Tag Archives for " Resources "

Urticaria (hives) – Treatment – NHS Choices

Close up image of a man's body suffering severe urticaria nettle rash.Do you, or anyone you know, suffer from hives (urticaria)?

If so, you will know how nasty hives can be.

I say this with respect to general practitioners and others; we rarely get all the information we really need when using their services – for a variety of reasons; and yes, some are related to money.

No wonder then that people search online for help via ‘Doctor Google’ and others. I have done this myself and saved myself great angst, even having learned things that senior doctors should have told me, but didn’t.

Later in this article I will give you the link for extremely high quality information about hives/urticaria which is comprehensive and easy to understand. First though, some words of caution, and background information on why internet-based medical research works for me.

One of the serious concerns and risks of using Google for our own medical research is that most of us are not medically, or scientifically, trained. Relying on your own medical research can be extremely dangerous. That’s the flip side of helpful.

Personally, my deep inner lack of interest in my own opinion (humility) helps protect me. Allied with a deep awareness and appreciation of how to use logic in a scientific way, this has helped me when analysing medical information. Being mindful of the potential dangers is another plus.

My recent personal experience of a GP (General Practitioner) prescribing medication (not for hives) of a type which was not only inappropriate, but positively harmful, has underlined my long-held view that some doctors can be dangerous, despite their medical training. Fortunately a pharmacist saved me and helped me overcome my issue in a non harmful way. And yes, it is disturbing that a consultation with a GP led to harm and yet a consultation in a busy pharmacy fixed my issue (with non prescription mediation I might add). The doctor I saw was not one I usually see, at a ‘multi-practice’ – the doctor, and practice, have now been ‘fired’. This is one of many poor experiences over the years. This type of thing is yet another driver of conducting my own medical research.

Fortunately, I have another source of help, should I need it. Two of my friends are highly competent doctors – one is an interstate GP. The other is a senior surgeon with a significant local practice. Another friend, up on the Sunshine Coast, is a highly experienced ICU nurse (Intensive Care Unit). I have other friends trained in battlefield medicine. Now, I do not bother my friends unduly and am sensitive to their needs, however at times, being able to benefit from their insight is golden.

Let me sum up by saying that I think it important to take personal responsibility for one’s own physical (and mental for that matter) health. The laws of business and economics for example are going to dictate that we are unlikely to get all the information we need from a visit to the doctor. Medical professionals have limited time resources and have to make a profit/earn an income. You might be a ‘number’ to some. Get over it – it’s life. Any medical research you do, and the actions you take based on it, is your responsibility – not mine. I am not qualified to give medical advice and I do not give it. Read my Medical And Mental Health Disclaimer here.

Having read the above, we can see I have important checks and balances in place to help ensure that my reliance on my own medical research is not harmful.

Now, on to the high quality information about hives treatment:  Urticaria (hives) – Treatment – NHS Choices.  This site is part of the British National Health Service (NHS) and I recommend bookmarking it.

Finding sources of high quality medical information is critically important and the screen grab below from the NHS Choices website is not only reassuring, it also illustrates the point. I recall from 1981, when I learnt computer programming, that we had a term: GIGO (garbage in, garbage out); meaning that if you input crap into the computer, crap would be produced. Our minds are the same – if we read poor quality information we will get poor results from our thinking.  Bear in mind that good quality medical information we have researched can also help us get better care from the medical profession and make consultations more effective.

UK Gov - health and care information you can trust

Screen grab from NHS Choices website.





Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with, or endorsed by, the NHS or NHS Choices.



Aged Care Report Card: Australian Aged-Care Facility Ratings

vector illustration of elderly people care icon

Most people will have heard their fair share of horror stories about the Aged -Care industry.

When I lived in the United Kingdom years ago, I met significant numbers of people in the industry who referred to their activity as ‘granny farming’. More here: Nigel’s Shocking ‘Solution’ To Aged Care Home Abuse.

Recently, I met a nurse who deliberately keeps her 90-year-old plus parents at home, even though it means much more work for her, simply because she is so concerned about possible mistreatment at an aged-care facility. It’s even more concerning when someone working in health has these kind of concerns.

Even more recently, I witnessed a dying patient in his 70’s receive sub-standard care (at times) in a private hospital. He was abusive to the staff, so perhaps that influenced it, however…that is no excuse.

How refreshing to discover this website: Aged Care Report Card, where various stakeholders can review/comment on aged-care facilities around Australia, and view the opinions of others. I especially like the proactive and positive philosophy, outlined on this page.

My Favourite White Sage Incense And Smudge Sticks

white sage

White Sage

I enjoy White Sage incense and smudge sticks – for day-to-day use, some client work, and personal shamanic ritual.

As in all other areas of life, I aim to use high quality products and services. The same is true for White Sage incense and smudge sticks.

For many years I have pondered the potential effects of incense smoke and so avoided any incense where I was uncertain of the ingredients or quality; which includes most incense I’ve seen over time.

My concerns and reasoning about incense quality have been sound: Could incense be more toxic than cigarette smoke? As they burn, ‘sticks release compounds that are linked to cancer’. This article, dated 26 August 2015, is concerning, bearing in mind the huge range available; significant amounts of which seem of questionable quality and safety. Think of some of those incense sticks we see in cheap garish boxes with ‘weird’ smells, made in India and China.

Here’s another similar article: Air fresheners and scented candles could cause cancerous DNA mutations and asthma.

Will I stop using incense and smudge sticks?

No. Among other things, I think we need also to be wary of becoming too focused on the negative – if we look into it; we will discover apparently sound health reasons not to do, or use, most things in life.

I will however continue to use good quality supplies.

My favourite supplier of White Sage incense and smudge sticks is: http://www.whitesage.com.au/ – the customer service has been excellent, the quality and integrity of the products are fantastic, they are good value and I love that smell!


“Killer Germs” Obliterated by Medicinal Smoke Smudging, Study Reveals

Smudge stick burning and smoking in a bowl.

Smudge stick burning and smoking in a bowl

Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Philosophy, along with psychology, neuroscience and shamanism is one of my favourite topics.

Wikipedia comments: “Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind and language. The Ancient Greek word φιλοσοφία (philosophia) was probably coined by Pythagoras and literally means “love of wisdom” or “friend of wisdom.”

We can see (well, hopefully anyway) that the study of philosophy is critically important.

Sadly, philosophy is rarely studied properly at school. Our world would be a much better place if it was taught widely and comprehensively to school-age children.

Multitudes of people are unaware of the importance of philosophy – significant numbers of those of us that are, have to ‘make-do’ with whatever we can find to increase our understanding.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a fantastic resource for learning more about philosophy. You can read more about it here: After 20 years, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy thrives on the web.


And remember – it is important to put what you learn into practice. Be a ‘doer’ of wisdom, not just a ‘consumer’.

Other useful resources:

Don't explain your philosophy. Embody it. Epictetus.

“Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.” Epictetus.



2 Buying A Stand Up Desk Is An Essential Investment In Your Health

Couch potato

Is that you?

Sitting down too much can seriously damage our health. And yes, that includes you.

Here are some links (they open in new tabs) which tell us more:

  1. Probing Question: Is sitting bad for your health? | Penn State University
  2. Sitting all day is really bad for you. Here’s why – Vox
  3. Sit More, And You’re More Likely To Be Disabled After Age 60 : Shots – Health News : NPR
  4. JustStand.org: The Facts About Sitting and Standing
  5. Sitting down on the job is slowly killing you – Sydney Morning Herald
  6. Spending less time sitting down could be the key to living longer | Daily Mail Online
  7. Sitting down is KILLING you, says top doctor | Daily Mail Online
  8. Employers advised to bring staff to their feet with standup desks to improve health | Daily Mail Online
  9. Stand up at your office desk for a healthier heart and brain: NHS is trialling the benefits of height-adjustable desks
  10. This Chair-Free Office Bans Sitting | Co.Design | business design
  11. Stand up and be counted
  12. Restless movements undo the damage caused by sitting say Leeds University and UCL
  13. People who exercise but spend long periods sitting could be harming their health
  14. Desk standing is like ‘training for a marathon’, researchers say
  15. Light-intensity walk, every 30 minutes could increase energy levels
  16. How can YOU stay active when you’re tied to your office job?
  17. How standing desks are improving productivity for small businesses – May 2017
Check out this infographic:
Sitting So Much Should Scare You Infographic (Ergotron) / CC BY 3.0

Sitting So Much Should Scare You

I decided to buy an adjustable ‘stand up desk’. These have a variety of names, others include: ‘standing desk’, ‘sit stand desk’ and ‘standupdesk’.

Being in Australia, on the Gold Coast in Queensland, I wanted to source a suitable standing desk from a supplier based in Australia, primarily to keep the shipping costs reasonable.

My key buying criteria included:

  1. Quality
  2. Robustness
  3. Value for money
  4. Reasonable shipping cost
  5. Functionality – easily adjustable and electrically powered
  6. Ease of use
  7. Safety
  8. Ease of deployment (assembly)
  9. Timely delivery/availability
  10. Attractive appearance
  11. Size – not too big, nor too small
  12. Supplier who I felt I could trust
  13. Ability to order online and thus avoid spending lots of time attending shops in person

My choice:

Ergo-Rise Height Adjustable Sit Stand Desk, Electric Office Desk, Ergonomic, Standing Desks : http://buydirectonline.com.au/office-tables/height-adjustable-tables/ergo-rise-height-adjustable-desk by Office Furniture Direct.

My specification:

Ergo-rise Height Adjustable Sit Stand Desk – 150kg Lifting Capacity   – Desk Top Colour: Cherry Timber   – Top Size: 1200 x 600mm

I paid AUD $749 and just $33 for shipping – both the desk and shipping were discounted – the desk by 50%, the shipping by more than 50%. (Prices include GST).

My desk was ordered on 27 August 2014 (after business hours) and delivered by Toll Express on 18th September. At time of ordering I was aware that the delivery could take around 3 weeks.

During my research phase, the Office Furniture Direct website impressed me – among other things; the 10 year factory warranty, hand-built in Australia, Australian owned and operated, the impressive client list and the testimonials.

The consignment arrived (I ordered another desk for a family member’s business also) intact and securely packed in a chip board box which was screwed shut. My desk was easy to assemble, however the instruction sheet could do with some improvement. I am impressed with the quality and robust feel of the desks.

Having used the stand up desks for about 2 weeks now, I can say that we are very happy with our purchase and feel much better physically – it’s so nice to be able to have a break from sitting down, while still remaining productive and getting work done.

I would definitely order more products from Office Furniture Direct. Hopefully this article will help many Australian readers in their search to find a suitable supplier of adjustable stand up desks. (I have not been paid for this article, nor received any inducement – Besides helping my readers with useful information, I like to support good suppliers by giving back).

And by the way, by using a stand up desk you will of course be spending more time on your feet. Consider your footwear – here’s why: Agonising pain, broken bones and even spinal damage…Forget killer heels. It’s flats that really leave your feet in agony

PS: I was impressed with the quality and timeliness of the customer service response to a minor issue we had early on:

My message to the company:

Ref: #8166 Update concerning one of two desks we ordered. Both desks were assembled and tested as working – up and down buttons worked. Next day we discovered that one up button did not work on one desk. Partly disassembled desk to access wire for buttons. Unplugged wire and tested in other socket = worked OK. Put back in original socket = worked OK. We are not, therefore, reporting the desk as faulty however the issue is disconcerting and we hope it will not recur. This message is to make you aware of the issue.

Their reply:

Thanks very much for your order and this email feedback. This is very important for us and we have sent this correspondence directly to the head of engineering in the manufacturing department. This could just be a setup and reset issue with the transformer, they are checked in the factory prior to dispatch and this is the first time we have had this issue occur. If we get a response from the manufacturer with any reason why this would happen we will let you know. All the best with these desks, have a great afternoon.

Forestry Tools

Forestry ToolsAustralia’s dedicated supplier of equipment for foresters, arborists and maintenance specialists.

Forestry Tools offers the highest quality pruners, loppers, saws, telescopic pruning equipment, diameter and measuring tapes, height meters, clinometers, borers, calipers, marking, flagging, pottiputki planters, planting spades and tree measuring equipment from leading global manufacturers.

I have ordered tools online from Forestry Tools on a number of occasions over the years and been very happy with both the quality and customer service. The quality of the tools is superb and I like the choice – much better than I can buy locally at either a big hardware chain such as Bunnings, or at a shopping centre garden tool distributor.

In the past I have used some garden tools (cutting) I got from a stall (one of those which come and go) in a large shopping centre – the demos looked good (and the sales people slick), however I was not happy with them in use and on further investigation discovered that the products were cheaply made with large profit margins available to the distributors: in other words there is less scope for value in the product itself. Buying from Forestry Tools was such a refreshing change. Simply speaking; Forestry Tools supply the professionals, which implies much.

Here is an order I placed in May 2012 – my comments off to the right.

Purchase Details
Item # Product name QTY Price Total
820 Freund Axe 1 $150.00 – Strong, light weight, German, 10 year guarantee.
821 Freund Hatchet 1 $105.00 – Strong, light weight, German, 10 year guarantee.
65 Barnel Z555P2 6.3m w/ Z555B 1 $340.00 – Beautifully made loooong Telescopic Pole Saw with extremely sharp blade. Not meant for palms, however a neighbor has used for that. Like a knife through butter.
214 High Limb Chain Sw 1 $98.00 – Well designed, however did not actually have much need for it in the end as the Telescopic Pole Saw was sufficient.

Subtotal: $693.00
Freight: $15.00 This was so reasonable! Delivery was prompt. Products well packed.
Freight Surcharge: $0.00
Grand Total $708.00

These items weren’t cheap, however I got the work done much faster, and more easily, than I would have with lower grade tools. The neighbor, who borrowed the Telescopic Pole Saw to cut his palm fronds, noticed that too. And in any case, I doubt that I would have found such a long Telescopic Pole Saw in my local shops. I needed all the length! Without the tools, I would most likely have had to hire a professional tree lopper service at a big price, thus I saved significant money. I wrote the value of the time off to exercise which I needed anyway. The tools are so well made I will have to leave them in my will. I saved shopping time because I ordered online & had the products delivered to my door. Winning all round!

By the way, in some jurisdictions (including here on the Gold Coast) there are restrictions on what you can do with trees. I made sure to check before I started work or ordered the tools, and suggest you do likewise.

If a job is worth doing, do it mindfully, and well. Enjoy. Be elite.