WebMD, iRelax, WaterGalleryII & More for your iPad

My friend, Carmen, recently texted me to tell me she is suffering through a sinus infection. “My eyes are watering so bad I can hardly see,” she told me, ” and my eye sockets hurt, and the pain is radiating through my head and down the back of my neck. It hurts worse when I stand, walk, sit, or lean forward, as I’m doing now while typing this text. So, I’m gonna stop.”

Carmen’s not a complainer, so if she says she’s hurting you can believe it. My sympathies go out to her and I know how she must be feeling. I’ve been diagnosed as having sinusitis several times in my life, and it was never a fun time leading up to the doctor visit to get examined and ultimately get the drug to cure it. In fact, the last sinus infection I had was so painful that it felt as if someone had violently embedded a dull, electrically charged meat cleaver in my lower forehead, just above and between my eyes. Any sudden movement resulted in an electrical discharge from that cleaver that pulsates into my skull and rendered me incapable of anything more physically engaging than lying in bed in a dark room and moaning. It was not a pretty sight.

I did, however, manage to scuffle, zombie-like, to my Mac, and check out my symptoms on WebMD to verify ( as if I really needed verification ) that I was indeed suffering from sinusitis and not something far more serious, like an aneurism or a sudden onset of a brain tumor. Few things are worse than being in pain and being stressed out about the cause of said pain.

WebMD, along with a healthy dose of antibiotics, was just what the doctor ordered. Sinusitis, I found out, can be quite serious if left unchecked.

I recall looking through some medical books I found in the public library when I was a kid, and the photos of some of the diseases shown were enough to make me want to swear to eternal celibacy and adopt the life of a hermit in the wilds of Alaska, far away from people and disease. Being mauled by a polar bear was preferable to the slow, painful, oozing death some sicknesses cause, at least to my young mind. Even now, if you visit some websites that offer medical information what you sometimes find is far more confusing, and scary, than it actually is, and you come away thinking you have only days to live.

WebMD is different. The site gives you the information you need quickly and unembellished with pictures of open sores or nasty rashes. You get accurate descriptions of symptoms, possible causes, and possible treatments in clear, easy to understand, and easy to digest terms.

There’s a free app for all mobile iDevices that’s a cinch to use. Enter your symptoms and WebMD guides you to possible answers. Just knowing that the pain in my head would probably not be the end of me helped me to relax and concentrate on getting better.

The WebMD apps does require Internet access to work, and that’s its only problem, but given that we are usually connected, the problem is small. If you don’t already have a medical symptom checker then do yourself a favor and get WebMD.

Speaking of relaxing, it’s often hard to do so, especially with so much going on in our daily lives. Most everyone have problems chilling from time to time, and could use a bit of help. Some find they can relax after a hard workout, others through music, or entertainment. Still, others relax through chemical means.

No matter how you may try to relax sometimes it just doesn’t work and you’re lying in bed staring at shadows on the wall.

What you need is an alternative way to chill, a means to mentally disassociate yourself from the trials and tribulations of your everyday existence. What you need is iRelax Melodies.

Even if you’re as calm as a Buddhist monk you’ll want to check out this app. It’s an ambient noise generator with a wide selection of soothing background noises to pick from, which is cool and all, but this app lets to layer on the sounds so that you can create your own slice of noisy, relaxing heaven.

Let’s say you find that the sound of a light rain falling is calming, touch the “Rain” icon and hear the drip and splatter of raindrops in the distance and you remember a similar sound from a relaxing afternoon in your past. You may also recall that there were birds tweeting in the background. Tap the “Birds” icon and hear them frolic in the rain. Maybe there was a neighbor’s wind chimes tinkling in a light breeze. Touch the “Winds Chimes (sic)” icon to complete your mental image, and before you know it you’re adding your snore to the symphony.

This layering theme carries over to the music icons as well. Begin with the piano, then add the flute, and you have a moody soundtrack for a lazy evening. The instruments are timed perfectly to accompany each other. Adjust the volume for each layer when you first add them.

Deciding which layer of sound to use is too stressful? Shake your iPad and iRelax randomly picks several sounds for you. You never know, being underwater in a rainstorm maybe just thing to get you snoozing.

You can set a timer for how long you want your melodic ambience to play, and there’s even an alarm so that you don’t oversleep.

iRelax is ad supported, but they are visual ads so once your sounds are set you won’t be bothered by them. Check out iRelax and see if you do.

If you’re an audio and visual type and you have a yen for traditional Japanese art and music then you’ll want to take a look and listen to WaterGalleryII.

This is a simple app that displays a series of Japanese artwork while a koto is played. The artwork is beautiful, and the music is relaxing. Add to this the rippling effects of viewing the artwork through water and, well, you have WaterGalleryII.

Touching the screen produces more ripples and lets you adjust the speed at which the artwork scrolls by. There are no other adjustments to worry about, you just sit back and enjoy.

The app plays for about 2 minutes then it shuts down. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to do that because it ends abruptly. While it plays, it’s very soothing. Give WaterGalleryII a try.

That’s a wrap for this week. More free stuff below with direct links.