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It has long been claimed that flowers have a therapeutic effect on those who surround themselves with them, but science had yet to truly back it up.

Research conducted by the American Society For Horticulture Science has recently revealed that fresh flowers can have the ability to ease feelings of anxiety, and even physical pain. 

The study evaluated whether or not plants have an influence on surgical patients, and we're pretty surprised by these results. 90 participants were split into rooms with plants or without, and those with foliage feelings have different outcomes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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According to the research, those who were exposed to flowers had lower heart rates and blood pressure, decreased ratings of fatigue, anxiety and pain, and harboured more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their rooms.

It's now suggested that flowers should be 'complementary medicine' for recovering patients. It's time to click your fingers and insist that a crowd of men throw a bouquet at you every few minutes…for health reasons.

Flowers are often the go-to gift for celebrating milestones, or for offering messages of hope or condolences. Good old science has just given us the opportunity to buy our own blooms, for self-care.

According to a study published in Complementary Therapies In Medicine, bouquets of flowers can reduce our stress levels.

The researchers gave college-age women a fresh vase of roses for their accommodation, and the subjects felt more relaxed than they did before. Whether it's psycho-somatic, or true therapy, it seems to work.

It seems like an easy breezy way to experience multiple health benefits while keeping your home aesthetically lush. Apparently, indoor plants and gardening come with health advantages similar to gym workouts.

We like this, we like this A LOT.

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“The world is disturbingly comfortable with the fact that women sometimes leave a sexual encounter in tears.” Lili Loofbourow

According to a recent study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, about 30 percent of women report feeling pain during vaginal intercourse.

This alarming statistic is only recorded amongst women who are even comfortable speaking to doctors about sex, meaning that a far greater number could be more accurate.

Another hugely concerning fact which the study expressed is that "large proportions" of women don't tell their partners when sex hurts, they simply grin and bear it.

This testifies to the notion that women often sacrifice their pleasure, not to mention their comfort, for male satisfaction. The assumption that “bad sex” simply means the absence of pleasure is a naïve one- for many women, “bad sex” can mean extreme discomfort and even agony.

Debby Herbenick, an academic from the Indiana University School of Public Health and one of those who incentivised the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behaviour, confirmed this suggestion.

"When it comes to 'good sex,'" she commented, "women often mean without pain, men often mean they had orgasms."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The satisfaction scale for men and women is clearly imbalanced. Painful sex isn’t the rare outlier that it’s proclaimed to be, in fact, it’s far more widespread than imagined.

For some women, such as those suffering from illnesses such as endometriosis, ectopic pregnancies and vaginismus, it’s part of their reality.

For others, they are in need of more foreplay, lubrication or comfort. Anxiety and tension can have a drastic impact on female sexual pleasure. 

There are dozens of possible reasons why you could be experiencing pain during sex, ranging from the physical to the psychological.

The troubling thing is that so many of these reasons are not well-known, and they are scarcely researched or prioritised in our healthcare systems.

Dyspareunia is the medical term for painful sex, and can be a deeply distressing condition which takes a massive emotional toll on those who experience it.

According to another scientific article on women’s pain:

“Approximately 15% of women have chronic dyspareunia that is poorly understood, infrequently cured, often highly problematic, and distressing.”

The stigma surrounding problems such as the ones mentioned above is part of the reason why women aren’t discussing their sexual pain, especially not with healthcare practitioners.

Even if a woman feels willing and able to discuss her sex life with her doctor, the lack of research into female pain in general as well as in sexual medicine means that even more barriers crop up.

Sexual assault arguably can also contribute towards experiencing pain during future sexual encounters.

Numerous studies support the idea that a mental block is created surrounding sex, which lives with survivors long after their attack.

Without a healthy view of sex and positive sexual experiences, women are not being given the tools to vocalise their pain.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Other disorders such as vulvodynia, vestibulodynia, interstitial cystitis, vaginitis, vaginal atrophy, fibroids, lichen sclerosus and lichen planus (skin disorders), ovarian cysts and endometriosis have all been grossly under-reported, and awareness of these conditions is extremely limited.

Yeast infections, overly tight pelvic floor muscles, bowel problems and hormonal imbalances can also be major contributors to pain during sex, as well as STI’s.

BBC Three has recently aired a visceral visual essay series, where director Sindha Agha decided to artistically depicted the female experience of painful sex.

The beautiful video uses colourful imagery and imaginative props such as glass, metal nails, sprinkles, knives and fruit to parallel with the emotional narration:

Endometriosis sufferer Rhoda Hierons reads her own words aloud with a gorgeous and vivid backdrop, describing the pain of sex as “glass shattering inside you and embedding itself”.

Sindha Agha emotively explains the meaning behind her video: “I’m trying to create an external language for women’s innermost experiences,” she claims.

“As women, I feel we’ve been led to believe that many of our experiences are indescribable, incommunicable; that even when we can figure out how to talk about what happens inside our bodies and our minds, that we’d better not — that others don’t want to hear it because it’s too gross, too sad, too strange. Above all, that we won’t be understood."

System injustices in healthcare need to change if women ever want to truly understand and gain respect for their own bodies.

Women have never been given the tools to communicate their pain, especially not during sex. Language is not in a woman’s favour, even the medical understanding of the female anatomy is not where it should be.

Without the words, women cannot use language to communicate.

Without language, there is no voice that can even attempt to ask for the help that they desperately need. 

For more information, check out some of these informative websites on pain and female sexual health:

Mayo Clinic – Dyspareunia

https://www.mazewomenshealth.com/painful-sex-vaginal-pain/

Ask Me About My Uterus -New York Times

Centre for Vulvo-Vaginal Disorders

https://Sexual Advice Association UK

https://YouTube- Pelvic Pain

https://rebelliousmagazine.com/guide-reclaiming-pleasurable-sex-dyspareunia-beyond/ 

American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists

Vulval Pain Society

Endometriosis Society of Ireland

Feature image: Agnes Cecile/Instagram/@agnes_cecile

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Jessie J has shown her vulnerable side to her millions of followers in a new Instagram video, which has currently racked up almost half a million views.

She opens up about her struggles with anxiety and depression while encouraging the younger generation not to "hide their real feelings behind a perfected edited image."

The British artist attempts to hold back tears as she plays the piano and sings, explaining that she's been feeling "kinda off", and wanted to express herself through music. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"I didn't know I would cry. I was live for a minute or two before this moment," Jessie explains "But it's important to be open that we are not always done up and feeling 100."

The 30-year-old is trying to set a good mental health example for younger and older generations, saying; "In a time and a world (especially the social world), sadly vulnerability is often seen as weakness."

She captioned the post; "I’m not posting this for sympathy. Im posting this for anyone who needs to see it (I needed it). This video is from yesterday. I woke up, feeling kinda off. I sat at the piano (which I’ve been avoiding) knowing it will bring some stuff up."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The continued, emotionally expressing her hope that vulnerability can be seen as a strength in the future;

"I’m making it up and feeling my real feelings. I went live as I wanted to share with you guys the moment. I didn’t know I would cry. I was live for a minute or two before this moment. But it’s important to be open… All of us have our days. Yesterday was one of my weird emotional days."

"The younger generation are almost being taught to hide their real feelings behind a perfected edited image. Hence why anxiety and depression in kids is through the roof and only carries to their adult life if it doesn’t change."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by  (@jessiej) on

"One of the biggest killers in men under 30 is suicide," she said, nothing the shocking statistics, especially for the male gender, who account for eight in 10 suicides in Ireland every year.

"We push our feelings to the bottom of our energy and hope it goes away. It won’t. Don’t define yourself on it. But stand with it, process it and learn from it. Find YOUR happiness. No one can make you happy but you. People can contribute. But ultimate happiness comes from within. It’s a personal journey."

She concluded; "I have said time and time again in recent years I don’t want to be a role model but I want to inspire. To anyone young or older. Let your sadness/pain/grief out. In your OWN way."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by  (@jessiej) on

"Another thing… TALK to people you love when you are down. Please do not suffer in silence. Life is way too short and ALWAYS GETS BETTER. I’m thinking of you and sending love to your heart," she said.

The singer has been open in the past about her struggles with grief and sadness, especially after the recent death of her head bodyguard over the New Year.

The video is hugely emotional, and we hope it inspires her fans, young and old, to allow themselves to be vulnerable. With the digital age, mental health statistics for young people are worse then ever.

Jessie J really is one brave, talented gal. 

Feature image: Instagram/@jessiej

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We all know a little cuddle and hand holding can go a long way if you're upset about something.

However, a new study has revealed just how much holding hands with your significant other can impact you.

Scientists from the University of Colorado have found that when lovers touch, their breathing and heartbeats sync up, and feelings of pain fade away.

The research, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports, is part of a bigger study into 'interpersonal synchronisation', where people begin to physiologically mirror the people they spend time with.

couple, female, holding hands

Paul Goldstein, the main researcher of the study, said that he came up with the idea after his wife gave birth to their daughter.

“My wife was in pain, and all I could think was, ‘What can I do to help her?’” he said. 

“I reached for her hand and it seemed to help.”

He continued, “I wanted to test it out in the lab: 'Can one really decrease pain with touch, and if so, how?'”

Man and Woman Couple Wearing Their Silver Couple Bond Ring

During the research, 22 long-term straight couples were tested.

The men were given the role of 'observer' while the women were assigned as the 'pain targets' (fun).

Before any experiments took place, the couples had their heart and breathing rates tested three times; while sitting together without touching, sitting together holding hands, and then again while sitting in different rooms.

After that, the women all received a mild heat pain on their forearms for two minutes. The researchers discovered that the couples synced physiologically while just sitting together.

boy, couple, girl

When the woman experienced pain, and her partner couldn't touch her, the synchronisation "severed". 

However, as soon as the men were able to touch their SOs, their heart rates synced back up and the pain subsided.

Paul concluded: “It appears that pain totally interrupts this interpersonal synchronisation between couples. Touch brings it back.”

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We experience it every single month, and yet it never gets any easier. But a company in the UK has made that time of the month a little bit easier for its female employees.

Coexist is granting females workers time off for when they have their period and the cramps are really bad.

Bex Baxtor, a director at Coexist told The Bristol Post: "As a manager of staff I have seen women really suffer with their periods and I have found them doubled over in a lot of pain. 

"They feel guilty and ashamed for taking time off and often sit at their desks in silence not wanting to acknowledge it.

"It started from there and we thought we had to see what we could do about it and try and break the last great taboo. Nothing like this has been done in the UK before, we believe, and if it has, it has been very small."

Periods are a b***h, and we're totally behind this. It's said to be the first business giving this type of leave in the UK, but hopefully more and more will be open up to the idea of it.

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As anyone who has ever been for a wax can confirm, it’s unlikely to be the highlight of your week.

There you are, lying back half-starkers in front of a strange woman while she gets to work ripping out your hair – often from, ahem, sensitive regions.

So no, it’s hardly all that alluring.

However, most woman also admit that it’s a necessary evil – and one which at least leaves you smooth and hair-free for longer than two days (thanks, shaving).

There’s a lot to be said to a great waxist too – one that really knows that they’re doing and uses a decent product (we particularly love salons that stock the oh-so amazing Irish brand Waxperts).

Still – most of us have a least one waxing horror story: one that makes you shudder upon recollection.

And you’re probably not alone: indeed, Buzzfeed recently rounded up a selection of truly nasty tales… and here, SHEmazing! has selected the best for your, er, enjoyment.

 

1) “I work in a spa and heard an awkward shriek come from the waxing room. I asked my co-worker what happened.

“She told me she accidentally pulled the client’s tampon string, then tried to push it back in. Needless to say, that client never came back.”

 

2) “My legs had fallen asleep during the waxing. When I tried to get off the table, my legs gave out and I faceplanted half naked onto the floor while my waxer watched in horror.”

3) “At my salon I do all of the body waxing services. While in the middle of waxing a client’s backside, the woman farted and way more than just smelly air came out. It was a mess.”

 

4) “My first bikini wax was in high school. Two of my best friends waxed me while I laid on a coffee table in my basement.

“I guess you could say I was “surprised” by the pain, and I peed everywhere. I’m still embarrassed almost six years later.”

5) “Halfway through my bikini wax, the fire alarm went off and everyone had to evacuate the building. Let’s just say fire drills are not fun when there’s wax all over your downstairs…”

 

6) “I recently got my very first Brazilian wax. The lady had put two wax strips on the lip. When she pulled one, I shut my legs in pain, causing the wax to basically glue my vagina shut.”

7) “When I went into the waxing room, I started making casual conversation with the aesthetician and I jokingly asked her, ‘Do I have a normal vagina?’ She looked at me and just laughed, ‘Haha no.’ We didn’t talk the rest of the time.”

 

8) “One time I got into the position where you pull your knees up to your chest and I farted loudly right into the waxer’s face. I immediately yelled ‘SORRY!’ and didn’t look her in the eyes for the rest of the session.”

9) I thought it would be genius to wax myself. I somehow managed to drop A LOT of hot wax all over the main hoo-ha area, as in NOT the bikini area.

“After a few seconds the wax had hardened and I realised I had basically sealed everything together. I attempted several pulls with zero success.

“So I did the only thing I could think of: I downed a bottle of wine, took a deep breath, and counted to three.”

 

10) “It hurt so bad, I started crying and having an anxiety attack. The aesthetician said, ‘Oh I’m so sorry! I’ve never had anyone cry on me before.’

“Literally the exact opposite of what I wanted to hear in that moment. Terrible first experience.”

11) “The woman doing my wax would first put the wax on me and then awkwardly blow on me to cool the wax down. She would look up and smile every time she did it. It was traumatising.”

 

12) “It was my first time. The waxer looked at me and said, ‘Oh my god. You didn’t trim beforehand?!’ She sighed and got an electric shaver. I was mortified.

“I was even more mortified when she said, ‘You’re so dry.’ I didn’t say another word until checkout… 45 minutes later.”

 

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It seems the battle to find the stronger sex continues to rage on as a new study reports “no difference between males and females in relation to reported pain intensity”.

A study of more than 10,000 patients at University Hospitals of the Ruhr University of Bochum in Germany found that men feel more pain while recovering from major surgery; although, women are more likely to feel pain after minor surgeries.

However, there seems to be a psychological side to the pain. Dr Beverly Collett said that men were able to “increase their ability to resist pain” when being nursed by attractive female nurses, although no reports on whether the same can be said for women and attractive male nurses.

Overall Dr Edmund Keogh, a pain researcher at the University of Bath said: “There might be a difference between how men and women respond to analgesics, we don’t know yet, we need to have lots more research.”

He added: “Pain is hugely variable, but generally women are reporting more pain in comparison to men.”

Hands down women are the best – no doubt about it!

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Leg cramps can be pretty painful but do you know what to do when they happen?

There is nothing worse than getting a leg cramp in the middle of the night. Thankfully there are ways to stop it.

What causes them?
Muscle cramps can be caused by a number of things including over exercising, switching from a high heel to a low shoe, when it’s cold outside or when you are dehydrated.

How to relieve them?
The best way to stop a muscle cramp when it is happening, is to stretch and massage the muscle. Try taking a warm bath to relax the pressure or place a heat pad on it. Alternatively, an ice pack can also help. Make sure you don’t put the ice pack directly onto the skin as it could burn it. If it is still there, try walking around or leaning against the wall.

How to prevent them?
Make sure you stay well hydrated and maintain a healthy diet. Stretch everyday and before exercising. Limit the amount of caffeine you consume.

 

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