May 8, 2013
We have long heard that eight, 8 ounce glasses of water is the amount we need each day. Many people think this sounds like a lot, but it’s not even the amount we need. Each of us actually needs one half of our body weight in ounces of water. That’s 80 ounces, or close to three quarts, for a 160-pound woman.
There is little scientific evidence on what the human body’s need for water is. The reasons for this are complex. First, most people do not have a good grasp on the feeling of thirst, myself included. I often confuse thirst with hunger and when being good, grab an apple. The second reason is we retain water at different levels. Your water needs depend on how much or how little you exercise, your overall health, your genetics and the level of humidity in your environment.
Thirst is your body’s signal that you need to drink water – but by the time most of us feel thirsty, we are already dehydrated. Losing just a percent of the body’s water can hinder metabolic processes, create exhaustion and decrease athletic performance. Drinking enough water to satisfy your immediate thirst may not be enough to supply your body’s needs, it can take up 24 hours to fully rehydrate cells.
Although sports drinks, energy drinks, and vitamins infused waters sound appealing – thanks to marketing teams that rake in a purported $26 million in sales yearly – they are not the best choices to rehydrate. Water is the best thing you can drink to hydrate your body for its daily needs. (According to exercise physiologists, sports beverages are deeded only during ultra-long endurance events.)
Manufactured drinks often contain simple sugars, such as high fructose corn syrup, glucose, sucrose, dextrose, or fructose, and are linked to obesity, tooth decay, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Sports and energy drinks or vitamin-infused waters claim to have beneficial ingredients, but the levels of vitamins in those drinks are often low or not the vitamins the American public is typically in need of. These drinks do not contain the nutrients, including calcium, potassium, and folate, needed to round out one’s diet, and often contain a significant number of calories. A container of one popular energy drink, for example, has 250 calories and 63 grams of sugar, which is more carbohydrates then what most dietitians recommend per meal.
Source: Massage Mag
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May 7, 2013
Researchers recently focused on the use of massage therapy during labor to determine, among other factors, whether massage would have any effect on delaying the use of an epidural. The results of the research showed a delay in epidural use in association with massage therapy.
The study “Massage therapy and labor outcomes: a randomized controlled trial” involved 77 healthy women, ranging in age from 18-35 and arriving at the hospital in spontaneous labor. Women included in the study were giving birth for the first time to a single infant, with cephalic presentation and 37-41 completed weeks of pregnancy.
Once the women consented to participate in the study, they were randomly assigned to receive either massage during labor or standard care followed by massage during the first 24 hours postpartum. For those assigned to receive massage during labor, the intervention began right away.
“The massage technique used was Swedish massage, but the exact location and nature of the massage was negotiated between the women and then therapist,” state the study’s authors. ”The protocol provided massage therapy for up to five hours per participant, but women were permitted to choose to receive it only for part of that time.”
According to the researchers, the limit of five hours was selected as the maximum number of hours one massage therapist could provide the massage without becoming exhausted. The massage came to a stop if and when each subject chose to receive epidural.
The main outcome measure for the study was the timing of epidural with respect to cervical dilation compared to women in the standard care group. The mean cervical dilation at the time of epidural insertion was 5.9 centimeters amont women in the massage group and 4.9 centimeters among the women receiving standard care.
There was no statistically significant differences between these two groups for the other outcome measures, but total scores for Short Form McGill Pain Questionnaire were lower among the women in the massage group during labor.
“We report a delay in epidural insertion of a centimeter associated with massage therapy by a registered massage therapist and a reduction in pain perception of up to 20 points on the McGill Pain Questionnaire out of a total possible difference of 64.” state the study’s authors. ”Our inability to demonstrate statistically significant results may have been a consequence of our need to limit the period for massage to five hours due to the fatigue on part of the therapist.”
Source: Massage Mag
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May 2, 2013
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April 25, 2013
For Self-Care, Pour a Cup of Coffee or Tea
Both green tea and coffee may help lower stroke risk, new research indicates. The effects are more potent when both beverages are part of a person’s diet.
Researchers asked 83,269 Japanese adults about their green tea and coffee drinking habits, following them for an average 13 years, according to a press release from theAmerican Heart Association. They found that the more green tea or coffee people drink, the lower their stroke risks.
• People who drank at least one cup of coffee daily had about a 20 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who rarely drank it.
• People who drank two to three cups of green tea daily had a 14 percent lower risk of stroke and those who had at least four cups had a 20 percent lower risk, compared to those who rarely drank it.
• People who drank at least one cup of coffee or two cups of green tea daily had a 32 percent lower risk of intracerebral hemorrhage, compared to those who rarely drank either beverage.
Participants in the study were 45 to 74 years old, almost evenly divided in gender, and were free from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The research was published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Source; Massage Mag
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April 22, 2013
by Suzanne Scurlock-Durana, C.M.T., C.S.T.-D.
One easy shortcut to getting grounded is to feel the sensation of your feet on the floor.
1. Try rubbing your feet back and forth, or put pressure on them to generate more feeling.
2. Allow yourself to imagine putting down roots into the earth beneath you and drawing in whatever would nourish you most from the rich energy field of the earth.
3. Notice how the rest of your body feels when you do that. Most people describe a feeling of steadying and centering.
More resources are available for this process on my website, www.healingfromthecore.com.
Source: Massage Mag
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April 11, 2013
Running a massage practice might sound like a relaxing job—to anyone who hasn’t run a massage practice. But along with the care and healing that takes place in the session room comes scheduling clients, advertising, marketing, washing the linens and paying the bills.
According to new research, massage therapists and everyone else who meditates can find peace in the midst of the storm of life, and benefit from the calming effects of meditation even when not in the lotus position.
The study found that participating in an eight-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on how the brain functions even when someone is not actively meditating.
Investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston University (BU), and several other research centers also found differences in those effects based on the specific type of meditation practiced.
“This is the first time that meditation training has been shown to affect emotional processing in the brain outside of a meditative state,” said says Gaëlle Desbordes, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH and at the BU Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technology.
The current study was designed to test the hypothesis that meditation training could also produce a generalized reduction in amygdala response to emotional stimuli, measurable by functional magnetic resonance imaging. The amygdala is a structure at the base of the brain that is known to have a role in processing memory and emotion.
The study also compare mindful-attention meditation, which focuses on the breath and thoughts; and compassion meditation, which focuses on cultivating feelings of compassion.
In the mindful attention group, the after-training brain scans showed a decrease in activation in the right amygdala in response to all images, supporting the hypothesis that meditation can improve emotional stability and response to stress.
In the compassion meditation group, right amygdala activity also decreased in response to positive or neutral images. But among those who reported practicing compassion meditation most frequently outside of the training sessions, right amygdala activity tended to increase in response to negative images—all of which depicted some form of human suffering.
No significant changes were seen in the non-meditating control group or in the left amygdala of any study participants.
The study was published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
• Mindful Multitasking: Meditation First Can Calm Stress, Aid Concentration
Source: Massage Mag
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April 4, 2013
- Kneel on the floor with one knee down (left) and the other foot flat on the floor (right).
- Maintain a 90-degree angle at each knee.
- Tuck your tailbone as you maintain a straight spine
- Gently press your hips forward to stretch the front of your left him.
- Switch legs and repeat on the right.
Tags: At Voorhees Town Center, benefits of massage, DIY Massage, DIY stretching, half-kneeling hip flexor stretch, healing arts, hip flexor stretch, hip stretch, Human Interest, massage school, massage schools new jersey, Rizzieri School for the Healing Arts, stretching, Voorhees Town Center —
April 3, 2013
Why Does Touch Feel Good?
A Question of Basic Science
By Diana L. Thompson
Humans and other animals use touch to communicate, explore their environment, heal, learn, sense danger, and more. On a molecular level, it is the least understood of all the senses. While there are several types of touch-sensor neurons, it is not known how these neurons respond to force.1 Our ability to sense gentle touch is known to develop early and remain ever-present in our lives, yet, until now, scientists have not known exactly how humans and other organisms perceive such sensations.2
For the past 100 years, researchers have attempted to differentiate between neurons that sense light touch and those triggered by noxious stimuli or pain. Light touch is the sense that allows musicians to find the right notes on an instrument and practitioners to differentiate between an adhesion and healthy tissue. Applying just the right touch allows us to grasp a pen to write, cradle a teacup to drink, and rub a sore scalene muscle without causing more pain or impinging a spinal nerve.
Recently, scientists have discovered answers to questions such as: Why does the same touch cause one person to cringe and pull away and another to breathe deeply and relax? (Just like our furry friends, the hair on our skin makes our skin a social organ, processing social touch.3) Why do some people have more tactile acuity than others? (Smaller hands have a keener sense of touch because sensory neurons are closer together.4) Is direct skin-to-skin contact more effective than mechanized stroking? (Yes! The neural response to human touch is greater than similar touch with an inanimate object.5) How is it that practitioners can recall tactile information, for example a client’s physical nuances, as soon as we lay our hands on her? (Quantitative tactile memory exists in the frontal lobes and can be controlled consciously.6)
Identifying the various sensory neurons and their response to force may help us understand how and when to touch others. We connect with our own sensory neurons skillfully and without thought. What might we do differently to connect with our clients’ various neurons more specifically and effectively?
Basic Science vs. Applied Research
Scientific research can be broken down into two general categories of investigation: basic science and applied research. In the realm of basic science, also referred to as mechanistic research, studies attempt to uncover how something works. Applied research simply asks, “Does this work?” and poses questions regarding safety and effectiveness as they relate to specific populations.
The studies that directly impact massage and bodywork practitioners address the practical application of hands-on techniques or related methods of treatment for specific populations of people. For example, a study comparing two types of massage therapy for chronic low-back pain—full-body relaxation massage versus specific treatment techniques—has been referenced in a few Somatic Research columns.7 The study results are intriguing: both types of massage were equally effective in reducing the symptoms of chronic back pain. This is an example of applied research, and the implications to clinical practice are palpable. It also leaves us with a question best answered by basic science.
Basic science, or mechanistic research, explains the how and why of things. In the realm of somatic therapies, these studies explain the physiological mechanisms underlying touch—what is happening underneath the skin when we touch the body in various ways. In the example above, the question on most of our minds after reading the results was, “Why does gentle, nonspecific massage have similar positive effects to deep, specific therapeutic massage when they feel so different?” Will understanding the effects of gentle touch help us identify strategies to mediate the underlying dysfunction, and design effective and safe treatments specific to our clients’ needs?
Implications of Basic Science
The ultimate goal of data from the lab is to eventually inform clinical decision making. There are few good examples in massage research. A series of studies have shown that abdominal pumping, one beat per minute for four minutes, can increase free white blood cells from a normal range of 50–150 cells up to 800.8 As a result, we can claim that massage improves immune function.
Still, the implications of basic-science research are not as tangible as in applied research. As yet, there is no definitive indicator of the mechanism behind massage therapy, and therefore no confirmation of our theories on how therapeutic touch works. As a result, we continue to use physiological markers to measure, rather than explain, the general benefits of massage. Cardiovascular markers such as blood pressure, heart rate, and heart rate variability show the effects of massage on anxiety, pain, and stress. Salivary cortisol levels may also demonstrate the benefits of massage on anxiety, pain, and stress, though whether or not massage plays a causative role in reducing cortisol is currently in question.9
Mechanisms for Gentle Touch
In 2009, Merkel cells were confirmed as key in sensing light touch.10 Merkel cells are necessary for our hands to feel texture and shape, and to sense shifts as tissue softens and congestion eases. Without the ability to sense light touch, skilled hands-on therapy would not be possible.
While studying the sense of touch, Duke University scientists pinpointed specific neurons that appear to regulate perception. The sensory neurons are characterized by thin spikes, and based on their volume, these protrusions determine the cell’s sensitivity to force. This study discovered that the volume of filopodia—the spikes on class III neurons—influences the degree of sensitivity and that the filopodia can form, grow, or disappear in a matter of minutes.11
Duke professor W. Daniel Tracy says, “By learning more about touch sensing, we can begin to explore why these neurons become so responsive to stimuli and how it is that these signals become so painful. We might—in the long run—help people with chronic pain issues in new ways by looking at underlying molecular mechanisms.”
In a similar study at University of California at San Francisco, a world leader in brain research, scientists also identified the subset of nerve cells responsible for communicating gentle touch in fruit fly larvae. NOMPC, a particular protein found abundantly at the filopodia of class III neurons, was found to be the key to gentle-touch sensitivity in the flies.12
Identifying a neuron cell and its protein trigger in flies still leaves us with unanswered questions, such as what the analogous mechanism is in humans that confers gentle touch, or how NOMPC identifies touch or distinguishes between mechanical touch and human contact. But it helps researchers refine their strategies for studying gentle touch in humans. Most importantly, it prompts touch therapists to direct investigators to ask questions that can inform our practice. I continue to wonder how gentle, nonspecific touch can have similar effects on chronic pain as does deep touch targeted to the painful areas.
Clinical Studies on Gentle Touch
Let’s look at some of the applied research studies on gentle touch and see what the results tell us.
In a study at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a team of physical therapists worked with patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) to reduce grip force. Excessive gripping is common in those with MS and results in fatigue and decreased performance. Gentle touch applied to the affected hand was shown to significantly reduce the grip force required and regain control and coordination.13
In a study on preterm infants, the effects of two types of touch were analyzed in a neonatal intensive care unit in Iran: gentle human touch (GHT) and Yakson. With GHT, one hand is placed on the infant’s head and one on the infant’s abdomen. Yakson is a Korean technique using gentle touching and slow hand movement without pressure. Both were found to be equally beneficial in increasing sleep states and reducing fussy, awake states.14
And, in the above-referenced study comparing two types of massage therapy for chronic low-back pain, there was no clinically meaningful difference between the two types of massage in terms of relieving disability or symptoms.
Gentle touch has profound effects on specific classes of neurons, and it may be a valid tool for massage therapists and bodyworkers, in addition to, or in lieu of, deep-pressure techniques. In order to target class III sensory neurons, gentle touch must be employed, as they are designed specifically for differentiating subtle information.
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March 13, 2013
Good Eats – The Raw Food Diet – by Erin Zimniewicz Williams
When people say they are incorporating raw food into their diet, do you picture bland salads with raw veggies? The first time I made a meal and proclaimed it to be 100 percent raw and vegan, my husband turned up his nose. Later, he had a smile on his face as he dove in for a second plage.
More people are turning to raw products or are increasing the amount of raw foods in their deit, but what does that mean?
By definition, raw food is uncooked, unprocessed and usually organic. Most raw foods are made of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Some people also sprout whole grains and legumes or eat unpasteurized dairy, such as raw milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Uncooked means more than just not cooking in a pan or oven; to raw foodies, uncooked means the food has never been above 110 to 120 degrees. This would include how the food was made as well as the temperature during its packaging process, transportation, and storage. This temperature restriction ensures the natural enzymes present in the food in its raw form are still active when you sit down to enjoy it.
Temperatures above this restriction denature the natural enzymes in raw food, which then leaves only the enzymes in raw food, which then leaves only the enzymes produced by your digestive system available to you during metabolism and breakdown of what you have eaten.
This low temperature may also protect the good probiotic bacteria available in the food. Probiotic bacteria helps promote a healthy digestive system by colonizing the colon, making the environment inhospitable for pathogens. Probiotic bacteria also enhances systematic and intestinal immune functions and keep the intestinal lining healthy.
Increasing your intake of raw foods is considered healthy by many people – but a 100 percent raw food diet has both proponents and naysayers. The proponents tout the many nutritional gains, like the increased enzymes in raw foods to aid digestion, the fact that many cooking methods decrease vitamin content, and that sprouting increases the vitamin content of foods.
In the book Survival Into the 21st Century, author Viktoras Kulvinskas estimates the overall nutrient destruction in cooking can be as much as 80 percent. Most of the vitamins lost during cooking processes are the water-soluble vitamins riboflavin, thiamine, folic acid, and vitamin C.
However, eating a raw food diet can have drawbacks. For example, eating raw can increase the risk of becoming ill due to food-borne pathogens that are normally killed by high cooking temperatures. Cooking also helps decrease the effects of phytates, oxalates, tannins and other so-called anti-nutrients that bind to vitamins in foods and make vitamins less absorbable.
For example, cooking tomatoes for 30 minutes decreases the vitamin C level about one-third; however, it doubles the available concentration of the antioxidant lycopene (Dewanto, V. 2002) Soaking grains, nuts, tubers, seeds, beans is the raw foodies’ answer to decreasing phytates and other anti-nutrients. According to nutrition experts, soaking quinoa for 12-24 hours decreases the phytate concentration three times more than cooking alone.
I’m not a 100 percent raw food eater, but I try to incorporate both raw and fermented foods into my diet daily. Some raw foods are easy to add; it’s simple as adding more raw fruit and vegetables into your diet either as snacks, salads, juices, or smoothies. More complex raw recipes may require soaking and then making a meal using a blender, food processor, or dehydrator.
Don’t let that stop you. I have found many great family friendly recipes using spiraled zucchini instead of noodles and “cheese” appetizers made from soaked nuts and eaten with fresh veggies. Whatever your food choices, have fun and experiment.
Source: Massage Mag
Tags: affordable massage, At Voorhees Town Center, benefits of massage, good eats, Human Interest, massage therapy, raw food, raw food diet, Rizzieri School for the Healing Arts, science behind raw food, Voorhees Town Center —
March 12, 2013
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Relaxation techniques: Try these steps to reduce stress
Relaxation techniques can reduce stress symptoms and help you enjoy a better quality of life, especially if you have an illness. Explore relaxation techniques you can do by yourself.
By Mayo Clinic staff
Relaxation techniques are a great way to help with stress management. Relaxation isn’t just about peace of mind or enjoying a hobby. Relaxation is a process that decreases the effects of stress on your mind and body. Relaxation techniques can help you cope with everyday stress and with stress related to various health problems, such as cancer and pain.
Whether your stress is spiraling out of control or you’ve already got it tamed, you can benefit from learning relaxation techniques. Learning basic relaxation techniques is easy. Relaxation techniques also are often free or low cost, pose little risk and can be done just about anywhere. Explore these simple relaxation techniques and get started on de-stressing your life and improving your health.
The benefits of relaxation techniques
When faced with numerous responsibilities and tasks or the demands of an illness, relaxation techniques may take a back seat in your life. But that means you might miss out on the health benefits of relaxation.
Practicing relaxation techniques can reduce stress symptoms by:
- Slowing your heart rate
- Lowering blood pressure
- Slowing your breathing rate
- Increasing blood flow to major muscles
- Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
- Improving concentration
- Reducing anger and frustration
- Boosting confidence to handle problems
To get the most benefit, use relaxation techniques along with other positive coping methods, such as exercising, getting enough sleep, and reaching out to supportive family and friends.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Tags: affordable massage, At Voorhees Town Center, benefits of massage, healing arts, Human Interest, massage school, meditation, meditation techniques, relaxation techniques, relaxing meditation, Rizzieri School for the Healing Arts, Voorhees Town Center —