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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cold hand rantings from every angle

Photo Courtesy of DeviantArt.com


For one man it was a giant leap. For the peace process, not quite a small step. Before his election as Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu had sworn he would never deign to meet Yasser Arafat, a man he considered little more than a terrorist. Last week, however, Netanyahu was finally nudged into a handshake with the Palestinian leader. It was an enormous psychological hurdle for the Israeli leader. His Palestinian partners, though, felt as if they were beginning a relationship from scratch.

Denials notwithstanding, Netanyahu had plainly been pressured into the summit. In his first three months in office he had assiduously shunned Arafat and frozen plans to expand Palestinian self-rule, as promised in previously signed accords. Then Israeli intelligence agencies began warning that as a result, Arafat was fast losing standing among his people and that instability, perhaps violence, might follow. Finally, Israel's dovish President, Ezer Weizman, threatened publicly that if Netanyahu would not meet Arafat, he would. Netanyahu agreed to a summit.

The summit produced no breakthroughs on the next steps of interim Palestinian self-rule: an Israeli redeployment in Hebron, the last major Palestinian city still under full occupation, plus further withdrawals in the West Bank. To Palestinian dismay, Netanyahu insisted on reopening the Hebron agreement already completed by the previous Labor government. And while Netanyahu said last week that he may eventually be prepared to start discussions on the final status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, those negotiations had already begun under Labor. Publicly, Arafat's aides praised last week's summit, but privately they expressed reservations. Said one: "We are not satisfied, and we are not hopeful."

Cold hands, bright snow, dead batteries: challenges of cold-weather photography
by Find Articles

Snow may work white magic on the landscape, but it works black magic on photographs-and photographers. Few situations are as hard on you and your camera, or as tricky for your light meter.

The following tips can help you make photographing in snow easier and more effective, especially if you use a 35mm camera with adjustable settings.

Your equipment: avoid the big chill

If your camera depends on batteries for power, watch out. Cells are usually the first things to fail in the cold. Read your manual to learn what happens when your camera's batteries die. Some models quit altogether; other types with variable shutter speeds default to a single, fixed speed (usually 1/60 or 1/125 second).

If your camera switches to an unchangeable speed, you can still shoot if you can manually set the F-stop. To determine the correct exposure, use a handheld light meter or consult the printed guidelines that come with your film.

The best defense: keep batteries warm. Zip your camera inside your jacket between pictures. Or stow it in a camera bag. Tuck a hand warmer in the bag, too, being sure it doesn't touch the camera or acccssories. Check it often to make sure it isn't scorching your bag. Warmers, about $3 at sporting goods stores, can last several hours at a time.

And always carry spare batteries, stored in a warm, dry, inside pocket. Cut down condensation

Moisture can harm electronic and metal parts, especially if droplets freeze. Outdoors, try not to breathe on your camera; it causes condensation. Keep your camera in its case or bag when not in use; breathe away from it when shooting.

When you come in from the cold, you may see droplets forming on your gear. Beforeheading in, put all gear in your camera bag and close it up. The air inside will warm slowly, reducing or eliminating condensation. If you use your camera before it warms up, wipe off drops as they form. If getting into a car, stow gear in the unheated trunk.

Fend off frozen fingers

To set exposures and focus in cold weather, your fingers need to be both warm and nimble. Thin polypropylene gloves (about $8) or convertible wool mittens ($15, shown at middle right) afford a measure of both. Look for them in sporting goods stores and mountaineering .shops. You can try fingerless wool gloves ($9), though they don't offer as much protection. Don't let your camera go snow-blind Most light meters are averaging meters: they collect all the light in a scene, then give the proper exposure for the middle shades. In most situations, this means white comes out white, black looks black. But in a snow scene, the overabundance of white skews the averaee. Your camera doesn't let in enough light, and you end up with pictures of gray snow and dark faces. How you compensate for all that white depends on what kind of gear you use:

Automatic cameras. Some automatic cameras let you lock in an exposure. Move in close for a reading that measures your subject no snow lock that exposure in, then back up and shoot. For landscapes, lock in a reading on a relatively snowless part of the scene, then shoot.

If you can't manually override your camera's automatic settings, divide your film's ASA (ISO) number by four. Set your camera's ASA to that number. For ASA 400 film, for example, set your camera's meter to ASA 100. Note: If you decide to photograph a snowless situation on the same roll, remember to set the ASA back to 400.

Manual cameras. Take a close-up reading of your subject; that's your exposure.

If you can't lock in exposure or override the ASA (some cameras fix the ASA per a code on the film), include as little sunlit snow in your pictures as possible.


Cold Hands?
by Nick Quarrier MHS PT OCS

Do you have cold hands much of the time? Especially before a performance? And even if the room is hot? If yes, you may be interested in this information.

Cold hands are a sign of an overactive autonomic nervous system. More specifically, the signs of an overactive sympathetic nervous system. Our emotional and physiological self are controlled by the autonomic nervous system - a system that increases and decreases our heart rate, breathing rate, etc. One group of nerves "speeds" us up and one group of nerves "slows" us down. These groups are known as the sympathetic nerves and parasympathetic nerves. When the sympathetic nerves are fired (stimulated) the heart rate increases and blood is shunted from our hands, feet, and abdomen to our large muscle groups such as thighs and hips. Many muscles tense during this stimulation. This is a primitive reflex response which prepares us to flee from a threatening situation. (remember in high school biology the fight or flight response?) The parasympathetics, when stimulated, slows the heart rate down, causing rest, relaxation, and eventually sleep. During parasympathetic stimulation blood flows throughout the body and into the abdomenal organs (to help digestion, etc).

We live in a world that causes a domination of sympathetic nervous system stimulation. Every time we drive in an automobile, more than likely our sympathetics are fired and our muscles tense as we maneuver through a threatening environment. On the job stress stimulates the sympathetics, athletic performance stimulates the sympathetics, and musical performance stimulates the sympathetics. If you feel stressed out much of the time, more than likely your sympathetics are firing. This constant firing of sympathetics can bias the body's muscles into a continuous state of contraction or increased tension. This tension is easily noticed in a piano player practicing a difficult and demanding score and is evident by the shoulders elevating and being held rigidly. As the blood is shunted from the hands there is a reduced amount of nutrients and oxygen available to feed those muscles that are wroking so hard to play the notes! And thus there is no wonder why soreness in the hands and forearms may develop!

One important factor in preventing a music related injury or in recovering from an injury is to make sure the muscles doing all the work are well fed with nutrients and oxygen. The sympathetic nervous system must be controled. Yes, we need the sympathetics to excite us and assist in us in many of our activities. But we must not let them rule and dominate our bodies. How can we control them?

One of the most effective ways to reduce the sympathetic nervous system firing and to increase the parasympathetic nervous system (to relax us and circulate more blood to distal muscles) is to deep breath. We have always heard, "relax, calm down, take a few deep breaths!" This is sort of true but not totally. By deep breathing (diaphragmatic breathing) a greater quantity of oxygen enters our lungs. And as a greater quantity of oxygen is inhaled, the breathing rate naturally slows down. As the rate slows down carbon dioxide released in exhalation slows down and accumulates in the lungs and in our blood stream. (remember, oxygen is inhaled, carbon dioxide and oxygen is exhaled). Well, as carbon dioxide builds up in our blood a pH change occurs in the blood. As the pH changes the chemical nature of the blood stimulates the parasympathetics to fire! And the heart rate slows, blood flows back to the hands and feet, and relaxation occurs. It is that simple!!! But! It takes a minimum of 10 minutes of deep breathing to get the pH in the blood to change! That is why, "take a few deep breaths" doesn't work to relax us.

So to help warm the hands, reduce tension in the shoulders, help prevent injury, practice deep breathing throughout the day. Deep breath in the car on the way to work, while at the desk, preparing to perform, while watching TV, etc., etc......... It takes some practice, but is extremely rewarding!!!! and Warming!!

Warmer Hands Naturally! Ten Easy Free Tips
from Sound Feelings

Ten easy free tips on how to increase hand warmth naturally, from Sound Feelings. We offer this free cold hands information as self-improvement remedies and secrets to help bad circulation, shallow breathing and stress. These symptoms are known factors of freezing cold hands. Instead of the typical coping techniques of mittens and gloves, unique solutions are suggested. These include physical therapy, nutritional supplements, relaxation and affirmations. Say goodbye to freezing hands! See also: poor circulation, cold hands therapies, cold hands treatments, cold fingers.

The following tips are intended for pianists but are applicable to anyone who has the problem of cold hands.

1 Keep Your Neck and Wrists Covered.

Primary blood vessels come close to the surface of the skin in the neck and wrists. If you keep these areas protected from the air, less heat will escape.

2 Avoid:

tight clothing, smoking, drafts, the wrong calcium supplements and margarine. Tight clothing restricts the blood flow into the extremities. Smoking, of course is known to clog arteries. Drafts affect people sensitive to cold much worse than others. Dolomite or “elemental calcium” can clog blood vessels. “Organic” calcium like bone meal or oyster shell does not do this. Margarine, contrary to popular belief, cannot be absorbed or digested easily into the body. As a result it tends to leave a residue in the arteries which can cause arteriosclerosis, resulting in poor circulation. Also, never eat “hydrogenated vegetable oil” which is the same thing as margarine!

3 Use Exercise or Physical Therapy.

Three exercise movements are helpful for cold hands. (A) While you are standing, rotate the shoulders forward, up and back in a circular motion for about 30 seconds. (B) Rotate the wrists in both directions for a total of 30 seconds. (C) Make a fist without digging the nails into your palm. (The final joint of your fingers is not bent.) Alternatively tense and relax the hands in this position for about 30 seconds.

4 Supplement Your Diet.

All of the following supplements are known to be helpful to improve circulation. Many of them complement one another because they work in different ways. You can find many of the items in health food stores: ginger, fennel, cayenne, potassium, niacin, iron, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, lecithin, Ginkgo Biloba, apple cider vinegar, distilled water, lemon juice in hot distilled water. (Lemon juice in hot distilled water will have an amazing effect on cleansing your liver which is the “heat producer” for your body.) Also if you’re trying to avoid meat for whatever reason, this could be contributing to the problem! Some people just need to eat meat once in a while. Don’t be fanatical. Please allow about 30 days to see if any dietary changes have helped the situation. Also, most people develop a lining of old “mucoid plaque” in their intestines. People who have cold hands tend to have more of this layer than others. The supplements that you want to absorb through your small intestine cannot be absorbed very well if you have this layer of old material. You will see a direct connection in your hand warmth and the removal of old mucoid plaque in your intestines. Here’s what you can do about it.

5 Remove Fear.

The most extreme fear response is called the “fight or flight syndrome.” This is when our adrenal glands produce adrenaline and our physical reactions change. These physical symptoms include cold, sweaty or shaky hands, rapid heart beat, shallow breathing, disorientation, misperception of time, upset stomach, dry mouth, memory lapse and others. This response is named for our reaction to a predator at our cave door during our supposed prehistoric days, to fight or to flee the danger. The adrenaline is nature’s way of giving us the extra quickness of mind and body to make a life or death decision very fast. The down side is that this leaves the body somewhat worn out and tense. Some sensitive people have a tendency to live their whole life in a quasi-fear state so that they are always walking around feeling anxious. As a result, they are constantly experiencing subtle aspects of the fight or flight symptoms, even though they are not conscious of any impending danger. It almost becomes a habit or an addiction. This person’s personality is what one might call a “fear personality.” The solution is to gradually lessen or remove the fear. There are many methods of reducing fear, including psychotherapy, hypnosis, affirmations or plain old willpower.

6 Breathe Deeper.

People with cold hands tend to breathe shallow. Be aware of your breath and occasionally practice deep breathing. Eventually this will become automatic so that you won’t have to think about it. Consider this: the more deeply you breathe, the more oxygen you bring into your system. This oxygen is transferred from the lungs into the bloodstream and it is responsible for the transfer of heat throughout the body. The more oxygen you receive, the warmer you will be.

7 Practice Affirmations.

Affirmations are a way to actually reprogram your subconscious mind. Believe it or not, saying “I have warm hands” to yourself can have a profound effect, if you do it right. First of all, create the statement so that it makes sense to you. (“My hands are warm, Heat comes from my hands, I embrace life with abandon, etc.”) Affirmations only work when you engage your emotions. You must be in a joyful state and you must believe it. If you have doubt or you are negative, it won’t work. Some people repeatedly say or write affirmations in the morning, evening, or at various times throughout the day. Because affirmations are a tool to create a new reality, do not get discouraged while you are currently playing out your previously-created reality. Allow for an overlap of realities with patience.

8 Reduce Stress.

Many people have a healthy stress response. After the stressful event, they move on. But most of us tend to develop cumulative stress that builds and builds. This cumulative stress affects each person differently. Every illness in the world can be attributed to stress. Sometimes the tension is felt literally in the muscles of the body which has a sympathetic influence on the blood vessels. In other words, they constrict over time. With stress reduction techniques, the blood vessels can dilate back to their correct size. There are many different methods of stress reduction. Do some research and find one that seems suitable to your lifestyle.

9 See A Chiropractor.

Although it may sound wierd to most people, consider going to a chiropractor. Even if you don’t have back pain, your spine may be out of alignment, which can affect the proper functioning of your liver and other internal organs, because the spinal cord provides the neural nourishment to each organ. Your liver, among other things, is kind of like the”heat producer” for the body. Think of watering your plants with a hose and the hose becomes kinked and the water won’t come out. That is what could be happening with your liver and it is not working right, as if someone turned off the switch. A chiropractor can detect this and set it right in one visit.

10 In the Meantime, Do Whatever is Necessary.

Until the above suggestions provide a more permanent solution to cold hands, you still should do what it takes to keep your hands warm. This could include the obvious gloves and mittens to the less obvious warming creams, glove warmers and other devices. Also, before you need to play the piano try immersing your hands and forearms into the sink filled with warm water for one minute.

Simple Method Found To Warm Cold Hands
from NY Times

A simple and inexpensive method of training the body to change the way it reacts to cold has proven highly successful in curing victims of a little-known disease that cuts circulation to the hands in cold weather, according to a researcher for the Army.

Using hot water and an ice chest, victims of ailment, Raynaud's disease, can train their body to prevent a routine reaction that leads to restricted circulation to hands and feet as the body saves energy to cope with cold, Dr. Murray Hamlet of the Army's Research Institute of Environmental Medicine said last week.

The curtailment of blood flow is harmless to most people because the circulation will resume after about 10 minutes, Dr. Hamlet said. But Raynaud's victims do not regain circulation to their fingers, causing a painful condition that increases the risk of frostbite and in severe cases can force amputation, he said.

Raynaud's is primarily caused by cold but also can be brought on by emotional stress and by frequent use of vibrating machinery, such as jackhammers and chain saws. For victims whose conditions are prompted by cold, the treatment has proven virtually foolproof in eliminating the problem, Dr. Hamlet said. Condition's Cause Unknown

When the body is exposed to cold, the nervous system constricts blood flow to hands and feet to retain heat. When the temperature of the extremities reaches dangerously low levels, the nervous system in effect throws a switch that dilates blood vessels and restores full circulation, Dr. Hamlet said.

But Raynaud's sufferers do not regain circulation because blood vessels leading to their hands do not dilate as they should. Researchers have been unable to determine what causes the condition, Dr. Hamlet said.

It is unclear how many people have Raynaud's, which occurs predominantly among women, affecting perhaps as many as 10 percent of them, Dr. Hamlet said. Many victims are not aware they have the disease because they think their body's response to the cold is normal, he said.

A procedure originally devised a decade ago by an Army doctor at an laboratory in Alaska to treat the disease has been refined by reasearchers at the Army laboratories here and now is being used more and more by civilian physicians, Dr. Hamlet said. Warm and Cold Water

Three to six times a day, every other day, Raynaud's sufferers undergo a treatment in which they first sit indoors with their hands submerged in warm water and then are put in a cold environment, exposed to the cold except for their hands, which are submerged in an ice chest filled with warm water.

After 50 rounds of treatment, all of the 150 test subjects at the laboratories here were able to venture into the cold without losing circulation to their hands, he said.

''We just retrain those blood vessels to dilate rather than restrict in response to cold,'' Dr. Hamlet said. ''It works extremely well.'' He said the treatment may not work, however, for victims of Raynaud's who developed the disease as a result of other illnesses, such as high blood pressure, arterial disease, drug abuse and trauma.

Dr. David Trentham, medical director of rheumatology at Boston's Beth Israel Hospital, said the success rate of the treatment had not been shown independently of the Army data but that it appeared to work well.

''It's a very innovative and interesting approach and there is an abundance of evidence to indicate why it should work,'' he said. ''It hasn't been confirmed but I think that is largely because it is so new.''

Cold Hands and Feet
from Care First Library

Chronic cold hands and feet most often are caused by circulatory problems associated with medical conditions. Cold hands and feet can affect men and women of any age, but they are somewhat more common among older adults.

In an older person, cold hands and feet can indicate hardening of the arteries. In a younger person, the condition might mean vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels. When hardening of the arteries is the cause, physical exertion may bring on cold hands and feet, and rest may relieve the problem.

The most frequent but often misunderstood condition associated with cold hands and feet is a syndrome called Raynaud's phenomenon. Raynaud's is more common in women and may first appear between the ages of 20 and 50. Raynaud's may appear alone or be part of a more serious disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma or other types of vasculitis. About half of all people with Raynaud's have it alone, while others have Raynaud's as part of a more serious illness.

Raynaud's doesn't cause cold hands and feet, however; it is triggered by exposure to cold or stress. Exposure to cold causes blanching and pain in the extremities of individuals with with Raynaud’s.

People who suffer Raynaud's phenomenon are fine until they are exposed to very cold weather or place their hands or feet in cold water. Normally, your hands and feet will return to normal temperature within minutes after you leave the cold behind. But people with Raynaud's sometimes have cold hands and feet up to an hour after their exposure ends. They may experience cold, pain or a stinging sensation in their hands and feet. Their hands and feet may even appear abnormal after exposure to cold -- they look white, then blue, then red. This occurs in reaction to the blood vessels in the extremities becoming constricted (narrowed) and then taking awhile to dilate (widen).

What to Do
See your physician to rule out a serious condition, such as a major circulatory problem or a connective tissue disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma. People prone to cold hands and feet should be sure to wear warm gloves, socks and shoes in cold weather. They should also exercise care when exposing their hands to cold water by wearing special waterproof gloves. If you know you'll be going somewhere you'll be exposed to cold, wet weather, take an extra pair of gloves and warm shoes or boots in case the first pair gets wet.

Use Medicine Effectively
Medications can be used to treat cold hands and feet. Perhaps the most widely used medications are the class of drugs called calcium channel blockers. Aspirin also improves blood circulation. Beta blockers, on the other hand, could worsen this problem.

Self-care Steps for Cold Hands and Feet
If you smoke, quit. Smoking can cause hardening of the arteries.

Use warm gloves, shoes and socks.

Limit your exposure to cold weather and cold water.

Eat a low-cholesterol diet.

Begin a graduated exercise regime with your physician's advice.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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March 25, 2009 at 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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March 25, 2009 at 7:08 AM  

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