6 Foods to Lower Your Risk for Cancer

As such a melting pot of cultural and ethnic diversity, Malaysia is able to enjoy an unmatched choice of unique and delicious cuisines. And us Malaysians do take our food seriously. Mamak culture and the search for the best specialty hawker stalls are both taken very seriously by a huge percentage of the population, regardless of their background.

That being said, these habits we have created for ourselves may not be the best thing for our health. The incidence of death from diseases such as high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity is constantly on the rise, while cancer is now believed to affect 90,000-100,000 people in Malaysia alone. It is estimated that one in every four Malaysians will develop cancer by the age of 75 and is considered the third leading cause of death in the country, contributed by not only to factors such as smoking but to being overweight and a poor diet.

However, by making small changes in our diet, it is possible to avoid having to go through such trouble. By simply adding these ‘superfoods’ to your diet, you can lower your risk for cancer and go about leading a healthier life!

Garlic

A flavour synonymous with Asian cuisine, Garlic has amassed a bad rep for the smelly breath it gives you after meal. However, the same compounds which are responsible for that smell may be able to stop the formation of carcinogens (cancer causing substances) in your body and kill cancer cells. On top of that, it can reduce the risk for colon cancer and battle the microbe responsible for stomach ulcers, which have the potential to develop into stomach cancer.

To ensure the most benefit from this superfood just let it sit for 15-20 minutes after being peeled and chopped, before cooking them. This will activate enzymes in garlics and release the sulphur-containing compounds.

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Image courtesy of foodsubs.com

Carrots

Your parents lied. While they can improve eye health, carrots don’t actually improve your eyesight. They do however contain beta-carotene, which may protect your cell’s membranes from toxins and slow cancer cell growth. They also provide vitamins and phytochemicals (chemicals found in plants to protect it from bacteria, viruses or fungi) which can protect you from an assortment of cancers.

For best flavor and benefit, stem or boil the carrots whole first before cutting them and serving them however you had planned to.

Spinach

Mum was right when she told you to eat your spinach. While it won’t give you raging forearms like Popeye, spinach is rich in Carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin. They’ve been shown to remove damaging free-radicals (natural by-products of the body’s chemical reactions) that can lead to cancer. It also contains folate which helps repair DNA and produces new cells, as well as fibre which is good for, well, you know.

It’s best eaten raw or lightly cooked, so a spinach salad or a bowl of steamed spinach is best if you’re looking to benefit from this anti-cancer hero.

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Image courtesy of simplyrecipes.com

Broccoli

Although often seen as a punishment by children around the world, Broccoli remains a top recommended super food by physicians and researchers alike. It contains phytochemicals called glucosinolates which are protective enzymes, and the strongest of which is sulforaphane. Broccoli produces these like a champ, and eating it may reduce your risk for cancer by detoxifying harmful substances or as an anti-microbial agent (specifically against H. pylori).

Although a greasy cheese sauce is the preferred method for many to get these down, it’s best to steam and cook Broccoli with garlic and olive oil.

Tomatoes

“They turned as red as a tomato” is a go-to expression to show someone’s embarrassment, but there’s nothing embarrassing about this fruit. Its red color is attributed to a phytochemical called lycopene. Tests with lycopene have shown it stopping cancer cell growth, speculatively by boosting the body’s immune system and interfering with abnormal cell growth. Diets high in lycopene have pointed to reduced risks of prostate cancer.

It’s best to eat cooked or processed tomatoes, which have had all the lycopene squeezed out of their cells to be absorbed. The best part is, that means pizza and pasta is actually good for you, well at least the sauce.

Strawberries

Berries are known to be a Super food from the amount of benefits they can provide. On top of possibly slowing cancer cell growth, they can possibly protect one from memory decline and heart disease. Strawberries are rich in antioxidants like Vitamin C and Ellegic acid, which seems to accelerate enzymes that destroy carcinogens and slow tumor growth, as well as flavonoids which can suppress DNA damaging enzymes linked to lung cancer.

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Image courtesy of  tandmmag.com

”Prevention is the best medicine” as the saying goes. The process of becoming healthy can be a difficult and lifelong challenge. However, that shouldn’t stop us from taking whatever small steps we can in order to better or health, whether unby making small changes in our diet, fitness routine or lifestyle.

The insurance provider AXA Affin has recently joined with the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) to support those who have suffered from cancer on their path to recovery. For every post that links to their 110 Cancer Care website by bloggers like myself, they will sponsor one day of funding for daycare usage at the NCSM Treatment Centre for a patient.

If you are interested in collaborating and helping out in this endeavor, please contact Danial @ danial.lissborg@lionandlion.com to see what you can do.

For more info, feel free to visit their site at: https://www.110cancercare.com/

*This is a guest post by Danial

Of Rabbits and Bulldogs at the NRL

A few months back, I had my first taste of a footy game in Sydney at the AFL match. Fast forward a few months down the road, Saucer and I had some tickets to watch the Telstra Premiership NRL match! NRL, which stands for National Rugby League, is the top professional rugby league football in Australasia. The main competition sponsored by Telstra is the  world’s elite rugby league championship and the single most viewed rugby football competition in the world. The match that we were attending was between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, held at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park.

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Sydney Olympic Park railway station

The tickets entitled us to free public transport from wherever we were to the event venue, which was pretty convenient. No worries about traffic or parking or parking fee. We hopped on the train and followed the crowd to the stadium. The weather was brilliant too, it must have been circa 18C with a mild breeze, just perfect to keep everyone cool and comfortable.

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Saucer at the ANZ Stadium

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First visit to the ANZ Stadium

We reached the venue about 1 hour before the match and found a massive crowd just hanging nearby, enjoying beer and pub food. It seems to be a norm here to have drinks before a match, so we joined in the fun! The queue for beer was long but efficient. We managed to get our drinks within 10 minutes of queuing, which was not too bad. We also bought some Lamb Rolls for dinner, they smelled too good.

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Queue for beer

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Grilled meat on roll

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Posing with our dinner and the crowd

Soon, it was almost time for the match to start, so we walked towards the ANZ Stadium and headed towards our designated entrance. I liked that all our tickets had numbered seats, so we did not have to worry about not finding a seat or rushing in to get a good seat.

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ANZ Stadium

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Our tickets

We were seated quite high up in the stadium, but it gave us a great bird’s eye view of the enormous field. The atmosphere was amazing, with supporters from each team shouting and chanting their hearts out. When the teams first jogged into the field, we could see the audience cheering and waving respective flags and posters, showing their utmost support for their team members!

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View from our seats

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The Rabbitohs warming up

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Saucer at his first NRL match

There were two halves of the match of 40 minutes each. The rule of the game was pretty simple, whereby the idea is to get the ball across to the opponents goal line, to cross it and touch it down to score a try worth 4 points. Once that happens, the attacking team gets a chance to score an extra 2 points by kicking the ball across the horizontal bar across the goal posts. It was just just crazy watching the crowd go wild whenever a try or a goal was scored.

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Rabittohs supporters

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Players running in

To keep up with the score and the replays, there were two big screens to facilitate the audience. But these screens were also useful in helping the referees to make a decision in case of dispute. There were a couple of times when the Bulldogs scored a borderline try and they had to look at video replays to determine whether it was a legitimate try or not. At the end of the match, the score came up to 32 vs 8 to the Bulldogs. Congratulations to the winning team! Here’s wishing them luck in the grand finals!

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The big screen

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GOAL! Spot the ball heading towards the horizontal bar

World’s Biggest Race: City2Surf Sydney

Dubbed as the largest timed running race in the world, City2Surf is a 14-km race in Sydney that has a course starting from the city centre and ending at the Bondi beach. Having only been in Sydney for a couple of months now, I was excited to find out about this ‘fun run’ that apparently has gorgeous views of the beach towards the end. Since I had never been to Bondi before, I convinced Saucer that we should do this race, also for charity, of course.

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The first group starting

We reached the starting point about an hour before our category was due, and had the chance to watch the earliest group start at 8am. The atmosphere was amazing, never had I seen so many people gathered at one place braving such cold and gloomy weather for charity. There must have been more than 85,000 people that morning, but everything seemed organized. The queues to the temporary toilets were long, but in order. A few minutes before the race was due to start, the emcee informed the participants to remove their jumpers/sweaters and throw them on the side of the road to be collected by the Girl Guides later. The first group was the serious runners, so they obviously didn’t need the jumper to drag them behind. We, on the other hand, held tight to ours because the wind was cruel towards the end of the race and we’re grateful to have something warm over us. :)

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Spot a jumper in the air!

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Another jumper flying in the air

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Look at all the sweaters/jumpers on the floor

After watching the first group start, we had some time to kill and went to the Starbucks nearby to grab a coffee. We expected the crowd there to be chaotic judging from the thousands of participants around, but it was surprisingly not. We queued for coffee and were served within 5 minutes or so. We even pushed our luck and walked across to McDonald’s to get some breakfast and we managed to get them with ease. Impressive how well-organized and orderly everything was. Soon, it was time for our category to start and we all went in line in front of the St Mary’s Cathedral where the starting point was.

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St Mary’s Cathedral

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Ferrari cars spotted!

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Ferrari cars on the road :P

Before the race, we spotted some runners in cute costumes, such as the Flash, Scooby Doo and even Ferrari Cars! Soon, we heard the gun shot and our category had started!

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Our category starts!

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Through William Street Tunnel at King’s Cross

Since this was a fun run, we could choose to either run or walk the race, depending on our preferences. We didn’t do any training prior to the race, so we decided to walk it. But seeing everyone so motivated at the beginning of the race, Saucer suggested that we should run too. And boy were we out of breath just after 1-2km of it. LOL! We then decided to just to a casual run every now and then and walked the rest of the route, while observing the scenery and absorbing the atmosphere.

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Water stations

There were regular water stations along the route manned by volunteers, so we did not feel dehydrated at all. We also saw kids doing volunteer work by cleaning up the paper cups on the road side.

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Paper cups

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View halfway through the race

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More people starting to walk

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Smurfs!

What I liked about the race was the constant entertainment throughout the 14km. We heard multiple bands performing every few km or so, mostly motivating us to go on and keep running. The atmosphere was more like a carnival really. The kilometres just went by without us noticing.

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View from Rose Bay

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Gatorade to fuel us

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Westpac cheering us on

The hardest part of the race was the steep incline along Heartbreak Hill at the 7km point, but since we were walking we just took our time to observe the gorgeous houses in the expensive neighbourhood and the view of the yachts below.

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Halfway through

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View of the Sydney skyline

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Halfway through

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Small kid doing the race too!

Before we knew it, we saw the 10km marker and knew we were getting closer. The rest of the walk from here was more strenuous as Saucer started to feel a slight cramp on his leg. But we persevered! We passed by a house that had a note stuck on its balcony, with the message “Keep running” to motivate us.

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10km mark

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Sun was up

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“Keep Running” says the poster

Before long, we spotted the Tasman Sea in the distance and the gorgeous Bondi Beach. The weather took a turn for the worse now with stronger winds and gusts but we were too excited to see the finishing line that we didn’t care.

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Towards the beach  – spot Spidey!

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Bondi Beach

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Rough waves

Pretty soon, we saw the 13km marker and knew there was only 1km left. Our spirits lifted and we ran the last few hundred metres to the finishing point with pride. Even though we took a long time to finish the 14km, we were happy and proud to have done so without any major mishaps. The only thing that I would rant about was the crazy wind at the beach. It was strong and cold such that we could feel our fingers and faces freezing just by being there.

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The end is near

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Saucer did it!

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Yes!

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Finishers medal

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Starfish spotted

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Our goodies from goody bags plus the medal

It was indeed an unforgettable experience doing the City2Surf for the very first time. I suppose it was more exciting for us newbies since we had not been to most of the areas along the route before, so it was quite an eye-opening experience. We’d definitely love to be back next year for the race, but we’d make a trip sooner just to enjoy the Bondi Beach when it’s not so windy. :)

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Surfer’s paradise at Bondi

 

Passionately You

Lovely morning on a Saturday? What are you doing for the weekend? If you’re free, do drop by Jaya One and support this amazing campaign called Don’t Duck It by Passionately You, a voluntary collaboration between Assunta Hospital, Asia Assistance, Jaya One and Pj Live Arts founded to encourage the community to support the cause for cervical and breast cancer awareness and early detection.

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Don’t Duck It Party at Palm Square, Jaya One

To kick start the party, they have DJ quizzes and game stalls. For the ladies, there will also be FREE breast examination and on-site vaccination at a special promo price throughout the day. Both activities will be conducted by the professionals of Assunta Hospital. If you’ve always been shy to learn about breast examination, this is the perfect time to come and find out more. After all, you won’t be alone! :)

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Don’t Duck Breast / Cervical Examination!

To have a better idea, here is the itinerary of what will be in store for the whole day on 22nd of October 2011. Best of all, entrance is FREE.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Not to forget, there is also a flash mob happening at Don’t Duck It Party. Check out the very informative video below and look out for hints at the end to find out what time it’s happening. ;) If you can, learn the moves before you go so that you can be part of the fun!

Flash mob tutorial

For more information, check out http://www.dontduckit.com/ and pledge your awareness!

 

The Osim uMama Warm Experience

Earlier this week, I wrote about the Perfect Mother’s Day gift that Saucer and I got for his mother. The Osim uMama Warm is a portable massager that works on the neck, shoulders and back, while warming the tummy at the comfort of your own couch. After exploring and finding out how to use this device, we were excited to pass it to his mother to let her experience it for the first time. When she saw the unit, she immediately recognized since it appeared on the Andy Lau Osim uDivine TV advertisement as a free gift. :)

Osim uMama Warm Back Massager

We were at my mother-in-law’s place for dinner yesterday, so after dinner, we sat her down and put the unit on her. I even took a video of her putting it on for the first time!

Osim uMama Warm Experience video

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Trying uMama Warm for the first time

“It felt like those massage chairs in the shopping malls where we had to put in one buck!”, she said enthusiastically.

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Posing with the uMama Warm massager and enjoying it

When she was done with it, I took the liberty to try it out on my own too. Putting it on was pretty easy since the unit seemed to shape itself around one’s body nicely. For me, the back part of the massager sits nicely on my lower back, just below my waist area, while the shoulder massager fits the back of my neck.

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Experiencing the uMama Warm back massager

The massage experience was as if someone was thumping you from the back, in a rhythmic movement. There was a option to choose either Shoulder massage, Back massage or Shoulder + Back massage by pressing the button on the panel. I tried the Shoulder + Back massage and I could feel the massager thumping me starting from my shoulders then to my lower back and back to my shoulders, repetitively. To change the rhythm of the thumping, I experimented with the Relax/Rhythm button, with 7 different patterns of massage installed. On top of that, I could also adjust the strength of the thumping. I found that the Medium strength works well for me while my MIL prefers the Hi strength.

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“How do I work this?”

My nephew-in-law, Hanson, was intrigued by the massager and wanted to have a go at it too! We helped him put it on since it’s quite heavy for his small-size, but the adjustable strap at the back allows the back and shoulder massager to fall in place nicely. He started to explore the buttons on his own and enjoyed the massage.

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Exploring the buttons

Look at his pose once he was satisfied with the options he chose! Such a relaxed and comfortable look on his face! :P For someone small and bony like him, I’d recommend to use the Lo strength option for maximum comfort. After using it for 15 minutes, he said he had this ticklish feeling at the back, which is actually common because all the massage acts had caused improved blood circulation that resulted in a ticklish sensation.

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Rest and relax in a bliss

Soon, it was his sister Heidi’s turn. She was smaller so the unit looked like it was bigger than her. Fortunately, the back could be adjusted such that the shoulder and back massage pads fell into place nicely.

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Heidi and the uMama Warm massager

Before long, she was enjoying the massage while watching TV. She found the Lo strength massage to be most comfortable while the Medium strength was a little too hard on her. After her 15-minute cycle was up (the unit stops automatically after 15 minutes), she requested to do it again! It seemed that she was enjoying it very much!

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Watching TV while being massaged

After the massage, I saw her scratching her back because of the ticklish feeling she experienced, too. It was quite a funny sight. The feeling only lasted for a couple of minutes, after which she wanted to do it again. It looks like my MIL would have to share the unit with Heidi! :P

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A face of bliss

Overall, here are some of the comments from all of us after using the uMama Warm back massager:

Pros:

1. Easy to operate with straightforward buttons. Even a young child is able to use it without supervision.

2. Seven types of massage patterns/rhythms available.

3. Comfortable padding on the back and front.

4. The massage improved blood circulation which was apparent from the ticklish feeling.

5. A massager suitable for all ages.

Cons:

1. Position of the control panel faces front, which means we have to twist the panel towards us to see the control buttons clearly.

2. Only thumping massage was available. It would be good if there is kneading motion incorporated in the future.

So, if you’re interested to purchase this massager, I would suggest you to get it during the Mother’s Day promotion period (11th April to 8th May 2011) to get the best deals. There are two deals available to get the uMama Warm massager:

Mother’s Day promotion for uMama Warm massager

The second deal of RM888 for uMama Warm + uVision Pro Eye Massager is quite worthy, since the original price for both is RM699 + RM368 = RM1067. To save an extra RM30 (making the package price to be RM858), you can join the Osim Facebook page and search for the Promo Code there! It’s quite easy. :) If you still can’t find it, email me. ;)

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Well, this is my suggestion for a Mother’s Day gift. What’s yours? Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! You’re all the best! :)

The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

Yes, before we know it, Mother’s Day is around the corner again, reminding us of how very special and unique our mother is. It is also the day for us to show mummy dearest how she much she is loved for bringing us into this world and for making us who we are today. What are you planning to get for this wonderful lady on this special day where she gets to be pampered and treated like a Queen? Well Saucer has always been wanting to get a massage chair for his mother since she has gone through a hard life bringing up 4 children on her own (his father had left this world many years ago). But we all know how expensive massage chairs can be, with the cheapest one costing at least RM5,000 or more.

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uMama Warm Mother’s Day promotion

So when I came across this new product from Osim called uMama Warm Back Massager, I instantly thought how perfect this gift would be for her. The uMama Warm is a portable massager that works on the neck, shoulders and back, while warming the tummy at the comfort of your own couch. Sure, it is not a massage chair but it serves the purpose of massaging and pampering a tired body, at a fraction of the price of a massage chair.

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uMama Warm box

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Unboxing the uMama Warm

My first impression of uMama Warm was how heavy the unit was. Further inspection revealed that most of the weight lay on the back part of the massager where the rollers are, which actually works to give more pressure during the massage.

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uMama Warm in a box

Apart from the weight, I was absolutely impressed with the quality and the feel of the material used! The beige-coloured outer layer felt just like leather, but upon inquiry, it was actually synthetic material that is high in quality. I thought the material was soft, smooth and nice to touch, not to mention the light pastel beige colour gives it a certain elegance and class.

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uMama Warm front view

The unit was straightforward to use, with only a control panel attached to the front and a power cord attached to the back. There are 5 buttons with different functions:

  1. Stop button
  2. Shoulder/Back button – to choose among Shoulder massage, Back massage or Shoulder + Back massage
  3. Relax/Rhythm button – to choose among the 7 modes of massages available
  4. Heat button – to turn on/off the warming function for the tummy
  5. Strength button – to choose between low, medium and high strength for the massage

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Love the pseudo-leather material

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5 buttons

The unit seemed easy enough to operate, with various options to cater to different needs. Of course, we’ll have to let Saucer’s mom try it out to know if it’s easy for her.

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Smooth and soft material with padding within

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A closer look at uMama Warm

The back of the uMama Warm is fully padded with the shoulder and back area filled with rollers where the massage takes place. I like the adjustable centre portion that allows one to adjust the position of uMama to massage either the upper or lower back, just by grasping the straps attached to the sides of it.

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Back view of uMama Warm

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Side view of uMama

The front straps are also padded and soft, giving one a comfortable hold, something to hug even.

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Seven modes of massage as seen on the manual

In conclusion, here are some of my views on uMama Warm massager, based on first impression:

Pros:

  1. Lovely leather-like material and feel, soft and smooth to touch
  2. Well-padded and comfortable to lean on
  3. Easy to use with only 5 buttons to control
  4. Strength of massage can be adjusted
  5. Almost like a portable massage chair
  6. Warming effect to the tummy is very comforting

Cons:

  1. Quite heavy especially for someone with smaller built
  2. Length of power cord is limited

Searching online, we found that the Osim uMama Warm has quite a number of benefits as shown below:

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Benefits of uMama Warm

Well, I can’t comment on that yet as I haven’t tried it out. We are meeting Saucer’s mom (my mother-in-law, in case you didn’t know yet :P) this week and we can’t wait to let her try it out! Watch out this space for my next post on her comments and feedback on our Mother’s Day gift! ;)

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For our mom!