If you are purchasing real property (a.k.a., a home or land) or using your home as collateral on a loan (e.g., getting a mortgage), chances are you will have to conduct a title search. When you conduct a title search, you are in fact looking back through the history of a piece of property. A title search can reveal, among other things, property sales, encumbrances, and tax delinquencies. You can always conduct a title search in person at your county recorder’s office. However, nowadays, it is also relatively easy to conduct a title search online. To conduct an online title search, you will need to gather certain information about the property in question and conduct an online search using that information. Follow the directions in this article to successfully complete an online title search.
EditUnderstanding Title Searches
- Know when you need to conduct a title search. Title questions will always come up in two common situations. If you are in one of the following situations, you should read this article to learn more about conducting an online title search.
- First, you will need to analyze title when you are purchasing property from someone else (for instance buying a home).
- Second, you will need to analyze title when you are using your own property as collateral (for instance when you are obtaining a mortgage).
- Apart from the two most common scenarios, you might simply want to conduct a title search for your own informational purposes.
- Understand what types of documents you can find. When you conduct a title search, you will have the ability to look for, and find, a variety of different documents. With that said, a “title” will not be one of the documents you find. A property title is a comprehensive term referring to the legal rights an individual has to the property in question. Having title to a piece of property means you have ownership rights over that property and you can choose to do what you want with it. Therefore, a title is not a tangible item; it is only a legal term conveying your rights to something. You are, however, likely to encounter some or all of the following documents when you conduct an online title search:
- Deeds. A deed is the legal written document that transfers title from one person to another. Deeds are probably the most common document found in title searches and they are valuable for tracing back ownership of a particular property.
- Liens. A lien is a property interest document used by creditors to let everyone know you owe them money. A lien is an important document in a title search because a lien clouds your title. In order to sell or mortgage a piece of property, you must have a clean title, meaning one that is not encumbered by a lien. Therefore, knowing if you have any liens on a piece of property can be important information to know.
- Mortgages. A mortgage is a debt instrument used by banks and individuals in order to buy a piece of property without paying for the whole thing up front. A mortgage is a type of lien, and is therefore an important document to look for during title searches.
- Know what kinds of information you are looking for. When you conduct an online title search, you are usually trying to answer two very important questions.
- First, you usually conduct a title search to understand who holds valid title to a piece of property. This information can be valuable whether you are trying to purchase a home or use a home as collateral on a loan. You should not buy a house until you know the person you are buying it from is legally able to sell it. Also, a bank will not loan you money for a mortgage until they know you are the rightful owner of the home.
- Second, You want to look at the public land records to see if there are any encumbrances on the land. An encumbrance is a “right or interest that exists in someone other than the owner of an estate and that restricts or impairs the transfer of the estate or lowers its value. Examples of encumbrances include liens, easements, covenants, mortgages, or unpaid taxes. This information is also valuable when you are trying to purchase a home or use a home as collateral on a loan. You should not buy a home until you know that title is free from encumbrances. Also, a bank will be interested in what encumbrances your title has before they offer to loan you money for a mortgage.
EditGathering Basic Property Information
- Find the property’s address. The first step in gathering information is to find and write down the property’s address. A property’s address is probably the most common way to identify a piece of property and it can be incredibly useful when you are conducting a title search. To find a property’s address, you can take a trip to the property in question and look at the address on the home. If you are not able to conveniently get to the property, you can use Google Earth or you can conduct a Google Search. You can also ask people familiar with the property if they may have the address on hand.
- Locate the name of the person who owns or has owned the property. If you are purchasing a piece of property from someone else, this step should be easy. However, if you are planning on conducting a title search for informational purposes and you do not have access to names, you will have to search for those names. To do this, try using this public records online search engine. Here, you can search for public records, which may include the names of people owning a particular piece of property, by clicking on your state and your county.
- If you are going to be searching for deeds during your title search, it will also help if you know whether the person whose name you have is a grantor (person transferring an interest in property) or grantee (person accepting a property transfer).
- Find a range of dates to narrow your search. In order to narrow your search and get the best results possible, think about the documents you want to search for and when those documents were probably recorded. The process of recording a property document involves filing that document with the county recorder’s office. If you know when a particular document was recorded, it will help you find that document quicker when you conduct your online title search.
EditFinding a Parcel Identification Number
- Understand parcel identification numbers. A parcel identification number, also known as an assessor’s identification number, map number, block number, or lot number, is one of the most valuable pieces of property identification you can have. This number is designated by the county where the property is located and used on all documents that are recorded about that specific piece of property.
- Each specific piece of property in every county is given a unique identifying number. If you can find this number for the property in question, you will have a much easier time conducting a successful title search.
- Visit the county assessor’s website. The first step in finding a parcel identification number is to track down the county where the property is located. Once you know this, you will visit that county’s assessor’s website. To find a county assessor’s website, you will simply visit this public records website. Once there, you will click on the state where your property is located. You will then be given a list of counties in that state. Simply click on the county where your property is located and a screen like this will appear. That screen will list all of the county’s websites that contain public records. Because you are looking for a parcel identification number, you will need to click on the link for your county’s assessor’s office.
- Navigate to the property search function. Once you are at the county assessor’s website, you will have to find its property search function. Each county’s website will be different.
- For example, in Los Angeles County, California, the assessor’s database can be found here.
- In Greenville County, South Carolina, the assessor’s property search function can be found here.
- Type in an address. After you access the county assessor’s property search function, you will type in the property address in question. There will usually be a specific box for you to type the address in.
- For example, the Los Angeles County search function, found here, allows you to search by address.
- In Greensville County, you can search by address or name.
- Find your property. Once you type in an address and click search, a list of properties will appear. If you typed in a specific address, hopefully only the property in question will come up. Once you find the property you are looking for, click on it.
- Look for your parcel identification number in the property description. When you find the property in question and pull up that property’s information, one of the first things that will appear will be the property’s identification number. Write this identification number down and keep it handy.
EditConducting Your Title Search
- Visit the county recorder’s website. After you have gathered all of the important information about the property you will be conducting a title search for, you will visit the county recorder’s website for the county where the property is located. To find your county recorder’s website, click on this public records website. Once there, you will click on the state where your property is located. A list of counties in that state will pop up and you will need to click on the county where your property is located. The next screen will look something like this. Click on the county recorder’s website.
- Navigate your way to a property title search. Now that you are at the county recorder’s website, you will need to find out how to conduct a title search. Every county’s website is going to be different so you will have look around to find it. If you cannot find what you are looking for, call the county recorder’s office and ask for help.
- In Linn County, Iowa, for example, you can start your title search by simply clicking on this link.
- In Ventura County, California, you can visit the recorder’s website here and you can access the search function by clicking on the “Grantor/Grantee Search” button on the right side of the screen. If you click on that button, you will find yourself here, where you will be able to start your title search.
- Use the information you have gathered to complete a search. Depending on your county’s search parameters, you will use some or all of the information you have gathered to look for documents that have affected title to the piece of property in question.
- For example, in Linn County, Iowa, you can search by name, document type, date, address, or parcel number.
- In Ventura County, California, you can only search by name and date.
- Analyze your findings. Once you find a particular document, you can look through it to gather the information you need. Keep searching for documents until you are satisfied with the information you have.
EditSources and Citations
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The philosophy behind karate is vast and complex. It stems from thousands of years of armed and unarmed combat. Techniques that were perfected hundreds of years ago are still being perfected over and over again by each new generation. Buddhism, Taoism, and the code of Bushido have all played parts in the development of the martial arts philosophy. Karate in its modern form was established around 400 years ago in Japan, with its roots mainly derived from Chinese Kung Fu. See Step 1 below to start teaching yourself the basics of this art form.
EditGetting in the Zone
- Meditate. (5+ minutes) Clear your mind of all thoughts; concentrate on breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth; steady deep breaths and a clear mind will prepare you to learn Karate. There is no time limit, but meditating for at least 5 minutes should clear your thoughts enough to allow you to concentrate. And yes, meditating can definitely enhance your fighting skills!
- Forget school. Forget work. Forget family, problems, everything — visualize them evaporating before your eyes. Once everything is gone, you should see an empty room, and in the center of the empty room, a ball of flame begins growing from the emptiness. This flame of firing strength and energy should represent anything you hope to achieve by training yourself in Karate. By the time you are done with your meditation, the room should be entirely engulfed by nothing but the flame.
- Warm up. (10 minutes) Start off by running in place or around the block for about 5 minutes; plus about 5 minutes (or 20 reps each) of push-ups, sit-ups (or crunches), leg lifts, and reverse push-ups.
- Warming up is vital to your muscles’ ability to do work. If you don’t get them loose and ready before you start your training and stretching, then they will go on strike against you and even basic moves will be tough to execute properly.
- Stretch. (15 minutes) Stretching all major muscle groups first is essential for a loose and limber body; get a book on stretching if you do not already know what stretching exercises to do. In Karate, stretching the legs is crucial to keep yourself injury-free.
- Stretching comes after warming up. When your muscles have heated up, that’s when they’ll be most receptive to stretching — when stretching will be the safest and most effective.
- Understand the philosophy behind karate. To the untrained observer, karate may look like its about showy displays of violence. In fact, it’s the polar opposite. Karate is about peace and, what’s more, peace of mind. In life conflict is unavoidable. When this happens, it should be handled swiftly and with power. The result is a natural confidence that has an air of humility.
- This is an art form that involves the mind and spirit as much as the body. All three must develop simultaneously for the practitioner to truly master this sport. While the body must remember how to move, the mind, in turn, must remember how to be still.
- All of the martial arts begin and end with courtesy. There is very little that is selfish about karate. It is believed that in your devotion there is reward.
EditMastering Stances, Balance, and Power
- Get the basic stances down. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you wanna get to the fun stuff. Unfortunately, your kicks, strikes, and blocks will not be effective if you don’t have your stance right. You wouldn’t expect to be a great baseball if you held your bat the wrong way, would you? Nope. The basics are what truly make a great karateka (karate practitioner).
- There are different types of Karate. You’ll find different stances are traditional depending on which type you’re practicing. Most types of karate have some variation of the following three stances:
- The natural, or walking stance (shizentai-dachi) is when your front foot is pointing forward, back foot is out at a 45-degree angle pointing behind you. Your feet are apart at a natural, or walking, width.
- The front stance (zenkutsu-dachi) is like the natural stance, but your feet are further apart and your weight is mostly on your front leg.
- Cat stance, or back stance (nekoashi-dachi). Your foot positioning is like the walking stance, but your weight is mostly on your back leg. Your front heel, if you so choose, may be raised.
- Start with the ready stance. The stances above are fighting stances. However, at the beginning of any spar, you’ll need to begin with the ready stance. You have three basic options:
- The ready stance in the Fukyugata series has the heels together and toes pointing outward at a 60-degree angle.
- The ready stance in the Pinan series has the feet at shoulder width, toes pointing outward at a 45-degree angle.
- The ready stance in the Naihanchi series has the feet directly together and parallel.
- Be aware of your balance. Karate isn’t exactly something drunk people would be good at, and for good reason — it takes an immense ability to balance. That’s part of the reason the stances are so important! They center your body, allowing you to be fluid while simultaneously strong. But that strength you feel in your stance can’t disappear when you start kicking!
- Always think about your center gravity. If you spread your feet, you lower it, proving yourself stability and more bang for your attack. But if you lower it too much, you lose mobility and speed. When it comes to balance, there is a happy medium you need to find.
- While having balance is important, when you start having to defend yourself, you’ll need to be able to shift that balance quite quickly as well. If you’re in one stance too long, your opponent can easily attack you! Because of this, transitions between stances are important too.
- Concentrate on your power and speed. There are plenty of people (read: gym rats) who lift hundreds and hundreds of pounds but yet would not excel at karate. It is not about muscle — it’s about power and speed.
- The two are highly connected. A longer route to your target will help you develop more speed and thus power. If you use your entire body, you will have more power behind your attack, and necessarily employ more speed. However, think of karate not as being able to move a large object, but being able to move a small object quickly and with detailed precision.
EditMastering the Moves
- Work on your punching and blocking. (15 minutes) There are a few essential punches you will need to learn to attack effectively. The straight punch, upper-cut, knife-hand, spear-hand, elbow strike, and backfist, namely. Practice them in order and alternate hands.
- Blocking is just as important! Practice blocking as though these were the punches you were being attacked with. Experiment with combinations and counter attacks. Defend, attack, defend, attack…etc.
- For the record, your first two knuckles are the strongest knuckles on your hand. They can be lined up with your forearm bones (radius and ulna) to increase strength. The most common mistakes are when people have a crooked fist, punch too high or punch with their shoulder.
- Practice kicking. (15 minutes) Ten repetitions of any kick will suffice in strengthening your legs. Focus beyond the target for maximum power, but practice the flow of motion to gain graceful fluidity in your movements; like a swan; power will follow.
- There are five basic karate kicks:
- The front snap kick. Basically, think of your foot swinging out in front of you like you’re snapping a towel. In natural stance, you draw up your back foot, bend at the knee, and snap (hence the name) your leg out in front of you and draw it immediately back to where it was.
- The side snap kick. The same as the front snap kick…only to the side.
- The side trust kick. Lift your kicking foot to your opposite knee, kick, and roll your hip forward. In the snap kicks, your torso stays upright. In trust kicks, your torso falls more in line with your kicking leg, coming down to power your kicking leg upward.
- The guy in the gif above is doing a trust kick. See how his torso comes down?
- The back trust kick. Like the side trust kick, but you’re looking behind you and kicking in the same direction as you’re looking.
- The round kick. In cat stance, pull your kicking leg up toward the same elbow. Swing your hips forward and pivot, creating the “round” in the round kick. Then snap it back as quickly as possible.
- Start sparring. (15+ minutes) Find someone to practice with, and use all of your techniques to fight them for 15 to 30 minutes. Sparring will help you increase your stamina and ability to throw combinations and defend yourself against multiple attacks or multiple attackers, once you’ve mastered certain blocking and attacking techniques.
- Practice all kata (literally, “practice form”) over and over. Focus on one kata in particular for that session. Once you have it, you can move on. It’s important to focus on lower level kata as well as higher level to refine and improve.
- Be sure to revisit it once you do have it! After you master several, piece them together and work on increasingly difficult combinations as the days progress.
- When stretching, stretch everything; even your neck, back, stomach, arms and hands… concentrate especially on your largest muscles – the legs.
- When attacking – look for your opponent’s weaknesses and strengths. Give your opponent a false sense of security by faking an attack they will use their momentum to block, then attack them using your own power and cunning to lay your opponent out for the count.
- When punching, stay relaxed until just before you hit your target. Bruce Lee says, “Relaxation is essential for faster and more powerful punching. Let your lead punch shoot out loosely and easily; do not tighten up or clench your fist until the moment of impact. All punches should end with a snap several inches behind the target. Thus, you punch through the opponent instead of at him.”
- Do not try the difficult level at first. Always start with easy introduction. First be thorough with the basics then start practicing the difficult ones.
- When fighting/sparring, maintain eye contact with your opponent at all times.
- Practice everything you know so much that when a real fight comes you don’t have to think, just do. Use a training dummy after every warm up to fight with…
- Be confident when sparring. During training with someone, focus on punching and kicking.
- Never under-estimate, or over-estimate an opponent. The more you’re sure you can defeat/be defeated by them, the less/more likely that outcome will occur.
- When kicking: straight kicks may use the ball of the foot or the heel, keep your toes back or they might be damaged; side kicks always use the blade of your foot or the heel; ax kicks always strike with the heel (but this is an uncommon kick for most); round-house kicks may strike with the shin, top or ball of the foot. Round kicks with the shin may be particularly effective.
- Know that it takes hard work, and that you will not become a ‘karate master’ overnight.
- Always stay calm and peaceful in a fight, respect your opponent, and never underestimate them, for they can defeat you much easier if you do so.
- You may want to try meditating at the beginning of the workout. This way your mind will be clear and ready to workout without getting your body warmed up and then have it cool down while you sit motionless meditating.
- Make sure you have good and strong control over your lower body.
- Remember karate is about peace not violence. It may seem like violence but it’s mostly about defense!
- Be sure to replace any of your worn or damaged martial arts sparring gear. Your safety should come first in all of your karate studies.
- Attack your opponent on his weak part many times so he will get tired and its easy to beat him.
- When sparring: when attacked – 1. Strike them before they strike you; this may negate or impair their attack, cause them damage and expend a minimum of your energy. 2. If this is not possible, move, change the distance and/or move off the line of attack ready for a counter-attack. 3. Block. Blocking need not occur with the hands and it is very unwise to block medium to low kicks with the hands. this leaves the head unguarded and vulnerable. Blocking kicks with the hands (especially open hands is not smart unless you are an expert). The best defense is not being where you can be hit.
- Take pride in your appearance! Be sure to keep a fresh supply of karate uniforms on hand.
- If you are interested in martial arts, go and train!
- Start a gymnastics club so you will know how to do cool flips to add into your karate moves!
- When blocking a kick or punch from a sparring opponent, always remember to clench your fist tightly or you may break your own hand on their kick.
- Remember your sparring partner is real, not a punching bag. Safety gear is advised and always be careful.
- Always stretch, and stretch everything. Pulling a muscle or snapping a tendon is excruciatingly painful!
EditSources and Citations
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Most spider bites are harmless. It is sometimes difficult to tell a spider bite from another insect sting or bite, or even just a mild skin infection. Always seek medical attention if you are not sure of what caused a serious bite or sting, especially if you begin to develop symptoms. The two most common poisonous spiders found in the United States are the black widow and the brown recluse. If you have confirmation that the bite was from a black widow spider, then be sure to seek immediate medical care.
EditIdentifying a Bite from a Black Widow Spider
- Recognize a bite from a black widow spider. Black widow spiders have fangs. When bitten, two small puncture wounds are usually visible.
- As the venom from the bite spreads, the area develops a target-like appearance. The fang marks are in the center, surrounded by an area of reddened skin, then another circle of red just a little further beyond the center.
- The fang marks are visible immediately. Redness and swelling of the area where the bite occurred develops rapidly, usually within an hour.
- Pain typically starts within the hour and can quickly spread from the site to systemic areas such as the abdomen, chest area, or back.
- This is not always the case, but this is the classic description for the pattern that develops from a black widow spider bite.
- Capture the spider if possible. The treating physician will want to know what caused the bite/sting/injury. Safety is always the priority. If you can safely capture the spider, place it a container that does not present a risk of injury to anyone else. A small glass jar or plastic container with a lid, placed inside another container with a secured lid and handle, such as a small cooler, can help to make it easy to transport the spider.
- Clearly no one needs to be put at risk of being bitten. If it can be done safely, capture the spider and safely take it with you to the medical facility.
- Presenting the spider that did the biting can help in initiating the most effective treatment as quickly as possible. Carrying around a black widow spider might not be the best plan, so at least take very clear pictures of whatever bit you, if you can do so safely.
- Recognize the symptoms. Most people that are bitten by a spider, including a venomous one like a black widow, do not have any serious medical problems as a result.
- Symptoms that can result from a black widow bite include severe and intense pain, stiffness, muscle cramps, abdominal cramps, back pain, excessive sweating, and hypertension.
- Both topical and systemic reactions to the venom from a black widow spider can develop and spread quickly. Seek treatment as soon as possible once you confirm, or are fairly sure, you were bitten by a black widow spider.
- Topical reactions include itching or rash at the site, sweating of the extremity where you were bitten, pain radiating from the site, and discolored areas of the skin that form blisters.
- Systemic reactions include severe and intense muscle pain, pain radiating to the back and chest area, sweating, difficulty breathing, headache, nausea and vomiting, fever and chills, elevated blood pressure, and anxiety, restlessness, and delirium.
EditTreating the Black Widow Spider Bite
- Initiate treatment. The first step in treatment is to stay calm and safely identify the spider.
- Wash the area with mild soap and water and use ice applications or a cold cloth to help prevent swelling.
- Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Use a towel or soft and clean cloth between the skin and the ice-filled baggie or cold pack.
- Elevate the area that was bitten if possible and practical.
- Take an over-the-counter product to help with pain and/or inflammation such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin. Be sure to follow the directions on the label.
- Seek medical care. According to reports from poison control centers in the United States, more than 2500 incidents of black widow spider bites are reported each year in the United States. Go to an urgent care clinic or hospital emergency room.
- You may want to call your regular doctor and inform him or her of the situation. Your doctor may want you to come straight to the office or have a preference as to the medical facility you go to. Wherever you end up going, inform them that you are on your way and that you were bitten by a black widow spider — this will give the staff ample time to prepare.
- Do not attempt to drive yourself to the hospital. The venom from the bite can alter your responses abruptly. You may feel lucid when you start driving, but your condition can change quickly.
- Most people do not experience severe reactions from a black widow spider bite. In fact, some people have no problems at all and do not need medical care.
- Due to the possibility of severe pain, discomfort, and systemic changes, talk with your doctor as soon as possible or go to an emergency room or urgent care clinic to be sure you can receive prompt treatment should you develop any adverse effects or complications.
- Inform the doctor at the treatment facility of all medications or treatment steps taken upon arrival.
- Fortunately, only three cases of death have been recorded over many years.
- Some reports of serious complications and death have been linked to black widow bites in people that were already severely medically compromised.
- Use the antivenom, Antivenin Latrodectus Mactans. The antivenom has been available since the 1920’s. At least one case report of a severe hypersensitivity reaction has limited the use of the antivenom in the United States.
- Complications from the bite are possible. A medical facility can monitor your vital signs and changes in your condition to determine if treatment is warranted.
- An article published in 2011 reviewed four cases of black widow spider bites. Three of the people bitten were treated with the antivenom and one was not due to concerns over hypersensitivity.
- The three people treated with the antivenom experienced relief from the severe pain caused by the bites in a short period of time, usually with 30 minutes of receiving the injection. All three people were observed for a few hours in the emergency treatment facility then discharged to home without further complications.
- The person that did not receive the antivenom was treated with strong pain and anti-inflammatory medications in the emergency department, then required admission to the hospital.
- The person received treatment in the hospital for two days, then began to feel better by the third day. He was discharged to home on the third day without further complications.
EditRecognizing a Black Widow Spider
- Identify the black widow spider without disturbing it. The unique marking of a female black widow spider is the bright red hourglass shape on the underneath part of its abdomen.
- The female spider has a black and shiny body with a large and round abdomen. The body is about 1 and ½ inches in length, and the entire spider, legs and all, is more than 1 inch across.
- They have fangs that are a little shorter than those of other spiders, yet still long enough to penetrate human skin.
- Black widow spiders are reported to be commonly found in the southern and western regions of the United States. Other sources and statistics report frequent sightings as far west as California, all along the eastern seaboard, south to Florida, and north as far as Okanagan in BC and central Alberta in Canada.
- Spot possible places where they like to live. Black widows like to live outside where there are plenty of flies to feed on; however, they can be found inside structures and shelters.
- They prefer undisturbed places such as woodpiles, under simulated rock well covers, the eaves of a house, around fences, and other areas where debris piles up.
- Watch for black widows in dark, moist, and undisturbed places like meter boxes, under porches, porch furniture, and inside and around barns and sheds.
- Try not to disturb the web. Black widow spiders like to make their webs between objects that are solid and stationary. Some spiders prefer to make their webs in locations that are more flexible, like between shrubbery and tree branches.
- The black widow’s webs are purposefully made in an irregular shape, not like the typical and sometimes practically perfect webs made by other spiders. The fibers of the web are stronger than those found in most spider webs.
- They don’t prey on human skin. Most bites occur when their webs are disturbed.
- They are not aggressive but will bite when they feel trapped or are touched.
- Differentiate the males from the females. The females have the classic markings and the more potent venom. If you are bitten by a female black widow, then you need prompt medical attention.
- The body of a female is usually larger in size than a male black widow spider, however the legs of a male are often longer. This can make the overall size of the male appear larger.
- Males can be black but are usually brown in color, and the markings can be anywhere on the abdomen. The red is typical yet some males have markings that are white or brownish.
- The female has the traditional hourglass red shape on the abdomen, but this can appear more orange than red in some females.
- Females have fangs large enough to penetrate human skin and deliver enough venom to create a systemic reaction.
- Bites from male black widow spiders are not considered to be capable of delivering venom.
- The black widow spider was named for the tendency of the female to eat the male after mating. This is not the always the case, but it is a real possibility.
EditSources and Citations
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Contrary to the popular saying, practise doesn’t necessarily make perfect; it does, however, make better! There are a lot of practical things you can do to improve the quality of your voice, from learning to breathe properly to avoiding certain foods, to trying specific warmup exercises before singing or speaking. These aren’t overnight solutions, but with time and work, you can absolutely improve the quality of your voice.
EditBreathing and Standing Correctly
- Learn to breathe. Breathing correctly is imperative to having a strong voice. The key is to breathe deeply:
- As you inhale and exhale, try to inflate your stomach and kidney (back) areas with your breath. To ensure that you’re breathing into these areas, place your hands around your waist, with your thumbs on your back, your fingers at your front, and your palms resting on your sides down towards your hips. You should feel your hands expand and contract with each breath. Over time, as you strengthen your breath, these expansions and contractions will get bigger and longer.
- If you have trouble breathing deeply, try lying on the floor on your back, with your hands on your stomach. When you inhale, your hands should rise; when you exhale, your hands should lower.
- Note that your shoulders should not be moving up and down with your breath.
- Use your abs. When you’re breathing correctly, when you inhale, the lower muscles (diaphragm) over your abdomen should move outward, making room for more air. As you sing (or talk or just exhale), use those muscles to push the air back out.
- Use the muscles over your lower back (around your kidneys) in exactly the same way to control your inhalations and exhalations.
- Learn the correct posture. Pay attention to the position of your feet, knees, hips, abdomen, chest, shoulders, arms, and head:
- Your feet should be slightly apart, with one foot slightly in front of the other so that your weight is slightly forward.
- Your knees should be relaxed and slightly bent. When aiming for good posture it can be tempting to lock your knees; be careful not to do this.
- Your hands should be relaxed and hanging at your sides.
- Your abdomen should be relaxed but ready to be engaged. To get a sense of how an engaged abdomen feels, place your hands on your waist (with your thumbs on your back) and cough very lightly.
- Your shoulders should slide back and down so that your back is straight and your head is high. Do not hunch or pull your shoulders up towards your ears.
- Your chest should be slightly up and out— this will likely happen naturally when you pull your shoulders back and down.
- Your chin should be parallel with the floor — neither lifted or pointed downward.
- Relax. Once you’ve moved into the correct posture, check in to make sure that you are not holding tension anywhere. It should not feel as though you’re forcing your chest out or your back to be straight. Be sure to relax your face and your neck.
- Singing or speaking while your body and face are tensed will only make it more difficult to produce a high-quality sound.
EditHaving the Correct Mouth Position
- Have an open but relaxed mouth. Your mouth should be wide open when you sing, but avoid the temptation to open it so wide that your face and neck muscles tense up. Check in to make sure that your lips, jaw, and neck feel loose and relaxed.
- Lift your soft palate. A common piece of advice from professional singers is to create space in your mouth. Opening your mouth wide is part of how you can do this; another part of creating space involves dropping your jaw and tongue, and lifting your soft palate (the ridged flesh at the roof of your mouth).
- To do this, breathe in as you would before yawning, but try not to yawn. Pay attention to the space this creates in your mouth, including the open feeling at the back of your throat. You want to replicate this wide-mouthed, soft-jawed/lifted palate position when singing.
- Ensure your tongue is positioned correctly. When creating space in your mouth, make sure that your tongue is out of the way. Let it rest softly at the bottom of your mouth, with its tip touching the back of your lower teeth.
- Try not to stick your tongue out or wave it around while you’re singing, as this will impair the quality of your voice, and could reduce the richness of your tone.
- Remember to swallow. Too much saliva in your mouth might make it difficult to sing, so remember to swallow before starting!
EditUsing Vocal Exercises to Strengthen Your Voice
- Warm up. Before singing or doing more demanding vocal exercises, you’ll benefit from doing some of the following simple exercises to warm up your voice:
- Yawn. Yawning will help stretch and open your mouth and throat, and can help release tension in your neck and diaphragm. To trigger a yawn, try opening your mouth wide and breathing in.
- Cough very gently. Think of it as lightly pushing air out from the back of your throat in short bursts. This will help you engage your lower chest and abdominal muscles, which are the muscles you should use while singing (as opposed to your throat/upper chest).
- Do gentle lip rolls. Hold your lips lightly together and blow air out of them while humming. Focus on having a relaxed throat and an engaged core while you do this. Practise lip rolls going from a low to high note and vice versa. Once you’re used to the lip rolls, practise doing scales with them.
- To help your body learn to relax while you sing, tense up your body and then right after releasing the tension, do a lip roll from low to high; repeat, this time going high to low.
- Humming is another gentle way to warm up your voice. Try humming along with music on your way to school or work or, if you’d prefer not to do that sort of thing in public, hum while you cook or while you’re in the shower.
- Sing scales. Starting as low as you can comfortably sing, gently move up the scale using a “me” sound until you reach the highest note at which you are comfortable. Then, move down the scale from high to low using an “e” sound.
- Don’t push your range — be gentle with it, letting it increase over time.
- You can also do this with an “oo” sound.
- Practise “woo” scales. Your mouth should look as though you’re sucking in a long string of spaghetti as you inhale. When you exhale, make a “woo” sound. It should sound buzzy, similar to the sound made by a kazoo. Keep the sound steady as you exhale; do this 2 to 3 times.
- Next, go up and down your scales using the “woo” sound.
- Practise smooth projection with words and phrases. Say groups of single words or entire phrases without stopping between the words — treat them as a single word. Lengthen the vowels and exaggerate the vocalization of each word as you say and/or sing it.
- As you speak/sing, imaging that you’re filling a room with your voice.
- Focus on smooth transitions: when switching between higher and lower, and louder and softer parts of a song, imagine moving up and down a ramp — not a staircase.
- Example words: moon moan mourn mane mean.
- Example phrases: many men munch many melons
- Be prepared to feel silly. A lot of vocal exercises can sound and look pretty funny. Relax and have fun with it. Two fun and silly exercises that help open up your throat:
- Sing “meow” slowly, emphasizing its three sounds — mee, ahh, and ooo.
- Make weird faces by stretching out your tongue in all directions. You can do this while singing or even just making weird noises.
- Cool down. As with physical exercise, cooling down after doing vocal exercises is important. One way to cool down is to do the same simple vocal warm-ups you started with (for example, yawning, light coughing, rolling your lips, and humming).
- Another way to cool down is simply to gently glide up and down, and down and up, on the sound “m”, so that you feel a tickling vibration in your lip/nose area.
- Remember to breathe and stay relaxed. Whether you’re warming up, singing, or giving a speech, breathing deeply and keeping your body, throat, and face relaxed are key to ensuring a high-quality voice.
EditMaking Lifestyle Changes for a Healthy Voice
- Drink enough water. Drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day — more if you exercise or live somewhere hot (i.e. if you sweat a lot).
- Eat for a healthy voice. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables promote a healthy voice by keeping the mucus membranes that line your throat healthy.
- Avoid substances that can irritate your vocal folds. These include smoke (even second-hand smoke), spicy foods, milk products, foods with a high-salt content (ex., bacon or salted nuts), citrus fruits, alcohol (including mouthwashes that contain alcohol), and cold and allergy medications.
- Get enough sleep. If you body is fatigued, it will show in your voice. Adults should aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night; teenagers should aim for 8.5 to 9.5 hours each night.
- If you get at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night and do not wake up feeling refreshed, see your doctor to ensure that there are no underlying reasons for this.
- Relax. Stress affects everything negatively. Take time every day to do something that helps you relax. Relaxing activities include yoga, meditation, walking, watching a show you love, reading a good book, or playing an instrument.
- Avoid shouting. This is particularly important if you have a performance coming up. Shouting can strain your voice and diminish its quality for even a few days after.
- Get help. If the quality of your voice has recently diminished — for example, become raspy, deeper, or strained — it may be a sign that you are experiencing a health issue. To be on the safe side, see a doctor to rule out potential health issues.
- Be patient. It could take some time to improve the quality of your voice. You won’t see enormous overnight results, but you likely will feel some difference almost immediately after combining proper breathing and posture with some simple warmups.
- It’s okay to take it slow. Start with learning how to breathe more deeply and stand correctly. Once you’re comfortable with that, work on your mouth position and some simple warm-ups.
EditLearning from Others
- Find a good, professional teacher. A good teacher can give you detailed feedback and advice on how to improve your voice. Aim for someone with classical training, as a classically trained teacher is likely to have experience with a variety of styles.
- If you can’t afford a voice coach, there are many online lessons available for free. Just type “singing lessons” or “voice coach” into YouTube, and you’ll have a wealth of videos to choose from.
- Listen closely to professional singers and speakers. Listen to the way they handle their breath, volume, articulation, control, vocal habits, and resonance. If you’re particularly fond of their style, see if you can replicate it.
- Replicating someone’s style is a great way of learning to sing, because it forces you to try things you might not normally try when singing.
- Watch professional singers and speakers. Pay attention to how they breathe and support the notes with their breath. Note their posture and body language. Watch the way they use their lips to shape the sounds and words that they are singing.
- Don’t ignore professionals you dislike. Think about why you dislike a certain singer or speaker. What do they do differently from the ones you like? Are they doing something wrong or is it just not your style?
- Compare the way an artist sounds in a live performance to the way he or she sounds in a recording. It is amazing what a good sound engineer can accomplish during a recording session. If you really like an artist’s recordings, try to figure out how much is real and how much is engineered before you decide that “you can never sound as good as that!”
- Go to open mics and other local music events. Ask those whose voice you like what they are doing to get that sound. Most will be flattered and pleased to share this information with you.
- To maintain a good voice avoid spicy foods.
- To hold out long notes, breathe from your diaphragm (near the stomach) and not your chest. Filling your diaphragm with air provides a steadier sound that lasts longer.
- You should sing ‘meow’ slowly before singing as it has three sounds- mee, aah and ooo. It helps open up your throat. Making weird faces by stretching out your tongue in all directions also helps in opening up the throat.
- A singer should maintain a balanced diet and should avoid foods that can cause throat infections or cold items such as ice cream, cold drinks, etc.
- To manage voice tone you must do the same way when you sing a song, rather than you must do the basic principle or breathing. This voice control will help you to be minimizing the great tempo of the vocal and may let you get in the specific ways and specific time.
- These principles generally apply to speaking, as well.
- Nothing helps more than help from a professional or someone who is good at it. Just ask!
- Keep in mind that temperature will affect your pitch.
- Always keep in mind no one is perfect in singing at all! Control your breathing and keep a steady voice!
- Add honey to warm water and drink early in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Try making random noises to help the voice relax.
- Try not to shout what your trying to sing.
- if you are nervous, it will show in your voice, so try and stay calm. It will have a large effect on how steady your voice is.
- Singing shouldn’t hurt. If you start to have problems, you may be tensing up your muscles, using the wrong amount of breath, keeping the wrong posture, forcing notes out without an open throat, or something else that’s straining. It’s important to address the problem. Just relax!
- Despite popular belief, DO NOT add lemon to your water. It dries out your voice, causing it to sound strained.
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Can you find the hidden tiger in this image ?
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Each of us wants to be successful at a job and appear as authoritative as possible. When you are a newcomer to an organization or move into a new position, it can be hard to reach these goals. If you find yourself in this kind of position, follow a few simple steps to learn how to gain authority in the workplace.
EditChanging Your Presence
- Be confident in yourself. You have little hope of gaining authority if you don’t believe in yourself. If you constantly second-guess yourself, you will not seem authoritative to anyone. If you hear your voice in your head telling you that you can’t do it, don’t listen to these internal negative messages. Believe that you can do anything and those around you will begin to notice your confidence.
- Even if you get negative feedback at work, remember how sure and capable you feel about your job requirements. Don’t let anyone make you doubt yourself.
- It is also helpful to be well-informed about your job, your position, and how you fit within the company. Know your place and show your coworkers and bosses that you can do what is required of you.
- Dress for success. When you go to work, dress to impress but don’t go over the top. Figure out what is respectable for your particular position and work from there. Don’t look like a carbon copy of everyone around you, however. Dress for success, but also remember to follow your own style, and feel confident in what you wear. The better you look and feel, the more authoritative you will appear.
- For example, don’t show up to work in wrinkled jeans and a t-shirt where people in authority positions wear nice suits and dress clothes every day. Dress for the position and environment you are in.
- Be confident of your own authority. When you are new at a job or position, or if you are just trying to gain more authority in your current position, make sure you know what responsibilities you have. Be clear about what your job description is and what is expected of you. If you are in a managerial position, make sure you move projects forward, look after your fellow employees, and resolve problems that arise that you are responsible for.
- When you make these decisions, make them with confidence. Don’t second-guess yourself; you have the right to make choices. As long as you are clear about what your job entails, you can exert as much authority as your position will allow, if you are confident in your actions.
- Don’t appear self-important. One of the main ways to lose authority in the workplace is to act as if you are the most important person in the room. Even if your job description says you are higher up in the company than everyone else, don’t act like it. Try to positively influence the workflow of those around you without seeming self-important. Strive to always be mindful of how your job relates to those around you.
- This doesn’t mean you should act as if you are not relevant. There is a balance between acting confident and in charge and acting self-important; expecting everyone to bow down to you and your authority. This will likely make your coworkers and employees lose respect and faith in your abilities.
- Make a good impression. Whether it is with your boss, coworkers, or employees. When you interact with anyone at work, be on your best behavior. Don’t make inappropriate comments or make anyone feel uncomfortable with your interactions. Put your best foot forward. You can’t do this if you aren’t mindful of your interactions with others. Make sure your projects, reports, or other work documents look as professional as possible. These presentations are how you interact most with your coworkers and bosses, so make sure they are clean and well designed.
- This is true of e-mails as well. In the current workplace, you will likely interact with your coworkers through e-mail and other electronic communication on a daily basis. Make sure you are respectful as well as neat and grammatically correct in your messages. This will make you seem more confident and authoritative.
- Learn to speak up. There are times when you will be called on to help with a problem at work. Instead of being timid about a solution or worrying about overstepping your bounds, learn to speak up. If you think you have a solution to a problem, express it to those around you. They can be coworkers, employees, or bosses.
- Try coming up with alternate solutions to problems. If there is a problem that is an “either/or” issue, try to make it a “this and that” solution.
EditChanging the Way You Interact with Others
- Don’t fill all silences. When you talk to other people in your work place, make concise, intelligent statements. If you are constantly trying to fill silences with nervous chatter, you will seem less authoritative and people will not see you as confident. Once you make a point, leave it at that. Don’t try to fill any empty space if your coworker or employee doesn’t respond right away.
- Don’t rush to answer a question, either. It is fine to take a minute to answer a question once you’ve been asked something. This shows that you have been listening and thinking about a proper response. Avoid blurting out the first thing that comes to mind.
- Stop caring if you’re liked. When you are trying to gain authority, you can’t worry about being everyone’s friend. Often times people in managerial positions have to make hard decisions that not everyone will like. Instead, assert yourself in a confident manner and people will not only appreciate you, they will take you more seriously.
- Make sure you are on the same page as your boss. One way to undermine your authority at work is to have to backtrack on what you say. Before you make big decisions, tell other employees what to do, or start on a project, make sure you and your boss are clear on what is expected from you and your team. Have a clear understanding of any deadlines involved.
- Encourage others to succeed. If you are trying to gain authority in the workplace, you will need the help of those around you. Since you cannot do all the work yourself, encourage others to do their best as well. Your encouragement to do their best will empower them with new confidence. This will not only help them to accomplish their goals, but will help you gain better influence in the workplace as well.
- For example, a coworker is working hard on a project but gets stuck. Instead of pointing out his errors, offer encouragement. Let him know that he has your support.
- If you do this with enough people, you will be in favor with your coworkers and employees and will have gained respect from them as well.
- Watch how you address others. When you speak to those around you, watch the tone of voice you use. If you are making a declarative statement, speak in a strong, even tone. Don’t end a sentence with a question mark unless it is a question. Watch out for filler language as, which uses words such as “um”, “like”, and “I think.” These make you sound less sure of yourself. Also attempt to be as direct as possible. Even if what you have to say is uncomfortable, say it in a direct, head-on way. Those around you will appreciate your straightforward approach and respect you for it.
- Don’t be defensive when you talk, either. If someone is challenging your authority or decision-making process, being defensive will make you seem less confident than simply sticking up for your own decision in a calm, collected manner.
- Be a good listener. Although it is good to make sure your voice is heard and to give your opinions, make sure you don’t offend the opinions of others. Give fellow workers the respect they deserve by listening to their opinions. Listen to what others have to say and take their comments to heart.
- If you internalize their comments and do something about their concerns and complaints, they will see that you are fair, which will in turn make you more authoritative.
- If you are trying to gain more authority with those on the same level as you, become their confidant by listening to their issues. This will make you seem like someone they can turn to for support, which will give you authority.
EditChanging From Within
- Continue to get better. Just because you are in a place where you are gaining more authority doesn’t mean that you are a perfect worker. Always strive to do better and to improve your work ethic. Make smart decisions that will help your company, not hold it back. This will give you more authority as well, since your bosses will see how smart and forward thinking you are.
- If you are not sure what to do to improve your position, ask your boss, manager, or supervisor. They will likely tell you what you can do to improve, what responsibilities you can take on to help the company, or how you can become more involved. This will also help raise your level of authority because it will show your initiative.
- Be okay with not knowing. There may be situations that you are uncomfortable with or don’t know how to handle. One of the signs of an authoritative worker is being able to handle any situation that comes at you. When a situation presents itself, be okay with saying something like “I appreciate your question, and I’ll think it over and get back to you.” It shows that you are considerate of your coworker’s thoughts and will consider their questions and opinions.
- This also has the added bonus of giving you time to contemplate questions coworkers bring up and get back to them with well thought out, authoritative answers.
- Manage your emotions. One of the worst things you can do is get angry in front of your coworkers. If you are confident and have authority, you do not need to get angry at certain situations just because you have the power to fix them. Even if a situation upsets you, don’t let it show in front of others. If you do, it will appear that you do not know a more effective way to approach the situation.
- This is true for when you have to discuss sensitive issues with co-workers as well. For example, if you have to talk over an employee’s performance issues, remain calm and collected. Be concerned and stern, but not angry or hostile.
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Picking scabs is a hard-to-break habit that can lead to unsightly and harmful conditions, like infection, blemishes, or scarring. If done compulsively, it can also be a sign of a Body-Focused Repetitive Disorder (BFRD) called “Skin Picking Disorder”. While difficult, it is possible for you to rid yourself of this behavior through patience, effort, and, if need be, outside assistance.
EditTreating Your Scabs
- Disinfect the wound. Open wounds and sores can develop infections. Always wash a new wound thoroughly with soap and water as soon as you obtain it. Then clean it up with an antiseptic wipe or a bit of Neosporin and apply a bandage to protect it while it heals. You can also try using betadine or peroxide on the wound to clean and remove unwanted bacteria. These basic precautions will help to keep it clean and prevent infection.
- Keep the scab protected. Scabs form over wounds to keep out germs while the body repairs skin cells and tissue. It is important to help the healing process by protecting this barrier.
- If you cannot bandage it, try applying moisturizer or lotion as it heals. Scabs kept protected will usually leave less scarring. The slight skin massage that comes with applying moisturizer will also increase circulation and help it to heal properly.
- Take a fingernail file and smooth the scab down to the surrounding skin. Then, when your hand rubs across the area, it will be less of a temptation and harder to pick.
- Be proactive. Ensure fewer scabs by using healthy products to properly cleanse your skin. Make sure that skin products aren’t causing blemishes that tempt you to pick.
EditBreaking the Habit
- Study yourself. There may be reasons why you are picking at your scabs, ranging from purely physical (they itch) to mental or emotional (perhaps as a way to relieve tension). Understanding the root cause can help you to break the habit.
- Not everyone who picks their scabs has a behavioral problem. Some amount is normal. Other times it is a sign of skin problems, drug use of withdrawal, or other conditions. It only becomes a behavioral disorder when it is so frequent that it impacts other aspects of your daily life.
- People pick their skin for various reasons. For some it is boredom, while for others it can be a way to relieve negative feelings, depression, or stress. Sometimes it is unconscious; at other times the picker experiences feelings of guilt.
- Keeping a log can make you aware of when, where, and how often you are picking, especially when it happens unconsciously. Whenever you catch yourself, record it in a notebook.
- Develop effective coping strategies. Once you have an idea of when and why you are picking your scabs, try things that divert your attention or remind you not to pick. It may take one or more different ways to control your behavior. Be strategic and use methods that suit your own situation.
- Try challenging yourself. If you are a self-motivated and competitive person, make breaking your habit into a sort of contest. Set a number of days or hours to go without picking and gradually increase this. Then reward yourself for significant progress.
- Make picking more difficult. One way to stop is to make the habit physically hard. Cut your nails, wear gloves, or cover the scabs. Having shorter fingernails will make it harder for you to pick. Keeping scabs bandaged will prevent you from looking at them and help you resist the urge to pick.
- Try soft cotton gloves. Not only do they act as a barrier, but they should make you even more conscious of the behavior and help you to reduce it.
- If you tend to pick at your arms or legs, wear long sleeves and pants whenever possible. If the scabs are on your ankle, wear high socks. This way, even if you give in, you will pick at the fabric rather than the skin itself.
- Apply acrylic fingernails. This is another way of making your picking harder — and also a fashion-sensible one. It will be more difficult because you will have to scrape with thicker nails, which won’t catch the skin as easily. Thin nails are sharp and can slice off the scab.
- If you go this route, have the manicurist make the nails as short and thick as possible. This will be added insurance against damaging the skin.
- Replace your habit with something less destructive. When you feel the urge, distract yourself or channel your energy into something else. Try reading books, going for a walk, or watching television when you feel the urge to pick.
- Finding a habit that occupies your hands is even better and is something that is commonly used to quit smoking. You might try drawing, gardening, knitting, doing a puzzle, playing the piano, or crocheting. You can even just hold a coin or paperclip. If nothing else works, sit on your hands.
- Practice positive affirmation. Remember to respect yourself whenever you catch yourself picking. Press on the scabbed area or wave your hand over the scabs, with a reminder that you love yourself and want to protect your skin. Try this technique before bed and when you wake up.
- Don’t give up! It will take a long time to undo the habit at first. But if you are successful just once, you can do it again and will eventually reduce your picking. Be proud of your progress. With care and time, you can gradually free yourself of the habit.
EditGetting Medical Help
- Recognize a problem. If out of control, scab picking can be a sign of a bigger behavioral problem called “Skin Picking Disorder.” People with Skin Picking Disorder compulsively touch, scratch, pick, or rub their skin, which can result in scarring or worse. Try asking yourself the following questions:
- Does your skin picking take a lot of your time up?
- Do you have noticeable scars from skin picking?
- Do you feel guilty when you think about your skin picking?
- Does your skin picking cause significant disability socially or professionally?
- If you answer yes to more than one of these questions, you may have SPD.
- Seek professional help. Scab picking may indicate SPD or another medical problem, like psoriasis or eczema. It is important to consult a medical professional to find out what is causing it, and whether it is independent or a symptom of a different, underlying problem.
- There are any number of different therapies available for chronic scab picking. Some might involve medication to relieve physical triggers, while others use behavioral therapy. Once a doctor discovers what is wrong, she can advise you on the best treatment.
- SPD is a variant of Obsessive Compulsive disorder because of the compulsive urge to perform repetitive behaviors.
- Your SPD may be related to depression, bipolar disorder, attention/deficit hyperactivity disorder, and an eating disorder. Other conditions similar to SPD include body dysmorphic disorder, trichotillomania (pulling out hair), and nail biting.
- Follow a medical regimen. Your scab picking may be due to a physical problem and not to SPD. It may be dermatological, like eczema, for example, an inflammation of the skin that can cause itching. In this case the doctor may prescribe medication like corticosteroids or other topical creams.
- Remember, the medicine will treat the underlying cause of your scab picking, but it will not address the habit itself. Even if the physical triggers disappear, you may still feel the psychological urge and need help.
- Seek psychological treatment. If your picking is not caused by a physical condition and is Skin Picking Disorder, you may need to consult a professional about getting counseling. One common psychological treatment option is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT.
- CBT is often used to help people replace bad habits with good ones. There are different forms of available for scab picking.
- Treatment may involve dermatological therapy, antidepressants, anxiolytics, or antipsychotics.
- Consider habit reversal training (HRT). HRT is a form of CBT, for example, based on the idea that scab picking is a conditioned behavior. It helps you recognize situations in which you are likely to pick and discourages the behavior by substituting alternative responses, like balling up your fists, when faced with the urge to pick.
- Consider stimulus control (SC), as well. SC is another method that lessens sensory triggers in your environment that lead to picking – that is, “high risk” situations. It teaches you how to avoid circumstances that might lead you to pick, like changing your bathroom behavior if looking in the mirror is your trigger.
- Constant picking of scabs increases the likelihood of infection and scars.
- Please seek help if you develop a serious infection or are unable to control your picking.
- As with any medical situation, consult a doctor before acting.
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An electromagnet is a classic science experiment often made in a classroom setting. The idea is to turn a common iron nail into a magnet with the help of copper wire and a battery. An electromagnet works by transferring electrons, which are subatomic particles that carry a negative charge, from the battery into the copper wire. When these electrons are flowing, they create a magnetic force around the nail. It allows the nail to function as a magnet, picking up small metallic objects like paper clips. With a little patience and effort, you can make an electromagnetic battery of your own.
EditPreparing the Wire
- Gather your materials. Before you can make an electromagnet, take a moment to gather your materials. You will need the following:
- An iron nail that is 15 centimeters long
- Three meters of 22 gauge insulated copper wire
- At least one D-cell battery
- A pair of wire strippers, which you can pick up at a local hardware store
- A rubber band
- Remove the insulation from the copper wire. Copper wires are usually coated in a layer of plastic for insulation purposes. This is to protect users from electric shock. However, the battery cannot transfer electrons to the wire through the insulation. The coating needs to be removed.
- Using your wire strippers, remove a few centimeters of insulation from each end of the wire.
- Wire clippers look like a pair of scissors with a hole cut out in the middle. You feed the wire through this hole and pull the clippers across the wire to strip the insulation. You should get a wire stripper that’s small enough to strip a very small bit of copper wire.
- Wrap the wire around the nail. Once you’ve prepared the wire, you can begin building your battery. To start, neatly wind the wire around your nail. The smaller loops you use, the stronger your battery will be. Be careful to leave enough wire on either end. You’ll be attaching the excess wire to your battery, so it’s a good idea to leave about 8 inches of loose wire on each end.
- You should wrap the wire in one direction. This assures that electrons can flow through a wire in a way that creates a magnetic field.
- If the wire is wrapped in opposite directions, magnetic fields will fight against each other. They will end up canceling each other out.
EditConnecting the Battery
- Connect the battery. Once your done wrapping the wire, connect either ends of the wire to the battery. Connect one end to the negative side and one end to the positive side. Make sure the portions of the wire that have been stripped of insulation are the ends touching the battery. Use your rubber band to strap the wires in place by wrapping the rubber band around the battery from the negative end to the positive end.
- It does not matter which end of the wire is connected to which end of the battery. It will work either way.
- If a rubber band is not holding the wires in place, you can use two pieces of masking tape instead.
- Test the electromagnet. You should now have successfully created an electromagnetic. To test the magnet, hover the battery over a metallic item like a paper clip. The paperclip should rise up and attach to the battery. You have created a magnetic charge with the wire, nail, and battery.
- If you want to increase the strength of your battery, increase the number of coils running around your nail. This will allow your electromagnet to pick up more objects.
- Fix any issues. In the event your magnet does not work, check the battery. A dead or low charge battery may not be effective in creating an electromagnet. If the battery is fine, review your process. You may have curled the wire in opposite directions, disrupting the flow of electrons. You may also have forgotten to remove the insulation from the wire.
EditTaking Safety Precautions
- Use gloves when handling your magnet. Always use gloves when you begin experimenting with your magnet. Wires can get hot when in use. You want to make sure you do not burn your hands when handling your electromagnet. This is especially vital if you’re working on strengthening your magnet. Electromagnets get hot as their strength increases.
- Be conscious of heat. As stated, electromagnets get hot when you increase their strength by wrapping the wire tighter. If the device becomes very hot, you might want to disconnect the wires to deactivate the magnet for a bit. Excessive heat can cause burns and, in rare cases, may be a fire hazard.
- Disconnect the wires when you’re done with your magnet. You should not leave an electromagnet plugged in for long when it’s not in use. For one, the battery can drain the magnet swiftly. Also, once again, heat is a concern. Once you’re done playing with your magnet, disassemble it.
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Egg-eating amongst chickens usually starts as a mistake–a hen accidentally cracks an egg, and when she investigates, she finds that it’s tasty and nutritious and gobbles it down. This behavior can spread quickly amongst the flock and, if left uncorrected, can be difficult to stop. This article will teach you how to provide your hens with an environment and diet that promotes the laying of strong, healthy eggs, and how to work quickly to stop the behavior before it affects the entire flock.
EditCreating a Healthy Environment
- Reduce egg breakage by preventing overcrowding of the nests. At minimum, you need one 12″ x 12″ (31cm x 31cm) nest for every four to five hens. Too few nests or small nests can cause eggs to be trampled or squashed and broken, or can stress the birds and lead to more pecking. You want to reduce the chances of a broken egg as much as possible so the chickens never get a taste for them.
- Nests should be at least two feet (61cm) off the ground, and four feet (1.22 m) from roosts.
- Remove any broody hens (hens that insist on sitting on their eggs to hatch them) from the nesting area so they don’t occupy valuable nesting space and contribute to higher traffic in the other nests.
- Consider a nest designed to allow the eggs to roll away into a tray after the hens stand up, keeping them safe from pecking and getting stepped on and broken.
- Set up your nesting area in a dark, quiet area. Bright lights will stress out your hens and make them nervous, which increases pecking. Turn the nest box away from the opening of the coop and away from the direct sunlight and don’t install bright lights. You may need to cover any skylights or windows to create a more comfortable environment.
- Remove anything that creates loud noises or sudden movements, as this can frighten the hens. If they get scared and run from the nesting box, they may break the eggs.
- Reducing light sources can also help keep the coop at a comfortable temperature–if it becomes too hot, the chickens can get irritable and start pecking more.
- Provide enough nesting material to cushion the eggs once they are laid. Make sure each nest has a few inches of clean, dry nesting material (such as wheat straw) at all times. If you can keep the eggs from accidentally breaking (by knocking into each other in the nest or being laid onto a hard, unpadded surface), your hens will not have the opportunity to learn how tasty eggs can be.
- If an egg breaks in the nest, quickly clean out all the soiled nesting material.
- Don’t let your hens get bored. A bored and irritated hen is more likely to start pecking, so make sure they have plenty to do. Hang a cabbage for them to peck at and give them adequate space to walk around and exercise.
- Try to set up an area where they can roam and climb or jump on different obstacles, like tree stumps or roots. If you don’t have anything like that in your yard, set up a ladder or a swing for them to climb on.
- Place a pile of hay in the chicken run. The hens will busy themselves scratching and rearranging the hay into an even layer.
EditAddressing Dietary Deficiencies
- Provide your chickens with a well-balanced feed that is at least 16% protein and has lots of vitamins and nutrients. Look for a feed that is specifically for egg-laying hens. The feed should be high in vegetable fat and proteins.
- Keep in mind that additional starch (from kitchen scraps or scratch grains) needs to be supplemented with more protein, as it will lower the average protein content of their diet.
- Supplement your chicken feed with calcium. If your chickens have a calcium deficiency, they will be unable to produce strong egg shells. If the shells are weak and crack when a hen sit or step on them, the hen will eat the broken egg. Once she discovers it contains protein and fats, and that the shell provides the calcium she needs, she will begin cracking and eating them intentionally. Other hens will observe her behavior and follow her lead.
- Ground oyster shells or limestone are great sources of calcium for your chickens. Add 2lbs. (1kg) to every 100lbs. (45kg) of feed  or provide a side-feeder with these supplements for the chickens to eat.
- Give your hens a dish of fresh whole milk every day for several days to increase their calcium intake.
- Avoid using egg shells as a source of calcium for your chickens, as they may recognize them by sight or smell and begin eating them on their own. If you choose to do this, grind the shells into tiny pieces so the hens can’t tell what they are.
- You may notice your eggs have softer shells when it’s hot, as chickens don’t retain calcium as efficiently in hot weather. Increase your chickens’ calcium supplements on warmer days.
- Make sure your hens have plenty of water. Even if they have a balanced, calcium-rich diet, a lack of water can cause your hens to eat the eggs for their liquid content. Hens need more water than most birds, so check to make sure they always have fresh, clean water to drink.
- You can add a vitamin supplement to the water to help your hens absorb calcium.
EditBreaking the Habit
- Identify and remove the egg-eating chicken (or chickens) as soon as possible. You may not be able to catch the chicken in the act, but if you watch the flock for a few days, you should be able to identify the chicken who is responsible. The hen will have dried yolk on her beak or the side of her head, or you may see her searching the nests for eggs to eat.
- Isolate the hen from the other so she can no longer eat their eggs and they won’t pick up on her bad behavior. Watch the rest of the flock to see if the egg eating stops.
- If eggs continue to be eaten, the behavior may have already spread and you may need to isolate other chickens.
- Isolating the hen may be enough of a disruption to stop her from eating the eggs.
- Collect the eggs as soon as possible. Most hens lay their eggs before 10am, and the faster you remove them, the less chance there is for one of them to break and encourage the hens to eat the eggs.
- Gather eggs at least twice a day or more often if possible.
- Use a dummy egg to trick the hens. Place a golf ball, a rock painted white, or a dummy egg from a feed store in each nest. Gather the real eggs as usual, but leave the dummies. When the hens peck at the “egg,” they will find that it is unbreakable and no longer a source of food. They may give up trying to break the real eggs.
- You can also blow out a raw egg by poking a hole on the top and bottom and blowing out the contents with an egg. Then fill it with mustard and replace it in the nest. Chickens do not like mustard and this can teach them very quickly that eggs are not tasty at all.
- Use blinders, debeak, or cull the egg-eating chicken if you cannot break her of this behavior. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to get chickens to stop eating eggs once they have started. If you have tried everything and your hen continues to go on egg-destroying rampages, you may need to go to extreme measures by debeaking (removing the sharp tip of the hen’s beak with a hot blade) or killing the chicken.
- If you are not willing to go take those measures, you can buy special blinders that will prevent the hen from seeing things straight on. If she can only see from the side, it will be difficult for her to successfully find and peck an egg.
- You can also permanently isolate the hen or keep her separated from the others until after most of the eggs have been laid and collected. She may continue to destroy her own eggs, but the other eggs will be safe (unless the hens lay more eggs once she rejoins the flock).
EditSources and Citations
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Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a compression of the median nerve at the wrist and is associated with numbness, tingling, pain or a dull ache in the fingers, hand or wrist. If left untreated, it can cause severe pain and motor deficits, which can affect your ability to work and even cause temporary disability. Massage therapy can help treat and prevent carpal tunnel syndrome by promoting circulation, relieving inflammation, aiding in removal of metabolic residues, and soothing the irritated muscles and tendons.
EditMassaging Therapy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Apply light pressure to the muscles in your shoulder, arm, wrist and hand. Start your massage using light strokes and avoiding too much pressure (a technique called effleurage). Start from the shoulder and move down the arm to the small muscles in your wrist and fingers.
- Apply effleurage for at least 30 seconds to each section/muscle between your shoulder and hand. This will prepare the muscles for a deeper massage.
- Use the palm of your hand and your thumb and fingers to apply the massage.
- You can concentrate on the muscles and tendons on the wrist but because carpal tunnel syndrome is rarely strictly a wrist problem, massaging the muscles in the arm and shoulder area may also be beneficial.
- Optionally, you can use massage oil to reduce friction.
- Apply deeper pressure friction massage to the shoulder, arm, wrist and hand. Friction technique accelerates the return flow of lymphatic and venous drainage and relieves edema. It also works in the treatment of scar tissues and adhesions. 
- Apply deeper pressure using long, gliding strokes with your thumb.
- Start at the wrist area by pushing into the muscle in the center of the wrist, while gliding up to the elbow at the same time.
- Return back down the upper arm, into the elbow, forearm, and wrist.
- You can use your knuckles to provide more pressure without straining your hand. Apply enough pressure to feel the effect in the deep tissues but not so much that it causes severe pain.
- Also, massage your fingers and the palm of the hand by using light pressure and gentle stretches.
- Do at least 60 seconds of friction massage on each section/muscle, concentrating on the wrist but also working the knots and adhesions in the shoulder, arm and hand.
- Apply kneading massage to the muscles in your shoulder, arm, wrist and hand. The kneading technique, also called petrissage manipulation, causes the metabolic residues that have accumulated in the muscles and under the skin to join back into the circulation. Kneading may also improve the tonus and elasticity of your muscles. 
- Use the palm of your hand to apply kneading technique to the muscles in your shoulder and arm, and your thumb and fingers to knead the muscles in your hand and wrist.
- Do at least 30 seconds of kneading to each section/muscle, concentrating on the wrist area.
- Apply shaking manipulation to the muscles in your shoulder, arm, wrist and hand. Shaking manipulation is shown to have a pain-relieving effect, while strengthening your atonic muscles. Extend your fingers and use the side of your hand to gently strike the muscles.
- You can also use the tips of your fingers or the heel to apply the technique.
- Do at least 30 seconds of shaking massage to each section/muscle, again concentrating on the wrist.
- Apply effleurage to finish the massage. The massage should start and end with light massaging (or effleurage). Effleurage technique helps relax muscles and calms the nerves.
- Do at least 30 seconds of effleurage manipulation to each section/muscle to finish the series of massaging techniques.
- After you have completed one hand, repeat the massage to your other shoulder, arm, wrist and hand.
- The number of massaging sessions you need varies depending on the severity of the carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes you may see a relief in just one session, but often times you should see improvement between five and 10 sessions.
- If the symptoms persist or become worse, consult a doctor or a physical therapist.
- Apply acupressure to the muscle trigger points. Acupressure spots, or more commonly known as trigger points or muscle knots, can refer pain to the carpal tunnel area. These spots can also be found in the neck and shoulder area. To fully get any benefit, it’s important to see a health professional that is trained in trigger point or acupressure treatments.
- Rest your forearm on a table, palm-up. Apply pressure to the muscles near the inside elbow — press down and see if this recreates your carpal tunnel pain. If it does, press gently for up to 30 seconds; the pain should gradually reduce.
- Move down the length of your forearm, testing for spots that recreate the carpal tunnel pain, then applying pressure for 30 seconds.
- Turn your arm so that it is palm-down and perform similar pressure on any tender spots you find between your elbow and wrist.
- Perform this exercise daily.
EditStretching Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Stretch your wrist flexors and forearm. Hold your arm straight out in front of you, palm up, and bend your hand down so that your fingers point to the floor.
- Optionally, you can do this kneeling on the floor by placing the palms of your hands on the floor (fingers pointing toward you). Shift your body backward until you feel the stretch.
- Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.
- Repeat with the other hand.
- Stretch your wrist extensors and forearm. This is almost identical to the previous stretch except you will extend your arm with your palm downward this time. Bend your hand down so that your fingers point to the floor.
- Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.
- Repeat with the other hand.
- Perform tendon gliding stretches. This is a series of movements during which your fingers reach five positions: straight, hook, fist, tabletop, and straight fist.
- Start with the straight position by holding your fingers straight up and together.
- Bend your fingertips down to lightly touch the palm (if you can).
- Move your fingers to a partially closed fist.
- Bend your fingers straight forward with your thumb underneath (like forming a birds head).
- Finally, form a fully closed fist with your thumb relaxed on the side.
- Repeat this series of movements a few times with both hands.
- Take a 6-minute massage or stretching break a few times a day to increase circulation and reduce pain.
- Regular hand massage is especially important if your work involves typing on a computer, writing, or other constant use of the fine motor skills of your hands.
- Some women experience transient carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy. Consult your doctor if this causes issues.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome should be treated as soon as first symptoms appear to reduce long-term complications and chronic, cumulative injury to the median nerve.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used to relieve pain in the short term. Always take these according to the product label and never exceed the recommended doses.
- If symptoms persist or become worse, seek medical attention immediately, as further damage may occur to the medial nerve.
- If left untreated, chronic carpal tunnel syndrome may require surgical treatment to relieve pressure on your median nerve.
EditSources and Citations
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