Though I wish my dog’s tick prevention worked 100% of the time, it just doesn’t. The Tick Key makes the unpleasant task of removing ticks much easier. I purchased the key shaped tool a year ago after noticing it by the cash register at my local outdoor store. All I do is align the larger end of the key’s opening over the tick, draw the tool toward the narrow part of the opening, and the little sucker just pops right out. My favorite canine, who always dreaded our approach with tweezers and made tick extraction an exercise in fortitude and contortionism, is not bothered by this method at all.
This book is a tome of body science for yoga teachers weighing in over 1000 pages. I purchased it a few months ago. While I’ve skimmed the entire volume, I’ve spent the most time on the appendix related to balance in yoga postures.
Most yoga instructors can tell you a handful of things that improve balance such as a gazing point, engaged muscles of the standing leg, and mental concentration. Mel Robin has written 80 pages on this subject. He covers gravitational effects on yoga postures; aspects of mechanical metastability; generating counter-torque when falling; balance sensors, and neural repatterning among many, many other topics. This one section alone has changed the way I practice balancing asanas and how I teach them to my students.
With the recent publication of William Broad’s controversial book The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards it’s more important than ever for yoga teachers to understand if and how science backs up claims related to the medical benefits of yoga. Robin’s book does just that. It looks at the science behind the asanas.
I understand that he is working on his newest edition…
Despite their bizarre capitalized naming scheme, these are the nail clippers you want. They beat cheap drugstore clippers in two important ways. First, they start sharp and stay sharp for a long time. I’ve had my first pair for perhaps 7 years, and they still cut beautifully. Second, they capture all the nail clippings that would normally scatter to the winds. This is a feature that seems trivial until you’ve tried it; in fact, it’s a critical thing in a nail clipper.
The clippers come in three sizes. My wife uses a small for her fingers, while I’m more comfortable with a medium. We both use the medium for toes. The medium is a pretty versatile size, and the large, which I’ve never seen, must be very large indeed. Maybe it’s for horse hooves.
I bought this on a hunch, because I was so frustrated with nail clippers that wore down after a few months. I’ve since given 4 more as presents, a move which raised eyebrows at the time, but in all cases has proven successful in the long term.
[Given that their website is in Japanese here's a bit of history about Feather the Japanese company that manufactures these clippers (among many other sharp objects).--OH]
On a recent trip to Berlin in the dead of winter with a toddler with a cough, we found ourselves with a dilemma: buy a humidifier when we arrive and then either sell it after a month or abandon it, or purchase the Air Swiss Travel Humidifier, a little pricey at $50, but a very compact unit. I was against buying something so specific as a travel humidifier, but we were so glad we did.
It’s a little bigger than a Macbook Pro power supply, and twice as thick. It has a clever water reservoir, any .5 liter or smaller water bottle snaps into a fitting, and will supply 6-10 hours of vapor, depending on the setting.
Berlin apartments are as dry as a brush fire, so we also ran it all day in the living room, and even in a large room, it made the air so much more pleasant. Then we ran the Air Swiss all night for the baby, and again it performed perfectly. That’s day and night for 30-days non-stop; it’s built solid.
The only drawback is that there is a rather bright blue light that illuminates the vapor when the unit turns on, which changes to a red light when the water bottle is empty. If you’re a light sensitive sleeper, it might be an issue.
As someone that lives out of hotels a month or two a year, I can’t imagine traveling without it. Even without a cold it just makes the stuffy dry air in a central heated building pleasant.
This is the only book in the world that will really help you be your own doctor. It tells you how to suture a wound, heal burns, make your own contraception, diagnose tropical skin diseases, and thousands of other do-it-yourself medical procedures you won’t find elsewhere. Originally written (in Spanish) for para-medicals in the developing world, the medical instructions are clear, methodical, reliable, and helpful. Not all the content is emergency care; a lot is basic hygiene and preventative care.
This book is crammed with essential, life-saving knowledge for anyone living or traveling for long periods in undeveloped areas without doctors close by. It can be found in the packs of transcontinental bicyclists, arctic explorers, missionaries and Peace Corp folks. The book is too heavy to lug around in a tourist backpack, but it is also available as a free PDF. But even with access to modern medical facilities, I’ve found this book gives me an abbreviated medical school education. It offers very realistic first aid treatments (more than just bandages), and very easy-to-understand explanations of what doctors see in injuries. It can help you talk to doctors. Finally, when you are done traveling, leave this book behind with someone who can use it.
There is also a companion book, Where There Is No Dentist, equally good.
Giardia is a tiny parasite that lives in the gut and is a common cause of diarrhea, especially in children.
A lot of gas. This causes a swollen, uncomfortable belly, cramps, nausea, and a lot of farts and burps. The burps have a bad taste, like sulfur or rotten eggs.
Bad-smelling, yellow, and frothy (full of bubbles) diarrhea, without blood or mucus.
There is usually no fever.
It can last for weeks, causing weight loss and weakness.
A mild giardia infection is uncomfortable, but will usually get better on its own within about 6 weeks. Good nutrition helps. A long-lasting case, especially in a child, is best treated with metronidazole. Quinacrine is cheaper and often works well, but causes worse side effects.
My husband has dry fingernails that are very thin and are prone to breaking. Once we get into the dry season, they start to peel, and he’s always biting them off as soon as they start to snag.
There’s all sorts of things you can brush onto your nails, but one that I like is from a nail polish company called OPI (that’s Oh-Pee-Eye, not “ohpee”). They have a line of nail care products called Nail Envy. They all look like white or beige nail polish (in nail polish bottles), and most of them are designed to be worn underneath or on top of nail color.
There IS one version of Nail Envy, however, that’s designed for men. It’s called Matte Nail Envy, and as the name implies, it’s a nail polish that dries into a matte, non-shiny coating. Now, my husband swears up and down it’s shiny–it DOES give your nails a sheen, but I wouldn’t call it a shine at all. OPI is sold in most hair and nail salons as well as higher-end stores that sell cosmetics. If you have a store like Sally Beauty Products or ULTA in your neighborhood, they will have it in stock.
If you’re embarrassed to walk into a beauty store, you can always write down the product name on a piece of paper, and go to the cashier right away and ask them to get it for you. The nail polish aisle will likely look pretty overwhelming for you. Another option is to simply buy them online.
If you try it, and you agree with my husband that the sheen is too much for you, my suggestion is that you use an extra fine nail sander to buff off the surface a bit.
Another thing you can do is keep some moisturizer on hand, especially when the weather is cold and dry. Just dab a little bit on your fingernail, then pat your finger down at each of your nail beds, and then just lightly rub back and forth. It will keep your nail area moist and less likely to chip and crack.
Image credit: Montpelier Beauty
When I need to make a hot compress I put dried beans (preferably lentils) in a pillowcase and heat in the microwave for a minute or two. It’s cheap, easy, doesn’t smell horrible, and retains heat for quite some time. Reusable, too. If you want a pretty one, there are some nice ones available from etsy, including scented ones.
– Courtney Ostaff
I also make hot compresses at home, but with rice in a long sock. Same method: microwave for a minute or two to enjoy around 10 minutes of heat. After several uses, the rice will eventually start to breakdown and you’ll need to replace it. The heated rice does emit a very faint smell, but I actually find it to be comforting. This might be a problem, though, if you’re using the heat to treat migraine pain.
I tried using a rubber hot-water pouch recently, but I found that the thick rubber walls weren’t transmitting heat very well, so I went back to rice in a sock.
– Camille Cloutier
I have had a lot of expensive and time consuming dental work done over the last five years, so I am a really motivated electric tooth brush user. I have used at least three different electric tooth brushes and the Colgate 360 is by far the best, while also being the least expensive.
It is powered by one AAA battery so the handle is slim and easy to pack. The one battery lasts a long time. The brush has a non slip rubber on/off switch that has a satisfying click and is more intuitive to use than the two battery brushes with bigger handles. There is no worry with expensive replacement heads. Just buy a new 360. It also has a tongue cleaner feature that I haven’t seen elswhere.
As an aside I took one of the Colgate 360 electric tooth brushes apart to see what makes it work. It has some really sophisticated engineering. The on/off swith is a formed piece of metal that clicks open and closed like the clamp that women use to hold their hair curls at night. The power source is a vibrator in a metal cylinder and the energy is transmitted to the brush head by a rigid plastic rod encased in a flexible plastic sheath. Cool stuff.
[Note: Instead of throwing these away when the bristles get soft, put them to work cleaning in the bathroom or kitchen, or on small parts in the shop. The electric models are especially effective for these tasks.--OH]
Kinesiology tape has been around for some years and is widely used by athletes, but in the past you had to have a trained person apply the tape. These spider-style kinesiology tape are precut, and by following instructional videos an untrained person can apply the tapes to help stabilize joints, prevent injuries and otherwise support the body. They make them for various injured body parts.
I have a badly damaged shoulder due to a motorcycle accident in 1977. I’ve had joint replacement but the muscles are full of scar tissue and I have limited use of the arm. I have recently had a tear in my rotator cuff and have used a spider to support the joint while waiting for tests, appointments and surgeries. The difference that it has made in my pain level has been amazing.
I have lots of problems with severe muscles spasms in my rotator cuff muscles and have for 20 years. Aside from the spider tape, the thing that has helped the most is a hot tub with very powerful jets. A far less expensive yet very effective tool is a tennis ball in a sock (preferably one of those hospital socks with “non-slip” strips to maximize traction). I can hold the sock with my hand and hang it over my shoulder so the ball is over my shoulder blade, lean back into a wall and move around to massage the muscles. You have remarkable control over the pressure and positioning of the massage. This has been far more helpful than the many commercial massagers I have tried over the years, and it is very portable.
I have also found the The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook to be the best guide for self-help using trigger point therapy.
SpiderTech taping instructions
About a year ago I developed an extremely bad case of tennis elbow and was introduced to the Torex ice sleeve by my physiotherapist. The ice sleeve is very soft. It never freezes even when very cold and can be rolled onto my arm. Because it is a sleeve and not a pack it stays in place and is very comfortable. I had to ice my upper forearm for at least 20 minutes to get any relief and using the Torex beats holding a pack of frozen peas any day. I would just roll it on and forget about it until it warmed up.
I use the medium size and have found that it is perfect for ankles as well. I used it after getting hit in the ankle with a puck playing ice hockey.
The sleeve is non-toxic, latex-free, and made in the USA. It can also be used as a heat pack following very specific heating instructions in a microwave.
I’ve also discovered a bonus use. The medium size is perfect to roll over a can of beer. It is, by far, the fastest drink cooler I have seen. My brother would always steal my ice sleeve to cool his drinks and now that my elbow is better I use it mostly for that purpose, as well.
This thermal sleeve is a very comfortable ice/heat pack and an extremely efficient beer cooler. Two qualities that make you feel better.