In the human body there are eleven organ ‘systems’ working together to make up one whole, a system of systems – our body. It should be kept in mind that these divisions are somewhat arbitrary as to which organs are included and which are excluded in any one system. It also bears remembering that no one organ system ever functions independently of the others.

   The nervous system sends instructions to the muscular system as to when to move particular muscles. The cardiovascular system delivers nutrients and removes wastes from the muscle fibers of the musculoskeletal system to allow them to continue to function, etc. Dividing the human body into eleven organ systems is simply a way for the Health Guardian to organize information about what parts do what. In the body itself, the parts that need to interact do interact, regardless of which system they have been grouped into.

   The maintenance of homeostasis is pivotal to any experience of wellness within the urinary system. The kidneys are major organs of elimination. They work in conjunction with the liver, lungs, the skin and bowels to help ensure a clean internal environment. The Kidneys are responsible for maintaining the water balance of the body, the pH of the blood, regulating blood pressure, and eliminating drugs or their metabolites. The kidneys also release the protein erythropoietin, which stimulates the bone marrow to increase the formation of red blood cells.

   As people get older, the bladder changes, including bladder infections, urinary incontinence, and urinary tract infections. Elastic bladder tissue may toughen and become less stretchy. A less stretchy bladder cannot hold as much urine as before and might make you go to the bathroom more often. The bladder wall and pelvic floor muscles may weaken, making it harder to empty the bladder fully and causing urine to leak. Bladder problems can disrupt day-to-day life. When people have bladder problems, they may avoid social settings and have a harder time getting tasks done at home or at work.

Common bladder problems include:

   Urinary tract infections (UTIs)— UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body and can happen anywhere in the urinary system. More than half of women will have at least one UTI in their lifetime. Older women are more likely to get UTIs because the bladder muscles weaken and make it hard to fully empty the bladder. This causes urine to stay in the bladder. When urine stays in the bladder too long, it makes an infection more likely.

   Types of UTIs include: Bladder infection— This is the most common type of UTI, in which bacteria enter the bladder and cause symptoms such as strong and sudden urges to urinate. Kidney infection—Infections in the bladder can spread to the kidneys, which can lead to severe problems. When kidney infections occur frequently or last a long time, they may cause permanent damage to the kidneys.

   Urethra infection — A UTI can also develop in the urethra, but this is less common.

   Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS)— a group of symptoms such as trouble urinating, loss of bladder control, leaking urine, and frequent need to urinate. LUTS are caused by problems with the bladder, urethra, or pelvic floor muscles.

   Bladder cancer— Bladder cancer occurs in the lining of the bladder.

Everyone’s bladder behaves a little bit differently. But certain signs may mean a bladder problem.

   Signs of a bladder problem can include: Inability to hold urine or leaking urine (called urinary incontinence), Needing to urinate eight or more times in one day, Waking up many times at night to urinate, Sudden and urgent need to urinate, Pain or burning before, during, or after urinating, Cloudy or bloody urine, Passing only small amounts of urine after strong urges to urinate, Trouble starting or having a weak stream while urinating, and Trouble emptying the bladder. Signs of Urinary Tract Infection: In some elderly people, mental changes and confusion may be the only signs of a UTI. Older adults with a UTI are more likely to be tired, shaky, and weak and have muscle aches and abdominal pain.

   Symptoms of a UTI in the bladder may include: Cloudy, bloody, or foul-smelling urine, Pain or burning during urination, Strong and frequent need to urinate, even right after emptying the bladder, A mild fever below 101°F in some people. If a

   UTI spreads to the kidneys, symptoms may include: Chills and shaking, Night sweats, Feeling tired or generally ill, Fever above 101°F, Pain in the side, back, or groin, Flushed, warm, or reddened skin, Mental changes or confusion, Nausea and vomiting, Very bad abdominal pain in some people, Some people may have bacteria in the bladder or urinary tract, but not feel any symptoms.

   While you can’t control everything that affects bladder health, there are some steps you can take to improve bladder health.

  1. Don’t wait too long to use the restroom. Withholding urination can put added pressure on your bladder which can lead to infection.
  2. Pay close attention to hygiene – avoid harsh soaps and make sure to shower thoroughly after swimming in pools or lakes.
  3. Avoid foods that may irritate the bladder. If you have an overactive or sensitive bladder, avoid carbonated and caffeinated drinks and alcoholic drinks.
  4. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day in order to keep a normal urinary pattern. This works to remove any waste products in your system.

   The nervous system collects and processes information from the senses via nerves and the brain and tells the muscles to contract to cause physical actions. The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system consists of nerves that connect every other part of the body to the central nervous system. Together with the endocrine system, the nervous system is responsible for regulating and maintaining homeostasis. Through its receptors, the nervous system keeps us in touch with our environment, both external and internal. Millions of sensory receptors detect changes, called stimuli, which occur inside and outside the body. They monitor such things as temperature, light, and sound from the external environment. Inside the body, the internal environment, receptors detect variations in pressure, pH, carbon dioxide concentration, and the levels of various electrolytes.

   Some serious conditions, diseases, and injuries that can cause nervous system problems include: Blood supply problems (vascular disorders), Injuries (trauma), especially injuries to the head and spinal cord, Mental health problems, such as anxiety disorders, depression, or psychosis. Problems that cause a gradual loss of function (degenerative); Parkinson's disease, Multiple sclerosis (MS), Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, Peripheral neuropathies. Infections that may occur in the: Brain (encephalitis or abscesses), Membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Overuse of or withdrawal from prescription and nonprescription medicines, illegal drugs, or alcohol, and A brain tumor. Other Organ system failure: Respiratory failure, Heart failure, Liver failure (hepatic encephalopathy), Kidney failure (uremia). Other conditions; Thyroid dysfunction (overactive or underactive thyroid), High blood sugar (diabetes) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), Electrolyte problems, Nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B1 (thiamine) or vitamin B12 deficiency and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

   A sudden (acute) nervous system problem can cause many different symptoms, depending on the area of the nervous system involved. Stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) are common examples of acute problems. You may experience the sudden onset of one or more symptoms, such as: Numbness, tingling, weakness, or inability to move a part or all of one side of the body (paralysis), Dimness, blurring, double vision, or loss of vision in one or both eyes. Loss of speech, trouble talking, or trouble understanding speech, Sudden, severe headache, Dizziness, unsteadiness, or the inability to stand or walk, especially if other symptoms are present, Confusion or a change in level of consciousness or behavior or Severe nausea or vomiting. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical advice.

Following the Prevention Guidelines Can Help Keep Your Nervous System Healthy:

  • Exercise regularly. If you have medical or health issues, talk to your doctor about an exercise plan that will be right for you.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Take care of health conditions that may cause decreased nervous system functioning, such as: Diabetes and High blood pressure.
  • Eat a balanced diet. A balanced, low-fat diet with ample sources of vitamins B6, B12, and folate will help protect the nervous system. Make sure that your diet contains lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids. This helps prevent dehydration, which can cause confusion and memory problems. To prevent dehydration during hot weather and exercise, drink water, rehydration drinks, or other fluids each day. Drink extra water before, during, and after exercise. Take a container of water or sports drink with you when you exercise and try to drink at least every 15 to 20 minutes. Limit your intake of caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and colas, which increase dehydration and can affect sleep.
  • Do not use alcohol or illegal drugs, which can affect functioning long after use.
  • Have your hearing or vision tested. When you do not hear or see well, it is hard for your brain to record information.
  • Set priorities and concentrate on one thing at a time. Older adults have a harder time than younger people giving their attention to more than one activity.
  • Increase your attention span and ability to focus by learning new skills.
  • Keep written notes. Write all your plans on a calendar where you can look at them often.
  • Use a medicine box with spaces for each day. This will help you remember when to take your medicines. Take your medicines exactly as they are prescribed.
  • Decrease your use of nonprescription medicines. Overuse of medicines may be the single biggest cause of nervous system problems in older adults.
  • Develop a positive attitude about your abilities. Reject the notion that nervous system (neurological) functioning declines with age.
  • Protect yourself from head injuries and prevent falls in your home.

   Extensive skeletal and muscular misalignment can impair the function of the neurological system and other organs and disrupt the harmony of the whole body. The health and wholeness of the musculoskeletal system can be maintained only as long as the inner environment and metabolism remain in harmony. Musculoskeletal diseases include tendinitis, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Fibromyalgia, Bone fractures, Arthritis, Bursitis, Osteogenesis imperfections, Rickets, Osteomyelitis, Osteosarcoma, Hip dysplasia, Bone disease, Metabolic bone disease and Bone cancer, muscular dystrophy, mitochondrial myopathy, myasthenia gravis, and tetanus and others. Primary symptoms of the musculoskeletal disease include pain, stiffness, swelling, limited range of motion, weakness, fatigue, and decreased physical function.

   The most common disease or disorders of the male reproductive system are; Prostate cancer, Testicular cancer, Enlarged prostate or BPH, Prostatitis, Erectile dysfunction, Male infertility, Testosterone deficiency, Undescended testicle, Varicocele or dilated veins around testicle, Hydrocele or fluid around testicle. Male reproductive system health challenges also include genital ulcers, testicular disorders, or sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STDs.)

   Among all the problems that can affect the musculoskeletal system, herbal medicine has the most to offer in treatment of chronic and degenerative ailments. In most cases, successful treatment of musculoskeletal illness with herbal medicine will be based on supporting the whole body, because systemic factors so often lay the foundation for degenerative musculoskeletal conditions.

How to Protect your Musculoskeletal System

  • Don’t Smoke- Smoking creates a greater risk of heart attack and stroke, causes coronary artery disease, increases blood pressure and blocks arteries. It alleviates the LDL “lousy” cholesterol and lowers the HDL healthy cholesterol. Smoking destroys the musculoskeletal system by decreasing exercise tolerance due to the reduced amount of oxygen available to muscle tissue. Avoid smoking to keep you healthy.
  • Stretch Often Throughout the Day- Maintain muscles, tendons, and ligaments by doing routine stretching and stretching movements throughout the day. If possible, primarily focus on strengthening your abdomen, quadriceps, shoulders, and hamstrings while also staying limber.
  • Keep an eye on your blood pressure- Just because you don’t show symptoms right away doesn’t mean your blood pressure is at a healthy standing. Check your levels regularly, a considerable amount of damage can be done before you realize your blood pressure is elevated.
  • Watch your cholesterol- Try to maintain a good ratio between your LDL and your HDL, studies show risk factors associated with chronic low back pain, are smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. People with these conditions were twice as likely to have back pain. The theory is that these conditions may slow the blood flow to the lumbar spine, causing pain.
  • Manage your weight- Try to keep your body at a healthy weight. Stationary lifestyles and aging cause the body to lose muscle tone. Added weight and gravity combined with muscle resistance cause the body to fall out of alignment. This deficiency of alignment causes stress on discs, bones, ligaments, and tendons, resulting in micro tears in fibers with ensuing pain.
  • Live a balanced life- Nowadays life is filled with deadlines, noise, interruptions, and stressors that put us out of balance. Take a few moments to try and collect your thoughts and balance your day with healthy outlets that give you a chance to rest and enjoy your life. Physical activity, like going for a 30-minute walk outside, can help reduce the stress of everyday life.
  • Be sure to consume enough water- Drink at least six to eight glasses of water daily. Water flushes toxins and waste products out of the body. -Get enough sleep at night- Getting sleep adequately protects the immune system, rejuvenates cells and makes us feel better.
  • Practice good posture- Whether sitting, standing, lifting heavy equipment, kneeling, bending, good posture is vital. Good posture, when sitting or standing, keeps the body in proper alignment. It reduces strain on the bones structure and individual muscle groups plus keeps muscles toned. Try to keep your feet flat on the floor while sitting instead of crossed or straight out in front of you. While standing, picture a straight line that drops from the ear to the shoulder to the hips.
  • Inhibit osteoporosis- Risks include smoking, excessive alcohol use, low calcium intake, and lack of exercise. Although men have a lower risk than women, they are still at risk, with white men holding the highest risk of all ethnic groups. Additional risks include prolonged exposure to certain medications, such as steroids, anticonvulsants, and certain cancer treatments. Regular weight bearing exercise, like lifting weights, help increase bone density.

   The male reproductive system's function is to produce, maintain, and transport genetic material. It's also an integral system to enhance quality of life. Some Men who are experiencing problems with functions of the male reproductive system, are often embarrassed to talk about it with a doctor.

   The most common disease or disorders of the male reproductive system are; Prostate cancer, Testicular cancer, Enlarged prostate or BPH, Prostatitis, Erectile dysfunction, Male infertility, Testosterone deficiency, Undescended testicle, Varicocele or dilated veins around testicle, Hydrocele or fluid around testicle. Male reproductive system health challenges also include genital ulcers, testicular disorders, or sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STDs.)

   Prostate issues are more common for men over 50. The prostate gland enlarges with age as some of the prostate tissue is replaced with a scar like tissue. This condition, called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), affects about 50% of men. Prostate diseases fall into three categories; infections, malignant and hypertrophic. Symptoms of prostate problems or BPH are; Frequent urge to urinate, A need to get up many times during the night to urinate, Blood in urine or semen, Pain or burning urination, Decreased flow or velocity of urine stream, Dribbling of urine, Painful ejaculation, and Frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area, or upper thighs. Prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50, and the risk increases with ageing. The most common age for men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer is between 65 and 69 years. A male can get prostate cancer at any age but if they are under 50, the risk of getting prostate cancer is very low but it is possible.

   Herbal infusions have been used to manage male reproductive system issues, including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and the associated lower urinary tract symptoms. There are a handful of herbal actions that are beneficial in the holistic treatment of the male reproductive system; Reproductive Tonic, Diuretic, Circulatory Stimulant, Aphrodisiacs, Anti-Inflammatory, Alternative, and Astringent.

Definitions of Herbal Actions That Benefit The Male Reproductive System:

   Reproductive Tonic: This is a pretty generalized term to denote herbs which have a specific affinity for the male reproductive system. These are remedies which exert influence upon entire sphere of the male reproductive system- prostate and urinary tract health, hormonal regulation of testosterone, libido and sexual vitality, etc.

   Diuretic: This is likely one of our most beneficial actions for this system as it delivers things directly to the afflicted area. Of course, this is primarily used in the relief of issues which are reflexing or radiating into the urinary tract (IE swollen prostate).

   Circulatory Stimulant: These are particularly beneficial for bringing fresh oxygenated blood supply to the various glands and organs of the system, delivering nutrients and allowing waste products to be filtered and detoxified. This action is particularly helpful for men with erectile dysfunction- which often accompanies cardiovascular issues.

   Aphrodisiacs: These are of course beneficial for men with impotence and low libido. Some help to increase blood circulation, others nerve excitability and sensitivity, and others more gentle heart opening remedies. Another category of aphrodisiacs would also be our “chi tonics,” or those herbs which help build up our core strength and vitality, nourishing the vital reserve.

   Anti-Inflammatory: Because the prostate is prone to inflammation (prostatitis), anti-inflammatory remedies can prove to be beneficial here.

   Alterative: These can be useful in cases of androgen excess, which can ultimately stress out the liver and lead to “bad blood” due to the strain put on it to detoxify too many hormones. These could also be generally supportive in cases of overall stagnation and kapha accumulation (slows down digestion, as well as metabolism), which can have a secondary impact upon the prostate and circulation to the pelvic area. They would more specific for damp conditions or excess testosterone and heat.

   Astringent: Astringency can prove to be effective specifically in the treatment of relaxed tissues, especially of the urinary tract, which can in turn impact the reproductive system as the two systems are to a certain extent inseparable. We want to use these if there is an excess of leaking fluids- be them sexual fluids or urine.

   Many immune system disorders or diseases are chronic illnesses and are hard to address with modern medicine. With all holistic healing, any approach to whole body immunity must address the following aspects of human life;

  • Bodily health and wholeness. The Health Guardian should ensure that the physical body has the appropriate nutritional and healing support to prevent or treat ills of chronic illnesses that may be affect it.
  • Emotional well-being. The Health Guardian should ensure that the person dealing with an immune system disorder has a nurturing, feeling experience of life, encompassing both the joy and the pain of human life.
  • Mental vision and perspective. The Health Guardian should help create a mind-set within which the individual can find his or her own place in the world and make life choices from the center of his or her being, not from a victim’s stance.
  • Spiritual openness and vitality. This will take the shape of whatever feels appropriate for the individual.

   Nurturing wellness through pathology prevention becomes a readily achievable goal when used with immunomodulators within the context of the holistic approach. A range of immune system pathologies can be addressed with herbal infusions: System tonics will nourish and tone the whole immune system’s form. Bitter tonics will have a generalized toning effect in additional to specific herbal properties and actions. Cleansing and detoxification can be greatly facilitated through herbal infusions support of the body’s eliminative functions. 

   There are over 50 kinds of immune system disorders and diseases. These are the most common ones; Type 1 diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Multiple sclerosis, Gillian-Barre syndrome, Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, Psoriasis, Grave’s disease, Hashimoto thyroiditis, Myasthenia gravis, and Vasculitis.

   As we age, our immune response capability becomes reduced, which in turn contributes to more infections and more cancer. While some people age healthily, the conclusion of many studies is that, compared with younger people, the elderly are more likely to contract infectious diseases and, even more importantly, more likely to die from them. Respiratory infections, influenza, and particularly pneumonia is a leading cause of death in people over 65 worldwide. No one knows for sure why this happens, but some scientists observe that this increased risk correlates with a decrease in T cells, possibly from the thymus atrophying with age and producing fewer T cells to fight off infection. Whether this decrease in thymus function explains the drop in T cells or whether other changes play a role is not fully understood. Others are interested in whether the bone marrow becomes less efficient at producing the stem cells that give rise to the cells of the immune system.

   There appears to be a connection between nutrition and immunity in the elderly. A form of malnutrition that is surprisingly common even in affluent countries is known as "micronutrient malnutrition." Micronutrient malnutrition, in which a person is deficient in some essential vitamins and trace minerals that are obtained from or supplemented by diet, can be common in the elderly. Older people tend to eat less and often have less variety in their diets. Dietary supplements may help older people maintain a healthier immune system. Older people should discuss this question with a physician who is well versed in geriatric nutrition, because while some dietary supplementation may be beneficial for older people, even small changes can have serious repercussions in this age group.

 

  These are the common diseases of the female reproductive system; Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids, Gynecologic Cancer, Cervical Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Interstitial Cystitis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).

   The organs of the female reproductive system produce and sustain the female sex cells (egg cells or ova), transport these cells to a site where they may be fertilized by sperm, provide a favorable environment for the developing fetus, move the fetus to the outside at the end of the development period, and produce the female sex hormones. Estrogen and progesterone stimulate the development of glandular tissue and ducts in the breast. Follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and progesterone have major roles in regulating the functions of the female reproductive system.

   Menopause occurs when a woman's reproductive cycles stop. This period is marked by decreased levels of ovarian hormones and increased levels of pituitary follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. The changing hormone levels are responsible for the symptoms associated with menopause. For several years before menopause the decline in ovarian hormone reproduction brings changes in physiology that are expressed as a variety of discomforting sign and symptoms such as; Some atrophy of vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries, Vaginal wall shortens, thins and loses muscle tone, Labia majora becomes thinner, paler, and less elastic, Supporting muscles lose muscle tone ( sphincter muscles, bladder, rectum), Secretion of cervical mucus decreases, Breast size, firmness and shape change, Body hair thins in most women, but increases in some, Wrinkling and loss of skin tone occur, Body fat is redistributed, Bone mass is lost, and Metabolic rate slows.

   There are herbal remedies that help with symptoms of menopause, symptoms such as; Hot Flashes, Insomnia, Fatigue, Depression, Genitourinary, Hypertension, Atherosclerosis, and Osteoporosis. These herbal remedies include, but are not limited to; Hormonal normalizers, Uterine tonics, Nervine relaxants, Antidepressants, Laxatives, Anti-Hypertension, Alternatives, Diuretics, Antispasmodics, and Bitters. In the terms of tonic support, besides the Uterine tonics, the reproductive, endocrine, nervous and cardiovascular systems tonics should all be taken into consideration for a holistic balance in the female reproductive system.

   A beginner's strength-building workout takes as little as 20 minutes, and you won't need to grunt, strain, or sweat like a cartoon bodybuilder, either. The key is developing a well-rounded program, performing the exercises with good form, and being consistent. You will experience noticeable gains in strength within four to eight weeks.

   Buying your own equipment is one option. Sets of basic introductory-weight dumbbells cost $50-$100. Health clubs offer the most equipment choices, but of course, you have to pay monthly fees. Books and videos can help you learn some basic moves and how to start developing a routine. Many senior centers and adult education programs offer strength training classes, as well. However you start, go slow so you don't injure yourself. Discuss your new exercise plan with your Health Guardian and explain the level of workout you expect to achieve. Mild to moderate muscle soreness between workouts is normal, but back off if it persists more than a few days.

   Some people consider weightlifting to be a cure for much of what ails us. It may not be the answer to every health crisis, but there's no doubt that it can benefit the body and mind in many ways. Some of the physical effects are obvious: Weightlifting can – among other things — boost cardiovascular health and bone strength (because it's a weight-bearing exercise), as well as improve balance and flexibility. But there’s evidence it does much more.

   Having more muscle turns your body into a fat-burning machine. Building muscle mass helps your body burn fat more efficiently at rest. You just don't develop muscle through cardio the way you do when you are doing strength training. In other words, the more muscle mass you develop through bodyweight exercises or by using weights and other resistance equipment, the more calories and fat you are burning even when you're just sitting around watching Netflix or glued to your desk chair. (The amount of calories you burn at rest is referred to as your basal metabolic rate, or BMR.)

   Want to stay active and injury-free all throughout your life? Weight training is an essential Rx. A growing body of research shows doing weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss (or potentially even build bone), and in turn, reduce your risk of osteoporosis and possible fractures down the line. In a way, you're really offsetting aging.

   Resistance training is a natural remedy for sleep issues. A study found that elderly people who practiced moderate-intensity resistance training for 12 weeks had better sleep quality compared to older folks who stayed sedentary over a six-month period. What's more, you may notice you have better energy throughout your day when you take up weight training.

   Building up muscle strength may lead to better brain function. In fact, research has shown that starting resistance training may help older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and improve cognitive function over time. A study divided 100 older men and women with MCI into two groups. One group was assigned to do resistance exercises twice a week for six weeks, while the other was instructed to perform seated stretching and calisthenics instead. The folks who built muscle by strength training also built their brains: They performed better on cognitive tests than the stretching group, and scans showed growth in specific areas of their brains linked to mental benefits. Note: If you are under the care of a Physician, please check with them before starting any exercise regiment. 

   Dancing has a wide range of physical and mental benefits including: improved condition of your heart and lungs, increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness, increased aerobic fitness, improved muscle tone and strength, weight management, stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis, better coordination, agility and flexibility, improved balance and spatial awareness, increased physical confidence, improved mental functioning, improved general and psychological well-being, greater self-confidence and self-esteem, and better social skills.

   You can dance in a group, with a partner, or on your own. There are lots of different places where you can enjoy dancing, for example, at dance schools, social venues, community halls and in your own home. Dancing has become such a popular way to be active and keep fit, that most fitness clubs now offer dance classes in their group exercise programs. Dancing can be done both competitively and socially. It can be a great recreational and sporting choice, because anyone of any age can take part. It doesn’t matter whether it is cold or raining, as dancing is usually done indoors. The gear you need for dancing will depend on the style of dancing you choose. For example, tap dancing will involve buying tap shoes, whereas ballet will require ballet slippers and ballet clothing. To get started, simply choose a style you enjoy, or would like to try, look in the Yellow Pages or online for dance schools in your local area and join a class.

   There are many styles of dance to choose from, each with its own attractions. Popular styles of dancing include:

  • Ballet – mostly performed to classical music, this dance style focuses on strength, technique and flexibility.
  • Ballroom dancing – this involves a number of partner-dancing styles such as the waltz, swing, foxtrot, rumba and tango.
  • Belly dancing – originating in the Middle East, this dance style is a fun way to exercise.
  • Hip-hop – performed mostly to hip-hop music, this urban dance style can involve breaking, popping, locking and free styling.
  • Jazz – a high-energy dance style involving kicks, leaps and turns to the beat of the music.
  • Pole dancing – has become increasingly popular as a form of exercise. It involves sensual dancing with a vertical pole, and requires muscle endurance, coordination, and upper and lower body strength.
  • Salsa – involving a mixture of Caribbean, Latin American and African influences, salsa is usually a partner dance and emphasizes rhythms and sensuality.
  • Square-dancing – a type of folk dancing where four couples dance in a square pattern, moving around each other and changing partners.
  • Tap dancing – focuses on timing and beats. The name originates from the tapping sounds made when the small metal plates on the dancer’s shoes touch the ground.

   Some people consider dance to be a cure for much of what ails us. It may not be the answer to every health crisis, but there's no doubt that it can benefit the body and mind in many ways. Some of the physical effects are obvious: dance can – among other things — boost cardiovascular health and bone strength (because it's weight-bearing exercise), as well as improve balance and flexibility. But there’s evidence it does much more.

   A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine investigated the effect leisure activities had on the risk of dementia in the elderly. Researchers found that frequent dancing was the only physical activity of the 9 studied that appeared to lower the participants’ risk of dementia considerably. The lead author of the study, says he's not sure why dancing had such a unique effect, but surmises that, "Unlike many other physical activities, dancing also involves significant mental effort and social interactions." Both intellectual and social stimulation have been shown to reduce the risk of getting dementia.

   Dance seems to help Parkinson's patients as well. The focus in many dance groups is to help members find new ways of moving and to improve the speed at which they move. Other clubs introduce slow, ballet-like movements, sometimes taking the class to see ballet performances for inspiration. With time, members often become more mobile, and more confident.

   Dancers really believe in the body/mind connection, and dance is a way for people to use what's happening inside them and express it in an external, expansive way. Dance compares to talk therapy, where patients use discussion to explore feelings and alleviate psychological discomfort or pain. But in addition to using words, dance therapists help people develop a physical vocabulary to do much the same thing.

   Many dancers firmly believe in dance as way of connecting themselves to their bodies in elemental ways, which leads to improved body alignment, enhanced mood, boosted confidence, and many more physical and mental health benefits. People may still have a chronic condition, but they can experience less fatigue, and much more strength from dancing. When dancing, lifestyles are improved, self-reliance increased, and yes – pathology prevention efforts strengthened. Note: If you are under the care of a Physician, please check with them before starting any exercise regiment. 

   The skin stretches two square meters and weighs over 10 pounds! Waterproof yet permeable, protective yet sensitive, skin may best be described as the outer expression of inner health. The epidermal or integumentary system is susceptible to a variety of diseases, disorders, and injuries. These range from annoying but relatively benign bacterial or fungal infections that are categorized as disorders, to skin cancer and severe burns, which can be fatal.

   The body is a complicated system that consists of many subsystems that help to keep it functioning properly. These subsystems serve a variety of purposes and require needed materials to function properly, as well as means of communicating information to other parts of the body. Thus, the skin and other parts of the epidermal or integumentary system work with other systems in the body to maintain and support the conditions that cells, tissues, and organs need to function properly.

   The skin is one of the first defense mechanisms in the immune system. Tiny glands in the skin secrete oils that enhance the barrier function of the skin. Immune cells live in the skin and provide the first line of defense against infections. By helping to synthesize and absorb vitamin D, the epidermal or integumentary system works with the digestive system to encourage the uptake of calcium from our diet. This substance enters the bloodstream though the capillary networks in the skin. Healthy functioning of the skin also is related to the digestive system because the digestion and assimilation of dietary fats and oils are essential for the body to be able to make the protective oils for the skin and hair.

   The epidermal or integumentary system also works closely with the circulatory system and the surface capillaries through the body. Because certain substances can enter the bloodstream through the capillary networks in the skin, patches can be used to deliver medications in this manner for conditions ranging from heart problems (nitroglycerin) to smoking cessation (nicotine patches).

   The skin also is important in helping to regulate body temperature. If we are too hot or too cold, our brain sends nerve impulses to the skin, which has three ways to either increase or decrease heat loss from the body's surface: hairs on the skin trap more warmth if they are standing up, and less if they are lying flat; glands under the skin secrete sweat onto the surface of the skin in order to increase heat loss by evaporation if the body is too hot; capillaries near the surface can open when our body needs to cool off and close when we need to conserve heat.

   The skin plays a vital role in our body as regards the sense of touch. The nervous system depends on neurons embedded in our skin to sense the outside world. It processes input from our senses, including touch, and initiates actions based on those inputs. For example, when we stub your toe, nerve cells in the foot send signals up the leg, through the spinal cord, and up into the brain. The nerve cell connections in the brain sense these signals as pain.

   As well as interacting with the body systems as explained above, the epidermal or integumentary system also contributes to numerous physiological processes, especially those involved in the regulation of the body’s internal environment so as to maintain a stable condition. An example is provided by the way that the skin helps in temperature regulation by changes in the pattern of blood supply to the skin and by sweating, as mentioned above.

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