How to Build a Home Sauna – Planning a DIY Sauna

Building a home sauna need not be an arduous or difficult task. In fact it is within the reach of most do-it-yourself home improvers and, just like any project, the key is good planning and a methodical approach to the location, design and build of the sauna.

1. Location

The first thing to decide is where to locate your sauna. This will determine its maximum size and the availability of energy sources and ventilation. With electric, gas and wood burning stoves, plus new infra red heaters, there is plenty of choice. These options make the locating of a home sauna possible in an unused bedroom, study, bathroom, loft, cellar, garage or separate outbuilding or cabin.

2. Size

Sauna size may affect the choice of location. Unused bedrooms are often selected and these can usually meet most home sauna requirements. If however the sauna is only intended for one or two users at a time it may be possible to partition off a section of a bathroom.

3. Cost

It is important to have a budget in mind. Materials like the timber wall and ceiling linings, plus bench seating, can be estimated by the square yard (metre), so the bigger the more expensive. Additionally, a large sauna will require a more powerful heater, or multiple heaters/stoves.

4. Heat source

Decide on the kind of heater required. All fossil fuel burning stoves require a flue, so saunas situated within the home can be fitted more easily if they use an electric stove, or an infra red heater. In the case of a stove, an electric unit will simulate the hot stone effect of a conventional wood or gas stove, but without fumes, gases and toxins. Infra red heaters use safe radiation to warm the surface of the skin (similar to sunshine) and do not increase air temperature.

5. Materials and kit type

Obtain all of the sauna materials required. This can most easily, cheaply and effectively be done by buying a sauna home fabrication kit. These kits can be purchased based on sauna size, desired heater type (and power output) and room fitting requirements. Sauna kits come in two forms.

    5.1 The first is a package of lining materials, benches, a door and a heater and it is ideal for converting a room within a house into an integral sauna. The kit materials use the existing walls, ceiling and floor as the surrounding structure and the sauna lining is assembled directly on to these structural elements. Some cutting, drilling and gluing is required, but everything necessary to build the sauna is included in the kit.
    5.2 The second option is a prefabricated sauna kit which is a more pre-assembled version of the basic kit and which requires only minimal assembly. This type of sauna kit is self supporting and does not require walls or a ceiling to attach to. Furthermore, a prefabricated sauna kit can include weatherproof walls, a pitched roof, a solid floor and windows, making it ideal as a free standing cabin or annex in the garden or yard. This kind of kit is more expensive and less of a project for the “home makeover expert”, but it is fast and easy to erect and provides an operational sauna in a matter of hours.

Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) Versus Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS) – Which One Cooks Better Barbecue?

The Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) Vertical Water Cooker is a great smoker. It’s low cost and quality features make it a favorite among the backyard smoker barbecue crowd. The features include a ceramic coated steel body and nickel plated grills. It has two cooking levels that allow you to have two barbecue dishes cooking at the same time.

The WSM is unique in that it comes with a ceramic/metal pan for holding water that provides moisture to the food while cooking. It will hold a load of charcoal that lasts a solid twelve hours with the proper venting. I use my WSM for pork butts and briskets all the time because it is convenient and easy to use. It beats my bigger offset smoker for the smaller “Q” smoked meat projects.

Weber just released a new model (22 inches) that is larger than the current model (18 inches). This makes the WSM very similar in cooking surface to the average Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS).

I have friends who are crazy about their UDS cookers. Most UDS cookers start life as a 55 gallon drum that has been cleaned and burned out inside to eliminate any contaminating substances. Holes, for air flow, and grates, for food, are added to make it functional. A charcoal box is also added to be the heat source. Just like the WSM, cooking on a UDS is directly over the charcoals.

The UDS cooking surface is also larger than the traditional WSM. A UDS, as a rule, does not include a pan or bowl for water.

A UDS is the really “low cost” alternative for real smoked barbecue cooking because most projects start by finding a throw away 55 gallon drum. You just have to account for the time you spend making it (which can be substantial) for a real cost comparison. There are several resources on the net to describe how to make a UDS.

For those that don’t have the time (or the inclination) to make their own UDS there are ready made ones on the market. The cost is still relatively low and comparable to the WSM.

The unique thing about the UDS is that the drippings from cooking fall directly on the hot coals. This produces a distinctive taste for the meat that many aficionados attest is the closest thing to early times barbecue cooking.

Now, to the question of which one cooks the better barbecue…. If you like the taste of the meat drippings on the coals then the UDS wins, however, you can achieve the same effect in the WSM by removing the water pan.

If you don’t like the taste of the drippings on the coals but like the simplicity and cost of the UDS just add a pan and grate below the top grate on the UDS to catch the drippings before they hit the hot coals.

They are both super, low cost, alternatives for cooking great smoked barbecue. It’s just personal preference.

Closet Door Options For the Home Interior

The market is inundated with numerous closet door options. As such, you can find closet doors in varied styles, designs and colors that finding one that is right for your home can be the real challenge.

As there are various brand names so there are also myriad door options to choose from, including sliding, bifold, folding and louvered. To make shopping for a closet door easy and stress-free, determine your budget and find a quality product that will fit into it as well as blend with your existing décor. Here some that can be found at such sites like doitbest.com and homedepot.com:

Birch Flush 1-3/8″ Interior Hollow-Core Door Only:

These doors are made of medium density fiber rails and clear stiles. They are perfect alternative closet doors as they can be installed in the pantry, laundry, utility, linen and almost all residential rooms. They come with 2 lockblocks and square and full edges. These birch doors with quality grade rotary veneer are suited for paint or natural finish. It sells under model number 161327 for only $64.99.

Spectrum 32 In. x 80 In. Horizon White Folding Door:

This door is a designer’s favorite for use in wardrobe and walkin closets. It is also a favorite of many budget-constrained homeowners. This door is made of matching binding cord and ½-inch decorative plastic, woven slats. It is a good choice as a replacement door as it is durable and maintenance free. The overall dimensions are 79.5 inches high by 32 inches wide by 3.5 inches thick. This door is available under model number HHZ3280H for only $26.15.

Pinecroft 719 Series 24 In. x 80-1/2 In. Unfinished Glass Over Panel Tuscany Bifold Door:

This paintable and stainable decorative glass bifold door will look good in any contemporary-style room. The design of this door provides elegance and brings light to any modern room. It features a glass panel designed with ivy and accented with simulated brass trimmings. This pine croft door is easy to install and comes with rails and clear. Retailing under model number 871920, this door costs $251.00.

TRUporte 6 Ft. White 1110 Series Cottage 3-Panel Door:

This door is embellished with attractive, stylish and high-quality rich finishes that will never fail to add warmth, beauty and vitality to any living environment. It features a 4-foot wide frame, sub-assembled hardware, 2-piece track, 2 fascia and 7/8-inch thick panel. The overall dimensions are 81 inches high by 73 inches wide. Buy this door under model number 24921 for only $79.00.

Wood Classics Plantation Style Composite Bi-Fold Door 36 x 80 Louver/Louver White:

This 3-inch louvered door comes ready to be installed. This multipurpose door is ideal for both commercial and residential uses. It is made of polymer and wood fiber with steel reinforced. This door is designed to be moisture resistant, humidity resistant, dust proof, mold and mildew resistant. It sells under model number 7303680100 for only $137.00.

ReliaBilt 30″ 6-Panel Hollow Molded Composite Interior Slab Door:

This 6-panel door is made of high density fiberboard and comes ready to be painted. It is made to resist warping, cracking and shrinking. The overall dimensions are 30 inches wide by 80 inches high.

Closet door options are available to provide you with alternatives to traditional closet doors. When choosing one, make sure that it satisfies both your aesthetic and functional requirements.

Isometrics – Serious Muscle Training Without Weights

Isometrics – super fast way to increase muscle size & strength without using weights.

Isometrics is perhaps the most under utilized and under rated method of exercise. It is perhaps the best method of strength training to be used in rehabilitation and can produce increases in strength and size where traditional, weight bearing, exercise regimes have failed. Isometric contraction, normally just called ISOMETRICS,is one in which the muscle is activated, but instead of being allowed to lengthen or shorten, it is held at a constant length. This isometrics muscle contraction is not done through a range of movements but in a static position. Isometrics is based on the principles of creating muscular tension while opposing the force of an immovable object or gravity. Isometrics are done with high levels of intensity (70-100%) rather than repetitious movements typically for a period of 7-12 seconds. Once the muscle is relaxed after the contraction increases blood flow to the muscles occurs which equals more nutrition and energy uptake which in turn increases the muscle mass (size). Isometric exercise is a form of resistance training in which the participant uses the muscles of the body to exert a force either against an immovable object or to hold the muscle in a fixed position for a set duration of time. In this type of exercise, the muscle is contracted but does not change length during the exertion of force. Additionally the joint most closely associated with the effort remains static throughout the exercise.

Isometric training has been around for centuries in such things as yoga and Chinese martial arts. Even Pilates utilizes isometric exercise as part of its training protocol. Isometrics is probably one of the very few exercise techniques that has been scientifically validated.

At the Max Plank Institute in the 1950’s Dr. Hettinger and Dr. Mueller conducted scientific research into the field of isometrics. Their study showed conclusively that isometrics can increase strength by as much as 300% in less than 30 days!

Isometric Workouts were originally made famous by Charles Atlas – although he branded it as “Dynamic Tension” and in recent years isometric workouts have made a huge comeback especially in the field of rehabilitation therapy. Several devices that use isometrics as the basis of the exercise protocol have been developed by Gert F Koebel including the Bullworker.

Isometric contraction refers to the case of strength training, in which the muscles contract, but do not change their length. The name isometric comes from the words ‘iso’ meaning equal and ‘metric’ meaning distance. In contrary to other dynamic muscle contractions that involve change in position, isometric contraction is performed in a static position. Physical activities based on isometric muscle contraction are known isometric exercises. Sometimes weight lifters and professional bodybuilders will incorporate some isometrics into their workouts, often in order to break through barriers and to attain new levels of muscle strength which in turn leads to new and increased muscle mass.

Advantages of Isometric Contraction Exercises

Isometric exercises can be carried out virtually anywhere! You can do them whilst sitting watching TV, while sunbathing, while you wait in a traffic jam and well the list goes on and on. Everyday, we could if we want indulge in performing isometric contractions as a part of our day-to-day activities, such as carrying a suitcase or a carrier bag full of groceries. Isometrics are particularly beneficial with those with back pain as the muscles can be developed without further damaging the back and the resultant gains in (say) abdominal strength help to alleviate the stress on your back which in turn helps the back to heal as your stronger abs take the strain away from your injured back.

Often the main advantages are seen as maximal muscular contraction in a short space of time. I use isometric training with many of my corporate clients who simply do not have the time to go to the gym.Isometric contraction exercises lasting for 7 – 10 seconds at a time are sufficient to activate a group of muscles. When the resistance or weight is increased gradually, your muscle will become more stronger. However if you are looking to build large muscles rather than simply “tone” then you need to use some more extreme methods of isometric training which whilst being highly intense can deliver results which can rival those attained by people taking chemical steroids, especially if conducted whilst undergoing a planned supplementation regime using products such as Aminotaur which has been shown to naturally enhance muscle growth while you sleep.

Isometrics key advantage is that it can be performed without any specialised equipment. However if you want results faster and also you want to seriously increase your lean muscle mass then you can incorporate the basis of this with any strength training device ranging from chest expanders through to dumbbells and barbells.

This type of training though is intense in nature if done correctly, therefore if you have high blood pressure or any sort of heart condition then consult your Doctor before training. If your doctor has any questions as this type of training is when done correctly can have numerous additional benefits, then tell him to contact us and we will gladly pass on any information that might help.

Benefits of Isometric Exercises.

Isometric exercises can be done without any kind of machines or equipment anytime, anywhere. If you have 10 seconds, you can work a muscle group without no one even noticing you are using isometric training. The convenience and time saving is one reason why isometrics are so popular and becoming even more popular as peoples lives get increasingly busy. Doing isometric exercises 7-10 seconds at a time during the day can substitute your workout -if done correctly. A bold claim? Yes it is but I feel confident in saying this.

The simplest way to demonstrate this is by pressing your palms together as hard as you can, and holding the tension, will work your arms, shoulders and chest. To work your neck and upper back muscles, cross your fingers behind your head, push your head back in your hands using your neck muscles while trying to push your head forward with your hands.

Find a wall to push up against or something you can pull against that won’t move like a door jam. The only thing you need to remember is to use as much force as possible for 10 seconds. Using maximum force will give you all the benefits an isometric workout has to offer. Some proponents say to use 80% of your maximum – but how do you measure 80% and with my own studies I have never seen anyone hurt themselves using isometrics.

If you have high blood pressure you should not engage in this type of activity because isometric exercises cause a spike in blood pressure. Although the blood pressure typically returns to normal rather quickly once the muscle is relaxed, the spike in blood pressure can be dangerous to those who already suffer from elevated blood pressure. If you suffer from high blood pressure but you really want to engage in isometric exercises, please consult with your doctor for tips on how to lower blood pressure first.

Isometrics build muscle mass. In a recent experiment found an average size improvement of 12.4% for heavy isometric training and 5.3% with isometric training using weights equivalent to 60% of 1rm weight after a training period of 10 weeks.

Using Isometrics For Strength

To strengthen your bench press you could either get in a power rack and press the bar against an immoveable pin for a certain length of time, or hold a supra-maximal weight in a ¼ rep range for 6-20 seconds.

The first type of isometric movement, pushing against an immoveable object, is used only for strength, whereas the 2nd type, holding a weight and preventing it from moving, is best for strength as well as muscle growth. Personally, I prefer the 2nd type where you simply hold a weight in place for both strength and muscle growth.

Some say that when performing isometrics you will only strengthen the part of the movement you’re training. For example if doing isometrics in a ¼ range bench press position you’ll only strengthen that part of the movement. The truth is you will strengthen the part of the movement you’re training, but you also get a 15-30 degree carryover and if you train at the most disadvantageous joint angle (like the bottom of a bench press or point in the squat where your thighs are parallel) you actually get a 100% strength carryover through the rest of the movement.

Strengthen your weak links and everything else strengthens as well. In other words, if you perform an isometric contraction a few inches off your chest in the bench press you’ll tend to increase the strength of your entire bench press and the size of your entire chest! But if you only do isometrics over the easiest ¼ or 1/3 range in a movement you only get a 15-30 degree carryover.

If you really want to increase strength in a movement, using the bench press as an example, you’d simply use 3 different positions (bottom, mid-range, and top) and perform an isometric in each position. You’d perform isometrics in the contracted position near your chest, the midrange position, and then the extended position up top. A sample workout would be 2 sets of 10 seconds at each position with the lower position done first. For strength, each isometric contraction should last 20 seconds or less and ideally under 10 seconds.

The benefits of isometric exercise are so many and varied yet simple and cheap to implement. Give them a go, you will notice improvements very quickly and can then make isometrics a key part of your exercise regime.

Business Sales Close Plan – Milestones to Close the Deal

Being with my feet on the sales ground for 25 years in IT, I can recommend that many steps in the sales process need to be discussed and agreed internally and with the business customer to come to an agreed and signed contract.

Following this sales process through a so called ‘Sales Close Plan’, describes all the necessary milestones that need to be agreed from a resource perspective, internally from a supplier perspective as well as from the business customer resource perspective. This Sales Close Plan will enable you to set upfront the right expectations during the contract negotiation milestones during an enterprise sales process.

Discuss with your business customer the close plan and have your customer sign/off the Sales Close Plan on timescales and milestones. If each milestone is finalized confirm this in email to your customer so all expectations and potential road blocks keeps transparent and visible to you as supplier and business customer.

1. Identify the Power Sponsors:

Which customer contacts have the power to approve or veto a major contract deal?

Who are the business owners?

2. Identify customer procurement process:

Send Non Disclosure for approval.

Perform Customer due diligence and screening.

Is supplier employee screening process required?

What are customer standard terms & conditions?

What are the expected legal challenges? Intellectual property, Warranty…?

What are the payment terms?

What is the VAT number?

What are the shipping address details?

What are the billing address details?

Discover expense costs cap guidelines.

What is the business identity code?

Will payment be in Dollars/Euro…?

What are the finance contact details?

Which legal resources are required from supplier, internally, externally?

3. Approval process:

Who needs to approve from the IT department?

Who needs to give approval from the business department?

Is budget available? If not when?

Is Board approval required to close the deal? I yes, when is next Board meeting

Which person from the Board supports business case?

Do we need a reference visit and who will attend from the customer?

Which reference do we nominate for site visit or phone interview?

Agree on travel arrangements for reference visit.

4. Feedback 1st round legal/proposal discussions:

Does the commercials/T&C’s in the proposal need to be updated to get a deal?

If yes, which resources from supplier and customer are required?

Do we need internal approval from higher management for this?

Is customer requesting any legal adjustments that need further legal review by supplier?

5. Send new proposal/T&C’s contracts:

Agree date for presentation final proposal to customer.

Is customer verbally accepting new proposal/T&C’s?

6. Contracts:

When will customer sign/off contracts?

When can signed contracts be collected at customer?

Reconfirm resources allocation.

Start of project or delivery.

Diagnosing Repair Problem Parts On The NSS Pony 20 SCA

The NSS Pony 20 SCA is the largest walk behind carpet extractor that National Super Service produces. It has a large 20 gallon tank that allows the unit to clean large carpeted areas quickly and efficiently. Overall this is one of the best carpet extractors produced for the janitorial industry. Although this machine is extremely dependable and durable, over time parts can breakdown and it may need to be repaired. The Pony 20 SCA is a simple machine with just five major components that can fail. These components are the gear drive motor, vacuum motor, brush motor, pump and solenoid valve. It is quite simple to diagnose these parts and quickly repair them. When replacing parts on the NSS Pony 20 SCA is important to use OEM National Super Service parts to ensure that the machine runs correctly after repair.

The Pony 20 SCA is a self-drive unit with variable speed that can cover large areas rapidly. The drive system on this unit is powered by a 120 volt gear motor that powers the wheel assembly. The drive motor is connected to the wheel assembly by a chain, if the drive system goes bad and the machine does not move there are four components which could be bad. The first and largest of these components is the gear motor itself, this can be tested by running direct power to the motor to see if it powers up. The second component is the speed control Board which increases or decreases the amount of voltage going to the motor depending on the speed at which the machine needs to run. On the lever assembly there is a dead man’s switch which turns the brush motor on and off. Over time switch components can wear down and fail and may need to be replaced. The last component that can fail is the circuit breaker, which over time can wear out and prematurely overload. The circuit breaker is a three amp 120 volt unit that when overloaded will close the circuit to the brush motor. The other reason that this breaker will shutdown is if the brush motor is drawing more than 3 amps, this may be caused by bad bearings on the drive wheel or something caught around the wheel impeding it from going forwards or backwards.

The Pony 20 SCA recovers solution from the carpet by an internal vacuum motor which sucks the water up through the vacuum shoe on the rear of the unit into the recovery tank. If you experience loss of suction it is important to check all seals and gaskets are clean and working condition. One of the main reasons for loss of suction is a damaged dome gasket located on the top of the machine. Any holes and cracks in this dome gasket will cause vacuum leaks and you will experience loss of suction. Before looking at the vacuum motor as a culprit also check the vacuum shoe and vacuum hose on the rear of the machine for any obstructions which may cause decreased suction. There are two main components within the vacuum system. These two components are the vacuum switch and vacuum motor. To find which component has failed use a multi meter to check to see if you are getting 120 volts to the vacuum motor when the switch is on. If you are getting 120 volts to the vacuum motor then the vacuum motor has prematurely gone bad. Other ways to tell if the vacuum motor is failing is to listen for a loud high-pitched squeal or grinding which would come from the motor bearings. On occasion water can get into the vacuum motor from the recovery tank if the machine is not emptied before the water level reaches the float valve. Other ways that water can get into the vacuum motor is excessive foam in the recovery tank from carpet cleaning detergents. One way to deter foam is to use a defoaming agent by adding it into the recovery tank before use. If you are not getting 120 volts to the vacuum motor when the switch is turned on, chances are the vacuum switch has failed and will need to be replaced. When replacing the vacuum motor in the Pony 20 SCA it is also important to replace the vacuum motor gasket to ensure a tight seal for optimal performance.

The next component which could fail is the brush motor. The brush motor on the Pony 20 SCA drives a rotating filament brush which is used to agitate the carpet fibers. This increases debris pickup and is optimal for food service areas and locations where dirt and grime are ground into the carpet. The number one reason that the brush motor will fail on this unit is if debris is caught up around the brush, or the bearings in the brush roll go bad. This will cause an excessive load be placed on the motor and it will wear out prematurely. Another components to check if the brush is not rotating is the brush belt, this belt could be slipping on the pulley or could be severed. If the brush is not rotating the three components which could be bad are the brush switch, brush breaker or brush motor. To diagnose these parts take a multi meter and check for voltage coming from the brush switch to the breaker when the switch is turned on. If you are getting voltage to the brush breaker then proceed to the next step. Next check for voltage coming from the brush breaker to the brush motor, if there is no voltage there, then chances are your brush motor has failed. If you are not getting voltage from the brush switch to the brush breaker then replace the pump switch with an OEM NSS switch. If you are not getting voltage from the brush breaker to the motor and getting voltage from the pump switch to the brush breaker then chances are your brush breaker has failed and needs to be replaced. In the system there is also an AC rectifier which converts AC to DC power for the brush motor. If the brush switch, brush breaker and brush motor are all getting power then chances are the rectifier needs to be replaced.

The next internal system that could go bad is the pump system. The pump system sprays cleaning solution onto the carpet. If there is no solution coming out of your machine the first thing to check is jets on the lower end of the unit. There are five Jets on the Pony 20 SCA, these Jets are quick connect jets which when turned will break away from the jet housing. There is no need to unscrew the Jets from the spray bar. If you do need to replace the old jet housings be sure not to over tighten the jets as it will crack the plastic in the spray bar. To clean jets, soak in a delimer solution and then use compressed air to clear the jet nozzles. If the Jets are clean and you are not getting any solution on your carpet there are three components which might have failed. These components include the pump switch, pump or solenoid. To test which component has failed use a multi meter to check voltage between the pump switch and solenoid pump. If you are not reading any voltage from the system then chances are your pump switch has failed and will need to be replaced. If you are getting voltage from the pump switch to the pump then one of two components could be bad. The pump and solenoid are attached together but the solenoid can be removed from the pump. On this unit the pump will run continuously run when the pump switch is engaged. The solenoid will open and close to allow water through the pump and then through the spray bar and jets onto the carpet. If you are getting power to the solenoid and the pump and you are not hearing the pump run continuously than the pump will need to be replaced. If you are getting power to the pump and the pump is running then the solenoid will need to be replaced.

Overall the National Super Service Pony 20 SCA is easy to maintain and repair. There are other mechanical components that may need to be replaced but this article covers the major components that make the machine run. It is important not to touch live wires when diagnosing the machine. For optimal performance and reliability only use National Super Service parts when servicing this unit. NSS parts can be purchased from either a local dealer or online store. Our certified service technicians can assist you in finding the correct part for your floor equipment.

Cranial Nerve VII – The Facial Nerve and Its Disorders

The seventh cranial nerve is predominantly a motor nerve supplying the muscles of facial expression. The sensory component is small, it carries taste sensations from the anterior 2/3rds of the tongue and cutaneous sensations from the anterior wall of the external auditory canal. Disorders of the Facial nerves are usually supranuclear facial palsy,Nuclear or infranuclear facial palsy (LMN) and Bell’s Palsy.

Supranuclear facial palsy

In a supranuclear or upper motor neuron facial palsy, only the lower half of the face is affected. This is because the nuclear center which controls the movements of the upper half of the face has both ipsilateral and contralateral supranuclear center supplying the lower half of the face has mainly or only contralateral supranuclear innervation. Hence a cortical or a subcortical lesion produces paralysis of the lower part of the face on the opposite side. Supranuclear palsy is of two types- Volitional and emotional. In volitional palsy, the involvement is most marked on the voluntary contraction. On automatic involuntary movements such as crying or smiling, there is preservation of function. Here the lesion is in the cortex or in the subcortical pyramindal tracts as they go through the internal capsule, cerebral peduncle or Pons above the facial nucleus. In emotional or mimetic facial paresis, there is no asymmetry or mimetic facial paresis, there is no asymmmetry of the facial muscles on voluntary movements. The patient can close his eye, retract his mouth or blow his cheeks without difficulty. However, the paresis becomes apparent during smiling or crying. Here the lesion is either in the frontal lobes anterior to the precentral cortex or deep seated in the thalamus or basal ganglia.

Nuclear or infranuclear facial palsy (LMN)

The lower motor neuron is the final common pathway. Hence lesions at this site produce weakness of the entire half of the face on the ipsilateral side. The exact site of lesions is determined by the associated signs. In Pontine lesions as in a tumor or vascular occlusion, the facial palsy is associated with ipsilateral sixth nerve paralysis. A cerebellopontine angle lesion, such as acoustic neuroma is associated with ipsilateral eighth and fifth nerve palsies, cerebella signs, and contralateral pyramidal signs. Within the facial canal, the nerve can be affected in many ways. Inflammatory conditions such as herpes Zoster can affect the geniculate ganglion. Other infections like mumps, scarlet fever and malaria, metabolic conditions like diabetes, alcoholism and nutritional deficiency, metastatic neoplasms, neuroleukemia, etc, can affect the facial nerve within the facial canal. Owing to the proximity of the nerve to the middle ear, facial paresis can be a complication of Otitis media, suppuration of temporal bone or mastoiditis. Immediately outside the stylomastoid foramen, the nerve could be involved by tumors of the parotid gland, injuries, obstetrical trauma due to forceps delivery, etc. Involvement of the terminal branches of the nerve is a feature of leprosy, which manifests by involvement of individual muscles. Bilateral facial palsy is usually due to Guillain-Barr’e syndrome or sarcoidosis.

Bell’s palsy

This is the commonest cause of LMN facial palsy. It usually develops spontaneously, often starting with a mild pain in the ear. Sometimes a history of exposure to cold or wind, or a mild systemic infection is obtained. The exact cause is not clear. It is believed to be either compression of the nerve by edma or periosteitis of facial canal, ischemia of the nerve or a viral infection. The disease comes on with abrupt onset of facial palsy which is manifested by deviation of the angle of the mouth to the normal side, and inability to close the eyelids. Food collects in the vestibule of the mouth. The paralysis may be dense involving all muscles or may be partial. In the majority of patients, the facial palsy completely improves. In a few cases the paralysis may be irreversible. In those that recover, signs of recovery start within a week and recovery may be complete in a month. Complications include corneal ulcerations and exposure keratitis, facial contracture and aberrant innervations on recovery. In the acute stage, steroids can be tried. However, physiotherapy is the most important factor to prevent the development of contractures. In those cases which do not recover, plastic surgery procedures to reduce deformity and facial nerve anastomosis to glossopharyngeal nerve have been successfully employed.

These are the disorders of the facial nerve, but this article will not be complete if a very important syndrome is not discussed, the Ramsay-Hunt syndrome. This consists of severe facial palsy associated with vesicles in the pharynx, external auditory canal and sometimes over the mustoid. The 8th cranial nerve may also be involved in many. The lesion is due to herpes zoster affecting the geniculate ganglion.

2016 Maruti Alto 800 Review

Overview:

Maruti has made a mark in the Indian car market through its affordable models that combine class, fuel efficiency and affordability all in one visual masterpiece. Maruti Alto 800 is one such car that has captured the whims of many generations here in India. Now, this car has undergone some minor updates to its exteriors, interiors, features and specifications. This will help it to tackle with the competition, especially against the likes of Renault Kwid. Let us explore the vehicle and the changes it received.

Background and Evolution:

Launched originally in 1983, the vehicle has evolved and matured with the needs of the industry over the years, without ever losing ground in the market. After countless revisions, this latest Maruti Alto 800 has a blend of most things that today’s auto base could ask for.

Ride and Handling:

Despite having puny tyres, its road manners are well within acceptable levels. Its handling feels safer and the behavior can be foreseen, which only contributes for more efficient driving characteristics. Its suspension too feels a bit cushion than its predecessor, but still there is a bit of jerkiness with the hatch. The power steering is responsive and it offers small turning radius of 4.6 meters.

Exteriors:

The newly launched Maruti Alto 800 looks largely identical to the outgoing model. It gets a modified front façade with a larger front grille that looks more aggressive. Furthermore, the headlamps have been tweaked, which gives a refreshing new look to its frontage. In addition to this, its upper grille gets a size reduction that gives it a bold new look. On the sides, this small car is now available with body colored rear view mirrors. While there is no update given to the rear facet.

Interiors:

Interiors of Maruti Alto 800 get a major update, especially in terms of features and seating comfort. The company claims that the 2016 Alto 800 cabin space gets a boot. As a result, rear passengers get extra head room and leg room, while the front passengers gets extra amount of shoulder space. In addition to this, the company has modified the seating design with better ergonomics. At the same time, its rear cabin gets a modified backrest that has an integrated head-rest for added comfort. This makes interiors of Alto 800 more comfortable than ever.

Updates in Features:

The all new 2016 Maruti Alto 800 gets a notable update in terms of comfort features. Now, it features a remote control central locking feature along with front power windows. In addition to this, the car also gets a modified integrated audio system that adds to the entertainment quotient. Furthermore, the company has added a few utility storage features inside for convenience of the occupants.

In terms of safety, all the variants in the line-up are now available with driver airbag as optional feature. The company has also added one more feature in the form of rear door child safety lock. Apart from these, all the features of 2016 Maruti Alto 800 has been retained form the previous version.

Learning to Deal With Someone With a Big Ego

Why does a person have a big ego? There are several answers to this. One of which is that the big ego is really a disguise for the weakness and frailty of the person’s existence. The truth is we sometimes hide behind a facade that everything is OK and that we have control over our destiny. Sometimes we do but sometimes we don’t and this is where there is a tendency for some to become antagonistic in their relationship with others. Whether it is a personal relationship between friends or family members or with the people you work with, you need to know what your own ego is if you want to handle people with a big ego.

A person with a big ego acts in a manner to suggest that they know everything and that there is nothing new under the sun. They go about in life thinking that the world was created to serve them and that they are the master or their own domain and everyone else’s. To a large degree a big ego-ed person is snobbish, extrovert for all the wrong reason and does not handle failure well. When you speak to such a person, they love to brow-beat you with their so called superior intellect or give you the ever condescending look to suggest that you are a nobody and your statements and comments are of no consequence to them.

When possible if you do see someone fitting such a description it is best to avoid them as much as possible as obviously they are having a real big issue with their attitude. However, if this person happens to be your spouse, or boss or a colleague that you’ve got no choice but to work with, then you have to come up with some effective strategies to confront them for your own peace of mind.

I would not suggest a full frontal assault on a person with a big ego. Especially if it someone that you really care. A person with a big ego does not mean that he or she is a bad person. It is just that they have a big ego. You can use that person’s ego to alleviate them even further and they might start liking you. Try to engage them in their own turf. If they become antagonistic you should try to withdraw from the argument quickly. This is not about winning or losing. It is all about leaving the person to their own idiosyncrasies and letting them decide how they want to play it out. When this big-egoed person come to realize that people are not paying the kind of attention they are seeking they will usually come to terms with what they are doing.

I personally find that life is too short to be mentally drained by a person with a big ego. As far as possible, I will give in to them as long as it does not compromise my own principles and belief. I will also remain steadfast in my belief and at most if I can’t win the argument to prove my point, I will withdraw as what matters is what I really feel and I am entitled to my feeling. When you assume this state of mind you will find that big ego-ed people cannot penetrate through to you and they will eventually come to terms with who you really are.

Why Flamingos Don’t Get Hip Fractures

Osteoporosis is one of the biggest issues plaguing the mature and elderly population today. One of the biggest risks that occurs alongside osteoporosis is a fall that may result in a dangerous, possibly life-threatening fracture. Fractures of the femur are among the most dangerous.

The femur, or thigh bone, is one of the strongest and largest bones in the body. It usually takes a tremendous force to fracture a femur through the center. But there is a weak point, and it is located toward the top, at the neck of the femur, at its narrowest point. This is just below where the femur inserts into the pelvis and creates a ball-and-socket joint. It is this area that is prone to fractures, particularly in the elderly and/or those with osteoporosis.

A Japanese researcher by the name of Sakamoto has studied a treatment – originally called “unipedal standing” – to help counteract both falls and the risk of femoral neck fractures. The name has been switched to “dynamic flamingo therapy,” perhaps because it sticks in the mind more easily. But talk about your simple, noninvasive, inexpensive and potentially very helpful treatments for osteoporosis as well as fall and hip fracture prevention!

It goes like this: Stand on one foot for one minute. Then stand on the other foot for one minute. Hold on to something steady if your balance isn’t all that great. Keep your eyes open the entire time. Repeat this three times a day. You’re done. Seriously. That’s it.

How does something as simple as this work? First off, recall that weight-bearing exercise is often recommended as a means to ward off osteoporosis. Mild to moderate weight and stress on a bone will induce that bone to become stronger and denser. Doubling the weight that one femur is supporting certainly qualifies. (In one study, the force exerted by one minute of standing on one foot was determined to be the equivalent of walking for 53 minutes!) Second, standing on one foot forces the brain to concentrate on maintaining balance…even if you’re holding on to something to keep from falling. If you regularly force the brain to concentrate on balance, you will, in time, become more adept at maintaining balance. This may help prevent the falls that cause hip fractures.

Sakamoto began studying dynamic flamingo therapy in the early 1990s. Starting in 1993, he recruited 86 women (with an average age of 68) to do this very exercise three times a day. He evaluated their bone density regularly over the span of the next 10 years. During this time, anywhere from 32% to 63% of the women had increased bone density in the femoral neck, and at the end of the study, fully one-third of the women had higher femoral neck bone density than when they started. Not necessarily the results you’d expect in elderly Japanese women…you’d expect bone density to decrease across the board. More significantly, none of the women had hip fractures. A study on Swiss women around the same time showed that the average risk for hip fractures in women was 455 per 100,000 person-years. If we transfer this statistic to the Japanese women (knowing that yes, Swiss women and Japanese women are different), we would expect to see roughly four hip fractures.

Especially for those people who are not able to exercise regularly, this is potentially an incredibly helpful therapy. You can file dynamic flamingo therapy under “certainly won’t hurt, and quite possibly may help.” But consistency is the key here…act like a flamingo only every once in a while, and the therapy won’t work. Only six minutes a day in one exceedingly simple exercise can end up preventing a possibly life-threatening hip fracture.

The Chakras – Understanding and Balancing the Major 16 Chakras

The chakra system is an ancient system, known to many cultures for thousands of years. Chakra (pronounced CHUK-ruh) means wheel or circle in sanskrit. In Tibetan Buddhism the centres are called channel wheels. Taoist yoga is a complex discipline based on the control and circulation of these vital energies seen as vortexes.

Chakras are also called lotuses, which gives us some idea of the nature of the chakras. The lotus with its exquisite flowers blooming on the surface of the water, under the light of the Sun (spirit), has its roots buried in the muddy darkness of the depths (the physical). Just like the lotus blossom, the chakras can be closed, in bud, opening or blossoming, active or dormant.

The ancient western alchemical tradition used the chakra system, with metals and planets being assigned to the chakras in an elaborate system of correspondences, which formed the basis of the alchemists’ quest for spiritual transformation. With the decline of alchemical arts, knowledge of the chakras faded also. Interest in the chakras re-emerged in the west with the appearance of the Theosophy movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The chakra system is an energetic data storage system, very much like a computer, which many healers feel or see. It is the spiritual interface between the physical body, through the nervous system, our spirit body & the holographic web. The nervous system is our physical interface, communicating with all aspects of the physical, giving information to & receiving from the chakras. The chakras function as transmitters of energy from one level to another, distributing qi or prana to the physical body.

While there are many minor chakras in the body & at our joints, it is recognized that there are 7 major chakras between the groin and top of the head, with 2 others that are of major importance located approximately 18 inches above the top of the head, known as the Soul Star, the Earth Star, located approximately 18 inches below the feet. There are differences of opinion as to where some of the minor chakras are. I work with & balance 16 major chakras, from the Earth Star all the way to the Monad:Divine connection, some of which are not recognized by other healers or systems, making my healing work unique.

Personal experience is a vital part of western acceptance for everything, our, “I’ll believe it when I see it” syndrome, & limits humanity’s multi-sensory experiences. There are many reported incidences however, where people have had physical pain, in the heart for example, with no physiological reason found, even after extensive medical testing. When these people went on to have a crystal healing & chakra balance, the healer found that their pain to be connected to a past life injury & the pain resolved after the rebalance. Many healers believe that physical aliments have their root in mental & emotional imbalances & in order to heal the physical body one must also address the mental & emotional bodies as well.

Each one of the commonly recognized 7 chakras corresponds to a physical system and its related organs and glands. Sound, colors and crystals are assigned to each chakra, though the colors and functions of each chakra vary somewhat according to different traditions.

The First Chakra: Base Chakra located at the area of the coccyx at the base of the spine, relates to the adrenals, large intestines and rectum. It shares responsibility of the kidneys with the 2nd chakra. This chakra is known as the kundalini or serpent’s fire; life force for survival, life or “death” struggle, family identity, bonding and loyalty. The root chakra’s expression of energy is directly related to a person’s quality of health. The cosmic fire that awaits release lies dormant until the higher self can properly utilize the potency of its ethereal energy source on physical & spiritual levels of life. The lesson of the first chakra is that of Oneness rather than separation. Its color is red; Crystals: Garnet, Black Tourmaline, Dravite, Black Onyx, Smokey Quartz, Obsidian; & its Note is middle C.

The Second Chakra: Sacral Chakra is located midway between the public bone and naval (some traditions see it at the naval), relates to the testes, prostate and ovaries. The pelvis is the physical representation of the Void & The Goddess. This is where the Inner Feminine/Goddess Self anchors. It is the creative center and relates to sensuality as well as sexuality, power (personal power when it is in balance, & ego domination when it is unbalanced) and money or abundance, the ability to create & take risks, fight or flight, resilience, perseverance, & financial acumen. This then is our creative center, the seat of our passion & our sexuality – being comfortable in our body as a woman or man. Shadow aspects: Disempowering/controlling or using others for your own advantage. Color: orange; Note: D; Crystals: Amber, Tiger Eye, Carnelian.

The Third Chakra: Solar Plexus Chakra relates to the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, stomach, spleen and digestion. This is where our unresolved emotions are stored and is therefore the place where we ‘digest’ our emotions, or not! This chakra relates to will power, self-esteem, self-discipline, ambition, courage, generosity, ethics & instincts, self-respect & honoring of self. Shadow aspects: Giving away personal power of choice out of a need for approval; narcissistic behavior. Color: yellow; Note: E; Crystals: Citrine, Sunstone, Lemon Chrysophrase.

The Fourth Chakra: Heart Chakra is located in the center of the chest relates to the thymus gland and heart. This is the chakra of love of self and others, compassion and forgiveness. Shadow aspects: jealousy, joylessness, resentment, & the inability to forgive. Color: a combination of pink, for self-love, & green, for love of others. We must first love ourselves before we can love another; Note: F; Crystals: Rose Quartz, Green Aventurine, Amazonite, Chrysophrase.

The Fifth Chakra: Throat Chakra is located at the base of the throat, relates to the thyroid and parathyroid voice and the neck. It relates to our ability to speak our truth & trust ourselves, and is where we allow love into our lives. It is where we exert our will over others or give our power/will away to others. This is the center of faith, self-knowledge, personal authority & the ability to keep your word. Shadow aspects: An obsessive need to control relationships & events. Color: blue; Note: G; Crystals: Larimar, Blue Lace Agate, Lapis, Aquamarine, Azurite/Malachite, Gem Silica.

The Sixth: Brow Chakra is often called the third eye, is located between and slightly above the eye brows. It relates to the pineal gland and spiritual sight, and the ability to articulate vision and inspiration. Shadow aspects: defining the truth in self-serving ways. Color: purple; Note: A; Crystals: Amethyst, Sugilite, Kyanite, Azurite.

The Seventh Chakra: Crown Chakra is located at the top of the head & can be found by ‘drawing’ a line up from the top of the ears and straight up from the tip of the nose. It relates to the pituitary gland and is our direct connection to spirit and higher consciousness. This is the center of faith in the Divine as well as in inner guidance, insight into healing & devotion to the Divine. Shadow aspect: the need to know why things happen as they do, which causes you to live in the past. Color: white; Note: B; Crystal: Clear Quartz, Selenite, Indicolite (Blue) Quartz.

I received the following information from the Divine in a healing session many years ago. As I have worked with these chakras my understanding of them has grown. People are somewhat familiar with the eighth chakra, also known as the Soul Star or Interpersonal Chakra. Less is known about charkas nine through twelve. Information varies when it comes to the higher dimensions. That is because people are on different levels of awareness, or hold different vibrational levels. You can only see the truth based on where you are looking from in the moment.

The 5 Higher Chakras, 8 – 12

These five higher charkas were disconnected eons ago & are now being reconnected through our opening to Spirit. The process can be speeded up through an Ascension Initiation. The colors of the higher charkas varies from person to person & is dependent on your individual purpose or function as spirit. Crystals: Herkimer & Tibetan Diamonds, double terminated Clear Quartz, Selenite, Indicolite (Blue Tourmaline in Quartz), Moldavite, Cavansite, Apophyllite, Prehnite.

The Eighth Chakra: Soul Star also known as the Transpersonal chakra, is approximately 18 inches above the head. This is the center that holds all our contracts & agreements related to this lifetime, karmic connections and so on. A person’s Soul Star overlaps with that of the people they’ve had long-term relationships or sexual encounters with, & they don’t completely disconnect on their own, even though the couple may part physically. It’s very important, therefore, to be able to clear all those old relationship contracts, in order to make way for new potential relationships to come to you more easily, or to clear a pathway for the relationship of your current, supporting it to grow more fully. The eight chakra is also the center of detachment, staying in the present moment, unconditional trust, acceptance of intuitive guidance & the ability to discern illusion. It is the center of higher intellect. It marks the realm where the individual soul merges with the Universal Mind. It also marks the point where the soul manifests into matter, into the individual energy body. Note: C;

The Ninth Chakra: Intergalactic Gateway to the Divine and the BluePrint for this incarnation, & our Higher Emotional Center. This is where we hold all the information related to who we will be & are, in this current incarnation – our eye color, hair color, other features, personality characteristics & what we are going to be/do in this lifetime. This information becomes our DNA. We choose all this before we come in to this incarnation. In a healing, the BluePrint may appear fragmented, damaged or fractured, split, cracked, scattered or even dispersed. I worked with one woman who was extremely depressed, and I had a sense that she did not want to be here. She confirmed this when I asked her. Her blueprint actually appeared dispersed or scattered & I believe she would have tried to leave somehow if she hadn’t had the session with me. She burst into tears when I asked that a new blueprint be brought in & she felt completely different after the session. In particular she had a huge release when I cleared her ninth and eleventh chakras. Note: D

The Tenth Chakra: Interdimensional Gateway to the Divine is the gateway to all the other experiences (and dimensions) we’ve had throughout the universe. This chakra is where the soul fragments itself & scatters itself throughout the universe, requiring ‘retrieval’. Once all aspects are retrieved the person has full access to all the infinite possibilities of who they’ve been and are–their ‘universal archetypes’, for want of a better term. By bringing the essence of those aspects or soul fragments into one chakra it gives us the ability to work with all our talents and abilities. Most people only have access to between one and ten of their universal archetypes, and that’s quite limiting because we actually have an infinite number. Note: E

The Eleventh chakra: Universal Gateway to the Divine is where duality begins, so to speak. It is the ‘field of overlap’ between Light & Dark is where we have all contracts and agreements belonging to our soul, whereas the eighth chakra is this current incarnation’s contracts and agreements. Clearing the eleventh chakra is pivotal in bringing a person into balance and allowing them to have full access to their Divinity. I find that blocks in the 11th chakra are most likely to interfere with our Divine connection. This is where our contracts with the occult, black magic & the Abyss are held. We all have aspects of ourselves that have experienced the shadow, because that’s part of the Soul’s journey to explore Light and Dark, Order & Chaos. Part of the Divine plan for us is to experience Duality–Light and Dark and all the rays of the rainbow in between. Sometimes I find that this chakra is very imbalanced and may require a substantial infusion of Love, & perhaps a ‘new’ chakra make by needed. When I clear with this chakra people often experience an instant shift, and they comment that they suddenly feel different, more connected to the Divine. Note: F

The Twelfth charka: Monadic Soul Level Completing the five higher charkas is the 12th chakra or the Monad is considered the individualized Spirit-Spark of the Divine & is often called the I am Presence. The Monad is often considered the Ascended Master Level of the Soul. Each Monad or Spirit-Spark creates & is divided into 12 pairs of Souls. Each pair are knows as TwinFlames. The Monad is often considered the Ascended Master or Spirit level of Soul. When being cleared I see the person’s TwinFlame as well as their Divine Ray – their personal flavor of the Divine, in color frequency, which is their ‘function’ as Spirit.

Here is the BluePrint of the Soul, the Soul’s TwinFlame–twin-self or mirror opposite. Occasionally I see the souls of other significant relationships here. It’s a connection where there is no differentiation between the Monad and the Divine. Often I see that the two BluePrints–Soul’s & this incarnation–reflect one another. Sometimes the same fragmentation is going on in each one. If there is a split in the Blueprints, this particularly relates to a disconnection between the male and female aspects of our being. Unify the male/female energy within us is the most important step to experiencing Unity.

If there is a split between the male/female aspects, one half of the BluePrint may be missing. So the Monad is present but their TwinFlame is usually missing. By bringing the BluePrint back together and making it whole, their TwinFlame comes in and the client has access to working with their mirror-self. Note: F#

The following is based on the my own numbering system to include the other major chakras that I work with. The numbers are not important, where the chakras are & what they ‘do’ is:

The Thirteenth Chakra: Divine Heart Space/ Star Tetrahedron Heart Centre: is situated half way between the Throat & Heart Chakras, over the Thymus, this is the chakra of Co-Creative Divine Consciousness, the acceptance of the Divine within, Unconditional Love & compassion for self & others. When we awaken this centre, wellness is potentially an integral part of our path. Life takes on meaning & fulfillment & we experience the joy of Love, which pours forth from this chakra.

When fully activated this centre becomes one Unified Chakra. This is important because a unified chakra allows you then to align your physical, emotional, mental & spiritual bodies, & to harmonize their energy. Working with the unified chakra you unify the five higher & the ten lower chakras into one so that they all function in accordance with the frequency of unconditional love-based energy flowing through this Divine-Heart centre.

The Thymus gland controls the immune system & our rate of ageing. It is fully functional when the physical body (glands & organs) utilizes the thymus-governing imprint. The thymus naturally gets smaller as we age. By tapping the thymus daily you keep it activated. It is said that certain initiations also keep the thymus activated & that you will stop ageing after the initiation. Reiki is one such initiation, particularly after Level II.

When Divine flow is more direct & powerful, we may move consistently through life in tune with the Intention of Spirit. Then as male (thoughts) & female (emotions) are no longer antagonistic, proper hormone balance will begin to be established. Color: depends on the soul’s purpose; Note: F#

The Fourteenth Chakra: Quantum-Holographic Gateway to the Divine is located between the knees & is where the Universal Holographic Web connects to the physical. The Web is like a highway & connects us to everyone & everything in the Universe. We often have inappropriate connections to others through the Web & give our gifts & talents away to hide ourselves. Healing energy can be directed through the Web in such a way as to repair the Web & thereby heal the ‘physical’ body–which only appears solid but is in fact energy. If the physical body is damaged the Web is also damaged–torn or broken. Color: Green-White Note: B

The Fifteenth Chakra: Physical Gateway to the Divine is between the feet, at the level of the ankles, & grounds & connects spirit into the physical plane. When this center is activated we feel connected to Mother Earth & feel one with her energy, & that of all life forms–referred to by Native Americans as All My Relations. Environmental consciousness resides here & our desire to support our Earth Mother. Color: Navy Blue; Note A

The Sixteenth Chakra: Earth Star is approximately 18 inches below our feet & when activated grounds our Spirit-Self fully into the physical into the Infinite Moment of the Present, where we are the most powerful – Spirit having a human experience. We cannot be anything other than Spirit, although humans tend to ignore this Truth, & there is nothing to look for except within the self – to remember we are a piece of the Divine. Color: Forest Green; Note A#

These 16 chakras, along with other major & minor chakras, make up the most important interface between our spirit & physical bodies. The chakras directly interface with our nervous system, hence the importance of clearing both systems–physical & energy bodies. When we observe our patterns (attitudes, values & beliefs) we see clues as to what chakras are out of balance. There are many visualizing techniques to bring the charkras into balance & alignment & in my experience they need to be practiced every day.

Physical pain associated with chakra imbalances is very real. Having worked with people as a shaman and healer for over 20 years, I have seen many instances where physical pain has been relieved or released during a healing session. I have found that we carry our past predominately in our backs, which represents our past–literally behind us! People often experience a physical sensation related to a ‘broken’ heart. They may experience pain around their mid spinal region between the shoulder blades, and upon visualizing their emotional heart, ‘see’ either an image of something protecting their heart (e.g., a box or cage) or ‘see’ it as broken. When a person has money issues and feels unsupported in some area of their life, they may experience low back pain.

Over the years my work has evolved into my own modality, Micro-Fusion Holographic Healing, which incorporates Shamanic healing practices as well as the many modalities I have trained in. I have found that the body responds to this gentle work by releasing & opening up to the Spirit-Self in a very gentle, yet profound way.

In this final part of The Chakras, I wanted to address some questions & issues that have come up frequently with clients over the years, including some of the ways I’ve found most effective to keep the chakras working in harmony.

Clients have asked me to ‘close my chakras’ at the end of their session & this is a very important issue to address. As a question this also comes up frequently: “Should I keep my chakras open or closed?” Clients have been told by other healers that they need to close their chakras to be ‘protected’. And since my clients know I open all the charkas & bring them into alignment & then give my clients a visualization for keeping their chakras open, it’s natural that this creates confusion.

The chakras are in essence mini computers, gathering & storing information that then gets transferred to their interfaces, the physical & spirit bodies, through the nervous system & subtle bodies. Having your chakras closed is like trying to operate your computer with it switched off. Therefore it’s not a protection, but rather the opposite keeping you unprotected & open to negative or unwanted energies.

When your chakras are open & operating in harmony with one another, you are communicating freely with your Spirit-Self. Most importantly when your charkas are open, your heart chakra is open, & you are exuding Love, in & around you, & this is your greatest protection.

The next question I get asked the most is, “How do I keep my chakras open?” One thing I find is that when the Earth Star is closed, or deactivated, all the other chakras are affected. Some chakras will be partially open but moving sluggishly, some chakras will be closed. Conversely I have found that when the Earth Star is then opened, all chakras are affected in a positive way also.

In order to go through how to open & maintain your chakras, we first need to establish how they spin – in which direction. There are 2 main beliefs about how the chakra system spins – both are valid & work, if that’s your belief. Typically, how you were first taught is the one that works for you. My Crystal Master taught me this way: Each chakra spins the opposite direction to the one next to it, creating a DNA-like spiral that locks them together, starting with the Earth Star spinning counter clockwise. Another easy way to remember it is that all the odd numbers spin clockwise, while the even numbers spin counter clockwise.

How you check this is with a pendulum, which is also how you clear & open the chakras. You can hold a pendulum over any chakra & ask to be shown how it’s spinning. If a chakra is closed, the pendulum will do nothing. If it’s only partially open the pendulum will spin very slowly. When a chakra is fully open the pendulum will spin smoothly & reasonably fast, in large circle. Once you’ve established if your Earth Star is open or closed, & you’ve checked your solar plexus & heart chakras, you can start realigning all your chakras.

It’s best to be sitting in a chair for this exercise, so you have easy access to all your chakras. Starting at the Earth Star, which is approx. 18 cm below your feet point your pendulum at the chakra. Lean forward & rest you elbow on the knee. This will give you the right position, at the level of your ankles & forward of them. Now, make the pendulum spin counter clockwise. Do this for about 30 seconds, until the pendulum spins easily on its own.

Continue up to your ankle chakra–clockwise, then knees – counter clockwise, first chakra at the base of the spine- counter clockwise, & so on, holding the pendulum over the area of each chakra until you get to the crown chakra on top of your head, which spins clockwise.

I know you’re wondering at this point, how you’re going to clear the higher charkas. Since intention is everything, you’re going to imagine bring each one of them down in front of you–out from your body at approximately the level of your heart chakra. Continuing on with the 8th chakra–counterclockwise, & so on to the 12th chakra. Make each on spin until it can spin naturally on its own without your assistance. Sit quietly for a few minutes at the end, with your eyes closed & notice how you feel. Notice if you feel different to how you did before you started this exercise. Do you feel calmer, more at peace?

Another exercise that you can use to open each chakra is to visualize each one spinning in its appropriate direction & visualizing the appropriate color for each. Another way is to hold a double terminated clear quartz crystal or selenite wand over each chakra while you’re using your pendulum. Alternatively you can hold a Herkimer or Tibetan Diamond at the points, between your thumb & index fingers. This will help to clear each chakra of any unwanted energies more thoroughly. Ideally, Chakra balancing should be practiced daily.

How To Make A Wind Chime – Materials and Procedures

As many people there is nothing quite as beautiful as the sound coming from a wind chime blowing in the breeze. Hopefully the information below will help to know how to make a wind chime for yourself.

Firstly you need to get together all the necessary tools and items that you want to make a wind chime with. Below is a list of the tools that you will need.

1. Hacksaw

2. Nail or Hole Punch

3. Plumber’s pipe cutter

4. Electrical Wire (3/4″)

5. Heavy Duty String

6. Nylon Thread

7. Metal Pipe or Bamboo

8. Colourful Plastic Lid (often found on say a coffee tin).

Next why not go in search of some items that you can attach to the wind chime to make the lovely sound when they touch. Why not visit a beach and collect some sea shells or go to your local arts and craft store they probably have plenty of items that can be used such as beads, bells, stones etc.

Now we will go through the stages of assembling the items to make your wind chime.

1. Cut the pieces of metal pipe, bamboo or wood to various lengths.

2. Now where the items (seashells, stones etc.,) are small and thin enough poke a hole through them with a nail or hole punch.

3. Now thread a piece of either the string, thread or wire through each hole of the objects above and tie a knot in it.

4. However if some of the objects being used (such as stones then wrap the string around them several times) and then apply non toxic glue over the top to keep it in place. However, you may if you wish use a drill to make a hole in the object instead.

5. Next you need to punch some holes in to the colour plastic lid which will serve as the top of the wind chime and which will hold the finished item together, do not forget the two in the middle of the lid for the piece of string, wire or thread which will be used to hang the finished wind chime up.

6. After poking the holes in to the plastic lid thread through the string, wire or thread that you are using and tie a not in the end to avoid it coming out as well as threading through the piece that will be used to hang the wind chime up in the location you have decided upon.

7. You can now begin to thread the objects that you have already prepared on to the wire and once this has all been completed you can then hang it up where you have decided to place it.

All you need to now is sit back and relax and start enjoying the sound of the wind chime as the breeze blows it gently.

Cruising the Great South Bay on the Lauren Kristy

Long Island’s summertime heart is pumped by its beaches, bays, and boats, and during a cruise on its Great South Bay, I was able to take its pulse.

Area activity, as evidenced by the parking lot overflow at the Bay Shore Marina on a hot, crystal blue Saturday in late-June, had taken root on both land and sea. A family dragged a cooler from their car to the sand. The occasional wave of a colorful beach towel hinted at the red, white, and blue threads stitching the country together and the soon-to-be-celebrated Fourth of July. Sweet scents of suntan lotion rode the airwaves like olfactory surfers.

The silver silhouette of the Robert Moses Causeway, spanning the Great South Bay with its characteristic camel’s hump bridge, retained its tether from Long Island proper to Jones Beach. Ivory white wakes, like powerful fountains, sprang from the myriad of motor and fishing boats plying summer’s “expressway.”

By 16:30, the brisk breeze crossing the parking lot from the dark blue and navy gray water to the boat bobbing marina tamed the otherwise sultry, 91-degree temperature with its wind-filled whip.

Bay Shore itself was both created and defined by the waters that provided its very name. Harvesting fish, oysters, and salt hay, its early colonists earned their living by capitalizing on its very treasures, and by 1776, its artisans had equally earned a reputation-in this case, for their small boat-building skills. The fruits of their labor had played their own part in the Revolutionary War against the British.

But it took connections to put the town on the map, and those connections-to other areas-had both aquatic and land chains. In the former case, scheduled service to Fire Island, now a narrow ribbon of mostly summer communities, commenced in 1862, and a Long Island Railroad link with Manhattan cultivated a continual crop of city-escaping tourists whose sprout to this seaside resort some two decades later took form as business: people lined its gas-lit streets, stayed in its hotels and summer estates, and took to the water in its sailing boats. The community quickly earned the reputation as the “garden spot of Long Island.”

After World War II, permanent residents replaced temporary tourists, as they disconnected from mounting Manhattan and formed seaside suburbia.

Located on the widest point of the Great South Bay, Bay Shore today preserves both its architectural and maritime heritage.

Centerpiecing its marina, and appearing out-of-place, is a torpedo dedicated to the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice in the US Submarine Service during the Second World War.

Also appearing out-of-place (and era) amidst the otherwise ubiquitous fiberglass expressions of sleek, motor-propelled speed of the slip-tucked boats, was the 65-foot, dual-decked, turn-of-the-century wooden riverboat sporting a wind-nudged paddlewheel on its stern and designated the “Lauren Kristy.” It was on this vessel that I would feel the rhythm of Long Island’s summer beat and, by the collecting crowd, I would not be alone in my quest.

A check next to my name on the clipboard-attached reservation list, South Bay Paddle Wheel Cruises’ mobile office, preceded my step aboard and step up the wooden steps to my assigned, “starboard two” table for the three-hour cruise-the table itself only one removed from the upper deck’s highly polished Paddlewheel Bar and a magnet for the boat’s passengers, whose party mood settled on to the boat as quickly as I had settled into my seat.

As DJ-provided music-albeit initially with a soft beat-pumped its way across the deck, the entangle of octopus tentacles stretched from the dozens surrounding the bar reached for the raw vegetables, dips, cheeses, pepperoni, and crackers long before the engine was pumped with fuel. Wafts of alcohol rode the refreshing breeze all the way to the door-accessed, although narrow, outside deck at the stern.

Released from its mooring restraints and imperceptibly inching away from the dock at 18:00, the “Lauren Kristy,” displaying its third-deck wheel house, dual stacks, and surrounding lattice window frames, seamlessly merged into the marina’s departure channel like an aircraft converging on a single runway at JFK during its evening departure peak.

Trailing a Fire Island ferry into the gray, corrugated Great South Bay, it rode its wake, laterally rocking, as the open water’s cool breeze wrestled for dominance with the music’s audible waves.

Maintaining a southwesterly heading beneath the early-evening’s dirty-white and metallic-gray quilt, which was penetrated by an orange ooze on its western horizon, the “Lauren Kristy” bit into the Great South Bay with its bow, inching toward the Robert Moses Causeway.

Sandwiched between Long Island’s south shore and Fire Island National Seashore, the Great South Bay itself, with a 26-mile length, three-mile width, and 151-square-mile area, is both the area’s largest south shore bay and New York State’s largest shallow saltwater bay. Injected with 5,231 gallons of water per second, it has an average 4.3-, but maximum 20-, foot depth, and provides a habitat for up to 85 species of fish.

Once a significant domain for Long Island baymen, it serves as a major marine transportation artery for fishing, pleasure, excursion, and ferry boats.

Slipping under the green-metallic Robert Moses Causeway Bridge at 18:45, the riverboat once again emerged into open waters, joining the scatter of craft whose sails, billowing to the point of bursting in the fierce wind, appeared like overblown tubes.

Spanning 8.10 miles between West Islip and Captree Island, the causeway itself proceeds, via the State Boat Channel Bridge, to Jones Beach Island and the western tip of Fire Island. The original, north- and southbound span, completed in 1951, was doubled when a second artery was constructed next to it.

The paddles on the “Lauren Kristy’s” stern-attached wheel, mostly pushed by the wind’s hand, managed to skim the water’s surface, each re-emerging from its temporary, although paltry, propulsion providing dip.

Integral to both sea and airborne craft, the wind provided lift to the periodic private airplanes following their departure paths in the sky from Republic Airport in Farmingdale.

Dinner, announcing itself in the form of main deck-escaping aromas and tickling the passengers’ ping-ponging stomach pangs, entailed a mixed green salad with creamy Italian and Russian dressings; dinner rolls; carved prime rib of beef, chicken francaise, seafood Newburg, rice pilaf, and broccoli; chocolate fudge cake and apple tartlets; and coffee.

Having amended its mostly-westerly to a current southeasterly heading, the paddlewheeler entered the Captree Island boat channel, threading its way through light green patches of eelgrass, dock-provisioned homes, and Captree State Park, with its kindred-spirit “Delta Lady” paddlewheel vessel and fleet of fishing boats.

Established in 1954, the 298-acre Captree State Park itself, located on the eastern tip of Jones Beach Island, is in the heart of the fishing grounds whose crop of fluke and flounder is supplemented by seabass and blackfish in the autumn. Facilitating this sport are two fishing piers, a boat launch ramp with parking for 64 boat trailers, and a basin for charter, scuba diving, excursion, and sightseeing vessels. Its other island- and water-related fowl include white pelicans, terns, gulls, common loons, black skimmers, and duck.

By 19:50, the Fire Island Lighthouse loomed in the distance.

In order to plug the hole through which numerous Long Island inlet-entering ships had fallen–resulting in the mishaps which did not quite let them “in”–lighthouses naturally rose from the once-barren land like overgrown concrete sentinels waving warning lanterns. The first, on Montauk Point, was built in 1796, while its Fire Island counterpart followed 29 years later, in 1825, rising from its edge after a construction project whose cost had fallen only 35 cents short of its $10,000 budget.

The 74-foot high, octagonal pyramid, covered with Connecticut River blue split stone, both guided transatlantic ships entering New York Harbor and served as a symbolic landmark for European immigrants arriving in the land of freedom and opportunity.

But its height quickly proved its own handicap, leaving its stunted growth to counteract its intended purpose, and in 1857 Congress appropriated $40,000 for an almost 100-foot taller structure on an 82-acre tract of land. Phoenix-like, it stretched from a terrace made of its first version’s stone.

Lit for the first time on November 1 of the following year, the red brick tower, painted a creamy yellow, employed a First Order Fresnel Lens, rising 168 feet to the occasion and subsequently passing the torch to modernity and electricity in 1938 after having employed a succession of intermittent fuels, such as whale, lard, and mineral oil.

But the plug to its purpose was pulled 35 years later when it was decommissioned on the last day of 1973 in exchange for a flash tube optic installed on the top of the Robert Moses State Park water tower. Its restricted, seaward direction of illumination, however, failed to promote the bay’s safety.

After $1.3 million had been raised by the 1982-formed Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, it was restored to its electricity-introducing guise, sporting the black-and-white bands introduced as far back as 1891. Re-lit on Memorial Day, May 28, 1986 and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it once again became an official aid to navigation, its two, 1000-watt, counterclockwise rotating bulbs flashing every 7.5 seconds and visible more than 20 miles away.

Proceeding southeasterly, the “Lauren Kristy” brushed the Fire Island community of Kismet, which was just receiving an inbound ferry. Its westernmost one, which also encompassed Lighthouse Shores and Sea Bay Beach, it sported 250 beach houses–most of which were owned, but further rented, by Islip and Bay Shore residents-as well as two restaurant-bars, three guest houses, a grocery store, and a 30-slip basin. Its year-round residents numbered about two dozen.

The pre-dusk sun had parted the seas-or, in this case, the skies above them-revealing a scintillating orange which tinged the bay’s surface a tangerine, Swarovski crystal and injected the horizon with post-swelter plasma. The winds had been deflated to an evening-imminent calm, yet the dance floor on the “Lauren Kristy’s” upper deck vibrated with the collective feet that mimicked the music’s increasing beat and volume.

Turning to a northerly heading, the paddle wheeler thread its way between Sexton and West Fire islands, poised to close the three-mile gap to its Bay Shore origin, as the heavily-scented sea air confirmed the dance floor’s aquatic foundation. More than anything, however, the vibration responded to the beat of Long Island’s summertime heart, which pumped life on to the water that surrounded it and therefore gave it its “island” status.

Hovering above the western horizon like a rotorless helicopter, the cylindrical sun, a blood-red bullet, equally proved that that day’s denouement did little to dampen the pulse propagating across the Great South Bay, as several speed boats and yet another Fire Island ferry– part of the nautical equivalent of the “rush hour”–overtook the lumbering riverboat.

Impatience would have ordinarily overtaken me, as I longed to reach some destination. But, during the summer on Long Island, it was to here that I-and apparently countless others-went.

The big hand on my watch had reached the “30”-mark-as in “20:30”-indicating that only a half hour remained to close the distance to shore and end my temporary suspension from land. The dozen on the dance floor, fusing into a single, song-paralleling step, had no need for watches, as they elevated themselves to that timeless dimension created by sun, sea, music, and fun.

The last daylight minute of that last day of June flicked out as the rim of the sun dipped itself into the sea, creating the purple glow on the horizon behind the Captree Bridge.

Closing the last half mile to Bay Shore, the “Lauren Kristy” swallowed gulps of the now oily-black water with its bow, seeming caught in a sea-and-sky void presently pierced by the pinpoints of light defining the approaching coast ahead and the 7.5-second intervaled flashes emitted by the Fire Island Lighthouse behind.

Disconnecting from Long Island’s summertime dimension, it turned toward the Bay Shore Marina channel, threading its way back to the dock at 21:00-and pulling my plug on Long Island’s summertime heart.

A Landscape Lighting Designer Can Create a Magical Moonbeam Garden

When you spend time and money to create the backyard of your dreams, you should be able to use it whenever you want. That’s when outdoor lights come into play. With the help of the right landscape lighting designer, you can create the perfect “moonbeam” garden for your backyard.

But what exactly IS a moonbeam garden? Simply put, a moonbeam garden is any designated area in your yard that either mimics or helps reflect moon light. By using specific forms of outdoor illumination, you can create a space in your backyard (or front) that allows you to relax and enjoy all your hard work even after the sun has set.

Not all moonbeam gardens are designed the same way, which means yours can be as elaborate or as simple as you’d like. The best landscape lighting for such a garden is up to you and your designer, but here are some ideas to help you get started:

Up-lights: These are generally placed at ground level, so that the light reflects up. They’re an excellent way to mimic reflected moonlight in places with a lot of trees or shrubs, which normally absorb the illumination of the moon. A professional landscape lighting designer may use up-lights for gardens in wooded areas or along the siding of the home.

Moon Pulse Bulbs: Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of these: not many homeowners have. But if you want the best landscape lighting outdoors, ask a contractor about installing Moon Pulse bulbs. These bulbs are designed specifically to look like the moon light is being reflected off of the ground. They’re excellent additions to pool and patio landscape designs because they’re non-obtrusive.

Solar Lights: It might seem counter-productive to rely on the sun for your moonlighting landscape, but lighting that’s solar-based is renewable and plentiful. By harnessing solar power, you can illuminate your yard or moonbeam garden at night without any additional cost. A professional landscape lighting designer can accentuate the most beautiful parts of your garden to give it an ethereal, magical glow.

Outdoor Landscape Lights Add Ambiance

The best outdoor lighting will allow you to enjoy your outdoor spaces at night. By installing outdoor landscape lights, you can utilize your space at any time. One of the great benefits of a moonbeam garden is that it provides calm, soothing place to relax after a long day at work. They’re relatively pest-free, since most insects rest when the temperature drops.

You can also create the ambiance you want with a moonlit oasis by your pool. Moonlight reflects off of water, but some nights the moon isn’t as visible as you’d like it to be. By utilizing outdoor landscape lights near the water, you can swim at any time of the evening and still be able to see where you’re going – both in the pool and out of it.

Another great reason to create a moonbeam garden revolves around temperature. As wonderful as a day in the sun can be, summers here can be oppressive – and that means that you might be dissuaded from enjoying your yard even in the middle of the day. Here’s where you can benefit from moonlighting. Landscaping lighting that illuminates your yard at night allows you to escape the heat of the day by creating a setting that’s best used at night. A landscape lighting designer can light up your entire yard for evening use.

The most important thing about moonbeam gardens, though, is their versatility. You can create a space as compact or as large as you’d like, and use outdoor landscape lighting to enhance natural structures and professionally designed hardscapes. So whether you’re a night owl or a swing-shift worker, a moonbeam garden can help you enjoy your yard at any time of day. Consult a landscape lighting designer to come up with a blueprint that works for you.

Time Management Barriers – Simple Steps to Overcoming Them Through Coaching

It’s easy for things to get in the way of your best efforts to manage your time. Most commonly these barriers will include issues like inefficiency, overwhelm, interruptions, lack of prioritising, and not setting limits. By taking some simple steps to manage these challenges you can become much calmer and more effective. Many of my clients come to me because they want to take control of their time and stress. Through coaching you can deal with each of your challenges to managing your time and learn how to get on top of things and lower your stress. Here are some pointers to unravelling what’s getting in the way of you making the best use of your time and how to begin to overcome them.

Efficiency

Many of us feel busy, yet just being busy does not mean we are achieving what we want or need to achieve. Coaching will help you understand what factors contribute to any inefficiency and how to work smarter rather than harder – so you achieve more in less time. You will learn how to set systems and routines for dealing with things in the smartest way possible and how to help you focus better and feel energised so you find it easier to cope with all your demands.

Think about your current efficiency and where it could be improved. When and how do you work your best? What systems or routines would help you get through the tasks you have to do in a more time-efficient way?

Overwhelm

When we have many responsibilities and demands it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Coaching will help you look at your workload and how you are dealing with it. You’ll discover ways to reduce your feelings of overload, how to work more efficiently and how you might reduce the amount of things you deal with. You’ll also find out how to prevent tasks becoming too onerous and how to deal with any backlogs you already have. You can even discover how to use your ‘to do’ list so it works for you rather than simply providing another reminder of all the things you haven’t achieved.

When do you currently feel overwhelmed with things to do? What ways can you find to reduce the amount of work, tame your ‘to do’ list, or get started on tasks and successfully complete them?

Interruptions

Even perfectly formed plans can be disrupted by unexpected events. If this affects you, coaching can help you minimise the impact of those interruptions and take better control of your time so you can maintain your focus and achieve the things you want to achieve. It will also help you recognise how you contribute to your interruptions and give you strategies for dealing with this.

Think about when you currently find yourself interrupted from your work. Why and how is it happening? What is within your control? What changes could you make? How can you minimise both the interruptions and their impact?

Prioritising

Coaching will help you identify what you need to deal with first. Once you’re in control of your time, you’ll be able to stop rushing around chasing ‘urgent’ deadlines and instead find time to deal with the things that are important to you. This is easy to establish if you’ve started from your goals – the things that are really important for you to achieve. You can also learn how to change your goals from aspirations to reality through setting in place a simple but effective action plan.

To what extent do you currently deal with what’s urgent rather than what’s important? What can you do to change this? When will you change it?

Setting limits

This is about knowing when to stop and when to say ‘no’. Coaching will help you take control of your time through recognising your limits, learning how to respond to your needs, and how to say ‘no’ whilst still holding onto your self-respect and the respect of the people around you.

Ask yourself what boundaries you currently set for your work or things you need to do. Are they sufficient or appropriate? Are you giving time for the important things or are you just ‘keeping busy’? What changes do you need to make? Then set yourself some realistic actions to achieve this.

Overcoming the things that get in the way of you managing your time can lower your stress, increase your well-being, and improve your relationships. You will get more things done and feel in control your time and your life again. So what step will you take today?