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The benefits of massage therapy

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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

Acupuncture, Anxiety & DepressionAs 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

Glucose, Fructose and Sucrose: What's the Difference Between These Sugars ... and Which is the Worst for your Health?

Dr. Ann Doggett - Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Glucose, Fructose and Sucrose: What’s the Difference Between These Sugars … and Which is the Worst for Your Health?
© 2011 Health Realizations, Inc

 

The sugar in your soda and other favorite sugary treats may all go down sweetly, but a groundbreaking new study found they act very differently once in your body.

sugar intake

It may all taste equally sweet, but the type of sugar you eat matters big-time for your health.

The three main types of sugar in question are:

  1. Glucose: made when your body breaks down starches

  1. Fructose: the sugar found naturally in fruits and widely used in the form of high-fructose corn syrup

  1. Sucrose: table sugar

Researchers from the University of California, Davis compared glucose and fructose consumption among 32 overweight or obese people and found they resulted in very different health changes.

After drinking either a fructose- or glucose-sweetened beverage that made up 25 percent of their daily calories for 12 weeks, both groups gained a similar amount of weight. However, those drinking the fructose-sweetened beverage experienced an array of other unhealthy effects, including:

  • An increase in visceral fat, the kind that embeds itself between tissues in organs

  • Less sensitivity to insulin, one of the first signs of diabetes

  • Increased fat production in the liver

  • Elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol

  • Increased levels of triglycerides

People who drank the glucose-sweetened beverage, meanwhile, experienced no such changes.

"This suggests that in the same way that not all fats are the same, not all dietary carbohydrates are the same either," Peter Havel, professor of nutrition at the University of California Davis and lead author of the study told TIME magazine.

When glucose is consumed, a set of reactions occur in the body allowing it to be used as energy, and production of leptin, a hormone that helps control appetite and fat storage, is increased. Meanwhile, ghrelin, a stomach hormone, is reduced, which is thought to help hunger go away.

When fructose is consumed, however, it "appears to behave more like fat with respect to the hormones involved in body weight regulation," explains Peter Havel, associate professor of nutrition at the University of California, Davis. "Fructose doesn't stimulate insulin secretion. It doesn't increase leptin production or suppress production of ghrelin. That suggests that consuming a lot of fructose, like consuming too much fat, could contribute to weight gain."

And as this most recent study pointed out, it may cause other dangerous side effects as well.

Most Sweets Contain Fructose or Sucrose

This news may compel you to begin searching for glucose-sweetened versions of your favorite desserts and sodas, but most sugary products are made with either sucrose or fructose, often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.

Sucrose is made of 50% fructose and 50% glucose, whereas high-fructose corn syrup can be either 55% fructose, 45% glucose, or 42% fructose, 58% glucose.

What this means is that you’ll be hard pressed to find products sweetened with glucose, and may risk the side effects discovered in this study no matter which type you choose.

"This study provides the best argument yet that we should either decide to consume less sugar-sweetened beverages in general, or that we should conduct more research into the possibility of using other sweeteners that may be more glucose-based," Matthias Tschoep, an obesity researcher at the Obesity Research Center in the University of Cincinnati, said in TIME.

The Fructose-Diabetes Connection

According to Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, long-term consumption of sugared drinks, which are typically sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, may double your risk of obesity. Part of the risk is simply from the extra calories, but part is also due to the high fructose content in the drinks.

And a review of multiple studies by Havel and colleagues, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that, in animals, consuming large amounts of HFCS led to several early warning signs of diabetes, including:

Glucose Balance Busts Your Sugar Cravings

Gymnema sylvestre, dubbed the "sugar destroyer," is known to help weight loss by significantly decreasing sugar cravings, through improving the cells' natural intake and utilization of blood sugar.

Gymnema sylvestre (GS) leaves also contain antibacterial, anti-allergic and antiviral properties that have been reported to support:

  • Hypoglycemia

  • Cholesterol

  • Anemia

  • Digestion

  • Cough

  • Constipation

  • Water retention

  • Liver disease

Other reports also indicate Gymnema sylvestre has a role in supporting healthy cholesterol levels, including LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides.

  • Induced insulin resistance

  • Impaired glucose tolerance

  • Produced high levels of insulin

Ideally to help protect your health you should minimize your intake of sugars, especially HFCS, fructose and sucrose, by limiting your consumption of soda and other sugary foods and drinks.

Need Help Kicking Your Sugar Cravings?

Gymnema sylvestre, a plant native to the lush tropical regions of India, has bitter leaves, dubbed "sugar destroyers," that can actually eliminate the ability to taste sugar in your mouth, thereby reducing your cravings for sugar.

Meanwhile, Gymnema Sylvestre has shown promising results in safely controlling blood sugar levels in diabetics, while helping with weight loss, hypoglycemia, high cholesterol, anemia and digestion problems.

This herbal remedy is thought to work via gymnemic acid, its active ingredient. Gymnemic acid molecules have a unique shape that are similar to glucose, meaning they are able to fill cell receptors in the lining of your intestines, preventing uptake of sugar molecules and resulting in lower blood sugar levels

Ask your health car practitioner if natural supplements containing Gymnena sylvestre would be appropriate for you. Designs for Health's GlucoSupreme™ Herbalis an herbal remedy specifically designed to help maintain steady blood sugar levels. Along with Gymnema sylvestre standardized to contain 25% gymnemic acid, it combines other well-researched botanicals, resulting in a truly synergistic effect.



Sources

Journal of Clinical Investigation April 20, 2009

Time.com April 21, 2009

HealthNews.com April 23, 2009


 Read More

Dangers of Flouride in Water

Dr. Ann Doggett - Monday, May 16, 2011

Since the 1940's, fluoride has been used in toothpaste and is added to drinking water in many countries around the world.
The dental profession claims that fluoride is safe and necessary for good dental health.

Fluoride is actually toxic waste from the aluminium, phosphoric acid and phosphate fertilizer industries.

Independent studies have shown it is responsible for disorders of the teeth, bones, the brain, thyroid gland, lowered IQ and more.

Today, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, over 60 percent of Americans are receiving fluoride in their drinking water whether they want it or not.

It is an important controversy well worth exploring for yourself -- and this video provides a strong background to the story.

Video: (11:00)
 Read More

Healthy Habits

Dr. Ann Doggett - Tuesday, April 26, 2011

To Improve Nutrition: Read More

Healthy Tips to Avoid Pollen

Dr. Ann Doggett - Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Healthy Tips to Avoid Pollen

 Read More

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.

 Read More

Defend against Pollen, Seasonal, and other Stresses with WholeBody Solutions

Dr. Ann Doggett - Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Specialized cells of the immune system release histamine when challenged by substances such as pollen, dust, dander, etc.—things we can breathe, eat, or touch. But histamine is not the root of the body’s response.  Histamine may cause the outward responses you see and feel—but the problem stems from a shift in the body’s defense systems.  Building up these defenses help keep histamine at acceptable levels.  Read More

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

  Read More

Stir Fry Vegetable & Chicken (Serves 2)

Dr. Ann Doggett - Monday, February 07, 2011

-1 tsp. sesame oil Read More

Holistic Health and Wellness Survey

Dr. Ann Doggett - 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


 

 

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