All posts by Jennifer Buick

Massage to ease Arthritis.

Massage benefits for Arthritis.

A regular massage of muscles and joints, whether by trained therapist or by self-massage at home, can lead to a significant reduction in pain for people with arthritis, according to Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami, School of Medicine. In Field’s research and other recent studies on the effects of massage for arthritis symptoms, regular use of the simple therapy led to improvements in pain, stiffness, range of motion, hand grip strength and overall function of the joints.

Research has shown that massage can lower the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol, and boost production of serotonin, which, in turn, can improve mood. Additionally, massage can lower production of the neurotransmitter substance P, often linked to pain, and improve sleep as a result.

So that is all pretty compelling and of course when pain is reduced naturally then the use of pain killers is also reduced and this is a good thing for general health.

Rheumatoid arthritis
In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, a tough membrane that encloses all the joint parts. This lining, known as the synovial membrane, becomes inflamed and swollen. The disease process can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.
Osteoarthritis
The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis involves wear-and-tear damage to your joint’s cartilage — the hard, slick coating on the ends of bones. Enough damage can result in bone grinding directly on bone, which causes pain and restricted movement. This wear and tear can occur over many years, or it can be hastened by a joint injury or infection.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet While there is no specific “diet” that people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), should follow, researchers have identified certain foods that can help control inflammation. Many of them are found in the so-called Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fish, vegetables and olive oil, among other staples.
Dr James Dowd, who works at the Arthritis Institute of Michigan, has been prescribing vitamin D to people suffering from chronic disorders. Just in case there were any doubts about the importance of vitamin D – the ‘sunshine’ vitamin – two major studies published last week confirmed just how essential it is for good health.
One study found that people with higher levels in their blood were more likely to survive cancer, the other that having very low levels increased your risk of cardiovascular disease. Previous research has linked high levels with fighting off infection and helping with all sorts of chronic problems. But there is a catch: we make most of our vitamin D when our skin is exposed to fairly strong sunlight and we can get more from oily fish and a few foods like cereals that have been fortified with it.
Referencing.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/basics/causes/con-20034095

http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/other-therapies/massage/massage-benefits.php

http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory-diet.php

http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/can-vitamin-d-really-cure-arthritis

A pain in the neck- Natural headache relief.

When a Pain in the Neck Becomes a Pain in the Head

Nobody likes being in pain, especially from headaches. It turns out your mom was right when she told you not to slouch… There’s a connection between poor posture and headache frequency. ‘If someone has chronic headache pain, [we find] he or she often sits in a slouched, head-forward position,’ explains Dr. Merle Diamond, associate director of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago. ‘That aggravates the muscles of the head and neck and can lead to more muscle spasms and more pain.’ Doctors call these cervicogenic headaches, and they can cause something called ‘referred pain.’ While the problem may originate in your neck, it’s the back of your head that aches.
Tension-type headaches are often due to muscle irritation in the neck; the resulting headache is often felt around the area where the muscles insert at the base of the skull. ‘The head is essentially a 10-pound structure, If it’s not balanced on the top of your neck and shoulders, it can certainly aggravate the cervical spine and trigger muscle tension, and muscle tightness. This can lead to spasms or the development of headaches.

Sit up straight, feel better.
“If you already have neck problems, you may be one of the unlucky people predisposed to these headaches. One study found that people with joint or muscular abnormalities in their heads and necks were more likely to suffer from both tension and migraine headaches. However, if you tend to get headaches at the end of the day, poor posture may be the culprit.

Improving your posture and strengthening your neck and shoulder muscles can make a big difference—in clinical trials, people who did posture and strengthening exercises reduced their headache frequency.

“At work, make sure that you’re sitting straight, not hunched over, and take regular breaks away from your computer. Finally, implement a regular stretching routine into your day. Even a simple series of neck stretches (tilting your head to the left, then right, forward and back, for example) helps. You’ll reduce your chances of leaving work with stiff shoulders and an achy, pounding head—and your mom will compliment you on your new and improved posture as well.”

And after all this, remember that massage has been shown effective in relaxing tense muscles that may be contributing to posture problems and headaches!

One of the great benefits of massage is that it can help you maintain a better state of health naturally. It’s always a good thing when you can reduce the levels of residual toxins in your body rather than adding new ones—and massage can help to do that.

Make your regular massages a high priority and help your body stay as healthy and happy as possible. See you at your next appointment.

How often should you have a massage?

The Benefits of Regular Massage Sessions

Once people discover the many joys and benefits of massage, a common question arises—“How often should I schedule my massage sessions?” Of course, there is no set answer, but studies indicate that massage at regular intervals is most beneficial to your overall health.

In a Newsweek article entitled “The Magic of Touch,” the advantages of frequent massage are considered. The following excerpts help to answer the question, “How often?”

“A weekly massage may seem an indulgence, but new research suggests it
can have major health benefits . . .

“Since instituting a program of massage, job-specific exercises and ergonomics in 1990, the Virginia-based company [Wampler Foods] has cut repetitive-stress injuries by 75 percent . . .

“From assembly lines to corporate headquarters, Americans are discovering the magic of massage. At Boeing and Reebok, headaches, back strain and fatigue have all fallen since the companies started bringing in massage therapists . . . Doctors have started prescribing massage to help patients manage stress and pain. And a few HMOs have begun sharing in the cost. ‘Massage is medicine, not merely an indulgence,’ says Laura Favin of Not Just a Luxury Onsite Massage in New York . . .

“Scientists are now finding that massage can reduce blood pressure, boost the immune system, dampen harmful stress hormones and raise mood-elevating brain chemicals such as serotonin. And you can’t beat massage for relaxation. Babies fall asleep faster when massaged than when rocked—and they stay asleep, rather than waking the moment Mom tiptoes away. All these factors, says Tiffany Field, founder of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s School of Medicine, ‘put massage in the same category with proper diet and exercise as something that helps maintain overall health.’ . . .

“The effects aren’t always so straightforward. Massage can also stimulate nerves that carry signals from the skin to the brain, triggering changes throughout the body. . . . Field showed that massage (as opposed to light touch) stimulates the brain’s vagus nerve, causing the secretion of food-absorption hormones, including insulin. Nerve stimulation probably explains other benefits as well. . . . Dr. James Dillard of Columbia University [says], ‘Every nerve cell in the body has some connection to every other nerve cell.’ . . .

“Like exercise, massage does more for you if you engage in it regularly . . . even a monthly treatment can help maintain general health. ‘Touch is basic to survival,’ says Elliot Greene, past president of AMTA [American Massage Therapy Assn.]. That’s all the excuse anyone should need to indulge.”

Remember, your body strives to maintain optimum health by keeping all of its systems in balance. Along with proper nutrition, exercise and rest, massage relaxes tense muscles and stimulates the body’s communication lines to help it do its job—and to keep you feeling your best. So, make regular massage a priority in your life for a healthier tomorrow!

Body Business regular massage rates:
$130/hr and $170 1.5hr for weekly appts.
Couple (1 therapist) $240 for 1hr each, $320 for 1.5hr each.

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Sweet Dreams

Regular massages for better life balance.

Regular massages for better life balance.

An important element in maintaining your health is getting adequate sleep. Your body can’t be expected to properly recharge and rebuild itself without sufficient rest. As people grow older, they often find achieving quality sleep more elusive.

How much sleep is enough? The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours per night of sound sleep for good health and vitality. Following are some tips compiled by Dr. Patrick J. Bird, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance, University of Florida:

• Go to bed and rise at the same time each day. And establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine to unwind. Try to follow this routine even on weekends. The hours of sleep you get before midnight are the most beneficial.

• Evaluate your sleeping environment. It should be not too cold, too hot, brightly lit or noisy. And don’t use the bedroom for working, reading or watching television.

• Don’t drink liquids or eat more than a light snack before going to bed. If you suffer from heartburn, avoid food for several hours before bedtime.

• Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine can delay sleep. Alcohol can interrupt sleep late in the night.

• Exercise regularly. Fitness can improve sleep, particularly as we get older.

The No. 1 cause of short-term sleeping difficulties is stress, so your regular massage sessions can be a key part in getting that restful night’s sleep!

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>>> Personal column <<<

I want to start this message with a “thank you” for allowing me the opportunity to be your therapist and (I sincerely hope) make a difference in your life. This wonderful profession of massage therapy is extremely rewarding. Being able every day to help people reduce stress and to feel better—as well as contributing to the improvement of their health condition—is a dream come true.

Your continued trust and support of my services is very important to me, and I want you to know how much it means to me.

This issue offers some interesting information on some of the recent research done on the benefits of regular massage. Too often people wait until they experience pain to schedule a massage session. Massage’s many benefits offer you the most gains when you get treatments on a regular basis.

As always, please feel free to let me know of any particular areas we need to address at your next session. I want you to get the most from each and every massage session! See you soon.

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Did you know? . . . Today, we average seven hours of sleep each night. Before the development of the electric light, the average nightly amount was ten hours.

Tell someone you care about to experience the benefits of massage—they’ll be glad you did!

Thanks for telling your friends about my services—
your referrals are always appreciated!

Beating Stress Before it Beats You

work life balanceLet’s start off with the good news—massage is a great health aid that has been shown to reduce stress and its accompanying physical health threats. An Internet search on “effects of stress” supplied over 250,000 related articles, and most of the references in this issue are excerpted from the results. For instance:

Under severe stress, when muscles are over-worked, the body shows many weakening symptoms such as soreness, stiffness, and even muscle spasms. Heightened stress responses accumulate lactic acid in the muscle and waste air inside the body. It exhausts the body and de-motivates the mind to remain energized and active.

Why Massage is Rejuvenating:

  • Massage improves circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids. Increased blood flow brings fresh oxygen to body tissues.
  • Increased oxygen flow eliminates waste products from inside the body, and enhances recovery from diseases.
  • Therapeutic massage boosts circulatory and immune systems to benefit blood pressure, circulation, muscle tone, digestion, and skin tone. It also improves the performance of the lungs.
  • As muscle tone improves, so do the nerves that connect them, including the spinal cord and the brain.
  • Therapeutic massage can promote general well being, enhance confidence, and self-assuredness.
  • Massage is an excellent relaxant that also increases health and well being. (*1)     

How Does Stress Affect Health?

The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress can be positive, keeping us alert and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between challenges. As a result, the person becomes overworked, and stress-related tension builds.
 
Stress that continues without relief can lead to a condition called distress—a negative stress reaction. Distress can disturb the body’s internal balance or equilibrium—leading to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.

Stress also becomes harmful when people use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs to try to relieve their stress. Unfortunately, instead of relieving the stress and returning the body to a relaxed state, these substances tend to keep the body in a stressed state and cause more problems. Consider the following facts:
 

  • Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
  • Seventy-five to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • Stress is linked to six of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. (*2)

Stress Management 

The University of Washington, Department of Orthopedics, lists three components of a successful stress management program: learn how to reduce stress; learn how to accept what you cannot change; and learn how to overcome the harmful effects of stress.

Reducing stress 

  • Identify the causes of stress in your life. 
  • Share your thoughts and feelings. 
  • Simplify your life as much as possible. 
  • Manage your time & conserve your energy. 
  • Set short-term and life goals for yourself. 
  • Do not turn to drugs and alcohol. 
  • Become as mentally and physically fit as possible. 
  • Develop a sense of humor and have some fun. 
  • Get help to cope with hard-to-solve problems. (*3)

How Stress Makes Us Old

It’s long been suspected that a difficult life can make people look old before their time. New research shows that stress actually does age us prematurely—right down to our DNA. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, studied the DNA of 39 women who had spent years caring for their chronically ill children. They specifically examined the women’s telomeres, which are pieces of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes and play a critical role in cell division. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres shorten; they therefore can serve as a marker of a cell’s biological age. The women with chronically ill children, the study found, had shorter telomeres than a group of women with healthy kids. The more stressed the woman, the greater the wear on her DNA. The difference was so dramatic that the researchers estimated that the cells of the highly stressed moms had undergone the equivalent of 10 years of additional aging compared to the low-stress group. “Older” cells, in turn, can be vulnerable to a host of diseases. “If we feel stress, it needs to be taken seriously,” Elissa Epel tells New Scientist. “It may be embodied at the cellular level.”   —The Week,  Dec. 17, 2004

References:
1. www.lifepositive.com 
2. www.my.webmd.com
3. www.arthritis.about.com

Do you know someone who needs a little break? Give them a “mini-vacation” with a massage gift certificate—a ticket to a special destination!

“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.”             
—Johann von Goethe