All posts by start

Bao Xuan’s Magical Encounter

Image depicting the current-day Chinese saying which describes a united young couple who live happily even in poverty with the term “riding together in a carriage driven by deer”. (Internet photo)


January 7, 2019 Updated: January 7, 2019

Bao Xuan came from an impoverished family during the Western Han Dynasty, 2,000 years ago. His mentor appreciated his high morals and let his daughter Shaojun marry Bao, endowing them with a gorgeous dowry.

An Excellent Wife

Bao said to his bride: “You were born into a wealthy family and are used to luxurious ornaments. But I am poor, I could not accept such rich gifts.”

His bride answered: “My father saw that you paid attention to cultivating good conduct and virtue, leading a simple, thrifty life, thus he let me marry you so that I could serve you. As I’m your wife now, I will obey you.”

Bao Xuan laughed happily: “If you could think this way that is my wish.”

Shaojun put away all her luxurious dresses and ornaments and switched to simple attire, riding back to the village with Bao in a carriage drawn by deer.

After greeting her mother-in-law, Shaojun immediately started household chores, carrying out the duty of a daughter-in-law. As an excellent wife, together with her husband, Shaojun’s name was also recorded in the history book of the Han Dynasty.

People nowadays in China describe a united young couple who live happily even in poverty with the term “riding together in a carriage driven by deer”.

A Magical Encounter

Bao Xuan was later recommended to become a government officer.

Once on his way to the capital, Bao met a scholar who was hurrying alone on the road. The scholar suddenly had a heart attack. Bao tried to help him but could not save the man who died quickly.

Bao did not know the name of the scholar but saw that he carried a book of scrolls made of white silk together with ten pieces of silver. Bao used one piece of silver to arrange the burial of the scholar, placed the rest of the silver underneath his head, and the book of silk scrolls on his belly.

After saying prayers, Bao Xuan spoke into the scholar’s tomb: “If your soul can still work, you should let your family know that you are buried here. I now have other duties to attend to, I cannot stay here longer.” He bade farewell and carried on with his journey.

Upon arriving at the capital, Bao Xuan noticed a white horse following him. The horse would not allow anybody but Bao get close to it. It would not let anyone else feed it. So Bao adopted the horse.

After Bao completed his mission in the capital, he rode this white horse home but got lost on the way. He saw the residence of a marquis. As it was getting dark, he went forward to ask for lodging. He presented his name card to the master of the family.

The servant who saw the horse with Bao at the door reported to the Marquis: “This guest stole our horse”.

The Marquis said: “Bao Xuan is a man of good reputation. There must be reason for this. Do not say unfounded things.”

The Marquis asked Bao: “How did you get this horse? He used to be ours and we do not know why he disappeared.”

Bao told in detail his experience with the scholar and his heart attack. The Marquis was shocked: “That scholar, it was my son!”

The Marquis retrieved the coffin of his son. When he opened it, he saw the silver and the white silk scroll, all laying there as Bao described.

Sources: “Biographies of Exemplary Women” in “Book of the Later Han” or “History of the Later Han” a Chinese court document covering the years from 6 to 189 A.D.

“Lie Yi Zhuan,” a novel written by Cao Pi, the Emperor of Cao Wei.
Edited by Damian Robin

Probiotics 101: A Simple Beginner’s Guide

Yogurt is one delicious way to get probiotics that can help your gut flora flourish. (Brenda Godinez/Unsplash)


January 9, 2019 Updated: January 9, 2019

The bacteria in your body outnumber your body’s cells 10 to one. Most of these bacteria reside in your gut, and the majority are quite harmless.

Having the right gut bacteria is linked to numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, enhanced immune function, healthier skin, better mood, and a reduced risk of many diseases (1, 2).

Probiotics, which are a certain type of friendly bacteria, provide health benefits when eaten.

They are often taken as supplements that are supposed to colonize your gut with health-boosting microorganisms.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are living microorganisms that, when ingested, provide numerous health benefits (3).

They’re usually bacteria, but certain types of yeasts can also function as probiotics.

You can get probiotics from supplements, as well as from foods prepared by bacterial fermentation.

Probiotic foods include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi. Probiotics should not be confused with prebiotics, which are dietary fibers that help feed the friendly bacteria already in your gut (4).

preserved vegetarian food concept. Cabbage kimchi, sauerkraut sour glass jars over the rustic kitchen table. (Shutterstock)

Dozens of different probiotic bacteria offer health benefits.

The most common groups include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Each group comprises different species, and each species has many strains.

fruit and greek yogurt breakfast bowl. Persimmon, apple, walnuts, pomegranates and natural yogurt. Healthy food concept on light background, top view. (Shutterstock)

Interestingly, different probiotics address different health conditions. Therefore, choosing the right type—or types—of probiotic is essential.

Some supplements—known as broad-spectrum probiotics or multi-probiotics—combine different species in the same product.

Although the evidence is promising, more research is needed on the health benefits of probiotics (5).

Importance of Microorganisms for Your Gut

The complex community of microorganisms in your gut is called the gut flora or microbiota (6).

In fact, your gut contains hundreds of different types of microorganisms—as many as 1,000, according to some estimations.

This includes bacteria, yeasts and viruses—with bacteria making up the vast majority.

Most of the gut flora is found in your colon, or large intestine, which is the last part of your digestive tract.

Surprisingly, the metabolic activities of your gut flora resemble those of an organ. For this reason, some scientists refer to the gut flora as the “forgotten organ” (7).

Your gut flora performs many functions that are important for health. It manufactures vitamins, including vitamin K and some of the B vitamins (8).

It also turns fibers into short-chain fats like butyrate, propionate, and acetate, which feed your gut wall and perform many metabolic functions (9, 10).

These fats also stimulate your immune system and strengthen your gut wall. This can help prevent unwanted substances from entering your body and provoking an immune response (11, 12, 13, 14).

However, not all organisms in your gut are friendly.

Your gut flora is highly sensitive to your diet, and studies show that an unbalanced gut flora is linked to numerous diseases (15, 16).

These diseases include obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, colorectal cancer, Alzheimer’s and depression (17, 18, 19, 20).

Probiotics—and prebiotic fibers—can help correct this balance, ensuring that your “forgotten organ” is functioning optimally (21).

Impact on Digestive Health

Probiotics are widely researched for their effects on digestive health (22).

Strong evidence suggests that probiotic supplements can help cure antibiotic-associated diarrhea (23, 24, 25).

When people take antibiotics, especially for long periods of time, they often experience diarrhea—even long after the infection has been eradicated.

This is because the antibiotics kill many of the natural bacteria in your gut, which shifts gut balance and allows harmful bacteria to thrive.

Probiotics also combat irritable bowel syndrome, a common digestive disorder, reducing gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and other symptoms (26, 27, 28).

Some studies also note benefits against inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (29).

What’s more, probiotics may fight Helicobacter pylori infections, which are one of the main drivers of ulcers and stomach cancer (30, 31, 32, 33).

If you currently have digestive problems that you can’t seem to vanquish, a probiotic supplement may be something to consider—though you should consider consulting with your doctor first.

Impact on Weight Loss

People who are obese have different gut bacteria than those who are lean (34).

Interestingly, animal studies indicate that fecal transplants from lean animals can make obese animals lose weight (35, 36).

Therefore, many scientists believe that your gut bacteria are important in determining body weight (37, 38).

Although more research is needed, some probiotic strains appear to aid weight loss (39).

In one study in 210 people with central obesity, which is characterized by excess belly fat, taking the probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri daily resulted in an 8.5% loss of belly fat over 12 weeks (40).

When participants stopped taking the probiotic, they gained the belly fat back within four weeks.

Evidence also suggests that Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis can assist with weight loss and obesity prevention—though this needs more research (41).

Conversely, some animal studies demonstrate that other probiotic strains could lead to weight gain, not loss (42).

Other Health Benefits

There are many other benefits of probiotics. They affect:

• Inflammation: Probiotics reduce systemic inflammation, a leading driver of many diseases (43).

• Depression and anxiety: The probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in people with clinical depression (44, 45).

• Blood cholesterol: Several probiotics have been shown to lower total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels (46, 47).

• Blood pressure: Probiotics may also cause modest reductions in blood pressure (48, 49).

• Immune function: Several probiotic strains may enhance immune function, possibly leading to a reduced risk of infections, including for the common cold (50, 51).

• Skin health: There is some evidence that probiotics can be useful for acne, rosacea and eczema, as well as other skin disorders (52).

This is only a small slice of probiotics’ total benefits, as ongoing studies indicate a wide breadth of health effects.

Safety and Side Effects

Probiotics are generally well tolerated and considered safe for most people.

However, in the first few days, you may experience side effects related to digestion, such as gas and mild abdominal discomfort (53).

After you adjust, your digestion should begin improving.

In people with compromised immune systems, including those with HIV, AIDS and several other conditions, probiotics can lead to dangerous infections (54).

If you have a medical condition, consult with your doctor before taking a probiotic supplement.

The Bottom Line

Maintaining a healthy gut is about more than taking a probiotic supplement.

Day-to-day diet and exercise are just as important since many lifestyle factors impact your gut bacteria.

However, probiotic supplements offer a wide range of benefits with few side effects — so if you’re interested in improving your gut health, they could be worth a shot.

Kris Gunnars is a nutrition researcher with a bachelor’s degree in medicine. This article was first published on

Canadian MP in China Says Not Business As Usual

Detained Canadians Granted Consular Visit; Canadian citizen Michael Spavor, who is detained in China, in a file photo taking part in an interview from Yangi, China March 2, 2017. (AP Photo)


January 8, 2019 Updated: January 8, 2019

TORONTO—Canadian MP Michael Cooper, who is in China as part of a legislative delegation, says it’s encouraging news that one of the detained Canadians in China was granted consular visit, adding that the delegation has told Chinese officials it’s not business as usual while the Canadians remain detained.

Global Affairs Canada said on Jan. 8 that Canadian consular officials met with Michael Spavor, who along with Michael Kovrig were detained and charged with endangering China’s national security after Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on an extradition request by the United States.

“The Canadian government remains deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of these two Canadians since last month and continues to call for their immediate release,” Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Amy Mills said in a statement.

Conservative MP Michael Cooper in a file photo. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)

Conservative MP Cooper and other Canadian lawmakers were scheduled to visit China as part of a routine parliamentary delegation visit before China detained the Canadians. Cooper said Global Affairs Canada told them it’s fine to continue with their visit, and the delegation used this opportunity to call for the release of the Canadians.

“In the course of meetings that we had with Chinese officials, we conveyed the position of the government of Canada, which was to call for the immediate release of Mr. Spavor and Mr. Kovrig, and to emphasize the fact that it is unacceptable that Mr. Spavor and Mr Kovrig, up until the last few hours, were more ore less unable to access consular services, denied access to a lawyer, or are in conditions that are completely unacceptable,” Cooper said.

As part of their agenda, the delegation met with officials from Shanghai People’s Congress, where they spoke with the deputy director general. Cooper characterized the reaction from the Chinese as being the same as that of the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa: “long on criticism in terms of the arrest of Ms. Meng, and very short on details with respect to the details of the detention of Mr. Spavor and Mr, Kovrig.” But he said it was important for the delegation to express Canada’s concern.

Cooper rejected what he called suggestions in media reports that the delegation went to China to “go along and get along” or that the issue of the detained Canadians wasn’t part of the official agenda.

“There really is nothing on our official agenda except the people whom we are meeting with…and what was discussed at the meetings we had with Chinese officials were the cases of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor,” Cooper said.

Cooper, who visited China in 2017 as part of another delegation, said the tone of the visit this time was quite different, saying “it’s not a business as usual delegation.”

He added that the case of other detained Canadians in China, such as Sun Qian, an adherent of Falun Dafa and Huseyincan Celil, a Canadian of Uyghur Chinese ethnicity, are also serious cases impacting Canada’s relations with China.

“They all involve arbitrary detentions, they all speak to a lack of due process, and they remain ongoing, and of course those cases including and these cases, do impact the relationship.”

Allies Voice Support

In a phone conversation on Jan. 7, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump discussed the “unlawful detention of two Canadian citizens in China,” and agreed to continue to seek their release, according to statements released by their offices.

In its statement on Jan. 8, Global Affairs Canada thanked the allies who have added their voice in support of the detained Canadians.

“Canada continues to express its appreciation to those who have spoken in support of these detained individuals and the rule of law, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the EU, the United States, and Australia,” Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Mills said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said on Dec. 14 that China’s detention of Canadians is unacceptable, and that the United States will work toward returning them home.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland asked for the “immediate release” of the two Canadians on Dec. 21.

Cooper said he wished Canada’s government had spoken out earlier to ask for the release of the detained Canadians.

“Frankly, it’s disappointing that while Secretary Pompeo took a very clear stand, the Trudeau government dithered. But that being said, I do believe that our Global Affairs Canada, consular officials, embassy officials, are doing what they can do in difficult circumstances,” he said.

The ‘Why’ of Christmas

A traditional Nativity scene, in the Netherlands. (CC BY-SA 3.0)


December 25, 2018 Updated: December 25, 2018

The jolly season is with us. Those of a nonreligious disposition will probably go “bah humbug,” note that Christ wasn’t really born on Christmas Day, and that this is all one great fantasy; or perhaps, and more hopefully, shrug their shoulders and enjoy the festivities as much as anyone else might. Why, then, exactly, does Christmas matter, as in, really matter?

Certainly, “Christmas” seems to have been celebrated long before Christianity. The Roman god Saturn had his celebrations on the 25th of December. And the fact that the date preceded Christ does not invalidate it as our Christmas Day, for that would be to fall prey to a dreadful literalism that would mean we were not reading it properly.

The main source of light in “Nativity at Night” is the baby Jesus. By Geertgen tot Sint Jans, circa 1490, after a composition by Hugo van der Goes. National Gallery. (Public Domain)

On the contrary, the fact that Saturn was worshiped on this day only tends to make its importance greater. Why? Because it points to something deep within the human psyche that persists and is made manifest on the 25th of December.

According to the Last Trumpet Ministries, the Romans noticed that three days after the shortest day of the year (which varies in the Northern Hemisphere between Dec. 20, 21, 22, or 23), the sunlight started increasing! So the god had died and three days later had risen from the dead and begun to light the world again. Surely, a reason to celebrate. For how could this be understood other than that light had overcome darkness, and that chaos had been defeated by … by what exactly? By the god Saturn, of course!

The First, Second, and Third Lessons

“Adoration of the Magi,” circa 1530, Albrecht Altdorfer. (Public Domain)

The first lesson of psychic importance, then, is that life triumphs over death.

Secondly, how life triumphs over death is miraculous; it is not something a human being can devise to do. It happens of its own accord and by its own divine power. We do not set the laws that regulate when our days are long and when they are short. As the “Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead” states: “All the world which lies below has been set in order and filled in contents by the things which are placed above; for the things below have not the power to set in order the world above.”

Third, we owe thanks and gratitude for this wonder of life, and bizarrely, as we exercise thanks and gratitude, we feel even better and see even more wonder in life.

This wonder of life! Wonder of human life. What is it about, and why is Christmas important? Is it just so that we can express gratitude and share with one another? What if there were even more to it than that?

Questions by Man and Beast

The Nativity, circa 1350, by Master of Vyšší Brod. (Public Domain)

When I consider the life forms nearest to us, the mammals, I ask myself: “What do animals ask themselves?” and I come up with a surprising answer. Unselfconsciously, animals ask themselves two simple questions: What? and How?

They say, what is that I see coming toward me? Cat, dog, vacuum cleaner? Answer: run, freeze, attack! Or they ask: How do I get to that little sparrow chirping in the hedge? And at some instinctive level, their next movement is an answer to their own question.

So far, so good. But what question do they never ask?

They never ask “why.“ Why are things as they are? Why does cork float, water boil, or why does the universe exist at all? Why is there being, and not not-being? This last question almost gets us to thinking about our own existential angst.

The Nativity in the center of a late 10th-century ivory panel, in Constantinople. Musée du Louvre. (Public Domain)

The icecaps may be melting, and polar bears are attempting to survive, although not by experiencing existential angst about their status on the planet. And, of course, once “why“ has truly been removed from the reasoning of a human being, then he or she only asks “what” and “how.”

To limit one’s questions to “what” and “how” is, for a human, to be in hell. Sisyphus in hell cannot ask why he is rolling the stone up the hill perpetually, for if he could ask that question, he would stop.

Yes, we see people living in hell, and a sure sign of it is the repetitive task that need not be done, but constantly is being done. In hell, one never gets to the root of any issue or problem, or sees why it is as it is. Indeed, as Ingmar Bergman observed: “Hell is a place where no one believes in solutions anymore.”

A Greek Orthodox mural in the John the Baptist Church in Jordan. (David Bjorgen / CC BY 2.5)

Effectively, to be in hell is to be subtracted, as it were, from the total reality. Usually when humans ask only the “what” and “how” questions, they cannot accept reality as it is and prefer the false self-images that they have created, which become a protective physical and emotional shell.

Adoration of the Magi on the central panel of a sarcophagus in the cemetery of St. Agnes in Rome, fourth century A.D. (Public Domain)

The Logos at the Center

So why is “why” important? Because the “why” questions point to the reason human beings are different and unique, because “why” points to the centrality of meaning in our lives. No meaning, no real life.

What is it that has defeated the darkness and the chaos? Light and meaning. What we are celebrating at the profoundest level on Christmas Day is the advent of meaning in our lives; meaning, of course, gives purpose, and purpose presupposes destiny, and destiny, unlike fate (where we are trapped), involves greatness.

Possibly the earliest surviving example of a Western Madonna and Child, from the Book of Kells, circa 800 A.D. (Public Domain)

A German illuminated manuscript with two scenes of the Magi, circa, 1220. (Public Domain)

So, in the Christian tradition, light and meaning became identified with the birth of Christ. For one reason, a baby symbolizes every family’s hopes; and more specifically, this baby is—as all babies potentially are—destined for greatness. But there is more: The meaning at Christmas is personal, since the baby is a person.

Thus, meaning involves light, personhood, and an answer to the question “why?” Meaning and the question “why” are a hand-and-glove combination, as one layers the other. We have “why,” and covering it is the meaning. This the ancient religious traditions recognized. Perhaps the most famous example of all is the opening to John’s Gospel, where we read: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

Importantly, “Word” in Greek is “logos,” and this not only means “word,” but also “meaning” or “reason”; we can see its etymological root in our word “logic” today. Logic suggests rationality, coherence, consistency, and order. So we have: In the beginning was the meaning, who was with God and the meaning was God.

How extraordinary, and how abstract—if it weren’t for the fact that on Christmas Day we also have the baby!

Christmas requires us to believe that meaning and order are at the root of life, not chaos and disintegration; that personhood and light overcome the animal in us, and the darkness; and that—if you will—one person transcendently represents this epic battle.

And here’s the thing: Meaning, or reason, cannot be proved by reason; it can only be accessed by faith. As G.K. Chesterton observed: “In so far as religion is gone, reason is going. For they are both of the same primary and authoritative kind. They are both methods of proof, which cannot themselves be proved.”

How stunning; we in the modern world like to think that reason dictates our behaviors. But reason is as irrational as faith is perceived to be, in the sense that reason cannot prove itself we have to believe in reason. And so in an important way, the foundation of science is faith, just as it is the foundation of religious beliefs.

Christmas invites us to celebrate not just a belief in a person, which may be optional for many, but also a belief in the order, the rationality, the meaning of the cosmos, and so of the meaning of our lives.

“L’adoration des bergers,” (“The Adoration of the Shepherds”), circa 1644, by Georges de La Tour. (Public Domain)

No matter how dark and cold it is outside (we are in the Northern Hemisphere, after all), and no matter how short the day (or our lives may individually be), there is a massive meaning at the heart of it all. And this meaning wildly celebrates life and invites us to give thanks for it.

In this series, Myths: Mapping Our Way Home, James Sale revisits why myths—all but discounted today—remain crucial to understanding our place in the universe, if not to our very survival.

James Sale is an English businessman and the creator of Motivational Maps, which operates in 14 countries. He has authored over 40 books from major international publishers, including Macmillan, Pearson, and Routledge, on management, education, and poetry. As a poet, he won First Prize in The Society of Classical Poets’ 2017 competition.

How Helping People Affects Your Brain

Helping others impacts brain activity in ways that promote better physical health. (Getty Images)

Research shows why it’s physically better for us to give than receive


January 1, 2019 Updated: January 1, 2019

The holidays are a time of giving. And for many of us, that giving is the best thing we can hope to receive.

Many people volunteer over the holidays or go out of their way to give. Thanksgiving is an important time of year for Amy de la Fuente.

Her grandmother passed away on the holiday so it’s a tradition for her entire family to come together in Santa Ana, California and honor her memory.

Yet, de la Fuente, 26, made a conscious decision to skip Thanksgiving this year. Instead, she spent the holiday helping survivors of California’s devastating Camp Fire.

As a volunteer for the American Red Cross, de la Fuente registered shelter residents at the Butte County Fairgrounds and loaded supplies for two exhausting weeks.

And when an elderly woman whose oxygen tank was malfunctioning grabbed de la Fuente and begged her, “Please, don’t leave me,” she knew just what to say.

“I put my hand on top of hers and told her, ‘I’m not going anywhere,’” de la Fuente remembered.

“What I do might not change the world,” de la Fuente said, “but at least one person’s world will be changed.”

However, it’s volunteers like de la Fuente who are changed the most in these moments.

While being the recipient of a gift—be it a holiday bonus, new computer, or glitter macaroni necklace your kindergartner made just for you—feels awesome, research shows it truly is better to give than receive.

How Your Brain Lights Up When You Help

During a recent study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh gave 45 volunteers an option: They could complete a task that benefited themselves, a charity, or a particular friend in need.

Afterward, a brain scan showed a noticeable—and fascinating—difference based on their choice.

Not only did the participants who chose to help a particular person display increased activity in two reward centers of their brain, but they had decreased activity in three other regions that help inform the body’s physical response to stress through blood pressure and inflammation.

A second study from the University of Pittsburgh, this time utilizing nearly 400 volunteers who were asked to self-report their giving habits, showed similar results.

“Humans are born especially vulnerable and dependent on others,” explained Tristen Inagaki an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh who led both studies. “As a result, we require a prolonged period of intense caregiving following birth in order to survive.”

That instinctive desire to help others may depend on those specific areas of the brain. They guarantee more supportive behavior.

“The same mechanisms that ensure giving to others may also contribute to the long-term health effects we see from giving,” said Inagaki.

And there are plenty.

People who volunteer get sick less often and live longer.

Helping has also been shown to improve a person’s self-esteem, foster a rosier view of the world, decrease risky or problematic behaviors, and stave off depression.

Plus, the more you help others, the more you want to keep helping.

“Helping others takes the mind and emotions off the self, allowing the mind to move past anxieties and rumination,” said Stephen G. Post director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at Stony Brook University. “Even when helping others as only external action, our emotions over time tend to shift to joy and kindness, especially with good role models.”

This isn’t news for David Braverman.

The 73-year-old retired market research executive used to consider volunteering but didn’t feel he had the time.

However, an acquaintance persisted and eventually, Braverman found himself visiting patients at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center for up to four hours every Monday.

“At first, I’m sure it was more about my ego: ‘Look at what I am doing for others,’” Braverman admitted. “However, it very quickly became about the people I was visiting, making smile, doing small deeds for, and just being company to others who don’t have visitors.”

It’s been over four years now and “I’ve met some of the most wonderful people of all faiths, cultures, and races,” said Braverman. “I’ve shared stories and talks about food, sports, literature, travel, and even religion. I’ve learned about my Judaism from Catholic nuns and priests. I’ve learned and talked about Islam with some. I’ve heard firsthand about living in the inner city of Baltimore.”

The bottom line, said Braverman, is “while I do think I bring something to those I visit, it turns out that in fact, it’s about me leaving the hospital on Mondays feeling better than when I get there in the morning.”

“So,” he adds, “I guess it is about me after all.”

Helping has also been shown to improve a person’s self-esteem, foster a rosier view of the world, decrease risky or problematic behaviors, and stave off depression. (Getty Images)

What Makes a ‘Giver’

About one-third of people take to [giving] behavior “like a duck to water,” said Post, who is also the author of “Why Good Things Happen to Good People.” “Genetic set points, psycho-social-environmental factors, and one’s own attitudes all come into play.”

For instance, while children have strong empathic tendencies, “adverse childhood experiences can repress this tendency, but good parenting styles and role models enhance it,” he noted.

Being kind can be learned, too.

“It’s all about transmission, about passing the torch from one person to the next with lots of attention given to observed details like tone of voice, facial expression, minor actions, [being] present, and listening,” Post noted.

For the past 3 years, Kerrie Klein, 48, has volunteered for the National Runaway Safeline, offering help to youth in crisis who call, email, or connect via online chat.

“When someone’s feeling overwhelmed, they might not be able to see clearly what to do next—I know I’ve felt like that in my life at times,” said the Chicago resident. “Sometimes all it takes is having someone listen and help talk you through the options available, to be able to see which way to go forward.”

How she feels after her weekly two-hour shift: “Fulfilled.”

“When you feel like you’ve helped someone, it’s the best feeling in the world,” said Klein. “I can be having the worst day and not want to come into the call center, but sometimes helping someone else gives me clarity about my own challenges.”

Volunteering “gives me a different perspective on what really matters,” Klein explained. “It also makes me more motivated in other areas of life—to stop and take time with people in my life, and take care of my own health. And it’s definitely helped me to listen more to others, which is important.”

“I don’t want to look back and feel like I didn’t take any action to make the world a better place,” added Klein. “One person can make a difference, and I want to be one of those people.”

How You Can Help Too

In our crazy-busy lives, time is a precious commodity. Which begs the question: Is simply pressing a “Donate Now” button online as beneficial as “boots on the ground” volunteering?

“Studies do show an effect on the mesolimbic [“reward”] pathway and degrees of increased happiness through making a donation, or even thinking about it, actually,” Post said, “but the giver needs to be thinking kindly and not just filling in a number.”

In other words, envision how your $20 will help put Hatchimals under the Christmas tree for kids who desperately want them. Don’t zone out like you do when you pay your monthly bills.

Still, despite your shortage of time, consider lending a hand this holiday season.

If you’re not sure where to begin, Points of Light and VolunteerMatch can connect you with local causes. Kids That Do Good, an online database founded by kids, lists local, regional, and national volunteer opportunities that are appropriate for children. And the Red Cross relies on volunteers to carry out 90 percent of their humanitarian work.

“Sometimes we can be overly concerned with ways that other people help us or about what we’re getting out of any given situation,” Inagaki said.

But by helping others, she points out, we truly help ourselves.

Stephanie Booth is a freelance journalist. This article was first published on Healthline.

When the Going Gets Tough …

The very fabric of America is under attack—our freedoms, our democracy, and our constitutional rights have become contested terrain. The Epoch Times, a media committed to truthful, responsible journalism, is a rare bastion of hope and stability in these testing times.

While other media may twist the facts to serve political agendas, we deliver stories while upholding our responsibility to society.

We’ve reported truthfully on the current U.S. administration from the start. We reported on the real possibility of a Trump victory in 2016. We’ve led reporting on the Chinese communist threat since 2000; we have been exposing communist thought in our government, schools, universities, popular culture, and media; and we, like no other media, are rigorously investigating and exposing the unscrupulous agents working to subvert our society.

Stand with us in advancing a truly independent and truthful media—the way a free press was intended to be, as a cornerstone of the Republic. Your contribution allows us to continue piercing through the surface narratives of mainstream media, and provide you with a full picture.

Epoch Times editor-in-chief Jasper Fakkert urges you to support our independent media. We are asking you to help us raise $1 million going into the new year to support our unique and truthful content.

Every contribution counts, big or small. We sincerely thank you for your continued support and encouragement in these critical times.

Chinese Health Company Quanjian Faces Second Suit in Cancer Death of Young Girl

Zhou Yang, a victim of Quanjian, was decorated as a beneficiary by Quanjian. (Screenshot of Quanjian’s blog)


January 1, 2019 Updated: January 1, 2019

Quanjian Group, one of China’s biggest health companies, is under fire again relating to allegedly unscrupulous practices in the death of a 7-year-old cancer patient.

Zhou Yang died of cancer in late 2015. Zhou Erli, the girl’s father and a farmer from Inner Mongolia, told Beijing News on Dec. 27 that he will file a new lawsuit against the company after the New Year. He says that anti-cancer products supplied by Quanjin caused Yang’s death, and he also accuses the company of false advertising. Quanjian has rejected Zhou’s claims.

Zhou filed a lawsuit in 2013 while Yang was alive, but lost at trial in 2015. He was unable to continue the lawsuit as Yang’s health deteriorated. After three years, Zhou has shared his family’s bitter story with several media outlets, and is preparing for the new lawsuit.

In 2012, Yang was diagnosed with a sacrococcygeal malignant germ cell tumor, and was brought to Beijing Children Hospital for treatment. Over the course of six months, she had four operations and 23 rounds of chemotherapy.

In December 2012, when Yang’s situation had become stable, Quanjian contacted her family and said that they could heal the then-4-year-old girl completely. So Zhou brought Yang to Quanjian’s headquarters in Tianjin city, and met with Shu Yuhui, the founder and chairman of Quanjian, which has almost 20 billion yuan in annual revenue.

Zhou said that because he was convinced that Quanjian could heal Yang, he spent 5,000 yuan ($730) to buy three different herbal medicines. Shu said that Yang didn’t need any other medicines or treatments, according to Beijing News. The representatives of Quanjian also claimed they had paid for some of Yang’s medicines.

Zhou’s family took a photo with Shu the day that they visited Quanjian’s headquarters. The photo was then used in an ad that claimed the company had healed a 4-year-old patient with sacrococcygeal malignant germ cell tumor.

Zhou said his daughter’s health got worse after the treatment by Quanjian. After four months, Yang became very ill, and after some time in the hospital’s intensive care unit, she died Dec. 12, 2015.

While Yang was still in the hospital, Zhou’s family saw her picture in the Quanjian ad. It was a very popular ad online, and the family received many phone calls from friends and strangers who asked for the truth. They were told that Yang’s story was also in a Quanjian brochure.

Zhou called Quanjian and asked them to pull the ad, but they refused, leading Zhou to file a lawsuit in 2013. In April 2015, the Songshan district court of Chifeng city, Inner Mongolia, decided there was insufficient evidence, and the ads were published by Quanjian’s dealers—and not by the company.

Shoddy Treatment

Many lawsuits have been filed against Quanjian for its signature “fire treatment.” The treatment involves using a special alcohol to burn a patient’s skin, then the doctor wipes away the flame after several seconds.

Quanjian doesn’t do the fire treatment itself, but licenses physiotherapy parlors to carry out the procedure. In December, Quanjian has more than 7,000 licensed physiotherapy parlors in China.

The Paper reported Dec. 27 that a patient named Bai from Shangluo city in Shaanxi Province died after receiving a fire treatment on April 17, 2015, due to alcohol allergy. The operator took responsibility, but not Quanjian.

On March 7, 2016, a fire treatment patient named Xiao was burned by alcohol in Shenzhen city, Guangdong Province. In May 2018, the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Huang Yali, the owner of the physiotherapy parlor; Zhang Baoli, the operator; and ordered Quanjian to pay 272,000 yuan ($39,600) to Xiao as compensation.

Quanjian continues to have many followers because the company uses multi-level marketing (MLM) as its business model, a quick and easy way to make money, Sohu reported on Dec. 26.

“There are very few people who join Quanjian for promoting health. In general, people join to make money,” Huxiu on Dec. 27 cited a Quanjian dealer as saying.

Complaints against Quanjian in recent years are said to be ignored because the Chinese regime benefits from the taxes paid by the company each year.

China Fund News reported Dec. 26 that Quanjian’s 2017 revenue was 17.6 billion yuan.

When the Going Gets Tough …

The very fabric of America is under attack—our freedoms, our democracy, and our constitutional rights have become contested terrain. The Epoch Times, a media committed to truthful, responsible journalism, is a rare bastion of hope and stability in these testing times.

While other media may twist the facts to serve political agendas, we deliver stories while upholding our responsibility to society.

We’ve reported truthfully on the current U.S. administration from the start. We reported on the real possibility of a Trump victory in 2016. We’ve led reporting on the Chinese communist threat since 2000; we have been exposing communist thought in our government, schools, universities, popular culture, and media; and we, like no other media, are rigorously investigating and exposing the unscrupulous agents working to subvert our society.

Stand with us in advancing a truly independent and truthful media—the way a free press was intended to be, as a cornerstone of the Republic. Your contribution allows us to continue piercing through the surface narratives of mainstream media, and provide you with a full picture.

Epoch Times editor-in-chief Jasper Fakkert urges you to support our independent media. We are asking you to help us raise $1 million going into the new year to support our unique and truthful content.

Every contribution counts, big or small. We sincerely thank you for your continued support and encouragement in these critical times.

Czech Lawmakers Urged to Call for End to Chinese Regime’s Crimes Against Humanity

A public hearing on the repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement in China held at Wallenstein Palace, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic on Nov. 19, 2018. (Jiří Chlebníček/The Epoch Times)

December 24, 2018 Updated: December 25, 2018

PRAGUE—A nongovernmental organization has submitted a petition signed by more than 38,000 people to the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, asking lawmakers to condemn the crimes against humanity committed by the Chinese regime.

The petition submitted to the legislative bodies is the most recent of several petitions. Since January, 2,000 Czech activists have collected more than 170,000 signatures of Czech citizens, public figures, and politicians. They are demanding an end to the violent repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement at the hands of the Chinese communist regime.

In response to the petition, on Nov. 19, a public hearing was held at Wallenstein Palace and a seminar in the Chamber of Deputies, which were attended by experts, representatives of various nongovernmental organizations, and two victims of the persecution.

The first victim to testify was Chen Zhenping, who survived 13 years in Chinese labor camps where she was imprisoned for her belief in Falun Gong. The other was Yumei Liu of Liaoning Province in China, who was arrested nine times and tortured as part of so-called “re-education” led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Her sister, father, mother, and husband were killed during the repression.

(L) and a representative of the NGO WOIPFG Haiyen Wang. (Lukáš Kruťa/The Epoch Times)

The Chinese Embassy in Prague was invited to attend the public hearing, but didn’t respond to the invitation. The secretary of the Senate Committee called the embassy, which stated, “We take note of the invitation.” However, the embassy representative didn’t show up at the hearing.

A representative of the international human rights organization Amnesty International also was at the public hearing.

According to a statement by Amnesty International: “Falun Gong is a spiritual teaching based on traditional Chinese breathing and meditation exercises, which gained a large number of supporters in China during the 1990s. Practitioners focus on the cultivation of character by following spiritual principles such as truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance—the universal principles of human existence. Falun Gong combines mental cultivation with physical cultivation (using five simple exercises).”

During the hearing, a representative of the Falun Gong Association of the Czech Republic, Juraj Skovajsa, discussed the rapid increase in the popularity of Falun Gong in China from 1992 to 1999, and illustrated the exercise movements and the spiritual principles of the practice. He also cited a medical study pointing to the health benefits of the Falun Gong exercises.

Journalist and researcher Ethan Gutmann (L), and representative of the Falun Gong Association of the Czech Republic, Juraj Skovajsa. (Lukáš Kruťa/The Epoch Times)

Reports on the growing repression in China were summed up at the request of the petition committee by Milan Kajínek, editor-in-chief of the Czech edition of The Epoch Times.

“The repression has escalated and the Chinese regime has been carrying out arrests, imprisonment, and torture resulting in death,” Kajínek said.

R): Jiří Pokorný from the Falun Gong Association of the Czech Republic; Editor-in-chief of the Czech edition of the Epoch Times Milan Kajínek; Senator Václav Chaloupek. (Jiří Chlebníkek/The Epoch Times)

Amnesty International stated that the Falun Gong spiritual movement was forbidden in China after its practitioners held a peaceful assembly in Beijing in April 1999.

“The Chinese government subsequently set up a special office, the 610 Office, to oversee the persecution of Falun Gong. … In 2017, Falun Gong practitioners continued to be persecuted, arbitrarily detained, exposed to unjust lawsuits, torture and other ill-treatment,” Amnesty International said.

The Czech Helsinki Committee’s chairwoman, Lucie Rybova, also took part in the hearings; the organization monitors compliance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In connection with the hearing, the committee issued a statement that “calls for the termination of the persecution and the torture of Falun Gong practitioners and the adoption of a Senate resolution on the matter.”

Journalist and researcher Ethan Gutmann, an expert on China and the author of “Losing the New China” and “The Slaughter,” also spoke at the hearing. He has co-authored an investigative report on abusive organ-transplant practices in China.

“During the investigation that began in 2006, David Kilgour, David Matas, and I collected a set of evidence of approximately 1,200 pages,” Gutmann said. Using data from China and interviews with medical experts, Chinese policemen, and labor-camp refugees, the investigators have documented the massive development of organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners in China.

Ethan Gutmann, investigative journalist, writer, and expert on China. (Lukáš Kruťa/The Epoch Times)

‘Strong Pressure’ on Chinese Regime

Hayen Wang, a representative of the NGO World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), also spoke. WOIPFG investigates the crimes of all institutions, organizations, and individuals involved in the repressive campaign of the Chinese regime against the spiritual movement of Falun Gong in China. Founded in January 2003, the New York-based organization has established a global monitoring system in 110 countries.

minister Daniel Herman in an interview with Ms. Liu (L) and representative of the NGO WOIPFG Mrs. Haiyen Wang. (Lukáš Kruťa/The Epoch Times)

“We are urging the Czech Republic to ask the Chinese regime about organ harvesting and demand an explanation,” said Wang, who called upon the Czech Republic “to take concrete steps to thoroughly investigate crimes against humanity committed by the Chinese regime.”

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Lukáš Kaucký (ČSSD) summarized the activities of the Ministry, and said that both the European Union and its delegation in Beijing are exerting strong pressure on the Chinese regime in the area of human rights, with the EU’s stance “unambiguously hardening.”

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself, according to Kaucky, has a “consistent policy” in the area of human rights, which includes calling for the “end of the persecution of persons on account of their religious beliefs, as well as ethnic minorities” and allowing the freedom of faith and other fundamental human rights and freedoms under the international declaration.

Public hearing on the repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement in China held at Wallenstein Palace, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic on Nov. 19, 2018. (Jiří Chlebníček/The Epoch Times)

Members of Parliament from the Pirate Party were also present at the hearing. Olga Richterova, a vice-chairman of the Pirate Party, published an article on her blog after the Senate hearing, in which she responded to reports about current methods of the liquidation of dissidents that are taking place in China, by using modern transplantation techniques.

“It’s an alarming and years-long violation of all conceivable human rights, and a billion-dollar business,” she wrote.

Reforming Czech Law

Sen. Marek Hilšer said he would try to initiate an analysis of current Czech law on transplantation tourism to foreign countries, and plans to work to bring Czech law closer to the legal regulations adopted by Israel (2006) and Italy (2016).

“Not to believe that there is such a thing in China is to disbelieve our own experience with the communist totalitarian regime,” said Hilšer, in response to information about the persecution of Falun Gong in China. “Politicians should talk about these things.”

Former Minister of Culture Daniel Herman, who also supports an amendment to the Transplantation Tourism Act, said: “It is very important that this discussion takes place. Personally, I have known some Czech Falun Gong adherents for several years. I am deeply convinced of the benefits of Falun Gong for society.”

A bioethicist from Charles University, Jan Payne, is also interested in the transplant law.

“What is happening in China (in the area of transplant surgery) is difficult to believe. In general, people are divided into those who do not know anything about the topic, those who do not believe it or don’t want to believe it, and those who cannot believe it,” he said.

According to Payne, there’s a need for a public discussion and to be acquainted with the results of the investigation; otherwise, it is difficult for a person to understand the allegations. He supports the adoption of the law on transplantation tourism and backs awareness-raising activities about the matter.

R) Ex-minister Daniel Herman, chairwoman of the Czech Helsinki Committee Lucie Rybová and former Czech Human Rights Commissioner Monika Šimůnková. (Jiří Chlebníček a Lukáš Kruťa/The Epoch Times)

“I have personally met several former prisoners of conscience from China, and I have seen well-documented papers on this issue, as well as film documentaries, such as ‘Free China’ or ‘Hard to Believe,’” said former Czech Human Rights Commissioner Monika Šimůnková. “We need to talk about this issue and get it into the public space.

“I personally do not see any reason why the Chinese government suppresses a group that wants to physically and spiritually improve themselves as Falun Gong practitioners.”

China and US to Hold Trade Talks in Beijing Next Week

US President Donald Trump (C-R) and Chinese leader Xi Jinping (C-L) along with members of their delegations, hold a dinner meeting at the end of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires, on Dec. 01, 2018. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)


January 4, 2019 Updated: January 4, 2019

BEIJING—China and the United States will hold vice ministerial level trade talks in Beijing on Jan. 7 and Jan. 8, with the two countries under pressure to end a trade war.

For much of the past year, the trade war has disrupted the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods and stoked fears of a global economic slowdown.

A team led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish will come to China to have “positive and constructive discussions” with Chinese counterparts, China’s commerce ministry said in a statement on its website.

In a separate statement on Friday, USTR said the delegation will also include Under Secretaries from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Treasury, as well as senior officials from those agencies and the White House.

Neither statement provided more details about the talks, but in an interview with Fox News Business Network, White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said the discussions will examine “the whole story,” including commodities, agriculture and industrial capital goods.

Pressure to strike a deal mounted this week after data showed slowing U.S. and Chinese manufacturing activity and as companies like Apple Inc and Cargill Inc said the trade battle was hitting earnings.

At a summit in Argentina late last year, U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to hold off on additional tariffs for 90 days while they attempted to negotiate a deal.

Now China and the United States face a March deadline for talks to end the damaging trade war, or Washington could proceed with a sharp hike in U.S. tariffs and Beijing could retaliate.

Trump has said talks are progressing well, but it remained unclear if Beijing will yield to U.S. demands for more open markets, forced technology transfer and industrial subsidies. Meeting some of those demands would require difficult structural reform.

“We know what sort of changes we need. Now, the question is can we negotiate these changes and can we do so with enforcement (and) with timetables,” Kudlow said on Friday.

USTR said the delegation will include USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud, USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, Department of Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Gilbert Kaplan, Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg, and Treasury’s Under Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass.

By Michael Martina

The Old Monk Who Got Drenched

The old monk asked the servant for shelter at the manor. (Illustration by Sun MIngguo/The Epoch TImes)

Stories about monks


December 13, 2018 Updated: December 13, 2018

Night was about to fall, and an old monk was on his way home to the temple. All of a sudden, there was rolling thunder, and rain came pouring down from the sky. It was a massive downpour, and there was no sign that the rain would stop anytime soon.

The monk looked around and saw a manor not far ahead. He ran towards it to seek shelter for the night.

The manor was huge. When the servant who answered the door saw that it was a monk, he spoke to the monk in a cold voice. “My master does not have any dealings with monks and priests. Please go elsewhere.”

The monk pleaded with him: “The rain is too heavy, and there isn’t any shop or residence nearby. Please have a heart and put me up for the night.”

The servant said, “I’ll have to check with my master.” He soon came back with a reply. The answer was still no.

The old monk asked if he could take shelter under the eaves. The servant shook his head. The old monk had no choice. After asking for the name of the manor owner, he turned around and ran back to the temple, soaked to the skin.

Three years later, the manor owner took a second wife and doted on her. The second wife wanted to go to the temple to pray for good fortune, and the manor owner went with her. When he reached the temple, he spotted his name written on a tablet on the altar. Puzzled, he checked with a young monk who was cleaning the temple.

The young monk smiled. “The abbot put the tablet there three years ago. One day he came back drenched and said there was no affinity between him and a particular man. He decided to write the man’s name on a tablet and chant sutras every day to transfer merit to the man in the hope of dissolving the feud between them. That’s all we know.”

The manor owner knew instantly that he was the man the monk was talking about. He was very ashamed of himself. From then on, he was a pious man and made donations to the temple on a regular basis.

The monk and the robber

There once was a monk who was diligent in his self-cultivation. Robbery was rife where he lived. One night, the monk dreamt of a deity who said to him: “You will die tomorrow. A robber called Zhu Er riding a white horse had bad blood with you in your previous life. He will kill you, and there is no way you can avert the disaster.”

The monk pleaded with the deity, “Please help me on account that I’ve done many good deeds in this life.”

The deity replied: “I cannot help you. The only person who can help you is yourself.”

Indeed, the next morning a robber came and dragged the monk out of the temple. He threatened to kill the monk unless the latter told him where the rich people and the women were in the area.

The robber was riding a white horse, just as the deity had said. The monk remembered his dream and thought: “I’m already a sinner that I deserve death. If I took you to others so that you could rob them and violate the women, I would have committed more sins.” He answered the robber loudly: “I’m not taking you there. Are you not Zhu Er? I’ll let you kill me. Take my life and no one else’s.”

The robber was shocked. “How did you know my name? You must be a divine monk!”

The monk told him about the dream he had had the night before.

It struck a chord with the robber. He threw his weapon on the floor and said: “One bad turn deserves another. The deity said he could not save you, but he already did. By refusing to take me to other people, you have saved yourself. I don’t see why we can’t resolve our bad blood right here.” He kowtowed to the statue of the deity three times and left.

Thanks to his benevolence, not only did the monk save others from being killed, but he also saved his own life. The robber Zhu Er was not totally without compassion. He realized that one bad turn deserves another, and he chose to resolve the bad blood by forgiving the monk. He also decided to turn over a new leaf. When a person truly believes in deities and looks up to them, he will be saved by their grace.

9 things that cause acne on different parts of the body—and how to improve your health!



December 18, 2018 Updated: December 18, 2018

Acne. It’s the bane of existence for millions all over the world, and the number of adults suffering from acne is growing. While miracle treatments abound, the best approach is a long-term, educated understanding of the various root causes of the disease, wherever it may occur on the body.

While we mostly associate acne as occurring on the face and back, it can actually occur anywhere on the body, even on the elbows! Acne is not only uncomfortable but is a psychological burden too, as many who suffer from the disease become self-conscious and feel frustrated, unable to treat the condition successfully.

There are a lot of products aimed at acne treatment—think of all those cliche “before-and-after” photos and celebrity promotions. So-called “miracle cures” abound. Yet, the best approach may not be an instant cure, but a long-term, educated approach.

Let’s take a look at the various causes of acne, its different forms, where the condition manifests and why, and most importantly what you can do to help treat acne:

Stages of acne:

©Shutterstock | Teguh Mujiono

There are various reasons why acne occurs on different areas of our bodies, with various methods of prevention and treatment corresponding to each area.

Some cases of acne may indicate deeper, gastrointestinal issues, which makes such acne a symptom of underlying health issues. For other acne cases, the solution may be as simple as changing your clothes more often.

Here are some of the places on the body where acne can occur:

1. Acne on the legs and butt

Most people nowadays own at least one pair of tight-fitting pants. Whether they are skinny jeans or gym pants, these materials cling to our bodies like a second skin.

And therein lies the problem, as this may prevent the skin from breathing, shedding and cooling, thus causing clogged pores—and that is how you get acne.

So, if you are getting acne on the legs or butt, then consider examining your wardrobe and making sure you let your skin breath more often, so as not to clog the pores of your skin.

2. Acne over the stomach

This is probably not the six pack you were hoping for at the gym… If acne occurs on the stomach, it could actually be an indication of improper sugar levels.

An imbalance in sugar levels can indicate serious medical issues, possibly leading to more long-term problems.

It would be wise to contact your physician for an appointment to make sure your sugar levels, hormones, and other levels are in check.

3. Acne on the arms and elbows

Acne, often appearing as little red bumps on the elbow and the upper arms, is often Keratosis Polaris, a harmless condition that causes the skin to feel rough like sandpaper.

This condition is the result of an accumulation of dead cells, as well as poor circulation in the afflicted area.

To treat this, consider finding some ways to stretch the arms thoroughly, or engage in physical activity, which stimulates blood flow to the arms. Also, don’t forget to thoroughly exfoliate the area every day.

4. Acne on the chest

Acne occurring on the chest area certainly puts a dampener on wearing a dress, tank top, or swim suit, but the good news is this is actually an easier fix that you may have imagined.

When acne occurs here, it often indicates digestive issues. By addressing this, the acne should naturally decrease and even disappear.

Make sure you eat a lot of fibrous fruits and veggies to improve your digestion. After eating plenty of fiber and drinking a lot of water, this should resolve the issue.

5. Cystic acne or ‘bacne’

Often uncomfortable for anyone wearing a purse, backpack, messenger bag—you name it, bacne can be quite literally a pain in the back!

Cystic acne on the shoulder and back area is actually indicative of a digestive or nervous system problem.

In fact, this is not an issue to take lightly and you should contact your physician or dermatologist as soon as possible about the condition. With proper treatment from the source, the symptoms will naturally improve.

6. Acne on the shoulder and neck

With acne on the rise among adults, it’s no surprise that this common occurrence is stress-related.

Find ways to destress, and put aside time for yourself to relax. If you treat both your mind and body well, acne in this area should decrease.

7. Acne on the jawline

Acne on the jawline is associated with hormonal imbalances and disorders, so contact your physician to get a hormone screening to see if something may be off.

Additionally, for women who wear a lot of makeup, take a look at your beauty products and make sure good ingredients are used. Also, thoroughly wash your face, making sure to lightly exfoliate every day.

1 – 9 Acne on the body chart

Below is a complete chart outlining the cause of acne corresponding to the afflicted areas on the body.

1. Hormone levels and imbalances
2. Stress
3. Digestive system problems
4. Vitamin deficiency
5. Blood sugar levels
6. Hygiene issues or STD’s
7. Sensitive skin and allergies
8. Nervous system, or digestive system problems
9. Digestive system problems or disorders

So, while we may not have that instant miracle cure just yet, there is, in fact, a ton of knowledge out there for treating acne.

It is an increasing challenge to maintain a good diet and healthy lifestyle these days, especially with all the stresses and processed foods of modern living. So, make sure to reexamine your life habits and make adjustments accordingly. Then, not only will your skin condition improve, but so too will your health, spirits, and overall well-being.