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Massage Therapy: More than Just Relaxation

Left and right massage therapy clinics are setting up shop in the Metro. Perhaps more and more people are getting into the healthy living trend that has taken over Hollywood.

More than just being a stress and pain reliever, massage therapy has a lot more benefits to offer that actually contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Though not known to many, massage therapy lowers blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, facilitates faster recovery from injury and healing and even improves posture. Not only that, it also enhances attentiveness and flexibility in an individual. Certainly, these are things that lie beyond the relaxation it is known for. This is perhaps why massage therapy as an industry has become so big nowadays.

Through constant application of pressure, massage therapy relaxes blood vessels and decreases systolic and diastolic blood pressure, decreases the level of cortisol or stress hormones and prevents anxiety and depression. These reduce the threat of heart attack and create a clear mind and body making the individual more dynamic and active. Massage also helps relax the muscles itself, allowing people to become more energized. This is the reason why people are so much into massage therapy. It rejuvenates the body from all the stress that we encounter everyday.

Since massage decreases one’s stress levels, it also lessens the possibility of an individual’s vulnerability to pathogens by increasing the body’s cytotoxic capacity. When the number of active natural killer cells increases, our body’s line of defense becomes stronger and more stable and becomes more effective in shielding us from illnesses.

Faster recovery from injury is another benefit of massage therapy because it relaxes the muscles and improves circulation of important body fluids making it easier for the body to deliver nutrients to vital organs and other parts of the body. It also initiates pain management when the injured part is undergoing treatment since it activates the parasympathetic nervous system causing the production of endorphins which are natural pain killers thus speeding up the healing process.

Other than these good effects, massage therapy can correct bad posture which causes pain and stress in muscles that can lead to the body’s breakdown. It eases the tension in worn out muscles, soothes pressure points and increases the flexibility in joints by stimulating the production of body fluids and lubricants, so as to allow the body to position itself in a painless way. Thus, the individual can move freely and carry out daily tasks without hassle.

As shown in electroencephalogram (EEG) patterns, regular massage can also improve a person’s mathematical ability due to increased attentiveness because of the elimination of stress. The absence of stress imposes less pressure on an individual resulting to a more concentrated and focused mind, free of worries and distracting thoughts.

Massage therapy may be considered as a simple recreational activity however it does more than just restoring one’s vitality because it lessens or even eliminates the dangers imposed on a person’s health. It also helps an individual loosen up because it releases unwanted energy and leaves the person with a renewed outlook and refreshed senses.

Study even shows that HIV patients who have regular massage therapy sessions notice an improvement in their condition. This proves that massage therapy is not a waste of time rather it is an individual’s key to having a sound mind and body.

Sports Injuries Prevention and Back Pain

In sports people learn techniques, and will train to enjoy the sports. The problem is most trainers fail to train the peers correctly. Injuries occur when inappropriate training and techniques are used. In addition, many people engage in sports failing to wear proper clothing, helmets, etc, and sometimes people will participate in sports when weather or visibility is poor.

When weather is cold, it is important that you wear warm attire. Wearing proper attire can help you avoid respiratory conditions, which affect the liver, lungs, etc, and can lead to back pain. In addition, those joining in exercises or sports should wear proper shoes to avoid slips and falls. Helmets are essential to prevent brain injuries. Brain injuries will affect the spinal columns, which leads to back pain.

When weather conditions interrupt visibility, it poses risks. In fact, various people have sustained back injuries while jogging at night, since these people failed to wear proper attire, such as reflective tabs, etc. Motorized accidents can occur when the driver cannot see the runner, jogger, etc. This means the vehicle hits you and if you are not lucky enough to die, you should pray that you are lucky enough to miss back pain. Back pain is one of the worst types of pain you will ever endure. Since many people are misinformed as to how to stretch the muscles before exercising, we can consider a few helpful steps.

As mentioned earlier it is important to perform proper exercises before joining in sports. Proper exercises start with warm ups. Warm ups include neck, shoulder, arm, and leg stretches.

How to perform neck stretch exercises:
To start neck stretch exercises you want to stand erect. Lift the head so that it extends upward. Now, move your head so that it bends slightly forward. Continue to change directions, bending until your chin rests slightly on your torso. Balance the head, turning it to the left or right and hold your position. After a few seconds turn your head so that it rolls to the other side of your body. Hold the jaw down, hold, and continue stretching the neck up to five counts.

How to perform shoulder stretches:
Again, stand erect. Lift your arms so that it extends above the head. Clasp the hands, joining them and pulling the hands downward and behind your head. Hold and repeat the steps five counts. Next, with your arms behind your back, reach down and hold your hands at a pointing position. That is, bring your fingers together at the points while one arm is over the shoulder and the other arm is behind the back. Pull in opposing directions once in position. If the arms are bent, extend the right arm, bending it back and over the right shoulder and the head. With your free hand, grab your elbow and hold. Pull the elbow gently toward the free shoulder, and repeat the steps on the left side.

You can practice the windmill, shoulder shrug, triceps stretches, arm circles and more to warm up before breaking into a full-speed workout.

How to perform the windmill:
The windmill is one of the oldest stretches in the history of workouts, yet the stretch is often missing in action, since many people do the windmill incorrectly. To start, stand erect. Your arms should be down at your side. Once in position, swing upward, the right arm and bring it to the front, up, and around behind your back so that it forms a circle. Repeat your steps up to five counts and continue to the other side.

Dietary Loss Supplement Weight Controversy

In the world of bodybuilding, the dietary loss supplement weight controversy is huge. If you are serious about bodybuilding, this is an issue that you cannot avoid – especially if you have body fat. So, what is the deal with the dietary loss supplement weight controversy?

In recent years, many weight loss dietary supplements have been pulled off of store shelves by the FDA. It seems that they have horrendous side effects, such as heart attacks, strokes, and liver damage. But weight loss is still important in the bodybuilding world, so what should you do?

You should use the most miraculous body building supplement known to man – creatine. Creatine has an incredible number of benefits, it is safe, and it is highly recommended by doctors, scientists, and bodybuilding experts – and even weight loss experts these days.

It is amazing that there are still so many different dietary loss supplement weight products out there being used by bodybuilders – most of which do not work, and others of which are absolutely dangerous – when we have creatine which is highly approved of, incredibly effective, easily affordable, and simply proven to work.

Creatine occurs naturally in the body, and it consists of three amino acids, which include Methionine, Arginine, and Glycine. Once in the liver, these three amino acids are combined, and they produce creatine.

What scientists have found is that when you have plenty of creatine in your system, your muscles use more adenosine triphosphate during exercise. This is important, because this is what gives the muscles energy to perform the exercises that you are doing. The more creatine you have in your system, the more ATP you have, and the more exercises you can do.

Creatine is so effective in the process of building muscles that it has been deemed the legal steroid – even though it isn’t actually a steroid. Creatine is perfectly safe, and it does not change your estrogen or testosterone levels in any way.

In terms of weight loss, creatine is effective in that it has been proven to burn off excess fat while building lean muscle mass. This happens very easily. The idea is to absolutely drench your muscles with creatine, by taking a creatine supplement. This in turn will attract water to those muscles. When this happens, the muscles must expand, which makes them bigger.

Bigger muscles require more energy than smaller muscles. When they cannot find that excess energy anywhere else, the muscles will start using stored body fat for energy. Note that exercise is still required; however this is incredibly beneficial for body builders, and in recent years has settled the great dietary loss supplement weight controversy.

ACL Rehabilitation For Active Adults – The Start of Physical Therapy

The 1st 2 weeks of recovery from ACL Reconstruction are a very sedentary period – there is much rest, much sleep, much discomfort and most likely quite a bit of pain. However, the beginning of physical therapy signals the first true step (pun intended) to recovery – it is where you will retrain yourself to walk on your repaired knee and where you will work to get your injured leg in a pre-surgery state. Even though your leg has only been immobile for 14 days – possibly less – you will most likely have at least some atrophy in the repaired knee that will need to be remedied via physical therapy.

The start of therapy will be exciting, at times grueling and quite possibly scary to go into. But, with a dedication and commitment to the mandate that you will help yourself heal, you will soon be back to your active lifestyle, even stronger than you were before surgery.

As you are about to enter your first therapy sessions, keep the following points in mind:

1. You need to trust yourself. You are soon going to be asking your newly repaired leg to do things that it hasn’t done in a couple of weeks – lifting, some bending, some kneecap exercises and maybe even a little bit on a stationary bike. Have faith in your healing process, and know that you can get through whatever lies ahead.

2. You need to trust your physical therapist. They are going to be asking you to do the activities listed above along with some others. Initially you may think that they are crazy to ask you to do such activities. However, keep in mind – they are professionally educated to help you recuperate, and they know what you need to do to have a successful recovery. Also – they may very well have some other ACL reconstruction patients in their current workload. In fact, take a look around your therapy room as you are doing your work – odds are you are going to see some other patients who are in If you have young children, prepare them for the fact that you are going to be immobile for a period of time and that they cannot rough-house around you while you are recovering. You will soon be doing some of the more advanced exercises that they are doing.

3. Concentrate on your form while you perform your exercises, and ensure that you follow the instructions of your therapist. Subtle changes to your form or a lack of concentration can greatly reduce the effectiveness of a particular routine.

4. Make sure to ice and elevate your knee. Much like in the first 2 weeks, it will be important that you have a good regimen of icing and elevating, especially after therapy sessions.

5. Don’t push yourself too hard. You may be tempted to overachieve, but it will be crucial that you listen to your therapist as to what you should and should not do.

6. Make sure to take your prescribed medications and over-the-counter medications as needed and as instructed. By taking the proper medication, you will continue to allow yourself to heal, will help maximize your comfort (and minimize your discomfort) and will allow you to go through physical therapy with a reduced level of pain.

7. Do your home exercises between therapy sessions as instructed by your physical therapist. I cannot stress how important this is. You will largely be trying to regain your flexibility and range of motion in the first month of therapy, and your home exercises will greatly contribute to a complete recovery.

8. Gauge the difference between good pain and bad pain. There will be times that you have feelings in your knee that you have never felt before. Make sure to keep your therapist abreast of any pains that feel stronger, more intense or sharper than expected.

9. Similar to your post-op period, ask your doctor if a stool softener would be appropriate for you. Some of the medicines that are prescribed to alleviate pain and swelling may cause constipation, and a stool softener will help counteract this possibility.

10. Continue maintaining your fluid intake.

Once you advance in your stretching and range-of-motion exercise, you will be able to move onto the next stage of therapy – strengthening.

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or medical services. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your doctor promptly.

Approaches to Knee Pain Relief

You use your knees every time you walk, run, or move your lower body at all. Knee pain, therefore, dramatically affects the daily life of sufferers, who must use their knees throughout the day. Knee pain is the second only to back pain among American adult pain sufferers. Knee trouble is most often caused by osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint condition in which the cartilage that surrounds the two bones that comprise the knee joint wears away, sometimes causing painful joint-on-joint contact.

There are many treatment options for knee pain. Under the care of a doctor, sufferers can select the most appropriate course of treatment to provide optimum knee pain relief. Over-the-counter and prescription medications including acetaminophen (Tylenol) and aspirin reduce pain, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen, can reduce inflammation as well as knee joint pain. At-home remedies like ice packs and capsaicin, found in cayenne pepper, often have a similar effect.

Natural supplements like chondroitin and glucosamine have become popular alternatives to traditional medicines in recent years because they present fewer risks of side effects. Both are naturally occurring substances in the body. The former aids in building joint cartilage, while the latter fights against degeneration of cartilage. Studies have proven their effectiveness in alleviating osteoarthritic joint pain, but have yet to demonstrate that these supplements actually reverse the effects of cartilage degeneration that have already taken place.

Modifying knee activity with physical aids such as padding, crutches, and splints, and even simple rest take the pressure off of the knee and provide temporary knee pain relief while the joint recovers from injury. Conversely, specific exercises, stretching, and low-impact aerobic activities such as biking, walking and swimming increase joint strength and flexibility, promoting healing and reducing the risk of further injury.

For severe knee injuries that have not responded to the aforementioned treatments, surgery remains an option. There are several common knee surgeries, which range from exploratory arthroscopic surgery, which orthopedic physicians use to diagnose the exact source of knee pain so that they can determine which behaviors and activities need to be modified, all the way to a total knee replacement. Whichever course of treatment a patient decides upon, it is important to work alongside a physician to ensure proper care.

Weight Loss in Austin

Lose Weight, the Healthy Way

Almost 108 million Americans were overweight or obese in 1999. Until now, obesity continues to be a serious problem and is predicted to reach epidemic levels by the year 2020.

One way to prevent this scenario is to make people aware of the risks of being overweight or obese.

Here are some diseases that you are putting yourself in risk of if you are carrying a lot of extra pounds:

  1. heart disease
  2. stroke
  3. diabetes
  4. cancer
  5. arthritis
  6. hypertension

Losing weight helps to prevent and control these diseases.

The quick weight loss methods which have spread like fire these days do not provide lasting results. More often than not, dieting methods which involve dietary drinks, foods and supplement or pills do not work. If they do, the results are just temporary.

It is better to rely on a healthy weight loss option which will provide lifetime results. You have to set realistic goals and not expect to lose a lot of pounds in a short span of time.

Here are some tips on how you can lose those unwanted pounds the healthy way:

  1. Do not starve yourself.

The key to a healthier way of losing weight is: Do not diet.

You may seem happy and feel that you are losing those unwanted flabs on your belly and thighs by skipping meals. But remember that this would not last long. Your body cannot tolerate having insufficient food to fuel the energy that you use up every day.

If you get used to skipping one or two meals a day, your stored calories will be used up instead of the energy that should have been provided by your meals. So if you just eat one huge sandwich in one day, it will end up straight to your problem area (i.e. highs, buttocks, hips).

  1. Start your day right.

Mothers always say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Have a healthy meal in the morning to jump-start your metabolism.

Your food intake after you wake up will be used to burn fat all day long.

  1. Eat small, healthy meals frequently.

Five small-serving snacks per day is better than three hearty meals. Eating more frequently, and in small servings, can prevent over-eating. This will also increase your metabolism and make calories burn faster.

  1. Decide on how much weight you want to lose.

Keep your goals realistic. In the long run, it is virtually impossible for you to lose 40 pounds in 2 weeks. Have a mindset that you want to eat healthy to stay healthy for the rest of your life. Once you have decided on a weight loss plan or program, stick to it and make sure that you follow your own set of dieting rules.

  1. Drink lots of water.

Your body needs sufficient water to burn fat and keep your cells hydrated and healthy.

  1. Avoid too much sugar.

Plan your meals around lots of fruits and vegetables, some bread, rice or pasta for that carbo fix that you need, plus lean meat and protein rich-foods. Sweets, sodas and pastries should be once-in-a-while indulgences only.

  1. Watch your fat intake.

Fat is not the culprit to being overweight. You need this to keep your weight at the proper level.

There is such a thing as healthy fats. Olive, peanuts and canola oil have them. Tuna, salmon and mackerel have omega-3 fats which is good for the heart.

  1. Exercise.

Leave your car if you are only going a few blocks from home, take the stairs instead of the elevator, jog, cycle or skate. Use these activities and other home chores if you are too lazy to go to the gym and take exercise classes. Make sure that you do this regularly and you will not even notice that you are already shedding pounds with these mundane activities.

It does not matter how much weight you plan or need to lose. What is important is that you set realistic goals for yourself.

Go slow. If you have already lost 5 or 6 pounds, give yourself a break then try to lose the next 5 pounds.

Eat healthy, drink lots of water, have enough sleep and exercise. This will give you a higher chance of losing weight and improving your health, which would result to a new, healthier you.

Synovial Joints and Back Pain

The synovial joints are made up of capsule ligaments, tendon sheath that is the liner of synovium, tendons, cartilages, and synovium. Fluids pass through these joints. The synovial joints connect with the bones, which structured scaffolds of the body joins with additional bones. The joints produce fluids, which lubricates them. The fluids contain itself within the capsules, which promote movement. Movement is limited by bone structures. Flexible sectors can also limit movement, as well as connective tissues and inelastic mechanisms.

When the synovial joints are interrupted, it affects the ligaments. The ligaments will limit movement of abnormal joints. Ligaments induce movement amid “two bones” that make it easy for a collection of muscles to contract, expand, and stimulate the nerves. The nerves expand to CNS. (Central Nervous System)

Bones attach to the muscles via tendons. Tendons are thin and stronger than the muscles, which the tendons permit the muscles to converge by pulling it through small openings. Bursa acts a servant to the joints and muscles, since it precludes friction from traveling amid the “two” progressing exteriors. Bursa is a sac filled with fluids, which if bursa rubs against another joint it causes inflammation. Bursitis can set in if rubbing causes inflammation and the sac fills with fluid. Bursitis usually targets the elbows and shoulder, yet the pain extends to the back. When the bursa fails, it can cause swelling, pain, fevers, and numbness, stiffness of the joints, fatigue, and limited mobility.

The human skeleton is made up of “206” bones. Inside the skeleton system is the cranium, jaw, collar bone (Clavicle), shoulder blade (Scapula), sternum, (breast bone) ribs, humerus, spine, radius, ulna, pelvis, carpals, (wrist bones) metacarpals, (palm bones) phalanges, finger bones, femur (Thigh bones), patella (knee cap), tibia (Shin bone), fibula, tarsals (ankle bone), metatarsals (Foot bone), and phalanges. (Toe bones)

When the skeleton structure is interrupted, it can cause back pain. Most cases of back pain are treated with bed rest, foot elevation, ice packs, compression, and so on. Many diseases can cause back pain, which the cause is found in disruptive blood vessels, soft tissues, etc. The problem can lead to excessive bleeding, which slows the healing process.

R.I.C.E
R.I.C.E is a rule of structure one should keep in mind when treating back pain at home. If you have tension in the muscles, you can use this structure to reduce back pain. Rest is essential if you have tension in the muscles. Rest includes putting your feet up and relaxing the spinal column. Ice packs are used to relieve pain as well. You can wrap ice in a damp, soft cloth and apply it to the area. Keep the pack on the area up to fifteen minutes. You can place an ice pack on the injured region every hour. If you have injured your knee, then elevate the leg before applying your ice pack.

Rest and Ice packs starts R.I.C.E, which continues to compression. Compression reduces looseness of the muscles.

In addition, if blood escapes into injured blood vessels, you can compress the area to apply pressure. Avoid applying pressure surpassing the volume, which the blood from the arterial system needs room to flow smoothly.

Elevation involves keeping the leg a distance from the floor. You can elevate the legs to reduce lower back pain. Lie flat on the back and elevate the leg in a supporting chair. You can also place a pillow between the knees to reduce back pain.

Keep R.I.C.E. in mind when you have tension on the back, or have sustained an injury. However, if you injured your back or joints seek medical help immediately.

Fast weight loss tips

There is no doubt that many people try to lose weight too quickly, with dangerous crash diets. That doesn’t mean that there are no legitimate methods available for speeding up your progress on a proper weight loss program. The tips in this article may well be of use to you, even if you are already succeeding in losing weight. Here are four very effective fast weight loss tips.

Tip 1
Use music as part of your exercise program. Although exercise will always be a vital part of any fast weight loss program, it is very off putting to many. Large numbers of people find just exercising, with nothing to interest their mind, boring. If you can inject something you enjoy into the routine, you are far more likely to stick at it. If you have an iPod, or other hard disc storage portable player, that will be ideal.

Tip 2
Consider yourself as the most important factor. There is great merit in so many ideas you will find in books or magazines, but they may not directly relate to your unique circumstances. Only you know what your true desire level is to lose a certain amount of weight. Only you know your own capabilities, and trying to do to much in the way of exercise can be positively dangerous. Keep your goals within the realm of possibility, and one day you may enjoy achieving them.

Tip 3
You may regard this as cheating, but it isn’t really, merely using technology to your advantage. You can now get machines which tense the stomach muscles while you engage in another activity. It is no replacement for vigorous physical exercise, but it be a useful addition to it. Your body should also develop improved muscle tone as a side effect of this.

Tip 4
Do some sit ups. These exercises are scoffed at by so many, who think that are a lot of hard work for nothing. To a degree this is true, as you would have to perform a ridiculous number every day to have a noticeable effect. What sit ups can do is lessen the hunger pangs felt by someone taking in less fat. Although you are not hungry in reality, and your body is taking in enough food, you feel hungry because you are taking in less fat. Doing sit ups at the time of these hunger pangs will be effective in reducing them.

These fast weight loss tips do not involve crash dieting, and can be genuinely helpful.

Living With Chronic Low Back Pain

They tell me my diagnosis is pretty common, that millions of Americans suffer with low back pain. I’ve also heard that next to the common cold, missing work from low back pain is the biggest reason. With these two major known facts, I then wondered why getting the correct treatment for low back pain is so difficult.

After being diagnosed with a herniated disc and bone disc degenerative disease, I was immediately scheduled to see a surgeon. The surgeon suggested I have back surgery. To make a long story short, after a lot of prayer, a lot of thought, and after talking to many people who already have had surgery with my same diagnosis, I chose against surgery.

After deciding against surgery, I found I was immediately cast in a different light, by my doctor, and the medical community in general. I found my pain was then not taken seriously. I felt disbelieved about how much I hurt. I actually felt like a drug addict when asking for something for the pain. It appeared my physician felt back surgery was the end all cure all to my back & leg pain.

To the contrary studies have shown, back surgery may actually cause more pain, complications, and even damage that requires more follow up surgery. Knowing physicians and surgeons are already aware of this, it really makes you wonder why they would put you at such risk. I wish some of these healthcare professionals would just once switch places with me for one day living with chronic low back pain.

The Benefits of Massage Therapy

It may only have exploded in recent years but the practice of massage therapy dates back to the time of Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. And that is about 4000 years ago. In a clear reference to massaging, Hippocrates wrote in one of his medical notes that physicians must know the practice of ‘rubbing.’

Now, massage therapy cannot just be called as ‘rubbing.’ With most of the young Hollywood getting a massage or two every week, it has become the toast of the social set. Its popularity can be seen with the way a lot of massage therapy clinics have opened shops in the last few years with many more planning to in the next couple of months. Currently there are about 100,000 massage therapists in the country and the numbers are increasing two-fold.

Massage therapy in the scientific terms is the process of putting pressure on muscular structure and soft tissues in the body for relaxation. Pressure in this instance can mean a lot of things, from holding and pressing to kneading and rocking. Massages are primarily done with the hands although some massage therapists also use other parts of their bodies like the forearms, elbows and the feet.

Its popularity is actually not surprising especially with this stressful world. Many people are turning to massage therapy for relaxation and regeneration. And unlike other de-stressors, massage therapy is scientifically based and its advantages are all research proven. Besides its physical benefits, it also known to improve the overall wellbeing of the mind and the spirit.

Below are some of the benefits that massage therapy gives us.

1. Relaxation

This is the number one reason why people coming back to the clinics. After a week of stress in the office or at home, people especially women, just want to relax. Massages are great for the skin as it stimulates the release of toxins and hormones. In fact, some studies have even shown massages as being able to lower the possibility of wrinkles production.

2. Relieves pain

Another benefit of massage therapy is the fact that it can loosen those tight muscles especially if you frequently have cramps on your legs. Going to the clinics can also relieve you of your tired and aching muscles. This is especially useful with people who are into sports or those who live the active lifestyle.

3. Makes you a better athlete

People who are into sports can also benefit much from massage therapy. If you feel that your muscles have become tight and rickety, massages can improve on your flexibility and also increase your range of motion. If you get massages all the time, you will notice that you can now do movements that were painful to do before. Massages also improve the body’s resistance. It lowers the blood pressure, heart rate and even helps in recoveries from injuries and sprains. It also strengthens the immune system.

4. Improve mental faculties

Massages are also great ways to improve your mental performance. It can actually reduce mental stress, allowing you to work better and think clearer. It is also known to relieve headaches. Massage therapy also allows you to concentrate better on the task at hand. After a massage, you will basically have a clean slate in your mind that is equivalent to the restful therapy that sleep gives.

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