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The benefits of massage therapy

 

As good as a back rub from your sweetie feels, sometimes you need the hands of a professional.

That's because a growing body of evidence suggests muscle therapy provides a long and varied list of health benefits. In fact, more people get their muscles kneaded and rubbed for medical purposes than they do for relaxation or pampering, according to a recent survey. You know massage helps reduce stress and tension; here are some more potential benefits, based on research compiled by the American Massage Therapy Association:

Relieve chronic low-back pain.

Nearly everyone at some point has back pain that interferes with work and daily activities; if it lasts more than three months, it's considered chronic. One study showed people with long-lasting low-back pain who got a one-hour Swedish or structural massage once a week for 10 weeks felt and functioned significantly better and faster than those who received standard medical care; they also used less over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs. Other research found massage helps with osteoarthritis of the knee pain, fibromyalgia and nerve pain, among others.

Ease anxiety.

A review of studies that measured the stress hormone cortisol in people before and immediately after massage found the therapy lowered levels by up to about 50%. Massage also increased serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that help reduce depression. That may play into why massage has been shown to help people with anxiety disorders, to increase calm before surgery and to decrease stress and depression in cancer patients; in fact, a recent Turkish study found back massages given during chemotherapy significantly reduced anxiety and fatigue.

Reduce blood pressure.

Women with prehypertension (or slightly elevated blood pressure) who received three 10-minute Swedish massages a week for 10 total sessions lowered their pressure more than patients who relaxed in the same environment but with no massage, according to a small study. Other more recent research on 35 older adults showed therapeutic massage also helped reduce blood pressure, as well as improve stability.

Boost immunity.

Massage may give the immune system a boost by helping to increase activity levels of natural killer T cells, which fight off viruses and tumors. Past, preliminary science suggested full-body massage enhanced immune function of women with breast cancer; a newer but also early study on premature babies came to a similar conclusion: Those who received massage therapy had more active killer immune cells (and gained weight faster), compared with infants in the control group.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/weekend/health/doctors/2013/12/20/benefits-of-massage-therapy/4137819/

Acupuncture, Anxiety & Depression

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


By NADA LJUBINOVIC

As our broadband speeds up and our phones get smarter, some matters regarding our health get overlooked — especially our mental health. Tablets and smart phones have made it more convenient to be connected, but a large number of people still feel disconnected. Fortunately, the Internet also has allowed people to explore the possibilities of trying complementary therapies such as acupuncture.

Acupuncture is an ancient form of traditional Chinese medicine. It works on the principle of stimulating points in the body to correct imbalances in the flow of energy (Qi) through channels known as meridians. This belief is based on the interaction of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) and having profound effects on internal organs, which are either yin or yang.

Traditional Chinese medicine also recognizes the mind and body interacting as one, meaning that emotions have a physiological effect on the body. Five emotions are represented by the five elements:

  • Water (fear)
  • Wood (anger)
  • Fire (happiness)
  • Earth (worry)
  • Metal (grief)

Western medical practitioners traditionally have questioned the validity of traditional Chinese medicines such as acupuncture. More recently, acupuncture has been recognized as a legitimate treatment for some conditions and is growing in popularity.

Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses worldwide. Many people suffer some form of anxiety occasionally but others cannot manage this natural response to a stressful situation. When a person experiences a highly stressful or threatening scenario, the mind can be overloaded and fail to develop ways of coping.

Although the symptoms can be as manageable as an ominous feeling in the pit of the stomach, some suffer much worse. Anxiety can trigger the following responses:

  • physical, such as an irregular heartbeat
  • cognitive, which can cause negative thoughts
  • behavioral, which may include uncharacteristic aggression or restlessness
  • emotional, such as fear.

Depending on which of these symptoms are suffered, different anxiety disorders may be diagnosed. These include:

  • generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • panic disorder
  • social anxiety disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

There are a variety of causes of anxiety; all have different treatments. A person’s personality, behavior or thinking style can cause them to be more susceptible to anxiety. Research has proven it also can be hereditary. Biochemical factors such as a chemical imbalance in the brain also has been proven to cause anxiety.

Traditional Chinese medicine relates anxiety to an imbalance of the heart and kidney. Fire represents the heart and joy according to the five elements. The diagnosis is that too much heat in the heart will imbalance the interaction with the kidney (represented as water and fear). This will result in the water organ failing to contain the fire organ rising up to the mind, leading to anxiety. Acupuncture on points around the heart, kidney, spleen and ear are used to treat anxiety.

In a comprehensive literature review appearing in a recent edition ofCNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics, it was proved that acupuncture is comparable to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which psychologists commonly use to treat anxiety (Errington-Evans, 2011). Another study published in the Journal of Endocrinology in March 2013 discovered stress hormones were lower in rats after receiving electric acupuncture (Eshkevari, Permaul and Mulroney, 2013).

Depression

It is estimated that approximately one in five people will experience clinical depression at least once in their lifetime. Although it is natural to feel sad and down at times, especially after experiencing loss, these slight effects can be managed with gradual lifestyle adjustments. Clinical depression, however, refers to a long-lasting and intense emotional, physical and cognitive state that greatly affects day-to-day life. Symptoms include:

  • Loss of positive associations and sense of achievement (lack of interest in normally pleasurable activities)
  • Negative thoughts (often worrying about the future)
  • Irritability, agitation and exhaustion
  • Changes in sleeping patterns (too much or too little)
  • Hopelessness (feeling trapped or suicidal)

The causes of depression are known to be similar to the causes of anxiety. It is traditionally treated with antidepressant medication, psychological methods or a combination of both.

Depression is considered to be a problem with circulating Qi around your body, according to traditional Chinese beliefs. The main organ responsible for circulating Qi is recognized as the liver with the heart and spleen playing supporting roles. The most common acupuncture treatment used to increase the flow of Qi is known as The Four Gates. This involves stimulating source points on both hands between the thumb and index finger and both feet between the big toe and second toe.

Anxiety and depression remain two of the most common mental disorders worldwide. As further research continues, acupuncture and other forms of complementary therapies are gradually being proved to be legitimate treatments for anxiety, depression and other illnesses. Perhaps more important than anything for our health is varying our lifestyles by trying alternative therapies, including exercise, yoga and meditation. It is important, however, to always get a second opinion and consult a doctor any time complementary therapies are tried.

References

Errington-Evans, N. (2011). Acupuncture for anxiety. CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics, 18(4), 277-284. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2011.00254.x

Eshkevari, L., Permaul, E., & Mulroney, S.E. (2013). Acupuncture blocks cold stress-induced increases in the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis in the rat. Journal of Endocrinology, 217(1), 95-104. doi: 10.1530/JOE-12-040

Healthy Habits

Dr. Ann Doggett - Tuesday, April 26, 2011

To Improve Nutrition: Read More

Healthy Tips to Avoid Pollen

BC Admin - Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Healthy Tips to Avoid Pollen

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Combat Allergy Season Early This Year

Dr. Ann Doggett - Monday, March 28, 2011

This is the perfect time of year to get your body ready for allergies, including:
flower pollen, tree pollen, mold, weeds, and grass.

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Spring Into Cleansing

Dr. Ann Doggett - Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What is Purification and why do I need it? Read More

Surviving Winter Challenges

Dr. Ann Doggett - Monday, February 07, 2011

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Stir Fry Vegetable & Chicken (Serves 2)

Dr. Ann Doggett - Monday, February 07, 2011

-1 tsp. sesame oil Read More

10 Good Reasons to go Organic

Dr. Ann Doggett - Monday, January 31, 2011

1.  Organic products meet stringent standards Read More

Quinoa Vegetable Soup (Serves 4-6)

Dr. Ann Doggett - Monday, January 31, 2011

  • -4 cups water
  • -¼ cup quinoa (well rinsed)
  • -½ cup carrots, diced
  • -¼ cup celery, diced
  • -2 Tbsp. onion, chopped
  • -¼ cup green pepper, diced
  • -2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • -1 tsp. olive oil
  • -½ cup tomatoes, chopped
  • -½ cup cabbage, chopped
  • -1 tsp. salt
  • -Parsley, chopped

Sauté quinoa, carrots, celery, onions, green pepper, and garlic in olive oil until golden brown.  Add water, tomatoes, and cabbage and bring to a boil.  Simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until tender.  Season to taste and garnish with parsley.

For Variations, try adding some of your other favorite vegetables, chopped and sautéed.

From the First Line Therapy Program

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Holistic Health and Wellness Survey

BC Admin - Monday, January 31, 2011

Answer the questions in each section below. Each response will be a number from 0 to 5, and will correspond to either how strongly you agree with the statement or, if the question is related to an activity, the frequency described in the parentheses. Following each section, total your score and compare your results to the descriptions given at the end of the survey. Read More

Top Ten Q & A about Chiropractic

Dr. Ann Doggett - Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Do you ever randomly question ... "I wonder if I need to go to a Chiropractor to help my symptoms (X,Y,Z)?"  "I wonder if it's safe," and "Is it effective?  Will it help me reach optimal health?"  Here are the top ten most Frequently Asked Questions being asked at the practice and we have the answers! Read More


 

 

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