Aging-in-Place With Universal and Adaptable Design

Homes That Grow Gracefully With You

As we enter into retirement, we begin to face some very difficult questions about the future of our families and our ability to maintain our independence through the retirement years. We have a strong desire to retain our autonomy as long as possible and not readily on family members for assistance with daily living. Universal and adaptable design concepts optimize space in our homes to accommodate a wide range of individuals with varying physical abilities, allow people to stay in their homes longer, and keep families together.

What is Aging-in-Place?

Aging-in-place means living in your home safely, comfortably, and independently, regardless of age or ability level. It allows you to continue living in a familiar environment through your maturing years. Aging-in-place is the ability to remain in your home for a lifetime.

Quick Facts …

    One-quarter of the US population is over age 50.
    From 2000 to 2030 the over 65 population will double.
    By 2030, the population of older people will likely increase to over 69 million persons.
    By 2050, the US will account for 79 million people over age 65.
    The net worth of seniors is five times greater than the average net worth of all US citizens.

What is universal and adaptable design?

Ron Mace, founder and program director of the Center for Universal Design, defines universal design as "the design of products and environments to be useable by all people, to the greatest possible possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design". For our purposes, we will limit the term "universal design" as it applies to home design and related products.

Adaptable design, on the other hand, allows the easy modification of a space to accommodate a specific need. Where universal design benefits everyone regardless of ability, adaptable design provides access to spaces or products through alteration or the addition of an assistive device that bridges an existing barrier to its use. Adaptable design is defined by ANSI A117.1 (American National Standards Institute) as, "the ability of certain building elements, such as kitchen counters, sinks, and grab bars, to be added to, raised, lowered, or otherwise altered so as to accommodate the needs of either persons with or without disabilities, or to accommodate the needs of persons with different types or degrees of disability ".

The differences between universal and adaptable design may be obscure at times. One could consider the installation of grab bars in a shower to be universal as anyone can use the bar for balance or safety. But the installation of the backing (structural support) for grab bars may be considered adaptable if the intention is to install the bars at a future time when needed to provide access to the use of the shower by a person with a disability. It is this obscurity that points to the fact that universal and adaptable design is not a matter of listing items as features; rather, it is a philosophy of design. The philosophy of universal design is summarized by the Principles of Universal Design developed by the Center for Universal Design (see sidebar).

THE PRINCIPLES OF UNIVERSAL DESIGN

Copywrite 1997 NC State University, The Center for Universal Design

PRINCIPLE ONE: Equitable Use
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.

PRINCIPLE TWO: Flexibility in Use
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.

PRINCIPLE THREE: Simple and Intuitive Use
Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.

PRINCIPLE FOUR: Perceptible Information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.

PRINCIPLE FIVE: Tolerance for Error
The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

PRINCIPLE SIX: Low Physical Effort
The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.

PRINCIPLE SEVEN: Size and Space for Approach and Use
Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user's body size, posture, or mobility.

"The Principles of Universal Design were conceived and developed by The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University. or endorsements by The Center for Universal Design of the use or application. "

What are some applications of universal and adaptable design?

Universal design encompasses a wide scope of home design and modification extending from landscaping and low maintenance exterior and interior finishes to specific features that enhance the use and safety of bathrooms and kitchens. The use of energy efficient building materials and solar design, for example, may be considered universal design criteria because it benefits everyone who uses it.

Some of the major areas we look at, from the perspective of universal design, are entrances and pathways leading to entrances, overall interior accessible features, kitchens, bathrooms, and sleeping areas. Let's take each of these individually and look at ways that we can improve the usability of each.

Entrances and pathways

One of the first things to consider in universal design is how to eliminate barriers to access from a vehicle drop-off point to an accessible entry. To make a pathway usable for a person using a wheelchair or other assistive device, we need to limit the slope of the walkway to a maximum change of 1 foot for every 20 feet up or down to the entry. We prefer to use earth berms, bridges or retaining walls instead of front ramps that may suggest a vulnerable resident. Anyone moving heavy furniture in or out of the home will love this feature!

The entry itself has many facets to look at in terms of accessibility. These items include providing weather shelter, a no-step entry with a threshold less than "" high, maneuvering space on both sides of the door, sidelights or "peepholes" to view visitors, and adequate lighting to operate locks and provide security.

Overall features of the home

Here, we are going to explore some universal design features that are not specific to any one room, but should be considered as general applications.

Whether the home is designed for aging-in-place or simply for visitability, we want to create easy access to the main living areas and facilities. This can be accomplished by providing a minimum clear opening of 32 "on all doors to accessible areas and a 40" minimum clear circulation route through rooms and hallways. We also want to provide a minimum of 18 "near the door latch for easy operation for people using assistive devices.

Another consideration would be the placement of electrical outlets, switches and other operable controls. Raised outlets between 18 "and 22" above the floor falls within the range of use for a person in a positioned position and also aids people who have problems stooping over. Placing light switches and other controls a maximum of 48 "above the floor allows their use from a seated position.

Safety in the home is another big consideration addressed through universal design. Non-slip floor surfaces will help avoid falls and aid in the use of walkers and wheelchairs. Telephones installed in strategic locations, such as bedrooms and bathrooms, will help summon assistance if needed. Also, lowered window sill heights to a maximum of 36 "high will enhance the use of windows for egress in case of fire or other emergency.

Kitchens

Kitchens are notorious in excluding their use for a variety of people and there are many universal design "standards" that apply to this area of ​​the home. Even though the application of universal criteria to the kitchen is typically design specific, we will cover some of the more critical design choices.

We first want to be sure we have a proper floor space that is suitable for all users, including people who use wheelchairs. Optimally, we would like to see a 5 'clear turning radius in the kitchen, but, as a minimum, we want to provide a 30 "x 48" approach in front of all appliances. We also want to provide knee space under the sink and cooktop, as well as a lowered counter (also with knee space) at a work area for a person in a separated position. Some adaptable criteria may come into play here with removable base cabinets or doors that swing out for roll-under access.

Continuous counters between work areas may be a universal design consideration. An example would be having a sink and cooktop on the same run of counter so that a heavy object could slide between the two without having to pick it up. Another idea might be to have a spray or faucet located to fill coffee makers or pots without lifting.

The selection and placement of appliances need to be considered for ease of use. Controls need to be placed within the range of reach for persons in a separated position. The maximum reach height of 48 "for all kitchen controls apply here. Forward reach over obstructions should also be considered, but this is client specific and mathematical formulas are used to determine forward reach ranges. Front mounted controls are easy to use for everyone, but considering needs to be taken in terms of access to small children.

A raised dishwasher, as well as raised washer / dryer in the laundry room, improves its use for both people using wheelchairs and those having problems stooping over to load the machine. There is also a long list of cabinet features that improve access, such as pull-out shelves, lazy susans, and roll out waste containers. Adequate task lighting is also a major consideration in the kitchen.

Bathrooms

Safety is the number one priority in the bathroom as it is the room with the highest number of accidents in the home. Non-slip surfaces are essential both inside and outside the tub / shower area. As mentioned earlier, grab bars enhance the safety for everyone, but they are especially important to people who have an increased risk of falling. They are also very important for people who use wheelchairs to enable transfer to shower seats and toilets. Pressure balanced / anti-scald valves are another safety feature that benefits everyone.

Access for people using assistive devices is critical in the bathroom. Curb-less showers allow people to roll-in or avoid tripping over a curve at the shower pan. (This feature has also spurred some very beautiful bathroom designs!) Dimensions around toilets are critical for access and 30 "x 48" minimum approach area in front of all bathroom fixtures is needed. (These clearances can overlap.)

There are many accessories available for shower / tub modifications that improve safety and convenience. Recessed soap and shampoo ledges, various seats and benches, and adjustable height / hand-held shower with slide bars, just to name a few.

Bedrooms

One of the important features we want to look for in the bedroom is that there is adequate clearance for maneuvering around the bed and proper clearances for emergency egress, either at a door or a window with a lowered sill. Proper clearance should be considered for adaptable devices, such as a Med-Pole (a stainless steel assistive device) or Hoya lift. The doorways to accessible areas, like the bathroom and closet, need to be a minimum of 32 "wide as indicated earlier.

Summary

Aging-in-Place means maintaining independence and control of your life. Your environment plays a key role in achieving that goal and steps should be taken to improve the usability, safety and comfort of your home.

This begins with a comprehensive personal assessment and home audit for independence that may be performed by a medical professional or a trained aging-in-place specialist. With this information, solutions for home modification can be developed. Some of these modifications may be done yourself, such as using brighter lighting and slip-free mats. Other configurations will require a trained professional for widening doors and various remodel projects in bathrooms and kitchens.

Whether you are considering remodeling or designing a new home, look for professionals who have the experience to accurately assess your needs and find the solutions that will make your house a home for a lifetime. One resource for finding qualified professionals is the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). They have created the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) program to help you identify industry professionals with the skills and knowledge specific to home configurations for aging-in-place.

Is the Serta Mattress the Best on the Market

Serta have been making high quality mattresses for over 70 years and claim to make the world's best mattress. But is their claim justified, especially with the development of the memory foam mattress by new innovative manufacturers?

Serta are firmly placed near the top of the mattress pile. Along with Sealy, Simmons and Spring Air, Serta dominate the mattress market. Not only are their mattresses found in millions of homes but, the chances are, the next time you check-in to a hotel, it'll be a Serta mattress you'll be sleeping on.

You can not make a good quality mattress if you do not use top notch materials. There's no denying that Serta does use the best materials. The heart of the Serta mattress is the StabL-Base Double Beam Foundation. It is on this wooden frame that the spring system is mounted. Only the best wood is used – without knots – which would cause structural weaknesses. Also, every mattress Serta makes coming with an advanced open-flame resistance system; FireBlocker. The ticking and quilt layer also uses the best materials.

A Serta mattress uses the best materials, but does it use the best manufacturing technology? Serta relies on a spring system to give the customer the correct posture and comfort. The innerspring mattress has been around a long time and remains the most popular type of mattress, and this is the system used by Serta. There are three types of innerspring mattresses; hourglass-shaped, continuous-coil and pocket springs. Serta's Perfect Sleeper series uses continuous coils. Whilst continuous-coil springs are more durable, and maintain their shape longer than hourglass springs, they are inter-linked, which means you're disturbed by the movements of your partner. Pocket springs are different: they are in their own "fabric pocket" rather than being connected to each other like hourglass and continuous-coil springs, so the springs move a little more independently and you are less affected by your partner's movements. Serta's Perfect Night mattress uses pocket springs. Serta's innerspring mattresses rate is highly many consumer reports; in fact, for the $ 880 to $ 1100 price range, the Serta Perfect Sleeper is probably one the best innerspring mattresses you can buy.

There's no denying that the memory foam mattress has caused quite a stir in the mattress world and is becoming ever more popular. For people with back problems memory foam mattresses have been shown to improve sleep quality. Serta has finally realized the benefits of the new viscoelastic mattresses and have begun making their own; The International Touch. Serta claim that their memory foam mattress is the cheapest on the market – up to 30% cheaper than the market leader. However, being cheaper does not mean better. If you can afford it, you're probably better buying the market leader's memory foam mattress – the market leader being Tempur-Pedic.

But memory foam mattresses are not everyone's favorite. That's because foam mattresses do not feel as fluffy or squishy as an innerspring mattress with pillow tops and cushy quilted ticking. Also, many consumers have reported a rather unpleasant smell from their new foam mattress.
So, if you prefer the more traditional foam mattress, then you should seriously consider a Serta mattress. Many consumer reviews highly rate the Serta mattress and they have been making mattresses for longer than most. A Serta mattress is good value for money when you consider the quality of materials and manufacturing that goes into the making of each mattress. Serta can claim to make one of the best mattresses on the market.

Competitor Analysis – A Graphic Design Perspective

You probably already know all about SWOT analysis. You might even have your oppositions target demographics, market share and sales figures on hand. But have you ever applied the same type of stringent methodology to analysing your competitors’ visual presence in the marketplace? A graphic design audit is a fantastic and relatively easy way to get a clear picture of how your competitors are perceived, what key messages they are communicating and how you look when placed alongside them. It’s also a valuable exercise that informs you about the type of communication your customers are receiving on a regular basis from your key competitors.

So how do you do it?

The first step to a graphic design audit is to compile every piece of sales and marketing collateral you can find from the competition. This includes trawling through their website and taking screen grabs of key pages, subscribing to their mailing lists, getting your hands on their brochures, purchasing their products so you can have a look at packaging etc. etc.

According to Peter L. Phillips author of “Creating the Perfect Design Brief – How to Manage Design for Strategic Advantage”, one of the best, least expensive and fastest methods is to attend all industry trade shows. There is nothing illegal, unprofessional or immoral about this practice. Business is merely a game we are playing to win after all!

Mr Phillips also suggests using your sales force members to find out what the competition are up to.

As they come into direct contact with customers every day, they can often pick up competitive literature from the customer. They only need to know what you need and of course why you need it.

So once you have compiled the information, what do you do with it?

The best way to start is by putting your competitors’ information up on the wall and analysing them one by one. Invite as many people as possible from your sales, marketing and business teams to give their individual opinion on what design elements are working very well for the competition, and what weaknesses they can see. By starting your analysis on your competitors first, you will build up a bit of objectivity so you can then turn the same harsh critique onto yourself.

Look for ways the design and language make a document unique. Do they have a friendly look and feel that reflects more personalized service? Do they look more professional than you? Why? Is it because the page is less cluttered, the colours are more toned down or some other reason? Is their website easier to navigate than your own? What do you think their reasons behind these choices were? Is there anything you can learn from them? Most importantly, how are these competitors using design for competitive advantage?

Now for the hard part – using the same analysis on yourself. Reassure your staff that this is not an exercise where they need to defend their work, it is merely a way of gaining useful information that could give you a competitive advantage that improves your bottom line. This aspect of the audit sometimes proves a bit tricky so you might need an independent opinion from a graphic design firm that understands the process to help you out.

It is amazing how much strategic information this process can generate. It will give you new ideas and a fresh perspective that can influence the entire way you approach your marketing for the year. And considering a lot of businesses think of graphic design as an annoying inconvenience, if you are the first to use this more strategic approach you will find it is another tool to help you stay one step ahead of the competition.

Building Green With Engineered Wood

Building green encompasses many different aspects of the building process. It means using construction materials that come from renewable sources, that are environmentally friendly and toxic free, and that minimize waste and carbon emissions. Building green can be as simple as using recycled building products, insulating to reduce energy waste, or decreasing the size of the structure itself. There are many ways to build green that can lessen the impact on the environment.

With building green becoming more important within the construction industry, it is time that all aspects of building green be explored and utilized in new home building or remodeling. One significant product that will enhance green building is the use of engineered wood also known as engineered lumber in as many areas of the construction as possible. Engineered lumber includes, i-joists, laminated veneer lumber (LVL), rimboard and plywood.

These products are more environmentally friendly than dynamic lumber in several ways:

  • Engineered lumber products can be fabricated from wood by-products produced from the traditional milling process. Engineered lumber products use smaller pieces of wood and wood chips bonded with resins to create structural and dimensionally stable building components, thereby reducing the need to harvest larger trees to achieve lumber of the same size.
  • The resins used as the bonding agents in modern engineered wood products are formaldehyde-free and eco friendly.

Using these products in building green homes will not only help to reduce our impact on the environment, but when used appropriately will also save in construction costs, will provide a better structure, and have a longer lifespan than traditional lumber products.

  • Some I-Joists can be ordered precut to the exact dimensions that are required for the construction project. This can save in shipping costs, as you are not paying for excess weight, and in labor costs and time at the construction site. When the construction project requires large cross section dimensions or extreme lengths, then engineered wood beams are less expensive than large beams of standard lumber.
  • Engineered wood products are much less acceptable to warping or twisting than traditional lumber, so ensuring that the structure is built truer and will retain its structural integrity better than using standard dimensional lumber. When the project calls for spans of 16 feet or more, engineered wood joists and beams will make the construction easier and will result in floors and ceilings that remain level.

The construction industry is coming around to the advantages of building green, and the engineered wood product industry is leading the way with eco friendly building products. With products that include wooden I-beams, laminate veneer lumber (LVL) and composite material rimboards, all areas of construction lumber are covered with engineered wood products. The industry is continuing to improve the quality of its existing products, while it continues to search for new and innovative ways to use engineered lumber products throughout the construction process.

Google Chrome Crash Fix – Complete Repair Tutorial

Although Google Chrome is one of the most popular and also advanced Internet Browsers that is available today, it does not come without some drawbacks. Because Google Chrome is such a highly sophisticated developed piece of software, which has been designed to make your Internet browsing experience the best and nothing else, the problems that come with it are sophisticated as well. Users of Chrome have reported various errors and issues with the browser, such as Crashing, Stalling, Error messages. Other users have claimed that they have had issues with Flash Player not functioning properly, this leaves many people stranded and unable to view certain web pages. All of this evidence put forward Google Chrome's issues has been led to believe that the browser is easily susceptible to damage and corruption.

Many of the reasons why users have encountered these sort of problems while using the browser are things such as:

  • Vital Chrome files have been badly damaged and corrupted
  • Many files have been deleted or misplaced
  • Windows settings have been changed
  • Parts of the registry have become damaged or corrupt

In order to fix the issues that many of you are seeing, you should follow these simple steps that are outlined below.

  1. The first thing you should do is to restart your computer, it could be that your computer has just encountered a slight glitch that is causing Google Chrome to continue crash and display various error messages. If this is the first time you have encountered this then restarting your computer to refresh the settings. If you continue to experience this then proceed to step 2.
  2. If you continue to experience issues with Google Chrome then it is recommended that you re-install the Google Chrome application. In doing so you are allowing your computer to read the files better, and also repair any damaged or corrupt settings that may have been causing the issues. To do this, follow these steps: Click "Start> Control Panel> Add / Remove Programs" Locate "Google Chrome" Click UNINSTALL next to it When the application loads, select "REMOVE" (not repair) Follow the uninstall process Restart your PC .
  3. Step 3 is to remove any add-ons and plugins. Add-ons and plugins are a great way for people to customize their Internet browsing that will benefit them, however many of these add-ons and plugins can cause Google Chrome to crash. To remove any add-ons and plugins follow these steps: Open up Google Chrome. In the address bar type chrome: // extensions. Click Uninstall, or Click Disable if you think you may use the addon in the future. Restart your browser.
  4. The next step is to carry out a scan of your registry. This step is extremely important as many vital files that are needed for Chrome are kept in this delicate database, which is easily susceptible to damage and corruption. The registry is not just for storing important files for Chrome, it houses many different important files that are needed by other applications. Often your computer will try to read files that are located inside the registry however sometimes it can not do this because it is confused, so leading to the corruption of many files.

Foundation Repair – Is Your Home's Foundation Moving? – 11 Ways to Know If Your House is Safe

The sooner you fix a moving foundation, the less damage it will cause. Sometimes these problems are hard to diagnose and foundation repairs many times should be left to the professionals.

Check off which symptoms you have below. Some obvious foundation movement indicators are:

1. Are there cracks in your foundation?

2. Do you have bulging concrete walls?

3. Do you suspect any type of foundation movement?

Any or all of those above can be cause for alarm!

4. Do you have any floor and wall cracks?

5. Do you notice any doors that bind and do not open or close correctly?

6. Do you have any floors that are not level? Do your windows bind or do not open or close correctly?

7. Is there any water intrusion in your home?

8. Do you have any mold growth?

9. Are there cracks in your exterior brick?

10. Do you have any cracks in your beams and joists?

11. Are there any separations of wood either on the interior or exterior of your home?

If you feel you need residential foundation repairs, – you MUST act quickly! Things could be so much worse if you wait. It is not worth risking your life as well as the lives of your family members. This type of problem is not for the "Do It Yourselfers" either. You are going to want a reputable experienced company. Many times a husband or a relative mean well and think they can go ahead and try to resolve it on their own. Say NO!

Mind Power Seduction Techniques – 2 Tips to Seduce & Attract Girls

Before I go into detail about the seduction techniques, I would first like to explain why they work (other than the fact they are time tested). A woman's mentality is completely different from a males perspective. They look at life and situations through how they feel, not their rational thought. Now all people do this to an ample but woman are hardwired by them, it is their ruling emotion.

1 * The First Mind Power Seduction Technique is called Fractionation, also known as Positive-Negative Theory

The basis for this seduction technique to attract girls is as you might have guessed, saying something extremely positive immediately followed by something negative in conversation. This will subconsciously create an emotional roller coaster for the woman. Assuming that you are able to hold a conversation, this technique is one of the most effective.

For Example, If you are trying to seduce and attract woman or just that special girl.

"Do you remember that time when your best friend was next to you, and it makes you feel tremendously happy, you feel important, loved, appreciated. then one day my friend got sick and died almost immediately. (Pause) She was gone. "

Now, obviously that is a very extreme example, but that is the basis for that seduction technique, which works like gangbusters.

2 * The Second Mind Power Seduction Technique is called Strawberry Fields (Replace with fruit of your choosing …)

This tactic is to be used only when you have built up sufficient rapport with the woman. At this point you will be able to seduce and attract her easily using this tactic.

"Imagine that you are standing at the gate to a strawberry field. You look in and see ripe and delicious strawberries.

(Yes)

"How high are the gates surrounding the field?"

(This answer will generally determine her mindset towards sex, higher the gate, the higher her guard)
"Imagine you are inside the field, how many strawberries would you pick and eat?"

(This answer will determine how many sex partners she desires)

"After you finished eating the strawberries, you realized you were observed from a farmer from afar, how do you feel about him?"

(Her response will show how she feels about her partner after sex)

This strong subconscious stimuli will compare her mindset to something pleasurable and give you a better understanding of her sexual attraction.

Again, I would like to stress to use this techniques with extreme caution. Remember, just focus on making the woman feel pleasant and all of your dreams to attract and seduce woman will come true.

Allergies And Sinus Support – Allergies Can Also Speed ​​Up Your Heart Rate

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reports that allergic disorders affect at least 50 million people in the US. Type 1 Allergies and symptoms include asthma, eczema, hay fever, headaches, swellings, fatigue, chills, sensitivity to light and loss of appetite. Type 2 Allergies could start in infancy or during childhood due to inherited tendencies and exposure to pollen, dust and environmental toxins, including all the chemicals we breathe and eat. It all starts with your immune system not handling whatever comes along!

Nature's Way has the popular Sambucol Immune System, which is a combination of liquid Elderberry, Echinacea, zinc, vitamin C and propolis (comes from the bee – a natural antibiotic). Elderberry was used by the Gypsies in Europe to make their wine. Many of the severe allergy symptoms are triggered by one's inhalation of certain functions of both T and B immune cells, important to all Cell-Mediated Immunity. Astra 8 Defense Builder by Health Concerns is a Chinese herbology formula, which has been designed as a response for what's happening within. It contains (Astragalus for throat and cough), Ganoderma (Reishi) Ginseng, Codonopsis (for breathing), Schizandra (for liver) and Licorice (anti-inflammatory calming Lungs, Spleen and Kidney). Our clever Immune System is designed to differentiate between healthy compounds and harmful substances.

However, when it encounters the bad guys, it changes into an Allergic reaction. Chinese medicine calls it a pattern of imbalance and stagnation. Planetary Formulas with Mullein Lung Complex, (formerly known as Breeze Free), is an ancient botanical support for the Lungs, stuffy breathing, and other such conditions. It is a combo of Chinese Herbs (non-stimulant). Uncomfortable and unpleasant as these symptoms are, bloating and mood swings, of which any food can be allergenic, Wheat, Milk, Eggs, Corn, Soy, Yeast, and Food Additives, are some of the culprits. Type 2 is usually triggered by foods and environmental factors including hyperactivity and memory loss. Natures Herbs has an Old Fashioned Remedy CL-7 Formula with respiratory support herbs including Mullein (glands), Slippery Elm Bark (stomach), Elecampane (cough) and Hyssop.

Type 1 allergies are most commonly caused by Histamines, best known for chemicals that cause the action of an enzyme on Mast Cells. Histamines are released by specialized cells, the Mast Cells which causes small Blood Cells to become more adaptable to fluid (no wonder we get bloated!). Results are Swellings, Hives, nasal congestion and Eye Tearing. Simufix Caps and Sinumist by Natural Care are 2 helpers that will soothe Dry Irritated Nasal Passages promoting a Healthy Immune Response for Sinus and Allergy Symptoms. They contain Oregano Extract 4 to 1, Nettle, Quercetin (which strengthens the walls of the Blood Vessels), Goldenseal (a natural Antibiotic) and Grapefruit Seed Extract (also a powerful Antibiotic). The Mist is to spray in your Nasal Passages. I introduced this to some Fireman, who had worked on the mountain fires is Southern California that year.

They had been completely overwhelmed by the devilless smoke in their lungs and it also played havoc with their Sinuses. Dr. John W Tintera, MD. found that deficient function of the Adrenal Glands accounted for various kinds of Allergies. Cited in his book "The Adrenal Syndrome", a deficiency of Adrenal response can account for many types of allergens that have their beginnings in Adrenal Gland Failures, part of your Endocrine Glands located near the Kidneys. Now Foods has Adrenal Support containing Cayenne, Ginseng (an adaptogenic herb), Astragalus, Gota Kola (Ayurvedic) and Licorice. Now Foods also has Air Defense with its patented Extract of Paractin with Andrographis (excellent for the tummy and Immune), Elderberry, Echinacea, Astragalus and Olive Leaf (for immunity and infections). You can certainly combine this with Herb Pharm's Adrenal Support Tonic Tincture. Throw in a little Proplis Drops from Herb Pharm for Allergies, Respiratory-Big Time Fighters.

Histamine also causes a contracting of the smooth muscles and walls of the Lungs, Blood Vessels and Intestinal Tract and Bladder, itchy, Painful Ear and Stuffed Up Nasal Congestion (no fun). Clear Products has Clear Sinus And Ear, formulated by Stash Oz, (Masters In Traditional Oriental Medicine). Go to my Web Site to read all about our seminar. It has no stimulants, reduces swellings, ear Pressure and Moisture with Magnolia Flower (Xin Yi Hua), Scutellaris (Huang Quin), Perilla Leaf (Zi Su Ye) and Angelica Root (Bai Zhi). Another TCM is DR. Shen's Min Kan Wan for Dust, Pollen, and Animal Hair Allergens. Now for some Allergic Relief for those Peepers (eyes) subjected to all environmental toxins and chemicals. King Bio has Allergy / Red Eye Relief for Inflamed Watery Conjunctivitis and Swollen Shut Eyes with Granules stuck in the morning, when one awakes. Bioforce USA, the famous Dr. Vogel's Homeopathic Formulas has options for Swollen Watery Eyes and Inflamed Sinuses with Congestion. Similar to the Old Remedy Mustard Plaster, Dr. Singhas Mustard Bath opens all your portals, especially soothing for Stuffed Up Head, and doing away with toxic accumulations.

Allergies can also speed up your Heart Rate. Using a watch with a second hand, count your heartbeats for 60 seconds to find your average pulse. This is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Take this Pulse Test to find out which food you could be Allergic to. Take your Pulse 5 minutes before eating, after you have finished eating, if your pulse counts as much as 12 to 20 beats after, a suspected food may be the answer. To give your Digestive Tract more ammunishment Food Science Of Vermont has the Mega-Probiotic Nd with FOS (what's that? Fructo oligo saccharides-this Promotes the good Bacteria from Veggies and helps break down Protein from undigested foods, another cause for Allergies). Another work in Progress for foods that are holding and causing dysfunction is the Planetary Formulas Three Spices Sinus Support. Hit this one with lots of Vitamin C. Now Foods has Pantothenic Acid which took through the day could cater to those dreadful Sinus Headaches. You have to take enough, but it works! Or you might try.

More American Indian Herbs for clearing. Bio-Allers- Natra Bio Homeopathics has the year Round and Seasonal Relief Formulas. Great options for all ages, stimulating the body's natural defenses and inherited resistance to Allergies. For Air Borne Allergies, Tree Pollen. Mold Yeast & Dust Dairy Allergies, Grain Allergies, Animal Hair & Dander, Pet Allergies can be taken on a continuous basis. In addition, it is also good for the relief from down or clothing containing Allergens from Sheep or Wool. Conventional Medicine answers disease with powerful drugs never getting to the roots.

Over the counter Anti-histamines create undesirable side effects and toxicity. It may be true sometimes we need them for the short term. Heel has the Euphorbium Nasal Sinus Relief Spray for Viral, Bacterial Rhinitis. Natra-Bio has Cold And Sinus Spray. Some of the Herbal Teas can help. Health King with Head And Throat Soother (you can image what that does!) Longjiang River Teas has some unusual herbs in the teas, but good tasting. Handy Packs for travel-just in case Nelson Homeopatics has the Sinus Packs. Food additives include antibiotics, food colorings, sulfites, MSG. All these increase Allergic Response. Stress, excessive intake of processed refined foods and nutritional deficiencies all are contributors. Allergies are now showing up in children of all ages. Hebron Naturals USA has Kids Goodypops Berry Buddies with Echinacea and Vitamin C. Allergy Shots are not always the panacea. Finding the right program that works for you, whether it be Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Chinese Herbology, it still comes down to finding the Wellness Within.

Important Tips to Know Before Living Aboard a Boat and Dropping Out of the Rat Race

Many people have thought about dropping out of the rat race and retire to a live aboard boat in order to experience the simpler life and travel to exotic places. There are many benefits associated with this type of lifestyle, and waking up in the morning to the smell of the salt air and friendly neighborhood tropical birds looking for their morning breakfast in your backyard are definitely in the top two! Once you've made the decision to live aboard a boat, then there are several more choices that you need to decide on.

What type of boat will it be, a mono-hull or a catamaran? What is the length of hull that you're looking for? How much money are you prepared to invest into the boat and where will you dock it? There will be so much less space than what you're used to in a house, and storage places will come at a premium. Some boats have more space than others, and you will soon find that out when you start attending boat shows around the country or world. How much comfort are you willing to give up for a life of adventure on the high seas?

Mono-hulls are usually what people think of when boating comes to mind, but they do have plenty of drawbacks. They have a deep keel in order to help as ballast and to keep the vessel upright, which is highly useful if you are out on the ocean! But because of this keel, there will also be a great amount of rocking and rolling from side to side as waves hit the boat. If you are not used to this motion, you could very well end up with a bad case of sea sickness that will spoil your cruise. Mono-hulls do tend to have more space onboard for living and storage however, because the shape of the hull is very conducive to that in relation to depth. You will immediately realize though, that the width or beam leaves much to be desired and is often narrows with regard to the total length.

In my opinion the hull of choice is the catamaran, which is a much wider or beamy vessel, and some of the larger boats are so stable in rough weather that a champagne glass sitting on the galley table will not tip or fall over! The ideal length for a cruising catamaran to comfortably accommodate a married couple is anywhere from 36 feet to 55 feet, and the price goes up quite a bit each foot that is added on. A catamaran is designed to sit on top of the water more than a mono-hull, and is usually much wider in beam. For example, the typical 50 foot mono-hull might have a 12 -16 foot beam, but a 50 foot catamaran may have a 26 – 30 foot beam! This really leads to stability in very rough seas, with a huge reduction in the side to side rolling of the mono-hulls. A catamaran has two hulls with an open space between them for the seas to pass through and usually the galley and living area sitting out of the water between the hulls. This leads to good visibility above the water, and a nice wide area for cooking, eating, and entertaining yourself and guests. Some models will have the galley located down in one of the two hulls to create even more living space above. The sleeping areas, cabins, and heads are located down in the hulls on either side of the boat, and depending on the size can normally accommodate up to 4 couples.

The biggest drawback I've personally seen with catamaran boats is the "turnaround room" when standing down in the hulls. I always do an "elbow test" when down in the hulls, which means that I am standing with my hands on my hips and my elbows out and then I stand in one spot and turn around in a circle. If my elbows touch or knock anything, it's a very cramped space! Unfortunately, most of the vessels I've tested had this drawback, but I did find one 52 foot South African boat that passed this test. In fact, there was so much living area and storage space on this boat that I call it a "condo catamaran"! It was pure luxury, with up to six cabins on a normal layout, or for the discerning owner they can have one whole hull just for them which is described as the "owner's layout". This is the layout that really appeared to me, and will provide much closet space and a very private living area for those long voyages with guests. I encourage everyone who is looking for the perfect vessel to go to as many boat shows as they can so they can personally check all the various factors involved and to see if it's something you can live on. The Miami International Boat Show will usually have plenty of both mono-hulls and catamarans for viewing and comparison.

Another factor or decision that you'll have to make is whether it's going to be power or sail. That usually depends on your background and where you plan on boating to. For those people planning on doing an around the world trip, they might seriously consider purchasing a sailboat because it's going to be much cheaper and there really are not as many boats that can carry enough fuel for those trans oceanic voyages. For those people planning to stay closer to shore or mainly coastal travel may look for power boats, even though the fuel will still be an issue for most trips. There are a few boats that are designed for long range expedition voyages that are less than 55 feet long, and they can carry enough fuel to comfortably transit the Pacific or any other intensive cruise. However, for a power boat of this size, be prepared to spend close to a million US dollars or more for a brand new boat. By far the vast majority of around the world cruisers will opt for a sailing vessel, either catamaran or mono-hull. Catamarans tend to be more expensive due to the size and desirability of them, and they also may have higher marina fees associated because of their widths. In fact, a good percentage of them may not fit in some marinas due to how wide they are, and will have to anchor out in the harbor and use a dinghy to travel back and forth to the shore. This can be very time consuming and tiring, especially when traveling back and forth with many packages of food, drinks, or other items needed to rest the boat. These are the types of things you'll need to think about before you decide on and purchase your live aboard boat.

Are you an experienced sailor or boater, or will you need to arrange for some classes to learn more about being on the water? There are plenty of Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron facilities around in the US that can provide the appropriate training needed to safely operate your new vessel. It's very important to feel comfortable with the operation of your boat, and take it offshore for short excursions as often as you can before you embark on any long cruise away from shore. Become an expert, after all, your life will be at stake! Be prepared for any situation, whether it's medical or mechanical, and know what to do to fix it. Take a marine mechanic course, because if your boats engine breaks down far out at sea you'll want to know what to do to correct the problem. You will not be able to just bring the boat into the nearest shop at that point!

There will be many decisions that you'll have to make before choosing and purchasing your new boat and probably training you'll need in order to safely operate it, but the benefits of this lifestyle more than outweigh the negatives. You will need to be prepared for a total changeover compared to living ashore, because of the cramped conditions and inconveniences associated with boat living. Choose wisely, learn all you can before you buy, and get ready for the time of your life! It's what you've always wanted, so get out there and take the plunge!

Gel Nails – Simple Instructions on Gel Nail Application

Gel Nails have become the latest and a more natural alternative to acrylic nails as they do not cause any damage to your real nails. Also, gel nails dry instantaneously and lift less when compared to acrylics. Gel nails can also be used to strengthen your natural nails by applying them as a base coat.

The increasing popularity gel nails have been receiving universally has tempted many to try it out themselves. Gel nail styles have been so exotic and multifarious that it certainly entices many to embellish their nails with the new gel fashion fad.

If you are looking to enhance your nail beauty through gel nails by doing it yourself, it is important to understand their application to prevent any harm to your nails. Being the hottest in the nail beauty segment, gel nails are yet to be completely understood and applied correctly. One must not confuse gel with acrylic. Although gel and acrylics are both of the acrylic category and are prepared using the same type of acrylics, they differ in their application. This is primarily because both are made using different procedures, curing techniques, molecular structures, etc.

Here are some basic instructions that will guide you on applying nail gels correctly and professionally without cutting corners.

1) First, if you have any natural shine on your nails, then buff your nails to remove it. Once done, apply one coat of primer and let it dry completely.

2) Take the gel brush and apply the nail gel on your nail, brushing a thin layer starting from your cuticle to your nail tip. The application motion should be similar to applying nail polish. Make sure that the brush hairs do not come out while applying the gel. If they do, it means you are putting too much of pressure which must be avoided.

3) Once the gel is brushed on your nails, put your hands under a UV light for one to three minutes till the gel dries completely.

4) Now brush on another coat of nail gel as explained in step 2. However, make sure a drop of gel forms on your nail and then slowly spread it on your entire nail.

5) Once again put your hands under the UV light to dry the gel.

6) Perform the procedure again for the 3rd time. This time spread the gel to get an even gel-like uniformity. Once again put your hands under the UV light for drying.

7) Once the gel is completely cleaned, file your nails to the shape you desire.
In the process of gel nail application, be careful that the gel does not come in contact with your skin as this will cause your nails to lift later. Also, do not apply the gel in excess as this will cause air bubbles to form or lead to uneven curing.

Applying gel nails may appear very simple but it's not when it comes to doing it yourself. Therefore, it is recommended that you get your gel nails done by a professional nail artist or a nail salon that specializes in it and can do it the right way.

Once you are comfortable with it and are confident of doing it yourself after having done through a professional, you can try it out yourself next time.

Car Sales – Tired of Working 60 to 70 Hours Standing on a Concrete Lot?

I keep running into people I know from the car business that are tired of putting up with the hassle of selling every day to make chump change and have to start over from scratch with new prospects. The dealership keeps most of the money made while they do most of the work. Just when they think they are building up a nice pool of clients that will refer friends and come back to purchase future vehicles, they lose them to another dealership that just moved into town.

Consumers are getter smarter and harder to sell. It is just too easy for them to find what a car should be worth when it is new or used, and even find other cars for sell at better prices on Craigslist, Ebay, and other online sites where deals on cars for sell can be found .

It is too easy for them to use that information and negotiate you down and out to where you lose almost all of your responsibilities if you still want to make a sale.

They are exhausted with the battle of working till their joints ache standing around on an asphalt lot praying that somebody will step onto the lot just so they can fight over that customer with other sales reps like a pride of lions hunting a wounded gazelle.

They are sick of losing deals to their own dealership's sales reps while they were on lunch break or a day off when the customer came back looking for them.

If you were offered a $ 70,000 base salary as well as an additional $ 300 for each sell you made, I would not blame you for wanted to stay where you are. That would never happen though. They keep selling you on what a great deal you have being able to have customers come in from the dealership paying for the advertising, etc.

But regardless of what the dealership does in advertising, fancy balloons, special offers, etc., those vehicles will not sell themselves. You go for a test drive with your customers and answer their questions for what looks like an eternity. You know they are interested, but just can not make up their mind. You can not pressure them because you may lose the deal. They end up wanting to think about it because they want to go over their finances with their spouse. They come back the next day and want to test drive it again with their spouse. You let them and then answer more questions. They tell you about what other better deals they found online and that their mechanic said they should not pay your price unless you agree to fix something first. You do all of this work and then have them back out last minute and buy something on eBay or Craigslist.

Even if you were to make a sale on a $ 70,000 vehicle, will you make more than $ 300?

You are at the mercy of the car lot. If nobody shows up, you have nobody to sell to.

Your back and feet ache and throb at the end of a long day.

You are away from home more than you would like to be.

As a child, when people asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up, did you tell them, "I want to stand around on a concrete parking lot for 70 hours a week waiting for people to show up that I can convince to just be happy settling for buying a sub-par vehicle because they can not afford the one they really want. "

It is getting harder and harder to make car sales. Especially with our economy being how it is with major dealerships closing their doors.

You need to take a look at starting a home based internet business. The industry is growing at an exponential rate and you can be a part of it.

Advantages of Ash Wood

The Ash tree belongs to the Oleaceae (olive) Family with about 70 species in the world. Of these the White Ash and Black Ash are the ones that are used predominantly in the lumber industry. Ash wood trees grow throughout the world in places as wide apart as North America, Europe, North Africa and South West Asia. White Ash has a clear white to pale yellow sapwood, with the heartwood leaning more to the light to medium brown tones. Due to greater supply, Ash furniture tends to be more easily available and is cheaper too, in comparison to Oak. Ash wood has the same high quality standards as Oak, but, at a more affordable cost.

Versatile

Ash wood is versatile and can be used in a variety of applications from tools to sports equipment and even furniture. Black Ash is a medium dense wood, similar to a Black Walnut, but softer than White Ash. Black Ash can be used for making baskets and other more detailed work because of its layered characteristics.

White Ash is often substituted for Oak. The wood of White Ash is similar to Red Oak in appearance and characteristics; when stained, it looks like Oak as the grain pattern of the two woods is similar. This allows Ash wood to be used in different types of furniture, modern contemporary Ash furniture designs, and also more traditionally designed furniture.

Ash wood is odor free because of which it can be used to make serving utensils.

Easy to Handle and Durable

Ash is a “user-friendly” wood, and takes easily to nails, screws and glue. Though it is hard, the wood bends well and allows a smooth finish because stain and paint adhere well to the wood.

The wood of Ash is typically easy to sand and machine. It is also easy to carve.

This is resistant to decay in the heartwood. This makes it durable and requires low maintenance.

Shock Resistant

Ash Wood has a Janka rating of 1320, making it between red and white Oak in hardness. This makes it a good choice for flooring in high traffic areas, or areas that are susceptible to rough usage, such as for use in kitchens. Ash hardwood floors are durable and shock resistant. Though it is hard, the wood bends well.

Ash wood has the best strength to weight ratio and is therefore used to make baseball bats. Since most players do not want a bat greater than 32 oz. this becomes significant. It is also used for tool handles and other sports equipment.

Attachment and Aversion – The Root Cause of Pain and Suffering

“This business of hozho. The way I understand it… I’ll use an example. Terrible drought, crops dead, sheep dying. Spring dried out. No water. The Hopi, or the Christian, maybe the Moslem, they pray for rain. The Navajo has the proper ceremony done to restore himself to harmony with the drought. You see what I mean. The system is designed to recognize what’s beyond human power to change, and then to change the human’s attitude to be content with the inevitable.” – in ‘Sacred Clowns’ by Tony Hillerman

I want what I don’t have; I don’t want what I have – attachment and aversion

Many spiritual traditions, like Buddhism, tell us pain and suffering – mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and psychological – arise from attachment and aversions.

An attachment is an intense desire, craving, thirst, need, clinging and the like to be something I am not, do something I can’t do or have something I don’t have – related to, for example, health, appearance, finances, personal environment, career, relationships, personality or neediness around elements such as attention, recognition, security, love, control, ideas, beliefs and the like.

An aversion is an intense preoccupation with some aspect or quality about my self That I possess or another possesses that I am resisting and resenting – related to, for example, health, appearance, finances, personal environment, career, relationships, personality or neediness around elements such as attention, recognition, security, love, control, ideas, beliefs and the like.

In both cases, my attention, attention, focus and emotional and physic energy are working overtime to attract or resist. It’s this incessant focus on the object of the attachment or aversion that is the root cause of our pain and suffering.

What does attachment look and feel like?

Attachment is like an addiction or hook which triggers a reaction in me: I must be, I must do or I must have (fill in the blank with your attachments) and if I can’t be, do or have, then I experience some degree of pain or suffering, or if I cannot rid myself or another of the object of my aversion, pain and suffering result.

The downside of attachments is that, inevitably, your relationship to them becomes tenuous – producing stress, anger, resistance, resentment, anxiety, fear, and the like. Attachment and aversions cannot “not be” like that. It’s inherent in the nature of attachment – like reaching for something beyond your grasp.

Take a moment and look at your attachments (or aversions) and reflect on how much discomfort you experience in reacting to them. You want your attachments to create a certain positive sense of reality for you and what you often find is just the opposite reality – not feeling loved, supported, smart, beautiful, healthy, wealthy, and on and on.

When you inner happiness and peace depend on your external attachments and aversions, you’ll never experience an authentic inner state of peace. More often, you’ll experience some flavor of consistent frustration. But, you think by increasing the intensity with which pursue the object of your attachments or aversions, you’ll experience a greater degree of happiness or inner peace. How sas that approach to life honestly been working for you up to now? Honestly?

The antidote to attachment – detachment – not unattachment

“He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment.” – Meister Eckhart

Freedom from pain and suffering comes through our release from attachments and aversions. Detachment means taking conscious control over our attachments so they stop controlling us.

Viewing life from a place of detachment does not mean we are unattached – i.e, cold, uncaring, etc. What detachment means is that we are living “inside” our Self – contained within our Self so as not to be driven by externals.

When we’re detached, it’s impossible for us to get “hooked” by another’s’ 9or our own) wants, needs, emotions or feelings. We’re not upset or manipulated by others, or by our own ego-created obsessions, desires and cravings. Detached, we can feel caring, empathic and compassionate towards others, and our Self, without becoming foggy or confused about how we think, feel or act. We don’t get caught up in others’ (or our own) stories or drama. Nor do we need others to be a certain way.

Curiously, what drives much of our unhappiness, and even insanity, is our addiction to our attachments – which, mistakenly, we feel will bring us happiness and peace. Nothing is further from the truth.

The truth is that surviving handily in this world, with our happiness and sanity intact, demands detachment, letting go from those people, places, things, and ideas (ours and others’) that drain or manipulate our energies.

How do I practice detachment?

Simple, not always easy – by becoming a witness, watcher and observer of your Self. Moving as effortlessly as you can and navigating through life – at work, at home, at play and in relationship – without an ego-based agenda. We see what we see, we notice what we notice and we interact with those with whom we interact – but – with curiosity, without efforting or resisting without attachment or aversion. We observe, witness and watch without becoming emotionally involved, without judgment.

Watching your self, for example, becoming emotional around money, or appearance, or possessions, or becoming fearful around another person, or anxious in an uncomfortable or unpleasant circumstance, and being rather than emotionally reactive is the practice of detachment.

The reason watching and observing are so powerful is because when you observe yourself obsessing about the object of your attachment or aversion, your level of consciousness is heightened to the degree that you will begin to stop doing what doesn’t serve you. You cannot observe and react simultaneously – it’s impossible.

Detachment is not a passive state

Detachment is not a dissociative state where one is less conscious or even unconscious, in denial or passive. When detached, you are consciously aware and engaged in your experience but you are not attached to outcomes or obsessed with needing to be in control.

Detachment is not about “caving.” Detachment means you take “right action” as it’s called in Buddhist terms. You can be detached and be a “can-do” person at the same time. But, again, you’re not attached to outcomes. You do what your heart feels is right. You move and you act. You just don’t allow your ego to get caught up in any preconceived outcomes.

Detachment is not about giving up what we want. It’s about not obsessing over the object toward which we direct our desires. When we detach from the object – person, place, thing, idea, etc. – we contain our energy, power and life force (instead of giving them away).

Detachment means accept the fact that life can is challenging and facing our life’s challenges. When we let go of cravings, desires and attachments, we face life (even death) with equanimity – with nobility, integrity, dignity, respect, and openness to life’s lessons that our challenges are presenting.

The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.” – Zen Saying

Letting go of attachments, and aversions, supports our soul to experience a clear mental state where we understand, really understand from a higher/deeper perspective, how to control our energies, with a sense of real self-love and empowerment, so our ego personality is not obsessed with (our or others’) needing to do, to be, or have in a self-destructive way.

One of the ego’s main beliefs is that we are separate from everyone else. The ego lives from a zero-sum, survival-of-the-fittest perspective. So, to survive, our ego is driven to nurture more and more attachments (and aversions) to people, places, things, possessions, ideas, beliefs, relationships and the like. Fearing loss (even loss of a belief, premise, idea or life itself) is a threat to the survival of our ego. From the ego’s perspective, competition, and self-interest are absolutely necessary to maintain survival. And attachments feed our obsession with surviving.

In this place, contentment, cooperation, collaboration and compassion, first with our Self, and then with others, replace fear – the driver of attachment and aversion. When we let go of our attachments we enter a state of soul-filled equanimity – a state of harmony, balance and connection with our Higher Self – where we know that everything is unfolding according to a Universal or Divine plan.

So, some questions for self-reflection are:

  • What are you attached to that causes you suffering in some way? What don’t you have that you crave or what do you have that you resist?
  • When you sense a deep desire, craving, or attachment, do you ever consider what you may be trying to escape from?
  • Have you ever watched or observed yourself from “outside” yourself? What was that like? What did you see or discover about yourself?
  • Whom or what are you holding on to?
  • What do you feel you are lacking – that you need to get it from someone or something?
  • Attachment equals selfishness. What does that mean to you?
  • Holding on reflects a lack of love of self love. Would you agree? Why, why not?
  • Can you remember your earliest attachments or aversions when you were growing up? How did those attachments or aversions affect your experience of love, support or comfort?

Learn Ninjutsu – 3 Substitutes For the Ninja’s Metsubishi "Blinding Powder"

For the student who wants to learn ninjutsu – the art and practice of Japan’s shadow warriors – there can be a lot of confusion, and even legal concerns, when it comes to mastering some of the Ninja’s more traditional weapons. However, with the right teacher to guide you through the process of mastering this powerful martial art, you should have no problem in bringing these proven and time-tested techniques, tactics, and strategies into the 21st century.

One of the Ninja’s weapons is known as metsubishi (also pronounced: “metsubushi”). This is conventionally known as “blinding powder” – the stuff that makes the “smoke screen” effect.

On a more advanced level, metsubishi is actually a category of techniques known as “sight removers.” And, while the “blinding powder” with the same name serves this purpose, there is more to this powerful weapon and strategy than meets the eye (so to speak).

This article offers several substitutes for the Ninja’s blinding powder. Instead of carrying around a packet or container of this highly irritating substance, there are some very common, everyday items that can be pressed into use in your defense that will accomplish the same job. They include.

  • 1) Loose change.
  • Remember, the ninja of ancient Japan did not have the same items or technology that we have today. So, reaching into a pants pocket and pulling out a handful of loose coinage, would have been impossible for a Ninja warrior who was wearing a kimono or some other form of classical dress that, either way, lacked both pockets and money as we know it today.

    Throwing a handful of coins at your attackers face may not create a Ninja-movie smoke screen, but the weight and impact of the coins will certainly give him something to worry about while you are either countering or making your escape!

  • 2) Grass or gravel.
  • Combined with the Ninja’s taihenjutsu (“body-changing art”), metsubishi can take many more forms than simply items that you can carry on you. Imagine your opponent’s surprise when he suddenly feels a wad of grass blades or the stinging of gravel hitting his skin – things that you picked up during that roll you used to avoid his previous advances!

  • 3) Sugar, salt or pepper.
  • Rather than egg shells filled with a specially mixed powder, the modern ninja has small packet of salt, sugar, and pepper available to him. In a restaurant or other similar situation, you could secretly grab a few of these readily available packets. And while the attacker is moving in or wasting time with threats, you could be subtly tearing open the packets and readying them for when he initiates his attack.

Remember – Just because our Ninja ancestors used a powder made of ashes, sand, and other irritants, doesn’t mean that we have to limit ourselves to the same thing. The power inherent within the martial art of Ninjutsu, is it’s focus on concepts and principles – not on set techniques.

This allows you, the modern ninja warrior, to adapt to any situation and have just the right technique that best fits the attack. As a teacher once told me, “flexibility is the key to longevity.” He wasn’t a Ninja teacher. But he certainly summed up the philosophy of the Ninja’s art!

Brick and Mortar Vs. Online Business

Human beings have a long established tradition of bartering and trading goods, one in exchange for the other. While the basics have remained the same over the centuries – you give something in order to get something – the means have evolved consistently. From the agora of Ancient Greece to the modern supermarket, and from high-end stores to online shops, people continue to engage in business in the opportunities of profitability and success.

If one was to divide the means of doing business today into two broad categories, they would be:

1. Brick and Mortar Businesses, and

2. Online Businesses

Brick and Mortar

The traditional way of conducting business – the brick and mortar way – can be considerably expensive and onerous to setup. It is highly essential to find a suitable location, if the business is to have any chance at succeeding, and such valuable locations are not inexpensive. Then there are the overhead costs, including taxes, utility bills, and inventory and labor costs.

The Pros:

– Perhaps the largest advantage of a brick and mortar store compared to an online one is that it allows customers to touch, feel, and inspect a product physically, and at length, before they make the decision to purchase it.

– The internet provides a lot of opportunities for scams, and people have taken advantage of those. As such, you can offer your customers with peace of mind, a sense of trust, and reliability with a brick and mortar store.

– Find the right location, ideally in a heavy traffic area, and people just might walk in to your store – and end up becoming customers – without having experienced any of your marketing campaigns.

The Cons:

– As mentioned earlier, the startup and overhead costs of a brick and mortar store tend to be consider large.

– Once you put up that 'Closed' sign, business is primarily over until the next morning.

Online Businesses

The more modern, and visual, way of doing business is relatively easier to setup. You may still need to do basically the same amount of work, such as market research and promotional campaigns, but the startup and overhead costs are only minimal.

The Pros:

– An online store can, and does, remain open and available for business around the clock, seven days a week, every single day of the year.

– If you've managed to create the right amount of noise, in the right places, you'll get more people visiting your small business than you could ever achieve with a brick and mortar store.

– There are no space limitations and no need for sales representatives. With a brick and mortar space, you'll probably run out of both if, say 50 customers walked in. With an online store, you serve thousands of visitors simultaneously.

The Cons:

– The biggest disadvantage of an online business, unlike a brick and mortar store, is that there is very limited interaction with the clientele, if any.

– It is remarkably easy to get distracted with an online store, as you would not be constrained by shelf space to display products. It is vital that you establish, and stick, to a niche for your small business.

Each of these, both traditional and modern, has its own advantages and disadvantages. And while you could answer about which one is better until there is no tomorrow, they are both here to stay for the long term. If you can afford it, the ideal way to be successful would be to establish both a brick and mortar store, and an online shop for your small business.