Gout Pain Relief

Indocin For Gout Pain Relief

Indocin For GoutAnybody who has ever had a gout flare-up, even once,  knows all about those little, green prescription capsules known as Indomethacin or Indocin. Women talk about how painful child birth is, but believe me, gout might make that a distant second when it comes to pain-scale ratings. Gout feels like you are giving birth to a 10lb shard of glass through one of your toes. The first time I had gout and visited my doctor, I didn’t begin to feel any gout pain relief until I had taken my 2nd Indocin pill which was prescribed 3 times daily. If you get gout infrequently like me, it is a cause for full-scale panic when it flares up and you realize your prescription for Indomethacin is either expired or past its effective shelf life which is only about 3 years. Believe me that shelf life really means something. Last time I had gout, and started using a 7 year old prescription of expired Indocin, I was not getting any relief after the second dose. I might have experienced a very painful lesson had I not learned that there is something just as effective as and reportedly safer than Indocin for Gout.

Naproxen for Gout Pain Relief

Naproxen For GoutThis is Gout Pain Relief that can be bought OTC and was already sitting in my medicine cabinet: Aleve. While Indomethacin may seem like the magic cure for gout pain relief, in reality it is just another type of NSAID (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) – Naproxin, Ibuprofin and Indocin are all NSAID drugs and all of them are capable of effectively treating gout if you know how much and how often to take them. A neurosurgeon once told me that a prescription drug is never needed to treat pain. He told me that for severe pain, simply double or triple the over-the-counter dose of either ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).

Indocin Side Effects

Indocin Side EffectsIn my opinion, the Indocin Side Effects are worse than Aleve, though my concern increases for such high dosage of any over the counter drug. . To me, this almost always includes an upset stomach. Prolonged use of an NSAID can definitely upset the digestive track and ultimately lead to serious complications like stomach ulcers or bleeding. The prescription drugs, which are simply stronger versions of OTC NSAIDs, are no less prone to causing these side effects. The first time I was given a prescription for Indocin, my doctor prescribed a prescription of Zantac to go along with it to prevent stomach upset. Never mind the fact, that prolonged use of Zantac also presents its own side effect problems. The other, more serious side effect associated with high, prolonged use of NSAIDs is heart attacks. The one, minor side effect that I’ve noticed with Indocin but not Aleve, is dizziness and tiredness. The Indocin also seemed to raise my blood pressure after a couple of days. So, both OTC and Prescription pain killers present a vicious circle of problems, but knowing how painful gout can be, I’m willing to break my own rules about limiting their use. So, is there something better than Indocin for Gout? Aleve, used sparingly, has helped me with variety of other types of pains; rarely upsets my stomach and appears to be safer all-around than Indomethacin according to actual studies. Some research among other victims has helped me come up with an affective Aleve Gout Treatment Regimen.

Treating Gout with Napxroxen (Aleve: 220MG OTC Tablets)

Make sure to take substantial amount of food with each dosage to avoid stomach upset.

First Onset of Gout Pain:

  • 2ea 220MG Aleve Tablets (Take 3 if pain and swelling are already severe)

8 Hours Later

  • 2ea 220MG Aleve Tablets

8 Hours Later

  • 2ea 220MG Aleve Tablets

8 Hours Later

  • 1ea 220MG Aleve Tablets

Gout Pain ReliefAfter 24 hours, start taking 1 Aleve every 12 hours until pain completely subsides or when you’re sure you can manage the pain without any pain killers at all. Aleve, used in this matter is safer and more effective than Indocin for Gout.


Sustenex Review Ganeden BC30

sustenex reviewI didn’t have to read one, single Sustenex Review before embracing these affordable probiotics as my favorite. While not everyone agrees with me, you’ll be hard pressed to find scientific evidence that Sustenex Ganeden BC30 is not an effective active ingredient for improving digestion and IBS symptoms like diarrhea, bloating and heart burn. You can buy a box of 30 Sustenex Probiotics for under $14.00. This is less than half of what some of the premium brands like, Align, cost. I’ve looked at Align Reviews and they were very impressive, but not enough to make me switch from a probiotic that has been successful for me. I did read one very unfavorable review on Sustenex from a so-called expert that claimed these probiotics couldn’t be any good because they only contain one active culture: Ganeden BC30 Bacillus Coagulans. Each Sustenex Capsule does indeed contain 2 Billion viable cells of Ganeden BC30 Bacillus Coagulans,  but nothing else. Shucks, if that’s all it has, how can it possibly work? I’m no scientific expert but I think someone is paying a little bit too much attention to biology when it comes to probiotic reviews. There is really only one Sustenex Review that matters: Does it work? Let’s look at the only Sustenex Review that counts: User Results.

Sustenex Review Ratings

The only Sustenex Review that Matters

Based on 67 Reviews, Sustenex ranked 4.6 out of 5 Stars by Amazon users.  The benefits described were numerous: Relief from bloating, cramping, diarrhea; improved regularity – even a reduction of nausea. A very small number of users reported no benefits at all or didn’t like swallowing the gelatin capsule. The most common drawback reported by Sustenex users is that it has to be taken every single day. This kind of goes along with the next complaint: Sustenex is too expensive. (look at the price comparison with Align below).  Most Sustenex users reported significant benefits in just 2 days with even better results after 1-2 weeks. At least a dozen or so Sustenex users reported that they undoubtedly notice the return of symptoms if they stop taking it for more than 2 days. So, what is it about Sustenex that makes it so effective?

Align vs Sustenex

sustenex vs alignOver 400 users gave rated Align Probiotics 4 out of 5 stars. Obviously, Align has a much larger user base, possibly due to a difference in advertising budgets and technique.  It is normal for user ratings to decline with a higher number of reviews. When compared with other probiotics, however, the price of Sustenex has to be considered a strength. A box of 30 Align costs $23.00 to 29.00 compared to $13-$14 for a box of 30 Sustenex Capsules. I’ve found Align to be twice expensive as Sustenex at my local Walmart stores.  67 People can’t be wrong – Sustenex really works, but why is it so effective?

Ganeden BC30

Ganeden BC30Obviously, the quantity and number of different types of bacterium are important in probiotics, but they are not the only thing that determines efficacy. The way probiotics are delivered is the other mechanism which determines how well they work. Stomach acid or even room temperatures can destroy these friendly bacteria before they get the chance to thrive and colonize inside the digestive system. Ganeden BC30 is a probiotic packed inside of a hardened cell structure or spore and is therefore able to withstand and survive it’s pathway to your intestines. Getting 2 billion of these Bacillus Coagulans to survive on route to your intestines may be only half of the battle, so the Ganeden BC30 is probably why so many people have reported such excellent results with Sustenex Probiotics.

Buy Sustenex Online

Why? Because 2 Billion Bacillus Coagulans inside the patented Ganeden BC30 Pribotic Delivery system can’t be all bad.

Update:

Sustenex is now Digestive Advantage

The familiar packaging is the same, but the name is different. I am not entirely certain the formula is the same, but if you like Sustenex, you are going to simply have to believe it. Sustenex is now called, Digestive Advantage.  According to the package, it still has the popular, Ganeden BC30 formula.

White Noise App and Sleep Sounds

What is a White Noise App?

white noise appA White Noise App provides Smart Phone users with sounds to fall asleep to. If you’re like me, and have trouble falling asleep and/or happen to be a very light sleeper, you are likely to agree with me that a White Noise App is the most useful and healthiest utility you ever owned for your iPhone, Droid, iPad or any other mobile device. It was by no accident that I discovered how useful it would be to download sleep sounds for my iPhone. While staying at a couple of Hotels this past summer and fall I noted how easily I could be woken up by the slightest noise. One Hotel I stayed at in New Mexico this fall had a particularly noisy room heater. The fan drowned out those subtle, but startling noises like doors closing down the hall, footsteps, running water, etc. I slept like a rock that night and then it dawned on me:  I needed a white noise app for my iPhone! Finding sounds to fall sleep to at night would be the easiest thing in the world for my iPhone and stereo dock. I browsed the online Apple applications and found everything I needed and more.  In fact, there are so many apps that provide sleep sounds that it would be impossible to try them all. Under the category of white noise app there are tons of things: Sleep Noises, Sleep Sounds, Relaxing Ocean Sounds, music for sleeping, rain storms. Thunder, oscillating fans, chimes, airplane travel, pet noises, birds, crickets, trains, car traffic, city sounds, beaches, waves, wind, waterfalls, vacuums; and on and on – there is even a white noise sound for your white noise app. You would be hard-pressed to name the number one sleep sounds application because they all have slightly different advantages. The good news is that there are many excellent white noise apps and you don’t need to pay much if any for them. Let me explain my experience with a few of the more highly rated ones from the Apple application Store.

Sleep Sounds to Fall Asleep To…

Naturespace

music sleep soundsThis one is a sentimental favorite of mine because it is the first white noise app. Naturespace comes with 6 sleep sounds themes: Song Birds, Summer Valley, Infinite Shoreline, Riverwind, Rain Into Water and Night at Lake. All of the sleep sounds are very high quality and effective, but if you want more you have to buy them. Also, there is no possibility of customizing these sounds or changing the mixture, balance and volume. One other huge drawback that I discovered through personal experience: My first couple of times using Naturespace, I noticed that I would always seem to wake up right around the time the music or sleep sounds were timed to turn off. Hmmm, I wondered if there were any other types of white noise apps that addressed this. The limitations of Naturespace could have something to do with the fact it is a free version, but I was unable to find any upgrades for it other than additional sleep sounds. Obviously, a good white noise app should provide more than just sounds to fall asleep to. I was pleased to find a great number of apps that addressed these limitations.

Sleep Machine

sounds to fall asleep toI downloaded Sleep Machine by SleepSoft LLC because it was very highly recommended. The free version is very impressive. My number one issue with waking up abruptly when the sounds stopped is addressed with a programmable sleep timer that actually fades the sleep sounds out gradually over time. Problem solved – on my first use with Sleep Machine, I didn’t wake up when the sleep music or sleep sounds stopped. Sleep Machine is far more powerful and customizable than NatureSpace. You have 13 different sounds with the free version and you are able to mix these sounds, 3 at a time. Also, you can save your favorite combinations of sounds. Sleep Machine comes with 7 pre-mixed favorites: Beach House, Sci-Fi Movie, Stormy Beach, Summer Porch, White Noise Blast, Spring Rain, Train Ride. For $1.99, you can add dozens of more sounds and a full featured alarm clock. Sleep Sound apps don’t get much better than this – or do they?

Nature Sound

Nature Sound comes with 35 Sleep Sounds and a Mixer that allows you to combine a dozen or more sounds at once. The free version is limited to just 11 mixer settings, but for 99 cents you can add 100 Soundtracks on to your sound board as well as 30 photos and 6 lullabies. You can assign a picture to each of the sounds in your soundboard. Additionally, you can  mix sounds from your own iPod Library. Nature Sound is an impressive product. Sound quality is probably not quite up to par with Naturespace, but you would never know it on a small, iPhone Dock. Once you add, combine and balance the sounds the way you want them, you can save them onto an icon for quick play back. Even the free version of Nature Sound is flexible and powerful. If I have one minor complain it is that the interface is a bit confusing. Between Sounds and Soundboards, it took me a little while to figure out the system.

Whitenoise

The WhiteNoise white noise app seems to be the most configurable of them all as far as tweaking sleep sounds. Functionally, WhiteNoise by TMSOFT is very similar to Nature Sound, without the photos and icons. The difference with WhiteNoise is that you can do more with the actual sound. In addition to volume and balance you can also change the pitch. Like Nature Sound, it seems that you can mix an endless number of songs with White Noise. Without having the chance to spend a few nights with each of these sleeping sound programs, it’s hard to say which one is my favorite between this one and Nature Sound. Perhaps, the difference will be in the quality of the sounds.

The bottom line is that you cannot go wrong with Sleep Machine, Nature Sound or White Noise for helping you get to sleep and stay asleep. Having programmable sounds to fall asleep to is a luxury that I didn’t know existed prior to the iPhone and its endless opportunities. It is important to choose one that has the fade, sleep timer. If you need a better night’s sleep, the answer is a white noise app. Wait..not so fast!

Relax Melodies

relax melodiesI spoke way too soon before I found yet another white noise app yesterday evening that I like better than them all. Relax Melodies (Premium Version) was priced a little steep for an iPhone application ($2.99), but after using the free version of Relax Melodies I instantly appreciated the user interface which is extremely intuitive and much more enjoyable to use than the rest of the sleep sounds apps. I have never been so eager to spend $2.99 in all of my life to get all 82 sounds that come with the premium version. As much as I love both WhiteNoise and Nature Sound, the interface for mixing sounds, setting the timer and other settings are a bit confusing and just not as pleasant and fun to use as Relax Melodies. With Relax Melodies, it is not only possible to choose from an unlimited number of sound combinations, but choosing them, using them and saving them to your Favorites is actually easy and fun. All 82 sounds are visually grouped on pages which you can scroll through by swiping left or right with your finger. You select and preview each sound by simply pressing it once with your finger. You can adjust the volume balance of each individual sound by sliding the top volume bar to the left or right. Once you’ve selected the combination of sounds and balance you like, you simply press the favorites button at the bottom of your screen; select the “Add Selection” icon on the top right of your screen, type in your name and press the “Save” Icon – Very Intuitive!
Go go back to the sounds, simply press the “Home” button the bottom left of your screen. Each page, includes between 9-12 sounds and there is great depth and variety. I believe the variety, depth and quality of the sounds on Relax Melodies is better than all of the others. The basics are all there: Rain, Waterfalls, Sprinklers, Thunder Storms, wind chimes, birds, crickets, flutes, oceans, etc., etc., but there are also some very beautiful melodies that blend quite well with them all. My favorites are Orchestra and Drama. There are also some meat and potatoes white noise sounds: Pink Noise, Brown Noise and White Noise. If you want to get scientific about sleep sounds, Relax Melodies also includes something called, binaurals beats which are produced using a beating tone between the ears. This is meant for headphone use only and includes 6 different sleep levels: Deep Meditation, Dreams, Dreamless Sleep, Concentration, Relaxation, Pre-Sleep. I plan on experimenting with some of these at certain times of the day/night.

Supports Air Play

Monoprice Headphones is Air Play ready, so you can stream it on your television and/or high quality stereo system. Streaming to a really good stereo is a great way to experiment with Mixings and Save new Favorite Sleep Sound combos.

Timer and Alarm

Relax Melodies, by Ipnos Soft, also has that ever-so-important fade-out alarm which can be adjusted from 15 seconds to 2 minutes. If I’m asleep, I’m going to always use the maximum fade-out of two minutes. Why not? Relax Melodies also has a full featured Alarm Clock, Timer and a digital clock display for night. What’s not to like about Relax Melodies. If I had to think of one complaint it might be that the name is a little misleading. It was not easy to find this app, because I was searching for things like Sleep Sounds, Sounds to Fall Asleep To, and White Noise Apps. Though Relax Melodies certainly does make melodies to sleep to, the name is a bit misleading. It’s a full fledged Sleep Sounds Machine – and a darn good one at that. For my 2 Cents, or $2.99, Relax Melodies is the best Sleep sounds app available.

Max-Freeze vs BioFreeze

Max-Freeze vs BioFreezeIn my search for the perfect pain analgesic I did some research on Max-Freeze vs Biofreeze and compared them to the highly rated Penetrex reviews on Amazon. Why? Last week I suffered another one of my, vintage, unnerving, wrenchingly painful neck cricks. I don’t know what it is about the holidays, especially the week in between Christmas and New Years, where some of the most painful maladies seem to occur to me; whether it’s a ruptured disc in the neck, gout or a strained lower back, I am always a little apprehensive from Christmas until the time leading up until New Years. Last year I escaped the holidays unscathed, but this year I wasn’t so lucky. At the onset of the neck pain and stiffness, I did the usual treatment of ice, alternating with brief periods of heat and Aleve Pain relievers. Nothing seemed to help the stiffness. By the 2nd day, I was looking for relief and started researching pain cream reviews. Biofreeze and Penextrex reviews consistently ranked very high on Amazon and other websites. Here is what they said:

How do you rate BioFreeze? 

Our Reader Score
[Total: 3 Average: 1.3]

Penextrex Reviews

Penetrex Reviews362 users of Penetrex ranked the product’s effectiveness as 4.5 out of 5 stars. I thought that was a pretty strong endorsement. I would not have been hesitant to try Penetrex, but only a couple of things bothered me. One, Penetrex does not mask the pain; its claim to fame is that it actually uses chemicals and nutrients to heal the afflicted region. I felt as though I needed instant relief and it didn’t help reading from a couple of users who mentioned that the Penetrex offered them no relief at all. At $20.00 for a 2 ounce bottle I didn’t want to take a chance on being another one of those victims who experienced no relief when it was needed most. I wanted something that worked fast and even if it was only temporary, I would gladly accept that in my current condition.

Penextrex Ingredients:

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM/DMSO2), Vitamin B6, Glucosamine Sulfate, Cetyl Myristoleate, Arnica Montana Extract, Choline Bitartrate, Shea Butter, Boswellia Serrata, Camphor, Purified Water, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Glycerin, Glycerin Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetyl Esters, Steareth-20, Butylene Glycol, Ethoxydiglycol, Peppermint Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate, Dimethicone, Ammonium, Acryloyl-Dimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben. As you can see below, Penetrex includes chemicals as well as natural ingredients and vitamin B. On to the next product

Biofreeze Reviews

Biofreeze looked to be the most promising for my painful and stiff neck condition and I found out that it was available at Walgreens which is on my way home. The impressive part about Biofreeze is 269 users giving it an average rating of 5 stars. For the most part, users of back, neck, muscular aches and nerve pain said that the Biofreeze gave them instant relief. This is what I was looking for and there was a 4oz bottle of gel available at my local Walgreens store according to their website for $14.99. There was only problem: When I got to Walgreens I discovered a fork in the road. I had a choice to make.

Biofreeze Ingredients

Active Ingredients 
Menthol USP – 3.1 %Cooling Pain Relief
Inactive Ingredients
Carbomer , FD&C Blue #1 , Glycerine USP , Ilex Paraguariensis Extract , Isopropyl Alcohol USP , Propylene Glycol USP , Methyl Paraben , Purified Water , Silicon Dioxide , Triethanolamine

Max-Freeze vs Biofreeze

Max-FreezeAs I was looking at Walmart a pharmacist led me to the analgesic creams. I told him I was looking for Biofreeze. He quickly grabbed the one bottle left of the Max-freeze and explained to me, “I doubt that we have Biofreeze, but we do have this Max-freeze and handed me the 4oz bottle of gel.” I thanked him, knowing he was probably mistaken since their online website indicated they actually had Biofreeze in stock at this very store. Just 10 seconds later I discovered the Biofreeze right underneath and on the shelf below the Max-freeze.  I found it peculiar that the Pharmacist would be so quick to assume they didn’t carry Biofreeze. They had many more bottles of the Biofreeze in stock than of the Max-Freeze. I became a little bit suspicious that the BioFreeze logo was in small letters, preceded by the much larger title, Perform, which ran across the length of the bottle. Was it possible that I wasn’t looking at the same thing when I read the Biofreeze and Penetrex reviews earlier that day? I compared the ingredients of the Max-Freeze vs Biofreeze and found the active ingredients to be the same. Both contain Menthol, but the Max-Freeze is 4.0% vs. just 3.1% of Biofreeze. The Max Freeze also had quite a few more, inactive ingredients, including the Arnica Extract which some users reported to be very effective at treating pain. For a price of $10.99, I decided to gamble on the Max-Freeze and put the two bottles of Biofreeze back on the shelf. If Max-Freeze really worked, I was about to know in 2 minutes – as soon as I got out of the store and into my car.

Max-Freeze Ingredients

Active Ingredients
Camphor – 0.2 %Topical Analgesic , Menthol – 3.7 %Topical Analgesic
Inactive Ingredients
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (Certified organic) , Arnica Montana Extract (Certified organic) , Carbomer , FD&C Blue #1 , FD&C Yellow #10 , Ilex Paraguariensis Leaf Extract (Certified organic) , Isopropyl Alcohol , Methylparaben , Tea Tree Oil , Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate) , Triethanolamine , Water

 Does Max-Freeze Really Work?

I eagerly opened the bottle and squeezed the greenish, translucent Max-Freeze Gel onto my hands and rubbed it into my neck. An immediate, icy sensation came over my neck and back and everywhere else on my body that was touched by the gel. I was also relieved to discover that instead of the strong peppermint odor of other analgesic creams like Icy-Hot and Ben-Gay, the Max-Freeze has more of a eucalyptus smell – sort of like Halls Cough drops. Also, the gel does not rub on greasy at all and by the time I got home, the aroma was not over powering. I can honestly say that the Max-Freeze was very effective at loosening up my neck and shoulders and relieving me of some of the pain. On a scale of 1-100 for its effectiveness, I’d rate the Max-Freeze like this:

  • Pain Relief: 74
  • Relaxation of Muscles: 78
  • Soothing: 88
  • Overall:  80

I don’t know my personal experience with Max-Freeze compares to Biofreeze or Penetrex reviews , but to be honest, the product works better than I expected it to. No pain reliever or cream is 100% effective for treating severe stiffness and pain, but the Max-Freeze improved my symptoms significantly, if only for a little while.

Homedics Shiatsu Massager

Homedics Shiatsu Massager

What is the Best Neck Massager?

What is the best neck massager you can buy for stiff, sore necks, shoulders and back? Had I not discovered the Homedics Shiatsu Massager yesterday, I would not even be thinking about writing this article, much less actually sitting up straight and typing it. I gave myself two treatments with the shiatsu massage pillow this morning. I literally feel as though I went into a professional Shiatsu spa for a professional massage. Shiatsu is a deep kneading form of massage that digs into tight, sore muscles; releases toxins and helps loosen up tension.  I have always been prone to getting stiff cricks in my neck. About 8 years ago, this rather common malady took on a whole new, more serious meaning when I was diagnosed with a ruptured disc in my neck.  After lots of ice, physical therapy and stretching every single day, I was able to avoid surgery and have even greatly reduced the frequency of neck ‘cricks’, as I call them.  On the rare occasion that I do suffer from a crick,  they usually seem to heal faster than they used to thanks for having the knowledge from my therapy, stretching and frequent use of ice.  This most recent neck crick was an exception. After two days, I was still feeling extremely sore, tense, tight and worried that my ruptured disc was acting up again. I was looking for a way to loosen up my tight muscles and kept stumbling upon reviews of these different types of the Homedics Shiatsu massager. Not all of the neck massagers by Homedics are equally praised by users as I’ll explain.

Neck Massage Types and Models

As I looked into vibration and massage solutions for my neck, I discovered there are two different types of Shiatsu Massagers by Homedics that are very popular: Pillow Massagers and Neck Massagers. The advantage to the shiatsu pillow massager is that it is not only for use around the neck. There are some clear advantages and disadvantages to both. One  has to do with cost and the other has to do with flexibility. Here is a brief description of each.

Shiatsu Neck Massager

Shiatsu Neck MessagerThe Homedics NMS-350 is a shiatsu neck massager made exclusively for the neck. The NMS-350 is a horse shoe shaped neck massager device that fits snugly around the neck. Inside the neck massager are a total of four rotating, pulsating, golf-ball sized shaitsu type thumbs which dig into your neck in a circular motion on both sides.  At the press of a button, you can get this NMS-350 unit to disperse some heat to your neck while it performs a shiatsu massage on your neck.  The NMS-350 Shiatsu Neck Massager was rated an average of 4-stars by 64 Amazon users.  Users were happy with the strength of the massage and the way it loosened up sore, stiff muscles in the neck. The major drawback to the NMS-350 is versatility. It will only fit around your neck and therefore is unable to reach your shoulders or other parts of your vertebrae.  There were a few other spurious complaints about longevity and overall quality, but for the most part, the NMS-350 was rated as an effective shiatsu neck massager. For me, a neck massager like theNMS-350, would be a little bit too limited. My disc problem is mostly in the lower part of my neck where it it couldn’t be reached. Also, I would like to be able to use it for a stiff, lower back occasionally.  The Shiatsu Massager seems like a great idea, but I would prefer something shaped like a pillow that can be moved around and used on different parts of the neck, back and spine.  Alas, I found it at my Walgreens store on my way home from work. I also picked up a bottle of  Max-Freeze analgesic cream which I’ll tell you about soon.

Shiatsu Pillow

Homedics Shiatsu Massager Pillow

Shiatsu Pillow Massager

The Homedics shiatsu massager turned out to be a life safer. I took it home, opened the box, sat on the sofa and positioned right behind my neck. I had a difficult time getting the pillow positions properly on my neck until I realized I had it upside down. By turning it the other way, I was able to position so the firm,  rotating shiatsu thumbs were grinding and kneading on my neck exactly where I wanted them. It took a little while figuring out how to get comfortable at first. The massaging pillow needs to be positioned between you and a soft surface, but one that is not too cushy or bloated so that it pushes your neck forward in an uncomfortable way. It is possible to position the pillow between you and other pillows in such a way that you are leaning forward in a comfortable position. You can also place it on a flat surface like the sofa seat or bed so you are lying on your back. After 10 minutes of use, I can guarantee the results will be looser muscles and less pain in the affected area. Before going to bed, I gave myself a thorough shiatsu massage: 10 minutes on the upper neck; 10 minutes on the lower neck and 10 minutes on the lower back. The Shiatsu pillow massager by Homedics seemed like the best of both worlds. The pillow uses the same rotating, mechanical thumbs as the shiatsu neck massager and also disperses heat to the surface. The only difference seems to be the shape and size. The pillow massager can be placed on any portion of the neck, back and shoulders. I was only able to find 7 reviews on this product, but all 7 of them were from 5-star rated, happy users. The $40 price tag at Walgreen seemed a little stiff, but not as stiff as my neck. I needed immediate relief and I was in no shape to spend hours shopping on the internet for a better neck massager. The Shiatsu Massager proved to be the best neck massager for me. My shoulders and back think so too. My only concern with these Homedics shiatsu products is longevity and durability. With those hard balls rotating against the fabric of the pillow how long will they last before the fabric rips or tears or the motor wears out from the pressure and weight resistance of my body? The way I look at it, though, is that for $40, I’ve already gotten 4 very good massages from the Shiatsu pillow – way less than a spa would have charged me for two visits. Also, we were able to get you a new product review article out of the deal before the end of the year. Perhaps, but the pillow massager has already paid for itself and for my money is the best neck massager you can buy.

Shake Weight Reviews

What are Shake Weights?

Shake WeightsYou have probably noticed these Dumbell-looking exercise devices called Shake Weights near the check out stands of your local department stores. I became curious as to what they actually are supposed to do as opposed to your typical, boring set of 10lb, 20lb or 30lb dumbbells. Shake Weights are basically dumbbells with a pulsating motor in them. The inertia of the motor inside the dumbbell is designed to give you better upper body strength and tone through the physics of Dynamic Inertia. That is what the makers of them claim, anyway. The motor doesn’t actually run electronically. You activate by simply doing what the name of the product implies: shaking. Typically, the product package includes one shake weight dumbbell along with an exercise video and sells for about $20.00. That might not seem complicated, but like any popular fad, I’ve noticed a number of different sizes, colors and flavors; as well as a package for men and a different package for women.

What is the Difference between Shake Weights for Men and Women?

Size and weight are what distinguishes the men’s weights from the women’s. The women’s dumbbell is 2,.8lbs and the dimensions are 12.2 x 3.3 x 3.3 inches in size. The men’s weight is 5.8lbs and is 15 x 5.3 x 5 inches in size. Of course, the men and women’s shake weights are interchangeable depending on your strength, size and needs. Perhaps a better question is, do these motorized dumbbells really work?

Do Shake Weights Really Work?

The advertisement on the box suggests you can improve your muscle, body tone and upper torso strength in just 6 minutes per day. Of course, the results will vary based on how often and how long the shake weights are actually used. To answer whether or not Shake Weights really work as claimed, I scanned over 300 Amazon reviews: That’s 180 for women and around 120 for men. Surprisingly, the mens reviews were rated a little higher. Men gave the product an overall rating of 4 stars. Women rated it just over three stars. Perhaps the reason for the slightly higher rating in men is because some women complained of shoulder pain and other neck and shoulder-related injuries from the exercises they performed. Nearly half of both men and women gave the product a 5-star rating and said they were very pleased with the results in getting flabby, weakening arms looking and feeling toned and strong again. Some users who were less than satisfied claimed that they could get just as good results shaking a partially filled bottle of water. I find it hard to believe that a bottle of water would be as ergonomic; easy to hold and use. For $20.00 the convenience size and exercise DVD make it a no brainer for anyone wishing to find ways of strengthening their arms and feeling better about themselves without going to a gym. Based on the total sum of Shake Weight Reviews,  the product does seem to provide benefits for most of the people who use them or they wouldn’t continue to be such a big seller and average 4 star ratings between men and women.

Ignore the Awkward by Uffe Ravnskov

Ignore the Awkward Uffe Ravnskov

Ignore the Awkward is yet another informative and enjoyable book by Uffe Ravnskov, which explains in detail how the Cholesterol Myths are Kept Alive. I’ve read Uffe Ravnskov’s other two books: The Cholesterol Myths and Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You. Each of these books would serve as a good lesson for anyone who is interested in opening their mind up to the truth on fat, cholesterol and statins.
So, how does this most recent title differ from Uffe Ravnskov’s other two books? First off, let me tell you what I know about Uffe Ravnskov, the author.

Expert on Cholesterol

Uffe Ravnskov

I am convinced that nobody knows more about Cholesterol than Dr. Uffe Ravnskov.
To be honest, it wasn’t necessary for me to read any of his three books to be convinced that the commonly accepted views and warnings of fat and cholesterol are all the result of an unfortunate, long-legged, runaway medical scam. I was educated on fat and cholesterol by Uffe Ravnskov through his websites, Cholesterol Myths and THINCS. Having become familiar with the author over the last 10 years, it is obvious to me that Uffe Ravnskov has spent the better part of his lifetime studying cholesterol. Dr. Ravnskov has delved into, analyzed and digested the critical facts and statistics of dozens, if not hundreds of cholesterol studies. The author has even performed his own meta analysis of all of these studies to prove how the popularly accepted theory on cholesterol is wrong – dangerously wrong. All of Ravnskov’s work is meticulously referenced in each of his three books. Uffe Ravnskov critically analyzes the actual data and statistics and presents logical conclusions in his books which are sometimes shocking, yet always ring truthful when you take the time to digest all of the misleading garbage we’ve been fed about cholesterol and dietary fat. While all three books certainly focus on the same topic, I believe each of them serve a useful purpose. His latest book, Ignore the Awkward is no exception.

A Most Appropriate Title

Perhaps Uffe Ravnskov didn’t have this in mind when he wrote the book, but I believe Ignore the Awkward, is an appropriate title for more reasons than what was intended.
I will give you the perfect example of this by relating a true story. Several months ago, I lended Ravnskov’s previous book, Fat and Cholesterol are Good For You, to a young man approximately half my age whom I met at a party, through my wife’s work. We’ll refer to this young man as, Frank. Frank had just been given a ‘high cholesterol’ sentence, along with a Lipitor prescription from his doctor. As I listened to him describe his irrational fear of cholesterol and insane, low-fat diet ambitions, I couldn’t help but to speak up. I told Frank everything I learned from Dr.Uffe Ravnskov. I thought perhaps that he had listened to me as he did seem a little reassured at the time. Evidently this was not the case. A week or so later, my wife overheard him bragging to co-workers about his absurd, low-fat diet dishes and how he aims to lower his cholesterol ‘naturally’ by eating completely flavorless food lacking in nutritious fat and protein. I couldn’t bear hearing this, so I gave the Fat and Cholesterol are Good For You book to my wife to give to Frank. Weeks later, I asked my wife to check on Frank and ask how the book went over with him. Frank’s reply was that he didn’t agree with the book and that he was going to continue eating the bland diet of rabbits and other grazing animals. When asked what specific information was in the book that he didn’t agree with, Frank had no answers. Obviously, he didn’t read the book – talk about Ignoring the Awkward! I’m sure Frank couldn’t get past the first page before his brainwashed mind told him that the truth was too awkward for him to believe! Weeks later, when I heard about the title for the latest cholesterol book of Uffe Ravnskov, I immediately thought of Frank. If a poor, brainwashed patient like Frank can ignore the awkward, the brainwashers themselves are experts on the topic.

Ignore the Awkward: It’s Not Just for Patients

When Uffe Ravnskov named the book, I think he really had doctors, researchers, medical companies and fat-industry food giants in mind. The gist of the book is that this is exactly what has been happening to us for decades: We are ignoring what is awkward to us. The result is the longest running medical scam in our world’s history. Uffe Ravnskov explains how the special interests of the low-fat food industries and statin drug manufacturers have successfully perpetuated this myth time and time again. But, he achieves this goal very methodically and systematically through the use of study facts, statistics and his own research analysis of these studies. Each study is footnoted and referenced at the end of every chapter. Dr. Ravnskov even tells us how to use Google or our Library to get a hold of the actual studies ourselves to verify his accuracy and reach our own conclusions. How does Ignore the Awkard compare to Ravnskov’s other three books? I’m afraid that Cholesterol Myths will always be my sentimental favorite because it was the first of his books I ever read. While all of these books do make use of the very same material, each one adds new material and includes studies which were either not available or mentioned at the time of the previous books. His latest two books; Fat and Cholesterol are Good For You and Ignore the Awkward includes a very compelling case for what really does cause heart disease. So, if there was one and only one Uffe Ravnskov book that I could use to convince someone of the fraudulent cholesterol theory, which one would I choose?
I think this most recent title might resonate the best for a patient like Frank who is being told the shocking lies about cholesterol theory for the first time. Of the three books, I thought Cholesterol Myths did the best job convincing and easing my fears with its extensive use of statistics and explanations of risk vs. relative risk. The 2nd book, Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You was a well-done update of his first book. Ignore the Awkward, I believe, does the best job elevating one’s fear of the dangers of Statin Medications. Ignore the Awkward is the easiest to read of the three books and is probably the one that is best suited for whetting the appetite of a hungry, brain-washed patient on a low-fat diet. Anyone who has trouble accepting views that are unpopular should read this book with one condition: Don’t ignore the title.

Allergy Buster Sinus Relief

Allergy Buster Sinus Allergy Relief

Allergy Buster is a new rendition of the popular, all-natural nasal spray, Sinus Buster.  If you’ve read my reviews, you know that I’m a big fan of sinus buster capsaicin nasal spray. My Sinus Allergy relief needs tend to lean towards the sinus side of the equation, particularly at night when my nasal passages get stuffy while sleeping on my side. Still, there are times, after mowing the lawn, taking a walk or bike ride, when I come down with the sneezing and runny nose symptoms from allergies.  So, the question for me is: In addition to it’s supposed allergy relief benefits, will this enhanced product provide the same sinus congestion relief as Sinus Buster? 

Allergy Buster vs Sinus Buster

While Sinus Buster greatly relieves congestion, it doesn’t do me much good for the allergy symptoms.  I reluctantly use Claritin for these allergy symptoms, because it makes me drowsy. I found the new, Allergy Buster product on the shelves of Walmart where I normally would see Sinus Buster. With Sinus Buster nowhere to be seen, I took a look at the active ingredients and found that Capcicum, like Sinus Buster is at the very top of the list. But, unlike Sinus Buster, this claims to be for both Sinus Allergy Relief. Allergy Buster is essentially a Capsaicin Nasal spray with some additional ingredients: Eucalyptus and Urtica diocia. The Eucalyptus provides additional relief of sinus congestion while the Urtica diocia is designed to ease allergy symptoms.

All-Natural Sinus Allergy Relief in One Bottle

The important ingredient in Sinus Buster is of course the active hot pepper, capsicum or capsaicin. Since Allergy Buster lists this ingredient at the top of the list, I assume it is just as effective as Sinus Buster for clearing up the nose. Eucalyptus is an ingredient that is  in Alkalol that I’ve used along with the Neilmed Sinus rinse.  Eucalyptus does have a very soothing and clearing effect on sinus passages and because it’s natural, it doesn’t bother me having this extra ingredient included along with the capsicum. Not being familiar with Ortica diocia, I decided to look it up.  Urtica diocia, also known as Nettle, is a perennial leaf extract which is reported to have many health benefits, including relief of allergy rhinitis symptoms.

Does Allergy Buster Work?

Upon first use and feeling the stinging burn of the active pepper ingredients, I can say with certainty that the new allergy version is just as effective as Sinus Buster for clearing a stuffy nose. What I cannot yet answer is whether or not the Eucalyptus provides improvement over the traditional Sinus Buster formula. Also, I have not yet had the opportunity to use the allergy product at the upon the onset of severe hay fever symptoms. Needles to say, another review will be in order to report on the effectiveness of Allergy Buster as a complete, all-natural, all-in-one, sinus relief nasal spray.

How to Get Rid of a Sore Throat with Chloraseptic

How to Get Rid of a Sore  Throat with Chloraseptic
Chloraseptic

If you are currently wondering how to get rid of a sore throat, you may not be familiar with chloraseptic throat spray. There are few over-the-counter remedy, such as Sinus Buster, that provide relief for me, but this throat spray is a secret I’ve used for years. If you’ve used a throat spray, the obvious immediate benefit is that it numbs the pain of sore throats, gums, canker sores and other oral aches and pains. But, does using a chloraseptic throat spray actually answer the question of how to get rid of a sore throat entirely? Yes and no.  There is another reason I have been using chloraseptic for years: It helps me get well quicker.

Chloraseptic Numbs the Pain …

but is this How to Get Rid of a Sore Throat?

A few weeks ago, I felt one of those  sore throats coming, and the impending feeling of dread that normally accompanies aches, chills and mild fever in the middle of summer. From past experience, I know that these kinds of symptoms rarely run the normal course of a cold virus.  Unlike colds, I can usually do something about it. I immediately started using the spray; twice an hour for the rest of the day. Not only does it numb the pain but it seems to help me recover from the illness much quicker. Chloraseptic may not be the way to get rid of a sore throat; both short term and long term.  The key to getting rid of the sore throat, is to use the product regularly. I use one or two sprays directly on the infected area at least twice an hour and continue doing so until the pain is completely gone. It not only works on the sore throat, but seems to help the source of the illness heal much quicker. 

How Does Chloraseptic Work?

The active ingredient in chloraseptic throat spray is Phenol. Obviously, Phenol is what helps numb the pain but what else does it do? I decided to look it up. The chemical term for Phenol is Carbolic Acid and it has many uses, including its antiseptic and analgesic properties which are used for bacteria and pain. It makes sense that a sore throat is probably accompanied by some bacteria. Why not use an antiseptic on your throat? It is strange that the Phenol used in throat sprays is not touted more for it’s antibacterial or antiseptic properties. Keep in mind, that Phenol is a chemical so use at your own discretion. At the very least, check with your doctor before using Phenol or Chloraseptic for treating children. I do not know whether or not the phenol works by actually killing the bacteria or simply keeps the infected area clean so the bacteria does not multiply as rapidly. Either way, the phenol in chloraseptic can make the question on how to get rid of a sore throat a whole lot easier to swallow.

Monovision

What you Need to Know if You’re considering Monovision or Lasik

MonovisionMonovision reviews on the internet are difficult to find. If you’re past age 30 and using a glasses,   contact prescription or considering Lasik eye surgery, it’s time to learn a little bit about the philosophy and consider whether or not it might be a good strategy to address your reading and distance vision simultaneously. I had Lasik surgery 11 years ago and thought it would be worthwhile to share my own experience; satisfactions, dissatisfaction, pros and cons of monovision. Consider this the complete review from one who has been using it for 11 years. While monovision is most often associated with Lasik, it is important to understand that one doesn’t need lasik nor any other type of eye surgery to use it. Before I begin with my review, a more complete definition is in order.

What is Monovision?

Monovision is a vision correction strategy for making it easier to read as we get older. After age 40, our distance vision and near reading vision seemingly become at odds with each other. It becomes more difficult for us to read due to a natural vision phenomenon known as presbyopia.  After age 40, the lenses in our eyes become more rigid, less flexible and we find ourselves having to hold books and other text documents farther away from our eyes to read the text. The small print on prescription bottles is particularly difficult to read. Those of us who are Myopic (nearsighted) can often correct the presbyopia (near vision) problem simply by removing our reading glasses. When we remove our reading glasses, our near sighted eyes which are not suitable for distance, tend to do a much better job at reading words and things that are near. Monovision is a method in which the optometrist corrects one eye for distance vision and leaves one eye under-corrected for reading vision. This can be accomplished through a glasses or contact prescription with different strength contact lenses or with Lasik corrective eye surgery. Depending on the degree of your myopia, your doctor may even be able to leave your reading eye completely uncorrected. In my case, I was so nearsighted that I required distance vision correction in both eyes. I was 39 years old at the time and didn’t want to mess with reading glasses in the near future, so I took my eye doctor’s recommendation and deliberately had my left eye under-corrected for reading. My right is my dominant eye. There is a very simple strategy for determining which eye is for distance and which is for reading: With both eyes open, point at a small object about 20 – 30 feet away from you. Close your right eye, then close your left eye while leaving your finger pointed at the object. Did your finger appear to move more with your left eye closed or right eye closed?  Whichever eye caused the appearance of your finger to move less or not at all is your dominant eye. My dominant eye is my right eye. Since I use my right eye for vision, my optometrists corrected this one for 20/20 vision and deliberately under-corrected my left eye for reading vision. This is the theory behind monivison. Theory is one thing; how well has this worked out over the last 11 years?

Does Lasik Monovision Really Work?

Yes, it really does work. It took me a few Lasik follow up appointments to get both eyes properly adjusted. Here is one important drawback: It is more difficult to get a successful eye surgery when both eyes have different vision goals. My vision in both eyes was finally where it needed to be after my third visit. My right dominant eye was 20/20 for distance and my left eye was probably somewhere around 20/80 or 20/100 for near vision. Reading books, one dominant and one reading-eye takes some getting used to. The first thing I had to learn was to not close my right eye while reading. Let the left eye do its job. For reading books and fine print, my reading eye has been a huge success. For seeing things in the distance like road signs, shapes, figures, trees and other details, the monovision has worked out just fine for the past 11 years. Other friends and family members my age or older who had lasik corrective eye surgery without monovision, immediately began complaining about their reading vision and had to where reading glasses. I was feeling pretty good about my choice to try monovision. Is it perfect? Well, not so fast.

What are the Problems with Monovision?

Screen vision has been my biggest problem.  We read books from a different distance than we read our television and computer screens. Unfortunately, I spend most of the hours of my days at the office looking at a computer screen. The monovision just doesn’t quite cut it. I can read hard copy text just fine, but the computer screen is just far enough away that I really have to strain with my left eye to see it. I’m often straining my neck when using a computer. The same is true for televisions. Reading the text on a television screen can be difficult. The other drawback is that my vision declines in dimly lit, dark rooms. I’ve had a difficult time seeing as well as I’d like to at dusk. Light and lots of light has been the biggest friend to my monovision. Problems aside, would it all over again if I had to?

Conclusions

I don’t regret the Lasik Eye surgery one bit. It’s been great getting out of bed in the mornings and having perfect vision without putting on a pair of thick-lensed glasses. I’ve also loved being able to have perfect reading vision without the use of reading glasses or straining my eyes. If I <i>might</i> have any doubts at all, it’s that I went with lasik monovision, rather than having both eyes corrected for distance. Like my non-monovision friends and relatives who had Lasik, I’ve had to cope with my computer and night vision using glasses and/or a contact lens in my left eye. On the other hand, for 11 years I’ve been able to read anything without the use of glasses; I’ve just had to strain a little extra hard with the computer and TV screens. If I hadn’t chosen the monovision, I would be forced to put on a pair of reading glasses to read any and everything. Monovision probably works better for some then for others. The trick is to have your reading eye adjusted for distance just well enough to read those computer and TV screens, but not so much that you’re unable to read those close-up books, manuals and instructions on bottles. If you are going to have Lasik, there is a very simple way to give this tecnhique a try before having expensive surgery. Have your optometrist give you a contact lens prescription for monovision. Don’t be too fast to judge. It may take a couple of weeks for you to get used to using both eyes for different purposes. After 11 years, my conclusion is that monovision was the right choice for me for a couple of reasons:

Pros and Cons of Monovision vs Regular Lasik Surgery

I was given a pair of vision glasses by my eye doctor which corrected my vision to 20/20 in both eyes for the sake of better driving vision at night. Using these glasses, I’ve been able to compare what it would be like had I not gone with regular lasik vs. monovision lasik. The difficulty seeing computer screens with my reading eye pales in comparison to how difficult it is to read a book or text with the glasses on. Reading computer screens with glasses on is of no benefit at all over monovision, though it does help a tad with television screens at a distance. Lasik, without monovision, would make it necessary to carry reading glasses along with me at all times. With Monovision Lasik, I can get by without glasses at all, even if reading the computer or television screen is not ideal. Below, is my perception on how Regular Lasik compares to Monovision Lasik.  Monovision Lasik can save you money by eliminating the need for corrective surgery in both eyes or allowing you to buy contact lenses for just one eye instead of two.

While there are advantages to having 20/20 vision in both eyes, my conclusion is that this is still a better way to experience the benefits and convenience of improved vision.

Ratings

monovision lasik vs regular lasik

Peppermint Oil Capsules

Peppermint Oil Capsules
Peppermint Oil

Could peppermint oil capsules be the best way to soothe an unsettled stomach that nobody has ever heard of? I’ve recently been convinced that peppermint oil capsules can do some good for just about anyone at one time or another. These powerful little peppermint oil capsules that you swallow with your meals work like magic for a variety of digestion problems:

What are the Benefits of Peppermint Oil Capsules?

From my own personal experience, peppermint bring relief from the following digestive ailments:

  • Heartburn
  • Nervous Stomach
  • Mild Nausea
  • Bloating, Cramping, and other IBS Symptoms
  • Sour Stomach
  • Bad breath
  • Anxiety
  • Relief from Hot Spicy Foods

Peppermint capsules help with more than just a nervous stomach. They bring soothing relief to the entire digestive system, from the esophagus, to the stomach, to your intestines and bowels. I discovered pepperment caps a few years ago while suffering through a period of stress and anxiety which resulted in bloating and other IBS symptoms after meals. One evening I took one of these peppermint oil capsules shortly after dinner. In about 20 minutes I began feeling tremendously better. The peppermint oil, which is extremely strong, brought a very cool, refreshing and pleasant feeling to my insides. My anxiety level seemed to subside along with the symptoms of the IBS as I felt the cool, refreshing sensation coat my esophagus and intestines. Believe it or not, the peppermint works like magic. The peppermint oil also leave me with a very refreshing breath and aftertaste – much more effective than any chewing gum or mouthwash I’ve ever tried. But, there is another tremendous benefit of peppermint that I’ve recently started using them for:  Settling the effects of hot spicy foods.

Have you ever enjoyed a super-hot bowl of green chili or other spicy Mexican or Asian dish, knowing that you will pay for it by spending some painful moments in the bathroom 2, 4, 6 or 8 hours later? As I got older these episodes with hot food have become worse and I used regret not always being able to eat the spicy food I like. I don’t have this problem anymore. Whenever I eat hot food, I take a peppermint oil capsule along with it. If the food is unusually hot, I will take another one 4-6 hours later just to be on the safe side. Doing this, literally reduces those bad episodes to the bathroom by about 80%. If you like hot foods like I do, but dread eating them for what they do to you, you will quickly learn to make friends with peppermint oil. It’s almost as if the peppermint oil follows the hot food on the way down and cools it off with ice cold water.  If you’re skeptical about whether or not peppermint oil capsules really work, give them a try a little bit at a time. There are very side effects to be concerned about:

Side Effects

Occasionally, the peppermint oil capsules will give me a very slight feeling of heart burn in the esophagus when I don’t really have heartburn at all. This sensation is simply the feeling of the cold peppermint oil coating my esophagus and is not entirely unpleasant. The only other side effect I can think of is that the strong peppermint taste will sometimes overpower some of the foods or beverages I enjoy such as coffee. I’ve never liked to drink coffee after brushing my teeth because the peppermint flavor doesn’t mix. You can certainly take them with your meal without worrying about the after-state of peppermint because it takes them a while to work. By the time, you’ve finished your meal, you’ll feel like you’ve been given a very effective after dinner mint that lasts 2 -4 hours. Only take as prescribed – they are very strong and too many peppermint oil capsules can do more to hurt your stomach than help. By all means, though, keep some peppermint oil capsules on hand and learn to take them when you need them.

VSP Vision Insurance

VSP Vision Insurance

VSP is a vision insurance plan that covers routine eye exams, eye glass lens, eye glass frames and contact lenses. Let’s face it, buying any type of individual insurance is a real drag on the finances and monthly cash flow. Insurance is something you don’t want to use very often and when you do, it is still not likely to make things completely free. Eyeglasses cost a lot of money. In fact, the purchase of a new pair of glasses can cost up to 4 times as much as your actual eye exam. Obviously, not all eye insurance plans are going to cover the cost of your glasses or contact lenses, but it could certainly pay-off to have some of those expenses covered. If your employer doesn’t offer you something like the VSP or another vision insurance plan, you’ll be glad to know it is available to individuals without employee coverage plans for optical insurance. A few months ago, I found a couple of good Individual Dental Plans. Once of these affordable dental plans was good enough to replace even the employer-sponsored Dental Plan I have through my company. Is the same true with Individual Vision Insurance or VSP? I do not have a vision insurance plan through my employer, but wife does through her school district. The vision insurance plan through the school would cost us about $28 a month out of pocket for the family. Most plans like these include free eye exams, $100-$150 on glasses frames and and many of them cover free eye glass lenses and contacts. Now, I’m no dummy. I know what a racket those eyeglasses stores can be. You’ll want anti-glare, scratch resistant lenses; thinner lenses; better lenses and you will end up paying much more above and beyond the free lenses provided by your vision insurance plan. None-the-less, a vision insurance plan might save you some money if you’re taking 4 or 5 members of your family to the eye doctor once a year. Let’s take a look at the VSP Vision Insurance plan which offers private coverage for individuals:

What is Covered under the VSP Vision Insurance Plan?

  • Full Cost of Routine Eye Exams
  • Full Coverage for Prescription Lenses, including bifocals, trifocals and polycarbonate lens for children
  • Cost of Frames up to $120, plus 20% off any out of pocket costs
  • Up to a $120 allowance for the cost of your Contact Lens Exam and Lenses

If you’ve been to your eye doctor recently, you probably have a rough idea of what your out-of-pocket costs of eye exams, lenses, eye glass frames, etc. are (with or without vision insurance). So, do you really save money with a VSP Vision Insurance Plan? It depends. Before we answer that question, we need to know what it costs to enroll in the VSP Vision Insurance plan that matches your family size.

Cost

The VSP Vision Insurance Plan requires an $18.00 per year CCA Membership fee.  I’ve added the CCA Fee into the costs below:

  • Just for You: (1 Person): $178.95 Annually or $14.92 Per Month
  • For You + 1 Family Member: $323.95 Annually or $27.00 Per Month
  • For Entire Family of 3 Plus:  $436.95 Annually or $36.00 Per Month

Your reaction to the VSP vision premiums above, probably ranges from “that’s not so bad”,  to “Holy Smoke! VSP Vision Insurance is Expensive!”.. The older we are the more likely we fall into the latter category of sticker shock at the Vision Insurance Premiums. There is a very good reason for that:

Is the VSP Plan worth it for Individuals?

While we are young and near sighted or far sighted, our eyes seem to change constantly. If you have two or more children, you are probably taking them once or twice a year to the eye doctor to get them fitted for glasses or contact lenses. Us older folks (25 and up), are probably going to an eye doctor no more than once or twice every five years. I realize  optometrists tell us that we all need to go at least once a year, but most of us don’t follow that advice unless we have some type of ongoing vision problems. The same is true for my wife and even our kids are at the age where they really don’t need to visit the eye doctor more than once every couple of years. Do the math: For my family, we wouldn’t even break even with the VSP Insurance Premium of $436.95 annually. On the other hand, if I could go back 15 years, when I was taking my kids to the eye doctor and paying for eye exams, new glasses and contact lenses at least once a year, my out-of-pocket expenses for eye exams, glasses and contact lenses was approximately $1,000 per year. I could have saved some money, to the tune of around $400-$500 per year, with the VPS Insurance plan. Vision Insurance is always a bonus if it’s completely paid for by your company. But, if you’re shopping for your own individual vision plan, consider how many times you and your family use an eye doctor. If it is 2 or more visits a year for new prescriptions in glasses and/or contact lenses, you should consider the VSP Plan. Certainly, there are other good insurance plans out there for your eye-sight, but VSP seems to make the most sense for those who need eye insurance and cannot get it through their employee health plan. Deciding whether or not to make monthly payments on vision plan (or any insurance plan for that matter) is kind of like being a back seat driver. It’s always easier to make that decision with the benefit of hindsight. I’ve always recommended that shoppers of any type of insurance check with relatives and friends who were once in their own situation and ask them if they’re happy with what they are getting received for their premium payments. Since we don’t have the benefit of hindsight when shopping for a vision insurance plan, the best advice we can receive is from those who have been in our same shoes. Look into VSP – It is better to be nearsighted than short-sighted.