Salubrious Selection: YogaToes Toe Stretcher

Running is my preferred method of exercise whenever I go to the gym or feel like getting a good work out. The problem is that people in my family are slightly prone to developing bunions, and running doesn't exactly help the situation.

My feet aren't actually that unfortunate-looking, with only very slight protrusions on the inner sides the joints of my big toes, which are definitely not straight and somewhat angled toward my other toes. However, it's still not pretty to look at, and as I continue running I've noticed that the bunions have began to bother me a little bit in the form of minor aches and pains.

I regularly do yoga and stretch and massage my feet and toes daily before I go to bed, but I decided this probably wasn't enough if the pain was becoming more and more persistent when I run.

Salubrious Selection: YogaToes Toe Stretcher
These are extra small YogaToes in purple.

This is why I turned to YogaToes, and although I was a tad skeptical at first, I definitely saw a difference after only a week of wearing them for an hour each night.

Straighter, Stronger Toes

My toes, which I thought looked pretty normal already, despite the slightly turned big toes, definitely became straighter and more flexible. My feet also became less prone to cramping when I first start a run, which was the previous norm even when I would do some warm-up exercises.

However, I have a feeling these would only be useful to people who are only experiencing slight bunions and toe cramps. I'm not sure this would be of any help for those whose conditions have already progressed to intermediate or extreme levels.



How Do You Wear YogaToes?

They require a little getting used to, and many people say they have an easier time getting them onto their feet after wetting them, but once successfully worn, they provide a nice, constant stretch to my toe muscles as I focus my attention other things (such as browsing the Internet or watching television, ha!).

Adjust the amount of time you wear these a day to your comfort level. Most people who do not exercise their feet at all experience extreme pain upon first wearing YogaToes since their muscles have little to no flexibility. Wear it for as long as you can stand it, be it 15 minutes or an hour, then work your way up from there. For me, I can go for two or three hours before I experience any discomfort. I tried sleeping with them on but they keep getting caught in the sheets, so I gave up on that.

YogaToes can also be placed in hot water or in the refrigerator before use, depending on whether your feet joints feel better using different temperature extremes. I personally prefer using them at room temperature.

Salubrious Selection: YogaToes Toe StretcherWhat Size Do I Get?

YogaToes come in several sizes, XS, S, M and L. It's important to do a little research first and get a size that fits you best, as you won't be able to use one that is too small, and one that is too large could be very uncomfortable.

They come in several different colors (blue, purple, pink), but don't expect it to really look like the advertising online or the packaging. Many people have complained that the colors seem significantly muted compared to what they were expecting. But hey, if it works, makes no difference to me.

YogaToes also comes in kinds of designs, such as YogaToes Gems and YogaToes Sport. I've read descriptions for all of them but there doesn't appear to be a remarkable difference in how they all function (at least to me).

It's Kind of Expensive, Isn't There A Cheaper Equivalent?

Yes, YogaToes are rather pricey.

I tried using simple pedicure toe separators at first. However, I found the spacing between toe separators to be too small to make any real difference and provide any real "stretch". I also looked at other brands of toe stretchers online, but it seemed YogaToes had the most consistent feedback, despite its price, so I decided to go with that instead. It also comes with a lifetime replacement warranty, so at least it's money you only put down once (assuming they stay true to their word).

Hope this review was helpful for those of you out there looking for solutions to foot cramps!

Natural Treatment for Sebaceous Cysts: Vinegar and Tea Tree Oil


I recently discovered a bit of unpleasantness on my body that took the form of a small, solid, pea-sized cyst inside of my left earlobe. It didn't hurt and it wasn't visible from any angle, as it was by pure chance that I discovered the tiny lump while putting on a pair of earrings. However, once I knew it was there, it was difficult for me to think of anything else other than getting rid of it.

What is That Tiny Lump in My Earlobe?

At first, I didn't know what it was, but that's what the Internet is for. After some thorough research I deduced that it must be a sebaceous cyst, and the remedies for it range from going to a doctor to inject some cortisone into it or having it surgically removed. Neither option sounded like something I wanted to do unless I absolutely had to. So in keeping with my policy of going the more natural route first, I decided I would try ridding myself of this unwanted growth using non-medicinal and/or surgical methods before trying anything else.

And of course, if there are natural ways to rid my oily skin of acne, of course there must also be a natural option for me to get rid of this tiny sebaceous cyst.

A Natural Solution

A solution of rice vinegar and tea tree oil were how I decided to tackle this thing. Those two are essentially the ingredients I use to make my natural homemade skin toner. What I did was create a mixture of one drop of tea tree oil for every ten drops of rice vinegar, then applied the solution to the area on top of and around the offending cyst twice daily — once in the morning and once before bed at night.




Gone in Under a Week

I wasn't entirely confident that my rice vinegar, tea tree oil solution would do the trick, and half expected that I would need to take more drastic measures. However, on only the second day of application, the cyst had magically softened somewhat and had reduced slightly in size. By the third day, it was half its original size, and by the fifth day, it was gone. I was rather amazed. Never underestimate how thin and permeable the skin actually is. The vinegar and tea tree oil must have helped break down the cyst so that the oils and cells that make up its hard shell could be more easily reabsorbed by my body.

I used rice vinegar, since that is what I use for most of my homemade bath products, however I think any other kind of vingar (apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, etc.) would work as well.

I wish I could provide before and after pictures, but I literally couldn't see the cyst, only feel it. It would have been impossible for me to take a clear picture of my own earlobe anyway.

A Natural Remedy for More Severe Sebaceous Cysts?
Natural Treatment for Sebaceous Cysts: Vinegar and Tea Tree Oil
On some online forums, I've read postings by those suffering from painful cystic acne who said they've had success actually injecting vinegar into large cysts with a syringe. According to many posts, cysts greatly softened and shrunk after doing this. I can't recommend doing something like that (especially if your solution contains tea tree vinegar or another essential oil), but I do understand the desperate need to want to rid your body of something unpleasant like cystic acne.

Natural Treatment for Sebaceous Cysts: Vinegar and Tea Tree OilAll I can say is, if applying vinegar solutions to the site of sebaceous cysts isn't working for you, and you feel compelled to actually inject vinegar instead, make sure you know what you're doing (not pushing the needle in too deep, injecting too much, etc.) and that your tools are fully sterilized. It would be terrible if in an attempt to remedy yourself, you actually ended up causing an infection, or worse.

At any rate, a few days of topically applying rice vinegar and tea tree oil to the sebaceous cyst inside my earlobe was all it took to make it disappear, just as the same solution has worked wonders in keeping my acne at bay. I hope it works for you too!

 

How to Make Your Own Natural Lip Balm


How to Make Your Own Natural Lip Balm
In order to avoid the plethora of potentially harmful chemicals that are added to most store-bought lotions, I make my own. By making my own lotions, not only do I avoid exposing myself to undesirable ingredients, I save a lot of money and I have fun in the process.

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You'll Need:

- organic virgin coconut oil (or other oil of your choice)
- shea butter or cocoa butter
- beeswax
- vitamin E capsules (optional)
- essential oils (optional)
- a double boiler
- lip balm tubes or containers
- dropper (optional)

Directions:

How to Make Your Own Natural Lip Balm1. Place equal parts organic virgin coconut oil, shea butter (or cocoa butter) and beeswax into your double boiler. I usually only make about enough to fill about five lip balm tubes to prevent ending up with too much that will go bad before I get a chance to use it. Also, since this mixture is more prone to melting during the hotter months, I add a bit more beeswax during the summer months and a little less during the cooler months to compensate.

2. Mix the contents with a spatula until it is completely melted, then take it off the heat.

3. Cut open some vitamin E capsules and squeeze it into the mixture if desired. One capsule per every half cup of the mixture should be sufficient. Also, add a few drops of essential oil to create a fragrance if you desire. Remember to mix well.

4.  Pour the mixture into small lip balm containers, or use a dropper to fill clean, empty lip balm tubes with the mixture, then put aside to cool and solidify. I usually just use a small spoon to pour some into a tube instead of using a dropper. It's a messier process, but I find it's easier than trying to clean out the dropper later on.

To Use:

Apply your natural homemade lip balm to your lips as you normally would!



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I find this mixture hydrates the skin much better than many commercial lip balms. It should last at least a couple of years in storage, but I would recommend only keeping it about three months during use, since you may be transferring bacteria from your lips and fingers onto it, then back onto your lips.

I'll let you in on a little secret. This recipe is actually pretty much an exact copy of my instructions for how to make your own lotion bars, the end product is just packaged differently!

Enjoy your homemade lip balm! It's natural, safe and for those who need to use it on a daily basis such a money-saver!

Virgin coconut oil Shea butter Beeswax pellets Lip balm tubes

How to Wash Your Hands Properly


How to Wash Your Hands Properly
One of my pet peeves is seeing people wash their hands improperly. Whenever I see that, I'm always thinking, "Well you might as well not wash your hands at all!" That's because washing your hands the wrong way really is the equivalent of not washing your hands a all, since you're not actually doing anything to wash to the bacteria and germs off of them.

It seems although most people think they know how to wash their hands, they really don't. See if you're one of these people and read on for a crash course in hand-washing.

When Should You Wash Your Hands?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, you should wash your hands ...

- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after taking care of someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After handling anything to do with urine or fecal matter (such as changing diapers, cleaning up after a pet, etc.)
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing 
- After touching an animal or animal feed
- After touching waste or garbage

This list may seem like common sense, but we all know we don't always wash our hands when these events occur.



How Do You Properly Wash Your Hands?

It still astounds me how many people do this wrong. You know what I'm talking about. You're in a public restroom and you see someone "wash" their hands by simply holding their fingers under the running faucet for a few seconds. Well, that's really not going to get the job done.

You should wet your hands and work up a good, foamy lather with some soap. Make sure you gently scrub your palms, the backs of your hands, your wrists, between your fingers and underneath your nails as well. This should all take at least 30 seconds if you're doing it right. Trust me, when you do it right and rinse all the bubbles off, you even feel cleaner. This ensures you are rinsing way any microbes and bacteria that are lingering in the many crevices of your hands.

Also, remember to conserve water and turn off the faucet while you're lathering up!

To finish up, just make sure you dry your hands on a clean paper towel or cloth. If one isn't available, air drying is just fine.

Do You Have to Use Antibacterial Soap?

This may surprise you, but no, you don't. In fact, in many cases antibacterial soap may do more harm than good by creating super germs that are so immune to an antibacterial environment they become much stronger, thus more harmful to people.

The point of washing your hands is to rinse away germs, and the truth is, using antibacterial soap won't help get your hands any cleaner if you're already washing correctly. Moreover, many companies add all sorts of chemicals and additives in their antibacterial soap that can mess with your body when absorbed through the skin. These chemicals are also bad for the environment by not breaking down after being rinsed down the drain. This means it lingers in the environment to be consumed and absorbed by plants and animals, working its way up the food chain and being compounded into something more potent. Eventually, it could end up back in your body as something much worse.

Hence, to wash your hands, simple soap and water is really all you need to get the job done. Just remember to do it right.

Use Buttons to Keep Your Earrings Together


Use Buttons to Keep Your Earrings Together

This is such a simple and adorable idea. If you have pierced ears and are looking a way to keep pairs of earrings together in your jewelry box, well, all you need are a few buttons.

Simple pair up your earrings, clip them together through the holes of the same button, and you won't have to worry about them getting separated amongst the clutter inside your jewelry box or drawer again!

Ah ... such simple and elegant solutions to everyday problems delights me to no end.