Eczema treatment: Natural vitamin to help ease painful rash-like symptoms

A growing body of evidence suggests the vitamin offers a robust defence against eczema.

A 2015 study conducted on 70 participants with mild to moderate eczema compared use of 400 IU of vitamin E to a placebo for four months.

Treatment with vitamin E showed greater improvement compared to placebo for itching, redness, swelling, excoriation and skin thickening.

Vitamin E may have a short-term rescue effect for eczema, said the National Eczema Association.

The site added: “It may be effective with intermittent use, much like how topical steroids are used in conventional eczema treatment.

“There were no side effects reported in this study, but there have been documented reports of contact dermatitis, burning and itching with the topical vitamin E use.”

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Kate Middleton shows 'chameleon' body language as she 'drops status' to put public at ease

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, 38, focusses much of her royal work around early years education and parenting. On Tuesday, the Duchess honoured her commitment to helping young families during a special visit to Battersea Park in South West London.

The park is a short distance from Thomas’s School where Prince George, seven and Princess Charlotte, four, are both pupils.

The hands-on mum may is known to do the school run and seems to have have planned her latest engagement to tie in with picking her up her little ones.

In Battersea Park, Kate met local parents and heard how they support groups such as Home-Start, National Childbirth Trust (NCT) had been affected during lockdown.

Kate, looked relaxed in a white top, pink trousers and white trainers and held onto her sunglasses, while chatting to mums as they sat socially distanced on wooden park benches.

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“Having begun life as a non-royal, Kate was very adept at learning and adopting all the body language rituals of royal tradition once she married William, assuming a rather formal and carefully choreographed demeanor with her perfect smile and her complete lack of negative emotional give-aways.

“There was no soap opera from Kate, just an eternal good mood and sense of duty, but recently she seems to have gone over the brow of ‘getting it right’ and developed enough personal confidence to act in a much more spontaneous and emotionally giving manner.

“The happy thing for Kate is that there appears to have been nothing negative lurking under the royal ‘mask’, if anything the smiles are wider and she now looks great fun and permanently happy.”

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Judi added: “ “She is also dropping signals of status too.”

“In these moments she looks more like a fellow mum and even friend rather than an elegant but rather remote royal on a visit.

“This ability to take risks shows a strong sense of charisma, as by lowering her own status signals she raises the confidence and perceptual status of the people she is visiting, which in turn enhances the ‘feel good’ factor for them.

“She looks across to the other mothers here as though really learning something from them and when she sits she self-diminishes, crossing her legs and performing a tight hand clasp, to suggest the joy of the visit is all hers.”

Kate and Prince William spent lockdown with Prince Louis, two, George and Charlotte at their home in Norfolk – Anmer Hall.

However, the family returned to London this month for the start of the autumn term.

Prince George and Charlotte are now back at school, a short drive from the Cambridges’ apartment at Kensington Palace.

Prince Louis is expected to start nursery next year.



Arthritis: The free treatment plan that has been proven to ease sore joints

Specifically tailored towards osteoarthritis, one free treatment option provided by the NHS has been proven to ease sore and painful joints. What is it?

First, what is osteoarthritis? The charity Versus Arthritis explained this type of arthritis can affect any joint in the body.

However, it’s more commonly found in the joints that bear most of our weight, such as the knees and feet.

Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage (smooth and slippery tissue), located at the end of bones, begins to thin and roughen.

This means the joint is unable to move as smoothly as it normally would, which puts the body into repair mode.

During osteoarthritis, changes to the joint structure can contribute to pain, swelling and difficulty moving the joint.

Dysfunctional repair processes can include extra bones forming at the edge of the join (i.e. osteocytes).

Or, the lining of the joint capsule may thicken and produce more fluid, causing swollen joints.

READ MORE: Arthritis: New research points towards a key ingredient to soothe aches and pain

Have you heard of hydrotherapy? It involves performing exercises in a warm-water pool.

This is usually warmer than a regular swimming pool, as the temperature reaches up to 36ºC.

Typically based in a hospital’s physiotherapy department, a specialised instructor shows you how to do the exercises safely.

The range of movement, or strength applied, will be tailored to your individual needs.

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Hydrotherapy tends to focus on slow, controlled movements and relaxation, and it can benefit you in a number of ways.

For example, the warmth of the water enables the muscles to relax and eases the pain in the joints; this makes it easier to perform exercises.

In addition, the water helps to support your weight thereby relieving pain and increasing the range of movement in your joints.

The water can also be used as resistance training, helping to improve muscle strength.

It’s expected to feel a bit tired after completing a hydrotherapy workout, but it’s one of the safest treatments for the condition.

If you’re interested in a self-referral, check with your GP or call your local rheumatology department.

Qualified physiotherapists will be a member of the chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP).

A course of hydrotherapy usually involves up to six 30-minute sessions, which then can be replicated in a normal swimming pool.

Don’t believe that hydrotherapy is only suited to confident swimmers, non-swimmers will also be able to access hydrotherapy.

The heated pool is usually shallow enough to stand in, so non-swimmers can take advantage of the treatment.

It’s important to discuss this treatment plan with your physiotherapist or doctor, as it may not be suitable for some people.

Certain situations aren’t conducive for hydrotherapy, which include the following:

  • A wound or skin infection
  • A virus or stomach upset
  • A raised temperature
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Breathing difficulties
  • A kidney condition requiring dialysis
  • Angina or heart problems
  • Incontinence
  • A chest infection
  • A chlorine allergy
  • Uncontrolled diabetes, asthma or epilepsy



Aldi: Supermarket launches click and collect service for customers to shop with ease

Aldi is trialling a click and collect service for customers to help them shop online with ease and have groceries delivered straight to their car. At the start of the pandemic, the German retailer teamed up with Deliveroo to help customers get food deliveries within 30 minutes straight to their door. It comes amid a surge in demand for online grocery orders following the coronavirus crisis.

The budget retailer is currently running a trial at one branch in the Midlands where customers can place orders online before collecting from a store.

However, the scheme is said to extend to more stores within weeks to help customers shop easier.Aldi said the trial has seen staff taking part in the trial, in line with social distancing rules.

Customers can choose from a full range of grocery items online and then drive to their local store where they can pick up their shopping completely contact free.

Those who use the new service will be offered specific time slots to arrive at dedicated click and collect points in Aldi car parks where they can pick up their shopping.

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This is because Specialbuys are sometimes online exclusives as well as being big items like furniture that are not stocked in-store.

The discount supermarket is trialling a delivery service across stores in London, Cambridge, East Midlands and Greater Manchester in partnership with app Deliveroo.

It sees customers being able to choose from a range of more than 300 items and having them delivered to their front door in as little as 30 minutes.

Giles Hurley, Chief Executive Offer, Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “We know that more and more people want to access the high-quality, affordable food they know they can get at Aldi.

“This is yet another way we are innovating to make sure we best serve our existing customers and make Aldi’s great products and unbeatable prices available to even more people.”

Last month, Aldi was announced as the UK’s cheapest supermarket for a trolley of grocery items.

Which? compared prices across Aldi and Lidl as well as supermarket giants like Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

Savvy shoppers who want to get their money’s worth in their next weekly shop should head to Aldi for the best bargains.

Their research shows that German retailer Aldi was the cheapest overall.

There was a huge difference between the cheapest supermarket where customers would have paid £66.45 at Aldi and a whopping £38 more at upmarket Waitrose.

The comparison included own-branded groceries as well as branded items such as Kenco Millicano coffee and Twinings English breakfast tea.

This is the second month in a row that Aldi has been named as the cheapest UK supermarket.

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi said: “We know that this is a difficult time for many and so we are incredibly proud to have maintained our position as the UK’s cheapest supermarket. We remain wholly committed to continuing to provide our customers with the best value products of any supermarket.”



Eczema: The best bed sheet material to ease dry, itchy skin during autumn

Tossing and turning throughout the night is no fun – even more so when your skin is sore, itchy and inflamed. If you’re suffering from atopic dermatitis, one material could trump them all for a peaceful rest.

What’s atopic dermatitis?

The National Eczema Society noted that atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema.

The chronic condition can seemingly disappear and then flare-up without a warning.

It’s the result of an overactive and “disorder” immune system, whereby inflammation damages the skin barrier.

This leads to dry, itchy skin that is prone to rashes that can look red, purple, brown or grey in colour – depending on your skin tone.

Research suggests that people with atopic dermatitis have a mutation of the gene responsible for creating filaggrin.

Filaggrin is a protein that helps our bodies maintain a healthy, protective barrier on the epidermis – the top layer of skin.

Inadequate amounts of filaggrin means that the skin barrier is defective.

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Moisture is able to easily escape from the top layer of skin (hence dryness).

And the fragile top layer of skin can be penetrated by viruses and bacteria, leading to inflammation.

The hallmark of the condition is itchy skin, with poor sleep being reported by sufferers.

Certain fabrics can irritate the skin, as confirmed by the health platform Atopic Dermatitis.

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The organisation proclaim that “lightweight, smooth and breathable” fabrics are best suited to sensitive skin.

So which bedsheet material fulfils this criteria? The answer is cotton.

Other materials may result in the skin getting too hot during the night; this becomes a problem when sweating results in an atopic dermatitis flare-up.

Moreover, abrasive materials rubbing against the skin can also be a culprit for flare-ups.

Also try to stay away from duvets and pillows that are filled with feathers or polyester.

Polyester doesn’t allow for any breathability, while feathers could cause additional allergic reactions.

There are quilts and duvets that are filled with cotton, which will be a better option for people with atopic dermatitis.

Another tip provided by the organisation is to perform a skin care routine that includes moisturising every night.



Back pain: Shock waves down your spine could help ease an achy back

If you’re looking for an alternative treatment option to soothe an achey back, you’re in the right place. Here are all the details.

Have you heard of electrotherapy? This practice could literally put shivers down your spine.

Typically, a battery-powered device, connected to adhesive electrode pads, are placed onto the skin.

Once the machine is turned on, a mild electric current pulses through you via the electrode pads.

It may seem counterintuitive, but electrotherapy can be used to reduce an achy back – and some people have reported it feels relaxing.

The most common type of electrotherapy, as pointed out by Spine Health, is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

TENS produces a feeling of tingling, vibrating, or a buzzing sensation along the targeted area of the back.

It’s thought electrical stimulation may directly block transmission of pain signals along the nerves.

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Moreover, the treatment option has been shown to promote the release of endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller.

TENS is available in hand-held controllers, whereby the individual is able to select from a range of options.

Options consist of high frequency or low frequency current, as well as complex patterns of stimulation.

People are often introduced to TENS therapy while undergoing physical therapy for their back problems.

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Professional practices may administer 30-minute sessions of electrotherapy, but this varies from practitioner to practitioner.

This type of pain relief comes with its drawbacks, namely side effects.

One side effect could be skin irritation, showing up as a rash where the electro pads were attached.

Bear in mind that electrodes aren’t to be adhered to areas of broken skin, otherwise bruising, bleeding or an infection are possible.

For instance, heat and ice therapy may be an effective complimentary treatment.

This involves heat from a warm bath, hot water bottle or heat wraps relaxing tense muscles and improving blood flow.

Increased blood flow brings nutrients and oxygen to muscles that need to heal.

Ice packs, on the other hand, help to reduce swelling and inflammation.



Stomach bloating: How a cuddle could ease your gastrointestinal issues

Stress is a well-known trigger for health concerns, including the disruption of gastrointestinal functions. Could a cuddle help to regulate your emotions and ease bloating discomfort?

Feeling stressed could cause a delay in gastric emptying (how quickly food leaves the stomach).

This delay in gastric emptying can lead to bloating, discomfort, and diarrhoea.

Cuddling produces an anti-stress hormone known as oxytocin, which is released from the hypothalamus in the brain.

Could oxytocin help to regulate gastrointestinal functions? This is what researchers from Penn State University, College of Medicine, wanted to find out.

The research team utilised cutting-edge technology to manipulate the pathways that usually receive hypothalamic oxytocin.

For their experiment, they directed the pathway (i.e. neurocircuts) and measured the effects on gastric emptying in rats.

This was achieved by infecting the neurons controlling the oxytocin nerves with viruses that enabled the pathways to be activated or inhibited.

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The scientists used a rat model of different types of stress – acute stress, “appropriate adaption to stress, and inappropriate adaption to stress”.

They found that activation of oxytocin circuits could reverse the delay in gastric emptying that normally occurs in response to stress.

Oxytocin played a role in gastric emptying by increasing muscle contractions (motility) of the stomach.

When the rats were exposed to acute or moderate amounts of stress, activation of the oxytocin pathway reversed the delay of gastric emptying.

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This suggests that, when facing a stressor, gastrointestinal issues can be reduced by the release of oxytocin.

Moreover, when the oxytocin pathway was blocked, there was a delay in gastric emptying.

This supports the notion that stress can cause gastrointestinal issues.

The data indicates that oxytocin directly influences the neural pathways involved in the stress response.

In addition, it plays a major role in the gastric response to stressors.

Researcher R. Alberto Travagli said: “Women are more vulnerable to stress and stress-related pathologies…

“And they report a higher prevalence in gastrointestinal disorders”.

The researchers now hope to “develop targeted therapies to provide relief” for people suffering from gastrointestinal issues.

In theory, a cuddle with a loved one may help to ease any bloated feelings in your tummy.

This is because cuddling activates the oxytocin pathway, but it’s not the only behaviour to encourage its release.

Any loving gesture, such as being intimate with one another, or giving a massage could boost levels of oxytocin.

In particular, Medical News Today testified that oxytocin is linked with orgasms.



Eczema treatment: The natural sweetener that could help ease sore and irritated skin

The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin; it’s supposed to be a protective barrier, but cracks appear when you have eczema. Here’s how to strengthen your body’s armour.

To elaborate further, Eucerin Pharmacy went into detail about the skin structure, layers and function.

It protested he skin is the “body’s first line of defence against bacteria and viruses”.

Healthy skin (unlike those who have eczema) helps to maintain “the balance of fluids”, and “helps to regulate the body’s temperature”.

The dermis, sitting underneath the epidermis is where you’d find hair roots and lymph vessels.

The innermost skin layer, known as the subcutis, is composed of fat cells, collagen fibres and blood vessels.

In short, eczema generally refers to an ineffective skin barrier that is plagued with flare-ups.

One natural remedy to consider to treat the symptoms of eczema is honey – an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent.

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Researchers from the Faculty of Health Science, from the University of Southampton, looked into the effects of honey on damaged skin.

They enrolled 14 adult patients who suffered from bilateral atopic dermatitis lesions.

In basic terms, the volunteers had eczema lesions on both sides of their body.

To test the effectiveness of honey, they were asked to apply Manuka honey on a patch of dry skin on one side of the body.

From these results, the researchers concluded that Manuka honey is a potentially effective treatment of atopic dermatitis lesions.

What’s atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema, according to the NHS.

Some people may only experience small patched of itchy, dry and cracked skin, while others have widespread inflammation all over the body.

On lighter skin, the marks can become red, while on darker skin, the lesions can appear as darken brown, purple or grey.



Best supplements for arthritis: The top three supplements to help ease painful joints

Arthritis can be a painful condition, thought to affect around 10 million people in the UK – as reported by Versus Arthritis. Here are three pills you can pop to reduce inflammation.

There are various types of arthritis: osteoarthritis, gout and rheumatoid arthritis (to name a few).

There are key differences to note between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

Versus Arthritis explained osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.

This is because the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s healthy tissues, such as the joints.

Inflammation leads to extra fluid and blood being sent to the joint, which can cause an array of issues.

Firstly, it can make moving the joint difficult and painful; secondly, chemicals in the fluid can damage the bone and joint.

In addition, the chemicals in the fluid can irritate nerve endings, furthering the painful symptoms.

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Extra fluid in the joint capsule can also stretch it, causing it to lose its original position.

The first pill to consider popping is best used for osteoarthritis, but can also be effective for rheumatoid arthritis.

Known as Curcuma longa (colloquially called curcumin), the Arthritis Foundation stated it can “reduce joint pain and swelling”.

Research shows it does this by blocking inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.

Citing a small 2002 trial, Arthritis Foundation stated that cat’s claw “reduced joint pain and swelling” compared to a placebo.

As a side note, the charity recommended looking for a cat’s claw supplement that is free from “tetra-cyclic oxindole alkaloids”.

Another supplement suggested by the charity is “Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)” – an omega-6 fatty acid.

The body is able to turn it into an anti-inflammatory chemical (best for rheumatoid arthritis).