Ayurveda is more than the Indian version of wellness: The millennia-old medicine can help children with stomach problems, migraines or poor sleep – with massages and herbs. If you are interested in wellness, you know the forehead shower: oil runs over your face, you relax, the stress goes away, the blood flow to the skin increases. But Ayurveda is more than just relaxing in the spa: literally translated it means “science of life”. The complex, ancient health teachings from India also include a sophisticated system of medicinal products and a theory of nutrition and movement. If your child has occasional gastrointestinal problems , migraines , sleeps poorly or is depressed , Ayurvedic medicine can possibly do well. In any case, ask your pediatrician beforehand whether he has any concerns. That’s behind it: Ayurveda has been practiced in India for around 5000 years. According to the ideas of this doctrine, human health depends on the three so-called doshas, the central regulatory systems of the body: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Kapha is responsible for everything solid in the body, i.e. bones , teeth and nails. Pitta regulates the interaction of biochemical substances: metabolism and hormonal balance. Vata decides on movement sequences and activity. The interplay of the doshas determines a person’s body structure and temperament. Whether you gain or lose weight, for example, when you are under stress, whether you sleep deeply or restlessly , whether you have dry or oily skin has, according to this teaching, depends on how your three life energies mix. Preventive treatments are designed to keep the doshas in balance; in the case of an acute illness, the aim is to rebalance the doshas. That is why every therapy is tailored to the individual. Herbs, diets, enemas, oil massages and meditation exercises are available. Some traditional Ayurvedic schools assume that there are special conditions for the interaction of the doshas in children. That is why they only assign children to a certain type from the age of eight. This is how it works: There are some scientific studies that prove Ayurveda’s success. However, the studies have not yet addressed every single element of this Indian medicine. The oil massage has been proven to be effective in treating stress and circulatory disorders. Certain Ayurvedic medicines are well suited for acne , diabetes, constipation and obesity . However, experts advise caution: some Ayurvedic remedies consist of a mixture of more than 100 different substances. Some contain problematic levels of toxic heavy metals such as mercury. The herb mixtures can contain residues of pesticides. This is what the expert says: Edzard Ernst is Head of Complementary Medicine at Exeter University in the UK. He has long been concerned with the effectiveness of alternative healing methods and has tested many procedures. His verdict: Ayurvedic health is a complex system that is difficult to verify. The research carried out so far shows that a few elements have been shown to work, while most either have not been adequately verified or, like some herbal medicines, can even be harmful to health.
Even at the beginning of the corona pandemic, it became clear that on average men seem to be more ill than women. Researchers may now have come a little closer to solving the riddle. The immune systems of men and women seem to react differently to the virus. Doctors worldwide have been researching the corona virus for months. But there are still many unanswered questions. Experts are still puzzled as to why men apparently get more sick with Covid-19 than women – and also more often die after a virus infection. The first indications of this were already available shortly after the start of the pandemic based on Chinese patient data. The trend also continued in other countries, including Germany. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has so far listed 9280 deaths in connection with Covid 19 disease – 55 percent are men, 45 percent women. And that although both sexes are infected with the virus about the same frequency. US researchers have now examined how the immune systems of men and women react to infection with the virus. The results were published in the journal “Nature” and provide evidence that different immune responses in men and women may play a role in the observed differences. The team around the immunologist Akiko Iwasaki examined a total of 17 men and 22 women who were treated in a hospital shortly after their diagnosis. Among other things, blood samples and throat swabs were taken from these and analyzed. The data from 59 other men and women were also included in the analysis. Men’s immune response is weaker The studies showed that women produced significantly more so-called specialized T cells. In addition to antibodies, T cells are an important pillar of the human immune system . You can recognize and fight structures foreign to the body. For example, there are T cells that kill the body’s own cells that have been infected by viruses. Others activate so-called B cells, which then produce antibodies. In the case of men, however, the mobilization of this defense force was fundamentally weaker. Weak T cells were also associated with more severe disease processes. The activation of the immune cells also decreased with age. Women, on the other hand, had a “pretty good, decent immune response,” even up to the old age of 90, according to immunologist Iwasaki. These results are by no means surprising. It is already known that the immune system of women can generally fight off viruses more strongly than that of men. The reason for this is unclear, but it could serve as some kind of protection for unborn children. On the other hand, women suffer much more often from autoimmune diseases – i.e. diseases in which an excessive reaction of the immune system triggers complaints by directing the immune system against the body’s own structures. The researchers also found elevated cytokine levels in the blood of all patients. These are messenger substances that are formed during an immune reaction and are considered to be important markers of inflammation. Certain cytokines – including interleukin 8 and interleukin 18 – were elevated in all of the men examined, but only in a few women. On the other hand, if women had elevated values, they also became more ill. It is already known that a so-called cytokine storm can occur in individual cases during a Covid 19 illness, a potentially life-threatening derailment of the immune system. Even if the study is quite small and ultimately cannot prove that the observed differences are solely due to gender, the researchers hope to gain new impulses for the therapy and prevention of Covid-19. The observed differences could possibly play a role in immunization by vaccines, but also in the gender-specific therapy of corona patients, they write in a press release. But more research is needed.
Thinning hair, receding hairlines and bald spots: hair loss is a nuisance, but nobody has to put up with it. These remedies and therapies curb hair loss and stimulate growth. Whether you realize it or not, you lose hair, anytime and anywhere on your head. This is normal and not a cause for concern at first. After six years every hair says goodbye. And a new one grows back. We lose about a hundred hairs a day. Temporarily it can be more. Typically, more hair falls out in spring or fall. Hormonal fluctuations can also temporarily clear the head. However, if the hair hangs in abundance on collars and pillows or if they hang in tufts in the brush, then that is a bad sign. There are many reasons for this loss: In some people, the hair roots are particularly sensitive to hormones. Or they suffer from iron deficiency. Various medications can also get on the hair. Experts only speak of pathological hair loss if you lose more than a hundred hairs a day over a long period of time. Hair loss is a matter for dermatologists Experts differentiate between four different types of pathological hair loss. They can affect men and women alike: predisposition hair loss usually manifests itself in the form of a receding hairline, light hair on the back of the head or hair loss on the crown. Circular hair loss begins with coin-sized bald patches. With diffuse hair loss, too much hair goes out everywhere. Pitted hair loss leaves bald, scarred areas. The sooner you see a doctor, the greater the chance of successful treatment. Hair is so-called skin appendages – therefore dermatologists are responsible for hair problems. It is best to go to a hair specialist in the university clinic or in a special practice. With the help of various tests, he can determine what type of hair loss you have pretty quickly. The doctor determines the disease with pinpoint accuracy The pull test gives the doctor an initial indication of how severe your hair loss is. For the test, he grabs a tuft of hair between his thumb and forefinger, pulls it gently and plucks the hair out. If this works painlessly in different places, then this is a sign of hair loss. In order to determine more precisely what your hair is like and how it is looking at hair loss, the doctor makes a so-called trichogram. He also plucks hair for this: He pulls the first tuft out where the hair is already thinning. He takes the second sample – as a control – from a healthy area. He counts the hairs under the light microscope and calculates how many hairs are in the growth or resting phase. Usually around 85 to 90 percent of hair grows. The doctor also uses the so-called Trichoscan to check how much hair is in the growth phase and how quickly it is growing. To do this, he shaves a small area on your scalp. Three days later, he dyes the shaved hair and saves a video image of it at twenty times magnification. A software helps the doctor to calculate the total number of hairs and the ratio of hairs to each other that are in the growing and resting phase. For some forms of hair loss , your doctor will recommend a biopsy. To do this, after a local anesthetic, he will remove a small piece of tissue about four millimeters in size from your scalp. He examines this tissue under a microscope and can then determine which disease you have. Stiftung Warentest has tested over-the-counter hair loss remedies for stern.de . You can read the result here . Hereditary hair loss Did you have a receding hairline as a young man? Or is the hair thinning on the back of your head? Perhaps your grandfather, father, and uncle had thinning hair too. Then you probably suffer from hereditary hair loss. It was born in your cradle. Doctors also speak of androgenetic alopecia, which is hormone-related. This means that the hair cells are more sensitive to the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The hair roots suffer from this . If they die off completely, the corresponding areas remain bare. Constitutional hair loss is the most common reason for a light head in men and women. Men lose their hair on the forehead, parting and back of the head. Women lose their hair along the middle parting. Countless products promise remedies: biotin, panthenol, zinc, vitamins, algae, phytoflavonoids or grapeseed oil. However, it has only been proven that two preparations actually stop hair loss: tablets with the active ingredient finasteride and the minoxidil solution. However, as soon as you stop using these drugs, they no longer work. This remedy only helps men The prescription finasteride is only approved for men. It is ineffective in older women and dangerous in pregnant women: it damages male fetuses. The agent prevents the conversion of the hormone testosterone into the “hair-damaging” sex hormone DHT. The result: the testosterone no longer causes hair loss. Studies over a period of five years confirm the effect. Finasteride was able to stop hair loss in 90 percent of men. In every second man, the hair thickened visibly within six to twelve months. But the undesirable effects of the drug are sometimes considerable: the desire for sex can decrease and the number of sperm in the seminal fluid also decreases. If the product is discontinued, the quality of the semen improves again, but the use of the product, especially for young men, is controversial. This solution stops hair loss and stimulates hair growth The non-prescription and hormone-free minoxidil supports the growth of hair cells. It works in women and men. Women apply a two percent solution to the scalp twice a day, men take a five percent mixture. Studies prove the effect: After that, hair loss stopped in 80 percent of those involved. In every fifth woman, the hair thickened visibly. Occasionally, however, the skin of the head is sensitive to the agent. It’s itchy, reddened, or allergic. Rarely does it grow more hair on the face. Pregnant and breastfeeding women must avoid minoxidil. People with arrhythmias, low blood pressure or migraines should also be careful. So-called antiandrogens also help some women. They are designed to prevent active testosterone from acting on the scalp. But there is no major scientific study to prove this. Also, taking these pills increases the risk of gaining weight and developing a thrombosis or embolism. This is especially true for women who smoke. Circular hair loss (alopecia areata) The circular hair loss is shocking: for no apparent reason, tufts of hair fall out, often within a few days. Bald circles remain on the scalp. They are lined with short hair that gets thinner and thinner towards the tip – the so-called exclamation point hair. In fact, all of your head hair can fall out – including your brows, eyelashes, and nasal hairs. However, those affected rarely lose their body hair. But the fingernails are as rough as sandpaper and interspersed with grooves or pits. Those who suddenly go bald don’t have to put up with it. Because there is hope of spontaneous healing: With every third sufferer, the bald spots grow over again on their own within six months. After a year, the matter is forgotten for every second person. However, the hair can fall out again at any time. A zinc treatment can help with bald spots Experts estimate that around one to two percent of the population will experience circular hair loss at some point in their lives, men and women of all ages. Experts argue about the cause. Circular hair loss is almost certainly an autoimmune disease: the immune system evaluates its own hair root cells as foreign. That is why the immune cells defend themselves against the hair cells. The hair follicles become inflamed and the hair goes out. Scientists have carried out many studies in recent years to test the effectiveness of immune-weakening substances such as tacrolimus and anti-inflammatory drugs such as sulfasalazine or cortisone. Treatment with different lasers was also examined. So far, however, there is no standard therapy for circular hair loss that has proven to be really effective in scientific studies. If you have few bald spots, a three-month zinc treatment may help. The trace element is said to stimulate the immune system. You can also coat the bald spots with corticosteroid solutions or creams that your doctor prescribes for you. However, this treatment should not be a permanent solution. Circular hair loss: In severe cases, doctors trick the immune system If none of the therapies work for you, your doctor will suggest a rather aggressive but effective treatment: immune therapy with the active ingredient diphenylcyclopropenone (DCP). He applies the product directly to the scalp. The chemical triggers allergic contact eczema. It attracts the immune cells away from the inflamed hair roots – towards the scalp. There they can no longer cause damage. The therapy works for about every second person affected, even if the hair loss was years ago. However, DCP is not officially approved for circular hair loss. Therefore, only special treatment centers offer the therapy. Diffuse hair loss You are slowly but surely losing your hair all over your head. You can already see your scalp. Then you may have diffuse hair loss. With a little luck it will pass. Because your hair is not destroyed. Their growth is only hindered. A disease can be to blame for this, but also a lack of iron or protein. A high fever can trigger hair loss, as can serious surgery or a so-called crash diet. Even for specialists, the cause is not easy to find. Also eligible are: Infections such as the flu or tuberculosis, impaired function of the thyroid gland, hormonal changes shortly after giving birth or after stopping the pill, Medication, such as after chemotherapy, or heparin injections that thin the blood, Poisoning or environmental influences. During the conversation, the doctor will therefore ask you whether you are taking medication and, if so, which ones. He will take your blood and, depending on the suspicion, have your iron or thyroid levels determined in the laboratory. A trichogram is also helpful when looking for the causes: The doctor can use this light microscopic examination to determine how much of your hair is growing and how much is in the resting phase. He can tell the extent of the hair loss from the result. Once the cause of the hair loss has been identified, it is easy to treat. If the problem is with one medicine, your doctor will recommend another one. If you have an iron deficiency, he will suggest an iron supplement. If the thyroid is sick, he will prescribe appropriate medication. Basically, once the underlying disease has been treated or the deficiency has been remedied, the hair usually grows back completely within three to six months. Pitted hair loss If your doctor speaks of pitted hair loss, it unfortunately means for you: The hair will not grow back. Where your hair has fallen out, scars, pustules, scales or hairless spots form . The mostly rounded scars can look pale inside. Outside it is surrounded by an inflammatory, red-colored edge. The scars occur because the hair stem cells become inflamed before the hair falls out. They lie in the hair follicle at the lower end of a narrow hair tunnel that medical professionals call the hair follicle . The hair stem cells control the growth of the hair. If the hair follicles are destroyed by the inflammation, they are completely destroyed. The scarred scalp remains. This inflammation is a result of Skin damage, injuries , Burns , scalds or chemical burns, Autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus, Infections caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi, Tumor-related hair loss, for example in basaliomas and daughter tumors. In some cases it is possible to stop the inflammation in time. The doctor then tries to calm the immune system: with antibiotics, virus-inhibiting agents or preparations such as cortisone ointments . He will only recommend cortisone tablets in very severe cases , as these have too many side effects if they are taken over a long period of time. The treatment is intended to prevent the hair follicles from disappearing completely and only leaving scars. It is important that the doctor gets an exact picture of the disease before treatment. A tissue sample from the scalp can help. He will also thoroughly examine the remaining skin, oral mucosa and nails. In order to be able to observe the further course, he measures the size of the affected area and possibly also photographs it. expert advice Hans Wolff, hair expert at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, answers your questions: I have circular hair loss. Do I have to have it treated or can I wait for the hair to come back? One to two percent of people are affected by circular hair loss at some point in their life. The position is often limited, the size of a two-euro coin and often grows back in after three to six months. Fortunately, with this type of hair loss, the hair roots do not break. So for now you can wait and see. Then we try a three-month zinc cure in Munich. If it doesn’t help, we move on to immunotherapy with diphenylcyclopropenone, or DCP for short. Occasionally we also inject cortisone crystals under the scalp. Cortisone pills or infusions leave marks all over the body. They sometimes have severe side effects such as weight gain, bone loss and skin changes. This treatment is therefore usually not justified. How quickly does a treatment for hereditary hair loss work? Medicines and other therapies can only influence the hair during the growth phase. If they are already in the resting phase, they will definitely fail – with or without treatment. The drug can only work again on regrowing hair and lead to less hair going out. So whether the funds help can be assessed after three to six months at the earliest. Can alternative methods such as acupuncture or Chinese medicine also help? Alternative procedures and acupuncture do not work at all in treating hair loss. I also advise against having an expensive hair analysis for missing minerals. Such an analysis has no informative value – neither for recognizing nor for treating the disease. I don’t lose a lot of hair and still my hair is getting lighter. Why is that? With some, the hair on the head thins out, although hair is barely noticeable; others lose more than a hundred hairs a day and still do not go bald. Constitutional hair loss often develops slowly over the years without severe hair loss becoming noticeable. Does frequent washing make the hair thin? It does not matter how often you wash your hair for the course of hair loss. Only the hair that is already in the resting phase will fall out.
The skin under the eyes is very thin and sensitive: if the body suffers from lack of sleep or stress, dark shadows appear under the eyes. A new beauty trend now promises a remedy for dark circles, bags under the eyes and wrinkles: eye pads. Too little sleep and too much stress literally leave their mark on the face. But how do the dark shadows actually come about? In fact, dark circles are a result of poor blood flow to the vessels: If the lymph circulation is restricted due to too short nights, tissue fluid can collect under the soft skin. But dilation of the blood vessels can also lead to dark circles under the eyes. There are also other factors such as the aging of the skin and UV rays, which promote wrinkles and bags under the eyes. Proper eye care is all the more important with increasing age, for example with special care creams or eye pads. This is how eye pads work on your skin In contrast to conventional care creams, eye pads have a cooling effect on the skin – they should not only combat dark circles and minimize bags under the eyes , but also counteract skin aging . In addition, they provide the skin with moisture and give tired eyes a real boost of freshness. This is made possible by the active ingredients it contains, such as hyaluronic acid and collagen – both can also be found in many anti-aging products. How to use eye pads correctly In order for eye pads to develop their full effect, you should clean your eye area before using for the first time to remove any make-up residueto remove. Then proceed as follows: Place the eye pads under your eyes and press them down lightly so that they don’t slip. Leave the eye pads on for ten to 20 minutes, during which time you can move freely. Massage the excess remains of the eye pads into the skin so that no active ingredients are lost. Then take care of your face with a moisturizing cream. Another tip: It is best to store the eye pads (especially in the warm summer months) in the refrigerator to intensify the cooling effect. The best home remedies for dark circles Even before eye pads hit the market, there were already effective home remedies for the dark shadows under the eyes. The best known are these three: Green tea It contains valuable antioxidants and tannins: Green tea can help fight dark circles quickly and effectively. Take two ready-made tea bags and let them soak in warm water for a few minutes – then put them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before placing the bags over your (closed) eyes for ten minutes. Cucumber slices Cucumbers also have a cooling effect and counteract dark circles by reducing possible puffiness and making dark shadows disappear. In addition, cucumber slices keep the skin hydrated – all you need to do is put them in the refrigerator before use and then place them on your eyes closed. Coconut Oil That Coconut Oil is good for skin and hair shouldn’t have been a secret for a long time. In fact, however, very few people know that its active ingredients can also help against dark circles: Rub the moisturizing oil gently on the swollen areas of skin and let it soak in overnight so that it can work more intensively.
Our foreheads are subject to constant movement: when we are angry, blinded, focused, or just raised our eyebrows. In addition to facial expressions, natural skin aging also contributes to the formation of forehead wrinkles. The bad news is that wrinkles cannot be stopped. Sooner or later the firmness and elasticity of our skin diminishes, so that it goes through a natural aging process. That in itself is not tragic, but for many men and women an aesthetic problem. Especially when the first wrinkles appear on the face and make the face look older. The good news, however, is: With the right care and a healthy lifestyle, you can counteract the premature formation of wrinkles – without any botox. Which other factors can promote skin aging and which products should promote a smooth complexion are explained as follows. These factors promote permanent forehead wrinkles From the age of 25, the skin loses its elasticity, so that the first expression lines can appear on the face, which are initially only superficial. With increasing age, however, the depth of wrinkles also increases, triggered by our natural facial expressions: the more pronounced this is, the earlier forehead wrinkles can become noticeable. These are horizontal folds that are reinforced when you laugh or wrinkle. Frown lines, on the other hand, are vertical between the eye brows and the nose – they are particularly encouraged when your facial expressions are permanently tense. For example because they are constantly angry or have to concentrate hard. But external factors also have a major influence on the formation of wrinkles. The most well-known triggers that cause our skin to age faster include smoking, alcohol consumption, too much sun exposure and too little sleep. In order to counteract forehead wrinkles at an early stage, a healthy lifestyle is essential. Skin care also plays an important role. Prevent forehead wrinkles – with the right care There is no question that skin care products cannot have the same effect on forehead wrinkles as botox or hyaluronic acid injections. For this, the use of an anti-aging cream is significantly cheaper than a medical intervention. In addition, the over-the-counter cosmetic products contain certain combinations of active ingredients that are supposed to promote a smooth complexion – such as the following care products: 1. Hyaluronic acid It is a natural component of our connective tissue and is broken down by our body over time, so the surgical procedure is not a one-time thing. For the same reason, products containing hyaluronic acid should not be used for short periods of time. To get a positive result, you need the moisturizer or the serum apply regularly. Only in this way can the active ingredient be stored in your connective tissue, improve the complexion of your skin – and counteract forehead wrinkles. 2. Forehead pads As the name suggests, the pads are placed directly on the forehead to reduce wrinkles. The natural ingredients contained in it should – according to the manufacturer – be completely absorbed by the skin so that it is supplied with moisture and its elasticity is improved. The forehead pads also have a cooling effect and can be worn for up to eight hours at a time. The same also applies to anti-wrinkle plasters Against frown lines: They are applied directly to the problem area (between the eyebrows and nose) and can even work overnight while you sleep. 3. Retinol serum It has the same effect on our body as vitamin A, which fights wrinkles: Retinol is a substitute that is supposed to make the skin more elastic and thus can also minimize forehead wrinkles. In contrast to vitamin A acid, retinol serum is does not require a prescription and is therefore found in many care products such as creams and masks. Since the active ingredient inhibits free radicals, which normally break down the wrinkle-reducing collagen, retinol is traded as a popular beauty secret weapon in the cosmetics market. 4. Face roller Regular facial massages should also reduce forehead wrinkles. These can be done by hand – or you can use a so-called face roller. It consists of a jade or rose quartz stone and has a smooth surface that feels pleasantly cool when rolled over the skin. It is important that you only exert a little pressure on your face during the massage and then apply a moisturizing cream or facial oil to the skin treat to stimulate blood circulation. 5. Ultrasound A so-called ultrasound treatment in the cosmetic studio easily costs between 500 and 1000 euros. It too should be able to help reduce the visible wrinkles on the face and forehead. This is made possible by ultrasound waves that penetrate the skin and heat deeper layers – which in turn stimulates the regeneration of cells. This should make the skin look plumper and fresher by reducing forehead wrinkles. However, the result is only visible after several uses. If the treatment is too expensive for you, you can also get an ultrasound machine buy for home use. The prices are not cheap, but they are significantly cheaper than professional treatment at a beautician. Use the device twice a week. 6. Microdermabrasion This is a special device that removes the topmost layer of skin: During microdermabrasion, which stimulates blood circulation, your face is freed from dead skin particles and skin cell renewal is stimulated. This in turn means that your face should appear firmer and smoother after the treatment. Depending on which attachment you use, the microdermabrasion device can also be used to remove pimples and blackheads. Without the use of chemicals. Botox vs. Hyaluronic Acid: What’s the Difference? It is not uncommon for those affected to have their forehead wrinkles removed, which requires a medical intervention at the Beauty doc. He uses botox or hyaluronic acid – but what is the difference? On the one hand in price, on the other hand in application: while the botulinum toxin is injected directly into the facial muscles, the hyaluronic acid gel has to be injected under the skin. This has the advantage that your face does not appear as rigid as after a botox treatment – but it is cheaper. In both cases, the effect wears off after six to twelve months at the latest, so that it has to be repeated regularly. This makes a visit to the specialist much more expensive than the permanent use of care products against forehead wrinkles.
Around four million people in Germany suffer from depression. Sports clubs should now stand by those affected in the fight against their disease. Psychiatrists and sports scientists have developed a special training program for people with depression. The effectiveness of the offer designed for sports clubs is now being tested in a study. Movement helps with depression, but there are far too few specific sports and movement therapies, said Prof. Marc Ziegenbein, deputy director of the MHH clinic for psychiatry, social psychiatry and psychotherapy in Hanover on Friday. According to the researchers’ ideas, the “Active out of the mood” program should become just as natural in clubs as, for example, back exercises or courses for heart patients. A moderate endurance training was developed that can be continued after the course. “The program includes, for example, walking, light running training and playful exercises,” said sports scientist Olaf Hoos from the University of Marburg. Researchers from the University of Würzburg are also involved. Depression is also a physical illness A total of 50 patients are taking part in the study, they meet three times a week for 45 to 60 minute training sessions. The goals are to reduce depressive symptoms, improve body awareness and improve self-confidence. It should also be achieved that those affected come back to people. The patients are divided into two groups, one of which starts later. The Würzburg riot police provide a control group with healthy people who are also completing the program. An estimated four million people in Germany suffer from depression. “It’s a really good idea to get the sports clubs on board,” said Prof. Frank Schneider, head of the sports psychiatry department of the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology, about the project. In psychiatric clinics, physiotherapy is an important part of every treatment, but in the outpatient area there is a lack of special exercise offers for the mentally ill, said the director of the clinic for psychiatry, psychotherapy and psychosomatics at the University Hospital Aachen. “With regular club training there is a very quick risk of being overwhelmed.” Depression is not only a nervous but also serious physical illness. “Even if the disease seems to have subsided, it is still in the bones many months later.”
Depression, diabetes, back pain: physical activity is often at least as effective as medicine. Seven examples of how exercise heals. Sometimes life puts obstacles in your way that are so great that you cannot get them out of the way. Almost two years ago Gabriele Merz (name changed) faced such an obstacle. She no longer filled her job in the marketing department, the working atmosphere was bad, and her colleagues weren’t communicative. In addition, there were private problems, their marriage drifted towards a low point. “I lost my inner balance,” says Merz, 38, today. The depression consumed her strength. Some days Merz just lay on the sofa in front of the television and let life flicker by. “In the evening I didn’t even know which programs I was watching,” she says. It cannot be said that she jumped in the air at the thought of running therapy. During this time, she was taking medication and waiting for an appointment for a discussion. “But I thought I’d take a look at this run,” says Merz. “It couldn’t get any worse.” When exercising, patients notice that they can do things on their own. After eight weeks of running, symptoms often improve more than after many sessions Depression and running So she drove to the meeting point on a cold day in March, her old jogging shoes on her feet and a bunch of fears in her head. “I was afraid of weakness and I was afraid of the group.” Merz used to like jogging, but since she was struggling with the depression she had barely moved – and gained 15 kilos. “At first I felt like a walrus trudging through the forest.” But after the first hour she felt how good the exercise in the fresh air was for her. “After the lesson, I was more satisfied than I had been for a long time,” she says. The more she came to training, the easier it was for her to run. And the more she ran, the fitter she became in everyday life. “When walking, patients understand that they can do things on their own. Stöckel, 48, is a psychological psychotherapist and trained running therapist. With the help of a special program, depressed patients learn to jog for 30 minutes at a time. First, the running and walking phases alternate every two minutes, then the running proportions are gradually increased. Stöckel has had good experiences with running therapy for people with mild depression. “These people take every step on their own. So they can’t be as bad as they think,” she says. The therapist discusses the positive changes in the sessions and transfers them to other areas. Motivation and movement in life Gabriele Merz also felt how she blossomed parallel to nature. The snow melted in the forest, and the first spring flowers were sprouting in the meadows. And she felt how movement came into her life again through running. She separated from her husband, moved into a new apartment and looked around for a new job. And when she trotted through the forest before an interview, she liked to play a mind game: “I said to myself: If you can hold out a minute longer, tomorrow will be a good appointment.” It worked. Merz has a new job that she really enjoys. She stopped taking the medication. And she’s still jogging, up to ten kilometers three times a week. Because she has a new goal: “I would like to take part in a half marathon.” Weight and waist circumference can be reduced with a walking program of five to six hours a week Diabetes and going for a walk The expert: Jörg von Hübbenet heads the project area sports and exercise diabetology at the sports medicine institute of the University of Hamburg. He is convinced of the benefits of walking: “Everyone swears by jogging – I don’t. Many of my patients with type 2 diabetes are obese. Should I put them in a brightly colored balloon silk suit and send them to run around the Alster? Never. First of all, that’s undignified. And second, they wouldn’t create. That’s why I prefer to say: ‘People, take a walk! The effects of brisk walking are considerable: Weight and abdominal girth can be reduced with a walking program of five to six hours a week. In addition, blood pressure and cholesterol levels drop. The most important thing, however, is that the harmful long-term sugar in the patient’s blood also decreases. In type 2 diabetes , the insulin receptors on the cells have become sluggish. As a result, their blood sugar level is permanently increased, and this damages the organs. Physical activity improves the transport of glucose into the cells and the blood sugar level returns to normal. Studies have shown that type 2 diabetics can lower their medication doses through a healthy lifestyle and need to inject insulin less often . But still, a lot of my patients don’t get their butts up. They are as sluggish as their receptors. Maybe they should be advised to get a dog. He needs exercise every day, then they can’t avoid going for a walk. Incidentally, this also applies to prevention: if you have a dog, you are pretty safe from diabetes. “ Cycling can be easily integrated into everyday life and often helps to switch off Obesity and cycling The non-athlete who became a cyclist: Philipp Osten, 23, currently weighs 74 kilograms. His goal is to break the 70 kilo mark this year. “I was 17 years old when I decided that I had to change my life. At that time I weighed 85 kilograms and was 1.65 meters tall. A friend recommended Moveguard, a sports and nutrition program at the Cologne Sports University I changed my diet, I started jogging, but above all I discovered cycling . The sports university is around 25 kilometers from my home town. At first I always took the bus, but soon I switched to my bike. Every day I sat in the saddle for practically two hours, one hour there and one back. Cycling 50 kilometers a day is a challenge for a non-athlete. But I persevered. How? By racing against myself every time. ‘Today you can cover the distance faster than yesterday,’ I said to myself. What I liked best was that I could completely switch off while cycling. Just kick and don’t have to think about anything. And it really helped: I lost 25 kilograms in 18 months. I was proud! But then I stopped doing sports again, me idiot! And soon I had the pounds back on. When after a year the scales even showed 120 kilos, I pulled the emergency brake for the second time. I got on my bike again and rode almost 50 kilometers every day, even though I had meanwhile started studying mechanical engineering alongside my work. But I made it through again. This time I lost 50 kilograms within a year. Now I have sworn to myself that it will never come to that again. With a little discipline in eating and cycling, I want to try to maintain my weight permanently. And maybe even take something off. “ Osteoporosis and dancing “Dancing is the perfect sport for osteoporosis, ” says Johannes Pfeilschifter, Professor of Internal Medicine at the Alfried Krupp Hospital in Essen. He raves about the turns, ups and downs and the different foot positions that make dancing a strength and coordination training with a low risk of injury. Arrowshifter comes to people with fractures, for example in the thigh or in the vertebrae. Her skeleton was too weak to withstand everyday stress. But after rehabilitation, Pfeilschifter likes to send his patients to the dance floor. In Germany up to seven million people are said to suffer from osteoporosis. For a long time it was thought that it mainly affects women, but now every fifth osteoporosis patient is a man. Various studies have shown that a lack of exercise is the main cause of this disease. All around strengthened by dancing “Most bones can be strengthened through physical activity,” says Pfeilschifter. Even if osteoporosis has already been diagnosed. Because the skeleton is “incredibly dynamic” and is constantly being rebuilt. With the right training, you can have a positive influence on this process well into old age. Pfeilschifter: “The more diverse you load a bone, the more resistant it becomes.” So anyone who just walks, swims or jogs is not immune to osteoporosis. Sports with a high level of strength and coordination are useful – such as dancing. “In doing so, a different part of the body is stressed with almost every step,” says Pfeilschifter. The so-called osteocytes in the bones react to this: They then instruct the corresponding cells to strengthen the bone in the stressed areas. Result: unlike a marathon runner, whose thighbones are only strong in the front and back, dancers have a thighbone that is reinforced all around. Preheated air, exhaling against the water resistance and a constant rhythm when breathing mean that the performance of asthmatics in water is twice as high as on land Asthma and swimming Sports scientist Bettina Schaar studies the effects of training on various clinical pictures at the German Sport University Cologne. She advises asthmatics to go to the swimming pool. Ms. Schaar, why do you recommend people with asthma to go to the swimming pool? Bettina Schaar: Asthmatics can strain themselves more in water than outside in the air. How so? Firstly, the air in the indoor pool is preheated, which is particularly beneficial for stress asthmatics – because cold air often causes them to have seizures. Secondly, breathing out helps against the water resistance: The bronchi are held wide and the bronchial muscles strengthened. Thirdly, when swimming you breathe in a constant rhythm; breathing too fast is not possible. The result: an asthmatic’s performance capability is twice as high in water as on land. But that alone is not a cure for asthma. But studies have shown that the so-called shortness of breath threshold in trained asthmatics is much higher than in untrained people. In the case of experienced people, the bronchi do not close as quickly under stress. You are less likely to have an asthma attack and therefore have to take less medication. They also get fewer infections and have more air available after exercising. How often do you train with the asthmatics? They should do something three times a week. Once or twice in the water and once on land, 60 minutes each would be good. In addition to swimming, we also offer aqua fitness and jogging. We train at intervals and at a rather low intensity, but with longer stress phases. With segmental stabilization, the “deep system” is awakened with coordination exercises and a lot of concentration Back pain and weight training Martin Kottmeier can well remember how he suddenly felt this stabbing pain in his back last spring. At that time, the carpenter stacked oak beams. “From one second to the next I couldn’t move,” says the 51-year-old. The diagnosis: herniated disc. “Not unusual for my job.” Kottmeier had been prepared that one day his cross might go on strike. What he didn’t expect were the exercises his doctor and physical therapist used to prevent surgery. Because at first they didn’t demand a drop of sweat from him. Segmental stabilization is the name of the therapy Kottmeier used to train at the Am Michel back center in Hamburg. “We had to wake up the deep system first,” says his doctor Joachim Mallwitz. These are the very deep abdominal muscles that also stabilize the spine. When the back shows signs of wear and tear or after a herniated disc, these muscles sometimes simply “switch off”. First, Kottmeier had to complete coordination exercises. They are not sweaty. But because the brain is not used to tensing these muscles at will, you have to concentrate hard. Mallwitz describes with a picture what the patients should do with their body: “Imagine that your navel is pulled by a thread from the stomach through the body to the back.” Only when the deep system wakes up from its sleep after a few weeks of training does work with the “superficial system” continue. Then the straight and oblique abdominal muscles and the back muscles are strengthened through strength exercises. The therapy lasts until the muscles can sufficiently stabilize the spine again. “The second part was more exhausting,” says Kottmeier. But it was worth the effort: he is now working as a carpenter again. Patients should do 20 minutes of more intense activity two to three times each day, with 20 percent of the time devoted to strength training Heart attack and general exercise The cardiologist Ulrich Hildebrandt is the chief physician at the St. Irmingard Clinic on Lake Chiemsee. He recommends regular exercise for heart patients. Mr. Hildebrandt, what is your advice to patients who come to you after a heart attack? Move, move, move! Because sport works like a vaccination: if you irritate the body, it adapts and tries to better protect itself from the stress. You have to explain that. Through exercise, the cells in the vessel wall “learn” how to better withstand the forces of the blood flowing through them, and they become more stable. Can exercise actually replace bypass surgery? Regular physical activity can prevent many bypass surgeries and implantation of supports in vascular constrictions. One study shows that more intense endurance activity of more than 90 minutes per week can reduce mortality by more than 39 percent in the first six months after a heart attack. But doesn’t a heart attack indicate that the body is overloaded? Heart attacks during exercise usually only occur if one is active less than three times a week. Those who do something every day do not have an increased risk of stress. Sport is only dangerous if you do it too seldom. Which disciplines do you recommend to your heart attack patients? Any kind of endurance activity, for example walking, dancing, climbing stairs. I recommend 20 minutes more intense activity two to three times a day for patients. 20 percent of the time should be used for strength exercises. In the beginning you should only train at medium intensities, later maximum heart rates can be reached for a short time. With appropriate breaks, even longer periods of stress are not a risk.
Osteopathy, neural therapy, homeopathy or acupuncture: many people who suffer from back pain swear by alternative healing methods. The most important procedures at a glance. If you are plagued by pain , you basically only want one thing: to finally live symptom-free again. And because orthodox doctors are unable to identify a specific cause for so many back ailments, a particularly large number of those affected try to achieve their goals by means of alternative healing methods. More than 40 percent of all people with chronic pain in the neck , shoulders and back around to plague have, can be treated already to the other type. The offer corresponds to the great demand: therapists offer up to 150 different alternative healing methods. Not every method is equally good for everyone, and some can be quite expensive. If you are considering alternative medicine, it is therefore worthwhile in every respect to examine as many therapies as possible in advance. Does it really help? Nobody really knows All alternative therapies usually have one thing in common: They are supposed to activate the self-healing powers. The problem: There is a large gap between claimed and proven effectiveness. That means: a lot of methods have proven to be inadequately effective or there are too few high-quality scientific studies on them. For most alternative healing methods, there is no proven probability of success that goes beyond mere chance or the so-called placebo effect. And the placebo effect means: As soon as someone believes in a cure, it occurs. The person affected is doing better, although the agent or application has no scientifically proven effect. So whether the treatment is successful often depends on your expectations. If you are rather skeptical, the therapy will work less well than if you assume that the treatment will help you. In principle, this also applies to conventional conventional medical methods, but experience has shown that the placebo effect plays a particularly important role in alternative medicine. Put the therapy through its paces However, many proponents of alternative medicine find that these procedures cannot be assessed according to the same criteria as conventional treatments. Their argument: conventional medicine does not understand people as a unity of body and soul and neglects the spiritual dimension of illness and healing. In addition, the connections between the alternative therapeutic approaches are so complex that they can hardly be examined systematically. Since conventional medicine often reaches its limits, more and more doctors and therapists are now dealing with alternative healing methods. But don’t let the abundance of options tempt you to keep trying new treatments. Most of the methods don’t seem to do any harm, but they can cost time, nerves, and money – and may end up with new disappointments. Therefore, only allow yourself to be treated by a therapist who has discussed your symptoms with you in detail beforehand and has examined you thoroughly. They should provide you with a time-limited treatment plan, including the likely costs. And ask your health insurance company whether they will reimburse these costs. acupuncture Acupuncture is the best-known procedure in traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM for short. There are several forms of acupuncture, including traditional Chinese body acupuncture, ear, laser, and electrical stimulation acupuncture. TCM assumes that illnesses and pain arise when the life energy Chi, which flows through the body, is blocked. By placing acupuncture needles along certain paths or so-called meridians, which connect the individual energy centers of the organism, the Chi should flow harmoniously again. Modern acupuncture is based on twelve main meridians set up in pairs plus eight special meridians and distinguishes a total of around 700 acupuncture points at which the energy can accumulate. When your therapist pokes the thin needles into these acupuncture points, you will feel a dull pulling, it becomes warm and tingles at the puncture site, it may hurt for a moment. Suitable for tension and wear If your back pain is caused by signs of wear and tear or muscle tension , it makes perfect sense to try needling. However, acupuncture should always be combined with other methods. As a general rule, the needles do not work the same for everyone, and several sessions are often necessary before you can even feel the effect. Make sure that your acupuncturist is really qualified – and can prove this with an appropriate certificate. You should clarify with him in advance how many treatments are necessary and which criteria you can use to determine whether the therapy was successful. Risks and Side Effects You may develop circulatory problems at the start of treatment. And if your therapist does not insert the needles precisely, blood vessels and nerves can be injured. People with blood clotting disorders, sensory disorders, skin damage at the acupuncture points, nerve disorders or acute inflammation should avoid acupuncture. Effectiveness partly proven by studies Scientific studies show that more than 90 percent of those treated with acute pain feel better after acupuncture. In chronic pain , the therapy is not quite as successful, but the small needles can also relieve pain here and the muscles relax. Scientists justify this, among other things, with the fact that the punctures overlay the original pain stimuli and the body releases soothing substances around the puncture site. How and why acupuncture helps against back pain, researchers have not yet been able to clarify. But it helps! That brings it in the long run Acupuncture is a passive treatment method: you just lie or sit there and get needles. But you do not become active yourself. Therefore, acupuncture alone cannot help you in the long term. You have to do something about your back pain as well. And exercise often helps best. Osteopathy Osteopaths assume that all body structures and functions influence each other. That is, if one organ is sick, it can affect other parts of the body. Under certain circumstances, a kidney stone leads to knee pain or a stomach ulcer is released by back pain. For osteopaths, changes in the connective tissue are to blame for many diseases and complaints. The therapist first uses her hands to check whether certain muscles are tense , whether your connective tissue is conspicuous in any way or whether your tendons are too tight. The tissue blockages located in this way are then loosened with various massage , stretching and grip techniques, which at the same time normalize the lymph flow and stimulate the self-healing powers. Suitable for tension If your back problems are caused by tense muscles or pathological changes in completely different parts of the body, osteopathy can help. But it is better not to rely on this method alone. And don’t expect just one session to be noticeable. An osteopathic treatment usually consists of six to twelve hours of therapy. Risks and Side Effects In principle there is hardly any risk. The greatest danger lies in the fact that you may only rely on osteopathy and therefore not even notice other useful treatments or only approach them with a delay. Efficacy hardly proven by studies So far, there is no scientific evidence that osteopathy actually affects the entire body and safely relieves back pain. However, since some studies do provide indications of positive effects, osteopathic techniques can be useful alongside other therapies. Make sure you talk to your doctor about it beforehand. That brings it in the long run Osteopathy is a passive treatment method: you just lie there and let yourself be massaged. But you do not become active yourself. Therefore, osteopathy cannot help you in the long term as the sole therapy. You have to do something about your back pain as well. And exercise often helps best. homeopathy Hardly any alternative healing method is as widespread as homeopathy, literally translated: similar suffering. In fact, the process developed by Samuel Hahnemann at the beginning of the 19th century is based on the attempt to combat like with like. Homeopathic drops are very dilute substances which, if given in concentrated form, could make healthy people sick. A remedy that causes a fever in a healthy person could – according to Hahnemann’s thought – be used in a highly diluted form as a remedy for fever. The substances of homeopathic medicines are first rubbed with milk sugar, then shaken in a water-alcohol mixture. The active ingredients in the individual drops or globules, so-called globules, are dosed extremely low and can often no longer be detected chemically. Suitable for pain If you suffer from back pain , an attempt at therapy with homeopathic remedies can be useful. In any case, there are always successful treatments. So far, however, nobody knows exactly why. Because most active ingredients are extremely diluted, it is unlikely that the globules or drops will work as a result. Researchers attribute the positive effects of homeopathy mainly to the so-called placebo effect: because those affected believe in the remedy, it helps them. This is especially true for pain therapy. Risks and Side Effects There are seldom side effects with homeopathic treatments, for example the symptoms can worsen at the beginning of therapy. Homeopathic remedies usually do not negatively affect other treatment methods. However, do not just treat yourself. Be sure to see a doctor beforehand. Efficacy hardly proven by studies So far there is a lack of reliable scientific evidence that homeopathy actually influences the course of the disease in any way. However, some clinical studies and analyzes show that the beads and drops can relieve back pain. Therefore, from a medical point of view, there is nothing to prevent you from trying – in addition to other therapies – to cope with the excruciating tearing and stinging with homeopathic remedies. That brings it in the long run Homeopathy is a passive treatment method: you just swallow beads or drops. Otherwise you will not be active. Therefore homeopathy cannot help you in the long term as the sole therapy. You have to do something about your back pain as well. And exercise often helps best. Neural therapy Neural therapy is based on two foundations: the interference field theory and the segment theory. The interference field theory assumes that injuries, scars and pathological changes in an organ, for example inflamed tonsils or inflamed teeth , send interference impulses to healthy organs and make them sick in the long term. The segment theory is based on the fact that there are nerve connections between the organs and the skin, with each body section being assigned to a specific skin section. If a section of skin is particularly sensitive, it can be concluded that the organ belonging to it is not healthy. The most commonly used neural therapy method is wheals: the doctor injects an anesthetic into the skin at the painful areas. The liquid forms a small bump or wheal, hence the name. Neural therapists also inject deeper into the tissue to shut down interference fields, for example in painfully hardened muscles , joints and the spinal canal . Suitable for irritated nerves, scars or teeth Wheals and deeper injections can help with acute back pain, for example as a result of an irritated nerve root . However, the positive effect often only lasts as long as the injected anesthetic is effective. If the therapist shuts down active interference fields such as scars or teeth with anesthetics, this can also provide relief for the back. Risks and Side Effects The deeper the injection, the higher the risk of undesirable effects such as inflammation, blood vessel and nerve injuries. It is very important to make sure that your doctor is qualified as a neural therapist. And of course you should get a thorough examination beforehand . Efficacy not proven by studies The interference field theory has just as little been scientifically proven as the remote effect of local anesthetics. To date, neural therapists have not consistently determined what an interference field, also known as a focus or focus, actually is and which diseases it can possibly trigger. Nevertheless, it has been shown in practice that wheals or injections can help with acute back pain – even if only for a short time. That brings it in the long run Neural therapy is a passive treatment method: you only have one injection. But you do not become active yourself. Therefore this procedure cannot help you in the long term as the sole therapy. You have to do something about your back pain as well. And exercise often helps best.
When it comes to sports injuries, many people turn to alternative healing methods. Their effectiveness has not been proven. Nevertheless, there is a ray of hope for everyone who swears by chemical-free therapy. Many a good resolution to do more sport ends abruptly and painfully. Untrained enthusiasts in particular are easily injured because the body is simply not used to being suddenly exposed to such stress. The result is often injuries, which we doctors like to dismiss as “minor trauma”. It is hardly surprising that many are trying to get by with alternative procedures on their own. In addition, many top athletes swear by this or that alternative healing method, and they must know what they are doing. Nevertheless, the question arises: What do these methods do in such situations? With any kind of trauma, the homeopathy-savvy patient almost automatically reaches for his arnica. This homeopathic remedy is not only popular, it is also the most widely studied of all homeopathic medicines. However, the results of these studies are sobering: the numerous attempts to establish proof of effectiveness have failed. The data are pretty clear: homeopathic arnica is a placebo. Acupuncture – Natural Doping? The situation for phytotherapeutic agents is somewhat more positive. In particular, there are studies that show that comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is effective for ankle injuries. The pain, swelling and immobility are influenced better by this remedy than with placebo and at least as well as with conventional therapy. Since Symphytum is toxic, it may only be applied externally as an ointment or gel. And what else is there? Acupuncture is of course popular for relieving pain, and arguably that is also true for post-injury pain. However, very few people know that some studies also indicate that physical performance can possibly be improved with this form of therapy. If this could be confirmed, acupuncture would be a form of drug-free doping. A plea for conventional physiotherapy It has been so well established in Germany for decades that it is hardly seen as an alternative method of treatment. Sports massage in particular is popular to prevent or treat injuries. Despite the general acceptance of the method, the data situation is rather shaky. Few studies exist and hardly any of good quality. So the bottom line is that there is little positive to report here. A ray of hope for everyone who likes to be cared for in a natural way is that conventional physiotherapy is an excellent help for sports injuries. This is not an alternative, but it is absolutely chemical-free.
Sport should be done because it is so healthy. A blessing for the circulation and for the back. And I, since I have now skipped 50, should pay particular attention to “maintaining the ability to move even with advancing age”, as my wife gently expresses it. It works best – of course! – with yoga . With the Far East gymnastics you not only dissolve the physical tension, but also the waste in the head. Narrow-mindedness of the partner, for example. That sounds terribly caring and just daunting – at least to me. In reality, for me and fitness, it is about things that really matter: purely externally. I’m not alone with this attitude. Women are just more honest than men , they openly address their problems. Four enemies drive the woman into the gym and they are called: orange peel, wobbly thighs, bingo and pancake bottom. For us men the world is a simpler one, we just have to watch out for one alarm signal: When our stomach no longer wants to piss, it is high time to take action. Cannonball and leather sausage And male active . In addition to the body polish, the ego wants to be fed. And what man would seriously like to hug a Swiss rubber ball and roll around on it like an eel? Just imagine a video like this appears on Facebook. Pretty embarrassing. I postponed such activities until I was in the old people’s home. Even sports with women should be avoided. The female gender has a keen sense of dance and rhythm. If you don’t have a Patrick Swayze in you, you’re just trailing behind the elves like a bear. Depressing. Those who want to feel more masculine should stick to leather and iron. Tear, pry, lift – these are the names of the activities for the Lord. Hop, stretch and stretch for the lady. Nothing is better for the male psyche in the mature half of life than to have come through a workout alive, which the trainer warned before. Is it good to lie down and get up again and again and balance a kind of cannonball made of cast metal over your head on your outstretched arm? Probably not. Sit-ups with a sand-filled leather sausage that is pushed upwards at the crucial moment are also not described in the health insurance company’s health guide. But: If you want to turn buffing into muscles, you have to struggle. Wherever there is planing, there are shavings: bruises on the body and impact craters in the parquet can hardly be avoided. One should see these wounds as an award. In addition, you skilfully bypass any paternalism from health-conscious partners. Because they usually have to fit in brute sport.