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Prairie Inspirations Newsletter - Volume III, Issue III

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 Comments (0)

Finally…spring has sprung in the northern tier and, mud not withstanding, I think it’s great

I hope the season affords you some time to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. This afternoon was too busy for me to spend time outdoors but I was serenaded, through an open window, by hundreds of geese in a grain field south of us. The noisy and social geese were a stark contrast to the lonely looking robin that spent the winter months in our yard pretending to be a sparrow – I hope his relatives show up soon and set him straight.

As much as I enjoy the time of year, this newsletter has more to offer than my delight over warmer days. You’ll find news and practical advice to help you promote better health, a centered life, and healthier skin.

Happy springtime!



A Favorite Quote
"So of cheerfulness, or a good temper, the more it is spent, the more it remains."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


For Your Health
Tea Tree Oil for Acne
A helpful bit of information for people fighting acne, and timely for the teenagers headed to prom this spring. Tea Tree Oil is as effective as benzoyl peroxide for stopping acne and without all the side effects. Read the abstract on the PUB MED webpage:
Pub Med

Yoga for Back Pain
Expert sources say that 80% or more of us will experience lower back pain at some time in our lives and whether it’s related to pregnancy, injury, overuse or an unknown reason, we will be looking for relief.

This recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that the stretching exercises employed in yoga are more effective for relieving back pain than the conventional exercise normally prescribed for lower back pain relief:
Yoga Stretches

Probiotics for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a miserable set of digestive complaints that I wouldn’t wish on any living being. In America it affects about 15% of adults and the rates are much higher in those with Fibromyalgia or Chemical Sensitivities.

Now the good news; there is an inexpensive, non-invasive and easy way to help yourself with the symptoms. Researchers have found that a variety of beneficial flora called Probiotics will help significantly. You can read more about the study here:

If you want more information on IBS itself, the John Hopkins webpage has an excellent overview. There is no mention of Probiotics use on the treatment page – perhaps on the next update:


Answers to Your Questions
Don’t you wonder if there’s a person alive who hasn’t suffered with a hangnail or two, and then tried to figure out what they could do to fix the problem. I’ve had my share; it’s been awhile, but I remember how they hurt. Here is what you need to know on the topic.

A hangnail is bit of dry, dead skin that has peeled away along the side or from the cuticle around your nail. This bit of dry skin is still attached to living tissue at its base and this is the reason they are so annoying. They catch on every thing they touch and it hurts; pain intensifies as the area becomes irritated and if an infection develops.

Hangnails form due to excessive dryness, stress or irritation of the skin and nail cuticle.

The best advice I have in short form, is to take good care of your hands and nails so that you can avoid hangnails all together. Here are some practical ways to help prevent the problem:

1) Help your skin from the inside:

  • stay well hydrated
  • get enough sleep
  • eat a balanced and nutritious diet including foods that contain skin friendly essential fatty acids (EFA). Foods high in EFAs include flaxseed, flaxseed oil, safflower oil, sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, walnuts, hemp oil, evening primrose oil, peanuts and sesame seeds

2) Help your skin from the outside:

  • Pay extra attention to your fingernails and cuticles. Moisturize your hands and nails at least daily, and more often if they are dry. Push cuticle back gently after bathing or soaking to prevent them from growing over the nail.
  • Protect your hands from chemicals in general – this one is important as you may not have considered the negative effects to your skin and nails. Most commercial products contain chemicals that are drying and irritating to the skin; this includes the majority of cleaners, sprays, hair care and skin care products.
  • Use only perfume-free products on your skin; synthetic fragrances are the number one cause of skin irritation.
  • Protect your hands from weather and temperature extremes; even hot water is drying to the skin, you can protect your skin by turning down the temperature slightly and wearing vinyl gloves when washing dishes.
  • Protect your skin from physical irritation when working or playing- for example: wear gloves while gardening or working outdoors.


Taking added care with your hands can reap big rewards if you are prone to developing hangnails. If it’s too late and you already have a hangnail, there are ways to minimize the pain and the chance of infection. Here are some practical ways to cope:

  1. The first rule is not to pull, bite or pick at the hangnail. If you do, the wound will be larger, the pain more intense and the healing slowed.
  2. Soak the finger in fairly warm, salty water to soften and clean the area. Then snip the dead skin away with a clean, sharp nail clipper; clip close to the base, but without cutting into the healthy skin.
  3. Cover with an antibacterial ointment and bandage for a day; then keep the area clean and moisturized until healed.
  4. If the area is red or swollen, continue to soak in warm, salty water for 10-15 minutes twice or more daily. Also continue using the antibacterial ointment until the redness and swelling is gone.
  5. If the redness and swelling does not improve in a few days, or if it worsens, see a doctor.

Dakota Free Products to help your cuticles and nails:

Dakota Free Cuticle and Nail Treatment Oil

Fragrance-Free Moisturizer

Super Tea Tree Gel


Just For You
While I could fill an entire issue of the newsletter on each of these questions, I think it may more helpful for me to explain my coping strategy simply as a gift from a good and loving God that offers joy, strength, faith, peace and hope.

I need so much, He provides and I am grateful. I hope that all of you who seek help will also accept this gift.

You may also wish to visit these encouraging websites:

“Where is God Ministries” – matters of faith for the chronically ill.

“Share, Care & Prayer” – an organization that publishes an educational and inspirational newsletter for the EI, MCS, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue community.

Crosswalks Devotions – daily devotionals and a gateway to other Christian resources.

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