Getting Started with Meditation

Stone TowerPracticed for thousands of years, meditation has surged in popularity recently for the seemingly endless array of health benefits that it is claimed to provide. Although there are numerous styles of meditation – mindfulness, Zen, guided, and chanting to name a few – they can all be used to feel more at peace, experience less stress, and to improve self-control. With meditation’s rise in popularity there has been a sharp increase in research on how it affects practitioners, with studies showing that the emotional benefits of meditation assist people in all kinds of ways, from helping to manage the stress-related symptoms of illnesses like high blood pressure and anxiety disorders, experiencing more compassion and love for others, boosting creativity, to even reducing perceived levels of pain.

Stick to What is Comfortable for You
There are many different forms of meditation, and it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Although different types of mediation can produce different results, the variety that you most enjoy practicing will be the most effective. You may want to try out a few different styles to see what is most comfortable for you, and sticking with what is comfortable is the best way to ensure that you will make it a part of your regular schedule.

Don’t Eat Beforehand
While it may sound pleasant to meditate after a meal, chances are a full stomach will make you too sleepy to make the most of the exercise. A relatively empty stomach allows you to devote your attention to the task at hand, so plan your meditation time accordingly.

Wear a Relaxed Smile
Keeping a positive expression on your face can help you to feel more positive as well. Meditation is more effective when you can stay calm and relaxed throughout – so make sure to practice when you are in a happy state of mind.

biogs2_gallery6Breathe in Peace
Breathing provides a rhythm to your meditation practice, which in turn helps you to focus. To make sure you are breathing as easily as possible meditate in a place with clean, fresh air – such as the beach, a park, or in your own home. Our Ultra Quiet air purifiers make a great meditation companion, as they will not only remove harmful toxins and pollutants from the air, but in their whisper Silent modes you will forget they are even there, allowing you to focus on your breath and your health.  If you are not partial to silence, mediate to your favorite soft music.

So what are you waiting for?  Follow us down the meditation rabbit hole to better health and happiness.

Jump in on the World Cup Action and Start Scoring Goals!

Once every four years during the massively popular World Cut, America turns its televisions on and thoughts toward the world’s favorite sport: soccer.  It is a myth that Americans don’t play soccer; for years soccer has been the second most popular team sport among US youths.  Soccer is a sport that provides an all-around workout. It challenges your body, your heart, and your brain.  Running the field for 90 minutes provides your legs with an excellent workout, but it requires more than strong legs to make a great soccer player – kicking, heading, and defending the ball exercises your chest, upper back, core, and arms.  The combination of all those movements at the high speed of game-play revs up the heart rate to sky-high levels. So, naturally, the health benefits of playing soccer at least one to two times a week include a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and can be used to supplement a physician’s regimen to treat hypertension.  Also, as a high impact sport, soccer improves bone density, which reduces the risk of fracturing bones.

As great as the physical benefits of playing soccer can be, soccer is also excellent training for the brain and for the mind. Research has proven that excellence at soccer requires more than physical fitness – elite-level players are among the top two to five percent in the world in “executive functioning” – the ability to deal with sudden problems, and a key aspect in memory, multitasking and creativity.  Additionally, team soccer relies on extensive communication between teammates, communication that is proven to enhance social skills.  Finally, soccer is a game that induces “flow,” a deep state of focus that allows you to forget time, fatigue, and worries and to feel motivated and happy.

So, start playing soccer today! Perhaps the simplest game to set up, all you really need to play soccer is a ball – the rest can be improvised.  Rabbit Air and Uncle Sam encourage you to take up the spirit of the World Cup and start playing soccer today!

Short Term Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Can Impair Breathing

CigaretteAlthough the dangers of long-term exposure to secondhand smoke are well known, a study conducted by the University of Athens and the Hellenic Cancer Society in Greece, and the Harvard School of Public Health found that short term exposure to high concentrations of secondhand smoke, as little as 20 minutes, can cause immediate impairment of airways.  Researchers exposed healthy adults to a concentration of secondhand smoke designed to mimic the levels found in bars or during a car ride with a smoker present.  Although none of the participants in the study reported feeling negative effects, when their breathing was measured it was found that the exposure was in fact “invoking such physiologic changes as increased airway impedance and resistance.”  This new research will help public health workers more thoroughly understand the risks and consequences of secondhand smoke in public places, and will add to the growing body of data about the effects of secondhand smoke.

While the best way to protect oneself from secondhand smoke is to avoid it altogether, for many people, this is not always possible.  Smoke can easily drift into workplaces from the street, or into homes from neighbors nearby.  Secondhand smoke is difficult to deal with, but there are a few steps you can take to help protect yourself if controlling the smoke at the source is not an option.  Stopping the smoke from entering is the first defense, and sealing not only windows and doors, but even electrical outlets can help to block the smoke from coming inside.  Operating an efficient ventilation system can also keep your indoor air clear.  For the smoke that does make it inside, using an air purifier, such as our MinusA2, that combines a true HEPA filter with a charcoal based activated carbon filter can help to filter out the chemicals and odors from secondhand smoke.

Creepy Crawly Cockroach Allergies

Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of flicking on the lights in the kitchen late at night, and seeing a dark shape quickly skitter back beneath the fridge.  Cockroaches usually keep themselves hidden when people are around, and so many people are unaware that the creepy critters are lurking beneath cabinets and appliances around the home.  It is estimated that over three quarters of urban homes have hidden cockroach infestations, and seeing one roach is a good indicator that hundreds or even thousands more are hiding nearby.  An infestation of cockroaches is more than just unsanitary; the feces, saliva, and body parts of these bugs can cause allergic reactions or asthma attacks in as many as 23 to 60% of sufferers in urban areas. The more severe the asthma or allergies a person has, the more likely they are to have a reaction to cockroaches, and the more important it is to eradicate the infestation.

Cockroaches are notoriously hardy and difficult to get rid of, so if an infestation is suspected, the most important step is to contact a pest control service that specializes in removing the unwanted houseguests.  You can also take precautions to make your home more hostile to the bugs by covering trash and keeping all food stored tightly and off of counters.  While you work to clear your home from these pests, you can help to relieve some of the allergy symptoms they cause with frequent cleaning.  Keep the air in your home clean and breathable by using an air purifier, like our MinusA2, to trap any feces or roach byproducts that may be circulating in the air. Make sure to wipe down surfaces frequently, and clean floors and upholstery using a vacuum with a true HEPA filter. With a proactive approach and a good pest control company to help, you can say goodbye to roaches and start breathing better at home once more.

Promising News for the Treatment of Asthma

755956_pillsThere may be exciting news on the horizon for those who suffer from asthma.  A new experimental drug is showing promise in clinical trials as a potential way to treat asthma in those who have been resistant to other forms of treatment. Researchers state that between 10 and 20% of patients are not able to fully control their asthma symptoms using traditional therapies, and the scientists hope that their new drug will help this subset of sufferers. Rather than treating the symptoms of asthma, as many other medications do, the drug has been designed to treat the underlying cause of asthma. So far, their results have been quite promising. After a 12 week trial, patients using the new drug were found to have an 87% reduction in asthma attacks. As of right now, more research and testing will be required before the drug will become available.

Over 25 million Americans are thought to suffer from asthma, a chronic respiratory disease where airways in the lungs become inflamed and restricted, causing shortness of breath and trouble breathing.  These symptoms can be worsened by exposure to environmental triggers, such as allergens and air pollutants, as well as factors such as diet, illness or vigorous physical activity.  Traditional treatments include administration of steroids or use of inhalers to control symptoms as they occur.  Managing exposure to environmental triggers can also prove helpful in reducing asthma attacks.  At home, sufferers can use an air purifier with a true HEPA filter, like our MinusA2 Asthma and Allergy Friendly Edition, to filter the air of dust, pollen, and pollutants that can trigger an attack.  It is also helpful to remove items that tend to collect lots of dust, such as curtains or carpets.  For more ideas about how to control asthma and information on the latest research, visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s website.

How to Stay Safe and Healthy During the Summer

Summertime is here; when the temperature rises and we long for lazy days spent lounging on the beach.  Here are some tips for staying safe and healthy while you enjoy the season!

mediterranean beach - italy

Limit Your Sun Exposure
It can be hard to resist the relaxing pleasure of lying out in the sun, but too much time spent outside can cause serious sunburns.  Make sure not to doze off by the pool, and limit direct exposure to less than fifteen minutes.  During outdoor activities, make sure to wear a high quality sunscreen, and learn to love wide brimmed hats, long flowing sleeves, and other clothes that provide protection.

Stay Hydrated
Spending time outdoors when the heat is high can leave you feeling dehydrated, sick, and put you at risk for heat stroke. Keep a water bottle with you when you go out, and remember to sip from it often.  Although strenuous activities put you most at risk, even casual strolls can leave you needing water.  You can also make keeping hydrated fun, by making creative fruit infusions that add natural flavor and color to your water.

Hiking BootsKeep Bugs Away
Humans aren’t the only ones that love to come out in the summer – pesky bugs, like mosquitoes and ticks, do too.  These pests can cause irritation when they bite, and can even cause more serious illnesses, so keeping them at bay is a top priority. Wear long sleeves and pants when hiking or camping, and use mosquito repellent or netting to keep a barrier between you and the bugs.

Keep an Eye on Air Quality
The summer sun can cause air quality to worsen by heating up chemical compounds lingering in the air and combining them with nitrogen oxide to create unhealthy levels of smog.  Check local air quality forecasts when planning outdoor activities, and when you are cooling off inside, keep your indoor air clear by running an air purifier that uses a Charcoal Based Activated Carbon filter to absorb harmful chemicals.

Forest Fires and Health

Forest FireForest fires can be more dangerous than you might think. Though the most immediate danger comes from the fire itself, the smoke from a fire can harm people up to hundreds of miles away from the actual blaze. During a forest fire, a number of harmful emissions are released into the air in high concentrations, including small particulate matter, such as carbon monoxide, atmospheric mercury, and volatile organic compounds. As these pollutants are released during a fire, winds can spread them further than one might expect, leaving people unprepared or unaware of the health hazards.  Breathing in these pollutants can exacerbate symptoms for those who have lung or heart disease, and even otherwise healthy people can also be at risk for symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and headaches.  The longer one is exposed to these pollutants, the higher these risks can be.

We can all do our part to stop wildfires before they start. When camping, make sure to never leave camp fires unattended and douse them fully with water when you are ready to put them out.  During dry summer days, make sure to keep a close eye on barbeques, bonfires and even lawnmowers – they can create sparks that can ignite dry grass.  When fires do occur, you can protect yourself by checking local air quality reports and staying inside when air quality dips.  It is also advised not to do any indoor activity that will add to pollutant levels if possible. This includes using wood burning stoves, lighting candles, and even vacuuming, as vacuums can throw particles that have settled on surfaces back into the air.  Using an air purifier is the best way to keep the indoor air clean, and if you live in a fire-prone area, consider adding an air purifier with a true HEPA filter before fire season starts so that you know you are protected even before pollutant levels begin to rise.

March is Red Cross Month

This month, Rabbit Air joins with the rest of the nation in appreciation of the American Red Cross and all of the hard work that it does to help people in need. Founded by Clara Barton in 1881, the American Red Cross is dedicated to providing fast relief and supportive care for individuals affected by disasters both at home in the United States and all over the world. Thanks to its hard work and the tireless efforts of its many volunteers, the American Red Cross has made a huge difference in the lives of millions.  Red Cross Month was started by President Roosevelt in 1943, and has continued annually to this day to support the organizations fundraising efforts and to show our thanks for the amazing work that they do.

There are many ways that you can show your appreciation to the American Red Cross. Giving blood is one of the more personal ways to help, as your donation may be instrumental in saving a life. Even if you are afraid of needles, or unable to give blood due to health concerns, volunteers are always needed to help set up and run blood drives all over the country.  Donations and fundraising efforts are two more great ways to lend your support; you can even donate your unused airline miles to help ensure that Red Cross volunteers are able to travel to the places that need their help most.  You can even be of help simply by using social media.  Sharing tweets and Facebook updates from the Red Cross helps to raise awareness of their programs and donation needs.

Healthy Resolutions for the New Year

The tradition of making a resolution for the New Year goes back a surprisingly long time; all the way to the Romans during the first century BC, in fact.  At that time, the celebration revolved around the two headed god Janus, who had one head looking behind to the past year and the other, forward to the future. Roman citizens were encouraged to do the same and evaluate their past actions so that they could resolve to improve themselves in the coming year.  Over the centuries, the tradition has gone in and out of popularity, and was changed many times along the way.  While we no longer celebrate with Janus, the New Year’s Resolution is a popular practice that many like to make as they look forward to a bright new year.

Here are some ideas for a healthy New Year’s resolution!

1)       If you wake up with a stuffy nose and find yourself sniffling every morning, this might be the year to make your bedroom allergy friendly.  Every month, make one change to help you breathe better at night. This can be as easy as replacing cloth curtains with vertical blinds, using a hypo-allergenic cover for your mattress, or adding an air purifier.

2)       Start doing random acts of cleaning throughout your home.  Wash a dish every time you walk into the kitchen, or dust a different shelf during each commercial break of your favorite show. By making the tasks small and simple, you won’t get overwhelmed, and you can even help to relieve asthma and allergy symptoms by removing clutter and preventing a build-up of dust or mold.

3)       If you spent a lot of time last year lounging on the couch, try adding a brisk walk to your weekly routine.  You don’t have to do much to start reaping some of the benefits gained by regular walks, so don’t be afraid to start slowly. Easing into a new routine can make it easier to stick it out too; start at a pace that feels comfortable to you, and as your build up stamina, you can start walking faster or walking more days a week to get the most out of this healthy activity.

4)       Whether you want to lose a few pounds or just want to strive for a healthier lifestyle, make it your New Year’s resolution to add some more “super foods” into your diet.  These foods – like spinach, walnuts, honey, and salmon – contain powerful nutrients like anti-oxidants and vitamins that play an important part to keep you feeling great.  Challenge yourself to eat one of these nutrient rich foods every day for a healthy and delicious new year!

Staying Healthy Over the Holidays

The holiday season is in full swing, and while we love this festive and fun time of year, we also know that colds and allergies can get worse during the winter months.  Since no one wants to miss out on quality time with family and friends because of a stuffy nose, there are ways that you can keep smart about staying healthy during the winter months.

Having visitors for the holidays can be a merry treat, but friends and family bring more than just their luggage when they come to your home – they carry in germs and bacteria as well.  Keep yourself from getting sick by washing your hands frequently and making sure that anyone with a cough or stuffy nose covers their mouth.

If you celebrate Christmas with a real pine tree, be wary of mold that may sneak in on the needles or bark, and make sure to dispose of any fallen needles right away.  If you prefer an artificial tree to keep the pollen and mold at bay, remember to clean the tree frequently, as the needles provide a lot of surface area for dust to settle and collect.

Rain and snow are great when you’re inside sipping on hot cocoa, but they also create a moist environment where mold loves to thrive.  Keep humidity levels below 50%, and make sure to plug up any leaky windows or places where moisture can seep in.  You may also want to add an air purifier, such as our MinusA2 with the Germ Defense Customized Filter, that can tackle any dust, mold, or germs that make it into the air.  With an air purifier in the home you can worry less about airborne allergens and germs, and focus on the important things – the people you love!