Chiang Mai FeMail
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Lanna Dog Rescue plans permanent home

Back pain? Try removing your earrings!



Green Tea=Healthy Heart

Another recent study –Femail seems obsessed with alternative medicine this week—reveals a result that those of us who are already fans of green tea may have suspected for a while, and which the Japanese have probably always known. It appears that one of the benefits of drinking at least one cup of green tea per day is that it can improve the body’s blood flow and reduce the risk of blood clots. A report of the study has been published in theEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation; this is the first time green tea has been shown to have a short-term beneficial effect on the large arteries, although black tea has been shown to have similar short and long term effects.
A team from the cardiology department at Athens Medical School gave healthy volunteers green tea, caffeine or hot water to drink; measurements of the brachial artery were taken on each occasion. Results showed that the green tea drinkers’ arteries almost immediately expanded by at least 4%, due to improved performance of cells lining the blood vessel itself whose role is to stop blood clots forming. The study confirmed a previous finding that green tea reversed the same cells’ dysfunction in smokers.
Green tea has been accepted as a potent anti-oxidant for some years; indicating its anti-carcinogenic properties; research has shown that it plays a role in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and also in reducing harmful liver enzymes. Another study has shown that drinking four cups of green tea per day reverses cell damage which could lead to tumours in heavy smokers.
The key to its health benefits is its content of flavonoids, ( antioxidants), up to 90% higher than in black tea, as the leaves are not fermented before drying. For those who are inclined to scepticism, it should be mentioned that the Japanese, (at least until the arrival of McDonalds, etc), sustained some of the healthiest hearts of any race—and they drink gallons of the stuff! It is, admittedly, an acquired taste, but one that it might well be advisable to acquire—at the very least, you won’t be tempted to add milk and sugar!

Lanna Dog Rescue plans permanent home

The first precept of Thai Buddhism reads, “I undertake not to kill any living thing”. Lanna Dog Rescue lives this Buddhist principle and takes it further, caring for as many of the huge number of stray dogs in Chiang Mai as is possible, taking sick animals to vets, spaying and neutering, re-homing whenever practicable, or, after necessary treatment, returning them to local temples where they are welcome to live and be fed.

Roshan, founder of Lanna Dog Rescue, with a little friend.

Lanna Dogs is the brainchild of Roshan Dhunjibhoy, an amazing woman whose former career as a television journalist took her all over the world and involved her in experiences which developed her intense, common-sense based compassion for all living things. The organisation’s aims are simple and practical, yet complicated. With thousands of unwanted dogs roaming the city’s streets or living in temple grounds, hungry, often sick, needing human companionship, and breeding because their formers owners did not, or could not afford to have them sterilised or neutered, management of even a proportion of such large numbers has to be complicated. Rescue and ongoing care for dogs in need requires regular funding and a number of dedicated helpers; homing, too, has its complications, often involving teaching families how best to serve the needs of a formerly abandoned street dog. Awareness of the interaction between dogs and their owners needs to be encouraged; all aspects of the benefits of dogs as helpful companions to people, (particularly the disabled), need to be disseminated by word of mouth and by literature. Above all, the creation of a a positive attitude towards animals and a better environment in which dogs and humans can live happily together has to be a premium need.
From Lanna Dog Rescue’s beginnings in 2003 until 2007, Roshan and her team of volunteers worked out of their homes, without even an office, making regular monthly visits to a number of places where stray and abandoned dogs congregate, including temples, the Chiang Mai Municipal Stadium area, and even a local military camp, treating, sterilising, neutering, vaccinating the dogs against rabies, and providing rescue and medical care for disabled or sick dogs and cats at their open shelter. For example, from January to April this year, 842 sterilisations and neuterings were performed on a total of 842 dogs and cats, at a cost of approximately 28,000 baht. Lanna Dog rescue funds are derived almost exclusively from donations, although several local Amphurs provide some funds for medical and surgical expenses. Surgical procedures such as sterilisation are carried out by a professional team on site, with all necessary precautions taken as regards infection, etc, thus holding down costs, thus enabling LDR to help more animals.
2008 is a watershed year for Lanna Dogs—a decision has been finally made to establish a new long-term centre on rented land in Baan Fon, near Samoeng, to contain an office, an all-important education centre, a sterilisation clinic and “nursing home”, a small shelter where disabled dogs and dogs who be trained as “therapy dogs” can be kept and also basic residential facilities for care-givers. Objectives include providing curricula on humane education for both pupils and teachers in local schools, organising campaigns to improve the lives of stray dogs, and coordinating special services with old peoples’ homes and orphanages involving visits by lonely old people, the disabled, and children with poor contact skills. The successful concept of “therapy dogs”, although accepted in the West and being tried in several Bangkok hospitals, is entirely new to Chiang Mai.
At the present time in Thailand, there are no laws regarding animal welfare or the trade in live animals. Dogs are stolen every day for the local meat market or for export to Laos, Vietnam and Hong Kong, where they are either killed for food or for their skins, which are used to make leather goods for the tourist trade. Street dogs which are considered a nuisance are often poisoned. Lanna Dog Rescue’s long-term purpose is end the stray and ownerless dog problem by raising the awareness of local communities as regards the need for education in better dog care practices. This aim requires the cooperation of not only local communities but also of local and national government and the general public, both Thai and foreign. For more information, please visit Lanna Dogs’ website at


Back pain? Try removing your earrings!

A recent report in the UK media may well cause distress to those of us who love to wear earrings, particularly the amazing and often seriously “over-the-top” designs available for very little money here in Chiang Mai. Major studies, which are being taken seriously by such luminaries as Professor Len Nokes, the co-director of the Institute of Medical Engineering and Medical Physics at Cardiff University and the team doctor for FA Cup finalists Cardiff City Football Club, (although we weren’t aware that footballers were into earrings…), indicate that the wearing of any metal object next to the skin may disturb the body’s muscular equilibrium enough to cause chronic back pain, which will only be relieved if the metal object is removed.
The theory behind the research is that metal objects could set off a chain reaction involving the nervous system and its automatic response of moving body parts away from metal as it causes discomfort to the surrounding skin. The result of this reaction could well be to mis-align hundreds of muscles in an attempt to maintain distance, causing pain in even non-adjacent parts of the wearer’s body. And it’s not just earrings that may be causing the problem – metal amalgam tooth fillings were also mentioned as a possible cause. A growing school of thought maintains that the “whole body” stress caused will not be affected by rest, exercise or diet.
The involuntary chain reaction works in the same way as our bodies’ protective reaction to extremes of heat, cold and other environmental irritations; even simple organisms withdraw from threatening stimuli. If nerve endings become involved—for example, in tooth fillings or pierced ears—the pain reaction can be severe. Professor Nokes considers that the research shows promise, and would benefit from further research.


Upcoming Events!
A question this columnist gets asked with increased frequency reads somewhat like this:- “ Great write-up of ******** why on earth didn’t you let us know in advance, we’d have loved to go”. The tone of voice used to submit the question varies from accusatory to regretful, usually dependent on how much the questioner would have liked to be at the event. My answer? “No-one told me, so how could I tell anyone else?” We all have our contacts, our people who are reputed to know the smallest relevant detail about their versions of the social life of this city —however, “social”, “entertainment”, “event of interest” etc, have different meanings to different people, and it would seem that the more esoteric and less riotous occasions are those which, sadly, receive the least advance publicity. Interesting events are often organised by members of the Thai community, who rarely inform foreign groups in advance unless there is a blatantly commercial aim. Yes, we all know about discount and other promotions of luxury and designer goodies of various types and kinds at the shopping malls. We’re also fully aware of similar promotions of hi-so “foodie” meals at the 5 star hotels – we’re even aware of “amazing” deals at the many upmarket luxury spas in this, at present, tourist-free city, (even although few of us can afford to take advantage of them!), but it’s the devil’s own job to get even basic details of most events with an academic, classical, traditional or “Thai” flavour. Many of the smaller events involve local NGO’s; they are also difficult to trace in advance, and, as these are usually fund-raisers, could do with the publicity. So, PLEASE, will any organisation which is planning an event let this paper know at least three weeks in advance by emailing [email protected] with details!
Quite rightly, we are, at present, being encouraged to integrate—that’s something many of us planned to do on arrival here until we realised that it’s a somewhat less than practical ambition. A good example of a multi-cultural fundraising event was last Friday’s “60 days after Nargis” at the CMU’s convention centre, which actually did manage to get a mention in last week’s Femail page—but only because someone noticed its announcement in a Google news email! How many of us went—how many could understand the points that were being made? The CM Mail’s photographer attended the last such event at CMU and made a very brief report indeed, stating the obvious in that “it was all in Thai”. Chances missed—to involve people, to get donations and to make friends. Yes, we should all make some attempt to learn Thai—unless we really have decided to stay closeted safely in the Chiang Mai version of “Farang-land” for as long as we stay in CM—but, believe me, it’s much more fun out there in the real world, guys, even if you only understand half what’s being said!