Massage: The Scientific Proof

For years, masseuses and those being massaged have claimed unequivocally that massages help relieve pain.  But until now, there has never been any scientific evidence to back this up.  This changed when a test compared the muscle biopsy data from leg muscles that received a massage and ones that didn’t.   The legs massaged for 10 minutes had substantially less inflammation and additional energy production than those that did not get a massage.  Both signs are indicative of less pain and speedier muscle recovery.

Good News

Why is this good news?  Well, first it will show that massages provide far more than just a surface level treatment since it is now known that they treat muscles on a cellular level. Second, for those who are seeking non-invasive pain relief, they may turn to massage if they know it has a proven positive impact. Third, for practitioners, since massages will likely soon be treated as a recognized medical procedure, it is set to become more popular and gain increased credibility.

At some later point, more research will be conducted to enable a comparison of different types and lengths of massages to further link massage therapy to pain relief.

One Word: Amazing


A lady who was born with Sacral Agenesis, gave birth not once, but twice, to two healthy children.  The disorder she was born with rednered her with half a body.  Her parents made the decision to amputate her legs – a decision Rose later said she was happy about – so that she wouldn’t be confined to a wheelchair and could lead a “normal” childhood.  At school they wanted her to be fitted with prosthetic legs so she’d “fit in” more but she fought them and won.

Anyway, some years later she met Dave Siggins, they fell in love and got married.  Siggins does not have any kind of disability.  He managed to take her problems in his stride, joking that he didn’t have to worry about her getting cold feet before the wedding and that the cake was bigger than the bride!  The two had a normal sex life with Dave again joking that her legs don’t get in the way.

Rose found out she was pregnant two years into their relationship.  Every doctor told her to abort except Dr. Wilson who pointed out, “this couple have committed themselves to a pregnancy and she is, basically, laying her life on the line because nobody knows what this means, no-one has lived this experience before.”  He did however warn that should she go ahead, she could die.  She told her mother that if it came to it, the baby – not her – should be saved.

Her miracle baby was born but then two years later Rose’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer so it was left to Rose to hold the family together. Meanwhile her father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia, so, like her mentally disabled brother, did not understand what was happening. Rose looked after them all and then had another baby of her own!

When asked quite simply, how she does it, she replies, “a lot of people with disabilities feel that life owes them something, and I was raised in a way that no, no-one owes you a dime. The world doesn't owe you anything, this is what you have and you use your resources and you get through life. My personal opinion is, get up and go for it, just do it.”

Like I said, one word: amazing.

Make 2012 Your Get Fit Year

New Year’s Resolutions are very popular, but it seems that they are often difficult to carry through and, at some time around February, one finds they have readopted their old habits.  This is especially true when it comes to exercise and healthy eating.  But the truth is, any changes one makes do not have to be so dramatic.  As well, it is important –vis-à-vis exercise – to find something that is not boring.

Suggestions for Getting Fit

So here are a few suggestions for ways to get fit.  Check out the different Workout DVD’s available such as Jari Love’s Extremely Ripped Boot Camp DVD for $14.99.  This is perfect for those who never feel as if they have enough time.  In fact, any DVD is good for that as it can be done at home. This one offers six 10-minute workouts exercising abs and cardio and using weights. In addition there are two 30-minute workouts and an even longer one that spans for 18 music tracks.  Or, if you just want to focus on cardio or abs, that is another option.  This DVD certainly will not leave you bored.

For those who feel the need to get out, walk more.  You do not necessarily have to spend the money to sign up for a gym membership if you don’t want to spend the money.  Just take every opportunity to walk, put on a pedometer and see how many steps you clock up each day.  Also, find a friend to team up with for fitness so you can encourage each other.

Eating Better

Eating healthily does not necessarily mean cutting out all the good, fun treats.  A bit of modification is needed. Ensure the house is stocked with fruit and vegetables – for those who despise raw vegetables, make soups instead.  When going out to dinner, choose healthier options like fish rather than pasta and either just have a bite of dessert or order a coffee to finish off your meal.  There are many – easy – ways to introduce healthier eating habits into your life. 

So don’t make a New Year’s Resolution, just make 2012 the year that you will be getting as healthy as possible.

Avoiding Bloat This Holiday Season

Holiday season is now advancing in full throttle. You have outfits picked out for every occasion, new shoes, and have even managed to maintain that diet (for the most part). Why, then, do your clothes only seem to sit well on some days, while on others you feel and look so bloated?

Don’t panic. A bloated stomach is almost never related to weight gain, and it is often easily remedied. First, cut back on salty foods before your event. This does not only mean avoid adding salt to your dish; sodium is a primary ingredient in most processed foods. Salt is the number one cause of bloating in an otherwise healthy body, because it triggers water retention throughout the system. When your body retains water, it will inevitably look and feel bloated. To avoid such retention, cut back on salt intake. Other ‘diuretic’ substances also dehydrate your body, encouraging it to retain water. These include alcohol, fizzy drinks, caffeine and even fruit juice.

The best way to avoid the bloated feeling is to avoid too much of any of these substances. Try eating fruits, vegetables and lean proteins instead, at least for the day or two before your big event. Make sure to avoid sprouts and vegetables like broccoli though, as those also contribute to bloating. Milk products are also a common irritant in the human digestive system, and can linger in the stomach for hours.

Seasonal Affective Disorder and The Benefits of Darkness

The clocks have gone back and winter has begun, and one in fifteen people will be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Though the early darkness and gloomy mornings can be depressing, there are actually several health benefits to the increased darkness exposure.

Unnatural reliance on artificial lighting both at home and in the office can have negative effects on a person’s health, both physically and mentally. Sleep consultant Dr. Neil Stanley has found that all living things have an instinctive need for daily darkness.

Melatonin and Cancer

In fact, scientists have actually found connections between night-time light and breast cancer. Melatonin, the “darkness hormone,” is one of our body’s natural defenses against cancer. Produced by the pineal gland, melatonin is released in response to darkness. A powerful antioxidant, melatonin is believed to suppress the growth of several types of cancerous cells, including breast and prostate cancer. Not only does lighting reduce melatonin production, it also weakens the immune system and disturbs the biological clock, messing with the body’s most healthy and natural balance. Of course, the reduced sun exposure also lessens the risk of skin cancer.

Take Advantage

While the dark can be depressing, it is important to utilize it and restore strength for next summer. Instead of turning all the lights up and forcing your body to stay up as late as it does during the summer months, why not take advantage of the early nights and catch up on the hundreds of hours of sleep you’re probably missing. And if you’re inclined to leave some lights on while you relax, you may want to consider dim ones, or even candles, for a healthy and relaxing evening.

Writing Difficulties and ADHD

A recent study revealed that children, and especially girls, with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are more likely to have writing difficulties. These problems include poor spelling, grammar and handwriting.

As parents of ADHD kids already know, difficulties in reading or math are common signs for teachers when it comes to identifying the disorder. However, “written-language disorder is kind of overlooked,” according to study author Dr. Slavica Katusic.

She went on to explain that writing “is a critical skill for academic success, social and behavioral well-being.” She added that if writing problems aren’t identified early on, it can affect children into their adult years.

Specialists who were not involved in the study have confirmed the logic of the results. Annette Majnemer studied handwriting in kids with ADHD at McGill University in Montreal. She agreed that many children suffering from ADHD have difficulties in the field.

“It might be partially the fact that they’re inattentive and distractible and hyperactive,” she said, adding that other possible causes are problems with motor skills and coordination.

Dr. Katusic stated that genetics may also contribute to ADHD and writing problems. No matter what the cause, Katusic explains that treatment and early identification of learning disabilities can contribute greatly to children’s lives. It is important to identify all possible learning problems in a child before planning a treatment, she said.

“When parents notice something or teachers notice something, kids have to be treated not only for ADHD, but they have to be tested to see if they have other learning problems,” she said. “Clinicians and the teachers have to emphasize that the testing has to be done for everything, every kind of learning disability. It has to be identified early and the treatment has to start early.”