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By Kate Brayden

If you have any knowledge at all about ‘alternative’ medicine, you have most likely heard whispers about crystal healing. Some refer to it as a pseudo-science, others call it life-saving. Either way, it can be an incredibly fascinating experience to try.

Before I had tested it out for myself, all I knew about the fad was that the crystals are used are normally minerals or fossilized resins, believed to have beneficial properties for both physical and spiritual wellbeing. The use of crystals as a form of medicine goes back centuries, though today this has mostly transitioned to modern or conventional forms of medicine. The practitioner of crystal healing places the crystals on different body parts based on their intuition of the client’s needs, and often corresponds to the seven chakras. Other types of practitioners place crystals around the body to construct energy grids, and surround the person with a type of healing energy.

When it comes to crystal healing and science, the topic becomes contentious. Scientific investigations have yet to validate claims that chakras or energy grids exist, and any scientific arguments for it have not been peer-reviewed; meaning they maintain unconfirmed. Other researchers argue that the crystals have the placebo effect, hence why it’s considered a pseudoscience when it comes to medical journals. Stuart McClean examined folk medicine in the past, and alleges that crystal healing contrast with other forms of alternative medicine because participants view the practice as "individuated", in other words; dependent on extreme personalisation and creative expression. Make of that what you will, but essentially it suggests that each of us can have completely different experiences when it comes to alternative medicine, dependent on our minds and spirits. If we refuse to accept it, then we can achieve no positive energy, for example. In the same way as physical, medical treatments in the modern field, not every drug or surgery will heal 100% of patients. When it comes to healing, we are all unique.

However, just because those in the medical and scientific communities who go on concrete facts alone cannot physically see the effects does not mean that the crystals don’t have any basis behind them. None of us can ever experience the physical emotions or feelings of another person, and just because the trend can’t be understood by all doesn’t mean there isn’t any validity to it. I decided to interview a crystal healer and attend a healing in order to greater comprehend the interesting practice, get a more rounded view of the type of clients who visit these practitioners and ask a healer about their experience.

One of the things which struck me when I was conducting background research into the matter was the feeling that some forms of alternative healing ‘take advantage’ of a patient, or vulnerable person, in a way. I’m assuming these people imagine tarot card readers who read a person’s pain and tell them exactly what they desire to hear in order to profit from them and their emotional needs. When I met Rebecca Singleton, I immediately knew that, at least with my chosen crystal healer, she was not using her profession to profit from the pain of others.

Rebecca Singleton
Image credit: Metta Healing

I felt a connection to her straight away, and she was both kind and empathetic, as well as noticeably calm in her demeanour. She refrained from pushing her practice or beliefs onto me, she never encouraged me to spend my hard-earned money on healing; I was there to gain a sense of relief and energy release in any way possible and she most definitely wanted to help me achieve this. Hearing about healers who are unqualified, or simply capitalising off the pain or vulnerability of others must be difficult for healers like Rebecca who aim to work with integrity; “You’ll see that a lot. Some people can be a bit pushy sometimes. I never try and be forceful, or say you have to do ten sessions or anything. I also say to them that there’s no need to come back if you don’t want to.”

I was drawn to a crystal healer for the dominant reason of my own personal experiences with the Irish healthcare system. After it took three years, three countries and thousands of Euro to find a diagnosis for my own physical pain, I felt massively disconnected from my own body. I went through rigorous physical therapy, testing, physical exams, surgeries, injections, hormones and multiple types of medication in order to find some sense of relief, most of which failed. Suffering immense pain in silence and having your voice stifled in every single GP clinic, every consultant’s office, every hospital waiting room can take it’s toll on a person. It’s easy for others to ridicule alternative healing when they haven’t been failed continuously by modern medicine. So what exactly do these other forms of feeling have which draws in hundreds of clients? I decided to experience it for myself to find answers.

Image credit: Metta Healing

According to Rebecca’s website Metta Healing, she studied numerous forms of energetic healing from; Reiki, Angelic, Seichem, Elemental, Crystals and Rahanni, using her experience to help clients individually. She ascertains that channelling energy flows brings the most dynamic healing experience possible; “It is for many a space and time just to be.” According to Rebecca, she works “intuitively” by channelling the high healing frequencies of crystals and angelic healing. It’s about peace, compassion and achieving a sense of balance.

During my healing session, I laid down on a table underneath a blanket, in a warm and dimly lit room with candles. It’s a relaxing space, with scents and an indescribable calm. One of the first questions I asked Rebecca was about cures, whether she is expected to totally cure a patient or if she ever claims to;  “I’d never claim to cure anybody of anything – never- but it would sort of speed up the healing process. If you broke your arm and the regular physical healing was two months, but you came for regular (crystal) healing, it might heal in one month. It helps your body work faster.” She works with “imbalances” in the body; alternating energy levels and the seven chakras. ”What I’d be doing is going to the root causes of pain. Let’s say you were holding emotional trauma, you’d be trying to release that. This would have a knock-on effect in terms of pain relief.”

I was intrigued by her background as a healer; how long she had practised the trade and her path from discovering crystal healing to the present day.

Image credit: Metta Healing

”I started training, doing healing, in 2006. 14 years ago, then I started practising full-time in 2009. As part of the healing training you do a bit of counselling. I was a practising yoga teacher as well. I have crystal healing, spiritual healing, angelic healing, naturopathy, homeopathy.” Fascinatingly, Rebecca’s background was in the corporate world after studying arts in college. “I found it really difficult. The company I worked for shut down and we were made redundant. I hard started doing the healing part-time. I worked in gaming, and got offered a job pretty much immediately from a big company. Everyone said I was mad when I turned it down, but I just thought that if I don’t do it now, I’d never do it. I could never go back to a 9-to-5 office situation. Even when I was on maternity leave, it’s hard coming back but I love my job, and there’s not many people who can say that. It’s traumatic, you see a lot of people who are experiencing trauma, which can be very humbling.”

How does she begin with a brand new client, who may be nervous or sceptical? “With clients, I’d sit down and try and get a background of where they’re coming from while having a chat. There are clients who just come to see what it’s like and don’t want to open up, it takes them a couple of sessions to really open up to me. “After chatting to them and doing a couple of healings with them, other stuff will come to the surface.”

The long-term healer ponders the reasons why sleep problems, fertility issues and stress are the most common notions plaguing some of her visitors. ”I have quite a few clients coming with fertility issues; it’s the stress of that. They come not necessarily for me to heal their fertility issues, but ultimately they end up getting pregnant, which is great. Of course, I’m not saying that’s just down to me, but it’s the relief of stress.” Healers can see an upsurge in business during unusual times in Irish life. “In the recession I was quite busy. I kind of thought that this was a luxury and people wouldn’t come to me, but people were stressed. People want different options nowadays; they’re getting disillusioned with modern medicine. With social media as well, people don’t get a break. There’s also disillusionment with the institution of the Church, and are seeking peace elsewhere.”

I was also curious about gender and healing, whether some are more open-minded than others about the trade; I have seen men, but most of my clients are women. I certainly have male clients though. Women are just more open to it, I think men are just a bit more cynical, and that’s fine. Usually you’ll find that if a man gets into it then they’re really into it.”

As far as the recommended length of time for visiting a healer goes, the process is intended to give you the tools to balance your own energy after seeing a professional; ”I’d usually recommend to a client to come four or five times, because the healing energy builds up over time. It might take four or five sessions every two weeks, and after that they may come every couple of months. It depends on the person, how open they are. Some people release loads of energy in the first healing, and others take three sessions to start releasing anything. It’s about trusting me and feeling comfortable, and it also depends on the issue. Some people have inner-child things going on, trauma, which can be difficult to be release. The release of it is stressful and upsetting, because it’s bringing it up again. Every day it’s a different scenario,” Rebecca muses.

Dealing with the emotional energy of another can be incredible exhausting, so the prospect of employment which features the release of a client’s burden arguably puts a strange sense of responsibility on a healer’s shoulders. “Quite often people get upset. I’d much prefer for someone to get upset and cry and release it than holding it in, because by crying you’ll release it. People often say they have no idea why they’re crying, they might have come here for something different and then they’ll end up crying. People often don’t know why they’re upset or why they’re stressed. They just think life is busy. I embrace people crying. You might find when somebody leaves, that they become emotional in the evening. I usually tell them that they might experience emotions that evening, but that they’ll feel better tomorrow.”

How does she explain her actions to new clients who are experiencing crystal healing for the first time?

“People aren’t always relaxed in the first session, they’re often wondering what exactly I’m doing. For crystal healing, crystals absorb negative energy. Let’s say there’s an imbalance in the body, or a disease in the body. If an organ was overstimulated or overactive, you’d use the crystals to sedate the organ. You’d use the organs to stimulate an underactive organ alternatively. With women who have fertility issues, I’d stimulate the reproductive organs and that area, release any heaviness or sadness that they may be carrying in this area. You might find with some women who have had a miscarriage, they are carrying huge sadness in the reproductive area, and can’t get pregnant because there’s a complete blockage in that area that I’d work on releasing. I try to make parts of the body work to their optimal levels, and you’d work with crystals and chakras. We have seven chakras in the body, they’re like energy centres. They spin with a certain amount of energy, they all should hold equal amounts of energy.”

What are the use of these mysterious crystals, and why are they unique to an individual’s needs?

”For millennia, they have used crystals in healing. In Ancient texts, they used crystals in ancient Chinese medicine. It’s transferred down over time in healing practices. People are naturally drawn to crystals. You can also use any crystal and programme it to your need. One client was going through a really bad break-up, and I gave her a big rose quartz to put beside her bed, and it actually shattered. They draw out any negative energy but they hold it as well, so you have to keep cleansing crystals. They’re like sponges. You can’t use those same crystals on other clients, you’d be putting negative energy on them. It’s so important to clear them. You can also programme crystals to do whatever you want, it sounds daft but you’ll find people get attached to them and put them in their foundations of the home or under their pillow. It’s very individual.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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I’m intrigued by her loved ones and their reaction to her trade; especially seeing as certain forms of alternative healing are ridiculed online or in the medical trade. It has garnered quite a strange reputation, which does not always match expectations. Many people envision Professor Trelawney from the Harry Potter franchise when they picture a crystal healer; armed with crystal balls, horoscopes and bohemian-styled attire. Rebecca doesn’t exactly fit this mould, she is simply a woman trying to explore unconventional ideas of peace, with the support of her family; ”My friends and family are so used to it. My own daughter is only eight months but I have four nieces and nephews and they love the crystals. They’d be asking can I do crystal healing on them, and they’d come in and play with the crystals. They’re just used to it. My own husband wouldn’t have ever had a healing before I met him, but he loves it now. He works in the corporate world and it’s very different. He begs me for healings even when I’m incredibly busy.”

Does she take offence when the media or those who work in conventional healthcare fields manipulate the idea of healing, or patronise her about modern medicine?

“My own GP is quite interested and says she wouldn’t mind coming to see me herself. My friend is a GP and she says I’m mad, so it’s all individual. Personally, I’ve had clients with really bad skin conditions, for example, and they’re just prescribed an antidepressant. That’s sort of upsetting for them, many clients are just prescribed medicines instead of holistic methods. Obviously there are times when you need modern medicine, without a doubt, but there’s a certain amount of misunderstanding with GPs. Look, they’re just looking at what’s wrong with you and then giving you a prescription, they’re not looking at the root cause. That’s what I’d be doing, trying to go to the source of the problem.” It can be argued that a large proportion of the healthcare industry only see you as the body part that you are complaining about. There is often a sense of coldness, of clinical apathy when it comes to doctors, in my own experience. A ground-breaking series of books released by Dr. John Ernest Sarno in the 1980s and 1990s changed the belief that pain was entirely physical. He consistently maintained that most non-traumatic instances of chronic pain (e.g. back pain, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches and fibromyalgia) are actually the human body manifesting of deep-seated psychological anxieties. His best-selling book, Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection, sold millions of copies and connected pain to emotions. Of course, pain is not psycho-somatic, but Sarno claimed many of his patients improved by learning and thinking about the psychosomatic connection to pain, and undergoing therapy. Our mind is extremely powerful; in my experience of pain flares, my chronic pain improved after seeing a pain counsellor, therapist and practising meditation and self-care.

Rebecca Singleton
Image credit: Metta Healing

Rebecca is skilled in multiple forms of healing, many of which are completely new to me. Soul healing immediately grasps my interest, as the idea of one’s spirit seems so inescapably difficult to understand. Rebecca has a relationship with the supernatural which appears simultaneously powerful and honest;

“Spiritual healing is a deeper level, you’d be focusing on childhood trauma, soul healing, even past life healing. I’ve often have clients who have past life coming up. It’s a bit out there, but yes I certainly believe an aspect of it. Oftentimes I would see and be aware of things during healing and I wouldn’t tell people. You know they’d be frightened or think I’m mad. There’d be people who are really open to it. My intention would never be to frighten anyone, but some people are more open than others. I’ve been practising nearly ten years full time and I definitely think people have become more open-minded and more disillusioned with modern medicine. Certainly, I’d often see things in a healing session or be aware of loved ones present in healing.”

While you can forgive the sceptics, there is something undoubtedly sincere about Rebecca and her beliefs. Whether it’s her energy, or a type of calmness and compassion which she transmits, I never had a doubt that she was intentionally misleading me with her answers. Whether or not healing is ‘the placebo effect’, or the power of the brain to connect to emotions and senses, is another story which one person alone cannot answer.

Image credit: Metta Healing

So what did Rebecca report after my 45 minutes of crystal healing? After almost an hour of quiet contemplation and meditation while she placed crystals all over my body, I was extremely curious to hear her prognosis.

“I used the amethyst to clear the third eye, first of all. Your third eye is your psychic, it’s connected to the sacral block between them. I placed a clear quartz to clear it. Funnily enough, your throat showed up. It was like a blockage of energy over the throat. It felt like, the throat shows up when you can’t communicate. I suspect it’s because people weren’t listening to you when you were saying you were in pain, and you couldn’t express it. It was being blocked. I used blue lace agate, which is good for communication. If you needed to do a presentation, blue crystals are great, they help you speak your truth. I placed rhodonite over the heart. There has never been a client I have treated who didn’t have heart stuff going on. I used a lot of rose quartz over the reproductive area. You poor thing, you’re red raw." This certainly fit with my diagnosis of having been born with far too many nerve endings in my cervix, causing intense pain in my stomach, abdomen, spine, pelvis and legs."

"Even when I was scanning the energy, all I could see was red. It was just really inflamed. I know you know this already, but even on a spiritual level, you poor thing. The crystal that I used was nearly channelling tubes of light into all your organs. It was like a blockage of energy. Whatever’s going on with your spine is causing secondary pain in the legs. You’re not grounded, so I did a good bit of grounding, I used carnelian, a dark red crystal. All seven chakras should be spinning and vibrating a similar amount of energy. Some of yours are spinning so fast, trying to keep everything going. That’s why you’re getting hot flushes, they’re just working so hard. You have a complete imbalance, so I rebalanced the area. You’d need more than one healing to sort out that area, but I would hope that you’d notice a difference, even for a couple of days."

"You get one healing, and usually lasts a few days, but it lasts longer the more healings you have.You are quite sensitive energetically, I’m sure you’re working with different people and we’re like sponges; we absorb negative energy and release it. If you’re around people who are zapping your energy, we can feel it sometimes. Shield your energy if you can. Focus on yourself, you’re great at giving out your energy but aren’t great at accepting it when others give it to you. Giving and receiving is a balance. By cooling the area down, it should give you pain relief. Every morning, visualise a blue light within your whole pained area. The power of the mind can do anything.”

For my experience, it’s about empathy. I was never believed by doctors who couldn’t physically see my pain, there wasn’t a hole with blood pouring out, there wasn’t a broken bone, signs showing on scans. If they couldn’t see it, especially from a young woman, they simply didn’t believe it. To enter a space where I was immediately relaxed, where I felt listened to and comforted, was massively valuable to me. For someone to look at my words and my emotions and spirit, and say, “You are in a great deal of pain” was monumental, it was a relief like no other.

Belief is also half of healing, and if a person attends crystal healing and truly has faith in their power, then what harm are they causing? There is no black and white when it comes to pain, whether it’s physical, emotional and spiritual.

Everyone is unique and finds peace through different methods. To only see a human body clinically, in my view, totally undermines your emotional and spiritual pain. 

Check out Rebecca Singleton's website Metta Healing if you are interested in exploring the world healing.

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Anyone daring enough to eat food off the floor (aka, everyone in the world) can rejoice this evening, as scientists have discovered that the five second rule may actually be legit. 

Germ expert Professor Anthony Hilton from Aston University has said that retrieving those delicious dropped morsels from the floor actually isn't as bad as you might think. 

While it will never be socially acceptable to eat that piece of pepperoni that slipped off your pizza and onto the floor, the experts stand behind the five second rule. 

Image result for five second rule

“Food covered in visible dirt shouldn't be eaten, but as long as it's not obviously contaminated, the science shows that food is unlikely to have picked up harmful bacteria from a few seconds spent on an indoor floor," he said

“That is not to say that germs can't transfer from the floor to the food."

“Eating food that has spent a few moments on the floor can never be entirely risk-free," said the scientist, who will present his findings at The Big Bang Science Fair in Birmingham this week. 

Image result for five second rule

“Our research has shown that the nature of the floor surface, the type of food dropped on the floor and the length of time it spends on the floor can all have an impact on the number that can transfer.”

The research was inspired by a survey of 2,000 people which found 79 per cent of people eat food that has been dropped on the floor.

At least now we can say five second rule and mean it! 

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Science has upped it's game.

Most researchers seem to be pretty busy with conducting medical studies and making valuable scientific discoveries for society's gain, but this latest survey really takes it to the next level.

Bloom & Wild have worked with London Metropolitan University to undergo an experiment to figure out when the 'love hormone', AKA oxytocin, is released.

The anti-anxiety and stress reducing hormone is pretty special, the chemicals are made when you're in love, and having some KICK-ASS sex. We heart it. 

The study measured how the brain reacts to receiving certain gifts, and it's led to some pretty interesting, and useful, results. We're not hugely surprised at what topped the list, they're all unreal.

Research also suggests that people in the first three stages of love reported higher oxytocin levels that last for roughly six months to a year. At a chemical level, can presents recreate this high of lovestruck heartbeats?

Scientists reported that the subjects of the study showed an average increase of 73pg/ml in the hormone oxytocin after getting chocolates, and 62pg/ml after receiving flowers. Feeling loved comes in all shapes and sizes, it would seem.

The official top five items or experiences included on the list which trumped having sex were; chocolate winning the number one spot, then flowers, food, shopping and booking a holiday.

Receiving chocolate apparently creates a high increase in oxytocin the same rise in oxytocin comes from sex, so a quick nip down to Butlers could solve your stress issues. 

Flowers can spark the same feeling as love, relationships and sexy times, and a study by Havas Worldwide revealed that 57 percent of millennials think that food is better than sex. Damn.

hungry jennifer lawrence GIF

Retail therapy also made the list, according to the experiment. The neurologist David Linden, in his book The Compass Of Pleasure, explains that the experience of shopping triggers dopamine circuitry in the brain's mesolimbic pathway.

In plain-old-English, the mesolimbic pathway is a key part of how we experience entertainment and happiness, so having a sneaky online shop at ASOS is good for you. Thank God we have a valid excuse to do this now…

Booking a holiday is better than having some intimate. alone time with a partner, according to research. 16% of Brits claim to support this, so those Aer Lingus January sales must have had people feelin' pretty damn euphoric.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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To carry out their research, Bloom & Wild and London Metropolitan University split 30 volunteers into three groups.

Each were to receive a gift of flowers, chocolate, or water, and took saliva samples before the gift arrived, and then again 10 minutes after delivery, and finally 40 minutes after receiving the gift. 

It just goes to show, chocolate should always be cherished. We're in a loving relationship with Cadbury's Dairy Milk, and there are zero signs of a break-up coming our way.

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Kissing is fun, everybody knows that. But who would have known that the act of smooching can actually give you HEALTH BENEFITS? 

Does it heal your broken heart, clear your skin and boost your immune system? You're about to find out.

Strap yourselves in ladies, here are each and every glorious health benefit of puckering up. You should probably find someone to practice on…you know, for the sake of your body. It's a temple, isn't it?

Just don't do it like this:

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According to a 2009 scientific study, when we kiss somebody, our bodies release hormones which can actually ease stress. In the case of men, it increases bonding too. We love a good bromance alert.

Oral healthcare, anyone?

Now, we're not saying that you shouldn't brush your teeth or use mouthwash, but allegedly, a good kiss marathon is great news for your teeth and gums. How? Listen up:

Andréa Demirjian, author of Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures, explains:

“When you’re kissing, you’re secreting more saliva in your mouth. That’s the mechanism that washes away the plaque on your teeth that leads to cavities.” A shift a day keeps the dental plaque away, girlos.

allison janney kiss GIF by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

It acts as a painkiller (Seriously)

Your achy, break-y heart deserves some attention. Especially when you've got some form of cramps, like your time of the month.

Apparently, some lip action actually helps to reduce the effects of chronic pain. Some savvy scientists at Current Pharmaceutical Design conducted some research into smooching, learned that the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin is packed full of analgesic painkilling properties.

Oxytocin s released whenever you kiss and hug your partner, so do it as much as possible, we say. Blood vessel dilation after a good kissing sesh is great for reducing aches and pains, so when you're on your period, pucker up. You NEED it, right?

ryan gosling kiss GIF

Hayfever or Bae-fever?

Anyone who suffers from allergies can rejoice at this news; apparently kissing eases itchy eyes and snotty noses (ew).

Researchers at Satou Hospital in Japan investigated the protective effect of kissing against allergies, and claim that locking lips for only 30 minutes can do wonders for the immune system.

It decreases the release of histamine (the chemical which is produced in response to allergens) as it relaxes you, and also can work miracles for eczema sufferers. Is there anything a great shift can't do?

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No pressure, honeys

So apparently, kissing can even reduce your blood pressure? We've all felt butterflies in our stomachs and a weakening of the ol' knees, as well as a quickening heartbeat, and now we've figured out that kissing passionately does even more:

Demirjian explains: “It gets your heartbeat revved in a healthy way that lowers your blood pressure. It dilates the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely, taking pressure off your organs, especially your heart and brain.”

Hot Diggedy Damn, we're 100 percent HERE for this science.

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Let's talk about sex, baby, let's talk about you + me

Your sex life gets some HELLA drastic improvements from kissing; the two go together like Grace & Frankie, like women and vibrators, like Netflix and chill. You get the idea.

Kissing is also WAY more likely to increase your chances of having an orgasm. Lord knows we could use some of those…

As Carol Queen, the staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, explains;

“Kissing is a powerful type of foreplay… it helps increase the chances that both partners will have a good and pleasurable erotic experience.”

sexy nun GIF by Originals

Face the Facts

So BASICALLY, kissing involves more than 30 facial muscles, which can be given a major workout from a good kiss.

According to Demirjian, tongue wrestling can strengthen your neck and jawline – very good news, as these are particularly tricky spots to exercise on a daily basis.

“Your mouth has a number of facial muscles,” she says. “When those are engaged in kissing, you can tighten and tone them.”

Tighten and tone, you say? Sign us up.

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2019 Mood

A perfectly-timed kiss can be the ideal mood booster. If scientists are saying it, then it must be true, right?

Puckering up can give your body a big-time release of happiness hormones, such as serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. Ooh la la.

Those hormonal bad boys can help you relax, restore and revitalise your system. What more could you need?

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NOW do you believe us about scientific research? 

Grab that lad or lassie and get your smooch on, it's for your own benefit, and theirs too.

Your doctor has officially given you one prescription to visit the LOVE shack *winks* 

Get it, gurrrlllll…

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Many of us know the 'symptoms' of falling in love; dry mouth, racing heartbeat, nervous sweating (hey- no judgement here) and even dizziness.

Be it love at first sight, a lustful locking of eyes across the room, fizzling sexual chemistry or even just plain HORMONES; it's a massively powerful experience.

Seeing as Valentine's Day, dread it or delight in it, is only 31 days away, we've decided to get our reading glasses on and find the science behind LURVE.

We're not the only publication carrying out extensive and important research into Cupid; scientists at the University of California have delved deeper to attempt to discover what happens to our bodies.

Apparently, that euphoric high that can occur when the flame is lit might be due to your GENES, according to Stylist.

The University of California were itching to discover how love affects the genes which control our immune systems, and took blind samples from 47 young women as they engaged in brand new relationships.

Genetic changes were monitored as the women fell in love over the course of two years with a new partner, and the scientists recently published their findings in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

According to the researchers; “Falling in love is one of the most psychologically potent experiences in human life. New romantic love is accompanied not only by psychological changes, but physiological changes as well.”

feel better in love GIF

The journal claims that when the women in their sample fell in love, their genes produces interferon- a protein most commonly deployed to fight viruses within the human body. 

"These findings are consistent with a selective up-regulation of innate immune responses to viral infections… and provide insight into the immuno-regulatory correlates of one of the keystone experiences in human life,” the scientists claim.

As women later fell out of love with their respective partners, their production of interferon was reduced. WHOA.

The experts assert that; “Some research suggests that psychological changes associated with romantic love may be attenuated as the relationship matures,” the experts said.

“The biological correlates of love might abate with the maturation of a longer-term more stable mate bond.”

jim carrey love GIF

Though the scientists don't yet know the exact reason for women producing an increase of interferon, they're pondering the idea that it may be to prepare for PREGNANCY. Whoa x2. 

Researchers now believe that men's genetic response probably isn't the same as women's. Typical lads.

Previous scientific investigations found that both regions of our brains interact as we fall deeply in lurve.

The 'feel good' neurotransmitter dopamine is distributed across our brains when the ventral tegmental area and caudate nucleus work in tangent with each other. 

Basically, in English this means that as we become romantically involved with someone, we start craving their presence.

The craving gets deeper as we fall more deeply in love with them, hence the feeling of lovesick obsession.

i love you GIF

Experiencing heartbreak can also affect our bodies, apparently.

No, not just bloating from all that Ben & Jerry's.Though that's a definite contributing factor…

Intense rejection activates the area of our brains that deal with physical pain, and research alleges that our bodies are literally more physically sensitive when we go through a break-up or romantic rejection.

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Research has discovered that ONE IN THREE women have heard the classic excuse of the condom being "too small to use."

We're feelin' pretty smug at this news, but we thought it would be three in three, to be honest…

A study has proven that just FOUR percent of people experienced problems with the condom legitimately not being big enough to use, despite so many women hearing the excuse. LOL.

golden girls condom GIF

Scientists were seeking to dispel the fallacy through their testing of condom sizes with an air compressor, and found that the condoms expanded to well over the average penis size.

The NHS and King's College London have previously said that the average size is 5.16 inches long.

However, engineering firm SGS Engineering maintain that the condoms measured roughly THREE FEET LONG by one foot wide when inflated to full capacity, so it seems a lot of men are telling fibs.

the 40 year old virgin hand GIF

A spokesperson for the engineering company who tested the barrier contraceptive said: “The condom, when inflated, would be approximately the same size as an Alsatian.”

A DOGGO. A REAL-LIFE BIG SIZED DOGGO. Let that sink in for a minute.

Researchers talked to 1,000 people in the UK to discover common attitudes to condom use, and found that only one-third of sexually active 18-24 year olds use condoms, and just 41 percent of sexually active folk across all age ranges use them. Alright then, do you want a baby/STI? Did you not see Mean Girls?

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70 percent of those who were quizzed said they don't use a condom every time they have sex because they use another contraceptive method, such as the pill (24 percent of y'all are smart), withdrawal method (13 percent of y'all are stupid) and sterilisation (10 percent).

This is next level absurd; one in ten people said they didn't use condoms because of the WEIRD SMELL.

20 percent said the reason was discomfort, while 16 percent said it was because they reduced the pleasurably sensation, and 8 percent said they 'forgot'. Fools.

However, of the 70 percent of people who cited another contraception being used, one third just assumed that this was the case but there wasn't any proof. Mmmkay then. 

Half of people experienced an unplanned pregnancy because they didn't use condoms. See? Sex Ed is IMPORTANT people.

Condoms are up to 98 percent effective at protecting against STIs and unwanted pregnancies, 15 percent of people in the survey said they didn't trust condoms for fear of splitting.

Only three percent if these worries are based on this happening to them previously though.

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A spokeswoman for SGS Engineering, Natalie Richardson, commented on the results;

 “The findings were surprising – particularly how anti-condom some men seemed to be, despite them not considering any other contraceptive methods."

“Potentially women are being told the excuse as a way of avoiding condom use because of sensation reasons. However, in most cases the risks far outweigh the benefits of ‘increased sensation’,” she added. Damn right they do.

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Ian Green of sexual health service organisation Terrence Higgins Trust said that the best way to protect against STIs remains to use condoms;

“There is the right condom out there for everyone. Penises come in a whole range of different shapes and sizes – and condoms do too. For example, if you do find standard condoms too small, then you should try a king size option."

“Last year we saw big jumps in rates of both gonorrhoea and syphilis, which is why more needs to be done to promote condom use, the range of different shapes and sizes available, and the importance of regular testing," he continued.

"This is particularly true among groups most affected by STIs in this country, which includes young people, gay and bisexual men, and people from BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic) communities.” 

The Family Planning Association, said regular sized condoms are suitable for most penis shapes and sizes.

Karen O’Sullivan, who has 30 years of experience working in sexual health wrote : “We would advise anyone who knows that regular condoms aren’t suitable for them, for whatever reason, to carry appropriate options with them so they can have safe sex."

Sexual health provider SH:24 said health providers need to move away from the “one size fits all” contraception mentality.

“When patients come into a clinic, they can often assume all condoms are the same size so we also want to see better education around choices and how to use condoms properly,“ they said.

It just goes to show, we need to massively step up when it comes to sexual health education, because myths are still circulating.

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'Trashy' films are considered to refer to low budget movies, badly made flicks and those which include explicit features within.

Think 21 Jump Street, John Tucker Must Die, Sharknado and pretty much any films featuring Adam Sandler.

For a long time, it has been assumed that people who enjoy watching films such as these were of low intelligence… rude much?

Luckily for us 'trashy' flick fans, a study published in Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts has reversed the idea that only uncultured souls binge watch Mean Girls all day.

The research carried out investigated how the phrase 'trashy movies' in terms of pop culture could be utilised in a better way.

The online survey collected data from regular viewers of films considered trashy, and measured their intelligence and IQ. The result? They're darn ACADEMICS.

One reason why these films appealed to people with high IQ's was the ironic value of the badly made films, as well as the culturally subversive elements.

Trashy films can be less cautious with its use of plot-lines and execution, less rigid in structure, which is enjoyable for smart folk allegedly.

More original ideas and less clichés seemingly feature in badly made movies…interesting. *strokes chin* Trashy dramas with absurd plots and terrible acting can also be plain GAS to watch, it's so bad that it's good. 

There's a reason why the world and it's mother watched A Christmas Prince, and it ain't because of the acting lads.

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We all do it. Remember that absolutely mortifying thing you did seven years ago in school that you can't seem to shake off?

The anxiety of saying "you're welcome" instead of "thank you" when someone holds the door open for you, the sheer sweat-worthy fear of falling down (or up) the stairs on your bus, you name it, and we've worried about it.

We've always assumed that our furry little friends simply don't have these worries, but now SCIENCE (gasp) has disproved this, and we're shook. 

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The Royal Society scientific journal has published a study which supports the result that doggos struggle to nod off if they have anything troubling them, meaning that we're not as different as we think.

All that time that you lay in your bed, pondering that terrible moment when you asked your friend how their grand-dad up the North is getting on in his nursing home, and they reply that they are, in fact, deceased, leaving you stewing in shame.

The time in work that you were wandering around with your knickers tucked into the back of your skirt, the time you threw up at the local disco after one Blue WKD, even the time you said "keep the change" to the lad in Spar, and it was only a five cent coin.

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Doggies apparently sit up and ponder their embarrassments and worries too, maybe they get anxiety about the lack of 'good boy' praise which they received that day.

"Does my human still love me?" They think, as they rest their head on their paws, with a slow, violin concerto playing in the background.

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"What if they actually don't like cleaning up my poop?"

"What if they send me to the pound and I get embroiled in the local gang war between the Pug Thugs and the Rottweiler Pilers?"

They stare glumly out of the rain-splattered window, tossing and turning following a negative experience at the dog walking park that day.

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The study stated that dogs tend to fall asleep much faster following a negative day, presumably to escape from the terrible consequences of the day.

We still think of the horrendously awkward things we were doing in 2005, forever looking up at the blank ceiling searching for answers…

Feature image: Pets4Homes

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Ryan Tubridy is delivering a massive treat this week for RTÉ viewers, both for rugby fanatics and the 1990s generation.

Fresh from his heroic performance on Saturday which saw Ireland defeat the All Blacks, man of the match Peter O'Mahony is dropping by RTÉ One studios to discuss the immense victory, and what the team has planned for 2019's World Cup.

It's fair to say the entire nation was screaming at the TV, or else hiding behind the couch from the sheer tension of the match, where Ireland beat New Zealand for only the second time ever by 16:9 points, and Peter O'Mahony played a massive role.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Next up: it's Boyzone, every 1990s Irish gal's dream.

After selling over 25 million records, it's fair to say that Boyzone have enjoyed phenomenal success.

With several number 1 albums and numerous top-selling singles, the boys are set to embark on their farewell tour after 25 years, we are SO THERE.

Ronan Keating, Mikey Graham, Shane Lynch and Keith Duffy will be telling Ryan Tubridy why it’s time to say goodbye.

Professor Brian Cox is stopping by, continuing on his journey to make complex scientific ideas understandable to all. 

The charismatic scientist joins Ryan to explain his passion for unpicking the infinite universe around us, and tells us why he's going on tour to bring science on the road.

Whether you're a nerdy fan or a total science novice, he's a fascinating guest to watch speak.

Fr Tony Coote was diagnosed earlier this year with Motor Neurone Disease and chose to walk the length of Ireland to raise awareness and funds for sufferers.

He will be speaking to Ryan on the show alongside Professor Orla Hardiman, consultant neurologist at Beaumont Hospital. Fr Tony intends to discuss the success of “Walk While You Can” and how he is adapting to life with the disease.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Walk While You Can (@walkwhileyoucan) on

Some of the entrants for Carer of the Year will also be guests on tomorrow nights show, so it's the perfect chance to hear about the amazing work they do in incredibly intense circumstances. 

Mario Rosenstock will be providing the comedy element with his renowned impressions, and music will be from The Stunning who are joined by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

There is also a pair of tickets to next week’s Late Late Toy Show up for grabs in the viewer prize, perfect for the kids to come along to.

The Late Late Show airs on RTÉ One this Friday, November 23 at 9.35pm.

You won't want to miss this one.

Feature image: Laois Today

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We all know a person in our lives that goes from happy and carefree to breathing fire and rage when they are hungry.

If you don’t know that person, then FYI, it is probably you.

So whether or not you are the person people avoid when you go into Incredible hungry hulk mode, there is a scientific explanation behind it.

The word “hanger” has been thrown around and slapped as a label to those who throw tantrums that could rival toddlers and, given to those whose irritability grows with every tummy rumble.

So much so, that it was added to the dictionary as an official word last year.

However, rejoice hangry individuals! Our jokes have been in vain as evidence suggests that there is a genuine connection between hunger and anger.  

 

A Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics at King’s College London, Sophie Medlin, explained their findings surrounding hanger.

“We’ve long recognised that hunger leads to irritability in science,” she said during a Women’s Hour interview on BBC Radio 4.

“But the wonderful world of social media has merged the two words for us and now we know it as ‘hanger’. When our blood sugars drop, cortisol and adrenaline rise up in our bodies – our fight or flight hormones.”

These hormones are responsible for triggering a release of small, protein-like molecules called neuropeptides, which impacts the way the brain works.

“The ones that trigger for hunger are the same ones that trigger for anger and rage and impulsive type behaviours,” Medlin says. “So that’s why you get that sort of same response.”

The research found that hunger causes an increase in neuropeptide Y, which is interconnected to feelings of aggression.

It offers the explanation to why ‘hanger’ can affect your emotions when it comes to your nearest and dearest, who have to endure the outburst.

A study from 2014 found that low glucose levels relates to greater aggression in married couples. 

Which led to scientists to advise couples to resolve challenging issues on a full stomach, rather than an empty one.

Additionally, another study found that 62% of people make the wrong decisions when they’re ‘hangry’.

So, how do combat this hanger and keep it under control?

“It depends on how long it’s going to be until your next meal,” says Medlin. “Ideally you want something that’s going to bring your blood sugars up a little bit and also maintain them there. So a sort of savoury carbohydrate type snack would be the best thing to have.”

We will let you decide if you should be more empathetic towards those who are hangry, or you could remind them they’re probably making the wrong decision.

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So, leaving aside those less than fond memories of the local teenage disco, chances are you haven't banged heads with someone you're about to kiss in a long time.

Not that you have to think about it too hard, it just sort of happens that way – you'll go one way, they'll go the other and well, you know the rest.

But as it turns out, there's actually a scientific reason why.

New research has found that people are actually hard-wired to tilt their heads to the right when kissing a romantic partner.

Researchers asked 48 married couples in Bangladesh to kiss privately in their own home and compile an independent report on different aspects of the kiss – and the results were very interesting indeed.

The study revealed that men were about 15 times more likely to initiate a kiss with 79 reporting they had done so.

What's more, two thirds of all participants (both initiators and receivers) subconsciously chose to turn their heads to the right when going in for the kill.

Dr Rezaul Karim, from the department of psychology at the University of Dhaka said:

“This is the first study to show sex differences in the initiation of kissing, with males more likely being the initiator, and also that the kiss initiators’ head-turning direction tends to modulate the headturning direction in the kiss recipients.”

The findings also revealed that the direction the kiss initiator chose strongly predicted that of the recipient, as well as whether the person was right or left handed.

“This further suggests the underlying cognitive mechanisms of the act of kissing and head turning,” the authors said. 

“Though this action tends to be performed intuitively, a decision must be made about the direction to which the partners should lean to kiss each other.”

This study was particularly unique given that kissing is censored from film and television in Bangladesh meaning that the results were in no way influenced by cultural factors or copying.

“Prior works could not rule out cultural learning due to having western samples. It turns out, we as humans are similar even if our social values differ,” Dr Michael Proulx, from the department of psychology at the University of Bath added.

Whatever the reason, we're just glad that kissing-head-collisions aren't a thing we have to worry about. 

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How many times have you heard someone say, "sorry I can't, I'm on a low carb diet." – cue a serious eye-roll.

Hands up for the many times you've heard a family member, friend or co-worker say they're following an Atkins or Keto diet.

There is no denying that cutting carbs is a popular way to lose weight and to be fair, the majority of us have given it a go.

However, new research has provided us a reason to embrace the bagel, because scientists have found cutting carbs is shortening our lives.

Yes, you're miserable and you're actually doing more harm than good by avoiding your mum's potatoes.

The study published in the Lancet Public Health journal investigated the link between carbohydrate intake and mortality.

The research followed 15,400 Americans over 25 years and showed that a moderate cut in carbohydrates is much healthier than a dramatic one. 

The scientists collected data from participants' questionnaires which included portion size, and the food and drink they consumed. 

They then went onto estimate how many calories each person obtained from carbs, protein and fat.

However, before you raid the bread bin, moderation is key.

The study suggests that a diet both high and low in carbohydrates are associated with increased mortality.

Those who ate a moderate amount, which means 50–55 percent of their diet came from carbs, lived longer than those who followed high and low carb diets.

Scientists predicted that those in the moderate group had an extra four years of life on those who adopted an extra low-carb diet (less than 30 percent of their energy came from carbs.)

Compared to the low-carb group, moderate carb eaters were expected to enjoy a further 2.3 years of living (30-40 percent coming from carbs.)

And, as for the high-carb bunnies – those who got 65 percent or more of their energy from carbs, would live 1.1 years less than the moderate group. 

It's time to bin the Atkins book – the study also showed that plant-based protein and fat is a healthier swap for carbs, than animal-based products.

Their findings discovered that the risk of death increased when carbs were exchanged for "animal-derived fat or protein" and the risk decreased when it was substituted with plant-based foods. 

Leading the research, Dr Sara Seidelmann, clinical and research fellow in cardiovascular medicine from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told the BBC:

"Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat are gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight-loss strategy.

"However, our data suggests that animal-based low carbohydrate diets, which are prevalent in North America and Europe, might be associated with shorter overall life span and should be discouraged.

"Instead, if one chooses to follow a low carbohydrate diet, then exchanging carbohydrates for more plant-based fats and proteins might actually promote healthy ageing in the long term."

If this research is anything to go by, carbs are your friend and not your enemy.

Moderation and balance diets seem to always rule out.

However, if you are changing up your diet – make sure you talk to your doctor before you do.

Now I'm off to indulge in some pasta!

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