The dramatic growth in plant cover will not offset the damage made from deforestation


The extra carbon being stored by this additional vegetation only represents seven per cent of the 60 billion tonnes of carbon that has been emitted into the atmosphere.

 

The dramatic growth in plant cover in the past decade gives a huge boost to the battle against global warming. But any celebrations should be muted by this sobering fact: the extra carbon being stored by this additional vegetation, while enormous, only represents seven per cent of the 60 billion tonnes of carbon that has been emitted into the atmosphere over the same period, which will remain there for centuries.

 

There is no sense, then, in which the increased carbon uptake of our plantlife detracts from the urgent need to step up the fight against climate change by cutting fossil fuel use and protecting woodland.

 

The need to preserve our diminishing rainforests is particularly acute.

 

This report may have identified a surprisingly big increase in plant cover, but there is nothing unexpected about the confirmation it provided about tropical deforestation.

 


The devastation of the rainforests is particularly worrying because these not only act as a major carbon sink – they also provide one of the most “biodiverse” habitats in the world, supporting vast networks of inter-dependent species.

 

Total plant cover has increased in the past decade, but in many cases the quality of this cover is far lower than the loss of the tropical forests it is helping to offset.

 

Only about half of the rainforest loss has been offset by growth in coniferous and mixed-leaf forests, with much of the rest of the increase coming from shrubland and savannas.

 

But as the report states, these kind of carbon sinks are “very sensitive to year-to-year changes in rainfall over savanna regions” – we only need one very dry year for much of the carbon stored in recent years to be released back into the atmosphere.

 

World leaders will attend a UN climate change conference in Paris in December to agree action to curb the worst effects of global warming. Given the key contribution rainforests make to the planet’s carbon sink and biodiversity their preservation needs to be high on the agenda.

 

 

Via: Independent


Living near more trees means fewer antidepressants

Trees are incredibly smart. They run on sunshine, provide shade in summer and ever so kindly drop their leaves to allow the winter sun through. And now a team from the University of Exeter has determined that they are good for our mental health, too. Londoners who had more trees on their street popped fewer antidepressant pills. Eric Jaffe of Citylab reports:
The study methods were straightforward: Researchers gathered data on antidepressant prescriptions across London in 2009-2010 and paired that with data on street trees in the same area. … The numbers revealed an average of 40 trees per kilometer across the boroughs of London, with antidepressant prescriptions ranging from about 358 to 578 per 1,000 people. But the places with higher tree densities had lower prescription rates.
So what is it about trees that makes us happier people? Perhaps they know they are going to live longer, as discovered by Geoffrey Donovan who looked at comparable death rates in areas where the emerald ash-borer killed all the trees. In other research Donovan found that trees prevent crime, correlating tree coverage with crime statistics; the more trees, the lower the crime rate.
Research by the USDA’s Forest Service also showed that people who live around trees are physically healthier: “About 850 lives are saved each year, the number of acute respiratory symptoms is lower by about 670,000 incidents each year, and the total health care savings attributed to pollution removal by trees is around $7 billion a year.”
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boston communities and tree cover
A tale of two cities. At top: Poor Somerville, Massachusetts; at bottom: Rich Cambridge, Massachusetts (Photo: Google Earth via Per Square Mile)
Over at Per Square Mile, Tim de Chant spent some quality time with Google Earth, comparing neighborhoods and finding that (surprise!) wealthy neighborhoods have more trees. He also quotes research on the subject:
They found that for every 1 percent increase in per capita income, demand for forest cover increased by 1.76 percent. But when income dropped by the same amount, demand decreased by 1.26 percent. That’s a pretty tight correlation. The researchers reason that wealthier cities can afford more trees, both on private and public property. The well-to-do can afford larger lots, which in turn can support more trees.
Indeed, piles of of research show that people who live around trees are richer, healthier, safer, live longer and just generally lead happier lives. In America, where the poor don’t have as easy access to health care and prescriptions, it might skew the pill-poppers up the economic ladder. Since the National Health System in the U.K. gives pretty much everyone equal access to care and prescriptions, it shouldn’t be surprising that poorer, sicker and less happy people would be taking more antidepressants.
study-adjustments-2
The authors of the study claim that they have adjusted for socioeconomic status, employment status, prevalence of smoking and age. There is so much statistical noise here that it’s impossible to tell what factor is actually causing the difference, but the conclusion is clear: “Street trees may have a role to play in supporting neighborhood mental health.”
Amen to that.

Via mnn

Stanford Biologist Warns: Early Signs of Earth’s 6th Mass Extinction in Progress

Those who keep taking our biodiversity for granted: dumping corporate waste, spraying copious amounts of herbicides and pesticides, contaminating our water with fluoride, arsenic, and other industrial chemicals while generally ignoring the environment at large, have another thing coming. According to a Stanford biology professor, Rodolfo Dirzo, the earth has begun its 6th mass extinction cycle – and it’s our fault.

 

 

 

More than 3.5 billion years of biodiversity hang in the balance. According to lead author Dirzo, we have reached a tipping point. In a recently published review of scientific literature and an analysis of data published in Science, an international team of scientists cautions that the loss and decline of animals is contributing to what appears to be the beginning of the planet’s sixth mass biological extinction event.

 

 

While 320 terrestrial animals have died off since 1500, populations of the remaining animal species show a recurring decline of 25 percent. There is a similar dire prophecy for invertebrate life.

 

 

What’s alarming is that previous extinctions were caused by planetary transformation or asteroid strikes, and the current die-off is entirely due to human error.

 

 

 

Humans are Causing the Deaths of Many Species

 

 

Professor Dirzo is calling our time an era of “Anthropocene defaunation.”Human ignorance and greed are its causes. According to the study:

 

 

“Across vertebrates, 16 to 33 percent of all species are estimated to be globally threatened or endangered. Large animals – described as megafauna and including elephants, rhinoceroses, polar bears and countless other species worldwide – face the highest rate of decline, a trend that matches previous extinction events.

 

 

 

Larger animals tend to have lower population growth rates and produce fewer offspring. They need larger habitat areas to maintain viable populations. Their size and meat mass make them easier and more attractive hunting targets for humans.”

 

 

 

What people seem to misunderstand is that while these species represent a fairly small number in representation of all animal life, they inherently represent a failure of our global ecosystem to support life. Their loss imposes a trickle-down affect that would eventually eradicate other species, and possibly even human beings.

 

 

 


For example, when zebras, giraffes, and elephants were removed in a Kenyan landscape, the areas quickly became over-run with rodents. The soil compaction also decreased, and more shrubs and grasses grew, causing the rodent population to increase even further – doubling, in fact, in a  very small time period. This means that the diseases rodents carried, including various parasites, also became more prevalent, posing a threat to human health.

 

 

 

“Where human density is high, you get high rates of defaunation, high incidence of rodents, and thus high levels of pathogens, which increases the risks of disease transmission,” said Dirzo, who is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “Who would have thought that just defaunation would have all these dramatic consequences? But it can be a vicious circle.”

 

 

 

While human populations have doubled in the past 35 years (and our abominable environmental practices along with that), invertebrate species are dying off. This includes spiders, butterflies, worms, and bees.

 

 

 

The scientists observed a 45% decrease in the same period that humans have flourished. Loss of habitat and the defamation of ecosystems was primary in the loss of these animals. Since insects pollinate roughly 75% of the world’s food crops, it is obvious that the loss of further invertebrates would further negatively impact modern civilization.

 

 

 

“We tend to think about extinction as loss of a species from the face of Earth, and that’s very important, but there’s a loss of critical ecosystem functioning in which animals play a central role that we need to pay attention to as well,”Dirzo said. “Ironically, we have long considered that defaunation is a cryptic phenomenon, but I think we will end up with a situation that is non-cryptic because of the increasingly obvious consequences to the planet and to human wellbeing.”

 

 

 

Meanwhile, corporations given personhood are absolved from any responsibility for ruining our planet. Glyphosate is still used, our water is still polluted by corporations as diverse as Walmart, Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, Syngenta, and BP Oil or Exxon, and our governments tend to look the other way while worshipping the almighty dollar. I’d like to see them try to eat a $5 bill when there is nothing green or living left on this planet.

 

 

 

References:

 

 

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/july/sixth-mass-extinction-072414.html 

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6195/401.full

https://woods.stanford.edu/ 

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/vital-invertebrates-decline-by-45-per-cent-study-finds-9626745.html

Credits: naturalsociety.com. Guest contributor. Used with permission.

 

Via:
themindunleashed

How To Make Natural Ginger Ale

It turns out that soda hasn’t always been the high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavor concoction in an aluminum can that we know today.

For hundreds of years (and probably much longer) cultures around the world have made various forms of naturally fermented “sodas” from sweetened herbal teas or fruit juice mixes. These natural fermented drinks contained beneficial enzymes and probiotics to boost health and were a far cry from the unhealthy versions we have today.

This version uses a fermented ginger culture to create a naturally fizzy soda! Ginger is and delicious herb that has been used in many cultures for its health-boosting properties. From my herb profile of ginger:

Ginger has been used in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years and is said to help:

  • Soothe digestive disturbances
  • Alleviate nausea (great in early pregnancy)
  • Reduce fever
  • Calm coughing and respiratory troubles
  • Stimulates the circulatory system
  • Helps relieve muscle aches and pain
  • Can help get rid of dandruff
  • Emerging evidence shows it helps lower cholesterol
  • Japanese research has found Ginger is effective in lowering blood pressure and cancer risk”

This natural recipe for ginger ale uses fresh ginger and a cultured ginger mixture (called a ginger bug) to create a naturally fermented and naturally fizzy ginger ale. Though this mixture can contain a small amount of alcohol if left to ferment at room temperature for weeks, we use the short brew method to create a fizzy soda without the alcohol.

Homemade ginger ale is soothing for digestive disturbances and contains probiotics and enzymes. As with any fermented product, I’d suggest starting with a small amount (4 ounce or so) and working up as all the probiotics and enzymes can cause an upset stomach in those who aren’t used to consuming fermented products. I found small amounts of this mixture helpful in early pregnancy to ward off nausea and any time one of us has an upset stomach. It also just tastes great!

This recipe makes 2 quarts of natural ginger ale, though the recipe can be adjusted up or down by using a ratio of 1/4 cup sugar per 1 quart of water and adding 1/4 cup ginger bug starter per quart of water.


4.7 from 9 reviews
Natural Ginger Ale

How to make natural ginger ale a healthy and delicious treat full of probiotics and enzymes Natural Ginger Ale

A naturally fermented old-fashioned ginger ale (also once called Ginger Beer) that contains beneficial probiotics and enzymes.
Author: Wellness Mama
Recipe type: Cultured – Beverage

Ingredients

  • A 1-2 inch pieceof fresh ginger root, minced. Adjust this to taste. I use 2 inches as I prefer a stronger ginger taste.
  • ½ cup of organic sugar or rapadura sugar. if using plain sugar, add 1 tablespoon molasses for flavor and minerals.
  • ½ cup fresh lemon or lime juice
  • ½ tsp sea salt or himalayan salt
  • 8 cups of filtered (chlorine free) water (Here is the water filter we use)
  • ½ cup homemade ginger bug (or can use ¼ cup whey for a faster recipe though the flavor won’t be quite as good. Here is a tutorial for how to make whey)

Instructions
  1. Make a “wort” for your ginger ale by placing 3 cups of the water, minced ginger root, sugar (and molasses if needed), and salt in a saucepan and bringing to a boil.
  2. Simmer the mixture for about five minutes until sugar is dissolved and mixture starts to smell like ginger.
  3. Remove from heat and add additional water. This should cool it but if not, allow to cool to room temperature before moving to the next step.
  4. Add fresh lemon or lime juice and ginger bug (or whey).
  5. Transfer to a 2 quart glass mason jar with a tight fitting (air-tight) lid. Stir well and put lid on.
  6. Leave on the counter for 2-3 days until carbonated and transfer to the fridge where it will last indefinitely.
  7. Watch this step carefully. Using whey will cause it to ferment more quickly and it will take less time. It should be bubble and should “hiss” like a soda when the lid is removed. This is very temperature dependent and the mixture may need to be burped or stirred during this fermentation time on the counter.
  8. As with any traditional fermented drink, it is more of an art than a science as it depends on the strength of your culture, the temperature of your house and the sugar used. The final mixture should smell of ginger and slightly of yeast/fermentation and should be fizzy. Watch carefully that it doesn’t become too carbonated as this will cause too much pressure and may result in an exploding jar!
  9. The mixture can be strained and transferred to Grolsch style bottles before putting in the fridge (we like these bottles).
  10. Strain before drinking.
  11. Enjoy!

Via: wellnessmama

Vending Machine Takes Bottles & Gives Food To Stray Dogs In Exchange

 

 

A company in Turkey called Pugedon has created a somewhat bizarre but effective way to kill two birds with one stone – their vending machine in Istanbul takes bottles deposited for recycling and dispenses food for the city’s stray dogs.

 

 

The machine works because the profit from the recycled bottles covers the cost of the dog food that the machine dispenses. Istanbul is known for its high number of stray dogs – some estimates say that there are as many as 150,000. Some locals love having the dogs around, who have adjusted so well to city life that they stop at traffic lights and walkways, but others want to get rid of them because of their aggression and their role as disease vectors.

 

 

Istanbul has more than 150,000 stray dogs

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Image credit: Jodi Hilton

This machine helps them out by giving people an opportunity to feed them

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When they recycle their bottles, the machine dispenses food for the strays

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It also has a water bowl if you don’t want your water anymore

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Here’s a video of the machine in action

Via: the-open-mind

 

Food Waste Powers Grocery Store

 

 

Wealthier parts of the world waste a lot of food, at huge environmental and social cost. One estimate holds that 40% of America’s food supply is wasted. However, the second largest supermarket chain in the UK is salvaging something from the wreckage, Sainsbury’s has abandoned the practice of sending food waste to landfill. Instead, their food waste will power selected stores. “It was the right thing to do, but also it was the right commercial thing to do,” Paul Crewe, head of sustainability at Sainsbury’s told Fast Company. “Putting food waste into landfill costs £150 per ton, and the alternative of [turning it into energy] is significantly cheaper. It’s putting that waste to true, positive use.”

 

 

Organic material that can’t be used by foodbanks or for animal feed is taken to biogas plants, where methane produced when it rots is burnt for electricity. Until recently that power was fed directly into the grid. The energy produced was equivalent to that used by three of Sainsbury’s 1200 stores.

 

 

However, Sainsbury’s happens to have a supermarket quite close to one of the power plants, so Crewe decided to run a line direct from station to store. The move doesn’t change the overall environmental benefit of using the waste in this way, but it does provide a powerful symbol of what is possible, running the supermarket purely on the energy produced from waste. Crewe also sees benefits for Saisnbury’s in being less reliant on the national grid.

 

 

Solar panels placed on the roofs of its supermarkets are making an even larger contribution to reducing Sainsbury’s emissions, making the chain the largest solar power generator in Europe as of 2012. Energy efficiency measures have cut consumption by 9% over four years, despite substantial growth in stores.

 

 

The efforts do not address the problem of wastage after food has been bought, which recently drew the attention of the House of Lords. Food waste has also been demonstrated to provide a potential source of biodegrable plastics. However, the most radical out of the box solution might come from the French chain Intermarché, who realized much of the waste came from fruits and vegetables people won’t buy because of their looks. Through a combination of discounting and humor, Intermaché’s “glorify the inglorious” campaign slashed the amount of waste food needing disposal.
Via: iflscience

 

 

Tourists Heroically Rescue A Pod Of 30 Dolphins That Beached Themselves

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One guy was just having an ordinary day at a beach in Arraial do Cabo in Brazil when he spotted something odd in the ocean. As soon as he realized what was going on, he began filming immediately. A pod of over thirty dolphins were swimming straight at him. It’s hard to say why the dolphins swam straight at the shore, but they were about to get into a bunch of trouble.

 

 

The dolphins became beached and were stranded. Luckily, a crowd of bystanders were quick to react and came to their rescue. Watch the craziness unfold before your very eyes in the video below.

 

Via: viralnova
Image source: youtube

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A Recipe For Fat Flush Water (It Literally Flushes Fat)

 

You may have heard some of the hype about “Fat Flush Water.” But how exactly does water flush fat out of your system? Clearly, water is not some kind of magic diet supplement. Your body needs enough water everyday to keep hydrated and cleanse itself of unwanted materials. Fat deposits that form on the body can be tough to break down and eliminate, but proper nutrition and exercise can help greatly with this.

Fat is broken down when the body uses its fat deposits to produce energy, the triglycerides in the fat cells are removed. Then, these are broken down into fatty acids and glycerols and are then absorbed into your muscle tissue and internal organs where they are then broken down even further through various chemical processes. If the products leftover from these chemical processes are not used by the body as energy, they are then considered waste products and need to be removed from the body. This is where the role of water comes in.

The Role Of Water

Water is the vehicle used to remove these waste products from the body. The leftover materials from the fat breakdown are then filtered out of your organs by the water that you drink. The water carries the waste to your bladder where it is then expelled from your body through your urine! Our bodies truly are amazing! It is important to drink enough water each day to keep you hydrated and facilitate the breakdown and elimination of fat cells. Many sources claim that you should be consuming around 8 glasses of water per day, but this number can largely vary depending on your size, how often you are exercising and even how hot it is outside. Try and keep drinking water consistently throughout the day and consider water before soda, fruit juices or other sugary drinks as these can actually dehydrate your body even more. Often a lack of energy and even headaches throughout the day are simply caused by mild dehydration. It is a good idea to make a conscious effort to drink more water. A little extra is definitely better than not enough!

The Fat Flush Water Recipe -And How It Works

2 Liters (64 oz.) Purified Water

 

1 Tangerine, sectioned

 

1/2 Grapefruit, sliced

 

1 Cucumber, sliced

 

4 Peppermint or Spearmint Leaves

 

Ice, (made from purified water) optional

Mix in a pitcher before bed and drink throughout the entire next day. Please consider using organic produce for this, if it is unavailable to you, thoroughly wash the produce before adding it to the water.

  • The tangerine increases your sensitivity to insulin, stabilizes blood sugar and because they are high in vitamin C, you increase the fat burning during exercise
    Tangerine increases your sensitivity to insulin, stabilizes blood sugar, and stimulates genes to burn fat. – See more at: http://rawforbeauty.com/blog/fat-flush-water.html#sthash.uB4BsHaw.dpuf
  • The grapefruit will increase metabolic energy, burn fat and increase energy
  • The cucumber helps you to feel more full, and acts is a natural diuretic which means less bloating and water retention
  • The mint leaves aid in digestion

There you have it! Please be advised that drinking water alone or even this recipe for the water provided above is unlikely to burn fat on its own. This is considered a fat flush, meaning that you will still need to do the exercise that is required to break down the fat, so that it can then be eliminated by the body. Proper nutrition also plays a huge role, its not about restricting calories, but making sure to get enough calories for your body from healthy, lean, whole foods. At the very least, this tasty water recipe will give you some added nutrients throughout the day, and help to ensure that you are drinking enough water. Enjoy!

Via: collective-evolution

 

 

21 Health Hacks Everyone Should Know

 

1. Cure a Tickling Throat

When you were 9, playing your armpit was a cool trick. Now, as an adult, you can still appreciate a good body-based feat, especially if it serves as a health remedy. Take that tickle in your throat: It’s not worth gagging over. Here’s a better way to scratch your itch: Scratch your ear. “When the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm,” says Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose, and throat specialty center in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. “This spasm relieves the tickle.”

2. Experience Supersonic Hearing

If you’re stuck chatting up a mumbler at a cocktail party, lean in with your right ear. It’s better than your left at following the rapid rhythms of speech, according to researchers at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to identify that song playing softly in the elevator, turn your left ear toward the sound. The left ear is better at picking up music tones.

3. Calm Yourself With Cold Water

Nerves getting the best of you. Take a deep breath and spash cold water on your face. This triggers the mammalian diving reflex that is genetically in all animals including humans. The lower temperature of the water and you holding your breath also causes your body to think it’s diving into cold water. This reflex allows you to use oxygen more efficiently.

4. Overcome Your Most Primal Urge To Pee

Need to pee? No bathroom nearby? Fantasize about what ever turns you on. Thinking about sex and arousing fantasies preoccupies your brain, so you won’t feel as much discomfort, says Larry Lipshultz, M.D., chief of male reproductive medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.

5. Feel No Pain While Giving Blood

Love donating blood but hate the needle prick? German researchers have discovered that coughing during a needle stick can lessen the pain. According to Taras Usichenko, author of a study on the phenomenon, the trick causes a sudden, temporary rise in pressure in the chest and spinal canal, inhibiting the pain-conducting structures of the spinal cord.

6. Swallow Your Horse-Sized Supplements

Those huge health supplements are sometimes a pain toswallow. Want to swallow more than one at a time without gagging? Try this trick to get them down: take a drink of water, and tilt your head forward instead of backward. The capsule should float, and will be at the back of your throat, ready to swallow.

7. Clear Your Stuffed Nose

Forget Sudafed. Here’s an easier, quicker, and cheaper remedy to relieve sinus pressure: Alternate thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then pressing between your eyebrows with one finger. This causes the vomer bone, which runs through the nasal passages to the mouth, to rock back and forth, says Lisa DeStefano, D.O., an assistant professor at the Michigan State University college of osteopathic medicine. The motion loosens congestion; after 20 seconds, you’ll feel your sinuses start to drain.

8. Fight Acid Reflux By Sleeping Position

Worried that chilli will repeat on you tonight? Try this preventive remedy: “Sleep on your left side,” says Anthony A. Starpoli, M.D., a New York City gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at New York Medical College. Studies have shown that patients who sleep on their left sides are less likely to suffer from acid reflux. The esophagus and stomach connect at an angle. When you sleep on your right, the stomach is higher than the esophagus, allowing food and stomach acid to slide up your throat. When you’re on your left, the stomach is lower than the esophagus, so gravity’s in your favor.

9. Cure Your Toothache

Just rub ice on the back of your hand, on the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and index finger. A Canadian study found that this technique reduces toothache pain by as much as 50 percent compared with using no ice. The nerve pathways at the base of that V stimulate an area of the brain that blocks pain signals from the face and hands.

10. Make Burns Disappear

When you accidentally singe your finger on the stove, clean the skin and apply light pressure with the finger pads of your unmarred hand. Ice will relieve your pain more quickly, Dr. DeStefano says, but since the natual method brings the burned skin back to a normal temperature, the skin is less likely to blister.

11. Stop the World from Spinning

Feeling dizzy? Put your hand on something stable. The part of your ear responsible for balance–the cupula– floats in a fluid of the same density as blood. “As alcohol dilutes blood in the cupula, the cupula becomes less dense and rises,” says Dr. Schaffer. This confuses your brain. The tactile input from a stable object gives the brain a second opinion, and you feel more in balance. Because the nerves in the hand are so sensitive, this works better than the conventional foot-on-the-floor wisdom.

12. Unstitch Your Side

If you’re like most people, when you run, you exhale as your right foot hits the ground. This puts downward pressure on your liver (which lives on your right side), which then tugs at the diaphragm and creates a side stitch, according to The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Men. The fix: Exhale as your left foot strikes the ground.

13. Stop A Nose Bleed

Put some cotton on your upper gums–just behind that small dent below your nose–and press against it, hard. “Most bleeds come from the front of the septum, the cartilage wall that divides the nose,” says Peter Desmarais, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Entabeni Hospital, in Durban, South Africa. “Pressing here helps stop them.”

14. Make Your Heart Stand Still

Trying to quell first-date jitters? Blow on your thumb. The vagus nerve, which governs heart rate, can be controlled through breathing, says Ben Abo, an emergency medical-services specialist at the University of Pittsburgh. It’ll get your heart rate back to normal.

15. Thaw Your Brain Freeze

Press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, covering as much as you can. “Since the nerves in the roof of your mouth get extremely cold, your body thinks your brain is freezing, too,” says Abo. “In compensating, it overheats, causing an ice-cream headache.” The more pressure you apply to the roof of your mouth, the faster your headache will subside.

16. Prevent Near-Sightedness

Poor distance vision is rarely caused by genetics, says Anne Barber, O.D., an optometrist in Tacoma, Washington. “It’s usually caused by near-point stress.” In other words, staring at your computer screen for too long. So flex your way to 20/20 vision. Every few hours during the day, close your eyes, tense your body, take a deep breath, and, after a few seconds, release your breath and muscles at the same time. Tightening and releasing muscles such as the biceps and glutes can trick involuntary muscles–like the eyes–into relaxing as well.

17. Wake Up a Limb That Feel Asleep

If your hand falls asleep while you’re driving or sitting in an odd position, rock your head from side to side. It’ll painlessly banish your pins and needles in less than a minute, says Dr. DeStefano. A tingly hand or arm is often the result of compression in the bundle of nerves in your neck; loosening your neck muscles releases the pressure. Compressed nerves lower in the body govern the feet, so stand up and walk around if they fail you.

18. Impress Your Friends

Next time you’re at a party, try this trick: Have a person hold one arm straight out to the side, palm down, and instruct him to maintain this position. Then place two fingers on his wrist and push down. He’ll resist. Now have him put one foot on a surface that’s a half inch higher (a few magazines) and repeat. This time his arm will cave like the French. By misaligning his hips, you’ve offset his spine, says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Results Fitness, in Santa Clarita, California. Your brain senses that the spine is vulnerable, so it shuts down the body’s ability to resist.

19. Breathe Underwater

If you’re dying to retrieve that quarter from the bottom of the pool, take several short breaths first–essentially, hyperventilate. When you’re underwater, it’s not a lack of oxygen that makes you desperate for a breath; it’s the buildup of carbon dioxide, which makes your blood acidic, which signals your brain that somethin’ ain’t right. “When you hyperventilate, the influx of oxygen lowers blood acidity,” says Jonathan Armbruster, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology at Auburn University. “This tricks your brain into thinking it has more oxygen.” It’ll buy you up to 10 seconds.

20. Encode Long-Term Memory

Your own! “If you’re giving a speech the next day, review it before falling asleep,” says Candi Heimgartner, an instructor of biological sciences at the University of Idaho. Since most memory consolidation happens during sleep, anything you read right before bed is more likely to be encoded as long-term memory.

21. Relieve a Migraine Instantly

The next time you are about to reach for some pills to get rid of your headache, use your thumb and forefinger and pinch down on the muscle on the web of your hand (thumb on the back of your hand and forefinger underneath) and press for 2 minutes. Repeat. Most headaches and migraines will ease after just 4 minutes. This shiatsu point addresses headaches by dispersing stagnant Ki (i.e. blocked energy) and moving blood in the head, neck, and other parts of the body.

Via: expandedconsciousness