With a little help from my friends: friendly free apps for meditation and breathing

Screenshot 2014-08-31 13.16.23 (2)Because your smartphone is so handy, why not add a few apps that will allow you to take some minutes just for yourself? Here are some to get you started if you find taking time away from the “now” for just yourself is sometimes difficult:

  1. Buddify 2:  Greets you with a color wheel, asks “what are you doing?” and offers slices of guided meditations for waking up, a work break, when you can’t sleep, plenty of other times. They last from 6 – 17 minutes, depending upon what you choose. I like the voices, but I also agree with critics that sometimes the words are too far apart . . . you get into a zone, then the monologue resumes. Still, this is an easy app to slip away with.
  2. Long Deep Breathing: You can set this in all kinds of ways to allow a simple, clear chime tell you to take a deep breath in, hold for a second or two, and allow a deep breath out. You decide how the inhalation, holding, and exhalation are. You decide how long to conduct the exercise. I find I’m breathing longer and better as I use this lovely app.
  3. SleepMachine: With this app, you can choose one sound to guide to you sleep or combine up to three.  I use crickets and beach sounds, each set to its own level, and I’m gone.
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“Silent Reflux”: the hanger on in my house

S5937618994_fa95be83fc_mhould I complain? Considering how much I’ve learned, perhaps not. But I shall, anyway.

I’ve learned that you can have something called “Silent Reflux,” or more medically, “LPR Reflux” which is “Larynogopharyngeal Reflux.”

Wouldn’t that be “LP Reflux”? Whatever, it was an eye-opener.

Some hints: you don’t necessarily have heartburn, you don’t react to food the way people with ‘normal’ reflux do, and you don’t know you have it. Ah, hence the term “silent.”  However, that same stomach acid that gives your friend symptoms after a spicy, large meal can send material up that irritates your esophagus and plays havoc with your voice box. Some people have a lump in the throat feeling; not me. Some people do have heartburn; not me. But I have had hoarseness for weeks, and, according to my friendly allergist, a post nasal drippy thing that I was so used to I didn’t notice it. And no, I have never smoked, a definite risk factor for both bronchitis and LPR.

I want to deal with this naturally when I get over the bronchitis (10 days and counting), but for now, I am taking that darn purple pill.  My thinking-outside-the-box allergist copied a “Sinus Lavage for Bacterial Biofilm” which looks and sounds gross, but is a true miracle worker.  Basically you stick some saline water with baby shampoo up your sinuses, hold in two positions, and blow a dishrag of mucus out that you really don’t know where it came from. I did some research on it and found that “Baby shampoo nasal irrigation has promise as an inexpensive, tolerable adjuvant to conventional medical therapies for symptomatic patients after [sinus surgery]. Its greatest benefit may be in improving symptoms of thickened nasal discharge and postnasal drainage.” Read for yourself – it’s in the American Journal of Rhinology. But why not break down that biofilm now so no surgery is needed? My physician thinks it helps with all things nasal, and now, I’m a believer.

Here’s the drill, and I promise, it’s worth it:

  1. Take 5 drops of Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoo and mix with 8 oz of warm saline.
  2. Fill a syringe with 7 mL (1.5 teaspoons) of the mixture; instill into right nostril, holding both nostrils closed to prevent the fluid from draining out.
  3. Get into a head down position for 1 – 2 minutes (put your head over the bed or otherwise get it several feet lower than the rest of you).
  4. Then, keeping nostrils closed, lie on your right side for 1 – 2 minutes.
  5. Now get up and let ‘er rip.  Don’t be surprised.
  6. Repeat steps 1 – 5 for the left side.

This is helping rid me of both my LPR and bronchitis more quickly than before. I do it twice a day. With the rest of what I’m learning about how what I eat affects me, I think I’ll be back to better-than-ever health soon.