How to Use an Exercise Ball for Full Body Strengthening (Free Video)


You don’t need the gym for full body strengthening! Exercise balls, often referred to as fitness or stability balls, are a simple way to gain full body strengthening for any level of experience.

Whether it’s your first time using an exercise ball or if you’ve been using one for years, this tutorial will guide you through a series of simple yet challenging exercises to strengthen your full body.

Using an exercise ball is a great way to gain strength, stability, and flexibility. The added challenge (and reason why they’re often called stability balls) is to keep your body stable as you work through these exercises. The result? Strong stabilizing muscles, a stronger core, and full body toning overall.

The best part about using an exercise ball as part of your fitness regimen is that you don’t need a lot of room and can do these exercises from the comfort of your own home (or at the gym if you prefer!).

Everything You Need to Know to Get Started With This Fitness Ball Workout

In this exercise ball tutorial, we are using the Active Balance Fitness Ball from Epitomie Fitness. What we like about this particular fitness ball is that it is anti-burst, anti-slip, and has illustrated exercises printed directly onto the ball to target full body.

If you’re on the market for an exercise ball, be sure to look for one that’s made with thick high-quality materials and that has anti-burst and anti-slip technology for safety.

Another important factor is choosing the right size ball for you. When it comes to exercise balls, one size does not fit all! Look for brands that offer a range of sizes and a size chart so you can select the right size for your body.

Exercises to Target Full Body With the Fitness Ball

Starting with the arms and upper body, we’ll continue with spinal strengthening exercises, a series of core work, and then move into the lower body and target the glutes and hamstrings.

1. Arm Strengthening with a Fitness Ball

Balance Push-Up

Tricep Dips

2. Spinal Strengthening with a Fitness Ball

Superman Raise Flow

Back Extension

3. Core Strengthening with a Fitness Ball

Knee Tuck

4. Core + Spinal Strengthening

V-Lift Flow

5. Glutes + Side Oblique Strengthening

High Lunge Dip + Twists

6. Glutes + Upper Body Strengthening

Standing Squat Lift

7. Glutes + Hamstring Strengthening

Hamstring Curl

Now You’re Ready for Full-Body Strength and Toning!

Jump into your fitness ball regimen and enjoy the many benefits of exercising with a fitness ball! You will feel stronger, more toned, and also gain a deeper sense of body awareness.

Using an exercise ball is a great workout for all levels. Beginners will be able to gauge their progress in each exercise, while intermediate and advanced practitioners can explore variations to keep the workout fresh and challenging.

Just remember to take it slow, keep it safe, and have fun along the way! Any questions on the exercises we cover in this video? Feel free to ask in the comments below we love hearing from you!


Shop this Fitness Ball

Epitomie Fitness Active Balance Fitness Ball ($19.97)

The Active Balance fitness ball is the #1 rated fitness ball on Amazon. 13 of the most popular exercises for using a fitness ball are printed on the ball including core, upper body and leg stability and balance techniques.

Shop this ball

The post How to Use an Exercise Ball for Full Body Strengthening (Free Video) appeared first on YogiApproved.

We Need To Talk About Reproductive Coercion

Reproductive coercion is when someone controls whether, and when, you fall pregnant.

It is when someone forces you to continue a pregnancy you don’t want, or terminate a pregnancy that you did want.

It can be contraceptive sabotage. It can be emotional blackmail. It can be rape.

It is any behaviour aimed at establishing and maintaining power and control by restricting a woman’s reproductive autonomy, denying her control over decisions related to her reproductive health, and limiting her access to reproductive health options.

“This can involve denying a woman control in decision-making, or pressuring her to become pregnant, sabotaging her contraception, and pressuring her about the outcome of her pregnancy,” Liz Price, a project officer at pro-choice counselling service Children by Choice in Queensland, told BuzzFeed News.

“There are also issues of physical violence that get in the way of women being able to meaningfully consent to sex, and if we live in fear of other forms of violence, how free are we really to say no to sex when there might be consequences for withholding?”

Research indicates that unplanned pregnancy is more common among women experiencing domestic violence.

Pregnancy can be a trigger for domestic violence, and of women who have experienced violence during pregnancy by a previous partner, 25% indicated that the violence first occurred during the pregnancy.

“Women who experience violence are significantly over-represented in the women who seek abortion care,” Price said.

“About 34% of the work the counselling team does involves women for whom violence is a factor in their situation, and a third of those women disclose reproductive coercion.”

Reproductive coercion does not have to be physical, Price said, and can involve emotional manipulation.

“We had one young woman [with an unwanted pregnancy] who told us that her partner repeatedly said things like: ‘You don’t want to be pregnant with me because that will mean that the other guys you’re screwing around with won’t want to have sex with you’,” Price said.

“So he was forcing her to keep the pregnancy as a way of proving she wasn’t being promiscuous.”

Price said women in their 20s were most likely to experience coercion, and were more likely to go ahead with a pregnancy as a result of the violence.

Price said service providers should be aware of the role a partner might play in the decision-making process, and that healthcare services could help address reproductive coercion by “having posters up in the foyers” and “seeing women on their own for the first appointment”.

Marie Stopes Australia senior nurse Kitty Grozdich works out of a clinic in Westmead in Sydney’s west and said she saw women daily whose partners controlled their access to contraception, often via financial abuse.

“[Before a termination of pregnancy] we go through a woman’s entire obstetric history and talk about what their other pregnancies have been like, and what their contraceptive history is, and what their contraceptive plan going forward will be,” Grozdich told BuzzFeed News.

“So if a person comes in and says they have had multiple pregnancies and have been using the withdrawal method, we will offer to provide, say, a long-acting reversible contraceptive like an implant which might cost around $90.”

In some cases the partners “think they are infallible” and that “they’ll put the condom on right or they will pull out next time”, Grozdich said.

“But their partner might say that it is too expensive, or that he doesn’t want something ‘inside’ of her and that he will remind her to take the pill.

“In other instances, the partner isn’t there for a termination, but the woman has to call him to get permission to use a credit card or get him to pay for the procedure.”

Coercion could work “both ways”, Grozdich said, in which partners were coercing a woman to terminate an unplanned pregnancy.

“One patient told her partner she was having a termination because he was physically abusive, and she basically wanted us to lie for her and tell her partner that she was having the procedure, and take his payment even though she hadn’t stepped foot in the clinic.”

This could have been the case for Sydney woman Yasmine (not her real name).

Her ex-boyfriend pursued her for months before she agreed to date him in 2015 when she was 18-years old.

“He had said ‘I love you’ before we had even dated and was obsessive about seeing me,” she told BuzzFeed News.

The couple had sex once with a condom but Yasmine’s partner told her he “hated” it and wouldn’t wear one again.

“He refused to wear condoms and made me have sex sometimes eight times a day, and it was just easier for me to [have sex than refuse it],” she said.

“He made sure he came in me every time.”

Yasmine was worried about getting pregnant but her partner had “already named” their hypothetical children.

“My plan was that if I fell pregnant I would have an abortion and tell him I had had a miscarriage, because if he knew the truth he would have hit me.”

It was important to see a woman without her partner at the first appointment and use only accredited interpreters (never family and friends) to translate if there were language barriers, said a senior social worker at South Australia’s Pregnancy Advisory Centre, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“Women [who sought to terminate an unplanned pregnancy] are often clearly in a situation that is identified as reproductive coercion because she is being pressured to say ‘yes’ to sex which she identified as consenting, because it was easier than saying no,” the worker said.

Almost 30% of Children by Choice clients who needed financial assistance for a termination were living with violence perpetrated by the man involved in their pregnancy, the organisation’s manager Kate Marsh told BuzzFeed News.

Children by Choice had counselled women who had had their contraceptive pills flushed down the toilet and intrauterine devices (IUDs) ripped out of them by their partners, and had been told to “get rid of it or it will be you”, Marsh said.

Partners had taken condoms off during sex, restricted access to emergency contraception and felt inside a woman for evidence of an IUD.

“We know that in the past almost half of that money [for financial assistance] has gone to survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence.”

In the last two financial years the organisation’s assistance program has provided over $225,000 for abortion and contraception access in the form of grants, loans and support from other non-profits, and negotiated discounts from abortion providers.

“Decisions that restrict or deny a woman autonomy over her reproductive and sexual health reflect an attempt to maintain control and power over her and that is reproductive coercion,” White Ribbon Australia chief executive Libby Davies told BuzzFeed News.

“Respectful relationship education, access to contraception, access to abortion and post-abortion support for women and financial and social support for women who want to continue a pregnancy, these are all choices that women have the right to execute and act on.

“The men engaged in our White Ribbon campaigns value that notion of equality.”

In February, the organisation released a statement which called for the decriminalisation of abortion across Australia and for public provision of abortion through hospitals.

It supported independent Cairns MP Rob Pyne’s push to decriminalise abortion in Queensland.

“There were some [White Ribbon ambassadors] who couldn’t see the link between reproductive rights and violence prevention, so we discussed the statement … there were a handful of ambassadors who withdrew from the organisation on religious grounds.

“That was probably a good thing as their values don’t align with the movement.

“We made it clear that as a movement we would not compromise on the statement.”

The organisation also last year distanced itself from anti-abortion Cleveland MP Mark Robinson who called himself a “White Ribbon Man” when rallying against a bill to decriminalise abortion in Queensland, claiming it would remove protections from women he claimed were being “coerced” into abortions by their violent partners.

Robinson was not a White Ribbon ambassador, but had “taken the pledge” against violence against women, Davies said.

Davies, Marsh and Price joined doctors, politicians, lawyers, abortion and contraception providers, policy advisors, nurses, counsellors and domestic violence prevention workers at a restaurant on Brisbane’s waterfront in the first week of August to workshop how to best tackle reproductive coercion.

Dr Philip Goldstone, medical director of Marie Stopes Australia, the nation’s largest provider of pregnancy termination services, described appointments in which it is “very clear that there is coercion at play” in the patient’s autonomy over her own reproductive decisions.

“As a provider of abortion care, the fundamental question we ask when we see each patient is this: is my patient in control of the decision she has made?” Goldstone asked.

“Most of the time the answer is yes, however, there are times when it is clear that there is coercion at play.”

Goldstone announced that Marie Stopes Australia would launch a national screening process to survey patients about whether they had ever experienced reproductive coercion, and provide information on the best contraceptive options for those who had.

The trial would provide numbers so that healthcare providers could develop strategies to tackle the issue, he said.

“There is no universal national screening approach for reproductive coercion that includes intervention,” Goldstone said. “As health care providers, the way we deal with patients experiencing coercion and violence can and does change the trajectory of a woman’s life.”

Women’s Health Victoria senior policy and health promotion officer Dr Amy Webster said the Marie Stopes Australia’s screening tool was a helpful first step.

In addition to screening and collecting data, a worker in this field should be able to affirm that what the woman is experiencing is not OK, that it puts her at risk and is against the law, and then provide her with the appropriate referral and support, Webster told BuzzFeed News.

It is one of the least understood, or talked about, forms of violence even though it has incredibly profound consequences for women and their ability to leave violent relationships.

“It is taking away a woman’s right to bodily autonomy, and can include direct violence that is intended to end a pregnancy, forced sex and impregnation, tampering with contraception and, more recently, we have seen discussion around stealthing [when a condom is removed during sex without a woman’s permission].”

Reproductive coercion took place at an intersection between sexual assault, domestic violence and sexual or reproductive health services, so it could sometimes be missed by workers, said Webster, who has worked across hospitals, domestic violence prevention services and refuges for the past decade.

If a woman is trying to access a refuge in the middle of the night, it doesn’t feel like the right time to ask her about her contraception because you’re looking at emergency accommodation.

In a reproductive or sexual health setting someone who does STI screenings or pap smears is focused on providing that specific service, while sexual assault service providers might be dealing with police or forensics in a crisis, or the woman might be accessing support many years after the assault, so it doesn’t feel like the right time to ask about reproductive coercion.

These are under-resourced sectors where workers are really trying to do their best for women.

Here is more information about contraception in an abusive relationship.

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence and need help or support, there are national and state-based agencies that can assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

These Are Tracy Anderson’s All-Time Best Ab-Sculpting Moves

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The truth:The belly is a bad place to pack on pounds. That’s because excess visceral fat-founddeep within the abdomen-increases majorhealth risks (heart disease, type 2 diabetes,even dementia). One study revealed thatnormal-weight women with bigger bellieshad a 48 percent higher risk of prematuredeath than their slim-stomach counterparts.

Luckily, you can take control of that gut. “Cutting portion sizes, reducing saturatedfats, and exercising more will all help,”saysRoshini Rajapaksa, MD, associate professorof medicine at NYU School of Medicine.

Adds Cynthia Sass, RD, “Foods rich inmonounsaturated fats, such as avocados,extra-virgin olive oil, and nuts, have beenshown to help ward off belly fat, as havebeans, lentils, and peas.”

Performing ab-centric moves is also key,says star trainer Tracy Anderson. But you’vegot to hit the muscles from every angle. “It’s not just about the front of the abs, therectus abdominis,” she explains. “You haveto also get the obliques, the transverseabdominis-which acts as a girdle-andthe lower back muscles working together.”

This series does just that. Do 30 reps of each move in the series on one side, then repeat the sequence on the other side. Don’t forget your 30 to 60 minutes of cardio six times a week to watch yourdream abs take shape.

Walk-Around Plank and Lunge

Start in a deep lunge with left leg forward (knee turnedslightly out), right hand on floor, and left hand on leftknee (A). Step right leg forward as you press hips up,coming onto left toes while keeping left knee bent (B).Return to “A,” place both hands down, and extend leftleg back and diagonally up (C). Return to “A” and repeat.

Alternating Crab Jump Hip Lift

Start seated with feet on floor and hands on either side of butt. Lift hipsand extend left arm up (A). Lower hipsslightly and step right leg back as youplace left hand on floor; hop feet overto the other end of mat (B). Come intobridge position with right arm extendedup (C). Continue alternating.

Lunge to Down Dog Arabesque

Kneel, then step right leg forward, place lefthand on floor, and extend right arm straight back(A). Step right leg back until it’s fully extendedwith toes on floor; bring right hand to floor (B).Push up onto right leg, lifting hips and extendingleft leg straight up (C). Return to “A” and repeat.

Plank With Knee Pull to Bridge

Start in a plank with legs wide (A). Rotate body to faceright, coming into side plank as you lift left knee towardchest and slightly twist hips to tap right hand to left thigh(B). Return to “A,” then step right foot over left foot torotate torso as you push hips up into bridge position;extend right hand up (C). Return to “A” and repeat.

Parallel Knee Pull-In Side Plank

Start in side plank with feet and hips stacked, right handon hip (A). Bend right kneeand bring it up (B). Return to “A”and repeat.

Side Plank to Hydrant Arabesque

Start on all fours. Lift right armtoward ceiling and bring right kneetoward shoulder so right thigh isparallel with floor (A). Swing rightleg back, extending it (B). Lowerright leg down so ball of right foottouches floor and place right handon floor (C). Twist torso to faceleft, pushing hips up, extending leftarm up, and reaching left foot tofloor as you press into side plank(D). Rotate body back down toreturn to starting position. Repeat.

Pin the full workout for later:


13 Reasons Your Feet Are Swollen

Whether the swelling is slight or your feet feel like balloons, something’s off-and anything from changes in your weight to hormone weirdness to a serious condition like heart disease could be to blame. Our guide below willhelp you decode what’s going on, and what you can do to fit into your shoes again.

Ooh La La 3 Ways You Can Use Yoga to Strengthen Your Orgasm


Did you know that only 25% of women consistently orgasm during vaginal intercourse? This statistic is based on a book that analyzed 33 studies over the last 80 years by Elisabeth Lloyd in her fascinating book The Case of the Female Orgasm.

An orgasm is the ultimate surrender to the life force, or prana flow, of creation. Our practice of yoga is designed to unite our body, mind, and soul which can also bring us to an optimal state to receive a richer, fuller orgasmic experience.

Learn to love yourself! Read this: 8 Practices of Self-Love to Boost Your Confidence and Self-Esteem

And when we do open up and experience orgasm easily, we also open up to receive more abundance into our lives, our ability to manifest what we desire becomes easier and our ability to process old, pent up emotions also becomes easier.

Try These 3 Simple Exercises to Enrich Your Orgasm:

As a yoga instructor and Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist, I’ve developed these three exercises to help you feel more connected to your sexual, sensual, creative energy AND process your emotions if any are still being held down there.

Step 1: Reflect and Release

Remember your perfectly-created-to-orgasm-body thrives when you believe it can orgasm. Take a moment to reflect and let go of limiting beliefs about your orgasmic body.

Do you believe you can orgasm easily? Or do you believe orgasm is difficult? According to quantum physics, we get what we are, not what we want. Do you feel orgasmic?

To help move through these questions and use self-reflection as a way to get more connected to your sexuality, we will incorporate a yoga pose that’s especially restorative and helps to conjure feelings of self-love through self-care.

Yoga Pose: Supta Baddha Konasana or Reclining Bound Angle Pose

Place a pillow or bolster beneath your spine to open up your heart and front body. As you ask those questions, breathe into your entire body.

If any old pent-up memories or emotions of the past arise as you ask those questions, exhale those emotional energies out with a deep sigh. This opening, restorative yoga pose lets your body know it is safe to open up.

Combine this posture with your deep diaphragmatic breaths and notice how more open and supple your body feels. This is a perfect way to welcome and invite our next orgasm.

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Step 2: Strengthen and Uplift

Strengthen and uplift yourself literally. Did you know stronger pelvic floor muscles make for stronger orgasms? Your pelvic floor pulsates during orgasm and if you sit in a chair for 6-8 hours per day, these muscles are not being nurtured enough.

In the same yoga pose as Step 1, bring awareness to the area between your pubic bone and tailbone. Inhale and expand fully into this area. Notice how the inhalation causes your pelvic floor to move. Now squeeze these muscles, causing the area between the pubic bone and tailbone to move closer together.

These are the pelvic floor muscles and if you are doing it correctly, the muscles feel as though they are moving upwards towards your head like an elevator going to the top floor. Squeeze and relax, squeeze and relax your pelvic floor.

Not familiar with how to engage your pelvic floor muscles? Read this: What are Bandhas? How to Engage Them to Enhance Your Yoga Practice

These rhythmic contractions mirror the actual passive rhythmic contractions experienced during orgasm. Keep your breathing deep and your awareness at your vagina, anal, and lower tummy area where your uterus is to heighten your body-mind connection to orgasm.

Step 3: Time for Self-Love

Amp up your oxytocin for a fuller, richer orgasm. Oxytocin the love hormone is also the pleasure hormone. The more we are loving, accepting, connecting, and nurturing to ourselves in our everyday thoughts and actions, the easier it will be to orgasm (digest, sleep and be fertile too), because our blood levels of oxytocin will be higher.

If you are hard on yourself, don’t like your body, or have a hard time accepting yourself, all this will influence how much love hormone you have in your bloodstream. Sometimes how we feel about our bodies gets in the way of feeling pleasure in our bodies.

The more we are loving, accepting, connecting, and nurturing to ourselves in our everyday thoughts and actions, the easier it will be to orgasm

Yoga is all about practicing self-love. Do you like your body? Do you love your tummy and thighs? See this as an opportunity to shift your beliefs about yourself and begin to have a deeper, more unconditionally loving and accepting body-mind-soul relationship.

Remember that your body is made mostly of energy, and it is our natural birthright to orgasm it is what we are perfectly designed to do. And it’s how we think and feel throughout our day that contributes greatly to how orgasmic our sex life is, and our life in general!

Want to Kickstart Your Self-Love Regimen? Read 13 Tips for Cultivating Self-Love

Love Yourself to Heal Yourself

Next time you practice yoga on the mat, bring yourself to the experience fully, feel the pleasure of your body moving your soul in the different poses, and every now and then incorporate the pelvic floor contractions from Step 2 to uplift yourself and your pelvic floor, and take your orgasm to another level!

Share with us how these steps benefit you and share this article with a friend because the more we orgasm the more orgasmic our world will be!

This is why I am so passionate about my work as a pelvic floor physical therapist and yoga teacher. My life is so much more enriched and pleasurable from integrating these simple steps into my life.

I can see how it also benefits my professional life, my creativity and my relationship to my sacred body temple, and you can experience the same with this simple approach to self-love, self-care, and cultivating a stronger orgasm!

The post Ooh La La 3 Ways You Can Use Yoga to Strengthen Your Orgasm appeared first on YogiApproved.

Shape Up for Summer With Tracy Anderson’s Beach Body Boot Camp

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If you’re justgetting around totightening up for shortsand swimsuit season,don’t worry-it’s nottoo late. I’ve got a fewdynamic moves thattarget all your muscles,forcing you to putyour full physical andmental energy into eachmovement. The result:You up that calorie burnwhile toning all over.My goal for you isto maintain a so-calledsummer body year-round,staying within ahealthy and sustainableseven-pound weightzone. This way, you’realways ready to stepout and shine.

Do 30 reps of each move in the series on one side, then repeat the sequence on the other side. Don’t forget your 30 to 60 minutes of cardio six times a week.

RELATED: This Tracy Anderson Workout Will Tone Your Entire Body With Just a Towel

1. Windmill Plank with Arabesque

Kneel with feet and knees apart and hands at sides. Lean back, circling right hand backward and placing it between feet; extend left arm up (A). Windmill arms over your head and plant hands in front of body. Press hips up as you extend left leg up, toe pointed (B). Return to A and repeat.

2. Lifted Side Kick with Arm Reach

Lie on left side with hips stacked and knees bent; prop upper body up on left forearm. Lift hips, coming into a side plank. Lift right leg up, keeping it bent, and extend right arm straight up (A). Extend leg out as if kicking while you pull arm toward body (B). Return to A and repeat.

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3. Rolling Plank into Split Stretch

Start in plank position with feet wide and right forearm and left hand down (A). Roll onto right hip until you’re faceup with forearms on the floor and legs open in a split (B). Reverse motion back to A, then twist chest open to the right, stepping right foot out to the side and extending right arm up (C). Return to A and repeat.

4. Leg Slide to Sous-Sous Plank

Kneel, then step left foot out to the side so left leg forms about a 90-degree angle. Place right palm on the floor and left hand on left knee; extend right leg back (A). Slide right leg forward as you lower right hip to the floor (B). Step right foot back, followed by the left, coming into a wide plank. Cross left ankle over right, coming into a diagonal plank; dip hips slightly (C). Step left foot forward to return to A. Repeat.

RELATED:This Is Tracy Anderson’s Go-To Arm Workout

5. Arabesque to Hip Dip and Bridge

Kneel, then lower down so palms are on the floor and left leg extends diagonally up (A). Lower leg, coming to all fours, then twist hips so you’re seated on left hip with left forearm on the floor (B). Return to A, this time with left forearm on the floor. Lower leg, crossing left foot behind right as you rotate torso and push hips up into a bridge; extend left hand up (C). Return to A and repeat.

6. Crab with Side Extension

Sit with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and palms on the floor next to either side of butt. Lift hips and cross right ankle over left; lift heels (A). Lean chest forward and drop hips slightly, bringing left heel to the floor as you lift right leg up and out on a diagonal, foot parallel with the floor (B). Lower right leg to return to A. Repeat.

Tracy’s wearing: Nike Indy Cooling sports bra ($50;, Ultracor Miami-Print microfiber leggings ($185;, Nike Air Max Thea SE Metallic sneakers ($115;

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PSA: Here’s Why Your Ears Are So Damn Itchy All The Time

*Has Q-tips shoved in both ears.*

Is using Q-tips orgasmic for you? Like are you literally always poking around in your ears trying to get rid of the indefinite itching that plagues you?

Is using Q-tips orgasmic for you? Like are you literally always poking around in your ears trying to get rid of the indefinite itching that plagues you?


Well, I’m here to tell you exactly what’s making your ears so itchy and how to properly treat it, without making it worse.

Well, I'm here to tell you exactly what's making your ears so itchy and how to properly treat it, without making it worse.

Experiencing itchy ears is incredibly common, and it’s not particular to just one species – in case you haven’t noticed, dogs and cats are literally always scratching their ears, too. So I spoke with Dr. Erich Voigt, clinical associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at NYU Langone Health, and Dr. Ana Kim, director of otologic research at Columbia University Medical Center, to get to the bottom of what the hell causes insatiably itchy ears and to write this post for the common good.

Hopefully there’s something in here that helps you, because from experience, I know how torturous itchy ears can be.

Universal Pictures / Via

First things first: There’s a protective layer of wax in your ear canals that is water-repellant and helps keep your ears clean.

First things first: There's a protective layer of wax in your ear canals that is water-repellant and helps keep your ears clean.

There’s a natural waxy substance produced by the glands in our ears called cerumen. It mixes with the oil and moisture in our ear canals to create a protective layer that lines the skin of the ear canal, and actually acts like a barrier against dirt and bacteria, while also keeping the skin from drying out, Voigt says.

The water-repellant and slightly acidic wax also helps to decrease bacterial growth and prevent water from getting trapped in your ear canals. It’s different from the ear wax that everyone wants to remove, he explains.

My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea / Via

And regardless of how gentle you are, when you push things inside of your ears, you’re most likely scraping at or getting rid of that waxy layer.

And regardless of how gentle you are, when you push things inside of your ears, you're most likely scraping at or getting rid of that waxy layer.

“In my experience, the most common cause of itchy ears is Iatrogenic mechanical manipulation, which is when people insert weird things into their ears (i.e. Q-tips, bobby pins, fingers, etc.) and scrape around causing trauma,” says Kim. “Your outer ear canals have natural defenses that help keep them clean and prevent infection, and if you interfere with them, you’re going to run into problems.”

“If people are using Q-tips on a regular basis, they’re removing the wax lining from their ear canals, taking away that protective layer,” Voigt says. “It’s most likely to happen if you’re cleaning your ears often and very vigorously. But even if you use them gently, it’s a delicate layer and could still be removed.”

Columbia Pictures / Via

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