Online shopping is here to stay. The National Australia Bank Online retail sales index estimates that the online retail market was worth $19.1 billion in the 12 months to December 2015. And that is just in one country. But what are we buying online? Some order their groceries online every week, whilst others resolutely continue to prefer the in-store grocery shopping experience. Meanwhile, those who say they would never switch to online grocery shopping, do buy light-fixtures online. And so on. It seems to be a different preference for everyone. Whilst I won't buy dresses or shoes online to avoid the hassle of having to return them (I find it really hard to get the sizing perfect for these types of items), I do find it very convenient to buy vitamins and wellness products online.

This comparison of online versus in-store shopping for natural health and wellbeing products highlights some of the reasons why I now purchase almost all of these types of products online:

- The wellness products websites that I use have simple interfaces enabling me to start an order and slowly finish it over a few days during my commute to work (so that I am sure I have everything I need, and that I have stuck to my monthly budget). Now I mainly order using Apps downloaded onto my iPhone, which is even easier.

- The wellness products websites that I subscribe to provide so much information and have connected me to such a large community of like-minded people interested in health and wellness that I learned how to use natural products to sleep 8 hours again, and other noticeable health improvements, over quite a short period of time.

- After a bit of experience with online shopping, I have settled on wellness product websites that use Australia post for shipping. This means that I don't have to organise re-delivery of packages that arrive whilst I am at work; I just walk to my local post office for collection.

-I am able to order unique natural products and natural remedies that I have been unable to find in my local shops.

- By subscribing to special deals, or joining loyalty reward programs, I save money compared to shopping in-store. Wellness products websites often offer either free shipping or reimburse the full shipping-fee with store-credits.

Online wellness products websites can be really convenient, and the types of products rarely require returning. Whilst prices for many products tend to be cheaper than comparable products in the shops, shipping needs to be factored in. This can eat up any savings, but many wellness products websites offer spectacular deals and/or loyalty rewards programs that provide a lot of savings. They may also offer unique products that are not available, or hard to find, in shops.

For more information and to get my free e-book on "Simple Strategies to Support Your Health and Vitality with Natural Products" (including more tips on wellness products websites), click here.

This is a reprint of my article published at http://ezineArticles.com/expert/DeeSchaffer/21435
Free Picture "Business Woman With Shopping Bags" ID#193504 © Andres Rodriguez, Dreamstime Stock Photos


Most people heal pretty quickly from cuts and bruises. And many have heard about the B-cells, T-cells and the lymphatic system cells that our own bodies produce to fight off illnesses. So the belief in our own innate healing potential is a hopeful and familiar place to revert to, when at times our health issues defy Western medicine.... 
Click here To read my full article published on Ezine.

Free Picture: Tomatoes On Cutting Board
© Michael Smith | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Preventing cancer is a topic of interest to many people. I am a big advocate of trial and error in healthcare, because what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another person, and there are so many ideas, products and healthcare theories that it is impossible to test all of them rigorously. Affordable ideas that make sense are often worth trying.

When it comes to cancer, many people are looking for natural cancer prevention, because they don’t want to take medicines or chemicals that could have side effects. A health-conscious person may not want to risk side effects from a preventative treatment for a health problem that they don’t even have yet.   

The problem with trial and error of natural cancer prevention products is that there is no way to accurately measure if the product is working for you personally. If you are trying a natural product for sinusitis, you can feel if it is working within a short period of time (if not, stop using it). When trying lifestyle changes or natural supplements for cancer prevention, you may feel more energised or healthier, but that does not provide meaningful information about whether the risk of cancer is reduced. So reviewing the scientific evidence that exists from larger studies of healthy people over several years can provide some worthwhile insights especially in this area. Clinical science isn’t perfect, but it is a good starting point on this topic.

When I accessed The Cochrane Library (http://www.cochranelibrary.com/) on 1 February 2016, there were 653 systematic reviews under the topic “Complementary and Alternative Medicine”. Of these, 34 were for treatments related to cancer. Of these, 8 covered cancer-prevention products: 
  • vitamin D, 
  • selenium, 
  • supplements for preventing lung cancer in healthy people, 
  • lycopene for preventing prostate cancer, 
  • green tea, 
  • antioxidant supplements (beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium for preventing gastrointestinal cancers, 
  • dietary calcium supplementation to prevent colorectal cancer, and  
  • dietary fibre for the prevention of colorectal carcinomas.
Many randomised trials have been undertaken for some of the above products, which was an interesting realisation. There were also many nonrandomised and low quality studies. The reviews are worth reading for anyone interested in natural cancer prevention. Overall the most significant findings showed potentially a small to moderate protective effect of some of the natural cancer prevention products:
  • Selenium seemed to show significant beneficial effect on gastrointestinal cancer occurrence , but not for other cancers. There were some risks observed with long-term selenium supplementation such as non-melanoma skin cancer and type 2 diabetes. In observational studies, higher body levels of selenium were associated with lower risk of cancers, however these studies do not prove a causal effect. These studies however measured selenium levels from all sources, mainly foods. Selenium has possibly not been studied sufficiently to determine if increasing intake of Brazil nuts and other food sources may be protective.
  • Patients with previous colorectal adenomas may have a moderate protective effect of daily intake of 1,200 g of dietary calcium, from developing recurring adenomas. This finding was based on randomised controlled trials, the highest quality clinical study design. Whether this translates into a lower risk of colorectal cancer is not known as the trials would have to be much larger. In contrast, there is currently no evidence from randomised trials to suggest that increased dietary fibre intake will reduce the recurrence of colorectal adenomatous polyps I (studies were only out to 2 or 4 years). 
  • There was limited to moderate evidence that the consumption of green tea reduced the risk of lung cancer.
    In prostate cancer, observational studies with higher methodological quality and the only included RCT suggested a decreased risk in men consuming higher quantities green tea or green tea extracts.
  • Anti-oxidants did not show any noteworthy protective effect for cancer. There were some risks observed, ranging from yellowing of the skin and belching, to an increased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer and type 2 diabetes.
  • There was more scientific data than I had expected on natural cancer prevention. There is a general consensus that lifestyle and diet are environmental factors that influence the incidence of cancer. It is uncertain whether any one component plays a dominant role, however the scientific findings that are available in the literature now may help you decide what to spend your money on, if anything, for natural cancer prevention.

Good day! Today is a very sunny day. I have done some online shopping today and am awaiting my package of essential oils, can't wait. As always, being scientifically-trained and working in a scientific environment, I have to express my excitement about this kind of thing at home or by blogging, as, well there just isn't much evidence for the efficacy of essential oils! Today I am excited though, because on Monday I will get a shipment including clove oil and Easy Air essential oils. What do I hope will happen?:

1. I hope that putting clove oil drops on the back of my tongue will help me eat less! There are sites that recommend what oils to try for specific health concerns, do an internet search and you will find many. I decided on clove, after checking out a few links (EE, PTSD, aromatic science, the Cochrane Collaboration, and protocolled). There is also a mobile app MDO pro that I bought for $13. All three sites listed clove as one option that may work. I was inspired that this might help me change my habit of reaching out for food so often for comfort or cravings (same behaviour that drives other bad habits like smoking).

Look, am not easily swayed my marketing and I watch my money. That is why my own research into weight loss led me to the simplest way to lose weight:  which is to calculate your daily energy requirement (can do here at this free Australian government website) in KJ or calories (divide KJ by 4.2 to convert to calories). From experience, I advise if you are overweight to put in your ideal weight, and also select sedentary lifestyle unless you are an athlete (don't know why, but any other category spits out too many calories, as I found through trial and error). If you eat that amount of food (look on labels to figure out how many calories you are eating, or look on free calorie count websites like calorieking.com.au - there are many), you should lose weight. Have a scale at home and at the office to remember to check your weight regularly. If you are not losing weight, then just reduce your intake by another 100 calories until you are losing the weight you want. However, this doesn't always work in practice so easily. Or it may work at certain times of your life, and not so well at other time when you are busy (like me currently) or your life has issues. I know how to lose weight easily, and as I write this I am reminded how easily I did it in the past, but this time, due to my circumstances, I am just looking for help because I can't seem to stop those extra snacks that are actually adding up to 900 calories per day more than I know I should be eating! I should be eating 1700 calories per day, and I am eating 2600. Horrendous. I truly hope the clove essential oil will have some effect.

2. Me, my hubby and my daughter have been coughing for over 2 weeks, a dry hacking post-viral cough after we caught colds. I hope the laurel leaf, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, revensara etc blend will finally get rid of the coughing.  We are using asthma puffers, gargling with salt and betadine, resting, drinking water, but this cold strain this year is tougher than usual, so I am trying something extra. Here's hoping.

I am a scientist, and I know the evidence-based literature -  I know there is not a lot of proven evidence for using essential oils. But, I was heartened today by one review in the Cochrane Library that contains some evidence, from a trial of 61 patients, that lavender oil: Aromatic lavender essential oil applied by acupressure may reduce subjective pain intensity and improve lateral spine flexion and walking time compared to untreated participants (low quality evidence). No significant adverse events were noted in the included trials. For the full review  Click Here.  And I know that a lot of people use essential oils for headaches, migraines, citing that these oils often help them stay well and deal with these health concerns quickly. This is a huge industry, as can be see in any report of the health and wellness industries. So despite the lack of evidence, why do people use essential oils, and those who use them, what makes you feel that oils are definitely worth the money. I would love to hear your comments and stories!

Have a good day. I believe in a world that is improving, and where people smile a lot and feel really well!


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