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8 Of The World’s Weirdest Beauty Standards Ever!

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In some parts of the world, cultures and languages have melted away and history is now the only thing left to illuminate what happened in the past. In some other places, the cultural significance of their traditions is yet to be on the wane.

Many existing cultures might seem interesting and captivating but some of them involve extreme body modifications, terrible beauty standards and weird rituals and traditions. The weird cultures seem so normal to those who practice them but will shock the rest of the world and are frequently viewed as strange by many.

However, it only reminds us of the cultural and traditional diversity around the world and shows how humans interact with different cultures to explain different behaviours they engage in.

Even though we might see these 8 weirdest beauty standards as insane, awkward, extreme and silly, we don’t need to despise them for being a little different. After all, there are a lot of modern trends that we are yet to understand likewise.

Long Earlobes – Maasai Tribes of Kenya

Maasai people pierce long earlobes as pictured above. Known for their long preserved culture, Maasai men, as well as women, see the need to be beautiful and regard beauty as a necessary part of their lives and this seemingly extreme body modification adds to their beauty. After piercing and stretching the earlobes which they do with different materials including thorns for piercing, bundles of twigs, stones, the cross-section of elephant tusks and empty film canisters, the women wear various forms of beaded ornaments in both the earlobes and smaller piercings at the top of the ear. The oldest tribe members have the largest earlobes. Though fewer and fewer Maasai, especially boys, now follow this custom, it is still a common practice and thus, it happens in the region till date.

Yaping Hullo Nose Plugs – The Indian Tribe ApataniYaping Hullo is similar to the normal piercing, just that bamboo strips are replaced to make the hole bigger. The moment this nose-hole is big enough, a cane plug is set to be inserted. Many older women still retain this strange fashion thing as a significant part of their roots, but modern women have dropped this practice. However, it is believed that women of the Apatani tribe wore the yaping hullo to appear undesirable to men from other tribes.

Yaeba Teeth (Double Tooth) – Japan

Yaeba which translates literally as the double tooth is a dental method where the upper canines are capped either permanently or temporarily to create a fanged look. Well, you don’t have to be scared, it’s not a severe dental deformity, and it costs between £130 – £340 for each tooth. This trend was invented by Japanese pop stars and many people in Japan think it’s stunning. Plus women with crooked snaggle teeth are considered to be alluring. The whole idea is to turn an unattractive thing into something famous and beautiful.

Stretched Lips – Mursi Women of Southern Ethiopia

This is arguably the most extensive fashion trend worn for centuries in various African and South American communities. Stretching of the lips is common just among women from certain regions (mostly popular among tribal groups of Ethiopia, a tribe in Southern Ethiopia near the border with Sudan). Girls rock these accessories from their teenage years and it is, in fact, a way they mark a girl who’s going to be a woman. They begin the process of stretching their lower lip when a girl turns 13 and more. Strangely, the Mursi believe that the size of a dinner plate fits the best.

It’s a painful and awful practice but it evolves a girl into a woman. It is a process that starts with an initial piercing done as an incision on the lower lip of about 1 to 2 cm length, and a simple wooden peg is inserted. Following the healing of the wound, they replace one peg with a bigger one, and the stretching process begins all over again.

When the hole becomes big enough, they put the first wooden plate, and it’s about 4cm across. But it is the right of the women to choose how long they wish to stretch their lips.

In a case where the plate is more than 20cm, women can opt to remove part of their lower teeth (painful). Each woman takes pride in crafting her own plate and including some ornamentation. The final diameter ranges from about 8 cm to over 20 cm.

This practice has a great significance and is part of their wedding ritual. Plus, married women put some food on their plates when serving their husbands a meal. You might find this practice, awful, awkward, and gross but something tells me these women also find the women who paint their lips just as gross as you find them.

Today, the custom is still maintained but by a few groups in Africa and Amazonia.

Kayan Long-Necks

Kayans’ live in northern Thailand in villages that are open to visitors. Women in the region put on these insane brass neck coils from their childhood starting from age four or five, replacing it with a longer one and adding more turns. They don’t get to remove their rings even while sleeping. These rings are creating the illusion of a longer neck and women wearing these coils are known as “giraffe women” to tourists.

There are many stories surrounding the neck rings including one about a legend who says these rings protect women from a tiger’s attack, another one suggests the neck rings protected women against becoming slaves by making them less attractive to other tribes, there’s also one that said that the coils give the women resemblance to a dragon, which is an important figure in Kayan folklore and also one that says it’s only another beauty tradition.

But in all, women with long necks seem to be more attractive in the region than the ones without neck rings. However, many of the women decline wearing or practising this tradition today.

Lotus Feet – China

Here is another one of the weirdest beauty standards and extreme body modification practised in the world. In imperial China, people did this painful beauty procedure involving a girl’s feet being bound tightly with cotton strips, wrapping them when they hit the age of five.

The wrappings were made as tightly as possible so as not to allow the feet grow. After the entire process, the feet are not able to get their regular shape, making it easier to spot women with lotus feet by the manner of their walk. Girls with lotus feet were regarded as more sexually pleasing than girls without and they had more chances of having a prestigious marriage. This crazy fashion trend was finally banned in 1912.

Face Tattoos – The Maori

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While tattoos are still in vogue among the modern people, this unique culture still makes the list of weirdest beauty standards because of the way it’s done.

While a smooth, clear face without tattoos is considered a fairly universal standard of beauty, Maori people think otherwise. Maori practices a strange face tattooing, traditionally called Ta Moko.

This face-inking can be done to cover the whole or part of the face. Also, the patterns and positions in which they appear vary (can be curved shapes and spiral-like patterns) depending hugely on rank, social status, power, and prestige. It’s not just about getting a face tattoo which can be gotten from anywhere around the globe, the great thing about Maori tattoos is that to this day, no two tattoos are alike.

Maori tattoos are one of a kind and contain a lot of tribal messages although different people tell different stories about the Maori tattoo, including believing it has a direct link to beauty and a sense of belonging. Some say it has deeper myths than the ink on their skin, it sure draws attention to the eyes, lips and creates the illusion of beauty. Moko is about uniqueness, glamour, and beauty, it’s like a tattoo masterpiece on their skin till they bid this planet their last farewell.

And they are always highly intricate as well as detailed, displaying the craftsmanship and artistry of not only the artist but of the Maori culture.

Scarification – Ethiopia’s Karo Tribe

Most people around the globe often times, use their bodies to express their cultural identity, status or connection to their gods, but scarification process is terribly long, painful and seems somewhat extreme. This is in every sense, one of the weirdest beauty standards in the world.

This process consists of cutting the skin with a sharp instrument, (usually some sort of knife or cut glass) in such a way to control the shape of the scar in order to create certain patterns.The process is believed to be a form of art, like body decoration. Keep in mind that more and more designs or scars could be added throughout the year. Scarification involves opening of the flesh, application of powerful plant juices and dark pigments onto the wound, such as ground charcoal or, sometimes even, gunpowder. So when the scar heals, it is raised and dark which is called keloids. Normally, Karo women among other reasons, scar their chests to look more beautiful, and it’s a part of the ancient ritual. In fact, women confess they do it basically to attract men.

While most people would classify the aforementioned cultures as some of the weirdest beauty standards that ever existed, the people who practise them treasure them with everything they have.

 

24 Hours Across Africa

Got Pain? A Virtual Swim With Dolphins May Help Melt It Away

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Source: npr- Virtual reality is not new. But, as people search for alternative ways to manage pain — and reduce reliance on pills — VR is attracting renewed attention.

Imagine, for a moment you’ve been transported to a sunlit lagoon. And, suddenly, it’s as if you’re immersed in the warm water and swimming. That’s what Tom Norris experiences when he straps on his VR headset.

“It’s fantastic, I really feel like I’m there,” says Norris, who is 70 years old, retired from the military, and lives in Los Angeles with his wife. As dolphins frolic and swim by in the virtual scene, “I get a strong feeling of pleasure, relaxation and peace,” he says.

It doesn’t take long to produce that effect — about 10 minutes or so, via the headset.

Norris is no stranger to pain. He’s got chronic pain through his spine, back and hips, from injuries that go back years.

Ever since he was introduced to virtual reality, he’s been hooked. In addition to swimming with dolphins, he’s tried other VR experiences, such as wilderness walks.

Forest Bathing: A Retreat To Nature Can Boost Immunity And Mood

Forest Bathing: A Retreat To Nature Can Boost Immunity And Mood

“I relax. My attention is diverted and it makes the pain more manageable,” he says. Norris was on his deck when we spoke, drinking a morning cup of coffee and watching the hummingbirds. “Pain is part of my life,” he told me.

He uses lots of tools to help him cope, he says, including peer support groups, which he helps lead. But he says he finds VR particularly helpful. For him, the feeling of relaxation and ease that comes from a virtual swim with dolphins tends to linger for several days.

Can You Reshape Your Brain’s

Norris isn’t alone in his positive experience. A study published this month in the journal PLOS ONE is just the latest to document that an immersive, virtual reality experience can be an effective strategy for reducing pain.

VR “changes the way we perceive the pain,” explains study author Brennan Spiegel, a physician and the director of Cedars-Sinai Health Services Research in Los Angeles.

The research was done in a hospital where participants were undergoing treatment for various conditions; some were experiencing pain linked to cancer and others had orthopedic pain. “We divided the patients into two groups,” Spiegel explains.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has been testing the value of virtual reality devices in hospital settings for a number of years.

Courtesy of Cedars-Sinai

One group tried VR. They used Samsung Oculus headsets that were each fitted with a phone that had a VR app. Patients could select from a library of 21 VR experiences available on the app.

They were free to use the VR devices as much as they liked, but were advised to aim for three daily sessions, 10 minutes per session. The other group of patients got to watch a health and wellness channel on TV, as much as they wanted.

“We found that virtual reality reduced pain by about three times as much as watching TV did,” Spiegel says. Using a zero to 10 pain scale, the virtual reality experience led to a 2 point drop in pain, compared to a half-point drop for watching TV.

Spiegel’s study was partly funded by a grant from Applied VR, a company that sells VR software, but the company played no role in the conduct, data collection, data interpretation, or write-up of the study, he says.

It’s not exactly clear how VR works to help reduce pain perception, but pain specialists say there are likely multiple explanations. Distraction in just one element.

“When the mind is deeply engaged in an immersive experience, it becomes difficult to perceive stimuli outside of the field of attention,” Spiegel and his collaborators write in their journal paper. In other words, when something captures our attention and uses all our senses, we focus on it. It’s like a spotlight — and everything else falls into darkness — at last temporarily.

So, a virtual swim with the dolphins can overwhelm our visual, auditory and other senses. “VR is thought to create an immersive distraction that restricts the brain from processing pain,” the authors conclude.

The study adds to other evidence pointing toward potential benefits of VR to manage pain. Going back more than 15 years, studies have shown the technique to be useful in a range of settings — from helping people cope with anxiety to helping reduce acute pain during medical procedures, during physical therapy or during dental procedures. And, there’s some evidence VR can help with chronic pain, too.

Still, there are some unanswered questions, says Zachary Rosenthal, a clinical psychologist at Duke University who has been involved in research on VR’s effect on pain. “Distraction is helpful for pain,” he says. “That’s an understood phenomenon. … But why should VR be better than any other kind of distraction?” he wonders.

Spiegel’s research “starts to answer this question,” says Rosenthal. “I do think this study moves the needle forward.”

If you’re new to virtual reality, Spiegel has some advice: “It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor first, whenever self-treating symptoms. But in general, it is safe to use VR at home,” he says. About 5% to 10% of people who try it get cybersickness, which is basically a feeling of dizziness or vertigo, similar to motion sickness. So, it’s good to be aware of this risk.

“For people who own an Oculus Go or Oculus Quest [headset], I suggest Nature Trek, which is an outstanding set of content that is peaceful and meditative” for the treatment of pain, says Spiegel, who has no financial ties to the company. And there are other companies that make a variety of software specifically aimed at easing pain.

“For cheap and easy access to VR experiences, you can simply visit YouTube and search its massive library of free VR content,” Spiegel says. “If you want a virtual trip to the beach, type ‘VR beach’ into the YouTube search engine. Or ‘VR forest.’ It’s all there for the taking.”

VR is certainly not a panacea, but it can be another tool in the pain management toolkit. Spiegel and his collaborators say there’s still a lot to learn as to which types of VR may be most effective.

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Health & Lifestyle

Get a 24-Hour Blood Pressure Reading to really know your heart health

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  • High blood pressure (hypertension) is a warning sign of multiple health issues.
  • A new study finds that the best way to determine a person’s heart health is to look at their blood pressure over 24 hours.
  • This method could offset “white coat hypertension,” where the stress of going to the doctor’s office can increase a person’s blood pressure.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for nearly 1 in every 4 deaths — or about 610,000 deathsTrusted Source — each year.

It’s also the most expensive disease, costing the country nearly $1 billion each day.

The vast majority of cardiovascular disease cases are preventable, had people received earlier diagnoses and treatments.

One way to detect signs of cardiovascular disease is a simple blood pressure reading.

High blood pressure (hypertension) has long been known to be the biggest — and most treatable — risk factor associated with diseases of the heart and vascular system. But many people don’t know they have it until it’s too late, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source.

Now, researchers have discovered a new way to get more accurate measurements of blood pressure, which can hopefully get people on the right medications sooner and help prevent cardiovascular disease.

By recording people’s blood pressure over 24 hours rather than just once in a clinic or hospital setting, doctors can more accurately diagnose high blood pressure and effectively predict someone’s risk for heart and vascular disease, according to a new international study recently published in JAMATrusted Source.

To determine the most reliable way to measure blood pressure, researchers followed 11,135 people from Europe, East Asia, and Latin America for 14 years.

They compared the accuracy of blood pressure readings that were taken in a medical setting to blood pressure recordings that were taken during both night and day over 24-hour periods.

The researchers found that the 24-hour and nighttime blood pressure measurements provided a more accurate estimate of one’s risk for heart and vascular disease compared to the in-office readings.

“Although heart and vascular disease are strongly associated with blood pressure, irrespective of how it is measured, until now we did not know which type of blood pressure measurement captured risk in the most accurate way,” study co-author Dr. Gladys Maestre, a researcher from the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, said in a statement.

The findings suggest that blood pressure should be monitored repeatedly for 24 hours to help diagnose people’s heart issues and, ultimately, prevent cardiovascular disease, according to the researchers.

“Ever since devices to measure blood pressure were invented more than 100 years ago, it’s been known that elevation of such readings predicted the eventual development of blood vessel disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney dysfunction,” says Dr. Richard Wright, a cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

In general, the further a person’s blood pressure readings deviate from the ideal, the more likely they are to eventually develop any of these health issues, Wright added.

However, a huge issue comes into play when blood pressure is measured in a healthcare setting.

Many people have elevated blood pressure readings due to anxiety of being in a medical environment — known as the white coat effect — and those high readings don’t accurately reflect a person’s overall blood pressure levels.

“Unfortunately, blood pressure isn’t a fixed number for any individual and varies widely over each day, being much higher during stress or physical exercise, and typically lowest at night during asleep,” he explained.

Even the stress of having a blood pressure cuff put on the arm or seeing a doctor walk into the room can cause some people’s blood pressure to spike, he added.

Repeated monitoring can better predict your risk

Twenty-four hour monitoring can look at a person’s blood pressure fluctuations throughout an entire day rather than at a given moment.

There’s also a huge advantage of measuring blood pressure during sleep because the results aren’t affected by daytime meals or activities.

“Ambulatory monitors give us a great sense of what the patient’s blood pressure is doing in real life as well as when they are sleeping, when it should decrease,” Dr. Nicole Harkin, a board-certified cardiologist and lipidologist with Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates in New York City, said.

“They also give us a large data set of blood pressures to look at, as opposed to a one-time snapshot in the doctor’s office, which is subject to many variables, including errors in measurement as well the patient’s recent activity level, medication timing, and inadequate rest prior to measurement,” she said.

According to Harkin, the current American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association blood pressure guidelines support the use of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring to better predict cardiovascular outcomes.

Coverage for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring varies across different insurance providers. Much of the time, it’s only covered for people who experience white coat hypertension, in which an individual’s blood pressure is higher in a doctor’s office than it would normally be, she explained.

Seeing as ambulatory blood pressure monitoring can better predict long-term heart disease outcomes, healthcare providers should place a greater emphasis on 24-hour readings than those taken in a doctor’s office.

If people know their blood pressure is higher than it should be, the better they can manage it to minimize the odds they’ll develop heart disease down the road.

High blood pressure can be the biggest predictor of heart disease, so the sooner people can start managing their blood pressure, the lower their risk of heart and vascular disease may be.

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