for neighbors you increase the likelihood of developing friendships and creating a network of supportive individuals around you. This reduces depression by improving your social environment while simultaneously providing physical stimulation. Increasing Sense of Purpose: Many people look at the world and wonder what things could be like. The happiest of people step forward and begin to make a difference. They seek to change the world into what they want, rather than waiting to see what it becomes. This develops a sense of purpose, which increases as you continue to work towards goals. Looking to increase your sense of purpose? Sign up with a charity organization you believe in and become the good you want to see. Physical Activity: Science has long told us that physical exertion releases endorphins. Endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain, act as a natural painkiller and improve sleep quality. Many types of volunteer work require physical exertion, whether it is building a house, ladling soup, or running supplies from one table to the next....

Animal Chiropractic – Yes, it’s a thing.

Dr. Alissa Grover   Did you know that our very own Dr. Alissa Grover is an animal chiropractor? Like all vertebrates, animals can use occasional care in the spinal department. Dr. Ali works with dogs, cats, horses, reptiles, rabbits, and more!   Dr. Ali graduated Valedictorian of her class from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, where the chiropractic profession was founded. She completed an additional 220-hours of continuing education on animal chiropractic from Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, Texas. She is a certified animal chiropractor by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA). Currently, Dr. Ali is one of only a handful of AVCA-certified doctors in the entire state of Utah, and is proud to be the only chiropractic physician to hold that title. Also a certified Reiki master, Dr. Ali enjoys using energy work and kinesiology testing in addition to chiropractic.   What is animal chiropractic?   Animal chiropractic is similar to human chiropractic and is done for similar reasons. This specialized branch of chiropractic appeared in publications as early as 1944, but was not recognized officially until the 1980s (Willoughby 2002). Chiropractors had found that animals, particularly race horses, could benefit from chiropractic. This had proven difficult for many veterinarians and doctors to get behind, though, due to skepticism regarding chiropractic in general. With much work and dedication, animal chiropractic became an official branch of chiropractic, complete with certifications and specialized classes.   Like human chiropractic, animal chiropractic focuses on the health of the neuro-musculo-system. This system controls the body and, when there is stress or damage to the nervous system, the entire body experiences...

Essential Oils as Insect Repellents

How do they work? Plants have been used as natural insect repellants since ancient times, often grown strategically to deter harmful or pesky insects from entering human habitations. The mutually beneficial relationship between plants and humans has been extremely important, particularly in areas where mosquitoes and other biting insects can carry devastating diseases. Beyond planting some lavender, or growing basil, studies have shown that crushing or burning certain plants increase their insect repelling properties. This is where essential oils come in. Essential oils concentrate the oils in the plant, creating a more potent and active form of the natural substances found in the plant. Before we dig too much deeper, the first step in understanding essential oils as insect repellants is to understand how they work. Contrary to popular belief, not all of these plants push bugs away. Some of the more common oils have a potent scent, which hides other smells and confuses mosquitoes and biting pests. While the oils are not directly driving mosquitoes away, they are making it much harder for the mosquito to find and bite you. Other plants actively repel the insects, producing smells that drive them away. These plants tend to react when damaged by an insects bite, or when brushed against, so are typically more useful when used in an oil or smoke form. Finally, certain plants contain chemicals that are toxic to insects. This is where the ever popular citronella fits in, repelling and killing simultaneously.   How to use them? As mentioned above, having live plants in strategic locations can offer limited protection as an insect deterrent. Most plants that...

What Causes a Sunburn?

What is a sunburn? Sunburns occur when bare skin is exposed to UV rays, most commonly from direct sunlight or spending too long on a tanning bed. These rays cause the skin to respond by making melanin, a natural protective substance that gives us suntans and is responsible for the variety of skin tones across the globe. When the melanin defense system becomes overwhelmed, a burn occurs. You may have noticed that those with darker skin tones do not burn quite as easily as those with lighter tones. This is due to the quantity of melanin in the skin, and is determined genetically. Those with darker skin are naturally able to produce more melanin, while those with fairer skin have less melanin to work with and burn easier as a consequence. How do we protect ourselves? Sunburns can occur on sunny days, overcast days, snowy days, and even while swimming. Studies have shown that up to 80% of UV rays will pass through clouds and that snow, ice, water, and other reflective services can actually magnify the effect of the UV. This means that only going outside when it’s cold or cloudy won’t protect us. Wearing protective clothing that covers the skin is one of the surest ways to prevent sunburn. Be it a hat, long sleeved shirt, sunglasses, or long pants, covering the body protects us from exposure. This may not always be a practical solution, however, especially when temperatures peak and a nice dip in the swimming pool is needed. In these situations, the best preventative is a good sunscreen. Sunscreen comes in a variety of forms,...