Alcohol has been consumed by people of various cultures for thousands of years. It has long been a part of the drinking culture, the set of traditions, and the social behaviors that surround the consumption of alcoholic beverages as a recreational drug and social lubricant. Alcohol, specifically ethanol or ethyl alcohol, is the ingredient found in beer and wine that causes intoxication; it is organically formed when yeast ferments the sugars in different foods. For example, wine is made from the sugar in grapes, beer from the sugar in malted barley, and vodka from the sugar in potatoes, beets, or other plants. 

Although alcohol is naturally formed by all-natural ingredients, it is also a highly addictive psychoactive chemical. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), alcohol consumption is a ‘causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions. 

Perhaps the key to health and happiness is moderation in all things. In the case of alcohol consumption, the proverb appears to be true. Moderate drinking is key! While appropriate drinking may provide health benefits, the result of drinking alcoholic beverages is dependent on consumption. At lower doses, alcohol can act as a stimulant, inducing feelings of euphoria; however, drinking too much alcohol all at once can lead to drowsiness, respiratory difficulties, coma, or even death. 

Alcohol has effects on every organ in the body, especially the liver and the pancreas, and these effects vary with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over time. When a drink is swallowed, the alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, and the drowsy effects are felt within 5 to 10 minutes. It typically reaches a peak in the blood after 30 to 90 minutes and is thus carried throughout the body’s organs.

The liver is the only organ capable of metabolizing alcohol, hence our bodies metabolize the most alcohol in the liver, making it the organ most vulnerable to alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking can cause alcoholic fatty liver and liver inflammation, which are symptoms that stop the liver from functioning properly.

Other than the liver, excessive drinking can also cause the pancreas to become inflamed, a condition known as pancreatitis. In severe cases, heavy drinking can lead to acute, short-term, and chronic pancreatitis, which is usually caused by the accumulation of excess alcohol consumption over time.

Other effects of excessive alcohol consumption on body parts include:

• brain and nervous system

• eyes

• heart 

• intestines

• kidneys

• liver

• lungs

• mental health

• pancreas (sugar digestion)

• skin 

The other drawback of excessive drinking is the reaction of alcohol and medication. Alcohol interacts strongly with a wide range of drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, herbal medicines, and illegal drugs.

Reactions of alcohol and medication include increasing the sedating effect of sleeping pills and opiate-based pain relief, increasing the potential for aspirin to irritate the stomach, as well as increasing the potential of paracetamol to damage the liver. 

In closing, excessive alcohol consumption has never been beneficial to the body. Though it has some benefits, the risks and disadvantages simply outweigh the health benefits. Therefore, when it comes to drinking, it is critical to be cautious of any medication reaction and practice the guidelines of moderate drinking. 

Dealing with stress is a necessary evil in everyone’s life. Every day, we encounter stressful situations, ranging from minor irritations like traffic jams to more serious worries, such as financial issues and relationship crises. Stress will activate the body’s stress response, flooding it with hormones that cause the heart to pound faster, the muscles to tense and rapid breathing, among others. 

Typically, a person under stress might feel:

  1. Over-excited, e.g. angry, flustered or nervous
  2. Under-excited, e.g. depressed, unsociable or disoriented
  3. Frozen, e.g. paralysed in fear

Countering the stress with some relaxation techniques will help to activate the body’s natural relaxation response and bring both body and mind back to their normal state. 

Relaxing Body and Mind 

Relaxing is not about sleeping in or zoning out in front of the TV. It is about actively focusing on attaining a state of deep calmness via specific relaxation techniques. 

Physical exercises, such as running, cycling, yoga or simply just walking are some examples of relaxation techniques. Besides that, deep breathing, visualisation and meditation can also help. Consequently, the breathing technique, also known as deep breathing exercise, is a simple way to get stress levels back in control. It is easy to learn and can be practiced almost anywhere. 

Basically, you start by breathing deeply from the abdomen, thus getting as much oxygen as possible into the lungs. In doing this, a group of muscles will tense up as you breathe in and relax as you breathe out. This helps to give your muscle groups a workout in a specific and systematic order. Subsequently, the body relaxes and the mind will achieve an equilibrium state; tension and anxiety are then alleviated. 

Relaxation techniques may require a little effort, but practicing them on a daily basis will help improve your physical and mental wellness. As a matter of fact, Harvard Medical School suggests for individuals who are stressed to practice relaxation techniques for at least 20 minutes a day to achieve optimal inner health.  

Moreover, there is another technique for stress relief. Getting a professional massage at a wellness centre can help reduce stress, relieve pain, and ease muscle tension.

To enhance relaxation, a therapist would use aromatic oil or scented lotion with mindfulness or deep breathing techniques.

Exercising yields numerous health benefits, including helping to improve our blood circulation, keeping us in good shape and helping with stress relief. Many of us might therefore think that doing more of it can only be better. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case. 

More isn’t always better. Interestingly, Time Magazine shared that while light to moderate runners had a lower risk of death than people who did not exercise, some runners who ran at a faster pace for more than three times a week had a similar risk of dying as non-runners. This shows that more exercise doesn’t necessarily provide more benefits than moderate exercise.

In fact, too many workout sessions or trips to the gym could actually do more harm than good. According to a case study, over-exercising might damage the heart and arteries, or even cause exercise addiction, which is an unhealthy obsession with physical fitness. 

Signs of Over-Exercising 

Exercising can be like your favourite dessert – easy to overindulge in. Here are five common signs that you might be exercising too much. 

1. Delayed recovery time

The body requires time to recover after exercising. Muscular pain or soreness will usually go away after about three days; a longer recovery period should be taken as a sign of over-exercising.

2. Weakened immune system

A moderately active person will have a fairly strong immune system and rarely get sick. As such, if one is getting sick quite often or feeling fatigued a lot, they can be pretty sure that their body needs a break. 

3. Decrease in energy

Mental or physical dizziness is a hallmark sign of overtraining. If a person is not ill, but still feeling extra fatigued, that individual is probably exercising too much.

4. Unexpected weight loss and fat gain 

Over-exercise can alter the hormone regulation within the body. One of the signs is if one experiences an unexpected weight loss but notices an increase in body fat. 

5. Getting emotional 

Changes in mood such as depression, anger, confusion, anxiety, and irritability are common symptoms of physical and/or mental over-exhausted. This can be caused by the stress hormones released due to too much exercise. 

The load of exercise that one should undertake depends on the individual’s body condition like age, health, and choice of exercise. In general, Harvard Medical School suggests that untrained sports enthusiasts have “at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise or 15 minutes of intense exercise a day”. 

Excessive exercise is actually bad for the body; however, the key here is not to give up exercising completely but to exercise in the right amount depending on your individual body’s capability. Over-exercising is a real issue that can result in serious health and performance issues. Hence, keeping a close eye on the signs that you may be over-exercising is important. 

If you are looking to ease shoulder pain or lower back pain, try Meridian massage as the massage technique is ideal for reducing chronic muscle soreness and improve blood flow.

It is never too late to start taking care of your heart health, as preventing heart and cardiovascular diseases is a wise move that will pay off the rest of your life. It should also be noted that, as globalisation and technology alter people’s socioeconomic and working structures, people’s lives are increasingly surrounded by work and responsibilities. 

People’s cardiovascular health is deteriorating as a result of a lack of exercise, a poor diet and other unhealthy habits. In Malaysia, heart disease is still the leading cause of death. According to Mohd Yusrizal bin Ab. Razak in the <Statistics on Causes of Death, Malaysia, 2020>, the reported heart disease has occupied 15% of total medically-certified deaths in 2019, resulting in 16,375 deaths due to heart disease alone. 

However, heart disease is preventable through healthy life choices. It’s important to remember that the choices you make in everyday life have direct or indirect consequences on your overall well-being, especially your cardiovascular health. 

There are several simple yet effective ways to maintain or improve your cardiovascular health. Anyone of any age can benefit from taking these simple steps to keep their heart healthy throughout their lives. 

Get More Exercise 

Being physically active is a crucial step toward maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Studies show that people who are not very active are more likely to have a heart attack than people who are. To maintain good cardiovascular health, it is recommended that everyone have at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. 

Exercising is important not only for improving blood flow, but also for controlling body weight. Having excess weight will pose a number of health risks, such as exerting excessive pressure on the arterial walls, causing the heart to work harder. Also, being overweight will increase one’s risk of developing other diseases such as hypertension, heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases. 

Begin taking care of your cardiovascular health today by hitting the gym, sweating it out and making sure to get in enough active minutes every week.

Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Excessive drinking can have serious long-term health consequences, affecting cardiovascular health by causing high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and also cardiomyopathy, a symptom that damages the heart muscles. Heavy drinking will also lead to obesity and disrupts the body’s ability to regulate inflammation. 

In turn, excessive inflammation can worsen alcohol-related organ damage. The good news is that one can simply avoid all of this by sticking to the guidelines for moderate alcohol drinking. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines moderate drinking as up to 4 alcoholic drinks for men and 3 for women in any single day, with a weekly limit of 14 drinks for men and 7 drinks for women. 

Avoid Smoking and Secondhand Smoke

Cigarette smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease; this is also true for light smokers who smoke fewer than 5 cigarettes per day. The risk of cardiovascular disease increases in direct proportion to the number of cigarettes smoked. 

Study shows that cigarettes with a particular blend of tobacco with low nicotine contents still puts smokers at the same risk of developing cardiovascular disease as smoking regular cigarettes. 

Non-smokers should be worried about this too if they are exposed to too much secondhand smoke, as they are just as likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes. 

Practice Stress Management

Practicing effective stress management can help you avoid various complications with your cardiovascular health. Stress can be categorised into two types: physical stress caused by having insufficient sleep or illness, and emotional stress caused by work or everyday obligations and pressures. 

Long-term stress can cause the body to secrete hormone cortisol, a chemical that aids in stress relief. However, high levels of the hormone cortisol can introduce common risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as increased blood cholesterol, blood sugar, blood level, as well as triglyceride levels. 

Always be mindful of your stress levels and engage in stress-reducing activities such as swimming, yoga, or any other sports. 

Eat Healthily 

Our diet has a significant impact on our cardiovascular health. Starting with portion size, overloading the plate will easily cause one to over-consume the calories needed for the day; excessive calories that are not used up will lead to weight gain, which is a major risk of heart health. 

High consumption of saturated fat, which is commonly found in butter and baking goods, increases the risk of cholesterol elevation. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke. 

On the other hand, fruits and vegetables that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibers can contribute to help lower blood cholesterol levels as well as rejuvenating the body with minerals like Zinc and Selenium. Consuming more fish and vegetables like spinach, walnuts, and flaxseed with healthy fats like Omega 3 can also improve your heart health. 

Regular Health Screening

To prevent cardiovascular disease, also known as coronary artery disease (CAD), you need to manage your risk factors such as high blood pressure, high total cholesterol and high blood glucose.

But how do you know which risk factors you have? The best way to find out is through screening tests and regular doctor visits.

The cardiovascular system serves as a critical function for the body’s overall functionality, so taking care of your cardiovascular health has become one of the important key factors to your overall health. 

Take care of your heart well!

In recent years, people are becoming more and more proactive in taking care of their health. Detoxification practices are some of the more popular ways to rejuvenate a tired body. There are various detox practices that can be found on the internet including consuming specific commercial products, detox diets, or even fast for a specific amount of time to achieve the so-called ‘toxin removal’ goal, thereby enhancing health and encouraging weight loss.

The term ‘toxin’ in the context of detox refers to the pollutants, contaminants, heavy metals, and synthetic chemicals in our bodies that could affect our health negatively. However, there is little to no evidence of study to signify detox diets can remove toxins from the body. These random and unproven detox practices sometimes could be very misleading, and do more harm than good to the body. 

Providentially, our bodies are well-equipped with complex systems that can eliminate toxins through organs like the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin, and lungs. In other words, as long as these crucial organs are in a healthy state, the body does not have to rely on special diets or excessive health products to carry out the detoxifying process. 

So here are several safe, practical, and fundamental practices everyone can practice to promote the body’s natural detoxification. 

Control Alcohol Consumption 

Our liver will metabolise 90% of our alcohol consumption every time we drink. According to a research by Duke University, the only way our liver can ‘digest’ alcohol is to metabolise them into acetaldehyde which will be removed by the body later. 

The whole process is simply too stressful for the liver, that is why excessive drinking can severely damage liver function by causing inflammation. Limiting or restraining entirely from alcoholic drinks is the best way to keep the body’s detoxification function strong.

Have Sufficient Sleep

A night of adequate sleep ensures the body promotes its natural detoxifying nature. With sufficient rest, the brain will remove toxic waste by-products such as beta-amyloid. Having insufficient sleep will cause build-up of the toxins which can affect several aspects of health.

It is recommended to have 7 to 9 hours of sleep regularly for the body to stay healthy.

Drink More Water

Drinking water is more than just quenching our thirst, as it regulates the body temperature, lubricates joints, promotes digestion, eases nutrient absorption, boosts energy levels, and detoxifies the body. Besides, drinking water can also help remove carbon dioxide through urination.

Hence, staying hydrated is essential to maintain the body’s detoxification process. It is recommended for an average person to drink about 3.2 liters of water a day.

Cut Sugar & Reduce Consumption On Processed Foods

Processed foods and other foods that are in high sugar contents are thought to be at the root of many health issues. High consumption of sugary and highly processed foods has been linked to obesity and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Health issues as such will obstruct important organs that carry the body’s natural ability to detoxify itself. Hence, cutting down on high sugar foods can keep the body’s detoxification system healthy.

Workout Consistently

Regardless of losing weight, exercising consistently is also associated with promoting better cardiovascular health and a reduced risk of health conditions like type-2 diabetes, inflammation, and heart diseases. The key essence here is the condition of inflammation as it helps us recover from the infection and wound healing.

However, too much inflammation will weaken our immune system and our body’s detoxification capabilities. Study shows that exercising as little as 20 minutes can show signs of the body promoting anti-inflammatory effects. By reducing inflammation, the body can function properly with a better immune and detoxification system to free the body from harmful contaminants. 

The Takeaway

Trendy detoxification practices and diets are said to be able to remove toxins within the body while promoting weight loss. However, there are minimal clinical studies and 

proven test results to back it up to be reliable and safe. 

Also, these ‘unknown’ practices are not necessary as our body is highly efficient in detoxifying toxins on its own. 

Antioxidants and anti-ageing are two terms that are often used hand-in-hand.

Many people consider antioxidant foods to be allies in achieving flawless skin with fewer wrinkles, but the fact is that they play a critical role in our bodies that extends well beyond aesthetics. 

Skin benefits

Antioxidants play a powerful role in skincare, especially when it comes to diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

In preventing the oxidation of cells, antioxidants will effectively protect your skin’s surface from deterioration caused by years of environmental damage.

Health benefits

There are numerous health benefits to antioxidants, including enhancing the immune system, reducing inflammation and oxidation stress which is connected to several chronic, age-related diseases such as diabetes and osteoarthritis.

Antioxidants are produced by the body, but they cannot be produced without the necessary vitamins. 

Vitamins that aid in the prevention of ageing include: 

  • Curcumin
  • CoQ10 
  • Collagen
  • Resveratrol
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

For people with health conditions such as osteoarthritis, dementia and diabetes, it is recommended that they increase intake levels of vitamin D and E to boost immune function.

Low-level chronic inflammation causes oxidative stress in the body, which contributes to a variety of chronic diseases. Antioxidants such as curcumin, resveratrol, and CoQ10 are effective in stimulating the immune system and help to minimise inflammation.

Unsure about whether or not you need this? Visit Danai Medi-Wellness for a consultation and learn more about your health needs.

Meridian Massage is an ancient Chinese medical technique that incorporates various Chinese medicine and acupressure treatments to enhance health and relieve health issues.

It is also an alternative form of non-invasive medication to treat musculoskeletal disorders and help to relax body muscles.

The soothing and relaxing massage is effective for treating sports injuries, stress, insomnia, migraines, as well as improving our digestion, blood and lymphatic flow. 

An authentic meridian massage is performed by a well-trained therapist to stimulate the meridian lines within our body ‘paths’ where energy flows through. The paths are circulatory and exist in corresponding pairs circulating blood, nutrients, and energy throughout the body.

In total, there are 12 main meridian lines that connect with major internal organs within the body, located on the lungs, large intestine, small intestine, stomach, spleen, heart, bladder, kidney, pericardium, triple warmer, gallbladder, and liver meridian lines. In Western medicine, a particular study about Bioelectromagnetics defines the meridian lines as ‘special conduits for electric signals’.

Generally, meridian massage should be practiced consistently on a weekly basis to promote optimal blood flow and energy circulation within the body. For individuals who have new sports or musculoskeletal injuries, it is advisable for them to have a meridian massage within the week.

Meridian massage techniques consist of tapping, pushing, pinching, stretching, and kneading on the body to apply the medical effect on us through our body tissues. 

What makes a meridian massage different from a common massage is that all the massage techniques are applied in a systematic order based on the meridian lines within the body.

With the correct technique and precise application, a meridian massage can help enhance overall health and wellbeing as well as stimulating our body’s ability to heal itself. 

These days, there are many skincare junkies on social media who encourage followers to build a solid routine. They promote a never-ending layering of essences, serums, creams and sunscreens, all for the sake of achieving flawless skin.

However, mindlessly slathering on products won’t always give us the results we’re looking for. Some combinations of popular skincare ingredients can do more harm than good by potentially causing breakouts, dryness, and other irritations. 

Be sure to refrain from combining the following ingredients together.

Benzoyl Peroxide + Retinol 

Applying benzoyl peroxide, an infamous acne treatment, along with retinol can possibly oxidise the retinol, thus reducing its efficacy.

Vitamin C + AHAs or BHAs

Using this combination in your skincare routine can seriously irritate dry or sensitive skin because AHAs will alter the Vitamin C’s pH level and decrease its antioxidant properties.

Retinol + Exfoliants

Retinoids are great for exfoliating your skin. Adding another layer of exfoliants may leave your skin raw and increase the chance of irritation.

Oil-based + Water-based

We all know oil repels water. Hence, using an oil-based skincare product will leave a film on your skin, which prevents water-based formulas from being absorbed. 

Glycolic Acid + Salicylic Acid

Both ingredients are great for removing dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin. Mixing the two, however, will cause a major reaction and strip your skin. 

The Takeaway

The skincare world is continuously evolving and creating more efficient products. It is understandable to be tempted to try everything. 

Remember to always make sure that the products and ingredients you’re incorporating in your routine work well together so you can use them effectively and avoid possible irritations.

Do you know of any other skincare ingredients that we should all avoid? Share with us by commenting below!

Perfectionists portray personal qualities of perfectionism that give them the desire to make great efforts on achieving excellence and constantly developing through self-improvement.

It is safe to say many of us are perfectionists by our own right. 

Perfectionists give all their best, and pour in a superabundant amount of effort to achieve the target that was set at a high standard. 

What drives them to do so is plainly just their passion for excellence that motivates them to extract that extra bit out of them for their work.

It’s understandable to make sure whatever you do is going to be absolutely amazing but you’re setting the bar way too high and it’s getting harder to function, right? 

Your mental and your physical wellbeing is important.

Here are some suggestions you can do to pause for a moment and recharge.

Get something to eat and drink some water

You’re not going to be able to get much work done when you have no fuel. 

No energy = no work done. 

Plus, when you have no food in your body, you’ll lose concentration. Set an alarm if you have to remind yourself to get food if you lose track of time. While you’re at it, drink some water. Rehydrate those tired muscles and cool your body down.

Get some sleep

It’s quite obvious why you should rest. Just like eating and rehydrating, not sleeping enough will make you lose concentration and memory. Not only that but your immune system gets compromised and you’d have no defence against diseases.

Take a shower

You probably have been working really hard and you might have not showered in a while so take a relaxing shower. Feel more refreshed and energised after a shower. Plus, if you happen to own a bathtub, draw yourself a bath. You deserve it.

Get a massage

It’s a great way to relieve all the built-up stress and tension in your body. When your body is relaxed, so does your mind because it helps release the endorphins, the chemical responsible for relieving stress and pain. A massage also helps reduce the levels of anxiety and depression so it’s a win-win situation.

The Takeaway

People often treat perfectionism as a positive trait, and it is even seen as complementation. The dedication that drives people towards perfection has no doubt forced them to achieve new heights, but on the other hand, there is a downside for practicing the quality of perfectionism that no one has ever been aware of. 

The quality of perfectionism turns bad when someone worries too much about making mistakes or setting unrealistic goals. 

Hey perfectionists, take some of the suggestions mentioned above on how to pause your brain when needed.

Valentine’s Day is the day that reminds us of what’s important and to show appreciation to the people we love. It is the day when we take that golden opportunity to propose or tell our loved ones how we feel about them. Many of us have overlooked the fundamental structures of relationships and pay more attention to material things. Improving relationships can be as simple as just showing small expressions of love and appreciation. For this reason, Valentine’s Day offers a great chance to recommit to truly appreciating and loving each other. 

Here are our 5 picks of fun activities to do on Valentine’s Day: 

Take a couple spa treatment together

If you’re going to make things a little more serious, look no further than going for a couple spa. Having a couple spa will do the trick just as well as having a romantic dinner date with flowers and chocolates. Spa retreats could possibly be the perfect place to amplify the romance between you and your loved ones, as well as giving you the benefits of selfcare from the massages. 

Dress up in your finest attire 

It doesn’t matter how you are going to celebrate your Valentine’s Day, whether or not you’re going out for a fancy dinner. It is a special day for the both of you to leave everything behind and dress up in your finest attire. Looking your best will definitely make the occasion special!

Plan an unforgettable weekend getaway 

From romantic city escapades to relaxing beach vacations, you will not go wrong with a special getaway with your loved ones. Make this special day your perfect occasion with plenty of wow-factor with a fun and exciting getaway!

Spend quality time with your loved one

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, it is not necessary to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a fancy way. Sometimes, things can be as simple as making time for your loved ones, getting them involved in your day and spending quality time together. Avoid distractions from your phone, pay great attention to your loved ones to make ‘growth’ in your relationship. The quality of attention your loved ones give you is the key to experience the ‘heartfelt connection’, the most beautiful and powerful ‘loving bond’.

Spend the Valentine’s Day with your friends 

Valentine’s Day is not necessarily all about romance or just for lovers; many people actually spend their Valentine’s Day with friends. Whether or not one is single or just not into hyping Valentine’s Day that much with their loved ones, Valentine’s Day is the day where people show love to the people who mean the most to them, showing appreciation for their love and care.  

How will you be celebrating your Valentine’s Day? Share with us in the comment section below!