Monday, March 17, 2008

Natural Pain Killers - Myth Or Reality?

We've been conditioned almost right from the cradle to believe that the only way to kill pain is with drugs. Get a headache, pop an aspirin. Strain your shoulder, rub on a little Ben Gay. The list is endless. The drug companies are making a fortune and we're not really getting any better. The pain only subsides for a while but eventually comes back. There has to be a better way. That's where we get into a discussion on natural pain killers. Some people swear by them and others think it's just some voodoo. So what's the real story? Do these so called "natural" pain killers actually work, or are they just a myth? We're going to explore the issue in this article. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

I'm surrounded by health nuts, since I am one myself. Your own kind usually sticks together. Well, occasionally we get together and talk about our aches and pains and how we deal with them. I hear all kinds of stories.

For lady, I'll call her Jane, was talking about her arthritis that acts up every once in a while. She told the group that when it does she simply takes this thing that contains devils claw and glucosamine and inside of an hour she feels 100% better. Now, I don't personally suffer from arthritis so I can't test this, but she swears by it. I've certainly never seen her in any pain and she's not a spring chicken anymore. Come to think of it, I've never seen her not smiling.

Then there's another lady in our group who I'll call Sally. She occasionally gets these terrible migraine headaches. When she does, she puts on this cap that has magnets in it. I kid you not. Within an hour, she swears that the migraine is gone. Now, I have heard of this magnet therapy from my dentist. He's a big proponent of magnet therapy. Since it's so rare that I even get a headache, again, I can't test this thing out.

And the stories continue of all these herbs, roots or items that supposedly take away your pain in a matter of minutes. Personally, I just eat very well, exercise and get plenty of sleep. For me to get a pain anywhere is rare. Sure, if I bang my arm against something it's going to hurt for a short time, but the pain is never severe enough that I have to take anything.

However, there is still one thing that is supposed to be the greatest natural pain killer, and this I have tested.

It's called the human mind.

Very short and simple story.

When I was younger I had a horrible ear ache, The pain was unbearable. Well, I simply laid down in bed and said to myself over and over that there is no pain. Before I knew it, I was asleep and woke up the next morning with no pain at all. Was it a fluke? Maybe, but the human mind is supposed to be the greatest pain killer of all.

The jury is always going to be out as to whether or not there is such a thing as a natural pain killer. But the people who I know swear by them and I have personally used my mind to kill the worst pain I ever felt in my life.

So maybe there's something to it all.

To YOUR Health,

Steve Wagner

For natural treatments to a number of ailments, visit our website at where you can get a free report on how the drug companies are killing us as well as get a 52 week series on a different ailment and treatment each week.

Mauritius: Indian Ocean Paradise Lost

MAURITIUS: PARADISE LOST So there I was in the Mauritian capital of Port Louis. Our motley crew band of surfers left the cyber-cafe only to find the entire island besieged by rioters! It turns out a popular Mauritian-creole reggae singer was killed in jail by police and the people revolted, essentially turning certain regions of the island into full-on war zones! If you heard about it in the news, it is, indeed, all very true. Right before we left, all the shop owners were asking us where we were staying, warning us that "it is dangerous out there. You must be careful." I thought to myself, "what do you mean 'dangerous?' Why would they care where I was staying?" But as it turned out, they wanted to know so they could warn us about the riots. Of course, we were more interested in getting some photos of the scene. So there we were, three Americans and one Mauritian local cruising home, cameras in hand when, lo and behold, we saw the road blocks and riot police keeping order. Unfortunately, they had already finished overturning burned out cars and rock throwing. Before I go on, I guess I should offer a little insight into the social and political scene there.

SOCIAL PRESSURE COOKER Mauritius is a religious and ethnic potpourri. You've got the Indians who comprise roughly 60% of the population with the remainder made up of Creole, Chinese, and Franco-Mauritians. The bulk of the government and police force is controlled by Indians in that they all elected their own into power. The Franco-Mauritians have most of the wealth, as they control most of the sugar industry and the like. The Chinese have quite a few shops and are, for the most part, very docile. The Creoles basically get the short end of the stick by all groups given their previous history as slaves, hence the root of the problem. There was a huge rally the previous weekend held in favor of legalization of marijuana. Some big reggae singer (a Creole) was jailed soon thereafter for possession and was beaten to death by police while in custody. This naturally didn't sit well with the people, so 30 years of capped tension exploded into the worst civil rioting in as many years.

GOT MILK? The riots and looting began last week with all hell breaking loss after the initial bubble burst. It mostly took place at night, but there was some regional daytime rioting in other areas. The interesting thing about it all was that, as you may or may not know, many of the Indians are practicing Hindus. This means the cow is sacred. So guess what the rioters were using as shields? You guessed it: cows. They were using cows to shield themselves from police bullets!

As the days went on, we heard of others getting killed in police custody. And to boot, one of them was another reggae singer! That sent scores of already angry mobs into even more of a frenzy, adding to yet more nights of restlessness, rioting, and looting! I heard a story from one guy who had a tear gas canister fired by police whiz by his head as he was running.

CREOLE BY ACCIDENT OF BIRTH While I don't condone rioting and looting, I am sympathetic to the Creoles. They really are a wonderful bunch of people, but seem the unfortunate and unwilling recipients of the short end of the social stick. I've only had positive experiences with them and could never understand why they were so vehemently persecuted! Maybe it's an Indian/Creole thing beyond my comprehension. It shouldn't be, but it is. Doesn't matter where you go, ignorance, racism, prejudice, and unfounded hatred are everywhere.

SOUTH AFRICA OR BUST The morning of my flight, I heard from the locals that rioting was at a fever pitch. Most said not to go anywhere, but hey, I had a flight to South Africa to catch. Cruising along the local road out of Tamarin, I could feel the tension and believe me, it was palpable. No rioting or anything, but I was legitimately concerned we weren't going to make it to the highway. Somehow we did make it to the main highway and from there it was smooth sailing. If we would have taken the back way, we would have gone through a little town called Curepipe in which, as I heard, the rioting was quite heavy.

I LIVED A CHAPTER OF MAURITIUS' HISTORY The other day I was reading the local newspaper here in Durban (South Africa) when what to my surprise should I see but a whole article on the riots. Turns out that it was the worst rioting the island has seen in over three decades (ignorance is bliss!). And 30 years ago was when the island changed ownership. So that's pretty bold, and lucky me, I was there just in time to score perfect waves at the fabled Tamarin Bay AND the worst rioting in 30 years! Somebody buy this man a lottery ticket!!

The night before I left, I sold my board to Julien, a local Tamarin Bay Mauritian. Boards are hard to come by there, and the ones they do have for sale are overpriced junk. We reached a mutually agreeable price and made the deal. It was good for both of us; he now has a good board and I didn't have to carry it to South Africa.

MAURITIAN CHEESE GRATER I thought my recent impaling on the reef with resultant torn left butt cheek and low back was bad until Julien lifted up his shirt. The poor kid looked like a cheese grater went over his back from just below his shoulder blades all the way down to his low back! He was dragged over the reef in the worst kind of way! It kept him out of the water for a few days, too. It's not difficult to get hurt at Tamarin. It is, spare none, one of the shallowest waves I've surfed. It's generally pretty shallow all over, but the thing that makes it all the more dangerous is the volume of coral heads that jut up all over the place. I was literally pulled off my board and under water when my leash wrapped around one just as a wave was approaching, quite literally pinning me underwater. I fortunately had the presence of mind to unfasten my leg-rope and swim to the surface. And to further illustrate the shallow depth, I was sitting all the way out in seemingly deep water waiting for set waves!

THE RULES If you ever come to Mauritius, there are a few things to remember: 1) RESPECT for the locals. It's their break and you are just a visitor. You take a number and work your way into the line up. No paddling straight for the peak; 2) Don't fall on the inside or the reef will filet you like a set of Ginsu knives; 3) Bring reef booties because the inside is carpeted with urchins, big and small ones. I have never seen anywhere so well covered with them; 4) A Gath Helmet (brain bucket) is a damn good investment for dead low tide Tamarin; 5) A complete first aid kit because it's only a matter of time until you donate skin to the reef or get spiked by an urchin. The place is carpeted with them. You cannot avoid it. Everybody gets spanked sometime or another....and it hurts!

William Sukala is a consumate world traveler, adventurer, and writer boasting a passport full of stamps. Instead of settling into a humdrum 9 to 5 existence like the rest of his contemporaries, he decided to pack up, sell everything off, and do a year-long 360 around the globe after graduate school. His travels have taken him to such far off exotic locales as Australia, Mauritius, Mozambique, and French Polynesia. He now lives in New Zealand and works as a self-employed clinical exercise physiologist while working on his PhD. Visit him at: or via his current travelogue found at

Satellite Radio: XM and Sirius Battle for Your $$$

Satellite Radio is the future of broadcasting

Satellite Radio, in short, can be described as commercial-free music, news, sports and talk shows. Many of the biggest players and events are now available from Sirius radio and XM radio like Howard Stern, Fred Schneider (the B52s), NFL, English Soccer, NBA, NASCAR, NHL, Major League Baseball, INDY, and the PGA.

Satellite radio began in 1992, when the S spectrum was allocated by the FCC to four companies. The two main ones, Sirius and XM paid a pretty penny (in fact almost $80 million dollars worth) to buy a license. Satellite-based radio began on May 15th, 2001 when XM Radio completed their satellite system. Sirius followed shortly when they launched in July, 2001. Since then, expanded products and competition has changed the radio landscape.

While automobile manufacturers started installing satellite radio in 2001 and 2002, most new vehicles come equipped with one now. XM has two satellites (called Rock and Roll) in parallel orbits to cover the mainland US market, while Sirius has three. Both have recently been awarded licenses for the Canadian market.

So what are the differences between the two providers?

XM has a flat $9.99 a month fee with no contracts to sign. They have the latest portable equipment. XM offers some of the best varieties of programming available today. They offer 68 commercial-free music channels; 32 channels of News, Sports, Talk & Entertainment; and 21 channels of instant Traffic & Weather in major metro areas. Here's the latest information of channels:

15 channels of Rock music

11 News channels (Fox, CNN, ABC, CNBC, MSNBC, BBC, C-SPAN, Bloomberg)

11 Talk & Variety channels (Discovery, E!, Experts & advice, African American Talk, Christian Talk)

10 channels of Pop music & Top Hits

7 Country music choices

7 channels of Blues & Jazz music

7 Hip Hop and Urban music choices

6 different channels of music by the Decades (40's through 90's)

5 Sports channels (ESPN, Fox, Sporting News, NASCAR)

4 Dance music channels

4 World music choices

3 Christian music choices

3 Comedy entertainment channels (adult comedy, family comedy)

3 Classical music channels

2 Kids entertainment channels (Disney)

2 Latin music choices

Sirius offers a $12.95 per month fee and you can pre-pay for a full year for a discount (works out to $9.99 per month). They offer better sports coverage with play-by-play of the NBA, NHL, and NFL. Sirius has signed some great talent of celebrity DJs. Sirius offers 60 channels of music with no commercials, 50 channels of News, Sports, Talk and Entertainment; and 20 channels of 24/7 Traffic & Weather in major cities. Here's how Sirius stack up with their channel line up:

16 Talk & Variety channels (Discovery, E!, Talk for Women, CourtTV, Air America, Gay/Lesbian, Body/Mind/Spirit Talk)

14 channels of Rock music

12 channels of Pop music & Top Hits

10 News channels (CNN, CNBC, Fox, NPR, PRI, C-SPAN, BCC, World Radio, Bloomberg)

9 Hip Hop and Urban music choices

7 Sports channels (ESPN, play-by-play channels)

6 Country music choices

6 Jazz music channels

5 Dance music channels

4 different channels of music by the Decades (50's through 80's)

3 Classical music channels

2 Christian music choices (Catholic)

2 channels of Blues & Reggae

2 Latin music choices

2 Comedy entertainment channels (regular and uncensored)

2 World music choices

1 Kids entertainment channels (Disney)

To read more on Satellite TV and Radio, please visit my site:

Piano - A Brief History

A piano, short for Pianoforte is probably one of the finest musical instruments ever created by man. The sound of a piano can create a wonderful melody that stirs hidden emotions, makes us feel euphoric or gloomy and transport us into a private world of dreams and fantasy.

A musical instrument that traces its history back to the earliest stringed instruments, the piano has been a symbol of grace and refinement for centuries in the western world. Can you dominate this instrument to make the amazing harmony of sounds you hear played by professional musicians?

If you decide to come over and spend some time at the Accademia Europea di Firenze, we can definitely help, the piano lessons are taught by highly qualified teachers and the atmosphere is a friendly one.

The precursors of this grand instrument were at best crude attempts to make a stringed keyboard instrument.

But the piano as we know it today was created by Bartolomeo Cristofori de Francisco of Padua, Italy in around 1700 and only three of the original Cristofori pianos from 1720s exist today.

The development of the piano benefited the most from centuries of improvisations and development on the Harpsichord, an instrument on which Cristofori himself was an expert.

Playing a piano can be an exhilarating experience once you start your piano lessons in Florence, your fingers will slowly seem to be acting on their own once the piano playing becomes somewhat of a natural instinct.

Two factors have contributed significantly to the evolution of the piano to its current form. One was the demand by composers and pianists for a more potent sound and the other was the Industrial revolution that gave manufacturers the high quality raw materials like steel to cater to that demand. Today pianos come in two types: the grand and the upright. Technological development has given us a third kind the digital pianos.

Since its creation, this instrument has become a vital part of music compositions and as a solo instrument everywhere. It is a pleasure for the person who is playing, the composer and to the music enthusiasts all over the world.

That is why it is no wonder you feel the urge to learn how to play the piano, you can trust Florence to be the most inspiring place to take the piano lessons.

Accademia Europea di Firenze is an Italian language, Music, Art and Culture School located in the very heart of Florence.