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Ashwangandha For Bipolar Disorder

Filed Under: Herbs,Mental Wellbeing at 11:58 am | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor


Used since ancient times for a wide variety of conditions,  Ashwagandha, one of the most vital herbs in Ayurvedic healing but is most well-known for its restorative benefits. The name “ashwagandha” translates to “horse’s smell,” referencing the musky scent of the plant. It is is a small, shrub-like plant belonging to the nightshade family and is closely related to the common tomato. The plant is native to India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, thriving in the semitropical environment of these regions.

For over 3000 years, Ayurvedic practitioners in India began using it for people with anxiety, low energy, and the ravages of aging. In holistic medical care, ashwangandha is seen as ‘adaptogenic’, meaning it will help increase effect when activity is low, but will block excess stimulation when activity is too high. This is a very good choice for the wild hormonal variations that occur with anxiety.

In a recent study published in the peer reviewed Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Ashwagandha was shown to improve several areas of cognitive effect in subjects with bipolar disorder. Recent research has identified numerous bioactive constituents in Ashwagandha that have cognitive enhancing benefits, namely the steroidal lactones which are known as glycowithanolides and sitoindosides. These brain eantooxidants have been shown to enhance mental performance and promote nueroprotective activity.

Typical dosage is 300mg of ashwagandha standardized once or twice a day. Ashwaganda may be beneficial for someone who suffers from anxiety, bipolar disorder or experiences sleeplessness due to high amounts of stress.

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Vitamins to Take for Memory

Filed Under: Health Concerns & Ailments,Herbs,Mental Wellbeing,Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 8:00 am | By: Jeremy Michael, Contributing Author

 Let’s face it; we aren’t getting any younger. As we age, our memory begins to fade and what we were able to do as kids and teenagers we are no longer able to do as adults. Remembering names, numbers, birthdays, computer passwords, etc. gets harder by the day.  What if we could take preventative measures today to help improve our memory and brain function later in life? Today we are going to take a look at vitamins and natural treatments to help improve your mental function and keep it functioning at its highest potential.

Rhodiola rosea is an herb that grows primarily in dry sandy ground at high altitudes in the arctic areas of Europe and Asia. A common adaptogen, meaning it helps combat stress, this herb has long been known to increase physical endurance, combat fatigue, improve immunity, increase work productivity, enhance longevity, and improve depression. Human studies have shown that salidroside, an active principal of Rhodiola, improved mental ability.  Another study looked at Rhodiola rhizome on non-specific fatigue. Fatigue was assessed based on the evaluation of audial and visual short-term memory and ability for mental attention. Results showed that Rhodiola extract posses a clear anti-fatigue effect.

Ginkgo biloba has long been known as an herb that has a strong affinity for mental function and brain health. The ginkgo tree is the sole survivor of a primitive order of plants dating from 200 million years ago and is the world’s oldest living tree species. It is best known for its ability to stimulate blood flow through the smaller blood vessels, which in turn increases circulation to all vital organs including the brain.  Studies have shown that it may delay mental decline in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and can even slow senile dementia.

Bacopa monnieri is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for centuries. This plant has been used mostly as a brain booster that enhances memory development, learning, and concentration. Only minimal amounts of studies have been done on this herb and there have been mixed effects on Bacopa’s ability to enhance mental function.  More research is warranted on this herb’s effect on memory and brain function.

Zinc deficiency has been shown to increase neuronal apoptosis which can lead to learning and memory deficits. At optimal physiologic concentrations, zinc has been shown to be neuroprotective, while excess amounts of zinc have shown to be neurotoxic. A lot of research is currently being done on zinc’s effect on mental function and brain health. This research includes the role of zinc in Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and aging. Avoid taking zinc on an empty stomach as it may make you nauseous.

Choline is a nutrient that is found in foods like saltwater fish, eggs, liver, chicken, milk, and certain legumes, including soy and kidney beans. Choline is the precursor to acetylcholine, one of the body’s major neurotransmitters.  Acetylcholine has been found to play a key role in encoding new memories, but not affecting memories previously stored.  Pharmacological drugs used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease are drugs that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine. This is because it is a brain chemical that may be important for memory and may help to delay or prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s from becoming worse for a limited time. In a study looking at dietary choline intake, researchers found that better memory performance was linked to higher choline intake.

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For years, you’ve dreamt of soaring amongst the clouds, high above the earth, and now, thanks to our patented gravity-defying formula, you can. The journey toward complete freedom from the laws of gravity begins with just two capsules, which will keep you flying high for up to 24 hours.1 But amazing your friends and family with your death-defying aerial acrobatics only scratches (the Earth’s) surface of what you’ll be able to do!

Here are just some of our Anti-Gravity Supplement’s amazing benefits:

You’ve watched the balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Now you can be one!

Be the first of your Facebook friends to “check in” to the mesosphere!

You’re one wheel-less skateboard away from finally living out all of your childhood hoverboard fantasies!

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Act out all of the best scenes from “Gravity” without having to float perilously through the terrifying vacuum of space!

With Lucky Vitamin’s amazing new Anti-Gravity supplement, the sky is… err… the possibilities are endless!

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1Or Less.2

2Ok, much less.3

3Oh, fine. Not at all.


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Choline May Help Memory and Attention

Filed Under: Mental Wellbeing,Supplements at 10:00 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor

A new study shows that the nutrient choline may boost memory and attention. The study was published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience and Behavioral Brain Research and was conducted by researchers from the University of Granada in Spain, Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela, and the University of York in the United Kingdom.

Choline has been known as a brain support product and quite e few supplements for mood and mind support may contain this form of vitamin B as an ingredient. Choline is naturally found in eggs, chicken and beef liver, soy, and wheat germ and it has been found to improve memory and attention in a variety of studies.

For this particular study, researchers conducted two experiments designed to test the effects of vitamin B intake on cognitive skills. In the first experiment, pregnant rats were fed choline-rich, standard, or choline-deficient diets. When their offspring had reached adult age, they were divided into three groups: one of which received choline supplements, one received no choline, and the third was fed a standard diet. The results showed the offspring of rats fed a prenatal choline-rich diet were significantly better in tests designed to measure memory than those in the other two groups. In the second experiment, the researchers measured changes in attention among adult rats fed a choline supplement for 12 weeks, compared with those with no choline intake or on a standard diet. The results showed rats fed choline had better attention than the others.

The findings suggest dietary supplements of choline might offer a new way to prevent or even treat memory loss and attention issues, which are common among older Americans.

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The Benefits of Yoga & Tips for the Beginner

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness,General Wellness & Wellbeing,Mental Wellbeing,Sexual Health at 11:23 am | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor

September is National Yoga Month and if you’ve never tried yoga before then now’s the time to try. Research has shown numerous benefits that yoga can have on the body and mind:

Better Sleep – Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that insomniacs had an easier time winding down at night, falling asleep faster and sleeping longer after practicing yoga for one hour three times per week. Also, a slower extended breathing practice before bed can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and promote relaxation.

Improved Mood – Yoga lowers cortisol levels. A study from Boston University School of Medicine reports one hour of yoga practice raised levels of the brain chemical GABA (low levels are linked with depression) by 27 percent compared with a group who read quietly.

Joint Health – Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is the space-filler in our cells and the natural lubricant in our joints.  As we age, the body slows the production of HA, resulting in achy and stiff joints.  Meridian theories in Traditional Chinese Medicine suggest that practicing Yin Yoga on a daily basis can help stimulate the production of HA.

Improved Sex Life – The Journal of Sexual Medicine has found that yoga promotes the release of hormones that speed up sexual arousal.

Now that you’re ready for your first class, here are few tips to keep in mind…

1.       Wear Comfortable Clothes. Yoga classes consist of a lot of forward bending. You should wear non-constricting clothes that your body can move freely in.

2.       Inform the Teacher of any Pre-existing Conditions. There are many variations of yoga poses. If there is a pose you physically are incapable of doing, the teacher will be able to show you an adaptation that’s right for you.

3.       Yoga is NOT a Competition. For most sports and athletics, it’s intuitive to be competitive. However, when in the studio, try not to judge yourself too harshly against the class’s star pupil(s). Even if everyone in the class can pull a headstand do not succumb to negative thinking. The moment you let those unhealthy thoughts into your mind just smile and think, “If I continue my practice then someday, I too, will get there.”

4.       Keep Breathing. Yoga is the union of body and mind. The ability to control one’s breath, known as pranayama, is crucial to building and maintaining that relationship.

5.       Return to Child’s Pose. If at any time you feel you cannot proceed with the class flow, simply return to child’s pose or lay on your yoga mat in corpse pose. It is very important to listen to your body.


(The acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.)

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Improving Memory

Filed Under: Mental Wellbeing at 2:20 pm | By: Jeremy Michael, Contributing Author

You’re sitting at your desk, having a hard time focusing on what you need to get done.  Or you can’t quite remember what your spouse told you to pick up from the grocery store. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one struggling to focus or remember. Millions are plagued with the same problems. The good news is, there are natural solutions that can help increase and improve concentration, focus, and memory.

Centella asiatica, also known as gotu kola, has a primary action as a nootropic agent (meaning, it helps improve memory and cognition). Centella asiatica can calm the mental chatter and promote calmness and clarity.  In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, it’s used as a “brain tonic.” However, gotu kola is also a neuroprotective. According to one study published in 2012, gotu kola offers comprehensive neuroprotection through different modes of action.  Such actions include enzyme inhibition, the prevention of amyloid plaque formation in Alzheimer’s disease, dopamine neurotoxicity in Parkinson’s disease, and a decrease in oxidative stress.

Another great herb for improving memory and concentration is shisandra chinensis. Shisandra chinensis has been used to help improve attention and alleviate forgetfulness due to excessive stress. Numerous studies show shisandra’s ability to quicken reflexes and increase work efficiency. Other studies have documented its ability to increase cognitive function and boost memory. Schisandra has also been shown to improve and reverse memory impairment in rats!

One last herb to consider for improving memory and focus is ginkgo biloba. One of the ways it aids the brain is by improving blood flow through the vessels.  Many disorders of cerebral function may be treated with it, as the disorders may be caused by inflammation or decreased cerebral blood flow. Symptoms include memory loss, mild cognitive impairment and fatigue. Ginkgo biloba may also delay mental deterioration in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and slow senile dementia. Not only that, but it has been found to be a potent antioxidant. The antioxidant activity in the brain and central nervous system from ginkgo biloba may help prevent age-related declines in brain function.

So if you are having problems remembering everything we talked about here, or couldn’t quite focus on it from start to finish, go to and check out all the individual herbs that can help improve memory and focus (centell asiatica/gotu kola, shisandra chinensis and ginkgo biloba). We also have specific memoryfocus and attention deficit formulas that can help you out. And as always, please consult your doctor regarding any dietary or herbal supplements you are interested in taking.

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Deficiency and Dementia

Filed Under: Mental Wellbeing at 10:55 am | By: Susan Coyle, Contributing Columnist
Man in Rocking Chair

As you age, your wellness goals shift to focus on remaining active and alert in spite of the tolls of time. You search for ways to bolster your body and mind, reading the articles and trying the products that are marketed to your age bracket.  And so, you stop noting the items, vitamins, minerals and foods that are advertised as helping the younger generations, such as folate.

Folate or folic acid is a nutrient touted as being vital to women of child-bearing age. That possibility disappeared, for you, several years ago, so you’ve stopped worrying about how much is in your diet. Or maybe that possibility was never a plausibility since you’re a man, and you’ve never had more than a passing thought about folate. Either way, you’ve allowed your folate levels to drop simply by ignoring them, and in doing so, you’ve more than tripled your risk of dementia.  A study of 518 people over the age of 65 found that those with low folate levels were 3.2 times more likely to develop dementia, primarily Alzheimer’s, which is one of your worst fears – one of the main things you are working to prevent.

To keep dementia at bay, you have to maintain adequate levels of folate and all vitamins. You cannot allow yourself to fall into the nutritional deficiency so commonly seen in old age. If you do, there would be no point in reading the articles that tell you which exercises are best for seniors, which foods will keep you active and which products will ease your age-related aches and pains. There would be no point, because you wouldn’t be able to remain healthy without the nutrients needed to have the strength for exercise and digest the foods you are eating.

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Preventing Memory Loss

Filed Under: Mental Wellbeing at 10:34 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor

A recent article published in the New York Times shows that memory loss can be prevented in many simple ways.

A report by the National Institute on Aging reveals that learning a new skill can help preserve cognitive function in old age. It also suggests: learning a challenging new skill such a new musical instrument or a new language can be more effective than mental games at keeping the brain sharp.

We normally think of crosswords and Sudoku as efficient ways to maintain a sharp mind and they sure help. However, social activities can be an alternative way, interacting with people and learning new things.

One of the best ways to prevent memory loss is to continue learning and engaging in several types of mental activity. Reading, volunteer work, learning a new sport or take up a new hobby can significantly help to stay focused.

Supplements for focus and attention may help if you always forget where you left the house keys or wallet. But, this problem isn’t exclusive an aging issue as many young adults and teenagers often forget where they keep their stuff as well. It’s a focus issue.

Some of the best supplements to stay sharp are natural and safe to use. Most products have a combination of vitamins and herbs, generally including ginkgo biloba, gotu kola and bacopa leaf extract. Alpha Lipoic acid is normally added to memory formulas and can be an excellent product to be taken on a regular basis.

Relaxing your mind is the best way to prevent memory loss. Aging is a normal process and learning how to deal with the problems from aging is essential to stay sharp and happy.

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Do You Remember?

Filed Under: Mental Wellbeing at 5:31 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor

Remember when we used to know everyone’s phone numbers? Family, friends, classmates, coworkers, everyone. That was before cell phones, contacts, speed dial numbers, text messages, etc.

Remember when we used to know everyone’s addresses? Work, schools, restaurants, everywhere.  That was before gps, navigation systems, map quest, internet maps, etc. Technology is making our lives so much easier every day, but are we taking full advantage of it?

The human brain is not quite like a computer hard drive. This entire information is going out of your mental storage. So, shouldn’t we be able to remember more things now?Technically yes, but we are learning more things these days, such as how to use computers, the tivo or the latest cell phone, which is also a computer.

Many people struggle with new devices and that’s somehow normal. What it’s not normal is when you start forgetting everything else, such as your wallet, car keys, appointments, meetings or family birthdays. Several natural supplements can help you remembering things and improve your lack of memory.

Products vary from vitamins formulas, herbal blends, amino acid combinations and homeopathic ingredients. One of the reasons we tend to lose concentration is lack of vitamins and minerals due to a poor diet. Lack of sleep is also a key factor on losing focus and attention for daily tasks.

Promoting body and mind relaxation is the secret to alertness. You will be able to stay focused and remember more things if you are able to eat and sleep well. A little help from a supplement could be just the right “push” you need to use the best of your memory and enjoy a happier life.

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Water Cooler Cruelty

Filed Under: Mental Wellbeing at 8:40 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Distress at Work

You thought the days of lunchtime anxiety, teasing and pranks ended with the close of fifth grade, or if we’re honest, high school. You assumed that as an adult you wouldn’t face the same petty, childish behavior so many teens and children exhibit throughout their youth. And then you got to work. No one would have lunch with you. Catty remarks were whispered behind your back. Vital information was withheld. And rarely warranted criticism filled your days – your inbox, your voicemail, your conversations. You, a thirty-year-old professional, were being bullied, just like so many others are.

An estimated two in five workers have been bullied at work. Unfortunately, not much is done about it. Bullying is in the same position sexual harassment once was: undefined, unmentioned and occasionally encouraged. But that doesn’t make it any less detrimental than the more obvious office faux pas. Regularly bullied employees have increased job stress, higher levels of anxiety and anger, more job dissatisfaction, a lesser sense of wellbeing, and a higher tendency to quit. They are stuck for 40 hours a week in an environment that is destroying their mental health, bit by bit.

If you are one of these employees, you need to take action. Determine what’s actually going on, document instances of bullying and then, figure out how you can fix it. Talking to your boss – although akin to telling Mom that Bobby took your lunch money – may be the best approach. Find support be it from fellow employees or outside individuals such as family and friends. Don’t ignore jibes, shuns or open hostility. That won’t help you. You need to conquer this so that you can create a life that is, both at home and at work, an image of wellness.

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Your Stress, Your Kids’ Health

Filed Under: Baby and Child Health,Mental Wellbeing at 4:05 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor

Your stress affects you. That is a given. It not only keeps you up at night and anxious during the day, but also weakens your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to illness. However, that’s where it stops; it doesn’t extend beyond you. And so your motivation to take a deep breath, step back and calm down is fairly limited. Unfortunately, so is your understanding of stress.

When you had children, everything that used to apply solely to you – your paycheck, your habits, your wellbeing – stopped applying solely to you. Everything you did, and now do, began affecting them and that includes your stress. A study of 169 children and their parents found that the kids with the most emotionally anxious parents were more likely to become ill and more likely to have an increased number of immune cells in their blood. They were made less healthy by the anxiety teeming within their parents.

How’s the motivation to de-stress now? Are you ready, for the sake of your kids, to find better management methods and a sense of serenity? If you do, it’s likely that the toll your stress has already taken on them will dissipate, as children are extraordinarily resilient. And as they get healthier, so will you.

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Positively Healthy

Filed Under: Mental Wellbeing at 3:07 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Extremely Happy Man

Have you ever noticed that the perky, peppy people of the world are rarely ill? They never seem to suffer from common, everyday ailments such as colds or allergies, let alone the more severe conditions like heart attacks or chronic inflammation. It’s possible that they hide away when illness strikes them, shielding the world from the darker side of their personalities, but you can’t recall a significant span of time when they weren’t present. In fact, they’re always around, smiling and bubbling their way through the day. Does this mean that they really are healthier?

Yes. People with chronic good moods have chronic good health. They have lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that contributes to high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, weakened immune systems and a host of other complications. Happy women also have lower levels of two of the proteins that cause inflammation. Meanwhile, the only thing angry, hostile people have less of is antioxidants. They’re lacking in several carotenoids, which are vital in protecting the body from oxidative stress. So maybe it’s time you turned your mood around.

Happiness is not a matter of heredity. You weren’t born to be miserable. You can make yourself more positive. Discover the things that bring you pleasure and satisfaction. Surround yourself with people who make you smile and feel good about yourself. Dwell on the positive rather than the negative. Keep your heart happy, and it will keep you healthy.

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The Long Arm of the Yogi

Filed Under: Men's Health,Mental Wellbeing at 8:53 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor

In December of 2004, a tsunami struck the islands of the Indian Ocean. It is safe to say that those who survived were traumatized. Their lives were transformed from normal to anything but. Stress, fear and anxiety filled their days and nights. Many outsiders tried to help, including a few yogis who one month after the tsunami, conducted a stress-management program. Forty-seven survivors from varying cultures spent one hour every day for a week practicing yoga. At the end, all reported significantly reduced levels of sadness, fear, anxiety, sleep disturbances and respiratory rates. They had been restored, albeit partially, by the discipline.

Here at home, similar things are occurring every day. In Boston, for example, YogaHope teaches yoga at women’s homeless shelters, domestic-violence safe houses and substance-abuse treatment programs. Across the nation, yoga classes are appearing in prisons, juvenile detention centers and various shelters. Yogis, aware that not everyone can afford a class at a fancy gym, are taking the discipline to the needy, because they know that yoga helps. It reduces stress, brings a sense of peace and allows for inner meditation.

If yoga can help these people, people whose lives have been turned upside down by a natural disaster, an addiction, an abusive spouse or a wrong turn, why can’t it help you? You may not have the amount of stress that they do, but you still have stress and you still need a way to work through it. Unroll your yoga mat; then, bend, pose and breathe your way to a calmer, happier you. 

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Nail Biters Have More Nails in the Coffin

Filed Under: Mental Wellbeing at 12:15 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Worried Little Girl

The neurotics among us are those that are driven by anxiety. They worry incessantly, fretting over minor mishaps and forgettable faux pas. They are constantly on edge, mentally pacing, biting their nails and giving themselves ulcers. They have enough tension for ten people, so the last thing they need is another concern. But they have one.

Researchers have found that neurotics are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than any other personality type. While some of this may be due to genetics, much is due to behavior. The high-anxiety, stressed out, kill-me-now lifestyle weighs heavily on the heart, making it more susceptible to disease and the individual more susceptible to death. Meanwhile, extroverts – the social butterflies of society – are protected. They are less likely to die from respiratory disease. They, as they flit from situation to situation, do not have to worry about worst-case scenarios and taxing their hearts with never-ending tension. They have it easy. If only the neurotics could find some way to balance the imbalance.

Sadly, it’s not an easy task. There’s no magic pill. And as someone who leans precariously toward neurotic, I can say that completely eradicating the worry is next to impossible. There is always another reason to be nervous, another event that could go wrong and another way to compile a laundry list of “uh-ohs”. So don’t attempt to erase the tension; attempt to lessen it. Try to give your body a break. Your constant worry is wearing you down. It’s hurting your heart. It’s doing nothing but adding to your worries. 

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Is Friday the 13th Bad For Your Health?

Filed Under: Mental Wellbeing at 12:45 pm | By: Brandi Spade, Senior Editor

Don’t walk under a ladder, don’t step on a crack, avoid black cats. These are all some good superstitious practices to avoid bad luck. But what possible means does a superstitious person have to avoid Friday the 13th? Is it bad for your luck and even your health to just get up and face the day?

Paraskavedekatriaphobia rizza, phobia of Friday the 13th, is definitely bad for the health of those who are traumatized by it. The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute located in Asheville, NC estimates that nearly 21 million people fear the date. Succumbing to a phobia, such as the one associated with Friday the 13th, can create a tremendous amount of panic and anxiety. It’s estimated that upwards of $800 million is lost on this business day because many people experiencing the phobia refuse to travel or conduct any form of business (including their own lives) on this day.

So is Friday the 13th bad for your luck and your healthy? Yes, but only because allowing fear to rule daily life leaves room for an individual to create his/her own misfortune. Despite studies by several research centers searching for a link between increased rates of accident and the unlucky day, no conclusive evidence has been found to prove this day any worse off than the rest of the year. So let phobia and superstition fall to the wayside. I’ve been stepping on cracks for years, and my mother’s back is still working just fine.

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