Humans often find themselves in awe of the vastness of the universe and the smallness of themselves in the scope of things.

But far less commonly we let our attention rest on and ponder the mystery and wonder of the microcosmic world within our own environment. Those microscopic flora and fauna – a universe unseen to our naked eye -hums along unseen and unheard all around us, everywhere we go.

Bugs We Could Do Without

Sometimes we do notice these bugs which are otherwise unseen. For example, scabies (sarcoptes scabiei) are a mite that lives on human hosts and are invisible to the eye. While the mites are invisible, the condition no doubt noticeable to the human host they lay prey upon. Scabies are known for the intense itching they create on the skin of their host as well as the difficult measures that are taken to eradicate the condition.

There are many annoying and even dangerous “bugs” for humans to be concerned about. Lice, nits, bedbugs and internal parasites to name a few.

Bugs That We Need To Survive and Thrive

But there are also incredibly important “bugs” in our lives that are so important for our wellbeing that we would soon be dead without them there to support us.

For example, did you know that our immune system – which is found mostly in our gut – is dependent on healthy bacterial life being present inside our body to function?

Our microscopic gut flora play an important role in the continuous, dynamic nature of the human immune system. These bacterias promote our gut’s mucosal immune system to develop when we are young and work to maintain it’s proper functioning throughout the rest of our life.

There are gut bacteria living in us that stimulate the human lymph tissues to produce antibodies that prevent pathogens from taking hold in our body and makes sure that the immune system is able to recognize incoming threats.

The way our bodies work with these bacteria is truly amazing. It wasn’t until recent decades that we were became aware of the internal flora in our system, and not until very recently that we understood the extent of their role in keeping us healthy by supporting numerous functions like immune support and improving our digestion and assimilation of foods.

How exactly do these internal bugs work to make us healthier? The answer lies in the friendly bonds they’ve formed while co-existing with the human species over thousands of generations.

Friendly micro bacteria in our digestive tract communicate directly with the body which then relays information back and forth with the brain. One example of how bacteria can help our digestion is their ability to help us assimilate nutrients.

Many of the bacterial species in our digestive tract can break down certain compounds that our body alone could not. In this way potentially allergenic food compounds can be turned into readily assimilated forms of matter that our body can use for nourishment.

Are Our Healthy Bugs at Risk?

While we are surrounded by millions of helpful bacteria (roughly 300,000 trillion are alive in each of us at any given time), for many people that number is dwindling and bad bacteria are filling in the gaps left behind.

Our modern use of drugs and intake of unhealthy food directly threatens the livelihood of our friendly bacteria by making our body inhospitable for them. When our body becomes unhealthy and good bacteria die we more easily suffer bacterial and viral infections from unhealthy bugs.

If we are sick and our levels of healthy bacteria are low the solution is to eat right, as nature intends, and to replenish our bacterial storehouse with fermented foods and drinks.

The Rise and Fall of Health Trends

There’s always a new health trend sweeping through culture.

And one of these new trends to gain mainstream attention is the practice of using essential oils for aromatherapy and overall healing.

Maybe you’ve heard a good deal about essential oils and aromatherapy already, but if you haven’t yet, you are likely to soon enough.

Can Essential Oils Really Help Us Heal?

Today I’d like to tackle the question: are there really health benefits of essential oils and aromatherapy?

Well it turns out to be a bit of a challenge to this figure out. One which we will explore in this post.

It’s hard to take seriously all of the new fads in health today. While some new trends bring us genuine ways to improve our health, other so called “advancements” are no more than shams brought about by modern day charlatans trying to make a quick buck.

Of course many critics jump straight to the conclusion that this aromatherapy trend falls directly into the charlatan health category – and it’s trickery will soon be exposed and this health trend soon forgotten.

Other people disagree with this critique and shun the idea that this trend will leave us as quickly as it came. It appears that much of the health community truly believe these oils can be incredibly healing and are here to stay.

But why? What makes aromatherapy special? And how can smell truly heal us? If aromatherapy isn’t just a flash in the pan health quackery, what makes it work?

How Aromatherapy Works

According to aromatherapists the scents of essential oils offer more than just a simple tool to make your house smell nice before visitors arrive. The true health benefits involve an intense bond between scent and our relationship to certain organic plant materials.

The idea goes that there are countless therapeutic plants with healing benefits specific to human beings that have been utilized for millennia. These scents are not only familiar to us as they were our ancestors, but they are woven into our cells and can directly affect our overall well-being.

Every time you inhale a scent that fragrance is directly processed by the hypothalamus in the brain. This organ regulates a plethora of bodily functions including growth hormones, ability to sleep, our emotional fluctuations as well as many other key bodily roles.

Once the hypothalamus processes incoming scent information it send these signals to the hippocampus which influences the creation of our memories. Your mind then associates certain responses to particular smells. This is why certain smells so easily induce past memories to come to the surface.

This ability of scents to evoke emotional responses in the mind is a powerful tool. There are countless scents that are hardwired into our collective minds. Some scents signal us to become fearful or aggressive, while others promote a strong sense of safety, focus, calmness and wellbeing.

And by choosing aromatic scents that are well known to nourish our system we are able to awaken the mind’s ability to heal itself.

What Do You Think?

This quick summary above is obviously a severely condensed analysis on the workings of aromatherapy. There are far more ways to use essential oils than what’s been described above, like applying cure an ear infection.

So what do you think? Is there merit for using essential oils and aromatherapy in your life? Do you think aromatherapists should be considered genuine healthcare practitioners?

Getting a house sitter for the first time can make anyone nervous – after all, you’ll be away from your home for quite some time, and the house sitter will have complete access to your home. Here are some of things you should be aware of before you acquire the services of a house sitting company:

  • Preparing for the house sitter’s arrival: Check with your insurance company whether your policy covers the house sitter’s personal belongings. Make sure that you tell your insurance agent the duration for which you will be away from your home. Let your house sitter know about the insurance company’s response, particularly if their belongings are not covered.

If you live in a rented home, tell your landlord that you wish to hire a house sitter and acquire their permission to do so. Give them a short written list of the house sitting arrangements e.g. names, contact information, dates etc.

  • What to provide your house sitter: Come to an arrangement with the house sitter about utilities, tasks and food. They may also require a sum of money each week to cover for expenses like fresh food. The majority of house sitters are normally prepared to pay for their own food, though, and will only need your cash for buying pet food or other necessities. Your written contract should contain these details.

Payments of utilities can be negotiated. You may want to pay for the basic ones, depending upon your consumption, and charge the sitter for extra electricity, gas and telephone use. You will also have to talk about satellite/cable TV and computer usage. If you plan to be away for a fortnight at most, you might consider paying these bills for the sitter.

Allocate some time to preparing instructions, checklists and a list of contacts for the house sitter; this is extremely important. In the event of an emergency your house sitter must know who to contact and what course of action to take. Avoid any misunderstanding by giving explicit pool, yard and pet care instructions. Create a folder of appliance instruction manuals for your house sitter as well.

  • Is it safe to get a house sitter? The majority of house sitting arrangements work out fine, but issues can still arise. Signing a written contract and getting good references are the best form of protection against liability and damage issues. If you intend to stay away from your home for months, you will most likely be better off getting a proper house sitter, rather than leaving the house empty.

Several house sitting matching and referral services provide standard house sitting agreements for their members. The house sitter you choose must be in agreement to sign a written contract with you. You can hire an attorney to write up a contract which protects both you and the sitter.

Ask your neighbours or friends to check in with the sitter every week or so, and let you know if they find any issues.

  • What to do if a problem occurs? In most cases, people don’t know about the problem until they have gotten back home. If you discover minor damage, you can take out repair costs from the security fund before you give it back. Wait for your utility bills to arrive before you give the security deposit back to the sitter.

In the event of major damage, you might have to sue the house sitter for damages.

Breastfeeding mothers who choose to return to work after delivery rely on a breast pump to collect their milk while at work. This maintains their milk supply and allows them to store just enough milk for the baby when they are not around. Breast pumps are available in different types, and manufacturers continue to improve it and help more nursing mothers. They come in various styles and models, which actually benefit more moms since they have varying needs. There are hospital-grade electric pumps that help mothers who are having trouble breastfeeding. However, not all moms can easily afford the device. Some of them opt to buy second-hand units while some just choose to rent. However, women should be aware of the fact that their insurance can pay for the cost of their breast pump.

Affordable Care Act and Breastfeeding

Under the ObamaCare or Affordable Care Act, health insurance plans starting August 2, 2012 should cover cost of purchase or rental of breast pumps. This means covering the cost of the device in full, or 100%. Mothers should ask their insurance company about some restrictions. The company may have some restrictions, such as the covering only particular brands or models, or those purchased in-network. Some may cover any pump but pays only 80 percent of the amount. Mothers should always be aware of their options.

Knowing What the Insurance Covers

Nursing moms, or those who plan to breastfeed, can request their plan administrator for written information about breast pump coverage to help avoid confusion. In case they are not yet covered by the Act, many companies cover breast pumps. The documentation can be used if the mother is already deciding on which product to buy. You might need the recommendation of your doctor regarding the right breast pump to buy. Reading breast pump reviews like those available here can help you compare each type to be able to choose the best one. Once you come up with a choice, you may determine if your insurance provider will cover the cost.

Covering Rentals

Some mothers opt to just rent a breast pump. Usually, hospital-grade pumps are available for rent because these can be fully sterilized, making them ideal for multiple users. Moms who are not sure if they will be pumping can try by renting such machine. There is no need to worry about the cost, because most insurance providers also cover breast pump rentals. The plan administrator may also set the guidelines on how long coverage lasts for a rented pump, or when they intend to provide the pump. However, moms and their doctor will decide on what is right for them and their baby. It is because insurance companies will follow what the doctor recommends.

Breastfeeding is still the best way to ensure that a baby is given proper nourishment. The law gives importance to this health practice as stipulated in the Affordable Care Act. It is such a big help for mothers if their insurance covers cost of a breast pump and other breastfeeding supplies. This is also a good way to encourage mothers to nurse their babies. As to breast implants cost should procedure be required this site will give you a better understanding of what to expect during the procedure.

With the economy recovering from a massive collapse, and conventional job opportunities slim, even the most talented professionals have had to rethink their careers and go back to school. The need of the hour are jobs which have applications across a diverse range of industries, jobs that can survive even in this recession stricken financial situation. One such job that I’ve come across is welding. Take a look at these welding schools if you’re interested in taking up this career.

Why is welding becoming so popular with those who want stable jobs in an unstable economy? Because it plays a role in almost anything you touch and see on a daily basis – the motor vehicle you drive, the suspension bridge on which you drive and the building you drive to – even the gate to your garage required the application of a welding technique to get built! Welding has a role in the construction of ships, aircrafts, trains and a wide variety of manufactured goods – from lawnmowers to tractors! Also worth noting is its role in the energy section. For example, welding has a critical part in the construction and maintenance of offshore oil rigs, as well as wind turbines in modern windmills, power plants and gas pipelines – even the cranes used to move around the construction materials for these modern miracles are constructed from welding!

You’d be surprised how far a welding job can take you. Consider the story of Scott Shriver, the chief fabricator for R&D at Hendrick Motorsports, the team which has created big names in NASCAR such as Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordan. Shriver started out in welding early, when he lived on a farm. He used to help his father weld together farm implements to support the farm. Afterwards, when he took classes in welding at his high school, the instructor was impressed by his prowess and advised him to pursue a career in welding. Shriver already had an interest in motorcycle racing and one day, when one of his friends expressed a desire for sprint car racing, he helped that friend build his first ever sprint race car all the way up from the chassis. That was his first experience in fabricating racing cars and he has carved out a place for himself in the race car industry ever since. The company he works at, Hendrick Motorsports, prefers to do things traditionally but through the application of modern technology; they build their own cars from scratch and Shriver’s job is to put all the car’s pieces together, in particular, the welds, which are vital.

This is just one success story of the welding profession. This is a field that involves travel, skill development, science, research and even teaching. The starting pay may be basic, but it can reach as high as $104,280(+) if you keep upgrading your qualifications and working hard. For those who like adventure and aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty in exchange for a decent, steady paying job, welding should definitely be a consideration.

Under Obamacare, people with pre-existing conditions that may have not previously been covered by insurance will now be entitled to charge some procedures to their insurance. This has led to the argument of whether breast augmentation is a procedure that should be paid for by insurance companies arising again.

Some people believe that it is the right of every woman to be able to have a breast augmentation procedure, and that these procedures should be covered by insurance so that they are available to everyone.

There are some occasions in the past where breast augmentation and reconstruction have been paid for by insurance, after treatment for breast cancer for example. Those in support of breast augmentation to be available for everyone argue that this process was unfair, because whether a person had to pay was largely dependant on what the surgeon listed as the reason for the procedure. By making all procedures payable by the insurance companies, the reason for the surgery is not important. If this debate has made you think about having breast augmentation surgery, and you live in Arizona then has a comprehensive list of all the surgeons in your area.

Others believe that breast augmentation surgery should not be covered by Insurance because the majority of the time it is done for superficial reasons. For example, should a woman who just wants to have larger breasts be able to have the procedure done under the insurance? There are advocates that are strictly against that being the case especially when much of Obamacare doesn’t even allow the coverage for birth control.

When discussing this argument, both sides have valid reasoning because there are situations where breast augmentation should be covered under insurance such as a situation where the augmentation is done because of breast cancer or if a woman wants to take a pro-active measure in removing the breast to prevent future cancer.

The flip side is that it shouldn’t be covered in situations where it is only being done for purposes of elevating the woman’s looks. In this case, there is no medical reasoning that supports an insurance claim. Without a medical reasoning, many believe that it shouldn’t be covered by insurance companies. This goes for Arizona residents as well.

The gray area comes in a situation where a male would like to undergo a sex change. In this situation, should the procedure be covered, or shouldn’t it? Many are up in the air on that debate because from a psychological standpoint, it could be very damaging to the psyche of a recent sex change patient. When discussing the psychological need, it makes a very valid argument that it should be covered by insurance companies.

Whether you are for or against the coverage, it’s important to remember that each procedure is different has it’s own reasoning which is why it’s very likely that not every one be covered but it be looked at on a case by case basis. If insurance companies did not look at it on a case by case basis, everyone would see insurance premiums rise as everyone would want the procedure done.

ABC News did a program last year that provided consumers with tips on how best to protect themselves from phoney mold inspectors. This program was basically a televised sting operation on these ‘inspectors’ where they were called to inspect a house by a costumer who thought there might be a mold infestation. The program called seven mold inspectors to carry out the inspection – only 4 of these gave honest assessments and reported that the house did not have a mold problem. The remaining 3 took the bait and gave exaggerated reports where they completely fabricated the truth and reported varying degrees of mold infestation to the homeowner and even followed up with quotes on how much remediation would cost!

Long story short, ABC had the following advice for its viewers when they are seeking out a mold inspector:

  • Do thorough research.
  • Don’t be hasty.
  • Tests aren’t 100% complete in giving answers.
  • Don’t be rash.

Was this advice sufficient?

While this advice was definitely meant with the best intentions at heart, industry experts aren’t completely satisfied with it. MI&T (Mold Inspection and Test) is a leader in the field of mold inspection and has given their opinion about the show that aired on ABC. According to them, ABC’s efforts are definitely laudable since they have exposed some serious problems in the mold inspection/remediation industry – but the tips they offered could definitely have been better.

Better advice would have been:

While they did a good job establishing the fact that there are a lot of phoney inspectors out there who want nothing more than to make a quick buck at the unwary homeowner’s expense, they forgot to underline a trait which was common to all of them – the fact that they all tried to pitch a mold removal job once they were done with their inspection. Therefore, the best tip for homeowners when choosing a mold inspector should be to pick one that does not have a conflict of interest – in other words, if you choose a company that does both inspection and remediation, what good would a negative result be for them? In order to have an unbiased inspection / testing done, the homeowner should be careful in picking out a company that focuses on inspection rather than remediation. Texas and Florida, in the US, have even passed laws which prohibit companies from handling both inspection and restoration at the same time. A business owner in Orlando was arrested and tried for fraud when he disobeyed these laws.

The solution:

A great approach would be to hire a dedicated mold inspector to give you an unbiased report on the mold status of your home and then acquire the services of a normal mold inspection/remediation company of good repute. If the latter is indeed as honest and reliable as it claims, their inspection will match that of the unbiased inspector’s, and you can then hire them to take care of the mold problem. It may cost you a bit more, but it will definitely be better than getting ripped off by a fraudulent firm.